FAQ Acupuncture

What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the most commonly known treatment used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is often used in conjunction with other treatments  such as herbal medicine, moxibustion, cupping, Chinese dietary therapy, and Tui Na (also known as Chinese medical massage).  

An acupuncturist uses ancient diagnostic techniques—taking a complete medical history and then examining the tongue and taking the pulse—to evaluate the patient's condition. The practitioner then inserts hair-thin needles into specific points along the surface of the skin that will balance your Qi, restoring balance to the body.

What are cupping and gua sha?
Cupping is a traditional acupuncture technique that uses glass cups to create a suction on the surface of the skin. This encourages circulation and is often used to alleviate pain and for treatment of respiratory conditions. Gua sha is also used to promote circulation and relieve pain. It is done by rubbing a smooth object, often a soup spoon or a flat plastic bar, over the surface of the skin. Both cupping and gua sha can leave discolored areas on the skin, but these generally go away within a few days. Most people find these techniques comfortable and very effective!

Does it hurt?
No. The sterile, disposable needles we use are tiny—the size of a strand of hair. Sensitivity to the needles varies: some people don't feel them at all, while others feel a momentary sensation when they're inserted. However, most people say that once the needles have been inserted, they can’t tell that they’re there. Most patients find treatment so relaxing that they fall asleep.

Is it safe?
Absolutely. The stainless steel needles we use are sterile and come individually sealed. After your treatment, we dispose of them in a medical waste container.  Problems related to acupuncture treatment are rare. One study in the British Medical Journal of over 34,000 treatments found no incidence of significant adverse effects.

How many treatments will I need?
This depends on your condition and its severity. For acute conditions, patients often feel significant relief after one treatment. More severe or chronic conditions usually require several treatments. We generally recommend one to two treatments per week until the issue resolves. Patients who have stress-related or other conditions such as insomnia, TMJ, or seasonal allergies find that regular treatments also keep such problems from re-occurring.

FAQ Herbs

How do herbs work?
Many of the isolated herbs listed in the Materia Medica (the Chinese book of herbs) have been analyzed scientifically, but it is the synergy of several herbs combined together into a formula that produces the most potent effects. Ancient texts categorize each herb according to its property, the channels it enters, organs affected, taste, temperature, toxicity, and disease or symptom. A qualified practitioner will diagnose your imbalance and then find the right combination of herbs to treat your condition.

Many Chinese herbs such as astragalus have been extensively studied from a bio-medical perspective. For example, studies show that astragalus can speed recovery and extend life expectancy for patients whose immune systems have been compromised by chemotherapy or radiation. Recent research in China shows that astragalus may offer antioxidant benefits to people with severe forms of heart disease, relieving symptoms and improving heart function.

Why can't I just buy them at the pharmacy?
Though it’s now easy to find many Chinese herbs at health food stores and online, these products may be of varying qualities and may contain low concentrations of the pure herb. Worse, they may be tainted with heavy metals or dangerous fillers. For this reason, and because everyone's TCM symptoms are unique and require a precise combinations of several herbs, it is of the utmost importance that you consult a certified specialist and purchase your herbs from a reliable source.

How do I know the herbs you prescribe are safe?
Herbs and Healing only uses sources that maintain the highest standards for quality and purity. All herbs are tested to ensure they are free of pesticides, fungus, and heavy metals and are all GMP (Good Manufacturing Processes) certified. Herbs come in a variety of formats such as pill, tincture, and granules (that can be dissolved in water). Herbs are recommended on a case- by-case basis so that you can be sure you are getting the right form and combination.

Some people have allergies to certain herbs, which is why it's vital to see a qualified herbalist. People with allergies to plants in the ragweed family, for instance, may react to chamomile or chrysanthemum, both of which are members of the ragweed family. A qualified herbalist would know this.

What do herbs taste like?
Herbs have a variety of tastes ranging from sweet to bitter. Some are rather bland tasting. Patients often develop a strong craving for their particular formula, because their bodies feel better when they take it. Others prefer to take herbs in pill form, so they won't taste a thing.

What if I'm taking prescription medications? Will the herbs interfere with them?
Patients can generally take herbs and western medications concurrently without ill effect. Some situations, however, do require caution and that's why it's vital to have a certified herbalist who will work with you and your doctor to ensure that there are no contraindications. It's important to tell both your doctor and your herbalist about the medications, supplements, and herbs you are taking.

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