Frequently Asked Questions about Oriental Medicine

Q. I’m been more familiar with Western medicine until now. What is Oriental medicine’s strategy for healing? How is it different?

A. “The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.” -Thomas Edison

Oriental medicine aims to achieve balance and harmony within the body, by treating the root of the problem instead of only targeting symptoms.
The effects of herbal medicine are natural and don’t decline in effectiveness, as antibiotics do after resistance. By inserting filiform needles into meridian points, acupuncture regulates energy flow to heal the body, without the tissue scarring, infection, and expensive extremes of surgery. Oriental medicine coordinates your lifestyle for preventive therapy, aiming for long-term stability in a way that your body can naturally follow.

Q. How has acupuncture interacted with science? What can it cure?

A. Modern science has completed many investigations into the scientific authenticity of acupuncture.
The World Health Organization* recognizes acupuncture as an effective method to treat a wide variety of conditions. This includes:

Allergies, asthma, sinusitis, bronchitis, tonsillitis, common cold, flu
Anemia, arteriosclerosis, hypertension
Chronic diarrhea, indigestion, constipation, abdominal pain, colitis, acid reflux
Infertility, irregular menstruation, PMS, menopause
Headache, migraine, post-operative pain, stroke recovery, facial pain & palsy, trigeminal neuralgia, dizziness, vertigo
Lower back pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, general pain
Stress incontinence, urinary tract infection, sexual dysfunction
Neurosis, anxiety, insomnia, stress
Ear, Nose, Throat, Dental
Poor vision, tinnitus, deafness, ear infection, toothache, gum problems

*World Health Organization, 2003 and American Academy of Medical Acupuncture, 2004

Q. What are the treatments like? 

A. See our services page for descriptions of each service we provide.
As for acupuncture, different people describe the experience differently. Most agree they feel a light tingling sensation that spreads a pleasant, warm numbness across the body. Most find it relaxing. Close your eyes and relax when you feel this sensation–that’s the whole point. It’s a sign your body is healing itself.

Q. I’m afraid of needles. Does it hurt? Can I still receive treatment?

A. Don’t be afraid of acupuncture needles–they are sterile and single use only. There is no blood and they aren’t inserted very deep. Some patients describe a slight prickling sensation when the needle enters the body, but most agree there’s no pain.

If you’re still afraid you will be sensitive to needles, ask your practitioner to practice soft-needling technique to reduce the initial sensation.

Q. What shall I prepare for an acupuncture treatment?

A. Your practitioner suggests that you should have a regular meal as it helps the energy flow and improves the effectiveness. If your appointment is close to lunch or dinner, then eating approximately one hour before your acupuncture treatment is advised. You may wear loose pans and cloths which make you feel more comfortable and relaxing. Eating approximately one hour before your acupuncture treatment is advised.

Q. How does acupuncture work?

A. Acupuncture bases on qi theory, channel and collateral system. 365 points on these channels provide 365 opportunities to adjust the human body. These channels and collaterals are connected to the organs internally and sense organs, body tissues and extremities externally. They are often described as rivers and seas with water flowing, similar to nervous system or blood vessels. A disease is the result of energy weakness, energy stagnation or energy disharmony in different areas of human body. Acupuncture with different techniques can boost energy, unblock channels and regulate energy disharmony. In this way, acupuncture restores and maintains the balance harmony of the human body. From the aspect of biomedical foundation, the needles stimulate certain points to bring the signals to the brain through peripheral nerves, and then the brain regulates the body’s function through the nervous system and immune system. Some research also indicates that needling stimulate body to release endorphin to reduce pain. It’s just like to pressing different buttons of a machine to let it work for you.

Q. What is a treatment procedure?

A. An official acupuncture starts from data collection and these may include conversation, inspection of tongue and a pulse feeling. Based on the evaluation and then your practitioner will select one or more techniques and skills to treat you. If necessary an herbal consultation is also scheduled during or at the end of the treatment. You should plan for one and a half hours for an “Acupuncture Treatment”, or 30 minutes for an “Herbal Consultation”. For pediatric acupressure treatment, one hour is scheduled.  If you are a new patient, please come 15 minutes early to fill out paperwork or please go to the “New Patient” on the webpage to download the forms and fill in these forms before you come.

Q. What do I normally feel during an acupuncture treatment?

A. During an acupuncture treatment procedure, you may experience a heaven, deep, warmth, pressure, itching and occasional tingling sensation in the needling area or along the channels. These sensations are normally mild and light and will subside quickly after insertion. Most patients experience a mind/body relaxing and comfortable feeling through the whole treatment.

Sometimes when moving extremities with needles on them, a patient may feel the sensations again.

Q. Are there any risks of acupuncture?

A.  Any medical technique involves some risks. Properly performed acupuncture presents minimal hazard comparing to some other invasive treatment. Because the needles are so small and thin, a patient may not feel the needling sensation. Occasionally a patient may have small bruises or hematomas in the needling areas and they will go away automatically in a few days.

Selecting well trained, skillful and experienced acupuncturists can greatly reduce the risks to minimum.

Q . What should I do after an acupuncture treatment?

A. It is found very helpful to take an easy for the continuous mind/body relaxation after an acupuncture treatment. Drinking a cup of tea, read a book or take a nap are beneficial. Large meals, vigorous exercises, alcohol or excessive emotions should be avoided.

Q. How often shall I come back?

A. It varies. The frequency and duration of treatment depends on the history, severity of the disease and as well as your body constitution and how you response to the needling stimulation. Normally an acute problem may request a more frequent treatment while a chronic illness a less frequent treatment. Your practitioner will explain to you the frequency and duration of the treatment and as well as some other options.

Q. Shall I also take Chinese Herbal Medicine?

A. Chinese herbal medicine has a history for over 5,000 years, even much older than the history of acupuncture. Since it’s taken orally digested and absorbed in the gastro-intestinal organs and therefore it’s more for the treatment of internal organ problems. It’ said that acupressure is for soft tissue problems, acupuncture for channel and collateral imbalance and Chinese herbal medicine for internal organ dysfunction. Combination of these techniques and therapies are for diseases and illnesses in different areas of human body.

Q. How to take Herbal medicines?

A. The most traditional method of taking herbal medicine is to drink herbal tea prepared by boiling the selected herbs. Patent herbal medicine, including herbal pills and tablets, tinctures, syrups, and powdered extracts are some other options to increase the convenience. Your practitioner may also prescribe some tonic herbs for you to cook with foods for a weak body condition.

Q. Does herbal medicine have side effects?

A. Most of Chinese herbs are very safe with minimum side effects. When they are prescribed by following the herbal formulating rules and principles, the toxicity of some Chinese herbs are reduced to minimum. Your practitioner will carefully apply the herbs for you by also considering the herb/drug, herb/vitamin and herb/herb interactions.

If you have questions that were not addressed and answered here, please discuss with your practitioner when you make an appointment or during the treatment. Your health is our biggest concern.

Q. What about my insurance?

A. Both Drs. Yan and Wu were preferred in-network providers of BCBS, Seton Health Plan, United Health Care,  American Specialty Health, Cigna, etc.

If you are covered by your insurer, we will file insurance claims on your behalf and follow up to see your claim go through. We will assist you in verifying eligibility for your acupuncture benefits. Depending on your plan, you may have to pay for your treatment before you meet your deductibles, and as well as on any denied claims for your treatment.

This sounds great, I want to try a treatment! What do I do now? 

Feel free to drop by and take a look. Or, schedule an appointment– by phone (512)331-3866 or contact us. Our hours are Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm, and Saturday 9am-3pm.

If you have other questions, please discuss them with your practitioner during your visit.

Your health is our biggest concern!

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