What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a treatment based
on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a system of healing that
dates back thousands of years. At the core of TCM is the notion that
a type of life force or energy known as qi (pronounced "chee") flows
through channels in the body called meridians. Each meridian is
connected to one specific organ, or group of organs, that governs
particular bodily functions. When there's too little or too much qi
in a meridian or when the qi stagnates or is blocked, illness
results. Acupuncture treatment consists of inserting thin stainless
steel needles at various points on the body, known as gateways, to
unblock or rebalance the flow of qi.
What does an acupuncturist do?
In addition to asking questions,
the acupuncturist may want to take your pulse at several points
along the wrist and look at your tongue to observe its shape, color,
and coating. He or she may also observe the color and texture of
your skin, your posture, and other physical characteristics that
offer clues to your health. You will then be asked to lie down on a
padded examining table, and the acupuncturist will insert the
needles, twirling or gently jiggling each as it goes in.
You may not feel the needles at
all, or you may feel a twitch or a momentary twinge that subsides as
soon as the needle is completely in. Once the needles are all in
place, you'll rest for 30 minutes to an hour. During this time,
you'll probably feel relaxed and sleepy and may even doze off. At
the end of the session, the acupuncturist will quickly remove the
needles, which is painless.
How long will my treatment
Treatments generally take about
60 minutes or so, allowing adequate time for a consultation with
Is acupuncture treatment
One would assume inserting a
needle into the skin would be painful since most of us can relate to
being stuck with a pin or having a hypodermic injection. But while
you will feel the needle being inserted, most patients do not
describe it as painful, rather they describe a sensation of mild to
moderate heaviness or tingling.
Needles obviously still have
their place in clinical practice. However many physicians certified
in Acupuncture and licensed Acupuncturists are employing electronic
and laser stimulation to the Acupuncture point with equal
effectiveness as the needle. Both of these procedures are painless
and are quickly becoming standard worldwide. The tapping needle is
not really a needle as it does not pierce the skin. It produces a
mild to moderate sensation. Compare it to tapping a ball point pen
on the skin. This form of stimulation has been used successfully for
centuries. Thumb pressure is equally impressive and not considered
How many treatments will I
The number of acupuncture
treatments needed depends on the complexity of your illness, whether
it's a chronic or recent condition, and your general state of
health. For example, you may need only one treatment for a recent
wrist sprain, whereas for a longstanding, chronic illness you may
need treatments once or twice a week for several months to get good
Are there conditions that should
not be treated with acupuncture?
Some physicians and
practitioners may avoid treating during pregnancy.
Is there anything I should watch
If your acupuncturist is
qualified to dispense herbs and would like you to take them as part
of your treatment, first discuss it with your physician. Herbs are
potent substances that can be harmful if you suffer from certain
conditions; they can also interact with drugs you may be taking and
cause side effects. In addition, be sure your acupuncturist uses
only disposable needles.
What should you expect during
Most patients find the treatment
very relaxing, which brings on a feeling of well-being. Most are
surprised at how comfortable they are during treatment and how
easily the needles are placed. Some people even go to sleep during
Is acupuncture safe?
Yes. One of the great advantages
of acupuncture is the absence of serious side effects, and the
ablity to treat several conditions or ailments simultaneously.
Needles generally cause no bleeding on entry or removal. Most
acupuncturists use one-time disposable needles. There is minimal
How can I find a qualified
practitioner in my local area?
There are several ways to find a
qualified practitioner. A few states require acupuncturists to be
licensed and confer a title (such as L.Ac.) that these
acupuncturists can use to identify themselves. The National
Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
certifies acupuncturists (Dipl. Ac.) and practitioners of Chinese
herbal medicine (Dipl. C.H.), upon passing a qualifying exam.
(INCLUDE a link to a page that lists people if not in DFW)
How much does a treatment
Each visit costs from $65 to $75 in our
clinic. Herbal therapy is additional.
Will my medical insurance cover
An increasing number of
insurance providers, such as BlueCross BlueShield, Unitedhealth,
Oxford and Kaiser Permanente, now cover all or part of the cost of
acupuncture treatments, but they may have restrictions on the types
of illnesses covered. Check with your insurance company to see what
your policy offers.
WHAT ARE HERBAL
Herbal extracts are the
"essence" of bulk herbs. Through a long and sophisticated process,
the active components in bulk herbs are removed and condensed into
herbal extracts. As finished products, herbal extracts are at a 5:1
concentration ratio, which means 5 pounds of raw herbs yields 1
pound of concentrate.
HOW ARE HERBAL EXTRACTS
The manufacturing process of our
herbal extracts follows the standard Good Manufacturing Practice
(GMP), which ensures safety and potency of the herbs. It starts with
the selection of the finest raw herbs, followed by the most
stringent manufacturing procedures, and finishes with numerous
quality assurance tests.
ARE HERBAL EXTRACTS AS EFFECTIVE AS
Yes, herbal extracts are as
effective as herbal decoctions. All herbal extracts from our clinic
are prepared according to the traditional methods as stated in the
classic CHINESE? texts. The clinical effects of herbal extracts
mirror those of herbal decoctions. However, many patients experience
much better results because herbal extracts are more "patient
friendly" -- more patients follow through on taking the recommended
ARE THERE ANY
All herbal extracts from our
clinic are 100% natural. They do not contain any harsh chemicals or
preservatives and are very gentle to your system. Nonetheless,
sensitive patients may experience reactions such as minor stomach
discomfort. If such reactions occur, reduce the dosage, take with
food, or modify the herbal formula.
CAN I TAKE THE HERBAL SUPPLEMENTS
WITH MY PRESCRIPTION DRUGS?
Most herbal supplements may be
taken by individuals who are also using prescription drugs, without
problems. However, it is recommended that herbal extracts be taken
on an empty stomach at least two hours apart from the prescription
ARE THERE HERBAL ALTERNATIVES TO MY
There are many conditions, which
can be treated by either drugs or herbs with comparable
effectiveness. Patients who do not wish to take prescription drugs,
or cannot tolerate drugs due to side effects or adverse reactions,
do have alternatives with herbal remedies. Just ask us.
CAN CHILDREN AND ELDERLY PATIENTS
TAKE HERBAL SUPPLEMENTS?
Yes, children and elderly
patients may take herbal extracts. In fact, they get excellent
clinical results. The dosages, however, must be adjusted for each
patient depending on age, body weight, specific illness and overall
WHAT ABOUT PREGNANT
In general, we are more careful
on the use of herbs during pregnancy. However, should the benefits
of using herbs outweigh the risks, use of herbs may be initiated at
a low levels with professional supervision.
WHAT ABOUT NURSING?
We specialize in the use of
herbs during nursing. Herbs are secreted in breast milk and passed
on to infants. Therefore, infants can be affected if the nursing
mother is taking herbs. DO YOU RECOMMEND NURSING?
HOW SHOULD I STORE THE HERBAL
Herbal supplements should be
stored in cool, dry places away from sunlight and moisture. The UV
radiation in sunlight may change the properties of the products.
Storage of herbal extracts in a damp or humid environment, such as
the kitchen or the bathroom, may lead to "caking" of the powder due
to excess moisture.
WHY DO YOU SELECT THE STANDARDIZED
FULL-SPECTRUM EXTRACTS IN YOUR PRACTICE?
All herbal products have their
advantages and disadvantages. There are various modes of herbal
preparations and types of delivery systems. In our clinic, we
carefully select the standardized full-spectrum extracts, which we
think is most effective and appropriate type of herbs for our
patients. Let us compare the pros and cons of each preparation and
its delivery system:
HERBAL DECOCTIONS: Although
effective, there are several potential disadvantages to prescribing
herbal decoctions. Patients find them time-consuming to prepare and
sometimes unpleasant in taste and/or smell. Thus, patient compliance
with decoction may often be poor. If there are herbs in the formula
that require special handling, patients may find the complicated
cooking process difficult to follow. Less than optimal cooking
processes lead to incomplete extraction of active ingredients and
compromise the overall effectiveness of the formula.
RAW HERB CAPSULES: Raw herb
capsules may often contain high levels of fiber, bacteria, fungus,
mold and sulfur from fumigation. Furthermore, bulk fiber requires
digestion and may not be suitable for patients with weak
constitutions or compromised digestive systems. Raw herb capsules
are prevalent in the market but are not the best choice for
practitioners who prescribe herbs for therapeutic purposes.
RAW HERB TABLETS: Raw herb
powders are compressed into tablets using chemical binding agents
that may be harmful to your body. All the disadvantages of raw herb
capsules are also present in the raw herb tablets. Some
manufacturers include an excess amount of fillers that dilute the
potency of the final products. Others claim to sell concentrated
herbal tablets that in fact contain mostly raw herb powder, evident
from the visible fibers. Due to the slow onset of action and low
concentration of active constituents, raw herb tablets are not ideal
for therapeutic purposes.
FREEZE DRIED HERBS: With freeze
dried herbs, the moisture is removed while the herbs are still
frozen to prevent hydrolysis. Herbal products made from this process
are highly unstable due to their hydroscopic nature (tendency to
absorb moisture in the air). Their shelf life is short because they
rapidly degrade biochemically.
STANDARDIZED EXTRACT: Herbal
extraction processes for standardized extracts often use toxic
solvents (i.e., acetones and hexanes) and high heat to yield a high
content of one active ingredient. Though this process provides
standardization based on one ingredient, it ignores the rest of the
active constituents and their therapeutic actions. This delivery
system is most commonly-seen in health food stores. Products of this
nature are comparable to pharmaceuticals and not suitable for
practitioners of herbal medicine who utilize the full-spectrum of
therapeutic properties in each herb.
extracts are highly concentrated using a low-temperature
vacuum evaporation process, which preserves the integrity of
all the active compounds present. Quality control includes
both qualitative and quantitative analysis of the active
ingredients utilizing the latest laboratory techniques such as
High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), Thin Layer
Chromatography (TLC), and Liquid Column Chromatography (LCC).
Through extraction, the full spectrum of active constituents
is retained and the overall affect mimics that of decoctions
because the extracts contain the full range of constituents
naturally found in fresh herbs. It is the most effective
delivery system available in the market today. This is the
best choose for our patient.
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