FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS | Awakenings Acupuncture & Herbal Clinic
Thu, 10/18/18

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS | Awakenings Acupuncture & Herbal Clinic


 







Click here to fill out our Patient Health History form.

For more information or to make an appointment, contact us at:
Awakenings Acupuncture & Herbal Clinic, LLC, Chinese Medicine, Hayden, ID, Post Falls, Coeur d'Alene, Spokane, WA

Jeanette Morris, LAc MAcOM ABT
9751 N. Gov't Way, Ste. 1
Hayden , ID 83835
208.660.6777

e-Mail: info@awakeningsacupuncture.com

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Note: descriptions of Chinese medicine, acupuncture, herbal medicine, shiatsu, and qigong may be found at the corresponding links.

Can Chinese medicine help me?
What type of training does an acupuncturist or Chinese herbalist have?
How does acupuncture work?
Will it work if I don’t believe in the philosophy – it is a placebo effect?
Is acupuncture safe?
Does acupuncture hurt?
What should I expect during my first office visit?
What other techniques may be part of my treatment?
How long does a treatment session last?
What should I do before and after an acupuncture treatment?
How many treatments will I need?
Does acupuncture only provide temporary results?
Will acupuncture be covered by my insurance?
Does Awakenings Acupuncture & Herbal Clinic accept insurance?
Why should I take Chinese herbs?
Are Chinese herbs safe?
Can I take Chinese herbs if I am taking prescription medication?
What is the difference between Chinese herbal medicine and the Western herbs in my local health food store?
How long will I need to take an herbal formula?
What does an herbal formula cost?


Can Chinese medicine help me?
Yes!!  Chinese medicine, which includes the practices of acupuncture and herbal medicine, has developed over thousands of years into a complete form of medicine able to treat any ailment short of emergency medical situations.  For centuries Chinese medicine has been helping people feel better without harmful side effects or damage to the body.  Many problems can be corrected before drugs or surgery are needed, and even if you are not ill or in pain, Chinese medicine is useful for maintaining health and preventing disease.  In ancient China, doctors were paid to keep their patients healthy, and were not paid if the patient became sick.  For a list of conditions that can be treated using Chinese medicine click on What TCM Can Treat.

Back to the top

What type of training does an acupuncturist or Chinese herbalist have?
Generally, licensed acupuncturists must first complete a Masters degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (MAcOM).  This involves 3-4 years of intense medical training in both TCM and modern biomedicine.  Jeanette completed over 3500 hours of intensive training, including over 700 hours of clinical work as an intern.  Graduates are eligible to take the National board exams given by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).  After successful completion of four modules of board exams the NCCAOM confers the title of Diplomate in Acupuncture (Dipl. Ac), alternatively if an additional optional exam on Chinese herbology is successfully passed, the candidate is recognized as a Diplomat in Oriental Medicine (Dipl. OM) – thereby becoming board certified in both acupuncture and Chinese herbology.   This is the most distinguished and complete certification offered by the NCCAOM.  Although this title is legally not necessary to use Chinese herbal medicine in most states (including Idaho), it assures that the practitioner is well-educated in all facets of Chinese herbal medicine, distinguishing committed practitioners.   Medical doctors (MD’s), as well as chiropractors, are able to practice acupuncture without the same extensive training and clinical experience in Chinese medical theory and application.

Back to the top

How does acupuncture work?
Chinese medicine theory holds that pain and disease are caused by either an imbalance or a blockage of the energy (Qi) circulating in the body.  Acupuncture restores the proper flow of energy, returning the body to good health, and stimulating the body’s own healing mechanisms.  For more information on acupuncture, please click on this link.

Because Qi cannot yet be scientifically detected or measured, modern science has been searching for explanations as to why acupuncture is effective in creating therapeutic changes in the body.  It has been shown that acupuncture stimulates the body to produce endorphins.  Endorphins can change the experience of pain, influence the body’s self-regulating systems, and promote physical and emotional well-being.  Research has demonstrated that several types of opiods (including endorphin, enkephalin, and dynorphin) are released into the central nervous system (CNS) during acupuncture treatment, thereby reducing pain.  Other possible mechanisms of action have been considered.  Evidence suggests that acupuncture points are strategic conductors of electromagnetic signals.  Other studies indicate that acupuncture affects blood flow to centers of the brain and CNS related to sensation and involuntary body functions - such as immune reactions and regulation of blood pressure, flow, and oxygenation.  Specific activation of regions of the brain, including the limbic area and hypothalamus, can be demonstrated using fMRI during application of acupuncture.  Truly, acupuncture can help the body to heal, whether we understand the specific mechanism or not.

Back to the top

Will it work if I don’t believe in the philosophy – it is a placebo effect?
Yes, many patients come in doubtful that acupuncture can help them, and leave believing that however it works, it works!  Although placebo effect may come into play – as it does with all medical treatments - it is not a major mode of action.  In fact, there have been several double-blind crossover studies which have shown that true acupuncture is much more effective than sham acupuncture.

Back to the top

Is acupuncture safe?
Yes, when practiced by a licensed acupuncturist (LAc in title), acupuncture is extremely safe.  All LAc’s are required to have at least 1000 hours of clinical training and undergo instruction in clean needle technique.  Most modern practitioners - including AA&HC use only individually-packaged sterilized single-use needles.  Considering the millions of people treated each year and the number of acupuncture needles used, relatively few complications from the use of acupuncture have been reported to the FDA. 

Back to the top

Does acupuncture hurt?
You may not feel anything, or you may feel a brief sensation when the needles are inserted.  Acupuncture needles are extremely thin - typically between 32-40 gauge – much smaller than hypodermic needles used to give injections.  After a needle is inserted you may feel an energetic sensation at the point, but it should not be painful.  In fact, patients often fall asleep while they are left to rest during treatment.

Back to the top

What should I expect during my first office visit?
During an initial visit the practitioner will ask you at length about your primary complaint(s), general and past health history, as well as diet and lifestyle.  TCM is a holistic medicine that takes the state of the whole body into account in order to diagnose cause and determine treatment.   Following the intake, and herbal consultation (if appropriate), an acupuncture treatment will be given.  Once the needles are in, the patient will be left to relax with soothing music (if desired) for a period of 10-45 minutes.   If time allows, additional therapy such as massage or cupping may be performed if indicated.   There will be time for questions and recommendations following treatment. 

Back to the top

What other techniques may be part of my treatment?
Acupuncture is only one component of Chinese medicine.  Within an acupuncture treatment additional techniques may be used depending on the patient’s condition.  This may include:
• Electroacupuncture – the needles are stimulated with an electric charge delivered from a battery-operated machine.  This is especially effective for patients experiencing pain, and much research has been done in this area.
• Moxibustion – this involves the burning of an herb (mugwort = ai ye = artemesia vulgaris) either on top of a needle, on the skin directly, or indirectly near the skin through a handheld “cigar”.  This is especially useful in patients with cold or stagnant conditions such as pain or abdominal cramps.
• Cupping – involves the use of a special glass or bamboo cup which is placed on the body with suction to help remove toxins and stagnation, or muscle tension.  This is especially useful for pain, but can also be useful in patients with immune issues such as the common cold.
• Shiatsu – a form of Japanese massage which is useful in moving and balancing energy in the body through contact similar to acupressure.  It is very energizing and relaxing.  (Click on Shiatsu for more info)

Back to the top

How long does a treatment session last?
An initial visit is scheduled to last for two hours; however, it may go longer depending on need and time allowed.  A follow-up session is allotted 90 minutes.

Back to the top

What should I do before and after an acupuncture treatment?
• Fill out and mail, or bring with you, your completed health history form
• Bring a list of all prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins and mineral supplements that you are currently taking
• Wear or bring loose clothing that can be pushed over elbows and knees –  depending on the acupuncture points used, a gown may not be necessary
• Be sure to have eaten a meal if the treatment is early in the day
• Plan to be able to relax following your treatment
• It is not unusual for patients to feel drowsy or euphoric after treatment

Back to the top

How many treatments will I need?
Occasionally, one treatment will be enough, but this is very rare.  The number of treatments varies widely depending on the nature, severity, and duration of the complaint.  Chronic conditions usually take longer to resolve than acute (short-term) conditions.  In China a “course” of treatment is traditionally 10 treatments in 10 days.  In the US this is difficult to achieve due to financial and time constraints.   Most patients receive treatment once a week for 1-3 months, however, the course and frequency of treatment can vary based on individual needs.   With acupuncture and herbal medicine the goal is to treat both symptoms and cause, and this may take time.  However, helping the body come back into balance usually results in long-lasting effects.

Back to the top

Does acupuncture only provide temporary results?
No.  Acupuncture also treats the underlying cause of disease, not only the symptoms.  When the cause of the problem is corrected, the results can be long-lasting or permanent.  Typically, in the treatment of pain, relief will become greater and last longer after each successive treatment.  The ultimate goal is that the patient will be pain-free without needing “maintenance” treatments.

Back to the top

Will acupuncture be covered by my insurance?
Acupuncture is one of the Complimentary Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapies that are more commonly covered by insurance.  However, you should check with your insurer to see if acupuncture will be covered for your condition, and if so, to what extent.  Chinese herbal medicine is typically not covered by insurance.

Back to the top

Does Awakenings Acupuncture & Herbal Clinic accept insurance?
At this time AA&HC is not processing insurance claims, however, you will be provided a bill with the proper procedure and diagnostic codes which you may submit to your insurance for reimbursement. 

Back to the top

Why should I take Chinese herbs?
Herbal medicine has been used for centuries to treat nearly every type of illness.  While not limited to internal conditions, herbal medicine is especially useful in the treatment of conditions with strong internal components – as opposed to physical or structural complaints which may be effectively treated with acupuncture and /or bodywork.  Conditions related to the immune system, gynecological conditions, digestive problems, allergies, cancer, respiratory, and metabolic problems are among the issues commonly treated with herbal medicine.  Also, while an acupuncture treatment can have lasting effects, continuing to take Chinese herbs while you are undergoing treatment, can greatly enhance the effect.  Because herbal medicine is effective in treating underlying causes of illness, this is especially true in treating chronic conditions.  In China herbal treatment is typically a primary mode of treatment with acupuncture being adjunctive.  The combination of acupuncture and herbs usually provides the most dramatic results.

Back to the top

Are Chinese herbs safe?
Yes.  Chinese herbs have been studied and their uses documented for well over 2500 years.  They are well-known for their lack of side effects, but can occasionally cause mild reactions such as nausea, or allergic reactions (skin rash).  Severe allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis have never been reported in the U.S.  The nature of Chinese herbal medicines makes them very safe.  Whereas pharmaceutical drugs typically consist of only one compound acting within a specific mechanism of action, or on a specific receptor, the activity of Chinese herbs comes from the synergistic activity of a great number of components, as well as a number of different herbs acting together in a formula.  Because of this, the production of side effects such as tolerance, addiction or withdrawal, are virtually unheard of.  A board certified Chinese herbalist is trained in their safe use, as well as being aware of any potential contraindications and interactions between herbal medicines and pharmaceutical drugs or supplements.

Although Chinese herbs are fairly safe and have a great track record, there are some precautions that an experienced herbalist must take.  For example Ma Huang (ephedra), an herb that has received much media attention, is traditionally prepared a certain way and alongside other herbs that balance any undesirable effects.  This is the beauty of having many hundreds of years of collective experience and observation to draw upon.  Ma Huang is a safe and effective herb used to treat colds and asthma when prepared in the proper way; it was never meant to be used for weight loss.

All of the granular herbs and patent formulas used at AA&HC are purchased from suppliers which comply with current Good Manufacturing Practices, and are of the highest quality and efficacy available.  Following in the tradition of Chinese medicine AA&HC uses all-natural herbal medicines free of artificial ingredients or alterations, and the herbal formulas are custom-prescribed to suit your individual needs. 

Back to the top

Can I take Chinese herbs if I am taking prescription medication?
A certified herbalist will want to know what prescription and OTC medications you are taking in order to avoid any potential interactions.  In general, there are few prescription medications that pose restrictions to being prescribed an herbal medicine formula.  An herbalist is educated in herb-drug-vitamin interactions, and, in fact, you may be given advice on vitamin or mineral supplements that could be beneficial to take with your prescription medication.  Fortunately, the effectiveness of Chinese herbal medicine often makes prescription drugs unnecessary.  Conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and even high blood pressure can often be successfully managed.  It is important to work with a doctor to receive regular check-ups and blood tests. 

Back to the top

What is the difference between Chinese herbal medicine and the Western herbs in my local health food store?
Both Western and Eastern forms of herbology often utilize the whole plant in its natural form to treat disease.  The science of using Chinese herbs however, relies heavily on combining herbs into a formula in which the different herbs complement one another.  Although there are prepared pill forms of Chinese herbal supplements that can help a great many people, the finer art involves delicately choosing a combination of herbs that perfectly fit an individual’s needs.   This act of customizing speaks to the holistic nature of Chinese medicine.  Oftentimes, two patients presenting with similar symptoms or with the same western medical diagnosis (such as diabetes) receive quite different herbal prescriptions.   Combinations of herbs are used to increase effectiveness, counteract potential side effects, or even to help a formula focus on specific parts of the body.  Many Chinese herbs are found in your local health food store – such as ginseng and gingko biloba.  However, the proper use of these herbs should really be left to a certified herbalist. 

Back to the top

How long will I need to take an herbal formula?
This will vary based on the individual, the condition, severity, and duration.  There is a saying that if “it took a long time for you to get where you are, it will probably take a little while to get you back to where you should be”.  A general guideline in treating chronic conditions is that it will take at least one month of treatment for each year you have had the condition.  Because Chinese medicine treats the underlying cause and not just the symptoms it can take longer periods of time (possibly months) to make significant changes.  In China, cancer survivors are often on herbal formulas for many years to prevent recurrence.  

Back to the top

What does an herbal formula cost?
This also varies greatly, however, in general, an individualized formula will cost between $10-20 per week.   Patent formulas – which are general formulas prepared in pill form - are perhaps half as much depending on the formula. 

Back to the top

Ancient Chinese Medicine for Modern American Health



HOME | ABOUT JEANETTE | INFORMATION | SERVICES | PATIENT TESTIMONIALS | RESOURCES, LINKS | CONTACT US
Copyright © 2018 Awakenings Acupuncture & Herbal Clinic, LLC
Powered by: ©2012 EVASIV DESIGN