Frequently Asked Questions

Please call the clinic for a FREE consult if you want to get well.

Feel free to contact us if we can answer any other questions you have.

★ What should I expect on the first visit?

Your completed medical history form and a detailed intake will allow us to tailor a treatment plan that recognizes not only the current chief complaint but your underlying constitutional pattern also. On the first visit, especially if you have not had acupuncture before, we will use only a few needles. The needles are disposable, single-use, made of solid stainless steel, and are about 2 hairs thick. Many people don’t feel them.

We will also discuss the expected number of visits before we re-evaluate if the treatment plan needs to be modified. We also recommend that you eat a light meal, take a shower or bath, and wear loose clothing and underwear before your visit so that you are comfortable and remain warm during the treatment.

Your feedback during the treatment is appreciated as it tells us how your body is responding on that day and about the movement of Qi. Are you feeling cold? Do you need additional coverings? Let us know how you are feeling during the treatment.

★ Does acupuncture hurt?

Acupuncture needles are thin as 2-3 hairs in diameter (0.2 to 0.3 mm) and are inserted very quickly to minimize the sensation of pain. These needles can fit inside the needles often used for western style injections. The sensations associated with the actions of acupuncture can be adjusted based on patient tolerance. It is also possible that people may not feel strong sensations during acupuncture treatments.

Common sensations reported by patients include a feeling of heaviness, mild feelings of numbness or tingling and these often disappear within a few minutes as the body readjusts the energy imbalance around the acupuncture point.

★ How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture works by balancing the intrinsic energy flows within the body. Our bodies are put together well and the product of an extended period of development and evolution. The results of acupuncture are often long lasting due to the fact that acupuncture addresses the underlying cause of diseases, not just the symptoms.

★ How many treatments are needed for acupuncture to work?

Usually one or two treatments per week are recommended. However, the number of treatments needed varies widely according to condition. Generally, for chronic conditions more treatments are needed, and may require several weeks or months for the condition to improve. Acute problems usually respond much faster.

Regular treatments throughout the year may also help to prevent problems associated with old injuries or other persistent conditions from becoming severe.

★ Do you use acupressure techniques to treat pain and other conditions?

Yes, I use TuiNa techniques, especially since they are so effective when used in combination with acupuncture. TuiNa, an ancient Chinese acupressure and orthopedically focussed massage technique, is often used for musculoskeletal pain and chronic muscle tension syndromes and is one of the four limbs of integrated Chinese medical therapeutics. TuiNa is also widely used in foot massage applications to improve posture and to clear toxins from the body.

Since Chinese medicine theory believes that the acupuncture channels are not fully developed in neonates and young children, pediatric applications of TuiNa, especially for respiratory and gastrointestinal disorders, are well developed.

★ Have you treated my condition before?

I have treated many hundreds of patients for a broad range of musculoskeletal and pain problems and a variety of internal conditions with acupuncture, Chinese herbs and TuiNa.

Traditional Chinese Medicine uses a holistic approach to treating many Western diseases. e.g., Diabetes (Xiao Ke) is known as a condition commonly presenting with dryness and heat signs in the body. The TCM treatment for Diabetes- a Western diagnostic term- involves clearing heat and eliminating dryness and would be based on the differential diagnosis or constitutional pattern rather than the one-pill approach that we often see in western medicine. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas would be individually tailored to meet your constitutional needs, as needed.

★ Why do you modify Chinese medicine treatments for the same condition/Western disease?

This misunderstanding exists because the terms used in Western diagnosis are often not directly relevant to a TCM physician. As a medical system with its own theory/model of the functioning of the body (i.e., a Whole Medical System, according to the NIH) pathologies are labeled using a different system in TCM. Differential Diagnoses or clinical descriptions would involve factors like yin, yang, qi, blood, stagnation, heat, cold, dryness, damp and may also indicate the organs or channels which have been affected. e.g., there are many constitutional patterns or differential diagnoses for a very common condition like headaches. We would use the Chinese medical treatment strategy that best suits the individual’s needs/pattern rather than fit the treatment to a Western diagnostic label. This makes the centuries-old traditions of Chinese medicine, with its emphasis on personalized medicine, more relevant in treating the complex medical conditions and syndromes seen today.

The emerging fields of Epigenetics and Pharmacogenomics in Western medicine recognize that all individuals are genetically/physiologically unique, that genes respond to the environmental influences, and that people respond to their medications differently. Recent research has shown that even identical twins show a divergence in gene expression as they age, based on the environments they have been exposed to over their lives. For these reasons, the active ingredient/pharmaceutical in your prescription that works for you may create adverse side-effects in your close family member or your close friend with the same condition from a Western diagnostic perspective. We are seeing the effects of diversity at the cellular level, often due to variable gene expression.

★ What is the safety record for Chinese herbs?

Very good, primarily because we use multiple herbs in a formula, with each playing a specific role. Since each herb provides multiple “active” ingredients, rather than a single large active ingredient as in Western style prescriptions, we can blend them into formulas that do their job without forcing our bodies and organs to react strongly.

We also believe that our formulas are safer because the concentration of active ingredients are generally low and can be used therapeutically at doses significantly below the toxic level. Since our bodies are made up of interconnected organ systems, the corresponding reactions to herbal treatment is also reduced, i.e., reduced adverse effects, using this strategy.

Chinese herbal products today are manufactured according to current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP), like the allopathic (Western) pharmaceuticals made for use in this country. In addition, suppliers test herb derived products to ensure that they are not contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides, etc. Chinese herbs and formulas have been used for thousands of years so that the toxicity profiles and the guidelines for safe use are well developed. However, it is important that all Chinese herbal preparations be used according to directions provided by a board certified and licensed Chinese medicine physician trained in Internal Medicine and in the use of Chinese medicinal herbs.

Many commonly reported problems with herbal medicine are due to the improper use of Chinese herbs by untrained Western healthcare professionals for contemporary and western medicine type applications- e.g., fast weight loss by diuresis, cosmetics, energy boosters, etc.

★ What is the NADA protocol? What is its track record?

The National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) uses a protocol developed in the US to handle acute withdrawal symptoms and to aid in recovery. Many tens of thousands of people around the world have been successfully treated using these protocols over the last few decades. The Department of Defense is now evaluating the use of these non-drug protocols for relief from Stress and Trauma disorders (e.g., PTSD) for combat veterans.

I have treated over a hundred patients at the Hooper Detoxification Center (Portland, OR) with this protocol and they have provided direct feedback on the relief it provides, without the need for additional drugs to manage the discomfort and suffering associated with the detoxification process. Hooper provides acute detoxification support during a 72 hour period for residents who often came off the streets. Both ear and scalp acupuncture points were used. In addition, as the Staff Acupuncturist, I used similar techniques to treat patients at the Hazelden Springbrook Clinic in Newberg, Oregon.

For detox applications, following an initial intake to determine the constitutional picture- based on substances being abused and other general aspects of health- a course of acupuncture treatments are scheduled for a few weeks at my clinic. Depending on the severity of the dependence or the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms, 2-3
treatments per week may be needed.

It is recommended that some form of counseling or cognitive-behavioral therapy is used at the same time, to speed up the recovery process.

Contact us for additional information.