Once a week I had a thirty minute session with Victor for treatments, including massage therapy, acupuncture, acupressure and electro-acupuncture. He helped me with a myriad of maladies, from sinus problems to an old knee injury, not to mention my stress induced headaches and muscle tension.
Will Medicare Pay For Acupuncture Treatments?
The short answer is no. Original Medicare does not cover acupuncture and related treatments. It’s not covered by Medicare Supplement policies, either. However, a growing number of Medicare Advantage plans do cover acupuncture treatments, including some Medicare Advantage plans by UnitedHealthcare.
What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is basically any kind of stimulation of specific acupoints along the skin of the body. It most often involves various methods such as the application of pressure, heat, or penetration of thin needles. Laser tools are also being developed for Acupuncture methods.
Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine. It’s the primary component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which treats a range of conditions. In the West, TCM is largely thought of as pseudoscience, with no scientific or clinical measurement for the majority of its treatments. Acupuncture is highly individualized. It’s based on philosophy and intuition, not controlled scientific research. As a result, it is largely dismissed by most western medical practitioners.
A 2012 meta-analysis conducted by the Acupuncture Trialists’ Collaboration found “relatively modest” efficiency of acupuncture for the treatment of four different types of chronic pain.
A 2012 study showed acupuncture offered clinically significant relief from knee osteoarthritis pain and a larger improvement in function than standard care treatment or waiting for treatment. A 2008 review showed similar positive results. The Osteoarthritis Research Society International released consensus recommendations that concluded treatments may be useful for pain relief caused by osteoarthritis of the knee.
Headaches and Migraines
A 2012 study showed that acupuncture offers benefit in the treatment of headaches, but that safety needs additional documentation to before issuing strong recommendations in support of its use. A 2009 Cochrane review concluded that acupuncture appeared to be as or possibly more effective than routine care in the treatment of migraines, with fewer adverse effects than treatment with prophylactic drugs.
A 2013 Cochrane review found only low to moderate evidence that acupuncture improves pain and stiffness when used to treat people with fibromyalgia compared with standard care practices.
What If My Doctor Recommends Acupuncture As Treatment?
If traditional remedies have been ineffective in the treatment of pain and your physician recommends acupuncture treatment, unless you have a Medicare Advantage plan that covers the treatments you will be required to pay out-of-pocket. On average, acupuncture treatments cost $40 to $80 per session.
What’s Your Experience with Acupuncture?
Have you had acupuncture treatments? What what was your experience and results? Leave your comments below.