Our state of health is a reflection of our innate physical and emotional makeup, dietary and lifestyle choices and our environment. An ability to unwind from life’s stressors, living with a sense of purpose in our lives and healthy relationships are equally important factors in our health. Any combination or extremes of these factors can cause internal imbalances that weaken the body and obstruct the flow of what the traditional Chinese Medicine approach calls, Qi, our vital energy.
It is crucial to our well being to maintain a degree of homeostasis so the body can adapt to meet these challenges. Ongoing imbalances place us at risk, hampering the body’s ability to respond appropriately and allowing the opportunity for disease to set in. The aim of all holistic medicine is to correct these imbalances, restoring the internal environment so that the body can function optimally.
Acupuncture works to enhance the body’s own innate healing mechanisms by redirecting Qi, the bioelectric current of energy that flows continuously through the body, powering all of our metabolic processes. These energy channels form a network of communication between all organs and tissues of the body that regulate and coordinate their functions.
It is crucial that this energy flow remain smooth and even in order to supply the entire body with this vital force and prevent pain and illness. By inserting thin sterile needles which act as conductors into specific points on the body, blockages may be cleared. The proper flow of Qi is reestablished thereby invigorating and normalizing function of the tissues, nerves, blood vessels, hormones and organs. By strengthening the body’s physical condition our response to disease is optimized and homeostasis may be restored.
There is now sufficient evidence to place acupuncture on solid scientific ground. Research has documented the existence of energy pathways and acupuncture points. There are indications that stimulation of these points result in the release of neurotransmitters at corresponding sites in the brain.
Neurological research has shown that acupuncture also works by chemically activating natural pain suppression in the brain stimulating the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers. Acupuncture has been proven to have a stimulating effect on the immune system by mobilizing and strengthening the body’s natural defense mechanisms evidenced by the anti-inflammatory and immune boosting effects induced by acupuncture.
After reviewing the patient’s health history a treatment plan will be determined based on the patient’s unique presentation and pattern of symptoms including acupuncture, herbal and nutritional supplements as well as suggestions for dietary and lifestyle modifications. Most patients find acupuncture treatments to be deeply relaxing and usually feel rejuvenated after a session.
As a sign of accessing Qi, there may be a sensation of pressure, warmth or heaviness around the point of needle insertion that quickly subsides. Only sterile, disposable needles are used. One might be immediately aware of the benefits of acupuncture, especially for acute conditions while for others, the effects will compound gradually with subsequent visits. Herbal therapy works in conjunction with the energetic rebalancing effects of acupuncture to nourish and rebuild the physical body in cases when it is depleted or fatigued or to clear the body of inflammation and congestion when necessary.
Each patient is unique therefore each treatment plan is individualized depending on the severity and duration of their health problem and their overall physical condition. An initial course of treatment is typically six to twelve sessions.
Those with acute conditions or whose bodies are especially run down should be treated two times per week while some chronic conditions may respond more slowly and be adequately treated by weekly appointments extended over time. The aim is to address the problem at its deepest level to make lasting changes in a patient’s health.
While some minor symptoms may be relieved quickly it is essential to attend to the root of the imbalance through treatment and lifestyle changes to avoid recurrence of a pattern in the form of a more serious illness. Many patients choose to schedule regular maintenance treatments to boost vitality, manage stress, prevent illness and injury and for acupuncture’s anti-aging effects.
No. Often, patients feel a mild sensation for a second when the needle touches their qi (life energy pronounced “chee”). Acupuncture is not like going to the doctor’s office for a shot or even to get your finger pricked. The needles are ultra thin. Some people don’t even feel them as they enter the skin. Some patients sometimes have a strong release of their qi, accompanied by a feeling of deep relief. Most people are amazed by how relaxed they feel during and after the treatment.
Performed by a competent practitioner, acupuncture is extremely safe. The needles are inserted only a quarter inch or less for most acupuncture points. Acupuncturists are required to use disposable needles that are discarded after one use.
Yes. We can stimulate the acupuncture points with pressure, magnets, mild electrostimulation, cold laser, special lights and moxibustion (the burning of a special herb). We can also use herbs and nutritional counseling and lifestyle coaching. But know that treatment will be more effective if acupuncture is an option.
Yes. We use products only from highly reputable companies that meet the highest standards for efficacy, purity, quality, and safety. Herbs are gentler than pharmaceuticals but should still be taken under the direction of a health-care practitioner. Although it is not usually a problem, certain pharmaceuticals can interact with certain herbs, so keep your practitioners informed of what you are taking.
If you don’t see the condition you are seeking help with, call our office at (626) 403-5018 or (323) 902-5891 to discuss your needs and whether we can help you.
Yes. Acupuncture excels at improving wellness and vitality, and preventing disease on all levels of the body-mind-spirit, that is, the whole person.
Life-sustaining energy runs through the body along known pathways called meridians. When the quantity or quality of the energy (qi, pronounced chee) suffers, the quality of a person’s health declines. Acupuncturists regulate this energy in defined points of the body. Modern scientific testing has shown that there is decreased electrical resistance at the traditional points.
Many companies provide acupuncture coverage. We will bill your insurance company directly if you are covered. Call us at (626) 403-5018 or (323) 902-5891 with your information, and we will find out for you if you have coverage on your plan. Please allow for three business days to verify your coverage. To see what information to provide, click here. You may also fill out the form and fax it to us at (626) 403 5789.
In addition to insurance and worker’s comp, we take cash, check, and credit card (Visa, MasterCard, and Discover).
This is unique to the individual. Most of our patients with chronic conditions make a commitment to themselves to get treated weekly for at least five weeks. At that time, we assess progress and decide together how to proceed. In that time, I expect their symptoms to show definite progress as their core wellness strengthens. Most people notice improvement after the first treatment; for others, acupuncture has a cumulative effect over several visits. People who take herbs and, more important, commit to healthy lifestyle choices and perspectives progress faster and need treatment less frequently.
The first appointment is up to two hours. The following visits are one hour.
We take an in-depth medical history and perform an Oriental physical exam. The medical history involves your physical health, your individual experience of your health challenges, relationships, and outlook. It involves seeing the patterns in your life. The physical exam takes less time, but gives important clues to how your organs and energy are functioning. This appointment is the most important one because it allows us to understand you as an individual, and it lays the foundation for effective treatment. Acupuncture is sometimes administered on the first appointment, depending on the complexity of the situation and individual needs. But the focus is on understanding you and doing what is best for you.
For the first appointment, bring a list of the prescription and over-the-counter drugs, herbs, and supplements you take, the dose, and the reason for each. For all appointments, we ask that you not come famished or stuffed. Please don’t wear heavily scented products or much makeup. Do not have alcohol in your system. To get the most benefit, don’t arrive right after a workout or rush off to one; you want to give yourself time to take in the treatment. Between appointments, note any changes in your symptoms, energy level, sleep, thoughts or emotions, and well-being.
Definitely. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be power tools for getting well.
Cupping is a technique in which a glass cup is heated and applied to the surface of the skin. The heat reduces the pressure in the cup allowing the superficial musculature to be suctioned into the glass. The local congestion releases any stagnant energy and blood so fresh energy can come in and nourish the tissue. The cup can be held stationary or moved over a large region of the body such as the upper back.
Guasha is a similar technique in which an instrument such as a spoon, coin or horn is used to brush the skin releasing stagnation. Oils are used to lubricate the skin prior to applying the technique. Commonly patients experience immediate relief of localized tension and stress.
A practitioner may use cupping and guasha for traumatic injury, pain, chronic respiratory conditions, gastro-intestinal disorders and a variety of other conditions. Though they may be used in by themselves, typically cupping and guasha are used in conjunction with acupuncture.
Tuina is a form of medical Asian bodywork distinctive from western massage in that it focuses on promoting free flow energy in the acupuncture channels. Tuina is composed of a series of techniques designed to lubricate joints, relax muscles and promote energy flow. After careful assessment, a practitioner will chose and apply techniques to the affected region. Tui na is commonly used for the following disorders: Muscle sprains, strains, spasms/adhesions, herniated disks, neck tension, scoliosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis/golfer’s elbow, TMJ, sport injury, accident traumas.
Moxibustion, or moxa, is a technique in which an herb, mugwart is heated above the skin to stimulate qi, blood and bring warmth to the area. Moxa can be place directly on an acupuncture needle or held over a region of the body to return balance. Moxa is used for a multitude of conditions such as digestive problems, chronic pain, immunodeficiency’s, fertility and menstrual disorders.
Depending on the condition of imbalance, a TCM practitioner may choose to treat a patient with herbs. Chinese herbal formulas are created from raw, dried herbs composed of plant, animal and mineral material. Chinese pharmacopeia consists of thousands of different herbs. A practitioner will combine between 3 and 20 different herbs into a tea, capsule or tincture formula that the patient can self-administer at home.
Herbal medicine is one of the most essential and powerful modalities of Oriental medicine. Herbal consultations may be scheduled separately or in conjunction with an acupuncture treatment. High quality manufactured herbs in the form of teas, capsules and liniments are also available for purchase in our clinic.