Frequently Asked Questions
What is Oriental medicine?
Oriental medicine is a complete system of medicine including acupuncture, herbal medicine, tui na (therapeutic massage), moxibustion (use of an herb to warm the body), feng shui (the art of placement), tai qi (Chinese exercises), and meditation. Traditional Oriental Medicine is a complete system of medicine that has been practiced for over 2500 years.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is one of the branches of Traditional Oriental Medicine (TOM). Acupuncture involves the use of small, sterile needles (about as thick as a human hair) inserted shallowly into the skin at specific points on the body. Qi (pronounced: chee) is the universal life energy, it is carried throughout the body in channels called meridians and is accessed through the acupuncture points. This treatment can help to move, strengthen, or balance the Qi. Each acupuncture treatment is tailored to the body's individual needs.
What is Community Style Acupuncture?
It is acupuncture performed in a community setting, the way it has been practiced in China for thousands of years. At Pin & Tonic we have a beautiful community room with several massage tables and recliners. In this setting several people can receive treatments at the same time; this creates a healing energy (Qi). We talk in low voices in the community room in order to respect privacy.
What can I expect on my first visit?
On your first visit you arrive a few minutes early to fill out paperwork, a practitioner greets you and shows you back to the community room. You get comfortable in a chair or on a massage table and the practitioner will spend some time with you answering and asking questions. The practitioner performs an acupuncture treatment and you lay back and relax. Some people even fall asleep. The length of time the needles are left in depends upon your body, some people are done after 15 minutes and others like to have the needles in for closer to 40 minutes. At the end of your treatment your acupuncturist will talk to you about your treatment plan as well as prescribe herbs or supplements and give lifestyle or dietary advice.
What does acupuncture feel like?
Acupuncture, when performed correctly, is pain-free. A small pinch may be felt upon insertion of the needle. Some people report feeling a tingling sensation or pressure at the location of the needle, others report feeling nothing.
How does acupuncture work?
Clinical studies have documented acupuncture's biomedical effects. It has been found that acupuncture regulates the nervous system, aiding the activity of endorphins and immune system cells at specific points throughout the body.
Is acupuncture safe?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved acupuncture needles for use by licensed practitioners in 1996. The FDA requires that sterile, nontoxic needles be used and that they be labeled for single use, by qualified practitioners only.
Can I take Chinese herbs?
Your acupuncturist may prescribe Chinese herbs in addition to your acupuncture treatments. Herbs are a valuable therapy. We use herbs for everything from fertility and fatigue to joint pain and constipation. At Pin & Tonic we carry several types of Chinese herbs. We have pills, tinctures and granules. Your practitioner will know which type of herbs are most appropriate for you and your health concern. We are all very aware of drug herb interactions and take the appropriate precautions when prescribing herbs to someone taking western medications.
Can acupuncture help me to stay healthy?
Yes! Acupuncture is incredibly effective at bringing the body into balance and strengthening the immune system. In fact, historically patients paid their practitioner when they were healthy and if they became ill the practitioner didn't get paid. At Pin & Tonic our wellness plan rewards you for coming in once a month for a 'tune up'. Your follow-up treatments are only $30 if you come in within 30 days of your last visit.
What should I look for in a qualified acupuncturist?
Because Traditional Oriental Medicine is such a complex medicine, be sure to seek treatment from a qualified professional. Your acupuncturist should have a Masters Degree in Traditional Oriental or Chinese Medicine, which includes over 3,000 hours of training. They should be nationally certified by the NCCAOM (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) and they should be licensed in the state in which you are seeking treatment. The most commonly used abbreviations are: L.Ac. (licensed acupuncturist) and Dip.L.Ac. (diplomat of acupuncture). Please note that in some states (including CO) chiropractors and doctors can attend courses for 300 hours and receive a certificate to use medical acupuncture. This is not the same as an acupuncturist who is fully trained in Traditional Oriental Medicine. As with any health care professional, if you do not feel that you are receiving the quality of care you deserve, seek treatment elsewhere.
What does a treatment involve?
A typical treatment will include a patient intake, placement of acupuncture needles, and possible application of adjunctive modalities such as cupping or gua sha. After the treatment, exercise or dietary recommendations are made and herbs are prescribed if indicated. (A qualified practitioner will know if herbs are contraindicated for use with specific medications)
How many treatments will I need?
A usual course of treatments is 5 to 10 treatments. While individual healing responses vary, acute conditions tend to resolve more quickly and chronic conditions need more time and patience. Most people feel some relief from symptoms after the second or third treatments. However a good rule of thumb for chronic conditions; it takes one month of treatments for every year you have had the condition. Please be patient with your body as it works to find health and balance.
What does acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture treats just about everything. It is a complete system of medicine developed over thousands of years to help people to get and stay healthy.
In a report, Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized the following conditions that have been shown, through clinical trials to be effectively treated by acupuncture:
- low back pain, neck pain, knee pain
- tennis elbow
- periarthritis of the shoulder
- facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
- dental pain
- tempromandibular (TMJ) dysfunction
- rheumatoid arthritis
- induction of labor
- correction of malposition of the fetus (breech presentation)
- morning sickness
- nausea and vomiting
- postoperative pain
- essential hypertension and primary hypotension
- renal colic
- adverse reactions to radiation or chemotherapy
- allergic rhinitis, including hay fever
- biliary colic
- depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
- acute bacillary dysentery
- primary dysmenorrhea (painful menses)
- acute epigastralgia
- peptic ulcer
- acute and chronic gastritis
What is Traditional Oriental or Traditional Chinese Medicine?
Traditional Oriental Medicine (TOM) is a complete medical system that has been used to diagnose, treat, prevent illness and promote well being for thousands of years. The ancient Chinese recognized a vital energy behind all life forms and life processes. They called this energy Qi (pronounced Chee). In a healthy person Qi flows within specific energetic pathways called "meridians" in a harmonious and healthy way. Disease is considered to arise due to a deficiency or imbalance of energy in the meridians and their associated physiological systems. Acupuncture involves using extremely fine, flexible needles as one tool to correct the deficiency or imbalance of Qi. They are inserted into specific acupuncture points on the energetic pathways leading to the organs, muscles and nerves of the body to help restore the proper flow of Qi. Modern science has been able to measure the electrical charge at these points, therefore corroborating the locations of the meridians as mapped by the ancients.
Acupuncture is only one part of the whole spectrum of Traditional Oriental Medicine. TOM also includes herbal therapy, moxibustion, nutrition and diet, Tui Na (medical massage), meditation, and exercise such as Tai Qi and Qi Gong.
What is Chinese Herbal Medicine?
Chinese Herbal Medicine is based on thousands of years of research and clinical experience and is the main treatment method of Traditional Oriental Medicine (TOM). The Chinese adopted and incorporated herbs from all over the world. What makes them "Chinese" herbs is that they are prescribed according to Chinese Medical theory and a TOM pattern diagnosis as well as a disease diagnosis. This personalized prescription, which usually contains anywhere from 6-18 herbs, is designed to treat your individual pattern as well as the symptoms or disease that prompted you to seek treatment.
The herbs may include vegetable, animal, and mineral ingredients; however, the majority of herbs are from vegetable sources such as leaves, flowers, twigs, stems, roots, tubers, rhizomes and bark. At Pin & Tonic we carry herbs in pill form as well as house-crafted tinctures and granules, which are formulated specifically for your individual needs.