Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs are the two main treatment methods used in the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM):
Acupuncture is the art of stimulating specific points on the body for pain relief and other therapeutic purposes, using very fine needles. The points correspond to a network of “meridians” or energy channels (Qi, pronounced “chee”) flowing through the body. Besides modulating the flow of energy, some points are known to effect the function of specific organs or systems, such as the liver or the immune system, for example.
Chinese herbology uses combinations of herbs to achieve balance in the body. Over thousands of years of use, herbs have been classified as to their precise mechanism of action according to the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In the past few decades, laboratory research has supported many of the uses of Chinese herbs and explained them in Western Medical terms.
Herbs compliment acupuncture by correcting imbalances in the amount of Qi, blood, yin, and yang in the body. Individual formulas use anywhere from 3 to 20 herbs and can be custom blended for each patient’s specific needs.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Chinese Medicine uses a sophisticated, individually based method of diagnosis. The person is always treated as a whole, unique system, and all body systems are analyzed to determine the individual’s imbalances. In contrast, western medicine treats large groups of people as identical, administering the same drug to everyone and measuring the effects.
Four Types of Exam
- Questioning (signs, symptoms, health history)
- Visual inspection (face, body, tongue)
- Listening (voice, breathing)
- Palpation or physical exam (feeling the pulse, feeling pain areas)
Laura will make a detailed diagnosis of your condition and devise a treatment plan that may include acupuncture, herbs, diet and lifestyle modifications, exercises, and other elements. The patient is always included in the final discussion of what will work best.
DOES IT HURT?
Acupuncture uses very fine needles, approximately the thickness of a human hair. Laura is highly trained in the art of needle insertion. Common responses from first-time patients include, “Did you put it in already?” “I didn’t feel it!” “I didn’t feel a thing,” and “Oh, is that it?”
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO FEEL BETTER?
There is no single answer to this big question on every patient’s mind.
Healing time depends on a number of factors, including:
- How long the condition has been present
- The condition’s underlying cause(s)
- The patient’s willingness and ability to make diet and/or lifestyle changes
In general, just as it takes time for a body to go out of balance, it often takes more than one treatment to achieve relief. Many patients experience partial relief in 1-3 treatments. Frequency of treatments is also a factor. With serious or chronic states, the best results are achieved when treatments are done 2 or 3 times a week for the first 1-4 weeks. With this frequency of treatment, improvement can be achieved in even the most severe cases in as little as 8 treatments.
Gradual improvement is the goal. People typically experience setbacks when they start to feel better and overdo things, and learning limits is part of the healing process. The most important commitment to make is to becoming healthy and pain-free.
A LONG HISTORY
Traditional Chinese Medicine is the oldest healing modality practiced in the world today, dating back more than 2000 years according to written records, and much longer based on the level of knowledge already shown on the oldest “bamboo slips.” This healing art has been recorded and refined by scholars throughout China’s history. China’s emperors supported medical universities that had separate branches for internal medicine, gynecology, etc. as far back as AD 960.
With this long history, Chinese Medicine has something western medicine lacks: a proven track record. With Traditional Chinese Medicine, a person can expect a gradual recovery that finds the root of a problem without harmful side effects. Moreover, transforming oneself with Chinese Medicine means a healthier old age.