(Frequently Asked Questions)
- Is Chinese Medicine right for me?
- What is an acupuncture treatment like?
- Herbal treatment
- How often should I come in? How soon will I see results?
- How does acupuncture work?
- Do you offer other treatments besides acupuncture and herbs?
Is Chinese Medicine right for me?
Chinese Medicine (CM) can treat a wide range of conditions successfully. A few examples: infertility, bronchitis, musculoskeletal pain, menopausal symptoms, gastrointestinal conditions, depression, post-operative nausea, fibromyalgia. Depending on the length and depth of your condition, how strong your healing potential is and other factors, CM may help you a little or a lot.
While some conditions are easier to treat than others (knee pain is easier to treat than ringing in the ear), I cannot accurately predict in advance how you will respond. Often clients are amazed at their rapid improvements and they'll use the word "magic" to describe acupuncture. When healing is slower, we monitor your progress and expectations frequently. I'm committed to your reaching your health goals as quickly as possible.
If you are repelled by the idea of needles, you're not alone. CM also offers treatment modalities without needles. I honor your preferences in tailoring a treatment plan for you.
What is an acupuncture treatment like?
On the first visit we'll discuss your health history, focusing on your present health concerns. CM considers everything from the sound of your voice to the color of your feet so you may be amused by some of our questions! I will look at your tongue and feel the pulses at your wrists in order to determine the proper diagnosis and treatment.
Acupuncture treatments are relaxing and rejuvenating. The needles are like small pins, only slightly thicker than a hair. All needles are sterile and disposed of after one use. When the needles are inserted, you feel a slight prick or nothing at all. You may then experience sensations that indicate your Qi is moving or coming into balance. I work with clients to engage their Qi at the appropriate level for their sensitivity and condition. You'll then rest with the needles in place for 10 to 30 minutes. Many people feel profoundly rested and clear afterwards, much like the effects of meditation. Tui na (manually working on acupuncture points) may be applied instead of needles for those who need this gentler method.
Herbs are a stronger treatment than acupuncture since they are substances with specific biochemical activity. When clients improve steadily with acupuncture, and enjoy their sessions, I often don't prescribe herbs. For some conditions, however, I know herbs are specifically indicated. In that case, I recommend herbs either combined with other modalities or for use alone. Your preferences are always a consideration in my selection of treatment modalities.
For optimum benefit, the Chinese practice polypharmacy—the combining of a number of herbs into a formula. There are several hundred standard herb formulas available as pills, extract powders or tinctures.
I research the safety and purity of herbs so you can be assured you're getting the best medicines available.
How often should I come in? How soon will I see results?
Most clients feel some benefit after just one treatment. In a chronic condition, you may need 5–10 treatments to see a substantial improvement. For an acute or severe condition, I typically see patients twice a week.For chronic issues, once every week or every two weeks is sufficient to establish steady improvement. When you're feeling well, coming in for tune-ups—once per month or once per season—is good preventive medicine.
With herbal treatment, if you're taking a formula for an acute condition, it is formulated to act quickly. For chronic conditions, for instance, uterine fibroids, you may need to take herbs for several months to see a substantial improvement.
How does acupuncture work?
From a CM perspective, our bodies' processes and substances are conducted along a complex network of pathways called "vessels" or "channels." If you think of vessels as highways, it's easy to see how prone they are to congestion. Disturbances of flow lead to symptoms such as pain or swelling, or even depression or hot flashes. When imbalances are not corrected early, they may develop into biomedical diseases. Points along the vessels can be stimulated through acupuncture, thereby regulating flow and improving function. CM provides guidelines for the selection of points according to each individual's symptoms. The length of treatment and other parameters are adjusted on an individual basis, as well.
Modern scientific research shows that acupuncture has multiple effects throughout the body:
- promotes homeostasis in the autonomic nervous system
- regulates the release of neurochemicals and hormones that mediate pain sensation and perception
- normalizes the activity of organs, for instance: either speeding up or slowing stomach motility, depending on what's needed
- transmits ionic charges and electromagnetic effects
Research is underway to further elucidate how acupuncture works.
Do you offer other treatments besides acupuncture and herbs?
I may recommend and administer other CM treatments, such as:
- Cupping—the application of glass or plastic cups to the body. A vacuum is created inside the cup which serves to move stagnated Qi and Blood
- Moxibustion—the burning of Chinese herbs close to the skin to warm the vessels and strengthen Qi
- Dietary therapy and lifestyle counseling—individualized guidance
- Qigong and Taiqi—forms of mind/body exercise and cultivation
- Tui na—bodywork or massage
- Electroacupuncture—a modern form of acupuncture involving the application of mild electrical current to acupuncture needles
Sometimes a "Western" method or treatment is indicated. For instance, if you have a musculoskeletal condition, I may perform orthopedic testing.
Both Eastern and Western practitioners recognize the importance of good food, appropriate exercise, and a balance of rest, recreation, intimacy and solitude. These basics are like the proverbial "apple a day"—they'll keep you out of the doctor's office. If you request guidance in these areas, I tailor my suggestions to what you enjoy and will fit your lifestyle. You will leave my office empowered to take better care of yourself.
I also offer photonic stimulation, a cutting-edge healing therapy. This application of a safe and painless beam of infrared light to the surface of the body is effective in diminishing pain, increasing blood flow and healing soft tissues, including nerves.