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Why is a consultation necessary?

We're all unique and have different needs and considerations when it comes to our health. Its never 'one size fits all'. Many people are unsure of how acupuncture can help them or if acupuncture can address the problem they are facing. Not everyone is a good candidate for acupuncture. At the consultation we review your case, answer all questions, and then give you our best recommendation. If you are a good candidate for acupuncture, we'll recommend a customized treatment plan for you - including: best therapies for your condition, treatment frequency, expected results and cost.

It's important to have a plan in order to achieve the results we are looking for. After many years in practice, we have found that a consultation leads to a more effective, more personalized healing journey that yields superior results. 

Our patients have repeatedly told us that it was the initial consultation that confirmed they were in the right place at Four Gates. 

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture helps restore the body's natural balance.  This sets the stage for the body to repair itself and maintain its own optimal health. Research shows that acupuncture triggers different physiological responses, such as:

  • Stimulating the immune system and increasing white blood cells, which defend the body against infection.
  • Regulating blood sugar metabolism, which helps the body use energy more efficiently.
  • Increasing blood circulation and producing beneficial changes in blood pressure; Decreasing cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • Increasing stomach peristaltic activity and regulating digestive fluids, thereby improving digestion.
  • Regulating and stimulating serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is directly related to sleep, appetite, and moods.
  • Increasing the availability of receptors in the brain that process and weaken pain signals.
  • Affecting both the brain’s short- and long-term ability to reduce pain sensation.
What does acupuncture feel like?

Fear of needles is not uncommon and it's normal to feel a little uneasy at first!  Most of us have only experienced hypodermic needles through blood draws and injections - which are uncomfortable experiences.  The sensation you feel from an acupuncture needle is nothing like the feeling you get with a shot.  

  • Most people report either not feeling the needles at all, or noticing them briefly as they are inserted.  Some points may have more sensation than others, a heavy sensation or a quick little pinch may be noticeable.
  • Acupuncture needles are flexible and extremely fine - about the width of a human hair or cat whisker.
  • Acupuncture needles are sterile and used only once.
How often do I need to come in for treatment?

The number of treatments needed differs from person to person. For complex or long-standing conditions, one or two treatments a week for several months may be recommended. For acute problems, usually fewer visits are required, and for health maintenance, we recommend monthly tune ups. Acupuncture treatments build upon themselves, so the frequency and consistency of treatment is vital to the improvement of your condition.

Is there anything I should know for my first acupuncture treatment?

Once you've had your consultation and understand your treatment plan, we'll schedule your first acupuncture treatment (often the same day as your consultation).

At each visit, be sure to wear loose comfortable clothing and eat something at least one hour beforehand. Your first appointment will last about 45 minutes to 1 hour. During the acupuncture treatment, the needles are retained for about 15-30 minutes. Most patients become deeply relaxed or even fall asleep for a restorative power nap.

The benefits of acupuncture start immediately.  After your first treatment you could experience an excellent night of sleep, higher energy, more focus, less stress and a reduction in pain.

How much does it cost & Do you accept insurance?

A customized treatment plan including the most effective blend of therapies for your condition will be determined at your initial consultation. Costs will vary depending on the specifics of your case.

At Four Gates Acupuncture we bill all insurances, and as a courtesy we'll verify your insurance benefits and discuss the specifics of your plan at your consultation.  If you would like to know coverage specifics prior to your consultation, you will need to call your insurance company to inquire about your benefits in advance.

Please note: Insurance companies only cover pain-related conditions and do not cover preventative or wellness care. Currently Medicare, Medicaid and Maine Community Health Options do not offer acupuncture coverage by licensed acupuncturists.  

Below is a list of insurance companies that offer acupuncture benefits on many, but not all, plans:

Anthem Blue Cross



United Healthcare


Harvard Pilgrim



How do you determine my treatment plan?

The number of visits required and the speediness of your recovery depend on a number of factors, including:

  • Whether your problem is acute or chronic
  • How long you have had the problem
  • Whether you can avoid the conditions that caused your problem
  • Your age
  • Your general state of health
  • How readily your body responds to acupuncture 
  • Whether or not you follow the instructions you are given regarding diet and lifestyle

Progress will be faster if you faithfully follow your treatment plan by keeping your appointments, taking your herbal medication every day (if applicable), and following any advice that you are given about dietary or lifestyle changes.

Anything I should do after an acupuncture treatment?

Occasionally you may feel sleepy following a treatment.  Stay hydrated and don't do any heavy exercise in the few hours following treatment.

Should I keep my visit even if I am sick?

Yes, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are most effective in the initial stages of an acute condition. Colds, flus, stomach upsets, and headaches are some of the conditions that are best caught early before they get worse. Patients report immediate improvements in symptoms after an acupuncture treatment or beginning an herbal prescription. In Chinese Medicine, the initial stage of illness is the best moment to address these issues that may become more difficult to treat later.

Do you have to be licensed to practice acupuncture?

Absolutely! People are often surprised to find out just how extensive the training is that their acupuncturist has undergone.  A Licensed Acupuncturist (LAc) has: 

Obtained a graduate-level education (Masters programs consist of 3-4 years of intensive training in acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutrition, and therapuetic manual therapy.)

Passed rigorous national certification exams

Licensed acupuncturists are required to do regular continuing education to maintain national certification and state licensure.  Licensed Acupuncturists are trained to treat a broad range of health issues, including chronic disease, pain, internal medicine, rehabilitation, and preventative care.