Frequently Asked Questions

What is acupuncture?

What if I am nervous about acupuncture?

What can I expect as a new patient?

Do I need a referral to see an acupuncturist?

Is Meridian Family Acupuncture the right fit for me?

Is acupuncture safe during pregnancy?

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Teach me About Acupuncture

 How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture works with the flow of bioelectricity, commonly referred to as energy or qi, which moves throughout the body in an organized fashion. Energy runs through specific pathways and affects how the body functions. When there is too much or too little energy in particular areas of the body, problems occur. Manipulation of acupuncture points helps balance the flow of energy so that your body runs at full capacity.

What conditions does acupuncture treat?

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) has come up with a comprehensive list of conditions that acupuncture treats. The list is huge! Below is a list of conditions acupuncture treats.

  • General: Allergies, Asthma, Sinusitis, Headaches, TMJ, Back Pain, Sciatica, Musculoskeletal Problems, Insomnia, Anxiety, Dizziness, Depression, High Blood Pressure, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Addictions, Indigestion, Constipation, Sexual Dysfunction, Post-Operative Recovery, Palliative Care.
  • Women’s Health: Menstrual Irregularities, Menopause, Conception Difficulties, Pregnancy, Childbirth, Lactation Difficulties, Postpartum, Ovarian and Uterine Problems.
  • Men’s Health: Prostate, Infertility, Impotence.
  • Pediatrics: Asthma, Cough, Digestive Problems, Behavioral Problems, Ear Infections, Sleep Problems.
  • Preventative Health: Prevention, Stress Management, Wellness, Seasonal Tune-ups

Do you need to have a license to perform acupuncture?

Yes, you need a special license or certification in order to perform acupuncture.

What are the licensing requirements and education for acupuncture practitioners?

Dr. Kimberly Thompson, DACM, L.Ac is a US licensed acupuncturist in the state of Idaho and certified in the treatment of acupuncture, Oriental medicine and Chinese herbology by the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).

Is there a difference between a Licensed Acupuncturist and a Certified Acupuncturist?

Yes, there is a difference.

In Idaho, there are two levels of acupuncture practitioners.

Certified Acupuncturists (C.Ac.) are often chiropractors or doctors who have added 100-200 hours of training in acupuncture to their chiropractic or medical school education.

Licensed Acupuncturists (L.Ac.) have spent as much time in college as a chiropractor or doctor, but their degree and training is specific to acupuncture—thus the 4000 hours of acupuncture training.

We are Licensed Acupuncturists!

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What if I am nervous about Acupuncture?


Do you have non-needle acupuncture options?

We have multiple options for those who are fearful of needles. We utilize modern techniques for acupuncture point stimulation such as laser, frequency specific microcurrent, vibrational therapy, cupping and acupressure.

To read more about these non-needle modalities, click here.

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What can I expect as a new patient?

Does acupuncture hurt?

First time patients are commonly surprised and say things like, “Wow, I am amazed that acupuncture didn’t hurt!” Some patients feel a small prick sensation while the needles are inserted about 1/4 to 1/2 inch under the surface of the skin.

What does acupuncture feel like?

The feeling of needle insertion varies from person to person. Often, patients describe the feeling as a small prick or tingling sensation that quickly resolves. Sometimes, patients feel a warm sensation or a slight heaviness. Mostly, patients feel a sense of deep relaxation while the needles are in.

How big are needles?

Acupuncture needles are very tiny. It’s easiest to give you a comparison. When you donate blood, the needles have a hole in the center and are 1.65 mm. Acupuncture needles, on the other hand, don’t have a hole and are typically .16 mm. That’s equivalent to the width of a mustache hair!

Are your needles sterilized?

Absolutely! Acupuncture needles come in sterile packets from the manufacturer. They are never re-used, re-sterilized or re-packaged. Once they are used, they go immediately into a sharps container—never to be used again.

Do you treat on the first visit?

We schedule 90 minutes for your first visit. This is typically long enough to do a full health history and evaluation with time left over for treatment. Occasionally, extreme health histories take longer than expected. This may lead us to postpone the initial treatment until the second visit.

How many treatments will I need?

This depends on how long you’ve had your condition. For chronic conditions, we typically treat a series of six weekly visits and reevaluate from there. Over a six-week period, patients report a significant decrease in symptoms. As an added bonus, they also tend to report increased energy, better moods and more regulated sleep patterns. The sooner you come in when you experience pain or discomfort, the easier we can help resolve the problem.

How long does a treatment take?

New patient visits take 90 minutes. Subsequent visits typically take 45 to 60 minutes.

What do I need to do before my treatment?

When you book your initial visit you will receive an email to set yp your account and and fill out your paperwork prior to your visit.

Wear loose, comfortable clothing and eat a little something before you come. You will do best if your stomach is not extremely full or empty.

What do I need to do after my treatment?

You will feel relaxed after treatment, but this shouldn’t stop you from going about your day. Don’t run off to the gym right after your acupuncture treatment, though. Give yourself a couple of hours before you jump into anything strenuous.

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Do I need a referral to see an Acupuncturist?

I am seeing another doctor (MD, chiropractor, physical therapist, Naturopath, etc.). Can I still get acupuncture?

Absolutely! Meridian Family Acupuncture believes in complimentary medicine, not “alternative” medicine. In fact, other medical professionals tell us that their patients do better in treatment when they receive acupuncture.

Do you work closely with other medical doctors?

Yes, we do. We receive referrals from medical professionals all over town. Please let us know if your doctor does not have any of our business cards. We would be happy to contact them personally to make a professional connection. (Click here to send us an email with the name, address and phone number of your doctor.)

Do you take insurance?

We are not a provider for any specific insurance company. If you need one, we will give you a special receipt with treatment and diagnostic codes, which you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.

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Is Acupuncture safe during pregnancy?

 Do you have experience treating pregnant women?

Yes, YES, YES! Acupuncture is amazing for all aspects of pregnancy. Whether you’re preparing to become pregnant, in the early stages of morning sickness or at the end stages of pregnancy, we have amazing treatment options.

Click here to read more about the treatments we offer for pregnant women.

Will acupuncture help me prepare to become pregnant?

Many women spend a few months preparing their body for a healthy pregnancy. Acupuncture helps regulate periods, prepare the womb for conception and alleviate stress.

I am seeing a doctor for infertility. Can acupuncture help as well?

Studies show that women who receive acupuncture in conjunction with fertility treatments have significantly better results than those who do not include acupuncture.

Can acupuncture help with a threatened miscarriage?

Yes, acupuncture can help with a threatened miscarriage with vaginal bleeding in a viable pregnancy,

I heard acupuncture helps with Breech Baby Presentation. How many visits does that typically take?

Acupuncture is a great option for creating an environment where breech babies can turn into the desired position for birth. In our clinic, we use modern diagnostic techniques such as graph analysis to find the underlying blockage preventing the baby from turning. We also employ traditional techniques involving moxa and acupuncture. Treatment typically takes 3 sessions.

“Breech Babies—A Scientific Approach” by Kimberly Thompson, L.Ac.

Can acupuncture help me to have an easier time during labor and delivery? If so, how many treatments do you recommend?

Acupuncture can have great benefits for women during labor and delivery. Women who have acupuncture during their last trimester of pregnancy report having shorter delivery times, less reliance on pain medications and less need for drug-induced induction. We recommend a series of 4-6 visits.

Do you do any coaching regarding acupressure points that are helpful during labor and delivery?

We do offer coaching for mom and her labor partner on the most effective pressure points during the labor and delivery process. We teach points that soften the uterus, open the hips, resolve stress and help the baby move smoothly into the birth canal.

I heard acupuncture can help induce labor. Is this true?

Sort of… We do not actually “induce labor.” We don’t use Pitocin or any other drugs. Instead, certain acupuncture points help create the optimal environment for going into labor. Along with finding energetic imbalances that may slow down the birthing process, we also choose specific points that help make contractions stronger. Many patients feel contractions while they’re on the table and report stronger contractions during the pre-birthing period.

We offer treatment to help move things along once mom has reached her 38-week mark. Most moms receive 3-4 visits during this labor preparation period.

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Is Meridian Family Acupuncture the right fit for me?

Do you treat chronic pain conditions?

We specialize in chronic pain conditions. Patients who experience chronic pain have a tendency toward emotional, digestive and hormone imbalances as well. Acupuncture addresses all of those issues at once.

Do you treat autoimmune diseases?

When the acupuncture meridians are in balance, all systems of the body work at their best capacity. Acupuncture in conjunction with treatment from your autoimmune specialist is the perfect combination.

Can kids be treated with acupuncture?

Kids respond wonderfully to non-needle acupuncture treatment. It does not take much to stimulate acupuncture meridians in their young bodies.

We treat a lot of teens in our clinic for stress, tension, anxiety, and sports injuries. 

Do you have experience with cancer and/or hospice support?

My most rewarding experiences in college include internships in oncology and hospice.

Acupuncture is great for patients suffering from cancer-related symptoms. Whether your loved one is suffering from pain, low white blood count, emotions, digestive issues or exhaustion, acupuncture can help! (Not just the patient, but family members too…)

Some of the most rewarding experiences I had during college were while treating oncology and hospice. Expanding this knowledge into my clinic has been a huge blessing. Cancer sucks. Acupuncture doesn't.

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