Isis Acupuncture

About Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine

Strong Tao

What is Acupuncture and How Does it Work?

Originating in China more than 2,000 years ago, acupuncture is one of the oldest and most commonly used medical procedures in the world. Acupuncture is one form of therapy within a comprehensive medical system that includes theory, diagnosis, physiology, physical therapy, nutrition and the use of herbal preparations.

An acupuncturist's view of health or disease is based on assessing the body's vital energy, its life force - known in Traditional Asian Medicine as "qi" (chee) - and its relative balance or imbalance; this encompasses spiritual, emotional, mental and physical states. Qi flows along several channels that run across and throughout the body and connect to the internal organs. Disease is caused by interrupted energy flow at specific points along these pathways. The insertion of very fine, sterile needles into affected points helps to regulate energy flow. Stimulating these points influences key organ function, the immune system, and the body's pain response. The goal is to balance energy and facilitate the body's healing process.

What Kinds of Conditions does Acupuncture Treat?

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine have been tested over thousands of years and continue to be validated today. They are useful as a stand-alone treatment, and are also increasingly being used in conjunction with Western medical treatments. Research shows that acupuncture strengthens the immune system, improves circulation, decreases muscle tightness and increases joint flexibility.

The World Health Organization reports that acupuncture can be beneficial to many medical conditions, ranging from neurological and gastrointestinal to mental and emotional issues. And the National Institute of Health has stated that acupuncture is a useful method for the treatment of a variety of conditions such as post-operative pain, nausea, migraines, arthritis, menstrual cramps, low back pain, and tennis elbow.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are used extensively to treat the following conditions:

  • Acute or chronic pain - neck, shoulder, hip and lumbar pain, tennis elbow, golfers elbow, carpal tunnel, sciatica
  • Addiction withdrawal
  • Allergies, sinus congestion and asthma
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Car accident injury
  • Chemotherapy/Radiation side effects
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Colds and flus
  • Depression
  • Dermatological disorders
  • Digestive problems
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Infertility in women and men
  • Insomnia
  • Menstrual disorders and menopause
  • Pregnancy and postpartum
  • Stress
  • TMJ disorder
  • Urinary infection
  • Weight control

Is Acupuncture Painful?

Acupuncture needles are not like hypodermic (injection) needles, which are big and hollow. They are extremely thin - some can be even thinner than human hair. These delicate needles are inserted into the body, usually with minimal discomfort to the patient. Needle insertion and manipulation can be painless with the use of skilled and refined acupuncture techniques. Patients may experience a sensation of heaviness, distention, warmth, or an ache in the area where the needle has been inserted. Many people find acupuncture treatment deeply relaxing.

Is Acupuncture Safe?

Acupuncture is very safe, especially under the care of trained, qualified and licensed acupuncturists. Disposable needles are required by law and are discarded after a single use. High quality, pre-sterilized needles are guaranteed for 100% non-contamination. Acupuncture is considered an extremely safe treatment with minimal chance of any complication.

What is the Difference Between Chinese and Japanese Acupuncture Techniques?

Traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncturists use thicker, longer needles with deeper insertions and attempt to produce a strong sensation on the points they needle, as they believe this sensation is important if treatment is to be beneficial. This type of needling produces an analgesic response in the body.

In general, Japanese style acupuncturists use much finer needles, insert them more superficially, and stimulate them more gently. They do not believe a strong sensation must be achieved in order to produce benefits for their patient. Studies have shown a marked response in parasympathetic activity with Japanese style needling.

Both Chinese and Japanese acupuncture styles are effective in the hands of competent practitioners. The choice between these two styles ultimately lies with patients - they can choose which style is most effective in addressing their condition and which style they find most comfortable and therapeutic to receive.

What are the Effects of Treatment?

Patients usually experience some relief in their condition after only one treatment. Other patients may see their condition improve over the course of several days after a treatment. It may take several treatments to resolve more stubborn, chronic conditions.

What is a Standard Course of Treatment?

Treatment varies according the severity and duration of the health concern. Acute conditions can often be resolved quickly, while chronic conditions take more treatments to address. A treatment plan will be discussed and modified according to how each individual responds to treatment. An individual's constitution and state of health will also affect how healing and the alleviation of symptoms progresses.

What is the Difference Between a Licensed Acupuncturist and a Doctor or Chiropractor who Does Acupuncture?

Licensed acupuncturists have completed a minimum four-year, full-time academic and clinical curriculum dedicated to learning acupuncture and Chinese medicine, usually with over 3,000 hours in professional and clinical training. Also, licensed acupuncturists should be certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) in Acupuncture or NCCAOM-certified as Diplomates in Oriental Medicine (Diplomates are certified in both Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine - they are licensed to prescribe Chinese herbs). These certifications require passing National Board Examinations.

Doctors and chiropractors, for the most part, learn the basics of acupuncture with elective courses, usually only having a few hundred hours of academic and clinical training. We always recommend using a licensed acupuncturist who has earned a Masters or Doctorate in Oriental Medicine and who is a certified Diplomate in Oriental Medicine for the best results.

What is Chinese Herbal Medicine?

Chinese herbal medicine developed in conjunction with acupuncture over 2000 years ago. Chinese herbs principally come from vegetable origins (such as plant bark, roots, stems, leaves, and flowers). Some herbs come from mineral and animal extracts. Herbal formulas are customized to address three essential aspects to an individual's health condition: his/her unique constitutional pattern, his/her specific symptoms, and the underlying cause of the presenting disease.

What Kinds of Conditions are Treated by Chinese Herbal Medicine?

Chinese herbs can be prescribed for a wide range of different diseases. Customized formulas provide great flexibility in addressing unique manifestations of the same disease in different people. Examples of disorders that can be treated by Chinese herbal medicine include colds, flus, gynecological disorders, allergies, degenerative conditions such as arthritis, chronic pain, chronic viral diseases, and autoimmune disorders.

How are Chinese Herbs Taken?

Isis Acupuncture uses a granular herbal pharmacy from which to make all customized formulas. Chinese herb granules are herbs that have been extracted, concentrated and dried. They are then made into customized formulas and taken by mixing prescribed dosages (usually 6-9 grams per day) with small amounts of warm water, which is drunk as a tea.

Do Chinese Herbs Have Side Effects?

Adverse reactions to Chinese herbs are extremely rare and are negligible when compared to those commonly produced by pharmaceutical drugs. In addition, most of the medicinals in the Chinese Materia Medica have a very low toxicity compared to Western drugs. If a patient experiences any discomfort while taking an herbal prescription, he/she should inform his/her practitioner and cease taking the formula immediately. The practitioner will then modify the formula to alleviate any side effects.

Are the Chinese Herbs That Isis Acupuncture Carries Tested for Contaminants?

Yes. Isis Acupuncture carries New Meridian Granules. New Meridian Granules has an internationally certified Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) manufacturing facility. All raw materials are carefully selected and laboratory tested employing the latest version of High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) to confirm identification, ensure potency and test for sufficient levels of active constituents. All granules are tested for heavy metals, harmful bacteria, and pesticides. These testing standards exceed those required by China, Taiwan and the United States for heavy metals. New Meridian recognizes the utmost importance of quality and safety.

Can Pregnant Women Take Chinese Herbs?

Yes, if prescribed by an experienced, professional practitioner. Chinese herbal medicine has been used for more than 2000 years to treat diseases and symptoms occurring during pregnancy without harm to the fetus. Lactating mothers can also take Chinese herbs safely as long as they are prescribed by a trained practitioner.

Can Children Take Chinese Herbal Medicine?

Yes. Pediatrics is a specialty within Traditional Chinese Medicine. There are specially prepared pediatric medicines in pill, powder and liquid form - children are given smaller doses. Chinese herbal medicine can treat discomfort from colic, teething problems, earache, diarrhea, cough, and fever in babies and children.

How do I Know if a Practitioner is Professionally Trained in Chinese Herbal Medicine?

The NCCAOM has created a certification process that distinguishes people who practice only acupuncture from those that practice acupuncture and prescribe Chinese herbal medicine. Practitioners who are certified in both acupuncture and Oriental Medicine are known as Diplomates in Oriental Medicine (usually abbreviated as Dipl. OM) - they are certified to prescribe Chinese herbs. Chinese herbs are safe when prescribed by professional, knowledgeable practitioners. A prospective patient should feel free to ask about the training and credentials of a potential practitioner.