Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine is...
...Thousands of years old, yet has changed remarkably little over time. It has been used through the generations in China as a form of primary healthcare for ailments of all types with great success. Now traditional Chinese medicine is also being used in China as a seamless complement to modern, conventional western medicine. Some may choose to use only traditional methods, and some may find modern medical methods sufficient; but many people choose to use both methods to complement each other.
Chinese herbal medicine is distinctly different from other forms of herbalism. Infinitely complex, Chinese herbal medicine relies on formula combinations of many herbs to carry out a function based on how the single medicinals complement each other. This method of herbalism, although very difficult to master, allows more individualization based on exactly what each patient needs. There are little to no side effects with Chinese herbal medicine, and it can be used in combination with western pharmaceuticals in most cases.
When most people think of Chinese medicine, they think of acupuncture. Acupuncture can bring vast relief to many conditions that conventional medicine considers untreatable. According to the World Health Organization, acupuncture is effective in treating: hayfever, depression, high blood pressure, headache, knee pain, morning sickness, neck and back pain, sciatica, tennis elbow, stroke, and much more. (See here.)
According to my own experience, acupuncture is also very effective in treating: anxiety, Bell's Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, unknown neurological disorders, autoimmune disorders, and much much more.
Nutrition is an integral part of Chinese medicine, but is often swept under the rug. Many acupuncturists don’t offer much dietary advice. Dietary therapy, like herbal therapy, can be quite complex, but is also very effective. Admittedly, many people are very hesitant to change their eating habits. But if diet is properly understood, specifically from the Chinese medical perspective, it can be a valuable tool to help bring about quick and effective changes in health. Chinese nutrition therapy is a great resource to empower you with the knowledge to put health back in your own hands.
A fully holistic method of healthcare
Traditional Chinese medical principles are often difficult to explain, and each practitioner of this ancient medicine is likely to explain it in a different way. Without going into great detail, one important, fundamental principle is that Chinese medicine is a holistic medicine. That is to say that it looks at the body as a whole, and not as isolated symptoms. As a practitioner of this medicine, I will hear your complaints, and then ask you seemingly unrelated questions about other areas of your health--because all details are a part of how you are functioning as a whole. If a symptom is treated as the entirety of the problem, it often returns, if it ever even improved. Traditional Chinese medicine sees you as a complicated whole being that can demonstrate patterns of illness, often traced back to one or more root sources. By looking at the whole, we can treat the whole, and then the whole of the issue resolves. This holistic method of treatment has the added benefit of many unexpected “side effects” such as increased energy and improved mood.
On acupuncture coverage by health insurance:
Radiant Family does not bill many companies for acupuncture treatment; as of the time of writing this, we only accept Providence insurance. Please call our office to verify that we still bill them if you are counting on this option for treatment. We always bill Motor Vehicle Insurance after an accident if you have an open claim.
We do not bill other insurance providers, but it does not mean that you cannot be reimbursed for your treatment. If you have acupuncture coverage with your insurance provider, and it is not listed above as a company we will bill directly, we can provide you with a "superbill" which has all of the necessary codes and information for your insurance company to reimburse you directly. You pay us upfront, we give you the superbill to mail to your insurance company, and they reimburse you directly.
When Radiant Family opened, we billed a long list of insurance companies for acupuncture treatment.
Over the years, we have slowly been decreasing the number of insurance companies that we bill for insurance. It is a sad state of affairs, but after almost a decade of billing insurance, I have seen the process become increasingly difficult, time-consuming, and have seen reimbursement rates drop. Almost ten years ago, we were getting paid more by insurance companies than we are now! Additionally, many insurance companies have been contracting out part of the claims processing to yet another company, making the process of getting reimbursements even more muddled and prone to having errors made. And suddenly insurance companies have a part in the decision of whether or not a patient's situation warrants care, for how long, and for how many treatments. This is wrong.
We have hoped to make our care as accessible to as many people as we can, and this includes providing treatment to people who have insurance coverage for alternative and complementary care like acupuncture by billing the company directly so our patients don't have to pay out-of-pocket. But due to the difficulty in getting adequately reimbursed, and the significant increase in time spent billing and problem-solving with insurance companies, this is now a limited option in our office.
We instead strive to keep the cost of our treatments as affordable as possible for anyone to seek treatment, insurance coverage or not. And we still encourage patients that have acupuncture coverage with an insurance company that we do not bill to submit a superbill on their own for reimbursement of what they have paid out of pocket.
For anyone who is considering changing their insurance policy, we strongly advocate for an HSA (Health Savings Account) as an option on your insurance policy. We happily take HSA cards at our office, as do many other providers of alternative and complimentary care.