I'm not feeling well. Should I still come to acupuncture?
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, please follow the CDC's guidelines in regards to the current global health crisis: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
If you call to cancel the day of your appointment due to illness, I will waive my late-cancellation fee.
Where are your Laurel, MD offices?
I'm located inside the Natural Care Center (NCC) at the Maryland University of Integrative Health. Parking is free. Once inside, take the stairs (turn right at the top of the stairs, then right again) or elevator (turn right once out of the elevator) and take a seat in the waiting room. I perform all of my administrative tasks and I am separate from the university and the NCC, so you don't need to interact with the clinic's administrative staff.
Where are your Washington, DC offices?
I'm located at 1725 I (eye) Street NW Suite 300 in downtown Washington, DC. The suite is a set of shared offices, so just come in and take a seat in the waiting area, and I'll come out to greet you shortly. If you come for the last appointment of the day (6:15 PM) I will need to greet you downstairs to let you in and up the elevator, so please give me a call when you arrive (202-670-2293)
What do I need to do before my appointment?
Thanks for scheduling with me! When you receive your email confirmation, click on the "Manage My Appointment" link to access your on-boarding forms. Please complete them before you come in, or come to your appointment 15 minutes early to complete on-boarding paperwork then. Come to your treatment having eaten 1-2 hours before your appointment time, and be sure to use the restroom before we begin. Please do not brush your tongue for two days before your appointment. Also, please do not wear heavy makeup, perfume, or cologne (moderate deodorant is welcomed) to your appointment. Your job as patient is to help me help you - be yourself so I can get to know the authentic you!
What are your hours? Will you be expanding them?
I'm in Laurel, MD (Maryland University of Integrative Health) on Tuesdays from 9:30 AM to 7:30 PM. Beginning in March 2020, I will be in Washington, DC on Thursdays from 9:30 AM to 7:30 PM.
I also offer home visits and community events to certain areas. Contact me for more information on these services.
Do you accept insurance?
What are your fees?
What discounts do you offer?
Insurance companies dictate a lot about the structure of acupuncture treatments. As I prepared to answer this question for myself as a practitioner, I talked to a lot of acupuncturists who do take insurance. Most of them lamented that they do not have time to conduct certain procedures like bodywork because of the required treatment structure for insurance billing. My treatments include these procedures and I have found them to be extremely effective in terms of clinical outcomes for my patients. If I were to take insurance, I would need to change the way I practice to be less effective in order to follow the insurance companies' rules. I want the best outcomes for you, my patient, and do not plan on changing my treatment techniques to fit the insurance companies' requirements. Therefore, I do not accept health insurance. I will, however, happily provide you with a "superbill," which you can submit to your insurance for possible reimbursement.
Please contact me to discuss my rates. I charge a flat rate for every appointment - no up-charges for bodywork.
To help make holistic health care more accessible, I offer a select number of sliding scale slots. I also offer some small discounts, including a frequent flier discount for every appointment that occurs within 14 calendar days of your last completed appointment, a discount for senior citizens, and a discount for active military, emergency responders, and school teachers.
Let's discuss your situation, and we'll work together to make sure you can get the care you need.
What will happen during my first appointment?
Your first appointment will be comprised of an intake interview, physical examination, and treatment. This appointment will take 90 minutes. During the physical exam, I will palpate (touch) your abdomen, feel your pulses, look at your tongue, and manipulate your joints.
This first intake session is a very important time during which I will get to know you - I want to understand why you’re seeking treatment, what’s going well in your life, what you would like assistance with, and how you interact with your environment. Acupuncture and zero balancing are holistic health care modalities which encompass the whole patient as they show up throughout their life (see my blog post on Body-Mind-Spirit and acupuncture). As I’m conducting my intake, you may wonder why I’m asking particular questions. Maybe you’ve come to my office to receive treatment for back pain, and I’m asking you questions about your sexual and reproductive health. To you, these two things may not appear to be related, but I have a good Chinese-medicine diagnosis reason to ask into this. In Chinese medicine, sexual health, the lower back, and fear are all interconnected in that they are different manifestations of the same energy, so I need to assess all of these to understand the health of one of them.
What will I feel during needling?
You may find the needling itself quite without sensation. What I find I feel more than the needles in acupuncture is the movement of energy. Acupuncture affects the breath energy, or Qi, in the body. Western medical researchers have sought to locate Qi in the body for years without success - what we as Chinese medical practitioners know is that Qi cannot really be seen. Acupuncturists learn about the state of a patient's Qi by observing those things that Qi does in the body. For example, Qi is the motive force that allows the heart to move the blood to the extremities, so by feeling how hot or cold your extremities are I am learning something about your Qi, even though I cannot literally look at your Qi.
If you’ve never received acupuncture before, you should be aware that needle placement may be accompanied by a range of sensations, such as electric sensations in the limbs, radiant warmth from the point of entry, tugging sensations, or the sensation of liquid flowing in the body. These are normal! If you have significant pain at the site of insertion, please let me know and I will guide you through determining whether the needle needs to be adjusted or not.
What do I do after acupuncture?
In order to make the most of your treatment, after your appointment, it’s a good idea to:
-Drink plenty of water (unless I tell you otherwise)
-Rest if you need to (if you’re able, sleep from 11 PM to 7 AM)
-Avoid strenuous exercise for 24 hours
-Avoid all alcohol and recreational drug use for 24 hours
-Avoid sexual activity for 24 hours
-Avoid extremes of temperature for 12 hours (keep yourself covered when you go into the wind)
After your treatment, your body is working hard to assimilate the changes encouraged by the needles. The “please avoid” factors above will interfere with this process and could limit the benefit you retain after treatment, meaning you could need more frequent treatments. Of course every body is different, and some people may feel that these factors don't negate treatment as much as other people may find. Bottom line: go gently and pay attention to your body. Symptoms are messages from our bodies to let us know that something is amiss. Acupuncture helps you listen to them with a fresh perspective, and get to the root of the problem.
How frequently will I need acupuncture?
It’s important to note that the longer an imbalance has been present, the longer it will take to shift with treatment. Chronic concerns can take a couple of months of consistent acupuncture to improve, while acute concerns shift rather quickly.
Frequency of treatment depends on the nature and severity of your concern. For very severe and chronic concerns, you may need to come in for treatment multiple times a week for a month or so before beginning a more typical course. Many patients come for treatment once a week for a few months, and then drop down to once a month. If you’re doing a good job cultivating your health between acupuncture treatments, once your primary concern has resolved you will be able to leave (this is what I want! I want you to get better!) Many patients get treatment 4-5 times per year, during changes in seasons, and during changes in life (e.g. grief, changing jobs, moving, getting married).
An important part of acupuncture treatment is coaching. Chinese medicine aims to help people get back to the nature that is the body. A lot of the demands and ways of modern life go counter to nature. You and I are a healthcare team, working together to help you realize your fullest possible health. Again, this is one way I aim to help my patients help themselves, so they don't need treatment as often. I may also teach you acupressure techniques and exercises called Qi-Gong (translates to Qi-Work, it's kind of like tai chi) so you can give yourself a hand in between treatments.
What is Zero Balancing? (ZB)
ZB is a gentle bodywork modality which works on the energy and structure of bones and joints to promote a deep sense of wellness and balance. ZB is a young modality - created by Dr. Fritz Smith in the early 1970's, ZB blends theory from osteopathy and acupuncture to deliver soft pressure and gentle traction in areas of tension, releasing stuck energy and structure and creating a point of stillness in the body. From here, the body is able to reorganize and integrate the many forces acting upon it (including the mind) and relax.
How frequently should I get ZB?
I recommend you come in for 3 weeks in a row and then drop down to once a month. This is the recommended course of ZB treatment, and I find it to be very effective in maintaining progress.
I got acupuncture/ZB yesterday, and today I feel awful!
You may notice that your symptoms get a little worse for 24 hours after your treatment, and then after 48 hours they will improve relative to where you started (e.g. you get a treatment for back pain. Say at the beginning of treatment, your pain is 7/10 on the pain scale, 10 being excruciating. For 24 hours, your pain may go up to 8/10. After 48 hours, your pain should diminish to below the 7/10 range). This is a normal process in acupuncture known as Law of Cure. According to Law of Cure, illnesses get worse before they get better, and you may see a recurrence of old symptoms. Perhaps before you had back pain, you had a sore knee. Your sore knee may return once the back improves, but, in my experience, with continued acupuncture treatment all symptoms associated with the concern should resolve.
You may notice ups and downs in your chief complaints for a couple of weeks following each ZB as the body continues to process the released energy. I find symptoms trend towards improvement over this time, but it can be a little rocky at first. This is perfectly normal.
Do get in touch with me, though, and let me know what you are experiencing.
I got acupuncture two days ago, and today I feel awful!
Please call me! Let’s figure out what’s going on.