New York Traditional Chinese Medicine
Q & A

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles into body at specific points shown as effective in treatment of specific health problems. These points have been mapped by the Chinese over a period of two thousand years. Recently, electromagnetic research has confirmed their locations.

How deep do the needles go?

That depends upon the nature of the problem, the location of the points selected, the patient’s size, age, and constitution, and upon the acupuncturist’s style or school. Usually, needles are inserted from ¼ to 1 inch in depth.
Does it hurt?

If your practitioner has obtained the correct stimulus of the needle, the patient should feel some cramping, heaviness, distention, tingling, or electric sensation either around the needle or traveling up or down the affected meridian, or energy pathway. In Chinese culture, acupuncture is painless. Some Western cultures may categorize these sensations as types of pain. In any case, if you experience any discomfort, it is usually mild.

Are the needles clean?

The best practice among acupuncturists in America today is to use sterilized, individually packaged, disposable needles. Needles should not be saved and reused for later treatments. This eliminates the possibility of transmitting a communicable disease by a contaminated needle.

How does acupuncture work?

Modern Western medicine cannot explain how acupuncture works. Traditional acupuncture is based on ancient Chinese theories of the flow of Qi (energy) and Xue (blood) through distinct meridians or pathways that cover the body somewhat like the nerves and blood vessels do. According to ancient theory, acupuncture allows Qi to flow to areas where it is deficient and away from where it is excess. In this way, acupuncture regulates and restores the harmonious energetic balance of the body. In Chinese there is a saying “There is no pain if there is free flow: if there is pain, there is no free flow.”

What criteria should one use in choosing an acupuncturist?

Patients should ask about where the practitioner trained, how long the training was, how long he or she has been in practice and what experience the practitioner has had in treating the patient’s specific ailment.
Acupuncture is a licensed and regulated healthcare profession in about half the states in the U.S Ask your practitioner if your state requires a license to practice. In states that do not currently require licensing, patients should ask their practitioner if they are certified by the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncturist. Acupuncturists who have passed this exam are entitled to add Dipl.Ac (Diplomate of Acupuncture) after their name.

How many treatments will I need?

That depends upon the duration, severity and nature of your complaint. You may need only a single treatment for an acute condition. A series of five to fifteen treatments may resolve many chronic problems. Some degenerative conditions may require many treatments over time.

What should I know about the proposed treatments?

Your practitioner will explain the nature of your problem and what treatment he or she is recommending. Your practitioner will tell you what benefits and risks there are to proposed treatments, what other treatment option are available to your through this practitioner or by referral to another practitioner or physician.

Is there anything I need to do before receiving an acupuncture treatment?

Yes, the following suggestions will help your get the maximum benefits from your treatments.
1. Maintain good personal hygiene to reduce the possibility of bacterial infection.
2. Wear loose clothing. Women should not wear one piece dresses. Avoid wearing tight stockings.
3. Avoid treatment when excessively fatigue, hungry, full, emotionally upset, or shortly after sex.

Is there anything I need to do while receiving acupuncture?

1. Relax. There is not need to be frightened. Ask your practitioner any questions you have along the way so that you can get the most benefit possible from the treatment.

2. DO not change your position or move suddenly. If you are uncomfortable, tell your practitioner.

3. Some people experience dizziness, nausea, cold sweat, shortness of breath, or faintness during treatment. This often occurs if you are nervous. Inform your practitioner immediately so he or she can readjust or withdraw the needles. Also let your practitioner know if you feel an increasing amount of pain or burning sensation during the treatment.

4. If you find your treatment unbearable at any point, be sure to speak up so that your practitioner can make the proper adjustments or stop the treatment.

What can I expect after treatment?

You may note a spot of blood at one or more of the needle sites and/or a small bruise could develop. These should not be harmful, but please talk to your practitioner if you are concerned.
Patients often experience the most dramatic result in the first treatment. Some patients experience an immediate total or partial relief of their pain or other symptoms. This relief may last or some pain may return. In a few cases, there may be no immediate relief only to notice pain diminish over the next couple of days. Generally you should expect to feel better.

Chinese Herbal Medicine

Although acupuncture was the first Chinese method of treatment to gain wide acceptance in the West, Chinese herbal medicine is quickly establishing itself as one of the most popular and effective alternative therapies in the West. Chinese herbal medicine is the main treatment method within TCM.

Are all the ‘herbs” vegetable in origin?

Chinese herbal medicine may include vegetable, animal, and mineral ingredients, however, majority of ingredient are from vegetable sources. Leaves, flowers, twigs, stems, roots, tubers, rhizomes, and bark are among the parts of the vegetable used.

Do all the herbs come from China?

The Chinese adopted and incorporated herb from all over the world. Fifteen to twenty percent of the 500 ingredients considered standard originated from outside of China. What makes these “Chinese” herbs is that they are prescribed according to Chinese medical theory and a TCM pattern diagnosis.

Does Chinese herbal medicine work for Western patients?

Yes, Chinese herbal medicine works as well for Westerners as it does for Chinese. Chinese herbal medicine has been used successfully in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and all throughout Asia.

How are Chinese herbal medicines taken?

The most common method of taking Chinese herbal medicine is drinking a liquid prepared by boiling the selected herbs. There are also herbal pills, tinctures, and powdered extracts for those who do not have the time or taste for drinking the more traditional liquid form.

What are the benefits of drinking Chinese herb medicines in liquid form?

This method allows the practitioner maximum flexibility in writing a prescription. They can put in just what is necessary in just the right amounts. The formula can be changed frequently if necessary, and the liquid forms tend to be more potent than other means of administration.

Why do liquid herbal medicines taste so bad?

Chinese herbal teas tend to taste very bitter because they are made mostly from roots and bark where the strongest medicinal ingredients are found. The bitter taste will go away after a while.

What are the benefits of pills and powders?

Pills and powders are good for:
Prolonged administration, as for chronic diseases
Where formulas do not need to be very potent
Where formulas do not need to changed very often
Pills and powders are also commonly used to continue therapeutic results after a successful initial treatment with liquid herbal medicine.

Do Chinese herbal medicines have side effects?

Most of the components of Chinese herbal medicine have a very low toxicity compared to even the common, over the counter Western drugs. When they are prescribed according to a correct TCM pattern diagnosis, they should have few, if any side effects, only beneficial healing results. In general,
Herbal is divided into three groups. The first one can be use as our food. It is main source of herbal diet.
The second one can be use as food and medicine. The third one has different degree side effects. It is
Only for certain disease to improve healing results. You must select quality TCM practitioner  

What is Chinese herbal medicine good for?

Chinese herbal medicine treats the full range of human disease. Especially it is good for promoting the body ability to heal and recover from illnesses.

Can children take Chinese herbal medicine?

Pediatrics is a specialty within TCM and children can be given reduced dosages. There are also specially prepared pediatric medicines in pill, syrup and powder form. Chinese herbal medicine can treat colic,  earaches, diarrhea, cough and fever, development slow… in babies and children.

How do I know if a practitioner is professionally trained in Chinese herbal medicine?
Although Chinese herbal medicines are safe when prescribed by a trained, knowledgeable practitioner, they are strong medicines. Patients should ask about where the practitioner trained, how long the training was, how long he or she has been in practice, and what experience the practitioner has had in treating the patient’s specific ailment.

Chinese herbal medicine may be part of the testing done where acupuncture is a licensed and regulated healthcare profession. Ask your practitioner if your states require a license to practice. In states that do not currently require licensing, patients should ask their practitioner if they are certified by National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncturists (NCCA). NCCA has created a certification process for Chinese herbal medicines. Practitioners who have passed that certification are entitled to add the abbreviation Dipl. C.H (Dipomate of Chinese herbs) after their name.