What is traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)?

Traditional Chinese medicine is a natural system of medicine and healing founded on the Chinese philosophical principle of balance of yin and yang. When a person is in balance both internally and with the external environment, there is heath and vigor physically, emotionally and spiritually. When there is disease, Chinese medicine views this as a disharmony or upset in this balance, and uses various treatment modalities to correct the imbalance. The treatment modalities of TCM include acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, qi gong, Chinese herbal medicine, and nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle recommendations/modifications.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a treatment of traditional Chinese medicine in which small, hair-thin needles are inserted into the body to balance the body’s energy (or Qi), and stimulate the natural healing ability of the body. An acupuncture treatment generally consists of the insertion of as few as one, to as many as 20 or more needles. The patient will then rest for approximately 20-25 minutes while the needles remain inserted. Patients generally feel a great sense of relaxation, and often fall asleep during this time.

Does it hurt?

Acupuncture NeedlesThe first thing most people want to know about acupuncture is: Does it hurt? The answer is: generally no it does not and should not hurt. Many people have a healthy fear of needles, but acupuncture needles are NOT at all like the hypodermic needles that we were traumatized by as children. Acupuncture needles are filliform, meaning they are solid, unlike hypodermic needles, which are hollow to allow for blood or medication to be either withdrawn or injected. Because of this, acupuncture needles are much thinner and sharper, and glide much more easily into skin and tissue, rather than tearing it. Most people report that they feel a very slight sensation as the needle is inserted, and then a range of sensations like heaviness, warmth, tingling, twitching, etc. as the needles are stimulated. If there is any pain, it is momentary and subsides almost instantly.The more a patient is relaxed, the less pain they feel during acupuncture treatment. If you are afraid of needles, don’t let that deter you.You will likely be reassured when you see just how small the needles are, and if you are still hesitant, just let me know and we can start out with more gentle treatments like Reiki, acupressure, and moxibustion. Most people leave their first treatment saying “That is what I was afraid of? That was SO worth it.”

Is it safe?

Absolutely. When practiced by a properly trained and licensed professional, acupuncture is extremely safe, and has almost no side effects. The practice of acupuncture is regulated by the California Acupuncture Board, a division of the Department of Consumer Affairs. Practitioners must meet extensive education requirements and pass rigorous examinations in order to be granted a license to practice. Acupuncturists are also required to follow strict infection control protocols, and to use sterile, single-use, disposable needles.

What is Reiki?

Reiki The name Reiki (pronounced ray-key) comes from the Japanese words Rei, which means universal, and Ki, meaning life force energy. It is a simple and elegant healing art that uses gentle touch to balance and heal the body. It was discovered in the 1920’s by a Japanese monk and mystic healer named Dr. Mikao Usui. By gently placing the hands on various parts of the body, the Reiki practitioner channels this universal life force energy to the patient, stimulating the body’s own natural, innate ability to balance and heal itself. Click here for more information about Reiki.

What is Chinese herbal medicine?

Chinese herbal medicineChinese herbal medicine blends various medicinal plant, mineral and animal substances to treat a wide variety of health conditions. Most often, these substances are blended into a custom formula, tailored specifically to the health conditions of each individual patient. Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, Chinese herbal medicine works gently and gradually to correct the underlying root of the imbalance in the body, rather than just temporarilymasking the overt symptoms. As such it generally does not produce the rapid results of pharmaceuticals, but its effects are lasting and long-term. If you are a vegetarian and concerned about taking certain animal products, please let me know and I can find alternatives. I use only the highest quality herbs and herbal extracts that have been laboratory tested to be free of contaminants like pesticides and heavy metals.

How long does it take to see results?

While it does happen that a person can be symptom free after just one acupuncture treatment, it is rare. Ingeneral, TCM treatment is a more gradual process, not a quick fix. The amount of time can vary greatly and depends on the condition being treated and the overall health of the patient. It is more realistic to expect one or more courses of treatment. Again, depending on the condition and the patient, a course of treatment might consist of weekly or twice-weekly acupuncture treatments for one to two months, along with an herbal formula taken daily, as well as changing certain diet and lifestyle factors. At the end of a course of treatment, we would assess the results and determine if more treatment is necessary, and what the frequency of that treatment should be.

Do you accept insurance?

Yes I can accept certain insurance. Because of the wide variety of plans and companies out there, it is best to verify insurance coverage in advance. Feel free to call or email with the information from your insurance card and I would be happy to check what your benefits and coverage would be.

What conditions can be treated?

condition treated with chinese medicineJust like allopathic (western) medicine, Chinese medicine is a complete system of medicine. In the state of California, acupuncturists are licensed primary care providers. This means that any condition or disease in which one would seek a western medical doctors care, can also be addressed with Chinese medicine. Having said that, there are areas where Chinese medicine excels, such as chronic conditions that aren’t responding well to conventional treatments, and those where allopathic medicine is obviously preferable, such as in severe trauma. Because Chinese medicine’s definition of health, and scope is not limited to just physical conditions, it can be especially effective at treating emotional issues. Chinese medicine is a natural medicine that addresses the root cause of a disease, rather than just temporarily suppressing symptoms. Because it works to achieve balance in the body, Chinese medicine can be used to treat almost any complaint, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual. A partial list of the common conditions that Chinese medicine can treat can be found here.