What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a form of common traditional Chinese Medicine. It has a history in China withstanding over 2000 years and is still most prominent in Asia, but has since spread over a quarter of the world and is growing rapidly as the West uses scientific technology to prove its efficacy. Acupuncture entails the insertion of very fine needles into very specific points in order to regulate the natural functions of the body and to alleviate pain.
Acupuncture is often coupled with herbal medication and dietary therapy. This promotes healthy and complete healing of the body to its optimal state.
How does acupuncture work?
Through much research, the Chinese have found several pathways along the body which correlate to body systems and organs. “Qi” travels along this path. The Chinese found that illness actually distorts qi by either blocking, overproducing, underproducing or malproducing qi. Through acupuncture, the Chinese were able to restore the balance and flow of the qi. The insertion of needles at specific points along the qi pathway, enhance the flow of qi through the channel so organ function can be regulated By inserting needles in certain points along the channels and manipulating the qi flowing through those channels, organ function could be regulated. Proper qi flow also relaxes the muscles and reduces inflammation and pain.
Over the past decades, scientific research has been coupled with traditional chinese acupuncture. The art of acupuncture is quickly improving and rapidly spreading throughout the world. Despite the success and popularity of acupuncture though, the exact mechanism is unknown and only theories and research offer explanations for the practice.
Is acupuncture safe?
Yes. The acupuncture needle is an extremely fine, disposable (one-use), sterile, FDA approved medical device. A licensed acupuncturist has undergone years of training in its safe implementation.
Is acupuncture painful?
When administered by a skilled professional it should not hurt. The hair-thin needles are not to be compared with the thick hypodermic syringes used for shots. The insertion feels like a tug on a body hair. After the needle is inserted their may be a feeling of tingling, a sensation of something moving, a warm feeling, etc. Many find it an enjoyable experience.
How many treatments will I need?
Depending on the nature, severity and duration of the complaint,the course of treatment will vary. Most problems can be fixed quickly, while more chronic conditions may be relieved only with time and effort. The speed of progress with long-standing chronic issues is much determined by the patients willingness to live and eat well in conjunction with the treatment.
He that takes medicine and neglects diet, wastes the skill of the physician
What is Chinese herbal medicine?
Chinese herbs are an important aspect of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The history of Chinese herbal medicine dates back even before the development of acupuncture. Chinese herbs are prescribed in formulas that are specifically designed for the patients needs. The herbalist will make a diagnosis and prescribe a traditional formula that corresponds to the patient’s pattern and disease diagnosis.
If the patient is taking an herbal decoction or “tea”, then a formula can be custom designed, unique to the patient’s specific condition at that time. As the patient’s health changes so will the formula need to change to best fit the patient’s needs. Patients may also prefer to take pills, tinctures, etc.
What is the difference between decoctions, pills, tinctures, etc.?
For internal use the decoction is the strongest and fastest acting of them all. An herbal decoction is made by boiling “raw herbs” (dried Chinese herbal medicine) in a pot usually for between 20 minutes and 1 hour. Because this is not a pre-made formula it can be custom designed to more exactly treat you the individual, as no two patients are ever the same. You can cook the herbs themselves, or have the herbs pre-cooked and sealed into dose-sized vacuum-packed bags.
Although not as strong as the decoction, pills are very widely used because of the convenience they provide. Also, if you need to take herbs for an extended period of time, the pills are certainly the way to go. They are usually made by making a decoction and then drying it so that all that remains is a concentration of the active ingredients. They are also not as expensive.
Tinctures are another form of ready-made herbal formulas. The medium provides a faster absorption, but I am skeptical of the amount of active ingredients able to dissolve into the solution.
There are some very high-quality powders made in Japan according to traditional methods. The Japanese practice a form of Chinese medicine called Kampo. These Kampo powders come in traditional doses, which are smaller, and are thus more subtle in action. These are most suited, as are pills, to long term use for chronic conditions, or for treating one’s constitution. They are also convenient for quick use in the early stages of a cold.
Are all Chinese herbs plant derived?
Although it is called Chinese herbal medicine, the Chinese materia medica does contain some animal and mineral medicinals. However, the vast majority of herbal formulas do not contain medicinals derived from animals, and vegan patients can easily be accommodated by the use of herbs to substitute for the animal product.
How much does a session cost? Do you charge more for the first visit?
The initial consultation is free. Treatment costs Should your insurance cover acupuncture, there are no costs.
Do you take insurance?
We are a cash-only practice. However, if you are covered for acupuncture we can give you a “health insurance claim form” as a receipt that you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.