Q & A

Some common questions about acupuncture are answered below. Call us if you have other questions or if you are interested in improving your life through acupuncture treatment.

Does it hurt?

I am not going to lie to you...We are putting a very fine needle through your skin and frankly our X-Ray vision is terrible. It can be a smidge pokey. It should be very comfortable once the needles are in place. If it is not, simply let us know so we can modify the positioning of the needles.

How are acupuncturists educated?

In this country, acupuncture is typically considered a medical modality.  In order a person to practice acupuncture, they must attend an accredited school and successfully complete approximately 4 1/4 years of schooling.  They are required to pass 4 national boards through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.  These boards cover not only Acupuncture and Foundations of TCM, but also Biomedicine and Herbal Medicine.

Texas then also requires a Jurisprudence exam and licensure through the Texas Acupuncture Board. In Texas, acupuncture is part of the Texas Medical Board.

Acupuncturists are also required to complete 34 hours of continuing education credit every 2 years to renew their license.

Acupuncture needles themselves are actually regulated by the FDA as a regulated medical device.

How many treatments will I need?

This is a very difficult question to answer prior to the initial consultation.  Each person's body is different and often they respond to the treatments differently as well.  Some of the variables involved are below:

  • Hydration levels-if you are better hydrated(with plain old water), you will typically respond better.
  • Nutritional status-foods with high nutritional value-generally unprocessed, whole foods are better able to provide the resources your body will need to heal.  things like junk food, processed foods, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, inflammatory foods all impact your body's ability to heal.
  • Sleep quality-sleep is when your body really goes into overdrive to heal.  If you are not sleeping well, you're limited in your ability to heal.
  • Stress and immune function-if these are not optimal, your body will put resources somewhere else rather than where it needs to repair.
  • Length of time you have had the condition-the longer you have had it, the more treatments you will need to resolve or manage it.

This being said, we can usually get a sense of whether the treatments are helping relatively quickly.  Sometimes people can tell after the first treatment; others know within a few weeks that the treatments are helping.  You will have an idea as to what to expect at the end of your consultation.

How much does it cost?

This is very difficult question to answer prior to the initial consultation.  In order to give an accurate estimate of total cost, the practitioner will need to have a comprehensive understanding of your condition.

How safe is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is incredibly safe. Acupuncturists spend close to 1000 hours in a supervised residency while in school learning and modeling proper needling techniques and safety.  They are also certified on Clean Needle Technique, passing a hands on practical exam demonstrating proper technique.

The needles are all sterile and are not reused.  They are extremely fine and have a minimal risk to the patient when used by properly trained practitioners.

How should I prepare?

There is not much for you to do in preparation for your treatment.  Below are some tips to help you achieve the best results.

  • Complete your paperwork online prior to your appointment. Click here for the portal.
  • Eat a little bit an hour or so prior to your appointment.
  • Stay hydrated.  Ideally you should drink half your body weight in ounces(of water) daily.  Drink a glass or two of water prior to your appointment.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing for easy access to acupuncture points.
  • Get plenty of rest if possible.
  • Try to avoid large amounts of alcohol, recreational drugs and caffeine prior to and immediately after your treatment.
  • Bring any questions you may have.  We want you to be comfortable with the process and clear on what to expect.
  • Take notes between appointments on any changes you may have noticed.
Is acupuncture safe for children?

Yes-very safe.  In fact, children often respond even faster than adults. They also do not typically need as long of a treatment.  Often acupressure or a laser is enough stimulation to treat a child.  We have special needles for the little ones(we often use them for sensitive adults as well-just ask).

Treating children is often easier than an adult since we can get ahead of things like asthma or allergies before they become severely ingrained patterns in the child's body.

What can acupuncturists treat?

Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years.  It is used widely throughout the world and is recognized by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to be effective in the treatment of a wide variety of medical problems. Below are some of the health concerns that acupuncture can effectively treat:

  • Addiction
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Colitis
  • Common cold
  • Constipation
  • Dental pain
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Digestive trouble
  • Dizziness
  • Dysentery
  • Emotional problems
  • Eye problems
  • Facial palsy
  • Fatigue
  • Fertility
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gingivitis
  • Headache
  • Hiccough
  • Incontinence
  • Indigestion
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Low back pain
  • Menopause
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Migraine
  • Morning sickness
  • Nausea
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pain
  • PMS
  • Pneumonia
  • Reproductive problems
  • Rhinitis
  • Sciatica
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • Shoulder pain
  • Sinusitis
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Smoking cessation
  • Sore throat
  • Stress
  • Tennis elbow
  • Tonsillitis
  • Tooth pain
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vomiting
  • Wrist pain
What will my acupuncturist do?

During your first visit, we will spend time discussing the details of your situation.  We will often ask questions that may seem unrelated to the reason you came into the clinic today.  Because we diagnose in a different way than allopathic medicine, some things that are not related in their environment are often related in ours.  We will use this information to develop a treatment plan for you.  The first visit can last up to an hour and a half or so depending upon the complexity of your case.

Often that treatment plan will include homework as well.  We want you to get better as quickly as possible.  One of the ways to do this is to have you working on things at home in between visits as well.  This may include herbs or supplements, qigong or breathing exercises, nutritional therapy, postural changes or exercises.

At follow up appointments, we will check in briefly and get right down to it. These are typically 35-50 min long.  At one point we will have a reevaluation to make sure we are seeing progress.  We will also adjust the treatment plan accordingly once we see how your body is responding to the treatments.

Why did my acupuncturist recommend herbs?

We often recommend herbs as an adjunct or stand alone treatment.  In most cases adding in herbs can speed up recovery and limit additional acupuncture treatments.  In some cases the herbs are to treat the current symptoms.  In other cases, they are being used to resolve the underlying cause of the current symptoms.  In either case, they are synergistic to the treatment and will help the body respond even better.

We will only recommend herbs that have arrived in the US legally and are under FDA regulation. We use formulas that fall under cGMP guidelines.  This is very important to us since we want to ensure the safety of the herbs we recommend.

Why do they want to feel my pulse?

We look at your pulse a bit differently from what you are used to. Yes, we want to know the beats per minute and if it skips or is variable, however we also look for quite a bit more.  Each wrist has 3 positions on it which align with an acupuncture meridian.  There is an optimal level for each position (superficial, moderate, deep).  There is also a feel we are looking for.  In a normal pulse, it should be strong, with defined edges. It should not give with pressure but neither should it push back with a strong force.  The wave of the pulse has a feel to it as well.  In evaluating each position we can often get a sense of symptoms to expect and general health of that meridian.  We use this to corroborate with what else we are seeing.

Why do they want to look at my tongue?

Tongues are amazing! They are a map of our body and can give us additional information as to what the status is of various systems.  In fact, the tongue often changes in advance of us developing obvious symptoms.  We use it to corroborate what we are seeing elsewhere.

Some of the things we will look at are:

  • shape and size
  • color
  • coating
  • cracks
  • vasculature underneath

A healthy tongue should be light red/pink with a very thin white coating.  It should not have teeth marks or scalloping along the sides. the blood vessels underneath it should not be discernible or swollen. Nor should it look phlegmy underneath.  It should be straight and not have a quiver or cracks.  You should not need to brush your tongue to remove the gunk-there should not be any.

Will my insurance cover acupuncture?

As acupuncture becomes more mainstream, more insurance carriers are covering it.  Coverage does vary state to state and plan by plan.  In fact, even the same plan at a company may have different options with variable coverage in them. Contact your insurance provider to learn what kind of care is covered. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Will my plan cover acupuncture?
  • How many visits per calendar year?
  • Is it combined with other modalitieds(such as chiropractic)?
  • Do I need a referral?
  • Do I have a co-pay?
  • Do I have a deductible?
  • If yes, has it been met?

We will always provide you with a Superbill with appropriate coding in order for you to submit your claim to your insurance carrier.  If they cover acupuncture, they will reimburse you for the visit or apply to your deductible as appropriate.  In our experience the primary conditions actually covered are pain or nausea.  Please understand we will not be able to provide the ICD codes to you until we have had a consultation and actually know what we are treating.

Sometimes the carrier will ask for the CPT codes.  The list below will give you an idea of the possible codes used.  Typically 1-4 codes will be on your superbill.

The CPT codes for acupuncture are typically the following:

  • Initial Patient Visit Evaluation: 99201, 99202, 99203, 99204, 99205
  • Established Patient Visit Evaluation: 99211, 99212, 99213, 99214, 99215 (in person)
  • Telemedicine for established patients: 99421, 99422, 99423
  • Acupuncture codes: 97810, 97811, 97813, 97814
  • Other modalities:
    • 97140-manual therapies
    • 97016-cupping
    • 20561-needle insertion 1-2 muscles with no retention(pulled immediately)
    • 20562-needle insertion 2-3 muscles with no retention(pulled immediately)
    • 97026-Infrared therapies


Mon:  9:00am - 5:00pm
Tue: 11:00am - 6:00pm
Wed:  9:00am - 5:00pm
Thu: 9:30am - 5:30pm
Fri:  10:00am - 2:00pm
Sat:  10:00am - 5:00pm
Sun: Closed
Si Shou Acupuncture and Wellness, PLLC
5424 W US Hwy 290 Service Rd Ste 106 
Austin, TX 78735
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