Frequently asked questions
• Will My Health Insurance pay for Acupuncture?
• Can I still see my regular Doctor?
• What Is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?
• Is Acupuncture Safe?
• Can my problem be treated with acupuncture?
• Will acupuncture fix my problem immediately?
• How does it work?
• How is the diagnosis made?
• What does acupuncture feel like/does it hurt?
• How big are those needles, anyway?
• Do I have to believe in acupuncture?
• I am healthy why would I need treatment?


Will My Health Insurance pay for Acupuncture?
Some auto accident insurance (PIP) and some health insurance policies will cover acupuncture treatments. You should
contact your insurance company and ask.
More insurance policies are paying for acupuncture now, but if yours doesn’t you can ask your agent about adding a
rider for your policy.
Can I still see my regular Doctor?
Yes. The care you are receiving can be enhanced and work synergistically with Oriental Medicine. We encourage the
cooperation and exchange of information with your doctor to achieve greater benefit to you the patient.

What Is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?
TCM is a very old, but still vital healing system that is continuously evolving. Acupuncture, Herbal Formulations, Diet
and Exercise are the main disciplines of Traditional Chinese Medicine. TCM is based on harmony or balance. A healthy
person is in complete balance, both with him or herself and with nature. TCM theory states that disease is a deviation
from balance, and the purpose of treatment is to restore it. TCM focuses on maintaining health rather than managing
disease. TCM is an empirical medicine, meaning it was developed mainly through clinical observations. It is a logical
system that summarizes the results of clinical observation and experience to instruct further practice.

TCM serves more than one billion people in China and Southeast Asia. There are more than one million TCM practitioners
in China alone. Five years ago, the Chinese government conducted a national survey on Chinese medicinal substances and
found that 11,146 species of plants, 1,581 species of animals, and 80 minerals have been used as TCM remedies.2 One-
fourth of the world’s population uses TCM, the second largest medical system in the world today. In Japan, there are
more than 200,000 health care providers prescribing Chinese herbal medicines for their patients. TCM is used to treat
almost every disease identified by western medicine. TCM is used in Europe, Canada, and the United States, especially
in the western, eastern, and northern parts of the U.S.


Is Acupuncture Safe?
Yes, it is very safe when practiced by a qualified practitioner and without any serious side effects, one of the
reasons for its acceptance. The single use stainless steel needles themselves are pre-sterilized, and they are disposed
of after each treatment.
Acupuncture has been used by millions of Americans and is recognized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the
Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA regulates acupuncture needles as medical devices, and rates them in the
category of “safe and effective.” The National Institutes of Health finished a two and one-half year study of
acupuncture, electrical acupuncture and microcurrent therapies, and published their Consensus Statement in November,
1997. The Consensus Statement from the NIH states that, “While it is often thought that there is substantial research
evidence to support conventional medical practices; this is frequently not the case. This does not mean that these
treatments are ineffective. The data in support of acupuncture are as strong as those for many accepted Western medical
therapies. One of the advantages of acupuncture is that the incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than
that of many drugs or other accepted medical procedures used for the same conditions.”

The complete document from the NIH may be found at: National Institutes of Health Consensus Statement on Acupuncture,

Can my problem be treated with acupuncture?
Yes! Oriental Medicine is a complete system, which treats a full range of diseases in all stages of expression (acute,
chronic, infectious, internal and traumatic). If the disease is very advanced or extremely virulent Oriental Medicine
is a good supplement to more aggressive western options by promoting balance and invigorating the immune system.


Will acupuncture fix my problem immediately?
Acupuncture is not a miracle cure, nor a “quick fix.” Remember that acupuncture is addressing the underlying cause of a
problem rather than fixing a symptom, therefore it takes time to have an effect. You may experience immediate results,
especially if the problem is not too chronic, but you may not notice any progress until later in the course of
treatment. It requires a trust and an acceptance of the process.


How does it work?
Contemporary Western medicine has developed more than 17 different ways of explaining different aspects of acupuncture
effects, but no unified theory. The traditional understanding of acupuncture provides a unified framework for clinical
evaluation and treatment (the channel system, five-phase theory, yin/yang theory). Western and Chinese medicine agree
on the fact that it really works, and that formal studies, using techniques ranging from blood serum analysis to MRI,
have documented acupuncture’s efficacy in ways that are compatible with Western scientific methodology. The outcomes of
many studies suggest that acupuncture is more effective when applied by a skillful practitioner using traditional

How is the diagnosis made ?
TCM has developed unique diagnostic and therapeutic methods such as tongue diagnosis, pulse reading, herbal formulas
and acupuncture. TCM treats patients holistically, that is as a whole, rather than treating individual parts.

The TCM doctor inspects (observes) the patient’s mental state, complexion, physical condition, and behavior. The
practitioner observes the person’s vitality (qi), face and skin color, body figure, hair, eyes, lips, teeth, throat,
and other features. The most important observation is of the tongue to see its color, size, and coating or “fur.”

Auscultation and Olfaction
Auscultation (listening) and olfaction (smelling) are used to detect the health status of the patient. The practitioner
listens to the voice, breathing, and coughing. The odors of the patient are also noted. TCM considers these sounds and
odors to be reflective of the health status of the various body organs.

Inquiring involves asking the person and his or her relatives about such things as the person’s history, symptoms,
family history, and previous therapies. Typically, the practitioner will ask the person about the presence of chills
and/or fever, excessive perspiration, pain, sleep, diet, thirst, alcohol consumption, other beverage consumption,
urination, bowel movements, menstruation, and childhood illnesses.

Palpation is a physical examination that includes pulse reading and the use of the hands to touch and press certain
areas of the body. Pulse reading is one of most important Chinese diagnostic methods. There are 24 different pulses
that can be read from a person’s wrists.
Based on all the data obtained from the four diagnostic methods, a differential diagnosis is made according to the
eight principal syndromes: yin or yang, exterior or interior, cold or heat, and deficient or excessive.

According to TCM theories, treatment is based on an overall analysis of symptoms and signs. The doctor considers four
characteristics in deciding on a treatment.
the cause of the illness
the nature of the illness
location of the illness
the patient’s overall physical condition
In this way, treatment is individualized. It may be changed according to changes in the patient’s condition during the
course of the disease.
What does acupuncture feel like/does it hurt?
A pinch, followed by “qi sensation,” a feeling of warmth, or aching around the point, and often above and below it as
well, along the course of the channel. Many styles of traditional acupuncture consider the qi sensation a prerequisite
to effective treatment. Western research has so far supported this notion. Some people feel the insertion, some don’t.
The sensations of acupuncture vary widely among individuals.


How big are those needles, anyway?
They’re not very big. The typical Chinese fine needle measures .25 to .30 millimeters in diameter, and 30-50
millimeters in length. Acupuncture needles, unlike hypodermic needles, are neither hollow nor rigid, and the tip is
shaped to increase the patient’s comfort during insertion. It has often been stated that anywhere from half a dozen to
a dozen acupuncture needles will fit inside the bore of a hypodermic needle; this depends, of course, on the diameter
of all needles under consideration. Some Japanese-made needles are quite a bit finer than their Chinese counterparts.
Interestingly enough, needle diameter has very little to do with insertion comfort; needling technique and needle tip
shape are much bigger factors.


Do I have to believe in acupuncture?
Acupuncture’s theoretical models are not based on faith. Acupuncture works on horses, dogs, babies, and people in
comas. Its world view arises from empirical observation, and the acid test for the validity of the view is the result
of its application by skillful practitioners. Simply put: faith is not a requirement.


I am healthy why would I need treatment?
Oriental Medicine has traditionally been used to prevent disease by enhancing the body’s own ability to fight infection
and to self-repair. Just as you tune-up your car or do a spring cleaning on your house we recommend a treatment every
seasonal change to keep you in optimal health.

John McGimsey and Li Jie McGimsey
1168 S. Kings Drive
Charlotte, NC 28207
Charlotte Office:704-737-4412
Davidson Office:704-737-4412
Morganton Office:828-413-0567