What is the basic concept of Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Traditional Chinese Medicine is all about balance. Imbalance means there’s either too much of something or not enough of another. When this happens, we experience symptoms. For example, consider a water faucet. When you turn on the hot and cold water at equal amounts, you have a comfortable temperature of water, but when you turn on more hot water than cold, you have warmer water. The same if you turn on more cold water than hot, your water will be cooler. So you have to bring both water temperatures to equal amounts to be balanced. Your internal system works the same way, if you have too much heat then you will feel much warmer than the person whose system is balanced. If you do not have enough internal heat you will feel cooler than a person whose system is balanced. A TCM physician can determine by means of an exam where your body is out of balance and administer treatment via acupuncture and/or Chinese herbs in order to correct the imbalance.

How does acupuncture work and does everyone receive this treatment?

meridan doll on side 137988299Thousands of years ago Chinese physicians discovered that energy circulates throughout the body along channels called meridians.

Meridians transport and direct energy to every part of the body including your organs. Good health depends on balanced circulation of energy throughout the meridians. Any misdirection, blockage, or other derangement of the amount, flow, or balance of energy may result in pain, dysfunction, and ill health.

Over centuries of trial and error and meticulous observation, the Chinese accurately mapped the locations of the meridians and identified hundreds of specific points in the meridians where energy can be accessed and stimulated when there is an aberration of flow. TCM physicans are educated to know which points on the meridians connect to what organs. Acupuncture needles are inserted into the meridians where the TCM physican has determined, by means of an exam, what organs are out of balance. The acupuncture needles do not have medicine or any chemicals on them. When they are inserted into the meridians it draws your own bodies energy to those specific points and the healing begins. The energy can then flow smoothly throughout your body.

Not all patients receive acupuncture. As previously stated, acupuncture needles use your own bodies energy, so if your body is too deficient on energy, the treatment will not work or last very long.  In this situation Chinese herbs will be prescribed to strengthen your system to correct the imbalance.

Are acupuncture needles sterile and safe?
Yes. The government requires acupuncturist to follow very strict sterilization procedures. In addition, presterilized acupuncture needles are manufactured, packaged, and shipped in sterilized containers to ensure compliance with the law.

Are your herbs safe?
Good manufacturing practices (GMP) are production and testing practices that helps to ensure a quality product. Many countries have legislated that manufacturing and distributing companies must follow GMP procedures. Basic concepts of all of these guidelines have the goal of safeguarding the health of the patient as well as producing good quality products. In the U.S. a drug or supplement may be deemed adulterated if it has passed all of the specifications tests but is found to be manufactured in a condition which violates current good manufacturing guideline. Therefore, complying with GMP is a mandatory aspect in herb supplement manufacturing.  GMP’s are enforced in the United States by the U.S. FDA

The herbal supplement manufacturing plant and suppliers that our company uses are full scale GMP certified.  The herbal supplement pills that are manufactured specifically to Dr. Ni’s formulas are inspected and tested by the U.S. FDA in order to ensure the safety of our patients.

Is acupuncture painful?
While most people express fear or anxiety of needles before their first treatment, they are amazed at how comfortable they are during treatment. Unlike hypodermic needles that are thick for injections, acupuncture needles are hair-fine and flexible. Inserted into an acupoint by a skilled acupuncturist, the needle produces little or no sensation at all. When the needle makes contact with Chi, the energy, most patients experience a slight energetic sensation.

How many treatments do I need?
Since each person is unique, the number of treatments will vary. The determining factors are the severity and history of each person’s health problem, as well as the general health of the individual. Other factor’s are the patient’s attitude, diet, lifestyle, and determination. Usually one or two treatments per week are necessary to begin with. Many conditions can be alleviated very rapidly with acupuncture and herbs. However, we are not miracle workers, you cannot expect your health problems to be solved in one or two treatments if you’ve been living with them for a long time.

How long do the acupuncture sessions last?
The needles are left in place for 20-30 minutes. If the doctor recommends acupuncture treatment on your first visit, plan 1 hour for your visit. For follow-up visits, plan 30-45 minutes.

What kind of ailments does TCM treat?
TCM treats any health concerns that can arise with the human body, except for broken bones. TCM corrects the cause of the symptoms, not the symptom or named disease. Therefore, no matter what your Western medicine doctor has diagnosed you with, all the TCM doctor needs to know is how you feel and what symptoms you are experiencing. Migraines, Diabetes, High Blood Pressure,… are just names attached to a set of symptoms. Two people with the same diagnosis can have different reasons for the cause and are treated accordingly.

Are there side effects with TCM and medications I am presently taking?
Be sure to inform the physician of all medications you are taking. The Chinese herbs we use are all natural and do not contain chemicals, therefore, they will not interfere with your medications. However, if you are taking medication that requires monitoring, such as blood pressure or insulin, we advise you to always check your blood pressure and sugar before you take your medications. We are working to bring about a correction to your health problems and if your body is correcting the problem and you take your medicine when it is not needed, you can harm yourself.

Does medical insurance cover acupuncture?
Some health insurance companies cover the acupuncture treatment and office visit, but none of them will cover the cost of herbs.  You will need to contact your health insurance company to verify if your policy has acupuncture coverage with an out of network, non-participating provider and if there are any restrictions. If you will be filing your own insurance for reimbursement, be sure to ask our Front Desk Receptionist to put your Diagnosis Codes in the computer so that they will print on your receipt that you will use to file for reimbursement. Since health insurance companies change their policies often, we encourage you to call your insurance company each year to verify coverage. Medicare & Medicaid do not offer coverage for acupuncture.

What can I expect on my first visit?
During your first visit the physician will observe your complexion and may look at your tongue, check your pulses and ask you questions about your symptoms, your eating habits and your lifestyle. Every symptom, no matter how small you may think it is, is part of the puzzle that the physician uses to get to the root cause of your health problems. Making a list of your symptoms before you come for your appointment is recommended, as we often tend to forget some of our symptoms when speaking with the physician. The acupuncture physician does not need to know what diseases or named health conditions you have, or what other doctors say the reason is for your health problems, all they need to know is what symptoms you are experiencing. The physician will then advise you of his/her findings and what treatment they recommend. Treatment can begin the day of your first visit. We ask that you please bathe before you come into the office. The acupuncture treatments usually require you to remove your socks and shoes. Be sure to wear loose fitting sleeves and pant legs.

What can I expect on my follow-up visits?
Your follow-up visits are very important for the physician to see how well you have responded to treatment. Since each person is unique, the response is different with each person. The physician will recheck your pulses each time you come in and you will need to tell the physician of any changes in your symptoms. The physician will then advise you of his/her findings and if treatment needs to continue. Remember, as long as you do everything the physician has asked of you, your recovery will be much quicker.