What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of the oldest, most commonly used medical procedures in the world.

Originating in China more than 2,000 years ago, the term acupuncture describes a family of procedures involving stimulation of anatomical points on the body by a variety of techniques. American practices of acupuncture incorporate medical traditions from China, Japan, Korea, and other countries. The acupuncture technique that has been most studied scientifically involves penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic needles that are manipulated by the hands or by electrical stimulation.

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What illnesses can Chinese Medicine treat?

Chinese Medicine is a complete system of medicine that can help hundreds of symptoms and conditions with positive results. Among conditions most frequently treated are the following:

  • Vision
    Macular degeneration, Glaucoma, Stargardt’s Syndrome, Retinal Detachment, Optic Neuritis, Diabetic Retinopathy, Retinitis Pigmentosa, Optic Nerve Atrophy, Cataracts, Usher’s Syndrome, Myopia, Lazy Eye, Uveitis, Retinal Occlusion, Dry Eyes
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  • Musculoskeletal
    Neck pain, Shoulder pain, Tennis elbow, Carpal tunnel syndrome, Back pain, Knee pain, Sciatica, Arthritis, Foot pain, Sports injuries
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  • Neurological
    Headache, Stroke, Stress disorders, Bell’s palsy, Diabetic peripheral neuropathy, Neuralgia, Epilepsy, Spasms
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  • Reproductive Issues
    Fertility, Pregnancy, Irregular or Painful menstruation, PMS, Menopause, Fibroids, Cysts, Sexual dysfunction
  • Respiratory
    Asthma, Cough, Sore throat, Common cold, Flu, Hay fever, Allergies, Sinusitis, Low immunity
  • Gastrointestinal
    Constipation, Diarrhea, Acid reflux, Nausea, Stomach pain, Indigestion, Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Peptic ulcers
  • Circulatory Problems
    High blood pressure, Angina pectoris, Arteriosclerosis, Anemia, Poor circulation, Heart disorders
  • Emotional Issues
    Anxiety, Depression, Irritability, Mood swings, Sleep disorders
  • Other Supportive Therapy
    Chronic fatigue, Impact cancer treatment, Addictions, Skin disorders, Thyroid imbalance, Hepatitis, Fibromyalgia

How does acupuncture work?

Scientific research has discovered that acupuncture points show a variety of unique bioelectric properties. Stimulation of acupuncture points cause definite physiological reactions affecting brain activity, such as releasing pain killing endorphins, influencing blood pressure, enhancing the immune system, balancing the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and enhancing the endocrine system. Most of all, acupuncture stimulates the body’s natural ability to heal itself and regain homeostasis.

Wellness acupuncture treatment is rendered based on a TCM medical diagnosis that includes an assessment of pulse quality, shape and color of the tongue, medical history and whole body evaluation. Following the diagnosis, acupuncture points are chosen on the body along acupuncture meridians, or pathways. Needle stimulation of these points increases the body’s healing energy. The body has approximately one thousand acupuncture points.

Qi (pronounced “chee”) is based on the on the ancient Chinese theory of the flow of energy. Qi and blood flow through distinct meridians or pathways that cover and fill the body, somewhat like the nerves and blood vessels. Open meridians are essential for optimal health.

Qi circulates throughout the body within the meridians, which also are related to the internal organs. Qi surfaces to the skin level at specific points. Good health depends on the smooth flow of qi. When the flow of qi is blocked due to trauma, poor diet, stress, hereditary conditions, environmental factors or excessive emotional issues, the system is disrupted. Illness is then generated. In accordance with ancient theory, acupuncture allows qi to flow to areas where it is defiecient and away from areas where it is in excess. In this way, acupuncture regulates and restores a harmonious energetic balance in the body. There is a Chinese saying, “There is no pain if there is free flow; if there is pain, there is no free flow.”

Is acupuncture painful and what will I feel during the treatment?

At the time the needle is insterted, some may feel soreness or slight pain. Others may feel nothing. Common qi sensations around the needles include: tingling, electrical sensations which may travel above or below the needle, or a sense of swelling at the insertion site. Stimulation of needles can be done manually, or by attaching electrodes that transmit a weak current.

Some people are energized by treatment, while others feel relaxed. If you experience discomfort during or after the treatment, it is usually mild and short term. Because the purpose of acupuncture is to balance your body, there are no long term negative side effects. On the contrary, relaxation and a sense of well being often occur during and after treatment. Often patients become so relaxed that they sleep during treatment.

Are the needles sterile?

All the needles used are pre-sterilized, non-toxic and disposable. Communication of disease through acupuncture has not been an issue in the U.S., a record few other health care professions can claim.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved acupuncture needles for use by licensed practitioners in 1996. The FDA requires manufacturers of acupuncture needles to label them for single use only. Relatively few complication from the use of acupuncture have been reported to the FDA when considering the millions of people treated each year and the number of acupuncture needles used.

What is the length of my treatment?

Individual treatments vary in length from 30 minutes to one hour.

Which eye conditions are commonly treated with Chinese Medicine?

Macular Degeneration * Glaucoma * Retinitis Pigmentosa * Stargardt’s Syndrome * Optic Neuritis * Retinal Detachment * Diabetic Retinopathy * Optic Nerve Atrophy * Cataracts * Usher’s Syndrome * Myopia * Lazy Eye * Uveitis * Retinal Occlusion * Dry Eyes

How are eye treatments different?

Since most eye conditions we treat in our clinic our more serious neuro-degenerative conditions, it’s necessary to provide a more intensive treatment to maximize results.

The first day consists of a vision field scan and visual acuity test to determine the patient’s current vision. Then, the patient will receive twelve 30 minute acupuncture treatments over a period of 4 days. The acupuncture points consist primarily of points on the hands, feet, and forehead. No needles go in the eyes.

A second vision test is done on the fifth day to determine if the treatment is taking effect. Eighty percent of the people receiving treatment tend to respond favorably, while about twenty percent are “non-responders.” If a positive change occurs, then treatment will continue for another six days, resulting in a total of thirty treatments in ten days.

Since many patients come from out of the area, this has proven to be the most effective way to maximize treatment.

Patients must understand that this is not a “cure.” Due to the nature of neuro-degenerative conditions, it is absolutely essential to receive ongoing maintenance to keep the vision gained from treatment. Therefore, depending on the severity of your condition, it is often necessary to return for treatment at least once a year.

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Will it be covered by my insurance?

Acupuncture is one of the CAM therapies that are more commonly covered by insurance. However, you should check with your insurer before you start treatment to see whether acupuncture will be covered for your condition and, if so, to what extent. Some insurance plans require preauthorization for acupuncture. Feel free to contact our office at 707-773-3375 to check if acupuncture treatments will be covered by your insurance.

What is herbal medicine?

Chinese herbology is a comprehensive form of medicine that can effectively address a wide variety of conditions. The Chinese Pharmacopeia includes over 360 herbs and healing substances that have been applied clinically for thousands of years. This collection of medicines is one of the most studied and dispensed in the world.

Herbal medicine can often be a safer and gentler alternative to drugs. However, herbs can be strong medicine and it is wise to consult a professional herbalist with health concerns.

We use only the highest quality products in our herbal preparations.