Common Questions and Answers About Traditional Chinese Medicine:

 

What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a complete medical system, which has been around for thousands of years. TCM includes;  acupuncture, tuina massage, herbal medicine, exercises and dietary changes.  The ancient Chinese medical texts say, “If there is blockage, there is pain (or illness).  If there is no blockage, there is no pain (no illness).”  TCM works by promoting the body’s own natural healing ability, allowing the body to fight off disease and illness, increase energy and generally be healthy.

 

Does Acupuncture work?

Absolutely!  In the last decade the number of studies on acupuncture has soared and most have confirmed that for a variety of conditions (allergies, headaches, insomnia, muscle pain, arthritis, depression, and many more) that TCM can match or surpass the effects of typical medications with significantly less side effects.

 

How does Acupuncture work?

There are two basic views on how acupuncture works.  The first view is the traditional Chinese view which discusses the Qi (breath of life) that flows through every living thing.  The other view is more scientific and believes that the needles stimulate the nervous system and the release of specific chemicals and hormones to help the body to heal naturally.  

 

Describe how Acupuncture and TCM works to treat common disorders?

TCM looks at the whole person not just their main complaint; by asking questions, observation, tongue diagnosis and pulse diagnosis, we can determine where the imbalance is within the body.  Once the imbalance is determined, we use specific herbal medicine and acupuncture points to help the body to begin to heal itself.   TCM strives to treat the whole person, not the disease (illness).

 

What is a typical treatment like?

New patient/ Initial intake begins with a discussion, and physical exam that includes looking at your tongue and reading your pulse, this helps to determine the root cause of your condition or health concern and develop a health care plan of treatments with Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs or Tui-Na Manual Therapy.  After the intake we will go to the treatment room, you will be asked to lie on a massage table or sit in a chair and small sterile needles will be inserted into specific points based on your diagnosis. Afterwards, the needles will be removed and we will discuss follow-up treatments and any at home recommendations.  The number of needles used, and length of time the needles are retained are determined on your age and specific situation and condition. Everyone experiences acupuncture treatments differently, and no two treatments are the same.  At follow-up treatments, we will review how you are progressing and make modifications in treatment as needed.  I believe the best results in Acupuncture treatment are achieved by working together. 

 

Do I have to take my clothes off?

No.  Most of the points used are located below the knees and elbows.  In some cases back or abdomen points will be used; in these cases you will be offered a gown to wear and/or blankets to cover.  Your comfort and modesty is our top priority.

 

How long before I see results?

It depends.  Each person is unique and reacts differently.  In general, most patients see some relief in 4-6 treatments.   For example if you are coming in for a sprained ankle or back pain which recently happened, you generally would began to see improvement in a few treatments.  However, if you are coming in for treatment of a 5-year battle with insomnia, the number of treatments may be more.  There is no hard fast rule.

 

Will I need to keep coming forever?

The goal is to get you feeling better as soon as possible and help give you guidelines to follow at home to prevent any recurrence.  Most conditions do not require on-going treatment once we have resolved the initial issue.  In some cases maintenance treatments are needed.  While I enjoy seeing my patients – I prefer for them to be healthy and happy,  and spending their time outside of my clinic!

 

Can I continue my other medical treatments?

Absolutely!  TCM has very few side effects and works well with all other modalities:  massage, chiropractors, and western medical doctors. 

 

Does it hurt? 

Most patients say a resounding no.  The insertion of the needle is often compared to a mosquito bite.  Once the needle is inserted, the sensation is described as warmth, a dull achy feeling or a heavy sensation, a tingly, or electric sensation.  Generally, patients get a 20-30 minute nap and find the entire process very relaxing.  Everybody experiences acupuncture differently, and each acupuncture treatment is a different experience.  Some people feel more relaxed during and after a treatment, while others feel more energized after a treatment.  Every effort is made to make you feel comfortable during a treatment.

 

I don’t like shots!

Me either!  Many patients are nervous about the needles believing that it will be similar to getting a shot, I promise, it’s not.  After the first needle most of these patients breathe a long sigh of relief, and when they realize they have been suffering needlessly of headaches, sleepless nights, pain, etc. for many years, they become hooked on acupuncture.

 

What training does an acupuncturist go through?

In Minnesota, a licensed acupuncturist will receive 3,000 - 5,000 (plus) hours of training from a nationally accredited school.  Upon completion they are required to sit for 3 to 4 medical board exams covering both Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine.  Only afterwards will the Minnesota Medical Board grant their license.  In contrast, many other health professionals are able to receive only 100 hours of acupuncture training and add “medical acupuncture” to their Chiropractic services.  If you are going to have an acupuncture treatment, have it done by a licensed acupuncturist (L.Ac.).

 

Common Questions and Answers About Chinese Herbal Medicine:

Acupuncture was the first Chinese modality to gain wide acceptance in the West; however, Chinese Herbal medicine is the main modality or treatment method within traditional Chinese medicine or TCM.  Chinese Herbal medicine is establishing itself as one of the most popular and effective alternative therapies in the West. 

 

What is the difference between Western herbalism and Chinese herbal Medicine?

Western herbalism primarily treats diseases or symptoms, such as a headache, cough, menstrual pain, ect.  Chinese herbal medicine is based on an individualized pattern diagnosis as well as disease diagnosis, meaning that the patient receives a custom-written herbal prescription designed to treat not just the symptoms or disease but also each person's individual pattern, this brings the person back into harmony and that in itself resolves the symptoms and disease.  Western herbalism often uses single herbs or groups of herbs that treat the same symptom or disease for everyone.  TCM formulas include 6-18 herbs to address the main symptom as well as the individual TCM pattern diagnosis.

 

Are all the Herbs vegetable in origin?

Chinese Herbal medicine uses ingredients from all three kingdoms; vegetable, animal, and mineral.  The majority are from vegetable sources.  Leaves, flowers, twigs, stems, roots, tubers, rhizomes, and barks are some of the vegetable parts used. 

 

Do all the Herbs come from China?

The Chinese have adopted and incorporated into their materia medica herbs from all over the world.  What makes these "Chinese" herbs is that they are prescribed according to Chinese medical theory and based on a TCM pattern diagnosis.  Chinese herbal medicine works for Westerners just as well as for Chinese.  Chinese herbal medicine has been used successfully in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Austrailia, New Zealand, and throughout Asia.

 

How are Chinese Herbs taken?

Rosemary prescribes Chinese Herbal medicine in the form of high quality tea-pills or capsules available only to licensed practitioners and Doctors of Chinese medicine.  It is important to have an herbal consult separate from acupuncture treatment as herbal medicine takes much education, knowledge, skill and strategy to determine appropriate dosing and modifications as your condition begins to change and improve.  Herbal medicine and acupuncture do compliment and enhance the benefits of treatment.  For example, if you are only able to come in for acupuncture 1-2 times per week, herbal treatment allows you to continue treatment daily.    Rosemary has many years of training and education in Chinese Herbal medicine, including advanced training on Chinese Herbs and interactions with Western pharmaceutical drugs.  Specific dosing guidelines will be discussed at your herbal consult and modifications may be required as your condition changes. 

 

 

Does Chinese Herbal medicine have side effects?

No, not if the formula has been correctly selected to meet the pattern diagnosis.  Chinese herbals have very low toxicity compared to Western drugs, and if prescribed correctly, they should have no side effects, only beneficial healing results.  Often patients report improvement with other areas or concerns that were not specifically part of why the formula was prescribed, this added benefit is due to treating the pattern diagnosis and not specific Western diagnosed diseases, this sort of side-effect is common in course and treatment with Chinese Herbal medicine.  For example, a patient taking a course of Chinese herbal medicine for his low back pain reported that the hair on his head was starting to grow back.  It is also important to have follow up sessions to report how the Chinese herbal treatment is going, and report changes or concerns and allow for modifications in continued course of treatment.

 

What does Chinese Herbal medicine treat?

Chinese Herbal medicine is especially good for promoting the body's ability to heal itself, it is very good at treating chronic diseases such as allergies, gynecological disorders, autoimmune diseases, and degenerative diseases due to aging.  It also treats acute diseases like flus, and common colds.   Any condition that can be treated with acupuncture can be treated with Chinese herbals, and many conditions have better improvement with combining herbs and acupuncture in course of treatment.  Chinese herbals are something that patients can take everyday to improve thier health condition, whereas they maybe cannot come in to the clinic to have acupuncture everyday.

 

How long does it take to see results with Chinese Herbal medicine?

In acute conditions, results can be occur within a matter of minutes.  In chronic situations, benefits should be seen within two weeks.  Chronic conditions may require taking Chinese herbal medicines for a longer time.  Acute conditions may only require a week or two of Chinese Herbal medicine.  Children often respond very quickly to Chinese Herbal medicine.  It is important to have follow-up visits while treating health conditions with Chinese medicine in accordance with your health care plan and your goals for health and well being. 

 

Questions & Answers

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