Frequently asked questions

What kind of training does a licensed acupuncturist have?

Acupuncturists in Massachusetts need to be licensed by the Massachusetts Board of Medicine and certified nationally by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). A Master's degree in acupuncture is a prerequisite for receiving certification and a license. The degree is an intensive program combining four academic years into three calendar years. In addition to acupuncture, Oriental medicine theory, point location, and diagnostic classes, the program covers the principles of Western medicine, as well as biology, microbiology, physics, organic and inorganic chemistry, and biochemistry. Before graduating, all candidates spend a year treating patients in different clinics, which amounts to over 600 clinical hours.

Does acupuncture hurt?

Acupuncture uses specialized needles, which are extremely easy to insert into the skin and produce very little discomfort. You may feel the presence of the needle or a light sensation; some patients describe this as tingling, warmth, and occasionally a slight soreness. The sensation is beneficial and indicates the presence of energy, or Qi, at the stimulated point. Many patients enjoy this sensation, as it is frequently associated with tension release and relaxation.

Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture is extremely safe when practice by a licensed, fully trained practitioner. Acupuncture needles are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and are pre-sterilized, pre-packaged, single-use devices. Acupuncturists adhere to the same medical precautions and standards as other medical providers. Acupuncture has virtually no side effects, and your first appointment will include a thorough interview where the practitioner will make a note of any special considerations related to your conditions, medications, and medical history.

What can acupuncture help me with?

Please click here to see a list of some of the conditions that can be treated with acupuncture. This is not an exhaustive list; if you do not see your condition or symptom, please contact us for a consultation to find out if acupuncture is right for you.

What can I expect at my appointment?

You should expect to enter a quiet and private environment. Once you fill out the Health History Questionnaire, the practitioner will begin the diagnostic procedure. This will include answering questions about your health, as well as an examination of your pulse, tongue, and relevant points on your body. Wearing comfortable, loose-fitting clothing can help facilitate diagnosis without having to remove any clothing. After needle insertion, you will be able to relax in the treatment room to the music of your choice for about 15-30 minutes. The practitioner will then remove the needles. Please visit our new patient guide for further details.

Why are you looking at my tongue and feeling my pulse?

The tongue and pulse provide some of the most important clues to help arrive at your Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnosis. This includes the coating, color, and shape of the tongue and the fullness, pressure, and other qualities of the pulse.

How long does an appointment take?

Your first appointment will include a thorough medical interview in order to accurately diagnose your condition and can last from 45 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes. Follow-up appointments will generally be shorter, from 30 minutes to an hour.

When will I see results?

Every condition and every patient requires a different number of treatments. In some cases, a single treatment will be sufficient, while other cases will require a series of treatments. We will be able to make a better assessment of how many treatments you will need after your intake interview and also based on the results of the initial treatment. For chronic conditions, we may recommend that you return every once in a while for a "tune-up" or maintenance appointment.

Does acupuncture interfere with other therapies or medications?

Acupuncture can be combined with other therapies, including Western medical treatments, and does not interfere with your medication. In many cases, acupuncture will act in a complementary fashion and enhance the effectiveness of your other therapies.

Do you accept insurance?

Point and Balance can directly bill insurance companies. We are contracted by Cigna, but we can bill all companies as long as you have coverage. If you plan to use insurance to cover your appointment, please email a photo or copy of the front and back of your insurance card and your date of birth to billing@pointandbalance.com, so that we can verify your coverage. To make sure that your first appointment will be directly billed, please send this information at least 3 business days prior to your appointment.

FSA/HSA coverage: Acupuncture is a covered medical expense from these accounts. If you have a debit card for your FSA/HSA account, you may pay with it. If you do not have a debit card from one of these accounts, we will provide you with a detailed receipt to file with your insurance company.