Yes! Possibly! Depends! The answer to this question is always within the larger context of what east Asian medicine has to offer. Remember, acupuncture is a treatment modality within a time-tested system of medical practice, using diagnostic principles, language and treatment strategies specific to this system. To focus solely on the needles ignores the many other elements of care that are to be found within an acupuncturist’s practice, such as: counseling and relationship building, herbs, nutritive foods, and other tools to benefit the patient. During the preliminary phone consult, we will determine if your specific condition can be helped, and if Thunderbolt Wellness is a good fit for you.

No. Insurance coverage for acupuncture treatment varies widely from state to state. When the Affordable Care Act was originally established, some states (Virginia was not among them) added acupuncture as an “essential health benefit”, which then mandated that insurance companies offer acupuncture within their plans. More companies now offer this benefit.

Thunderbolt Wellness is not an in-network provider with any insurance plan, including Medicare, and does not file claims or correspond with insurance companies on your behalf. If your insurance plan does cover acupuncture, we are happy to provide you with a super bill you can submit for reimbursement. It is important that you first determine what types of ICD codes are covered, (for example: back pain). It can be helpful to obtain a referral from your primary care physician to support your claims submission.

Thunderbolt Wellness does not accept third-party claims, such as Workers Compensation or personal injury claims.

If you have an HSA or FSA plan, we can easily accept your debit card for payment. If your company requires documentation for this, we are happy to provide you with a document that outlines services rendered. Don’t forget!!! Acupuncture is a tax-deductible medical expense.

The answer to this question depends primarily on how long the condition being treated has been going on; factoring in your age, lifestyle, and health history, the care you are receiving from your physician or other health care providers, and your continued adherence to the treatment plan.

For example, in cases of acute musculoskeletal pain, this can often be resolved quickly. In cases with longstanding inflammation, or other more complex presentations such as autoimmune pathology, digestive, cardiovascular, mental or emotional issues, etc., this will be a longer process. We always discuss this during the preliminary consult, and as your treatment plan evolves. Generally, an initial series of 4-6 visits is recommended, after which the interval between them is extended, or your care is completed. Often patients will schedule themselves on a “health maintenance” basis, preferring to come in every few weeks, monthly, or even quarterly as the seasons change. Preventive care is one of the many benefits of this traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) system, and honest communication with each other is the cornerstone of our work together.

The most common theory is that when needled, acupuncture points are believed to stimulate the central and peripheral nervous system. These in turn release chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain, which may enhance the body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being. There have been extensive studies on the mechanism of acupuncture that are readily available via a search on Google Scholar, including those done by The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). The current director of the NCCIH, Helene M. Langevin, M.D., who was sworn in as NCCIH director in 2018, has a particular interest in the therapeutic affect of acupuncture, and has co-authored the following:

Langevin HM, Churchill DL, Cipolla MJ. Mechanical signaling through connective tissue: a mechanism for the therapeutic effect of acupuncture. FASEB J. 2001 Oct;15(12):2275-82. doi: 10.1096/fj.01-0015hyp. PMID: 11641255.

Langevin HM, Churchill DL, Fox JR, Badger GJ, Garra BS, Krag MH. Biomechanical response to acupuncture needling in humans. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2001 Dec;91(6):2471-8. doi: 10.1152/jappl.2001.91.6.2471. PMID: 11717207.

The short answer is no. Dry needling is a style of acupuncture. The practice of acupuncture includes any insertion of an acupuncture needle for therapeutic benefit. Licensed acupuncturists (L.Acs) have consistently used “myofascial trigger points” or “motor points”, which are synonymous with acupuncture points.

The longer answer is that acupuncture is a therapeutic treatment modality historically found within east Asian medicine. Janet Borges was trained in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which includes acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, TCM food therapy, manual therapy practices such as Tui Na, and internal physical strengthening practices such as Qigong.

Dry needling also has a historical context. Research conducted by Dr. Janet Travall, who helped pioneer the study and treatment of myofascial pain, documented the anatomical efficacy of traditional acupuncture points, originally using hypodermic needles, which were replaced with filiform acupuncture needles, hence “dry.” Using the term “dry needling” as a pseudonym for acupuncture has become a way for chiropractors, physical therapists and other providers who do not have acupuncture within their scope of practice, to use acupuncture as a treatment modality. Dry needling courses are sometimes as short as two days, and there is currently no national certification standard.

If the circumstances are warranted, such as in cases of longstanding musculoskeletal pain, Janet Borges practices an orthopedic style of acupuncture, for which she has received specific training. This is often accompanied with electronic stimulation (“e-stim”) to the needles for greater efficacy.

Ultimately, no matter the style of acupuncture, or who is wielding the needles, the best healing approach is to find the healthcare practitioner that resonates with your needs!

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Janet Borges’ clinical experience supports the belief that each patient responds differently to treatment and that this is a constantly evolving process. Therefore, Thunderbolt Wellness does not sell packages, as this implies that there may be a finite number of visits necessary, and this is simply not something that can be known during the initial phase of treatment. The exception to this is for facial rejuvenation treatments, which are done in a series of 6, to support the way that collagen builds (which takes up to 3 months). Note: Thunderbolt Wellness expects to resume these facial treatments in Spring of 2022, unless another COVID emergency prevents this.

Yes, IF a trained practitioner who can rule out any possible complications prescribes them.

Thunderbolt Wellness will determine if your treatment plan would benefit from including herbal therapy. In the US, Chinese herbal products are classified by the FDA as dietary supplements via the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994 and are held accountable to standards of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). East Asian medicine practitioners are trained to find the appropriate formula for the patient based on pattern differentiation, while also accounting for the person’s constitution and prescription medications. Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) is really at the heart of east Asian medicine.

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Believe it or not, this question comes up a lot! When Janet first began her private practice in 2004, she wanted to be mindful of her clinical training while also paying respect to the many spiritual teachers with whom she has studied. The logo for Thunderbolt Wellness is based on the Buddhist symbol “vajra”, a Sanskrit word translated as “diamond” and “thunderbolt”, signifying the concept of enlightenment within a lifetime.  Combining time-tested traditional Chinese medicine with our inherent capacity for growth and wisdom in this lifetime is the foundation for healing upon which Thunderbolt Wellness is based.

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