How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture allows Qi and blood to flow to areas where it is deficient and away from where it is in excess. In this way, acupuncture regulates and restores the harmonious energetic balance of the body. Modern Western medicine cannot completely explain how acupuncture works, however, several studies support Chinese methodology.

Does acupuncture hurt?

Some patients feel nothing at all, however many may experience a slight aching, heaviness, distention, tingling, warmth or electric sensation either around the needle or traveling along the affected meridian.

How do I get diagnosed?

Practitioners of Chinese medicine diagnose what is out of balance in a person’s body through four examinations. First, he or she will ask about the patient’s symptoms, medical history and the course of the disease. Next, the practitioner will visually inspect the patient’s face and body concentrating especially on the patient’s tongue and its coating. Third, he or she will listen to the patient’s breathing, smell for any unusual body odors and look for any apparent excretions. Finally, the practitioner will palpate various areas of the body, especially the wrists, to determine the patient’s pulses and their strength. Assembly of this information will lead the practitioner to some conclusions and dictate a course of treatment.

How do I choose an acupuncturist?

You should ask about where the practitioner was trained, how long the training was, how long he or she has been in practice and what experience the practitioner has in treating your specific ailment. Acupuncture is a licensed and regulated healthcare profession in Colorado. Be sure the practitioner you choose is licensed and ask if they are board certified by NCCAOM. Those who have passed this exam are entitled to add the designation of Dipl.Ac. (Diplomate of Acupuncture) after his or her name.


Chinese Herbs

How does Chinese herbal medicine differ from Western folk herbalism?

Chinese herbal medicine is especially good for promoting the body’s ability to heal and recuperate. It can treat acute diseases like intestinal flu and the common cold as well as chronic diseases like gynecological disorders, digestive disorders and allergies. The TCM patient receives a custom-written herbal prescription incorporating several natural herbs designed to treat both the symptom and the disease.

Where do Chinese herbs come from?

The majority of Chinese herbal medicines come from plant sources. At times, animal and mineral ingredients are used as well.

Should I stop taking my present medication when I take Chinese herbs?

Those taking Chinese medicines frequently feel enough relief that they can reduce the amount of certain pain medications, muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatories. However, a patient’s primary care physician should be consulted before eliminating any prescribed medicine. In fact, it is best to keep both your physician and herbalist up-to-date on what medicines – herbal and otherwise – you are taking.

Do Chinese herbal medicines have any side effects?

Chinese herbal medicines have a very low toxicity compared to common, over-the-counter Western drugs. When prescribed according to a correct TCM pattern diagnosis, they should have virtually no side effects. However, as with all medicines, you should talk things over with your herbalist if you suspect that you are having some side effects from the herbs you are taking.

How long will it be before I see results from the use of Chinese herbal medicines?

People are kept on herbal formulas for many weeks to give the body time to re-establish balance. Results can be expected in a few days for acute conditions. For chronic conditions, some results should be seen within 3-6 weeks.

How do I know if my practitioner is professionally trained in Chinese herbal medicine?

NCCAOM has created a certification process for Chinese herbal medicine. Those who have studied 1800 hours and passed national board exams are entitled to add the designation Dipl. C.H. (Diplomate of Chinese Herbs) after their names.