What is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?
TCM refers to a wide array of healing modalities that focus on correcting imbalances in the body in order to treat or prevent health problems. Many methods to balance the body have been used over the 3000+ years that this medicine has developed. The most common techniques used today include acupuncture, herbal medicine, cupping, gua sha, Asian bodywork, moxibustion, nutrition therapy, and mind-body exercises such as qigong & tai chi.
What is a Licensed Acupuncturist (LAc.)?
A LAc. in the state of Texas is someone that has earned at minimum a Master's degree from an accredited acupuncture school and has passed 4 national board exams covering the topics of Foundations of Oriental Medicine, Acupuncture, Chinese Herbology and Biomedicine. LAc.'s receive training in all of the common TCM techniques (see above) as well as classroom and hands-on education on how to integrate the traditional use of these techniques with modern medicine.
What is Integrative Medicine?
Integrative Medicine is the practice of using the most appropriate interventions from many disciplines to meet the individual needs of the patient. TCM is based on the understanding that a human is more than a sum of its parts and to treat people effectively, all symptoms, history, and presenting factors need to be taken into account in order to determine the most appropriate next steps.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the practice of inserting sterilized, single-use needles (that are often as fine as a human hair) into specific acupuncture points on the body in order to relieve pain or rebalance the body’s nervous system. By helping the body rebalance and unblocking areas of stagnation, circulation improves allowing oxygen, hormones, and other nutrients to get to the target tissue and inflammatory waste products to move out.
Does acupuncture work?
More research is being conducted every year demonstrating the efficacy of acupuncture for the treatment of various health problems. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes nearly a hundred diseases, symptoms or conditions for which acupuncture is effective. The research being done today and in the years to come will add to the thousands of years of clinical experience and patient success stories that are the reason for this medicine to continue to be used today.
How does acupuncture work?
Research suggests that the process of inserting a needle into the tissue creates a wide array of physiological changes to occur. The mechanism of action is not fully understood, but we do have evidence that acupuncture affects neurotransmitters and hormones via the endocrine system, it impacts the inflammatory process and produces a healing effect faster than routine care, and we’ve learned that brain activity is stimulated through the use of functional MRIs while acupuncture is being performed. The body’s response to an acupuncture needle may not be understood for years or likely decades to come; however, the evidence indicating its effectiveness for a variety of conditions is growing quickly.
What happens during a treatment?
An initial treatment will entail the acupuncturist asking a lot of questions in order to get a complete picture of your health history and current state of health. The acupuncturist may feel your pulse on both wrists and look at your tongue to observe its shape, color, and coating. It is common for an acupuncturist to also observe your skin tone & complexion and other physical characteristics that can help us determine what may be out of balance in your body. After the intake, a treatment usually consists of acupuncture, but may also include cupping, Asian bodywork, nutritional advice, and any other modality that the acupuncturist feels will help your condition.
How long is a treatment?
Initial treatments last about 60-90 minutes and follow up treatments are about 45-60 minutes. Accommodations can usually be made to have treatments last shorter or longer as long as the practitioner feels we can be effective in the allotted time.
How many treatments do I need?
The number of treatments needed usually depends on the complexity of the illness. If you have had an injury or you’ve been sick for a long time, it is likely that multiple systems have been affected and more treatments would be needed. If you are in relatively good health and have an acute illness or injury, sometimes 1 treatment is all that is needed. After your initial examination, your acupuncturist can tell you how many treatments are recommended.
What conditions does acupuncture treat?
Generally speaking, acupuncture is effective for most day-to-day health problems and chronic conditions that have not been able to be relieved by Western medicine. Western medicine is the #1 choice for treating acute, life-threatening conditions, but acupuncture can also be effective at helping treat the side effects of Western interventions. The most common ailments patients come to acupuncture for are:
- Pain (arthritic, sports medicine, injuries, sprains, strains, fibromyalgia, etc.)
- Women’s health (fertility issues, PCOS, irregular cycle, dysmenorrhea, menopause, etc.)
- Addiction (cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, etc.)
- Weight loss
- Common cold, flu, stomach bug, upper respiratory infection, etc.
- Headaches & migraines
- Mood disorders (anxiety, depression, bipolar, etc.)
- Digestive disorders (IBS, IBD, constipation)
- Skin problems (acne, rosacea, psoriasis)
What is Chinese herbal medicine?
Chinese herbal medicine consists of more than 10,000 substances from plant, mineral and animal sources. These herbs have been in use for at least 3,000 years and during this time, specific herbal combinations have been tested and used for many health concerns ranging from anxiety to sports injury.
What kinds of problems does Chinese herbal medicine treat?
Like all of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chinese herbal medicine is used to treat the entire human condition including every stage of disease and imbalance. Commonly Chinese herbs can enhance and extend the therapeutic effects of an acupuncture treatment because patients can take the herbs on a daily basis even when they can’t make it to the clinic.
Does Chinese herbal medicine have side effects?
Patients and research studies report that herbal medications tend to produce far fewer unwanted side effects than prescription medications. The formulas are designed in a way to balance any herbs that could cause an adverse reaction by including herbs to counteract them. In the rare event that you do experience unexpected side effects, contact your acupuncturist. You may be experiencing a normal short-term healing response or they may need to adjust your formula or how you are taking it.
Do the needles hurt?
The needles used in acupuncture are so thin that most patients report that they do not feel them at all. On some points, it is common to feel a dull ache. This is referred to as “De Qi” or the “Arrival of Qi” and is the physical feeling of your body’s response to acupuncture.
Do you accept insurance?
We are in network with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas and United Healthcare. Not all plans provided by these insurance providers will cover acupuncture, so please check with your insurance provider to determine if you would be covered.