FAQ

I love to answer questions and talk about Chinese Medicine in person, and I tried to answer questions on the individual pages of this website, but I found there were also other questions to be answered, so I addressed those here.

If this list didn't address your question, feel welcome to text, email, or call.

What should I expect during my first visit?

Your initial visit will cover two one hour appointments that are within 7 days of each other this way we have time to gather the information we need and ask each other questions with time to think.  In these two sessions you will also receive two treatments.

Being an acupuncturist is a bit like being a medical detective, once I have clear evidence I will formulate initial diagnosis and treatment strategy.

READ MORE

Is acupuncture safe?

In a 2001 study in the Journal of American Medicine the #1 side effect of Acupuncture noted in 86% of the patients was relaxation. Acupuncture is completely safe when conducted by a licensed practitioner. In New Hampshire, acupuncturists are required to attend a rigorous Masters Degree program, and pass national board exams, and apply for a state license prior to practicing. Although there are typically no side effects to acupuncture, a patient should be forthcoming in disclosing any medical conditions. I promote the highest standards of safety by complying with OSHA regulations, practicing universal precautions, following clean needle techniques, and using only stainless steel, sterile, disposable needles.

It is true that other side effects have been noted, according to the World Health Organization,published August 2010."The most common adverse events of this type were local pain from needling (range: 1.1-2.9%) and slight bleeding or haematoma (range: 2.1-6.1%). In a prospective observational study of 190 924 patients, the incidence of serious adverse events (death, organ trauma or hospital admission) was about 0.024%".5

Who should not get acupuncture treatments?

I agree with the Mayo Clinic and Harvard Health if you 

  • Have a bleeding disorder. Your chances of bleeding or bruising from the needles increase if you have a bleeding disorder or if you're taking blood thinners.
  • Have a pacemaker. Electro-acupuncture that involves applying mild electrical pulses to the needles can interfere with a pacemaker's operation.
  • Are pregnant. Some types of acupuncture are thought to stimulate labor, which could result in a premature delivery.

These three conditions do not exclude you from the benefits of acupuncture, they just mean we need to be good at communicating with one another.

I know what I need to do to keep you safe.

Are acupuncture needles safe?

As part of my education I am certified in clean needle techniques and therefore only use needles that are pre-sterilized, pre-packaged, and disposable. The needles are solid, very thin and very smooth and sharp for quick painless insertions. Each needle is used only one time and deposited in a hard plastic bio-hazard container, to ensure safe disposal.

Why do you look at my tongue and ask me detailed questions about my stool?

2,500 years ago when Traditional Chinese Medicine was developing, practitioners did not have microscopes, diagnostic imaging, and labs so practitioners learned to "read" the body. 

Information about the function of the body was found by feeling the quality of the pulse, looking for the color and coating of the tongue, palpating the abdomen for sore spots, and asking questions about the stool and urine.

Today all of these skills are still used and are very important in helping your acupuncturist to properly diagnose your condition. In tongue, pulse and abdomen diagnosis, different areas of the tongue, pulse, and abdomen relate to various organ systems in the body.

For example, a thick white coating on the tongue indicates an internal cold, so appropriate points would be chosen to help the body expel the cold. You can assist me in making the best possible diagnosis by not scraping your tongue, or eating anything that may stain it prior to your visit, and by paying attention to your stool and urine for a few days prior to your visit.

How does acupuncture work?

That very question is very question is being researched all over the world right now as more and more people are finding acupuncture to be effective for their condition. In fact random control trials in acupuncture is one of the fastest growing field of research. How it works can be answered from two points of view.

In the tradition of Chinese medicine theory, Acupuncturist see the in tune with Nature. Being made up of the same elements as the world around us the body is a universe within a universe. The vital energy (Qi) that flows throughout Nature also flows through the human body. Acupuncture works primarily by promoting the free movement of Qi energy, which acts to balance and harmonize the body. When the meridians of the body are flowing freeling the maximum potential of the body is working and the body can heal itself.  

Through another lens, Western (bio-medical) scientific research has shown that acupuncture causes the production of the morphine-like pain suppressing molecules in the body called endorphins, our bodies natural pain reliever. However, acupuncture is used for many other conditions besides pain. In more recent studies, functional MRI studies are showing that when an acupuncture needle is inserted into the body, specific regions of the brain are activated. This brain activation allows for the modulation of molecules such as neurotransmitters and hormones. Collectively scientific research has shown that acupuncture can modulate all the primary systems in the body including the nervous, endocrine, endocannabinoid, and immune systems. Current research is aimed at understanding exactly how this happens, and the nature and specific usage of the various acupuncture points for different medical conditions.

Does acupuncture hurt?

Acupuncture needles are much thinner than the regular needles used to inject substances like vaccines or insulin. In fact, the needles are so fine, a bundle can fit inside a hypodermic needle.

When an acupuncture needle is inserted into the skin many patients feel only a mild sensation - or nothing at all! The amount of sensation varies between different point locations on the body and different people's sensitivity level. It is essentially a painless experience, and is not stressful, even for people who dislike needles.

With those with an extraordinary fear of needles and children under 7, I use other effective, non-needle methods to activate the acupuncture points.

How many acupuncture treatments will I need?

We will start with the initial two no more than 7 days apart, and then determine the  number of treatments required by the nature of the complaint, your underlying health and how responsive your body is to treatment. 

For many complaints, especially acute conditions, 2 treatments per week for the first 2-4 weeks is optimal. At least one every 5-7 days for 6 treatments will either dramatically improve what ails you or will give us vital information to help you pick a more appropriate course of action. 

Some folks continue treatment on a monthly basis to prevent illness. Optimally you will see me at the turn of every season recognizing that are bodies are in tune to Nature. This is in keeping with one of the most fundamental and basic philosophies of Chinese medicine, prevention is better than cure.

What kind of practices does Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) use?
  • Acupuncture: very fine needles placed gently in the skin
  • Cupping: glass or plastic cups that create suction on your skin
  • Gua Sha: gentle scraping of the skin with a smooth edge tool 
  • Herbs: teas, powders, and capsules made mostly from plants
  • Meditation: a way to sit quietly and calm your mind
  • Moxibustion: dried herbs burned near the skin
  • Tai chi exercise/ Qi Gong: with slow movements and focus on the breath
  • Electro Acupuncture: clips are attached to the inserted acupuncture needle and a small amount of electrical current is used to stimulate the point/ tissue at the site of insertion
What does acupuncture treat?

 

Acupuncture is recognized by the World Health Organization and National Institutes of Health as being effective and safe in the treatment of the following conditions:

 

 

Addictions

Alcohol

Drugs

Smoking

Anxiety

Asthma

Bronchitis

Chronic fatigue

Colitis

Common cold

Constipation

Dental Pain

Depression

Diarrhea

Digestive trouble

Dizziness

Emotional problems

Eye problems

Facial palsy/tics

Fertility, male/female

Fibromyalgia

Headache

 

Incontinence

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Low back pain

Menopause

Menstrual irregularities

Migraine

Morning sickness

Nausea

Osteoarthritis

Pain

PMS

Pneumonia

Rhinitis

Sciatica

Shoulder pain

Sinusitis

Sleep disturbances

Stress

Tennis elbow

Urinary tract infection

Vomiting

Wrist pain

 

 

Several years ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) published an official report listing 31 symptoms, conditions and diseases that have been shown in controlled trials to be treated effectively by Acupuncture. Following is the list of conditions shown through controlled trials to be treated effectively by Acupuncture:

  • Low back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Sciatica
  • Tennis elbow
  • Knee pain
  • Peri-arthritis of the shoulder
  • Sprains
  • Facial pain
  • TMJ
  • Headache
  • Dental pain
  • Acute and chronic gastritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Induction of labor
  • Breech birth presentation
  • Morning sickness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Postoperative pain
  • Stroke
  • Essential hypertension
  • Primary hypotension
  • Renal colic
  • Leucopenia
  • Radiation/chemo reactions
  • Allergic rhinitis,
  • Hay fever
  • Biliary colic
  • Depression
  • Acute bacillary dysentery
  • Primary dysmenorrhea
  • Acute epigastralgia
  • Peptic ulcer

Good link from National Institute of Health talking about how acupuncture can help the symptoms of cancer

 

https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/patient/acupuncture-pdq for patients

https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/hp/acupuncture-pdq for health care practitioners

When do I book my next appointment?

If you are currently seeing me I will tell you at the end of every appointment the optimal time between visits.  Remember to bring your calendar and you can book your next appointment with Lauren or Caryl before you leave. If we are just getting started working on symptoms I will ask you to return once a week for 3-6 weeks. As symptoms clear you will notice that your treatments "hold" for longer and longer time. At this point we will move to every other or every third week, then once a month then once a quarter. I highly recommend everyone have an acupuncture tune-up at least once a season, especially right before a seasonal change whether they are feeling particular symptoms or not. The best doctors treat preventatively to keep the body, mind, and spirit strong and full of vitality.

Are there steps I can take to feel better? DIY?

Yes! See DIY page for some simple things you can do to improve your health with Eastern Medicine!

What is...

  • Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Chinese Acupuncture
  • Chinese Herbal Medicine
  • Conditions Treated

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a complete health care system developed over 2,500 years ago in China. Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, Qi Gong, and Tui na massage are the integral components of this ancient medicine.

Chinese Acupuncture

Both preventative and curative in nature, acupuncture works by regulating the body’s energy as it flows along pathways called meridians. A blockage in the flow of energy may result in an imbalance that can lead to any number of medical conditions. Acupuncture works by stimulating specific points along these meridians with the shallow insertion of very fine, sterilized, single-use, disposable needles. After a comprehensive intake, an array of points are chosen based on your individual condition to rebalance your body and restore the free flow of energy.

For the Needle Sensitive Although most people find the idea of acupuncture needles more worrisome than the actual needles themselves, there are cases in which patients may opt for therapies that do not involve the use of needles at all. For the needle sensitive (and for children), there are non-needling techniques that are used with productive results. Magnets and moxibustion are gentle ways to stimulate acupuncture points. Moxibustion uses the herb Artemesia Vulgaris to warm specific areas of the body to improve circulation and blood flow. Traditional meridian massage and cupping techniques are also particularly effective – as well as soothing. If you have concerns about any treatment, you can request gentle, non-needle techniques or ask for a demonstration of the modality before treatment.

Chinese Herbal Medicine

An important component of Chinese Medicine is the use of plant substances to treat various health conditions. As practitioners of Chinese Herbal Medicine, we comprehensively assess the whole person – as well as a patient’s primary health concern – and create an individualized herbal formula that effectively treats her/his unique health concern with little to no side-effects. Herbal medicine can be used in conjunction with acupuncture or by itself. Leaves, flowers, seeds or roots are prepared in traditional formulas to effectively treat and prevent disease. Common herbs include cinnamon bark, ginger root, ginseng, orange peels, licorice, and mulberry. We use only the highest quality herbs from vetted companies. Herbal formulas can be prescribed as teas, capsules, pills or tinctures.

Conditions Treated

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine are part of a complex and comprehensive medical system that has been refined over the last 2,500 years. It is both curative and preventative in nature and effectively treats acute and chronic conditions. The National Institutes for Health and the World Health Organization recognize Chinese Medicine’s ability to treat many common clinical conditions.

Below is a partial list of conditions treatable by acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. Because this medicine treats each person as unique, it is always best to consult us about your particular concerns.
Top 10 Conditions Treated

  • Back Problems
  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Insomnia
  • Sprains and Strains
  • Headache
  • High Blood Pressure
  • “Digestive Problems”
  • Anxiety/Depression
  • Women’s Health and Fertility

Other Conditions Treatable by Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture

Common Health Concerns

  • Smoking Cessation
  • Addiction
  • Weight Management
  • Stress Management
  • Post-Operative Recovery
  • Musculo-skeletal Problems

Musculo-Skeletal Pain (e.g. Knee pain, Back Pain, Neck and Shoulder Pain), Tennis Elbow, Frozen Shoulder, TMJ, Sciatica, Osteoarthritis, Tension Headache, Fibromyalgia
Respiratory Problems

Common Cold, Allergies, Sinusitis and Rhinitis, Tonsillitis, Bronchitis, AsthmaGastro-intestinal Disorders

Indigestion, Acid Reflux/ Heart Burn, Bloating, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Chron’s Disease, Constipation, Diarrhea, Gastritis, Colitis
Neurological Disorders

Headache and Migraine, Trigeminal neuralgia, Facial Palsy (early stage, within 3-6 months), Paralysis Following a Stroke, Peripheral Neuropathies, Sequelae of Polio (early stage, i.e., 6 months), Meniere’s Disease
Men’s Health

Prostate, Infertility, Impotence