What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a comprehensive medical treatment system developed thousands of years ago in Asia, and has been continuously in use since then. Acupuncture stimulates specific points on the body using very thin, sterile, stainless steel needles. This process restores balance to the body, relieving symptoms and healing the underlying causes of illness, restoring health and vitality.


How does acupuncture work?

From a Western medicine perspective, acupuncture works by increasing activity in various parts of the brain and stimulating the body to release neurotransmitters, vasodilators, and hormones (such as endorphins). Through these mechanisms, acupuncture reduces pain, speeds healing, strengthens the immune system, reduces inflammation, induces a feeling of calm, and alleviates stress.

According to Chinese medical theory, acupuncture works by moving, strengthening and balancing the body’s energy, or “Qi” (pronounced “chee”). Qi can be described as a form of bio-energy that moves like electrical current throughout the body. If the Qi isn’t moving properly, or isn’t strong enough, it shows up as an imbalance or illness. Basically, if you have a health condition, some part of your body’s system is out of whack. Chinese medical theory allows us to diagnose the imbalance… and balance it.


Does acupuncture hurt?

No. Acupuncture gets rid of pain!

Most people don’t feel a thing when acupuncture needles are inserted, as the needles are very tiny – as thin as a human hair. There are certain mild sensations that are sometimes felt during an acupuncture session – these are called “de qi” (pronounced “dah chee”) sensations, and are a sign of rebalancing and healing. De qi sensations may include feelings of heaviness or movement/circulation in the body.

During and after an acupuncture treatment, people usually experience a profound sense of relaxation and internal quiet.


Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture is very safe. Acupuncture needles are FDA-approved, individually packaged in sterile blister packages, and are properly disposed of after one use. Every practitioner gets extensive training in anatomy, and damage by an acupuncture needle is extremely rare, due in part to the tiny size of the needles and the generally shallow insertion.


Do I have to believe in it for it to work?

Acupuncture and herbs work whether you believe in them or not. Acupuncture works really well on dogs, cats, and horses, as well as infants – a strong indicator that one does not need to believe in it for it to be effective. And, there is a vast and growing body of scientific evidence demonstrating the efficacy of acupuncture for a wide array of ailments. So, skeptics – welcome! Come and give it a try.


Does acupuncture always work?

Most people respond well to acupuncture, and experience an improvement in their symptoms from their first visit.


What Should I Expect?

During your first visit, you will fill out an intake form, and then you will spend some time talking with the doctor so she can get an overall picture of your health, learn more about the details of your main complaint(s), and answer any questions you may have.

Your first visit will last 75-90 minutes – time for you to fill out your intake forms, talk with the doctor, and have your first treatment. Your subsequent visits will be shorter – 50 minutes – during which there will be a brief check-in and review of your progress, followed by a treatment.

If it’s warranted, the doctor will also prescribe an herbal formula, and/or make suggestions about vitamins and other supplements for your condition(s), and she may also suggest dietary and lifestyle changes for you to consider to speed your recovery and improve your overall quality of life and health.


How often would I need to come in for treatment?

Acupuncture treatments are typically recommended once a week. If your condition is particularly painful, treatments may be 2-3 times per week for a few weeks until the pain is significantly reduced. Most people notice some improvement immediately, during treatment, with continued improvement over subsequent treatments.

The exact duration of treatment will depend on your condition, your basic level of health, and how well you respond to acupuncture. Most people feel significant and lasting improvement after a series of weekly treatments.

You will achieve the best results when you make a commitment to your long term health and receive regular weekly treatments. Receiving weekly acupuncture treatments bring a myriad of improvements to your life:

  • an overall and lasting reduction in stress,
  • increased immunity,
  • better quality sleep,
  • more energy and mental clarity,
  • improved memory,
  • increased motivation for self-care (diet, exercise, etc.),
  • improved mood,
  • improved libido,
  • increased circulation and mobility,
  • less pain,
  • better digestion,
  • and more.
So when you are deciding how to spend your self-care time and money, consider that with weekly acupuncture treatments, you will very likely decrease your overall health care expense, improve your overall health, vitality and quality of life, and thus reap great rewards!

Does insurance cover acupuncture?

Many health insurance plans cover our services, with no referral or prescription needed, and co-pays are usually between $15-40 (once your deductible is met).

Note: Medicare and Medicaid do not cover acupuncture or consultations with Dr. Emily; however, if you have supplemental Medicare insurance with one of the insurers below, then visits to Dr. Emily will likely be at least partially covered.


We are In-Network for the following insurances at The Sunflower Wellness Center, and our services are typically covered by:

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • United Health Care
  • New Mexico Health Connections
  • Cigna
  • Humana

Out Of Network

If you have health insurance with one of the following plans, then when you pay for your visits with Dr. Emily, we will give you a form called a Superbill for you to submit to your insurance – this often leads to at least a partial reimbursement of fees:

  • Presbyterian
  • Christus
  • Aetna
  • Molina
  • Lovelace
  • Celtic
  • Assurant

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us!