8221 NE Hazel Dell Ave. #104, Vancouver, WA 98665
Tuesday and Friday: 9AM – 6PM
Call Dr. Diane Russell at (360) 907-6881
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Japanese bonsai tree in a pot in a zen garden.


How does acupuncture work?

According to Chinese medicine, pain and disease are caused by either an imbalance or blockage of qi which is your vital energy circulating throughout the body. During an acupuncture treatment extremely fine needle made of surgical steel are inserted at specific points on the body.

These points are carefully selected by Dr. Russell according to your Chinese medicine diagnosis. The treatment is designed to correct the imbalance and remove the blockage of qi thereby allowing the body to heal itself.

From a western medical perspective the acupuncture needles send a message through the nervous system to the brain. This stimulates the body’s signaling system to release neurotransmitters, or brain chemicals, which travel to other sites and interact with cells to stimulate a variety of biological responses. This in turn stimulates the body’s natural healing response which can have a pain relieving and generally relaxing effect.

About the Needles

A plastic tube is used for insertion which makes the process very comfortable. This procedure is usually very relaxing. The patient generally experiences a “needling response” which may feel like tingling or a distending sensation that runs through the body like water or electricity.

Sometimes there is mild discomfort that lasts momentarily upon insertion of the acupuncture needle. Frequently there is no discomfort at all. Most patients are surprised by how easy it is.

There has never been a reported case of HIV or any other disease actually contracted from the use of acupuncture needles. Dr. Russell only uses sterile, individually wrapped, one time use needles.

How Many Sessions Will I Need?

While every patient is different, most conditions require 6-12 visits. A recent injury can take less visits while a chronic condition can take longer. Many conditions show significant improvement in 2-3 treatments.

Once a week is the usual frequency of appointments, however in the case of traumatic injury or an acute condition, 2-3 times a week may be necessary for the first few weeks. Acupuncture treatments tend to build on themselves. In other words, the period of relief after a treatment will increase with subsequent visits.

Your first visit will include a consultation and 30 minute acupuncture treatment. Plan on at least an hour total. Follow up visits are about 45 minutes each.

After the initial course of treatment, you and Dr. Russel can decide how much more therapy is needed for the condition. Dr. Russel believes in working together with you to determine the best length of treatment.

Once the initial condition is resolved many patients come in for “tune ups” every 4-6 weeks to maintain health and wellness.

Insurance and Acupuncture

Many insurance plans now include acupuncture benefits. You can call the customer service phone number on your insurance card to ask about your specific benefits, or we can call for you. We can also bill your insurance for you.

Most acupuncture benefits have limitations on the number of visits per year or the total dollar amount for acupuncture. Your insurance company will let us know your benefit details.

Auto Accidents and Acupuncture

Most auto accidents involve some type of injury, even “low velocity” injuries which occur if you or the other vehicle is traveling at 10 mph or less. The most common injuries are muscle strain, bruising from your body impacting the interior of your car, and trauma to the head, neck, shoulder, knee or wrist.

By far the most common injury is whiplash that involves neck pain, shoulder pain, mid to lower back pain, and headaches. It is estimated that up to 75% of all auto accident injuries involve whiplash and its related symptoms.

Acupuncture can be very effective in relieving pain and restoring range of motion. Keep in mind that frequently the pain and stiffness from auto accident injuries does not show up for hours or even days after the accident.

You do not need a referral from your doctor to start acupuncture treatments. However, it is always a good idea to check with your primary care physician in case any x-rays or other imaging is indicated to rule out serious injuries such as fractures.

Auto accident insurance billing can be done for you.

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