Frequently Asked Questions

What is TCM?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is one of the oldest medical practices, and dates as far back as 5,000 years ago. The ancient Chinese developed this medical system through diligent study of the body, mind, spirit, and the natural world around them. Their system is based on the idea that channels of energy, “qi”, flow in regular patterns through the body and over its surface. When there is an obstruction in the movement of these energy flows, stagnation can occur thus creating imbalance and pain. Energy can also become depleted or stagnant as a result of stress, overwork or chronic illness.

Acupuncture needles are used as conductors, and when placed in specific areas that have increased conductivity, they can tap into the various energy flows to correct imbalances and clear blockages or stagnation. Acupuncture works with the body’s innate ability to heal itself. When meridians have been unblocked, the body’s natural healing response can take place. Every individual is made up of a unique combination of constitution, health history, family, environment, diet, emotions, beliefs, thought patterns and so on, therefore every treatment is specifically tailored to you as a whole being.

Aside from Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese medicine also includes tuina massage, moxibustion, cupping, gua sha and traditional herbal formulas, Along with the traditional tools I also will talk with you about nutrition and lifestyle recommendations.

What should I expect from my first acupuncture treatment?

The first treatment is my opportunity to get to know you better; I will complete a detailed intake in order to learn more about your symptoms and how they many be interrelated. Even the smallest detail may shed light on the root cause of your condition. In addition to listening, my other diagnostic tools are observation and palpating the body, particularly the pulse. We have time for questions and explanations, especially if it is your first experience with acupuncture. When you are comfortable, I will insert the needles and then allow you to relax for about 20 to 30 minutes. Other modalities include Cupping and Gua Sha to help move stagnant Qi.

What is Cupping?

Cupping is an ancient Chinese method of causing local congestion. A partial vacuum is created in cups placed on the skin either by means of heat or suction. This draws up the underlying tissues. When the cup is left in place on the skin for a few minutes, blood stasis is formed and localized healing takes place.

Cupping has also been found to affect the body up to four inches into the tissues, causing tissues to release toxins, activate the lymphatic system, clear colon blockages, help activate and clear the veins, arteries and capillaries, activate the skin, clear stretch marks and improve varicose veins. Cupping is the best deep tissue massage available. Cupping, the technique, is very useful and very safe and can be easily learned and incorporated into your family health practices.

What is Gua Sha?

Gua Sha is a healing technique used in Asia by practitioners of Traditional Medicine, in both the clinical setting and in homes, but little known in the West. It involves palpation and cutaneous stimulation where the skin is pressured, in strokes, by a round-edged instrument; that results in the appearance of small red petechiae called ’sha’, that will fade in 2 to 3 days.

Raising Sha removes blood stagnation considered pathogenic, promoting normal circulation and metabolic processes.The patient experiences immediate relief from pain, stiffness, fever, chill, cough, nausea, and so on. Gua Sha is valuable in the prevention and treatment of acute infectious illness, upper respiratory and digestive problems, and many other acute or chronic disorders.

What can traditional Chinese medicine treat?

The World Health Organization recognizes Acupuncture as an effective treatment for many disorders, including the following:

PAIN - Acute and Chronic pain, back pain, headaches, neck pain/whiplash, toothaches, earaches, bursitis, tennis elbow, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, muscle sprains, spasms, shoulder pain, knee pain, arthritis, osteoarthritis, sciatica, or sports injuries.

STRESS - Emotional or stress-related problems, anxiety, depression, irritability, anger, poor concentration, insomnia, physical and emotional exhaustion, chronic infections, lowered immune system.

DIGESTIVE - Stomach ulcers, intestinal ulcers, inflammation of the colon/colitis, constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), nausea, vomiting, acid refux (GERD).

AUTOIMMUNE – Fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Graves disease Rheumatoid arthritis, Multiple sclerosis (MS). Systemic lupus erythematous (lupus). Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Crohns, Celiac, Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth, (SIBO).

NEUROLOGICAL - Bell’s Palsy, Migraine and other headaches, Trigeminal neuralgia and other face pains, Neuralgia, Sciatica, Phantom limb pain, Post-stroke paralysis and weakness, Concussions, Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).

GYNECOLOGICAL - Painful or irregular menses, male and female infertility, induction of labor, morning sickness, and post partum recovery. It can help relieve symptoms of menopause, fibrocystic breast disease, PCOS, fibroids, uterine cysts and polyps.

UROGENITAL - Chronic urinary tract infections or incontinence, yeast infections, inflammation of the prostate.

RESPIRATORY - Allergies, sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis, COPD, common colds, shortness of breath.

CARDIOVASCULAR - Heart palpitations, hypertension (high blood pressure), Atrial Fibrillation (A Fib).

Does Acupuncture hurt?

Because every person is made up of such a complex array of life experiences, it is no wonder that people feel and respond to needling in very different ways. The typical description includes feeling a slight pinch or pressure, which is then accompanied by warmth, tingling, or a heavy sensation at the site of the needle. Many people experience a deep sense of release and relaxation during and at the end of the treatment.

For needle-shy patients I may start off our treatments with non-insertive techniques and acupressure until we build enough trust to use needles. These are always options in the event that the fear of needles cannot be overcome.

Is Acupuncture safe?

The needles are all sterile, pre-packaged and used one time only. The needles are hair-fine, with a solid center unlike the hollow hypodermic needles used to take blood. There is usually no marking on the skin after the needles are removed.