What is Chinese Medicine?

Chinese Medicine (also known as traditional Chinese or Oriental medicine) is a comprehensive medical system that has been treating disease and illness naturally and effectively for over 3000 years. It addresses not only your physical symptoms, but also seeks to find the root cause of illness by exploring the relationship of environment, diet, exercise and emotions to your physical health and well-being. Treatment can include acupuncture, herbs, bodywork, nutrition and exercise based on traditional eastern principles of balance and synergy in the body. These therapies work to enhance the flow of vital energy inherent within all living things, encouraging the body to heal itself and function optimally. 

The larger goal of Chinese Medicine is to prevent illness and improve the quality of your life long-term.

How does acupuncture work?

The general theory of acupuncture, at a very basic level, is that every living being possesses a universal life energy called Qi (pronounced “chee”). This energy circulates throughout the body along pathways, or channels called meridians. Meridians connect to specific internal organs in the body and provide balance, regulation, and coordination of body processes. Pain and illness result when the flow of Qi through the body is disrupted or blocked, and this can be caused by many things, including pathogens, trauma, injuries, medication, as well as lifestyle factors such as overwork, poor diet, emotions, lack of rest and stress.

Meridians come to the surface of the skin at specific points on the body called acu-points. Scientific research has discovered that these points display a variety of unique bioelectric properties and stimulation with needles, heat or finger pressure can help to adjust the body’s energy flow, triggering the immune system and pain regulating mechanisms. In other words, acupuncture assists the body in healing itself.

In Western medical theory, acupuncture appears to work by stimulating parts of the brain and body to release natural biomolecules such as neurotransmitters, vasodilators, and hormones. The exact mechanisms that bring this about are not completely understood, but the effects are measurable and documented.

 

Acupuncture:

  • Strengthens immunity against disease

  • Regulates hormones

  • Improves circulation

  • Resolves pain

  • Speeds healing following injury or surgical procedures

  • Promotes relaxation

  • Treats emotional issues

  • Encourages a feeling of well-being

Does acupuncture hurt?

Everyone experiences acupuncture differently, but most find it to be extremely calming and revitalizing. Acupuncture is nothing like receiving a shot or injection. The needles I use are less than the diameter of a human hair, resulting in very little discomfort when inserted. Many patients become very relaxed and fall into a restorative sleep during their treatment.

If you prefer, I may be able to use alternatives to needles, such as acupressure, laser stimulation, cranial sacral, magnet therapy or herbs to help your condition.

Is acupuncture safe?

Yes, when performed by a competently trained, licensed professional, acupuncture is extremely safe.  All acupuncturists in California are required to use individually packaged, sterile, single-use disposable needles so there is virtually no chance of infection or contagion. Every licensed acupuncturist also receives extensive training in anatomy so they avoid inserting a needle in a place that can cause damage.

Do you have to believe in acupuncture for it to work?

No. Chinese Medicine is a medical theory, not a belief system. Acupuncture and herbs work whether you believe in them or not. Animals respond remarkably well to acupuncture without understanding or believing any of it! Of course, having a positive attitude that you will indeed feel better is important to healing in general. When all other treatment methods have failed, this indicates a systematic imbalance - exactly what acupuncture and herbs excel at treating

What kind of medical training do acupuncturists receive?

In California, Acupuncture is a four year Master of Science program with training in both Western medical sciences (anatomy, chemistry, physiology, biology, pharmacology, etc.) and Chinese Medicine including acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutrition, Tai Chi, and a variety of other subjects. Most programs require 2500-3000 hours of training at specialized colleges of Oriental Medicine, which are accredited by the State of California and the national certification organization (NCCAOM). To receive their license, California acupuncturists must pass a rigorous state board exam which includes western and eastern diagnostics and pharmacology. They are also required to complete 50 continuing education units every two years to maintain their CA acupuncture license.

Can I benefit from acupuncture even when I’m not sick?

Yes. Anyone can benefit from an acupuncture treatment as part of an ongoing health maintenance program. In today’s fast-paced society, the effects of environmental stresses and toxins alone tend to build up over time. Acupuncture is an effective way to re-balance the body and reverse the effects of these stresses. Just as you would go to your general practitioner for a check up, you can come in for seasonal acupuncture treatments as a tune-up to prevent getting sick.

Will my health insurance pay for acupuncture?

Many insurance plans now include acupuncture treatments in their policies. Ask your insurer about coverage. I will provide you with a detailed superbill that you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.