Frequently Asked Questions

How does acupuncture work?

The effects of acupuncture are complex. How it works is not entirely clear. Research suggests that the needling process, and other techniques used in acupuncture, may produce a variety of effects in the body and the brain. One theory is that stimulated nerve fibers transmit signals to the spinal cord and brain, activating the body’s central nervous system. The spinal cord and brain then release hormones responsible for making us feel less pain while improving overall health. In fact, a study using images of the brain confirmed that acupuncture increases our pain threshold, which may explain why it produces long term pain relief.

Acupuncture may also increase blood circulation and body temperature, affect white blood cell activity (responsible for our immune function), reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and regulate blood sugar levels.

What does an acupuncturist do?

In addition to asking questions, the acupuncturist may want to take your pulse at several points along the wrist and look at the shape, color, and coating of your tongue. The acupuncturist may also look at the color and texture of your skin, your posture, and other physical characteristics that offer clues to your health.

You will lie down on a padded examining table, and the acupuncturist will insert the needles, twirling or gently jiggling each as it goes in. You may not feel the needles at all, or you may feel a twitch or a quick twinge of pain that disappears when the needle is completely inserted. Once the needles are all in place, you rest for 15 - 60 minutes. During this time, you'll probably feel relaxed and sleepy and may even doze off. At the end of the session, the acupuncturist quickly and painlessly removes the needles.

Acupuncturists trained in Chinese herbal preparations may prescribe herbs along with acupuncture.

Are there different styles of acupuncture?

There are several different approaches to acupuncture. Among the most common are:

  • Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) based acupuncture -- the most commonly practiced in the United States, it bases a diagnosis on eight principles of complementary opposites (yin/yang, internal/external, excess/deficiency, hot/cold).
  • Korean hand acupuncture -- based on the principle that the hands and feet have concentrations of qi, and that applying acupuncture needles to these areas is effective for the entire body.
  • Auricular acupuncture -- this technique is widely used in treating addiction disorders. It is based on the idea that the ear is a reflection of the body and that applying acupuncture needles to certain points on the ear affects corresponding organs.

How many treatments do I need?

The number of acupuncture treatments you need depends on the complexity of your illness, whether it's a chronic or recent condition, and your general health. For example, you may need only one treatment for a recent wrist sprain, while a long-standing, chronic illness may require treatments for several months to achieve good results.

NOW Accepting Credit Cards, Flex Accounts, and HSA's

Does my medical insurance cover acupuncture treatments?

Most Flex spending and Health Saving Accounts (HSA) reimburse for acupuncture. Accepting most MESSA Insurance plans in Grand Rapids locations under the the supervision of an M.D.

Some insurers cover acupuncture. You can usually find out by calling the number on your insurance card. We provide a “superbill” that provides all the information you need to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.
"Daniel Mankoff, MD of Michigan Pain Consultants recommends Irv Marcus's acupuncture services. I sought out Irv Marcus's acupuncture skills after a friend recommended him because he successfully treated her for side effects of chemotherapy.

At my first meeting with Irv, I was impressed that he asked many questions about my overall health and my concerns. Irv wants to know who the whole person is and he wants each person to understand how acupuncture treatment works. He said I should not expect to feel total relief for my arthritis pain after one session. One time I came in with a headache, along with my other pains and at the end of the session, the headache was gone.

I would recommend consulting with Irv Marcus for acupuncture therapy to anybody without hesitation."
—Deb Averill Parker M Mankoff
Call today to find out how Irv Marcus can help you return to optimal health and wellness!

616.634.2714

irv@IrvMarcusAcupuncture.com