Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE?
Acupuncture is one part to the large medical system known as Chinese Medicine here in the West. Chinese Medicine is the oldest, continuously practiced medicine in the world, with evidence of this medicine being in practice for at least 3,000 years. It is a complete and holistic medical system that has been successfully treating millions of people in Asia and Europe, and since the 60s, in the United States. Until the introduction of modern medicine in Asia, this was the only form of medicine being practiced in Asia. Acupuncture is the practice of inserting fine needles into specific points along meridians — or channels — that run throughout the body. Doing this activates the body’s qi (pronounced chee, or life force, vital energy) and promotes natural healing by enhancing the recuperative power of the body. It can also improve overall well-being. It is a safe and effective way to treat a wide variety of medical problems.
DOES ACUPUNCTURE HURT?
Acupuncture is virtually painless. For those nonetheless afraid of needles, services are also provided using different modalities that mimic the effects usually created with acupuncture. If there is any discomfort it is usually mild.
IS ACUPUNCTURE SAFE?
Acupuncture is extremely safe. It is a natural, drug-free therapy. The needles are all disposable, one-time use, sterile needles. The stainless steel needles are individually packaged and sealed by the manufacturer using sterile conditions and is only opened by the practitioner just prior to use. The risk of needle contamination and subsequent infection is essentially nonexistent.
DURING THE ACUPUNCTURE TREATMENT…
In response to the needles, patients typically experience a light, “floating,” dreamy sensation, as endorphins (feel-good hormones) flood the body and are released into the bloodstream. The effect of the treatment is very balancing and stabilizing, resulting in a calmer, more peaceful state of mind. Many patients often fall asleep during their treatment, only to wake up feeling very relaxed.
HOW LONG IS EACH TREATMENT?
The first visit lasts about one and half hours and includes a thorough intake and review of the patient’s medical history and the acupuncture treatment itself. Follow-up visits last one hour and include consultation time to evaluate progress and patient concerns.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS WILL I NEED?
The number of treatments will vary from person to person and are based on the patient’s individual goals. Some people experience immediate relief; others may take longer to achieve results. Plan on a minimum of a month to see significant changes, and most frequently, biweekly visits are recommended during the initial stages. For Women’s Health issues, plan on a minimum of a three months protocol in order to re-establish the body’s ability regulate its cycle.
IF I AM HEALTHY, WHY SHOULD I RECEIVE ACUPUNCTURE?
Even if you feel you have no health concerns, acupuncture can still benefit you. During and following a treatment, many people will experience a profound state of relaxation. When the body is relaxed, it more effectively and with less impact handle stress, viruses/bacteria, emotions and other stressors. Also, because acupuncture improves circulation, it is effective in increasing oxygen supply to parts of the body that may otherwise be under-supplied. If your brain’s oxygen supply is increased, for example, you may notice more clarity and cohesion of thoughts. An overall oxygen increase in the body usually improves energy and stamina. Furthermore, when nearing flu season or preparing to travel on-board a plane or in another enclosed atmosphere, acupuncture is recommended to strengthen your immune system.
WHAT DOES ACUPUNCTURE TREAT?
The World Health Organization, an internationally recognized authority concerning health-related matters has compiled a list of symptoms, conditions, and diseases that have been proven as effectively treated by acupuncture. There is also a list for diseases, symptoms and conditions for which therapeutic effect have been shown with acupuncture. Take a look at the lists below.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Chronic Fatigue
- Common Cold
- Dental pain
- Digestive troubles
- Emotional difficulties
- Eye Problems
- Reproductive problems
- Shoulder pain
- Sleep disturbances
- Sore throat
- Tennis elbow
- Tooth pain
- Trigeminal Neuralgia
- Urinary Tract infections
- Wrist pain
- Facial paralysis
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Low back pain
- Menstrual irregularities
- Morning sickness
- Premenstrual Syndrome
Very often patients will come to us as what they call a "last resort " after trying medications, medical equipment, and even surgery. Usually spending a lot of money and time in the process of trying to find relief. At Johnston Acupuncture Clinic, Dr. Zeng offers you a no cost 15 minute consultation. You can come in and chat with him about your symptoms, bring reports from specialists, discuss other failed treatment methods and together see if acupuncture might be a good option or not for you. In many cases, our patients find a measure of relief while some even find total relief. Although individual results can vary, the majority of patients are very pleased with the results and we hear from them very often that they wish they had tried acupuncture first.
Chinese herbal medicine, is based on an individualized pattern diagnosis as well as a disease diagnosis. Your pattern is made up of your signs and symptoms, and the constitution your body ( weak, strong, hot, cold, young, old etc.) Herbal treatment is designed to treat your individual pattern as well as the symptom or disease. Western medicines are prescribed for their effectiveness on a group of people with a disease, such as bronchitis. In Chinese Herbology a condition such as bronchitis can be classified and treated as one of many diseases such as Lung dry heat, Lung Hot Phlegm, Lung Cold Phlegm, Liver attacking Lung etc. and each conformation is treated differently based on the symptoms and the patient's constitution.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF USING CHINESE HERBAL MEDICINE?
The most significant advantages of the Chinese Herbal Medicine are: thousands of years in usage, revitalizes the body's natural ability to heal, treats the root (cause) not the symptom (branch), long-term results, individualized treatment, little or no side effects. Like western medications, Chinese herbal medicines can relieve symptoms. However, they also nourish and regulate the Qi, blood, and body fluids thereby aiding the function of internal organs to alleviate the root cause of the disease e.g. support the immune system to heal the bronchitis.
WHAT ARE THE INGREDIENTS OF THE HERBS?
Chinese herbal medicine includes plants and mineral ingredients. The majority of ingredients are from natural plants which include roots, stems, twigs, tubers, rhizomes, bark, leaves, flowers. There are no chemical additives involved. Each kind of herbal formula normally contains about 12 herbs, selected for their synergistic qualities. It is the selection and combination process that enables each formula to be individually designed.
CAN THE HERBS HAVE SIDE EFFECTS FOR ME?
Chinese herbal medicines are classified as food and they very seldom have unwanted side effects. They are a gentle treatment with gradually increasing results. However, as stated above, Chinese herbal medicines are designed for the patient's individual pattern. Even though herbs are foods the do possess strong medicinal properties, and when used incorrectly they may contribute to unwanted side effects and adverse reactions. So, it is essential to get a consultation from a licensed acupuncturist or a Doctor of Oriental Medicine to make sure you can get an appropriate diagnosis and a formula of high quality that is free of additives.
In addition, Chinese herbal medicines often have unexpected positive effects. For example, a patient who came in for lower back pain and received acupuncture and herbs came back a few weeks later and reported that her chronic asthma had "miraculously" disappeared. The reason for this is that, according to the diagnosis, the cause of the lower back pain was that her kidney Qi (energy) was deficient. This was also the cause of the patient's asthma. When the kidney was strengthened, not only the lower back pain was stopped but also the asthma naturally went away.
HOW ARE THE HERBS TAKEN?
Chinese Herbs have been called the "bitter and sour medicine". The commonly seen forms for internal treatment are decoction (strong teas), syrup and pill. The concentrated pills are most commonly used since they eliminate the need for drinking bitter teas, are small in size and dosage, convenient to use.
DO I HAVE TO STOP TAKING OTHER MEDICINES?
Generally, there is no reaction between Chinese herbs and prescription drugs. However, since little information is available on these possible interactions, caution and consulting a trained herbalist is important. Herbs should be taken apart from the prescribed medication if possible to limit any interaction. It is advisable that patients inform their physician that they are seeing a Chinese Herbalist, and that no medication is stopped unless advised to do so. The dosage of a prescription medication may need to be adjusted as the need the the drug decreases.
HOW CAN I GET HERBS?
For the best results herbs should be prescribed by a licensed acupuncturist or Doctor of Oriental medicine. As stated above, Chinese Herbal Medicine is an individualized therapy. It recognizes that even though two people may share the same disease, a person with a strong conformation will fight disease differently than a person with a weak conformation. By using a precise combination of different herbs, a practitioner can resolve the imbalances of the body's functions. There are hundreds of herbs for different kinds of illnesses. With the growing popularity of Chinese Medicine herbs many are now available in retail stores, please remember diagnosis is an art and science requiring training and that the quality of retail herbs are in doubt.