What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the insertion of
fine needles into the body through the skin and muscles. They are
inserted into acupuncture points that have shown great effectiveness
in healing the body. The points have been used for over two thousand
years with continued success.
How big are the needles?
The acupuncture needles come in
different diameters and lengths. The diameters range from .12mm to
.30mm. The length range from .5inch to 3 inches. The average size or
most commonly used needles are .20mm in diameter and 1 inch in
Does it hurt?
The sensation received from
correct needle technique is not painful. You may feel heaviness,
pressure, cramping, electricity, tingling running up in down around
the needle, or distention. If there is pain it is usually due to
improper point location or the practitioner has found a capillary.
The pain is slight and will go away immediately once the needle is
removed and reinserted.
Are the needles reused?
No. Emphatically, no. The needles
are only used once and then placed in a sharps (biohazard)
container. The same type of container used in a medical doctor's
office or hospital. By law each point on the body is cleaned by
alcohol before the needle is inserted.
How deep do the needles go?
The depths of the needles vary
depending upon where the acupuncture point is located. Needles used
on hands, feet, chest, and upper back are all inserted
superficially, meaning less than .25 of an inch. The abdomen,
gluteal region, and the legs are needled slightly deeper depending
upon the size of the patient, meaning between .25 to 1.0 inch.
Is there a chance of puncturing an organ?
To say 'no' is incorrect. Anytime
someone is inserting anything into the body there is that risk.
However, there is very little risk when seeing a competent licensed
acupuncturist. Any needling technique applied to the regions of the
body where the patient is at the greatest risk, the needle insertion
is superficial and never perpendicular.
Are there any side effects?
Acupuncture is one of the few
medicinal arts that does not have any known side effects. There are,
however, some precautions. For example, there are some acupuncture
points that are contraindicated during pregnancy. Once again, a
competent licensed acupuncturist knows which is safe to do and which
How many treatments will I need?
That depends on the severity,
length or duration, and nature of your complaint. Sometimes it may
take only one treatment. Other times it may take six to twelve
treatments. For chronic illness it may take a year or two of
How often will I have to come?
It depends on the complaint. You
may need to come three times per week for two weeks for acute pain.
However, you may need to come once per week for three months to
relieve menstrual cramps. It also, depends upon the age and strength
of the patient. Children usually respond faster than anyone. Of
course, the slower your body gets with age the slower the healing
How does acupuncture work?
Modern Western Medicine does not
have a definitive answer to how acupuncture works. There are
theories that its success is based in the nervous system. In terms
of Chinese Medicine, acupuncture works on regulating the flow of Qi
(Chi) and Blood. It is through the acupuncture points that the Qi
and Blood are stimulated and regulated. The theories are many; if
you would like to learn more on the theory then I recommend reading
' The Web That Has No Weaver ' by Ted Kaptchuk.
What is Chinese Herbal
Chinese Herbal Medicine is the
prescribing of plant, insect, and animal based formulas to heal
patients. These formulas or remedies are based on the diagnosis
given by the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner. The
diagnosis is derived from using the patient's history, symptoms,
physical appearance, tongue appearance, pulse, age, and weight.
After the symptoms and signs are gathered, the practitioner
diagnoses the disease pattern. The formula is then chosen based on
all of the material presented to and by the practitioners experience
with that particular disease pattern. There are many formulas that
can work for one disease pattern; however, getting the right one for
the patient comes from understanding the patient, the formulas, and
from years of clinical experience.
Will I have to take an herbal formula to get better?
Sometimes you will have to take
an herbal remedy to improve your condition. Some disease patterns
call for a formula while others do not. It is up to the Chinese
Medical Practitioner to decide whether you will need a formula,
acupuncture, or both. Sometimes you may just need nutritional
counseling to correct your disease.
How are the formulas given?
Herbal formulas come in a variety
of forms. There are decoctions, which are derived from boiling the
raw herbs for anywhere between twenty to forty minutes and then
taken as tea. Decoctions were the main method of herbal formulas
fifty years ago. They are still vary popular today in Asia. Capsules
or pill form is another method with which the formulas are
dispensed. You may be taking from one to ten capsules or pills three
times per day. Granules are the final way that herbal formulas are
given. The patient would be given a bottle of a particular formula
and would be required to take one to four scoops per day in water or
juice. At the Goodman Wellness Center we dispense pill, capsule, or
Will I be able to research what I am taking?
Yes. If you ask for a list of
ingredients in a particular formula, which I recommend, I will be
happy to supply them, along with their uses. The practitioner should
be happy and willing to sit down and explain the formula itself and
why it is given. If you research the formula, understand that
Chinese Herbal Medicine is based on different theories than Western
Medicine. So studying the nutrients or chemical constituents of each
herb in the formula may not help you.
Are there any side effects?
There are side effects with any
medicine, food, or drink that you ingest into your body. The good
thing about the Chinese herbal medicine is that it is plant and
animal based and the side effects are minimal and usually out of
your system within twenty four hours.
I am a vegetarian; will I be able to get formulas without animal
Yes. There are over 2000
individual herbs used in the Traditional Chinese Herbal system.
Therefore, we will be able to substitute any animal product with a
plant based product.
Will I be able to continue my Western Medicine or prescription
Yes, as practitioners of Chinese
Medicine we cannot recommend discontinuing any medication given to
you by your physician. If you are prescribed an herbal remedy, then
your medication is always taken into account. Always inform your
practitioner of any medicines you are taking.
Is it safe for children?
Yes, formulas are safe for
children. In fact, children respond very well to the formulas, which
are prescribed according to the age and weight of the patient.