If you’re looking for an alternative treatment for your pain beyond medication and injections/procedures, Revitalize Medical Center offers acupuncture within our clinic! Dr. DeCaria has brought in three licensed acupuncturists who each have many years of experience in traditional Chinese acupuncture and specifically experience working with patients with acute and chronic pain. Medicare now covers acupuncture for low back pain, and we are excited to offer this service at Revitalize Medical Center. In addition to treating chronic pain, acupuncture can also provide wider benefits including emotional stress, hormonal imbalances, allergies, GI issues, and insomnia, to name a few.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
There are two main theories for how acupuncture promotes the body’s natural healing processes.
Classical theory is based on the belief that the body’s energy flow, or Qi, travels through energy channels throughout the body called meridians. These meridians can become blocked, leading to pain or sickness. There are specific “acupuncture points” on the body that can be stimulated to remove these blockages and restore the body’s natural balance. Our licensed acupuncturists know exactly where the correct acupuncture points are and will place thin, sterile needles into the skin.
Modern science believes that when acupuncture points are stimulated, it affects the nervous system, which responds by releasing endorphins, hormones, and immune system cells throughout the body. A boost of these natural chemicals can accelerate your natural healing processes and help restore function.
According to both of these theories, a needle placed in one part of your body may be treating a problem in a completely different area. For example, your acupuncturist may put a needle on your ear in order to restore balance in your lower back. This is a common technique.
Frequently Asked Questions about Acupuncture
1. Does science support acupuncture?
Studies have shown that acupuncture does work to treat chronic pain, and many medical professionals collaborate with licensed acupuncturists for medical care. Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years and remains a well-known and widely-used practice worldwide. Researchers continue to explore the exact mechanism through which acupuncture works, but its effects are real and reproducible in thousands of scientific studies on pain.
2. Who can perform acupuncture?
Although there are some licensed professionals who practice acupuncture with minimal training, at Revitalize Medical Center, we only offer acupuncturists who are licensed and board certified. Licensed acupuncturists are required to meet national standards established by the NCCAOM in order to practice acupuncture in the state of Illinois. To become licensed, an acupuncturist must complete highly regulated training and pass examinations. Our licensed acupuncturists have years of training and even more years of experience practicing. They hold doctorate and masters level degrees in Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture. This ensures that our patients receive the safest and most effective care possible.
3. Is acupuncture the same as dry needling?
NO! You may have received dry needling from your chiropractor or physical therapist. Although dry needling often uses acupuncture needles, the procedure is not the same as traditional Chinese acupuncture. Dry needling involves placing needles only in the area of your pain to directly stimulate muscles or sore spots, but an acupuncturist uses needles all over your body in particular areas called Meridian points to unblock channels, reduce inflammation, improve blood flow, restore your energy flow and reduce your pain. Also, dry needling is a much newer practice than acupuncture and may use wider needles or different insertion techniques. The needles are also inserted deeper with dry needling and thus dry needling is typically more painful than acupuncture.
4. How often will I need acupuncture?
This will be determined by your licensed acupuncturist at the first appointment. Typically, sessions are once a week or twice a week. If pain is more chronic, it may require more frequent or a greater number of sessions overall to obtain results.
What Can You Expect During a Session?
- Little to no pain: The needles used by our acupuncturists are barely wider than a human hair. What does this feel like? Some patients report feeling a warm or slight “electric” sensation, or a snapping rubber band. If you feel any pain at all, the level of pain is similar to a mosquito bite.
- Additional techniques: Based on your individual case, your acupuncturist may choose to use methods alongside needling, including light electrical stimulation, heat, cupping, or manual manipulation.
- Timing and pricing: Medicare has recently started to cover 20 sessions per year for patients with low back pain who meet the criteria according to a physician’s assessment. We also offer self-pay options, as well as discounted package pricing. You can schedule acupuncture through Self-Pay by clicking HERE. If you have Medicare, you will need an evaluation from Dr. DeCaria to determine if you are a candidate for acupuncture and you will need to schedule the in-person evaluation by calling 847-834-4018.
- How acupuncture fits into your pain management care: Acupuncture is often recommended as a supplement alongside procedures or medications, but can also be an alternative treatment on its own. Depending on the severity and history of your pain, you may feel better as soon as your first week, or it may take several weeks up to a few months to achieve lasting relief. On average, 6 sessions are needed before significant changes happen. Every patient is different, and your acupuncturist will take the time to get to know your condition and form the best plan for you.
- A moment of relaxation!: During your session, your acupuncturist may use calming music, aromatherapy, and/or heat to make your experience more relaxing. Some of our patients even fall asleep during acupuncture. Feel free to embrace this and think of your session as a break from stress!
If you have chronic pain, acupuncture is a safe and effective way of helping your body achieve natural and lasting relief. Schedule an appointment with Revitalize Medical Center to see if it is the right treatment for you! We offer affordable packages and self-pay options!