Office Visits & Treatment
Traditional Chinese Medicine is a unique system of physiology, diagnosis and treatment. Many are not familiar with it’s terms and protocols, however by following TCM diagnostic principles and treatment protocols, we often achieve remarkable results. Find here answers to many common questions about TCM.
- What is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?
- Does acupuncture hurt?
- How does acupuncture work?
- What can I expect at my first visit?
- How quickly does acupuncture work?
- How many treatments will I need?
- Is acupuncture safe?
- Is acupuncture covered by insurance?
- Do you offer Chinese Herbs?
- Cupping and moxibustion
- Shiatsu massage
Contact Janet today to learn more about
Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture.
PHONE: (805) 773-3301
EMAIL: Janet Leach L.Ac.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is the oldest continuously used health system in the world. This form of medicine focuses on treating each person individually, resolving the current problem(s) while also addressing the root cause or imbalance. Treatments may include acupuncture, herbal formulas, shiatsu massage, cupping, moxibustion (warming), and gua sha (scraping). Recommendations for lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, meditation) are also an aspect of treatment.
No acupuncture is not painful. The flexible, hair-fine needles are barely felt when applied. You may feel a momentary, slight pinching sensation, or nothing at all. Most patients report feeling very relaxed, often falling asleep during treatment. We will work closely with you to make sure your experience is comfortable and positive. Non-needle techniques are also available for those who prefer.
Acupuncture works by triggering your nervous system to stimulate the body’s own self-healing mechanisms: releasing neurotransmitters, vasodilators, hormones, and other biochemicals. By this process the body is able to be restored to balance.
While not completely understood, acupuncture stimulates your body’s natural ability to repair itself and the production of produce pain-relieving and relaxation chemical mediators. Similar to your body’s response to a small cut, a situation we are all familiar with. The brain receives the information about the cut via the nervous system immediately responding by sending biochemicals to stimulate the healing process: stopping any bleeding, closing the wound, reducing inflammation, and then final healing.
Acupuncture treatments stimulate the body through this very same repair mechanism by activating spinal nerves which are spread throughout your body like a tree’s roots . This stimulation produces and regulates many different biochemicals, including neurotransmitters and hormones that:
- Reduce pain perception
- Stimulate a relaxation response
- Balance the endocrine system
- Constrict or dilate blood vessels to regulate blood pressure
- Strengthen the immune system
- Relax muscles
- Mediate the inflammatory/anti-inflammatory response
- Restore and normalize function of organs
Your first office visit includes a comprehensive history, with questions covering your primary complaint, medications and supplements, personal medical history, family medical history, and lifestyle. Your evaluation includes an examination of any problem area and an examination of your tongue and pulses. Acupuncture treatment will then be provided, if appropriate. First visit will be approx. 90 minutes including treatment.
Prior to your first appointment:
- Think about what problems/symptoms/conditions you would like to address.
- How are these issues affect your daily routine ?
- What makes the condition better or worse?
- Please bring a list of medications and supplements you are taking.
- Bring any recent lab reports, imaging studies, medical reports you may have.
- Eat a light meal or snack 1-2 hours prior to your treatment (do not fast on the day of your treatment).
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing that can be rolled up to your elbows and knees.
- Avoid heavy exertion within 2-3 hours before and after your treatment.
- Avoid alcohol the day of your treatment.
During your treatment, please:
- Let us know if you experience discomfort.
- Let us know if you feel chilled, or too warm.
- Do not move or change your position while the needles are in place.
Following your treatment, please:
- Take it easy, if you are receiving treatment for a painful condition, do not over-exert yourself the 24 hours following your treatment, even if you have no pain.
- Most people feel more relaxed after treatment, please be cautious driving.
- Do not stop taking medications without discussing with your doctor.
Individual response to treatment varies. Acute or new conditions may have improvement immediately, or a few hours or days later. Conditions that are more severe or are chronic may take 4-6 treatments before significant improvement.
Generally, the effectiveness is brief at first, and lasts longer with each successive treatment. It is rare, but occasionally there is a “flare-up” later that day, with improvement and relief following. Some individuals do not respond to acupuncture (15-20%) and are referred to their M.D. or other healthcare provider for further evaluation and treatment.
This varies for each individual. Effects of treatment are cumulative, with stronger and longer-lasting benefits following each treatment. Initially, treatments are once or twice per week. Recent and mild conditions may be resolved with just a few treatments. Chronic or severe conditions may take several weeks to resolve, and on-going monthly treatments may be needed to maintain health. Often, patients find that monthly or quarterly treatments help maintain a healthy immune system and prevent a recurrence of the initial condition.
Yes, it is extremely safe. We use only pre-sterilized, disposable, single-use needles. Serious side effects are extremely rare, less than one per 10,000 treatments. Occasionally, patients may experience mild bruising, bleeding, drowsiness, or discomfort during treatment. Please let us know if you have any concerns.
Acupuncture treatments are covered by many private insurance companies, but not by Medicare or supplemental insurance. We are happy to call your insurance company and check on your coverage for you. We request payment at the time of service, and on request, will send superbills to your insurance company monthly. You will then receive reimbursement checks from your insurance company for covered services.
Chinese herbal medicine has a long and sophisticated history of effectively treating many conditions with few, if any, side effects. Chinese herbal formulas are available in pill, capsule, or granular form for many common conditions. Custom-made formulations are available, they can be developed for an individual’s specific needs and adjusted as treatment progresses.
Herbal medicine is effective in treating many internal diseases, relieving pain, treating respiratory conditions, and strengthening the immune system. Herbal formulas may be used to enhance the effects of acupuncture treatments, especially in the treatment of chronic disease. We are cautious in our approach, in order to avoid interactions between herbs and prescription medications.
Cupping is the application of glass or plastic cups applied with suction to the skin, most often on the back. You will feel a moderate to strong pulling sensation. This increases the blood flow in the muscles, helping heal painful conditions more quickly. Cupping is also used to help relieve phlegm congestion in the lungs. This treatment is said to “break up stagnation” of blood, phlegm, and/or qi it can produce round bruises lasting 7-10 days.
Moxibustion is the gentle warming of acupuncture points with or without needles. The herb Artemesia, commonaly named mugwort, is dried and rolled like a cigar. It is lit and held about one inch above the skin.
The warmth penetrates deeplynourishing and strengthen the body.
Often referred to as acupressure, Shiatsu means “finger pressure”. Pressure is applied to individual acupuncture points, or along specific acupuncture channels. Shiatsu may be used by itself, or in combination with other treatments. It promotes relaxation, alleviates pain, soothes muscles, and stimulates physiological changes similar to acupuncture treatment. You may be shown specific acupuncture points to stimulate at home that will enhance and prolong the effectiveness of your treatment.