FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

 

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a complete system of health care that has been used in East Asian countries for thousands of years.  Acupuncture is one branch of TCM that consists of the insertion of fine, sterile needles at specific therapeutic points on the body. Acupuncture has been generalized in the West to comprise several therapies, including moxibustion and cupping.

Eastern Explanation:

According to TCM theory, there is a network of energetic pathways, known as channels or meridians, that course throughout the human body.  A substance called Qi (pronounced ‘chee’), described as vital energy or life force, circulates through these meridians to all parts of the body, regulating physiological function. When the flow, quality, and/or quantity of Qi are disrupted, there can be pain, dysfunction, and illness.

Acupuncture stimulates points located along the meridians to promote and restore the balanced flow of Qi, encouraging the body to repair itself.

Western Explanation:

Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points located near or on the surface of the skin which have the ability to alter various biochemical and physiological conditions in order to achieve the desired effect. Acupuncture points are areas of designated electrical sensitivity. Inserting needles at these points stimulates various sensory receptors that, in turn, stimulate nerves that transmit impulses to the hypothalamic-pituitary system at the base of the brain.

The hypothalamus-pituitary glands are responsible for releasing neurotransmitters and endorphins, the body’s natural pain-killing hormones. It is estimated that endorphins are 200 times more potent than morphine. Endorphins also play a big role in the functioning of the hormonal system. This is why acupuncture works well for back pain and arthritis and also for P.M.S. and infertility.

The substances released as a result of acupuncture not only relax the whole body, they regulate serotonin in the brain which plays a role in human and animal disposition. This is why depression is often treated with acupuncture.

Some of the physiological effects observed throughout the body include increased circulation, decreased inflammation, relief from pain, relief of muscle spasms and increased T-cell count which stimulates the immune system.

Unlike medical hypodermic needles, which are stiff and thick, acupuncture needles are flexible and thin. You may experience a slight pinch or no sensation at all upon insertion. Slight tingling, heaviness, or dull ache sensations may follow either around the needle, or traveling up or down the affected meridian. These reactions are good and indicate that the treatment is working.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) endorse and recognize acupuncture’s ability to treat over 40 common disorders such as:

Respiratory
– asthma, allergies, common cold & flu, emphysema, sinusitis, bronchitis

Gastrointestinal
– food allergies, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, ulcers, colitis, nausea, IBS

Circulatory
– hypertension, high cholesterol, arteriosclerosis, angina pectoris

Gynecological
– irregular menstruation, PMS, infertility, menopause, endometriosis

Urogenital
– incontinence, urinary tract infections, sexual dysfunction

Musculoskeletal
– pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, arthritis, fibromyalgia, toothache

Psychoemotional & Neurological
– anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, headache, migraine, dizziness, tinnitus, chronic fatigue, stress, post-stroke paralysis

Addictions
– alcohol, drug, smoking

Additionally, clinical experience and research suggest that acupuncture may be an option for treating many other conditions.

In short yes… but, technically speaking Chinese Medicine does not treat “conditions” – it treats “patterns”. The “patterns” of Chinese Medicine may include any number of western medical conditions as well as issues which have not surfaced completely (i.e. true prevention). The healing effects of acupuncture come in large part from the way the body and mind are viewed and treated in Chinese medicine. While there are basic treatment protocols for many conditions, every treatment is tailored to your specific set of signs and symptoms. Treating you as an individual with a unique set of signs and symptoms, rather than a person with a specific condition, is one of the main advantages of eastern medicine.

Harmful side effects are rare. Needles used are sterile and disposable (single-use). Some bruising may occur at the point of needle insertion, and occasionally there may be a drop of blood when needles are removed.

If you are pregnant, have a pacemaker, a bleeding disorder or are on any medications, let your practitioner know so appropriate points, therapies, and herbs are chosen.

  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing. Women should avoid one-piece dresses and stockings.
  • Avoid large meals just before or after treatment, but also avoid receiving treatment while hungry.
  • Avoid working out, overexertion, or alcohol for several hours after your treatment.
  • Come with any questions you have, and take note of any changes that occur between visits.

After treatment, you may feel energized or deeply relaxed. Some patients experience immediate results, while others may notice gradual results over a few days, or only after multiple sessions. Your recommended treatment plan and goals will also be discussed. This may include diet or lifestyle adjustments, as well as herbal formula prescriptions.

Since each person is unique, the number and frequency of treatments will vary and depend on the nature, severity, and duration of your condition. Individuals with acute conditions may experience relief within the first few visits. Chronic conditions generally take longer to resolve and may require treatments over a longer period of time.