What kind of education did you receive?

I am a Board Certified Acupuncture Physician - this means I did 4 years of both didactic and clinical training. As per my Californian Schooling at  Emperor's College of Traditional Oriental Medicine (ECTOM) - there were four legs to the program: Oriental Medicine, Acupuncture,  Herbal Medicine and Western Medicine - this was just the book work. This is then all brought together in the 970 hours of clinical rotations I did. Starting with Oriental Medicine, I studied in their four year program training in the integration of Eastern and Western medicine, Tai Chi, Medical Qi Gong; additional courses focusing in depth on the array of medical conditions commonly seen by acupuncturists ranging from acute to chronic conditions. The acupuncture department focused on helping us build a strong understanding of meridian and point theory, acupuncture point location and a solid understanding of the musculoskeletal system of the human body. Further more I was trained in the precision of needling, electrostimulation methods, moxibustion, cupping, and gua sha. The herbal portion of my education focused on the biomedical pharmacopeia - developing the knowledge and understanding of using 450 plus herbs and the combinations to create formulas for clinical application. Finally, since in the state of California we are recognized as "primary care providers" we are versed in administering western medical diagnostic tools such as blood labs, imaging tests such as Xrays, CT Scans and MRI tests as part of our Western Training. The education I received allows us to be proficient in being an integrative medical professional. 

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is just one form of therapy used within the cohesive system of healing known as Oriental Medicine. It involves the insertion of fine, sterile needles to "re-program" and restore normal functions in the body. When the acupuncture needles are inserted they send signals to the brain that promote healing by activating the body's existing self-healing abilities.

Is Acupuncture Safe?

No one has ever died from acupuncture applied by a trained and licensed practitioner. Not a bad track record when you consider that the medicine is guesstimated to be nearly 5,000 years old. Needles generally cause no bleeding or pain, and the needles are used once and are then properly disposed of as biomedical waste. Among many other aspects, acupuncturists are trained in exact location, angle as well as depth of insertion of the acupuncture needle to avoid any injuries (see Education section).

What are the side effects of Acupuncture?

One of the great advantages of acupuncture is that, other than maybe a very rare tiny bruise with those that bruise easily, there are no side effects. I have heard patients tell me their energy increases and they sleep better many times after a treatment if you count that as a side effect? :)

This is the most commonly question asked about acupuncture because, understandably, many people associate needles with pain. Acupuncture needles are about the thickness of a dog's whisker or thinner, so they are virtually painless when inserted. Acupuncture needles are very thin and solid. They are not designed to cut the skin, but to displace the skin and stimulate areas beneath the skin. Naturally, in Western culture we associate needles with the traditional hypodermic hollow needles used to draw blood or to inject medication. Acupuncture needles are a completely different tool entirely. After insertion, the practitioner will bring the needle to the appropriate depth. You will then usually feel a very unique sensation that can vary from tingling, to heaviness, to warmth, or nothing at all but most importantly, not pain. Each person's experience is different. Should you experience any discomfort, inform the practitioner, and they will adjust the needles accordingly.

Does Acupuncture hurt?

What are acupoints?

The acupoints are the areas along a meridian where the energy comes together and rises to the surface of the body. It can therefore be more easily accessed and redirected with the use of a needle. The are over 350 points regularly utilized in the traditional system, but this is just the beginning. There are multiple modalities of treatment encompassing their own points as well. In all, there are arguably thousands of points across the body, each one stimulated individually and in unison with others to treat the patient.

What are Meridians?

There are 12 major meridians in the body. Each of these is like a highway transporting energy and blood to its respective internal organ (Liver, Heart, Lung, Spleen, Kidney, etc.). When the energy in a meridian is not moving properly, it can, in turn, affect the proper functioning of the organs and cause imbalances throughout the body producing the symptoms of disease and pain.

Are the needles reused each time?

In California, we are regulated by CNT (clean needle technique). Each needle is single use and sterilized. By law, needles are individually wrapped and sterilized by the manufacturer. They are opened only when they are ready to be used, and afterwards, each needle is disposed of in a medical waste container.

How often will I need treatment?

I will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan based on your needs. However, generally, treatments are done on a weekly basis, usually twice a week for the first two weeks, and once a week thereafter. Once the condition has been altered and you are symptom-free or symptoms have been mitigated to a comfortable level, the treatments are done less frequently. Logically, problems that have been around for a long time usually take more treatments to resolve than ones that have come about recently. Your treatment course will be determined after the first visit and reassessed after each session. My goal is to address your main concerns or symptoms and then assist you in continuing a routine as part of your overall goals for personal health.

How do I prepare for a treatment?

It is best to eat a light meal before your appointment so that your body has energy to work with. Sometimes a person who has not eaten will feel lightheaded or weak when receiving an acupuncture treatment. In this case, let me know immediately and I will take the appropriate actions. It is best to wear shorts or loose clothing so that the arms and legs below the elbows and knees, as well as the abdomen, are accessible. Do not engage in strenuous activity, drink alcohol, smoke excessively, or ingest heavy meals before or after your treatment. This will allow the body to adjust to the effects of the acupuncture.

Can I get acupuncture if I'm pregnant?

Yes! We encourage it for mother and the baby's health - it also is a good therapy to contribute to having an easier labor. Having said that, there are points that are contraindicated during pregnancy, so it is important for me to know if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant as it will change your treatment.

Are herbs safe?

Chinese herbal medicine is very safe when prescribed correctly by a properly trained practitioner. Over the centuries doctors have compiled detailed information about the pharmacopeia with the primary emphasis being the protection of the patient. Allergic type reactions are rare, and will cause no lasting damage if treatment is stopped as soon as symptoms appear.

What can Chinese Medicine Treat?

This extensive list highlights the acupuncture applications recommended by the WHO (World Health Organization) and the AAMA (American Academy of Medical Acupuncture). However, this list is not complete. Virtually any, conditions have the potential to improve when imbalances and energy flow normalize and default homeostasis reemerges inducing natural healing.

Autonomic Disorders:

    Idiopathic palpitations
    Sinus tachychardia
    Restless leg
    Hyperthermia

Women's Health:

    Menstrual cramps
    Menopause
    Hot flushes
    Infertility
    Pelvic pain
    Dysmenorrhea
    Endometriosis
    Herpes flare-ups

Functional Gastro-intestinal Disorders:

    Gastroenteritis (stomach-flu)
    Nausea and vomiting
    Esophageal spasm
    Hyperacidity (GERD)
    Slow gastric emptying
    Irritable Bowel Syndrome
    Hepatitis
    Hemorrhoids
    Postoperative ileus
    Constipation
    Diarrhea
    Distention-flatulence-tenesmus

Genito-urinary Disorders:

    Frequent urination
    Nocturia
    Irritable bladder
    Urinary incontinence
    Retention (neurogenic, spastic, adverse drug effect)
    Prostatitis
    Male infertility
    Some forms of impotence
    Erectile Dysfunctions
    Diminished libido

Neurological Disorders (Scalp Acupuncture):

    Traumatic Brain Injury
    Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig)
    Narcolepsy
    Degenerative disc disease with or without radicular pain
    Cervical and lumbar spine syndromes
    Paresthesiae
    Seventh nerve palsy (Bell`s)
    Sequelae of CVA's (aphasia, hemiplegia)
    Vertigo (Meniere's)
    Tinnitus (ear ringing)
    Persistent hiccups
    Cough with contraindications for narcotics
    Drug detoxification
    Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
    Nerve entrapments (Carpal tunnel, Piriformis syndrome, etc.)
    Plantar fasciitis
    Scar pain following surgery
    Chest pain (negative work-up)

Dermatology:

    Urticaria
    Pruritus
    Eczema
    Psoriasis
    Shingles

Palliative Care:

    Cancer
    Intractable nausea and vomiting
    Tumor lysis syndrome
    Other side effects of chemotherapy
    Vasomotor symptoms (Raynaud)

Acute and Chronic Pain:

    Migraine
    Muscle tension headaches
    Temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ)
    Musculoskeletal pain
    Cervical and thoracic soft tissue pain
    Frozen shoulder
    Joint pain (Arthritis-arthrosis)
    Bursitis, tendonitis, epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
    Neuralgias: Trigeminal, Postherpetic, Peripheral
    Phantom pain (Postamputation Neuromas)
    Myofascial pain patterns
    Stress-related myofascial symptoms
    Fibromyalgia
    Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
    Nerve entrapments (Carpal tunnel, Piriformis syndrome, etc.)
    Plantar fasciitis
    Scar pain following surgery
    Chest pain (negative work-up)

Cosmetic Acupuncture:

    Wrinkles
    Anti-aging
    Face-lift
    Facial rejuvenation

Trauma:

    Acute muscle spasms
    Athletic injuries
    Torticollis
    Musculo-tendinous sprains and strains
    Swellings
    Contusions
    Minor burns
    Tremors, Tics, Contractures
    Fractures: assisting in pain-control, edema, enhancing bone healing
    Closed Head Injuries (negative CT)

Acute Viral Disease:

    Common cold
    Sore throat
    Nasal drip
    Sinusitis
    Viral bronchitis
    Stomach flu

Addictions:

    Substance abuse problems
    Alcohol problems
    Smoking cessation
    Obesity

Psychological and Psychiatric Disorders:

    Anxiety
    Excitability
    Irritability
    Worry
    Panic
    Early stages of depression
    Fearful states
    Anorexia-bulimia
    Sleep disturbances
    Insomnia
    Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
    Ill-defined fatigue
    Low energy
    Mild depression

Immunological Disorders:

    Inflammatory disorders
    Asthma
    Bronchospasm
    Allergies
    Sinusitis
    Pharyngitis
    Autoimmune disorders

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