About Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine
Acupuncture is a minimally invasive surgical procedure and, with appropriate formal training, is safe and effective. It is important for any patient seeking acupuncture therapy to ensure that only a qualified, trained practitioner perform the procedure.
Acupuncture is commonly used to treat:
- Arthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome
- Myofascial (muscle and connective tissue) pain and impairment
- Acute strains and sprains of joints and muscles
- Sports injuries/trauma
- Whiplash and other motor vehicle injury pain
- Allergies, asthma and other respiratory problems
- Gastrointestinal issues (IBS, Crohn's Disease, gastroparesis, etc.)
- Migraine and other headache syndromes
- Vision problems (macular degeneration)
- Erectile dysfunction
- Gynecological problems like infertility and PMS
- Depression, anxiety, insomnia and stress
- And many more physical, emotional and neurological issues
Efficacy and Clinical Research
Clinical studies compiled in 2003 by the World Health Organization show the efficacy of acupuncture for a variety of conditions. To see the report and review the research, click here.
What is acupuncture like?
It is usually very relaxing and relatively painless!
Sterile, surgical steel needles (which are generally as thick as a human hair) are gently inserted through the skin and into specific points within the body, and the target tissues are stimulated for a therapeutic effect. The needles are carefully maneuvered by the practitioner to induce a tingly or slight achy sensation, and then you are left alone to relax. The needles may be retained for up to 30-45 minutes, depending on the condition.
Most people who receive acupuncture treatments find them to be extremely relaxing and restorative. Needle insertion is usually painless, with only mild discomfort, if any. You may feel a slight tingling or buzzing sensation, or a "jolt" or "twitch" sensation, a sign that your body is responding favorably to the treatment. Many patients report feeling a sensation that travels through the body from the site of the needle insertion. Side effects are minimal, and benefits can often be astoundingly effective.
A Note About "Dry Needling"
"Dry Needling" is a term used by physical therapists, chiropractors, and others to describe a form of acupuncture, where tight painful muscle knots are vigorously needled (with an acupuncture needle). The American Medical Association has stated that "Dry Needling is indistinguishable from acupuncture."
In the State of Washington, physical therapists, chiropractors, and other allied health professionals are not lawfully permitted to perform this procedure. Acupuncture is a skilled intervention that requires state licensure and a minimum of 600 hours of supervised practice, along with 1,700 hours of didactic training, to perform safely. The invasive use of an acupuncture needle is not within the scope of practice of physical therapists, chiropractors, athletic trainers, or massage therapists. Unless you are seeing a licensed East Asian Medical Provider (EAMP/Licensed Acupuncturist) you can assume the person inserting needles into your body is not qualified to perform the procedure safely.
To learn more about the risks of "dry needling" please visit the National Center for Acupuncture Safety and Integrity's website at acupuncturesafety.org
For a more detailed description of acupuncture, click here.
What other procedures are used?
Acupuncture is commonly paired with other Chinese medical procedures, including moxibustion, cupping, gua sha (dermal friction), bleeding techniques, and electroacupuncture.
Moxibustion: This is an ancient therapy commonly paired with acupuncture. A warming therapy that uses a stick of carbonized mugwort to introduce warmth into acupuncture points or regions on the body. Moxibustion may also be used on the surface of the body, where a tiny thread of moxa wool is burned directly on the skin.
Cupping: Glass, bamboo, or plastic cups are used to create a vacuum and applied to the body (see image below). Cupping is either stationary or "running" (moving the cups along the skin). Cupping is useful for breaking up stagnation, helping to relieve pain, etc.
Gua Sha: Also known as dermal friction, this procedure of vigorously warming and scraping the skin with a hand held tool made of ceramic, plastic, or water buffalo horn. Gua sha is useful with the treatment of the common cold, and is a popular treatment option to release muscle adhesions which cause pain.
Bleeding: Bleeding involves puncturing the skin with a lancet and removing small amounts of blood. It is very effective in cases of blunt trauma, pain, swelling, toxic sores or insect stings, neuropathy, etc., and is commonly used with cupping.
Electroacupuncture: A small electrostimulating device is connected to acupuncture needles, and a micro-current of electricity passed through them. This technique is helpful for pain, neuropathy, fractures, stroke recovery, etc.
These treatments are commonly paired with needle acupuncture to create the right treatment for you.
What should I expect from a typical office visit?
It takes about an hour (longer for your first appointment to complete some paperwork). I will ask you detailed questions about your main complaint and your overall health history and answer any questions you might have. After the interview I will take your pulse and look at your tongue (two main diagnostic methods used in Chinese Medicine). I will devise a treatment plan and move on to the treatment, which involves the procedure(s) listed above.
You should feel relaxed and energized at the end of the treatment. Most people say that getting acupuncture gives them energy and stamina. Some have reported feeling like they have just awakened from a refreshing nap.
What should I do on the day of my treatment?
If it is your first office call, please arrive fifteen minutes prior to your appointment to fill out a health questionnaire.
- Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing.
- Eat something nourishing at least two hours before your appointment.
- Refrain from drinking alcohol or performing any vigorous physical activity the day of your treatment.
- After your treatment, take ample time to relax and drink plenty of water.
About Herbal Medicine
Chinese Herbal Medicine is safe, economical, and effective.
Many people are turning to herbal medicine for their health care needs. Prescriptions are expensive; side effects can create additional health problems. That's why more people are relying on herbal therapy as the cost of drugs and insurance continue to rise. People are in search of alternatives that work, and herbal medicine works.
Herbs have a long history of use throughout the world. Chinese herbs are safe and effective. The herbs used in my practice undergo strict quality control to ensure purity and potency, and organically grown herbs are used whenever possible. Together with acupuncture, they form a powerful treatment for a variety of complaints.
Chinese herbs can help:
- boost energy and improve digestion
- reduce pain and inflammation
- regulate metabolism and endocrine systems
- speed healing post-surgery
- clear phlegm and toxic accumulations
- many other health concerns
I have a complete Chinese herbal pharmacy onsite and will prescribe the right formula for you.