What does acupuncture feel like?
Acupuncture needles are very thin, and are not hollow like hypodermic needles so it’s not like getting a shot. There is usually a slight prick as the needle is inserted and then a feeling of distention, numbness or warmth as the qi is contacted. Often people do not feel the initial insertion just a light tap. There are many different kinds of needle insertion techniques some are gentle and completely painless, some are more direct and have a strong sensation. In Chris’s opinion nothing should ever feel painful or unsafe. Feel free to ask Chris if you would like more detailed information.
Do you always use needles?
No. Although needles are often a key element in a Oriental Medical treatment, there are other options available to us. Some are familiar – such as massage, exercise, herbal medicine, dietary counseling and stress management – while others are specific to traditional Oriental Medicine. A brief description follows. Feel free to ask Chris if you would like more details.
Moxa: A traditional Chinese medicinal herb that is used to warm the meridians and relieve blockage and pain.
TDP Lamp: A warming lamp that functions much like moxa.
Gua Sha: is a specific technique that treats chronic myofascial restrictions, unresolved tendinitis and trigger points, as well as many other musculoskeletal conditions. It also used to release emotional stress and tension as well as treating upper respiratory conditions like bronchitis or cold viruses. Gua Sha therapies, while similar to the Graston Technique used by Physical Therapists, are more sophisticated and complex. They always are used within the context or Chinese and Japanese Medicine, thus having a broader range of effectiveness and application.
Cupping: Glass or porcelain cups that use suction to treat the same sorts of things as Gua Sha.
Electro-acupuncture and Laser both are new additions to the list of traditional Oriental Medicine modalities. They have been widely used in Asia for over the last 20 years especially in China and Japan. There has been extensive research on these modalities and their effectiveness. Increasing research and the use of these modalities has been growing in both Europe and the United States. Electro-acupuncture uses a mild current attached to either the needles or instead using small soft pads applied directly to the skin, stimulating the acupuncture points. Therapeutic cold laser uses infrared light waves applied directly to the skin or over acupuncture points. Both these modalities are painless and very safe.
Traditional Chinese Gem and Mineral Therapy: Stone Medicine is referred to in a number of ancient classical texts and is thought to predate the use of acupuncture. Gems and minerals can be used in the form of topical powders, tinctures or (homeopathic like) Gem Elixirs. There are also “stone placement” techniques where stones can be used in place of needles over acupuncture points, or with needles. Refer to the special section on Gem and Mineral Therapy for more details on this ancient and unique part of Chinese Medicine.
What happens when I come to your office?
Chris likes to get to know her patients and tailor treatment specifically to their needs. She spends as much time as needed in order to provide the best treatment possible, and re-evaluate the patient’s progress at each session (please let Chris know if you have any time constraints when you schedule an appointment). She welcomes questions or input from patients, as well as from other health care professionals.
Treatment sessions usually run from 30 minutes to an hour , with the initial session being longer as it includes an extensive evaluation and medical history. The treatment itself will consist of one or more of the techniques previously described. If there is any home treatment to be undertaken by the patient, such as exercise or herbs, etc., verbal and written instructions are given.
How safe is acupuncture?
Licensed acupuncturists are nationally certified in Clean Needle Technique, which is based on the latest Western medical standards and protocols. All needles are FDA approved, sterile and one time use only. All contaminated materials are disposed of in accordance with Federal regulations.
How many treatments will I need?
Because all Chinese medical treatments are tailored to an individual’s particular condition, this, of course, varies. As a rule, an acute case will take a few treatments, whereas a chronic case could take quite a bit longer. An estimate for the amount treatment required is discussed in the initial visit. Regardless of the expected duration of treatment reevaluations take place with each visit in order for the practitioner and patient to monitor the efficacy of treatment, adjusting things as needed. Chris feels it is important to get the most effective results as efficiently as is possible, while working to meet each patients specific needs.
Is there a difference between an acupuncture treatment provided by a nationally board certified Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.), and that provided by another health care professional?
Licensed Acupuncturists are fully trained in Traditional Oriental Medicine and in all its theoretical complexity and clinical variety. Chris has had over 3,000 hours of academic and clinical training at the graduate and postgraduate level. Continuing education is required yearly to maintain licensing and professional standards.
Currently it should noted, many other professionals are beginning to incorporate various Traditional Chinese Medicine modalities, like acupuncture or cupping in to their practice. They may use these techniques in a reasonable manner and have some success. However they are often not fully trained in these techniques in the standards required for competency in Traditional Asian Medicine. It is important to understand that these modalities when taken out of context can have some benefit but results are frequently limited and can have unintended consequences Chinese Medicine is a fully developed and complete paradigm in and of itself. It is important for effective and safe treatment to match the modalities and techniques with an accurate Chinese Medicine diagnosis. At present some professionals can take acupuncture courses on line or in weekend seminars.
Will my Chinese Herbal formula interact with my Western medications?
Herbs generally have fewer side effects than Western pharmaceuticals, however it is important to be evaluated by a trained herbalist in order to get the correct prescription, as well as the proper follow-up. Herbal formulas are highly individualized and require periodic modification as your condition changes. Chris likes to coordinate the use of herbal treatments and homeopathic remedies with physicians and other health care professionals. This will help prevent any complications, and more importantly allow the herbal formulas to be maximally effective. Many Chinese Herbal formulas can assist in decreasing side effects of required Western medication as well as reduce the levels required to be effective. Sometimes they can assist in augmenting their effectiveness. Note: it is important to work closely with the professionals prescribing any pharmaceuticals for safety as well as efficacy.
Do you treat children?
Yes, but not regularly. Chris does not needle children younger than seven. There are special massage techniques called pediatric Tui Na ,that are very effective in treating children (and easy for parents to learn). Using mild herbal formulas,nutritional therapies and homeopathic remedies are often very helpful especially for allergies, ear problems, ADD/ADHD and other common chronic problems for children. Chris happy to discuss treatment for children and/or provide referrals when appropriate to practioners who specialize in alternative pediatric treatment.
Can Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Help Prevent Disease?
Yes. In fact, early Chinese physicians were only paid if the patient remained healthy. They would not be paid if the patient became ill. In addition, the World Health Organization considers acupuncture an effective treatment and preventative therapy for many conditions.
Are there different styles of acupuncture?
Yes. Chinese Medicine has a long and varied history and there are numerous styles of acupuncture that have developed during different eras and in different countries. All effectively address the building and moving of qi, but the theoretical frameworks and clinical techniques vary somewhat. Chris has training in a variety of styles and would be happy to discuss which will best address your particular needs.
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