FAQThe information provided below is taken from publications of American Society of Acupuncturists
Q: What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles into the body at specific points proven to be effective in the treatment of specific health problems. These points have been mapped by the Chinese over a period of two thousand years. Recently, electromagnetic research has confirmed their locations.
Q: Does it hurt when the needles go in?
It doesn't hurts at all, even for the most sensitive patients. It is nothing like those needles and syringes in the medical settings. The needles used for acupuncture are hair-thin and our acupuncturists are highly skilled to perform acupuncture with high precision. However, depending on the state of Qi for individuals, the sensation may vary from nothing at all, deep relaxation, some pinprick, to some soreness deep in the tissue.
Q: Are the needles clean?
We follow the best practice among acupuncturists in America today - using sterilized, individually packaged, disposable needles. Needles should not be saved and reused for later treatments. This eliminates the possibility of transmitting any infectious disease by a contaminated needle.
Q: How does acupuncture work?
From Modern Western medicine's point of view, inserting needles into the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system via peripheral afferent fibers (nerve fibers that carry signals to the central nervous system) to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals (such as endorphins and enkephalins) and hormones which influence the body's own internal regulating system. The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture stimulates the body's natural healing abilities, thus promoting both physical and emotional well-being with minimal side-effects.
Traditional acupuncture is based on ancient Chinese theories of the flow of Qi (Energy) and Xue (Blood) through distinct meridians or pathways that cover the body somewhat like the nerves and blood vessels do. According to ancient theory, acupuncture allows Qi to flow to areas where it is deficient and away from where it is in excess. In this way, acupuncture regulates and restores the harmony and energetic balance of the body. In Chinese there is a saying. "There is no pain if there is free flow, if there is pain, there is no free flow."
Q: Are there different styles of acupuncture?
Yes, there are. Acupuncture originated in China but has spread to Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Europe, the British Isles, and America. In different countries, different styles have been developed based on differing opinions on theories and techniques. Patients should talk to their practitioners about their particular style and learn as much as possible about the treatment being proposed.
Q: What should I know about the proposed treatments?
Your practitioner will explain the nature of your problem and what treatment he or she is recommending. Your practitioner will tell you what benefits and risks there are to the proposed treatment, what other treatment options are available to you through this practitioner or by referral to another practitioner or physician.
Q: How many treatments will I need?
That depends upon the duration, severity, and nature of your complaint(s). You may need only a single treatment for an acute condition. A series of five to fifteen treatments may resolve many chronic problems. Some degenerative conditions may require continuous treatments over time.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Q: What's the difference between Western folk herbal medicine and Traditional Chinese herbal medicine?
Western folk herbal medicine primarily treats diseases or symptoms, such as headaches, runny nose, menstrual pain, etc. Traditional Chinese herbal medicine, when practiced as a part of TCM(Traditional Chinese Medicine), is based on an individualized pattern diagnosis as well as a disease diagnosis. Your pattern consisted of your signs and symptoms, your emotional temperament and the overall composition of your body.
The TCM patient receives a customized written herbal prescription designed to treat their individual pattern as well as the symptoms or diseases.
Q: Are all the "herbs" plants in origin?
Traditional Chinese herbal medicine may include ingredients from plants, animals, insects and minerals. However, the majority of ingredients are plant-based. Different parts of the plants, including leaves, flowers, twigs, stems, roots, tubers, rhizomes, bark, etc. may be used as medicine.
Q: Do all the herbs come from China?
The Chinese adopted and incorporated herbs from all over the world. Fifteen to twenty percent of the 500 ingredients considered standard originated from outside China. What makes these "Chinese" herbs is that they are prescribed according to Chinese medicine theory and a TCM pattern diagnosis.