What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is one of the oldest medical systems that has been in practice in some form since around 2000 B.C. It is based on the on the ideology that the body and mind are interconnected with with the greater external environment and our body has is an intricate energetic system/pathways that runs throughout our body (meridians) to keep our body in balance. The life/vital force or energy, Qi (pronounced chee), flows through the meridians within and around us, and is responsible for the healthy function of our body and mind. When there is an imbalance, there is illness, pain, and/or discomfort (our body/mind does not feel optimal). TCM treats the imbalances of the body to restore organ function, circulation, and Qi flow. A major differentiating aspect of TCM is the need to treat the body as a whole and to seek out the root cause of the illness/problem.
TCM includes acupuncture, herbal medicine, tuina (massage), moxibustion (a form of medicinal heat therapy), cupping, nutrition, lifestyle counseling, meditation, qi gong (breathing/movement exercises).
What is acupuncture? How does it work?
Acupuncture is treatment based on Traditional Chinese medicine system where sterile, solid, hair thin needles are inserted into specific points in the body along the meridians that course throughout the body. It stimulates release of endorphins and improves circulation. Endorphins in your body are potent and natural painkillers, they enhance immunity, and reduce effects of stress on your body.
Does it hurt?
Acupuncture needles are much thinner than hypodermic needles (the type we get shots from). You may or may not feel a quick pinch when the needle is inserted depending on the point selected. After the insertion, the patient may feel a localized heavy or cramping like sensation for a 2-15 seconds on some points. This is what we call de qi in acupuncture. The needles we use are sterilized, used only once, and disposed of appropriately.
How many treatments will I need?
In Chinese medicine/ acupuncture, we believe each individual is different so we go through a thorough intake and evaluation. The number of treatments will depend on the health of the patient, duration and severity of symptoms, consistency of treatments, and how the patient’s body respond to the treatments. To start off, patients can expect 3-10 treatments for acute issues.
How should I prepare for the treatment?
It is not suggested to come in for treatments if you are intoxicated, famished or too full, or extremely weak. It is best if you have a little bit to eat before treatments. Remember to wear comfortable clothes (if possible) and that your legs up to your knees are accessible. Gowns are available in the treatment rooms.
How will I feel after the treatment?
Different people will react differently to acupuncture. Often times people feel relaxed and sleepy. Others will feel energized but we still suggest to take it easy after treatments. If you have pain, the pain may be relieved after the treatment but sometimes it may take a couple hours or longer to feel the effects. In certain conditions, people may feel a little worse before symptoms get better.
What is herbal medicine?
The use of medicinal herbs has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries. Each herb has its own function and properties. The herbal pharmacopeia in the system is comprised of thousands of herbs ranging from plant, animal, and mineral products. In an herbal formula, a combination of herbs are combined to best suit a person’s state and condition.
In modern day, we no longer have to cook our own herbs if we do not have the time, space, or desire. Now GMP certified companies make the fully lab tested herbs in granule, capsule/tablet, and liquid forms.
What is moxibustion?
It is a form of heat therapy where the dried and refined Mugwart (Ai Ye) plant is burned. There are many ways the herb is burned / used to generate heat for therapeutic use on the body.
What if I get sick before my treatment?
If you catch a cold or get sick before a scheduled treatment, still give me a call. Traditional Chinese medicine can treat cold / flu symptoms and help your immune system fight the illness faster.
Do you take insurance?
In California, acupuncture is considered an essential health benefit (EHB) under the Affordable Care Act (ACA aka: Obamacare) for certain conditions like chronic pain and nausea.
We will need to verify if your policy covers acupuncture since policies within the same insurance company can differ quite a bit in deductible, percentage covered, and services covered. We currently are in the process of getting credentialed to go in-network, but in the mean time, we can still submit the claims if your policy covers acupuncture.
If the patient chooses to use their insurance, coverage does not guarantee payment, so patient should understand that they will responsible for all non covered services and/ or co-insurance applicable to the visit.