Frequently Asked Questions
+ What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a healing modality that dates back over 2,000 years. It is based upon the idea that we have a system of pathways of energy that moves through the body. These energy pathways are connected to our physical body. When this flow of energy is running smoothly, we have health and wellness.
At times, we develop blockages and imbalances in this energy system from any number of physical or emotional factors. When these blockages or imbalances occur, we present with symptoms.
Once the acupuncturist determines where these blockages are, hair-thin sterile disposable needles are inserted at various points along the meridian system or specific muscles to help remove the blockages and reestablish the free flow of energy. The needles are then typically left in the body for 20-45 minutes.
Acupuncture also has a unique approach to healing in that treatments are tailored to the individual and their level of imbalance. The focus is not on treating disease but rather how symptoms manifest in a particular person so that healing can occur at all levels of the body, mind, and spirit.
+ Does Acupuncture Hurt?
This is one of our most frequently asked questions! You may feel a slight prick when the needle is inserted, but it is much less than the prick you feel during an injection since the needles are much thinner.
You may feel a heaviness, numbness, tingling, or mild soreness after the needles have been inserted due to increased local circulation.
+ Is Acupuncture Safe?
Yes. When acupuncture is performed by a qualified practitioner with disposable needles under sterile conditions, it is highly unusual to have any complications.
+ What are the Advantages of Acupuncture?
We are not sure how acupuncture works scientifically. However, we do know that it does have many therapeutic benefits, including pain relief and alleviation from nausea caused by chemotherapy. One of the benefits to acupuncture is that it is a drug-free way to minimize pain.
With drugs, people often develop a tolerance or the need for an increased dosage to achieve the same required effect. However, this does not happen with acupuncture.
Also, acupuncture allows the doctor to immediately examine a person’s response to the treatment and make adjustments if necessary. Symptoms often cease when acupuncture becomes an integral part of one's lifestyle, coupled with a healthy diet and exercise regimen.
Acupuncture remains controversial among Western medical doctors and scientists. However, it is becoming more and more commonplace with time.
+ What are Chinese Herbs?
Chinese herbs have served as the foundation for "Traditional Chinese Medicine," or TCM, for over 5,000 years. The fundamental idea of living in harmony with nature forms the basis for the use of Chinese herbs as well as the traditional Chinese approach to health. Knowledge of the healing power of Chinese herbs and herbal remedies has been passed down from generation to generation, and today represents one of China’s greatest gifts to mankind.
The isolation of China throughout history plays a role in the general lack of understanding about Chinese herbs by other world civilizations. However, since the opening of China in 1972, knowledge of the ancient healing powers of Chinese herbs has been gradually spreading to western countries. Chinese herbs are now experiencing a rapid increase in usage and popularity. Health-conscious consumers are concerned about the concentration of synthetic chemicals in western diets, medicines, and the general environment. Chinese herbs are being welcomed by progressive western consumers who are seeking natural, healthy, and balanced alternative remedies.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is very different from the western scientific approach we are accustomed to. Chinese medical experts promote a healthy balance of Yin and Yang – two forces present in all of nature. When Yin or Yang forces or Gi energy levels are off-balance in the body and spirit, health problems arise. Chinese herbs and herbal remedies are used to help realign an individual’s Yin or Yang balance to improve overall well-being. Chinese herbal formulas include hundreds of favorite organic ingredients that work in harmony to produce the desired effects in a person’s body. These ingredients are primarily of plant origin and may include roots, bark, seeds, flowers, and leaves. Each organic component typically has unique characteristics (i.e., Yin/Yang balancing, Gi energy boosting, etc.) that are reinforced and harmonized in general ancient Chinese herbal formulas that have been passed down through the years. For each method sold at Chinese Herbs Direct, we provide a brief description of the formula itself and its standard actions, as well as a listing of the formula’s herbal ingredients and their unique characteristics.
The study of Chinese herbs centers on the proposition that many organic substances have curative powers. Indeed, this is a fundamental tenet of not just Chinese medicine, but Western medicine as well. Popular Western remedies ranging from common aspirin to modern chemotherapy treatments have their roots in organic substances. Western medicine is finally beginning to acknowledge its debt to Chinese herbal medicine, noting that the effectiveness of many modern pharmaceuticals has initially been demonstrated in Chinese herbal practice centuries ago. Nonetheless, Chinese herbs should be viewed only as a supplement to western medicine, and not as a replacement. Chinese medicine emphasizes harmony and duality, and this is well-represented by the increasing cooperation between practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine and their counterparts in the western medical establishment.
+ What should I expect during an acupuncture treatment?
During your first visit with us, we have a consultation with you and go over your current health concerns as well as your pertinent health history. This gives you the opportunity to express any concerns or questions you may have. There is a thorough traditional diagnosis, which consists of looking at the tongue, taking your pulse, and asking specific questions to get to the root of your current imbalance.
After this, we proceed to the treatment area where you are needed by the acupuncturist. A typical treatment can last from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on the condition being treated.
It is important however to remember that acupuncture is a process and one which usually takes multiple treatments to help most conditions. This could be anywhere from 1-12 treatments depending on your constitution and the conditions being treated, at an interval of 1-3 visits per week in most cases. In general, acute conditions are quicker to heal than long-standing chronic conditions.
A treatment plan is recommended to you during the initial intake. On subsequent visits, we do a quick check-in to see how you've been feeling since the previous treatment, and if anything new has come up which needs to be addressed. We always check your tongue and pulse for changes. This gives us valuable information as to how you are responding to treatments.
+ How should I prepare?
It is good to have something to eat about an hour before your treatment.
Wear comfortable clothes that allow access to areas below the elbows and knees.
We ask that you refrain from wearing any perfumes or scented oils within the clinic. Many patients, including pregnant women and those undergoing radiation and chemotherapy, are susceptible to fragrances.
Silence is golden! Keep in mind that there will be others in the rooms nearby receiving treatments. Please turn your cell phones off when entering the clinic and be respectful of those around you who have come to relax and renew as you have.
f possible, set aside time after your treatment to rest. We do not recommend heading straight to the gym after acupuncture.