Frequently asked questions

What can I expect during my initial consultation with a naturopathic doctor?


Your initial naturopathic consultation will last for approximately one and a half hour. During this time we will explore the details of any concerns, review personal and family health history and compile a list of medicines & supplements currently in use. Your practitioner will create a customized care plan related to your individual needs, which may include lifestyle recommendations, herbal formulas, supplements, homeopathic remedies, flower essences, vitamins and tinctures.




What do I need to bring with me to my initial naturopathic consultation?


Please bring your current list of medication and supplements. Also, bringing your most recent laboratory and or imaging results will allow efficiency during your visit. After scheduling your appointment, you should receive your new client questionnaires through our state of the art electronic health record system (CHARM). We ask that you complete all questionnaires prior to your appointment.




How are naturopathic doctors different from medical doctors?


Naturopathic doctors are trained in a distinct form of care. Naturopathic medicine emphasizes prevention and supporting the bodies’ inherent self-healing mechanisms through natural therapies. The naturopathic approach is also to examine and treat the whole person rather than a particular system. Primary therapies for naturopathic physicians include dietary and lifestyle counseling, herbal medicine, physical medicine and homeopathy.




Do we accept insurance?


At this time, Naturopathic Medicine is not covered by health insurance in Virginia. Steps are currently underway in Virginia and across the nation to increase the number of states that license Naturopathic Doctors.

For individuals with a HSA (health savings account) or FSA (flexible spending accounts), they are often able to use these plans toward Naturopathic Care and Acupuncture services. In these cases, we can supply you with a letter of medical necessity and itemized receipts. You should check with your HSA or FSA provider for more information and specific rules, as each plan is different.

We are currently credentialed with Cigna and Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield for Acupuncture Services only. If you have one of these plans, please reach out to your insurer to verify if you have coverage for acupuncture services. Please reach out to us at (804) 464-3315 to verify your elgibility.




Why are initial appointments so long?


Your initial appointment will be an in-depth review of your past and present medical history. The goal of the visit will be to obtain a full overview of who you are and what your needs are during this time. You can expect a discussion that considers your presenting symptoms as well as an overall of your health, in order to best determine the best possible care for you. Your practitioner will inquire about your long-term expectations while working with our clinic, as well as considering your current lifestyle choices and habits. The lengthy appointments are just the nature of more comprehensive holistic medicine.




What is our cancellation policy?


We have a 24 hour cancellation policy which means you must give at least 24 hour notice that you will not be able to keep your appointment. Notifying that you will not be able to keep your appointment by a phone call to the clinic, voicemail or communication through the patient portal is sufficient.

In the event that 24 hour notice is not given to cancel or reschedule a follow up visit, we charge a $75 insufficient notice fee. Should you need to reschedule your initial appointment and you aren’t able to provide a 24 hour notice then you will forfeit your $100 deposit and will need to make a new deposit if you would like to book again in the future.




Why is there a $100.00 charge to my card at the time of scheduling?


When scheduling your initial consultation we require a credit card to secure and reserve your time slot. When you schedule your consultation, this 1.5-hour time frame is reserved specifically for you. This charge is non-refundable, but will be applied to the initial cost of your consultation at the time of checkout.

In the event that you reschedule your initial appointment twice, you would need to make another $100 deposit if scheduling a third time. Once deposit is received, it remains valid for use for 12 months. After a year, it expires and should another appointment be scheduled, another deposit will be required at that time.

If you will be using your insurance plan for Acupuncture Services, you will not be required to make a deposit at the time of scheduling.




What is your appointment reminder system?


You will receive a reminder email 24 hours prior to your appointment.




What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?


Chinese medicine is an umbrella term that includes acupuncture, herbal medicine, moxibustion, and Qigong exercise and meditation. Chinese medicine is one of the oldest, continuously practiced medical systems in the world and is utilized by nearly one-third of the world’s population as a primary health care system or as adjunctive therapy. The fundamental principles of Chinese medicine are to treat the person as an integrated whole in body, mind and spirit, and to remedy the root cause of illness and disease, not only the symptoms.




What is acupuncture?


Acupuncture is one of the key components of Traditional Chinese medicine. It involves penetrating the skin with very fine needles that are manipulated by hand or by electrical stimulation (electro-acupuncture). Acupuncture is utilized to treat conditions by stimulating certain critical locations on the body (acupuncture points) in order to control and regulate blood circulation, autonomic systems and endogenous mechanisms, to restore physiological balance. This includes re-establishing somatic, visceral, immune function and homeostasis, as well as promoting pain relief and tissue healing.




Is acupuncture painful?


A slight prick may be felt when the needle is inserted, but it is quite different than the prick felt during an injection, as acupuncture needles are much finer. For example, 21-gauge needles are most commonly used for drawing blood for testing purposes, and 16- or 17-gauge needles are most commonly used for blood donation. Acupuncture needles are sterile, pre-packaged, disposable, and hair-thin. After the needles are inserted and stimulated, they remain in place for approximately 45 minutes. Acupuncture is often quite relaxing once the needles are placed and many people fall asleep during the treatment.




How should I prepare for my first acupuncture visit?


Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing and eat a protein rich meal/snack at least 30 minutes prior to your appointment.




What can I expect at my first acupuncture visit?


After your chief complaint is discussed and systems are reviewed, a treatment plan is established based on tongue, pulse, and Chinese differential diagnosis. Allow 60-75 minutes for both evaluation and treatment at the first visit and 60 minutes for each subsequent treatment.




How many acupuncture visits are recommended?


Treatments are cumulative, therefore, a minimum of one time per week for 4-6 consecutive weeks is often recommended to assess each individual’s response to treatment and potential for change. However, depending upon symptoms and severity, frequency and duration may be increased for improved response and outcome. Keep in mind that change can be gradual for more chronic conditions. Each treatment and response to treatment is dynamic and will often include different point combinations and approaches. These combinations help stimulate healing and balance.




How does acupuncture work?


There are hundreds of acupuncture points along the body’s 14 major meridians. The term “Qi” (pronounced “chee”) describes the energy that circulates through meridians. The belief is that illness is caused by a disruption of Qi, which leads to an imbalance of energy. While the terminology of Chinese medicine can be confusing and intangible at times, there has been much research focused on gaining a greater understanding of this medicine. Clinical research has demonstrated multiple biological responses with stimulation of certain acupuncture points. Specifically, it has shown to stimulate bone re-growth, regulate blood pressure, increase red and white blood cell counts, and stimulate production of pain modulating endorphins and enkephalins. The exact mechanism of action continues to be heavily researched and debated. There are many theories as to how acupuncture actually works. When acupuncture points are stimulated, it causes a dull ache or other sensations in the muscle. One theory holds that the stimulated muscle and sensory neurons send a message to the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), causing the release of endorphins (naturally produced pain killers) and other neurotransmitters (body chemicals that modify nerve impulses), which help block the message of pain from being delivered to the brain and have other regulatory effects as well. Other experts believe that acupuncture works by transmitting signals via the fascia. Fascia is like a thin sheath that surrounds the musculoskeletal system. Some consider the meridians to represent myofascial chains – which helps explain why stimulating an acupuncture point in the lower leg can affect the back or other areas. Interestingly, research shows that acupuncture points have a lower electrical resistivity than surrounding areas. In a practical sense, the meridian system provides a navigable energetic map of the body for acupuncturists to locate and treat many conditions.




What conditions are treated with acupuncture?


Acupuncture has been endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) of the United Nations and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). These bodies have declared acupuncture an effective treatment for the following conditions: Acute and chronic pain Arthritis, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis Asthma and allergies Bell’s palsy Digestive problems Ear and eye problems Fatigue Fibromyalgia, other autoimmune diseases Immune system support Infertility and In-vitro Fertilization Insomnia Menstrual and menopausal issues Mental and emotional conditions Nausea, morning sickness Numbness and tingling Postpartum depression Sinusitis Skin disorders Stress management Stroke rehabilitation Urinary problems …and more





CONTACT US 

 

Tel: (804)-464-3315

Fax:(866)-398-5292

Email: info@drmicahallen.com

235 Wadsworth Drive 
Richmond, VA 23236

Acupuncture Pain Management

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