FAQ

Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine
What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture involves the insertion of extremely thin needles through your skin at strategic points on your body. A key component of Traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is most commonly used to treat pain.

Traditional Chinese medicine explains acupuncture as a technique for balancing the flow of energy or life force — known as qi or chi (CHEE) — believed to flow through pathways (meridians) in your body. By inserting needles into specific points along these meridians, acupuncture practitioners believe that your energy flow will re-balance.

In contrast, many Western practitioners view the acupuncture points as places to stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue. This stimulation appears to boost the activity of your body’s natural painkillers and increase blood flow.

What you can expect?

Each person who performs acupuncture has a unique style, often blending aspects of Eastern and Western approaches to medicine. To determine the type of acupuncture treatment that will help you the most, your practitioner may ask you many questions about your symptoms, behaviors and lifestyle. He or she may also closely examine:

  • The parts of your body that are painful
  • The shape, coating and color of your tongue
  • The color of your face
  • The strength, rhythm and quality of the pulse in your wrist

This initial evaluation may take up to 20 minutes. Subsequent appointments usually take about 40 minutes. A common treatment plan for a single complaint would typically involve 6 to 12 treatments, scheduled over a few months.

What to expect during acupuncture?

Acupuncture points are located in all areas of the body. Sometimes the appropriate points are far removed from the area of your pain. Your acupuncture practitioner will tell you the general location of the planned treatment and if articles of clothing need to be removed. If appropriate, a sarong or towel will be provided to preserve your modesty. After you lie down on a padded table, the treatment begins.

  • Needle insertion. Acupuncture needles are very thin, so insertion usually causes very little discomfort. Between five and 20 needles are used in a typical treatment. You may feel a deep, aching sensation when a needle reaches the correct depth.
  • Needle manipulation. Your practitioner may gently move or twirl the needles after they’ve been placed. Another option is to apply heat or mild electrical pulses to the needles.
  • Needle removal. In most cases, the needles will remain in place for 30 minutes while you lie still and relax. There is usually no sensation of discomfort when the needles are removed. Your acupuncture practitioner should discard the needles after removal — reusable needles can spread infection.
What to expect after acupuncture?

Some people feel relaxed while others feel energized after an acupuncture treatment. But not everyone responds to acupuncture. If your symptoms don’t begin to improve within a few weeks, acupuncture may not be the right treatment for you.

The benefits of acupuncture are sometimes difficult to measure, but many people find it helpful as a means to control a variety of painful conditions.

Several studies, however, indicate that some types of simulated acupuncture appear to work just as well as real acupuncture. There also is evidence that acupuncture works best in people who expect it to work.
Since acupuncture has few side effects, it may be worth a try if you’re having trouble controlling pain with more-conventional methods.

Are there any risks during acupuncture?

The risks of acupuncture are low if you have a competent, certified acupuncture practitioner. Possible side effects and complications include:

  • Soreness. After acupuncture, you might have soreness, minor bleeding or bruising at the needle sites
  • Organ injury. If the needles are pushed in too deeply, they could puncture an internal organ — particularly the lungs. This is an extremely rare complication in the hands of an experienced practitioner.
  • Infections. Licensed acupuncturists are required to use sterile, disposable needles. A reused needle could expose you to diseases such as hepatitis.

Not everyone is a good candidate for acupuncture or for particular types of acupuncture. Conditions that may increase your risks of complications include:

  • Bleeding disorders. Your chances of bleeding or bruising from the needles increase if you have a bleeding disorder or if you’re taking blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin).
  • Having a pacemaker. Some types of acupuncture involve applying mild electrical pulses to the needles, which can interfere with a pacemaker’s operation.
  • Being pregnant. Some types of acupuncture are thought to stimulate labor, which could result in a premature delivery.
What is the role of Chinese herbs vs. Acupuncture?

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine are both branches of Oriental Medicine. Each has different strengths, and the two works very well together. Acupuncture is well known for its ability to treat musculoskeletal injuries, eliminate pain, speed healing and increase functionality of acute or chronically injured tissue and injuries. Acupuncture is also well known for stress relief and relaxation. It is less well known that Chinese herbal medicine can also help with these complaints, and that herbal medicine is especially well suited for the treatment of internal medical conditions, ranging from colds and coughs to gynecological complaints to digestive disorders. Recently the Western world has started to obtain a public awareness of this 4000+ year old tradition. However, even with the growing popularity of Chinese herbal medicine, it is important that Chinese herbs be prescribed by a trained and licensed Chinese medicine practitioner.

What about Children?

Some common childhood conditions are:
Digestive disorders, Asthma, Bedwetting, Seizures, Constipation, Diarrhea, Eczema, Insomnia, Hyperactivity, Emotional distress, Teething, Sinusitis

In many cases, children’s conditions can be most effectively treated with a combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Dietary modifications may also be recommended. Most of the time getting your child to take herbs is not problematic because of the small doses that are needed to be efficacious. Most conditions that Chinese herbal medicine treats in adults can also be effectively treated in children.

How does Acupuncture help infertility?

Acupuncture stimulates the flow of intrinsic energy in the body, enhances the blood circulation to the pelvic region and benefits vital organ function. Chinese herbal formulas tonify (restore) kidney energy (renal and adrenal function) and nourish the deeper vital essence to help the body produce a healthy ovum. In addition, proper exercise, correct diet and a healthy life style all promote the flow of specific meridians and remove existing inner psychological frustration restoring your reproductive health, which helps you not only to conceive, but also to deliver a healthy, full term baby.

It is estimated that men are responsible for up to 50% of infertility among couples. Despite scientific medical advances, the cause of 40% to 50% of males with infertility is unknown with little to no available medical treatment, leaving IVF as the only option. In our practice the majority of women pursue IVF because of male factor infertility. If the semen analysis shows decreased sperm count, motility, poor liquefaction, or low levels of normal morphology, acupuncture & herbal medicine can address these issues successfully. Recent studies have shown acupuncture can improve semen abnormalities in concentration, motility and/or morphology. If the men had sought appropriate treatment at the onset of the diagnosis, it is most likely they would not have needed IVF and would have been able to conceive naturally. If the only reason a couple can’t conceive is due to male factor infertility, then acupuncture and herbal medicine should be considered as a primary approach.

If your partner/husband is unwilling to seek acupuncture treatment, we highly recommend that he come in for an herbal and nutritional consultation. Although not as effective as treatment in combination with acupuncture, taking herbs and supplements can still improve abnormal sperm parameters

What are herbal extracts?

Herbal extracts are the “essence” of bulk herbs. Through a long and sophisticated process, the active components in bulk herbs are removed and condensed into herbal extracts. As finished products, herbal extracts are at a 5:1 concentration ratio, which means 5 pounds of raw herbs yields 1 pound of concentrate.

The manufacturing process of our herbal extracts follows the standard Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), which ensures safety and potency of the herbs. It starts with the selection of the finest raw herbs, followed by the most stringent manufacturing procedures, and finishes with numerous quality assurance tests.

Are there any side-effects?

All herbal extracts from our clinic are 100% natural. They do not contain any harsh chemicals or preservatives and are very gentle to your system. Nonetheless, sensitive patients may experience reactions such as minor stomach discomfort. If such reactions occur, reduce the dosage, take with food, or modify the herbal formula.