Acupuncturist Samantha Berg and Kevin Meddleton

Ask Sam and Kevin


Alaska Center for Acupuncture,
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Please use the form below to ask a question about acupuncture or chinese medicine. We would love to hear from you!

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Does acupuncture hurt?

Acupuncture needles are thin metal filaments approximately the width of several hairs. The sensations patients experience during treatment range from nothing at all, to a fleeting ache or pinch in the area being needled. In our experience, even self-described "needle phobic" patients are pleasantly surprised to find that the sensations are minimal and treatment itself is deeply relaxing and enjoyable.

Is acupuncture covered by insurance?

A growing number of insurance companies cover acupuncture. However, coverage varies widely. Some companies put a cap on the number of treatments per year; others put a cap on the total cost per year. In some cases, insurers will specify what types of acupuncture procedures they will cover. It's always best to call your insurer to learn the extent of your benefits..

What are the Benefits of Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is often effective with a wide range of complaints, including back pain, joint pain, infertility, menopausal complications, asthma, depression, chronic fatigue, high blood pressure, diabetes and stress. Acupuncture is also helpful for many chronic illnesses and health concerns that have no clear origin or cause. Patients committed to a healthy lifestyle who receive ongoing acupuncture treatment for maintenance and health promotion often experience being sick less often and recovering more quickly, improvement of vitality and stamina, being able to take care of their own health, relationships with others becoming more harmonious and reductions in long term health care costs.

A recent survey of people who receive acupuncture, conducted by Claire Cassidy, Ph.D., indicates that they see their physicians less frequently and use fewer medications. In addition, over two thirds of those surveyed reported having avoided recommended surgery.

Are the needles safe?

Yes. Sterile disposable needles are used once and then disposed of immediately.

Do I have to be ill to benefit from acupuncture?

Absolutely not. Many of our patients come for regular treatments to prevent illness and maintain a vital state of health throughout the year.

During your initial assessment of a patient, do you check pulse points on both wrists and check ones tongue for possible problems?

Yes, the pulse reading we do includes extensive palpation of points along both the left and right wrist. This is a very important dimension of Chinese Medicine and it informs our treatments and treatment planning with each patient visit. It is an essential part of treating underlying patterns of illness or disharmony. Similarly we use tongue analysis for yet another source of insight into the body to help treat the root cause of illness.

Pulse reading and tongue diagnosis are part of what make Chinese Medicine a truly preventative therapeutic model of health care. Signs of imbalance will generally show up on the pulse and tongue long before there is a physical symptom. This allows early intervention. In the case of illnesses that have developed substantially and present with difficult symptoms, these diagnostic techniques help us get to the root condition much more quickly and effectively.

How frequently do I need to come to benefit from treatment?

Individual needs vary widely and are dependent upon the patient's state of health upon entering treatment. Broadly speaking, patients are often seen in weekly sessions for 6-8 visits. As patients experience stable improvement in their condition, treatments may be extended to every other week, every three weeks, monthly and eventually seasonally.

How do I get the most out of each acupuncture treatment?

Be sure to eat well before coming to treatment. Avoid caffeine in coffee, tea, or sodas during the day of treatment. Avoid intense physical activity before or after your scheduled treatment.