What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a system of medicine that focuses on giving the body what it needs to heal itself and to maintain wellness. Every person is unique, which means that their ailments are also unique, and therefore their treatment will be unique. Our medicine looks at the individual and not the disease or the diagnosis. TCM is a holistic approach to health addressing the entire person, from what you eat, how you sleep, to understanding your underlying body constitution. The goal of Traditional Chinese Medicine is to give the body what it needs to maintain balance and health through individualized, effective, and most importantly an all-natural approach.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a part of TCM. It is a classified system of points and meridians within the body. By definition, acupuncture is the insertion of sterile needles into specific points on the body to stimulate the central and peripheral nervous system to create a neurological response. This type of biofeedback has been shown to alleviate pain, regulate hormones, and treat various physical, mental and emotional conditions.
What kind of education/certification is required to become a licensed acupuncturist or L.Ac.?
A licensed acupuncturist, depending on the state, is typically required four years in a Master’s Program in either Acupuncture and/or Oriental Medicine from a nationally accredited university. Many acupuncturists also have a Bachelor’s Degree in addition to their Master’s Degree and/or Doctoral Degree. In the state of Wyoming, acupuncturists are licensed by the Wyoming Board of Acupuncturists, must pass national board exams and be certified by the National Certification Commission of Oriental Medicine or NCCAOM.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
Yes, acupuncture is incredibly safe. The FDA requires acupuncturists to follow strict sterilization guidelines and clean needle techniques. Pre-sterilized acupuncture needles are manufactured, packaged, and shipped in sterilized containers to ensure compliance with the law. Acupuncture needles are one time use and a new package of needles is used for each patient. Research has shown acupuncture to be 99.8% free from even minor adverse effects (Acupuncture Safety Information). Very occasionally there may be a minor bruise from treatment.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Everyone experiences acupuncture differently. Some patients feel when the needles are inserted, but most don’t. Because the needle point is smooth and not hollow like a hypodermic needle, it feels like a tiny prick and is not painful like injections or blood drawing can be. After the needles are inserted the patient may feel a dull moving, warming, or tingling sensation. With some sports acupuncture needling techniques, you may feel an achy sensation or a slight twitch in the muscle as the muscle “resets” itself and reinstates any unblocked flow from the nervous system.
How should I prepare for treatment?
Please fill out your intake form as comprehensively as possible prior to your visit. Your Doctor will spend time reviewing your health history, medications, and objectives prior to your visit. Bring any questions you may have, any pertinent paperwork/ test/ MRI/ X-ray results or reports that relate to your condition.
Wear loose, comfortable clothing that you can easily pull up to your elbows and knees. Gowns and extra sheets are available to keep you covered and comfortable during treatments if necessary.
Eat a small meal within a few hours of the beginning of your treatment to avoid treatment on an empty stomach. Refrain from overexertion, working out, and drinking alcohol for at least 4-6 hours after your treatment or if possible for the rest of the day.
How many Treatments will I need?
Everybody responds differently to acupuncture and receives treatments for various reasons. Chronic conditions tend to require more treatments to see optimal and lasting results. Acute conditions may respond very quickly. We generally suggest four to six treatments to see major changes. The purpose and goal of your acupuncture treatment is to get your body back into balance. Once in balance maintenance treatments can support general wellness, stress reduction, and illness prevention.
What does acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture promotes overall health and well-being, prevents illnesses, and can treat various medical conditions. Many people have no idea the treatment scope acupuncture can positively affect. Below is a list that is in no way complete, but intended to educate on the range of conditions or symptoms acupuncture can address. Hundreds of clinical studies on the benefits of acupuncture show that it successfully treats conditions ranging from musculoskeletal problems (back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, and others) to nausea, migraine headaches, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and infertility.
In an official report, Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials, the World Health Organization has listed the following symptoms, diseases, and conditions that have been shown through controlled trials to be treated effectively by acupuncture:
- low back pain
- neck pain
- tennis elbow
- knee pain
- peri arthritis of the shoulder
- facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
- dental pain
- temporomandibular (TMJ) dysfunction
- rheumatoid arthritis
- induction of labor
- correction of malposition of fetus (breech presentation)
- morning sickness
- nausea and vomiting
- postoperative pain
- essential hypertension
- primary hypotension
- renal colic
- adverse reactions to radiation or chemotherapy
- allergic rhinitis, including hay fever
- biliary colic
- depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
- acute bacillary dysentery
- primary dysmenorrhea
- acute epigastralgia
- peptic ulcer
- acute and chronic gastritis
What is Chinese Herbal Medicine?
Chinese herbal medicine uses specific combinations of plants and minerals to promote natural healing and good health. Chinese herbs work synergistically to rebalance the body from the inside out. Your practitioner may prescribe herbal medicine to treat a specific condition or to maintain and restore the balance in your body. Herbal medicine comes in the form of pills, powders, teas, or bulk/raw herbs. Your herbalist can choose from patent formulas perfected over hundreds of years which have been researched for certain conditions. Herbal formulas can also be adjusted by your Chinese medical practitioner for patient specific needs.
Can I still take my Western pharmaceutical prescriptions while taking herbs?
Do not stop taking your western pharmaceutical prescriptions unless directed to do so by your MD. All herbs and drugs interact differently and your practitioner will help you develop a plan that is tailored to your specific needs.
What is cupping?
Cupping increases blood flow and removes stagnation in the body. The air inside a round, glass cup is heated and then the cup is applied to the skin, causing suction that pulls in soft tissue and draws blood to that specific area. Some conditions that cupping is useful for include: Chronic pain, scar tissue, adhesions (knots), headaches/migraines, cellulite, clogged lymphatic system, constipation, bad posture, PMS, lower back pain, asthma, insomnia, and many other disorders.
What is Tui Na?
Tui Na is a form of medical massage that can help relieve knots, sports injuries, back pain, and more. The practitioner may brush, knead, roll, press, and rub the areas to increase blood flow in the meridians and the muscles. Techniques may be gentle or quite firm. The name comes from two of the actions: Tui means “to push” and Na means “to lift and squeeze.” The practitioner can use then use range of motion, traction, and the stimulation of acupressure points. These techniques aid in the treatment of both acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions, as well as many non-musculoskeletal conditions.
What is electro-acupuncture?
Electro-acupuncture is a form of acupuncture where a small electric current is passed between pairs of needles that have been strategically placed in the skin. The needles are attached to a device that generates continuous electric pulses using small clips. The frequency and intensity of the impulse being delivered is adjusted depending on the condition being treated. The current delivered through the needle stimulates a larger area than the needle itself, which makes electro-acupuncture very effective for pain management.
What is Gua Sha?
Gua Sha promotes circulation and healing in specific areas of the body. Gua Sha involves the use of a ceramic or steel tool and is used mainly on the limbs or smaller areas of the body. The tool is rubbed on the skin and this friction brings blood to the surface while stimulating the lymphatic system. This therapy provides an optimal environment for healing, by either modifying physiologic responses to injury (e.g., inflammation, muscle spasms, pain) or enhancing components of normal musculoskeletal function (e.g., increase range of motion, increased muscular strength).