What is Acupuncture?
Because of the way Chinese medicine was introduced in California, it is called Acupuncture. Individuals who practice Chinese medicine are called acupuncturists. In fact there are actually five branches of Chinese medicine, and acupuncture is but one. Today, Acupuncture refers to the insertion of small needles into points on the body.

(See below for more information on Traditional Chinese Medicine.)

Does acupuncture treatment hurt?
Most patients have stated that there is little or no pain as very fine, sterile, disposable needles are used. Acupressure treatments are available for patients who prefer it to acupuncture.

What is a treatment like?
On your first visit I take a complete history, which normally runs 20 to 30 minutes. In the case of very complex issues it may be longer, and simple conditions often take less time. You will be receive acupuncture, acupressure and/or moxibustion (see below). Needles are left in from 15 to 30 minutes depending on the diagnosis. After the needles are removed herbal recommendations are made if needed. We also discuss what you can do on your own to aid the healing process.

How many treatments will I need?

The treatment process has a beginning, middle and end. In the beginning stage treatments are given 2 times a week until the major complaint is clearing but not resolved. Then treatments continue on a weekly basis until the condition is resolved. Frequency then reduces to 1 – 2 times a month in order to stabilize the condition.

The normal treatment course involves 6 – 10 visitis. In the case of chronic conditions monthly visits continue for an extended time.

Can children be treated with Acupuncture?
Children of all ages are treated and respond well to Chinese medicine treatments. There are special protocols for infants and toddlers where the treatment is accomplished by massaging the subject’s hands in very specific patterns. Older children respond very well to acupressure. Some herbal formulas, in decreased doses, are also effective for children.

How long does it take a treatment to work?
As a rule, conditions that have been around for a long time take longer time to resolve. A new condition often clears quickly. Regardless, within 3 treatments we will have a good idea of how long it will take and be prepared to discuss alternatives if it is not progressing.

How should I prepare for a treatment?
The most important thing you as the patient can do to prepare for a treatment is to really want the condition to improve.

What are the five branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?
All five share a common diagnosis system. Once a diagnosis has been made a treatment plan is created which may use one or more of the Five Branches:

  • Acupuncture – Insertion of small needles into points on the body.
  • Moxibustion — The word moxibustion comes from Japanese “mogusa” (mugwort) blended with the Latin word “combustio” (burning), hence it literally means “burning of mugwort.” With moxibustion the points are warmed instead of being needled.
  • Herbs – From its earliest manifestations herbs have been a part of the treatment strategy in Chinese Medicine. Depending on what is being treated they are delivered as loose herbs, powders, oils. wines, patches and pills. I do not use loose herbs or powders in my practice and refer patients out in the rare cases they are needed.
  • Massage – Chinese medical massage is called Tui Na, which translates as Push Grasp. Some have said it is the basis for Western massage. Its gentlest form is acupressure.
  • Qi Gong — Qi Gong translates as energy movement and the form practiced by individuals throughout the San Francisco Bay Area takes the form of exercises where people move their energy. Medical Qi Gong is a form of energy movement where the practitioner moves the patient’s energy for them.

Why does Traditional Chinese Medicine (TMC) provide the same treatments for different illnesses and the different treatments for the same illness?
TCM uses distinct theories of diagnosis. People with the same illness may have different symptoms and people with different illnesses may have the same symptoms.