Acupuncture | FAQ

What is Oriental Medicine?

It is a comprehensive system that takes the "Whole Body" approach to healthcare. Your health is mediated between a balance of internal and external processes. Your lifestyle, diet, environment, physique, spirit, and emotions all play an important part in your well-being. To help your body restore itself from disharmony, a variety of treatment methods may be used. They include: Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Formulas, Nutrition, Oriental Massage, Exercise and Meditation.

What is Acupuncture?

It is based on the ancient concept dating over 2,000 years that the body is made up of channels (meridians) through which vital energy (chi) flows. When the chi flows smoothly and harmoniously there is no disease or pain. When it is stagnated or disrupted pain, fatigue, or illness will result. Stimulating points along the meridians will help release blocked energy and maintain balance between areas of excess energy and those of deficient energy.

How Does it Work?

Thin, hair-like, sterile, disposable needles are inserted into specific Acupuncture sites for approximately 20-30 minutes. The exact mechanism is not clear, but research has shown that the body responds by releasing endorphins (neurotransmitters that stop pain), increasing blood cell counts, and heightening the immune system.

Can I Benefit From Acupuncture if I'm Relatively Healthy?

Many healthy individuals or athletes find that acupuncture and Herbal Medicine is a great way to maintain healthy and balanced lives. It can help speed repair of injuries, sore muscles and joints. Stress reduction is another reason people seek the care of an acupuncturist.

What does Acupuncture Feel Like?

Occasionally one may feel a slight pinch that quickly diminishes. Generally, the sensation can be dull, achy, or tingly. Patients find that the treatments are relaxing and usually involve little or no pain.

Why Did My Acupuncturist Ask Me That?

Visiting an acupuncturist is going to be one of the best things you've ever done for yourself. This first step will send you on the path to true healing. The partnership you'll create with your practitioner is an important one and is founded on trust and knowledge. To that end, your first visit to an acupuncturist will be marked by a series of questions to which only you hold the answers.

Once you have filled out a general intake form that asks the usual things like medical history, diet, lifestyle and habits on this first visit, you will begin the one-on-one interview with your acupuncturist. An initial intake conversation starts off with the basics, such as the main reason for the visit or your Chief Complaint. Once you are through telling your tale of woe; have put your finger on the problem; or have relayed your instinctual rationale for your signs and symptoms, the interview takes a twist and the reason for this unexpected change in questioning reflects the main difference between Western and Eastern medical philosophy.

Although the chief complaint is the most important, Eastern medical philosophy follows that it is a mere symptom in the grand pattern of disharmony. True healing does not take place with the mending of the branch but in the treating of the tree as a whole, including the leaves, the fruit, the trunk and, of course, the root.

The interview questions may be ordered to suit the case but normally will always contain the following:

Questions about body temperature. Questions about temperature are common ways of finding both the level of a particular disease as well as whether it is an internal or external problem.

Questions about sweating. Questions about sweating give us clues as to the nature of a deficiency. This might help us determine how sick or perhaps over-trained an individual might be.

Questions about the head along with eyes, ears, nose and throat. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the nature and location of a headache can be a clue to one of dozens of TCM patterns; the treatments of which can be polar in range.

Questions about pain. The treatment of pain may only be temporary without a complete understanding of the underlying conditions. This may lead to all sorts of questions regarding the history of the pain, location and the environmental conditions surrounding it. It must be noted that psycho-emotional issues should also be considered.

Questions about urination and bowel movements. It is often difficult to understand how the quality of one's stools can be related to their ankle pain. Asking questions about the elimination system provides important indications about the functioning of the kidneys and the digestive system. For example, deficient kidneys are often related to lower back and knee pain and a poor digestive system can lead to internal dampness, which can also settle in the joints and cause pain.

Questions about digestion along with thirst, appetite and taste. These questions will help ascertain the quality of the digestive system. The digestive system is like a furnace, burning very hot or very cold. It may be running inefficiently by being bogged down by dampness or the opposite, excessive dryness. There are many clues to how we can improve our digestive furnace and thereby help with energy, mood, weight loss, improved athletic performance, etc.

Questions about sleep. Difficulty falling asleep could relate to too much exercise or worry, whereas difficulty staying asleep could be from overwork and yin deficiency (in this case, the yin, or structure, of the body is being broken down). Restlessness could be related to food retention and excessive dreaming may be due to heat disturbing the heart. There are many qualities of sleep, but one thing is for sure, we all need it!