Frequently Asked Questions
A: The first visit lasts one and a half hours. During this time the doctor will take a detailed history of your health concerns. They may use Chinese medicine diagnostic tools such as tongue and pulse diagnosis to get a more clear picture of your current health. They will spend time explaining the overall goals of natural medicine, which center around treating the underlying condition and restoring physiology. The doctor will then explain their assessment, which summarizes the center of gravity of your ailments and explains how to begin treating you. A treatment plan will be devised and time will be spent to ensure understanding of the approach. This treatment plan often includes detailed nutrition recommendations, herbal medicine, homeopathic remedies, hydrotherapy treatments, acupuncture and lifestyle modifications.
Yes. We believe that patients receive the best quality of care when all practitioners involved are informed. We frequently communicate with any other health care practitioners about treatment goals and outcomes.
A: Naturopathic physicians are trained extensively in pharmaceutical medications and herbal medicine. This training includes the potentially adverse effects that may occur if improperly combined. Your naturopathic physician will avoid harmful combinations of both drug-nutrient interactions and drug-herbal interactions. Providing your physician with a list of your medications is essential.
A: The academic training in medical sciences of naturopathic and conventional physicians is similar. Both study modern physical, clinical and laboratory diagnosis and are trained to diagnose a disease. Both refer patients to other health care providers when ap- propriate. Naturopathic physicians may also perform minor surgery and prescribe some drugs.
A: While conventional medicine excels in diagnosis and saving lives, the treatment approach often neglects bringing the patient to a better place along the spectrum of health. Conventional medicine offers the patient a passive role in their health in which they take a medication or elect to receive a surgery. Naturopathic and Chinese medicine require the patient to take an active role in their health and be their own steward towards health under the guidance of their natural health practitioner. Often the treatment goals are to address underlying imbalances, which are diagnosed through the Chinese medicine and those areas are balanced through a comprehensive treatment plan involving diet, lifestyle, meditation, positive thinking and natural medicine. Naturopathic and Chinese medicine excel in treating the health of each individual. There is an important place for both approaches.
A: Yes. The preventive approach of naturopathic medicine reduces the likelihood of high-cost chronic conditions. It provides alter- natives to expensive high tech procedures, and reduces both immediate and long-term costs.
A: An initial naturopathic consultation costs $250 for adult and lasts 90 minutes and $195 for children and lasts 60 minutes. Return naturopathic consultations range from $100-175 depending on time and complexity, but they usually last between 30-60 minutes . Acupuncture initial visits are $135 and return acupuncture visits are $90. Acupuncture visits last from 60-90 minutes. Payment is accepted in the form of Visa, Mastercard, Discover, check or cash. We do accept Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and offer gift certificates as well.
A: We do participate in UPMC Health Insurance plans. UPMC Health insurance covers 12 acupuncture visits per year and requires a script from your MD or DO. Some people do have other insurance coverage for acupuncture as well. Please let us know if your insurance covers acupuncture and we will explore the possibility of accepting your insurance. Otherwise, we provide patients with a superbill that can be sent to your insurance company for reimbursement in case you do have coverage, but we are not currently contracted with any other insurance companies. Most insurance companies do not cover Naturopathic medicine at this time. We are awaiting our legislative efforts to enable licensure of Naturopathic doctors in Pennsylvania. This will allow NDs to practice to the depth of their education. Many insurance companies are eager to cover Naturopathic doctors because they realize that their patients will regain health and will cost them much less money with expensive pharmaceuticals and surgeries! Please visit http://www.panp.org/license to help the grassroots effort to license NDs in Pennsylvania!
A: Pregnant women, newborns and all phases of life from pediatrics to geriatrics can use it. Terminally ill patients can also benefit from naturopathic medicine.
A: Naturopathic physicians treat both acute and chronic disease. As general practitioners, they treat the full array from acute upper respiratory infections to Diabetes. Please refer to the Conditions Treated section for more information.
A: This truly depends on the individual. Some report that they feel nothing at all while others report feeling an electric-like “zing” when needles are inserted. In general, acupuncture can feel like a mosquito bite and at worst like a cactus prick. When pain is felt, it usually subsides quickly especially because it often produces a sense of calm in the body and mind.
A: Yes, acupuncture needles are sterile, stainless steel needles that are disposed of immediately after use. The FDA approved acupuncture needles for use in 1996.
A: After a careful history, tongue and pulse exam are taken, patients lie on a massage table in a quiet room where normally 6-20 needles are gently inserted in the body. The needles remain in for about 10-20 minutes while the patient relaxes quietly and listens to peaceful music. Often a heat lamp or moxibustion will be used as an adjunct to acupuncture. After 20 minutes, the needles will be removed and the patient will lie on their abdomen for acupuncture on their back. After 10-15 minutes the needles are removed and a warm, Chinese herbal poultice is applied to the back.
A: Moxibustion or moxa is another Chinese medicine technique that is used to direct the movement of qi energy in the body. A Chinese herb Qing hao, or Chinese Wormwood, is burned and held 1-2 inches from the body, usually above an acupuncture point. The heat from the moxa helps to warm the channels and promote the flow of qi and blood. It is often used as an adjunctive therapy to acupuncture and is wonderful for improving nausea, pain and allergies.
A: There are very few side effects to acupuncture other than positive effects such as improved sleep, reduced pain, sense of calm and well-being and relief of symptoms. Many patients fall asleep during an acupuncture session as people tend to reach a deep state of relaxation. While complications are rare, there have been reported instances of bruising, bleeding or, even more rarely, pneumothorax.
A: This depends on the individual, their ailments and their state of health. Many times patients get relief of symptoms from one treatment, however acupuncture does have an accumulative effect as it is working to restore balance in the body. For many patients it is necessary to receive 4-8 treatments for ideal results. Many patients reach an optimal level of health and then return for acupuncture “tune-ups” every two months or so. Some use acupuncture for nourishing self-care and to maintain excellent health.
- It relieves your stress while helping your medical problem.
- You want to avoid surgery.
- It treats the root cause of your health problem.
- It boosts your immune system.
- Nothing else has helped your medical problem.
- Prevention is the best medicine.
- Western doctors recommend it.
- It works!