More and more companies are choosing to offer acupuncture benefits. Acupuncture helps support the body in a gentle, natural way to promote recovery and maintain health. In fact, a local Minnesota company just told us that next year they are offering their employees twenty insurance-covered acupuncture appointments per year - which we think is particularly amazing because acupuncture, like herbs, works best with consistency.
If you’re not one of the lucky few to have acupuncture covered by insurance, did you know that your HSA or FSA can be used to pay for acupuncture?
What's the Difference Between an FSA and an HSA?
HSAs and FSAs are both savings accounts that allow you to contribute to annually, pre-tax, for healthcare costs. HSAs are available only with high-deductible insurance plans ($1,400 individual or $2,800 family) - if you have a high-deductible plan but aren’t sure if an HSA is available to you, you should check with your insurance provider. Each year, you can put a maximum of $3,550 into your account, and it rolls over from year to year.
An FSA is an employer-sponsored benefit, but essentially works the same way as an HSA in that it’s funded by your paycheck, pre-tax, to be used for healthcare expenses. The main difference? It expires every year on December 31st, and the money goes away forever. If you have funds in an FSA, this would be a good time to check and see how many dollars you have available. Some employers allow a grace period or a small number of those dollars to roll over year to year, so it’s worth checking on your individual benefits.
Why Should You Try Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a major component of Traditional Chinese Medicine, a medicine system that has been used for over 2,000 years and continues to be practiced today. Perhaps the most popular element, acupuncture is the practice of inserting fine needles into specific points in the body. This stimulates the body’s ability to heal itself. Treating the body, mind, and spirit as a whole, Traditional Chinese Medicine includes acupuncture, herbs, lifestyle, nutrition, and mindful exercise. It’s growing in popularity in the west, and now complements western medicine in even the most prestigious hospitals like the Mayo Clinic.
People seek acupuncture for a wide variety of reasons. Some of the most popular include pain relief, women’s health issues, mental health issues, and digestive issues. We frequently see people turn to acupuncture when nothing else has worked. Western medicine is often unable to see the forest through the trees: a woman has unexplained infertility because all of the baby-making parts seem to be working fine, but after a short course of acupuncture treatments along with herbs, she gets pregnant. This could be because acupuncture helps bring the rhythms and flows of the body gently into balance. It also promotes blood flow to the uterus, and reduces inflammation: two gentle nuances that can be incredibly powerful.
In addition to helping the body heal itself and promoting recovery for a wide range of issues, acupuncture treatments are relaxing. It’s the ultimate act of self care. Most people nap during their acupuncture treatments, and there’s a reason why. Acupuncturist Jen Ward of Being Elemental says: “By promoting homeostasis, acupuncture influences the nervous system, endocrine system, immune system and cardiovascular system. Stimulating the central nervous system releases chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain, effectively helping the body to fully relax.”
“By promoting homeostasis, acupuncture influences the nervous system, endocrine system, immune system and cardiovascular system. Stimulating the central nervous system releases chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain, effectively helping the body to fully relax.”
So, what do you have to lose? Even the acupuncture cynics agree that acupuncture might not help, but it also doesn’t hurt. And who knows? It just may change your life. We are such big fans of acupuncture at DAO Labs, we’ll even sweeten the deal. Visit an acupuncturist during the month of December - send us a note with the name, time and location - and we’ll send you three nights of sleep formula of your choice to try (we offer two different sleep formulas, and people love them).
And let's be honest, we all need a little extra support to stay healthy these days.