FAQs

What kinds of things can be treated by acupuncture?

The World Health Organization recognizes Acupuncture and Traditional Oriental medicine’s ability to treat over forty-three common disorders, among them:

Disorders of the Bones, Muscles, Joints, and Nervous System, such as arthritis, headaches, neuralgia, dizziness, back, neck, and shoulder pains, tendonitis, sports injuries, fibromyalgia, sciatica, muscular atrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, and Lupus.

Gynecological Disorders, such as irregular, heavy or painful menstruation, leukorrhea, infertility, PMS, menopausal symptoms, uterine fibroids, and morning sickness.

Gastrointestinal Disorders, such as food allergies, ulcers, diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, gastrointestinal weakness, anorexia, gastritis, bloating, and acid reflux.

Emotional and Psychological Disorders, including anxiety, depression, stress, and insomnia.

Urogenital Disorders, including stress incontinence, urinary tract infections, and sexual dysfunction.

Circulatory Disorders, such as hypertension, angina pectoris, arteriosclerosis, edema, and anemia.

Respiratory Disorders, such as emphysema, sinusitis, asthma, allergies, bronchitis, colds, and flu.

Addictions, such as alcohol, nicotine, drugs, and food.

Eye, Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Supportive Therapy for other immune compromised individuals as well as patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Stop Smoking and Weight Loss

Acupuncture and herbs can be an effective form of treatment for stop smoking as well as promote weight loss. Acupuncture and herbology can significantly reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, sleeping disorders, irritability, agitation, anxiety, and other common side effects associated with stopping drug use. Acupuncture and herbs can also increase metabolism and the elimination of toxins and waste through urination and bowel movements to help with weight loss. It can also help with cravings and curbing the appetite. Acupuncture and herbs are effective in helping people lose weight safely and naturally. This means you should expect gradual decreases in weight, about 1 pound a week. It is advisable to consult a knowledgeable practitioner before buying over the counter herbal supplements. Herbal supplements marketed for weight loss and fat burning are not for everybody and dangerous for some people. A trained herbologist will be able to safely prescribe the appropriate herbs based on your individual needs.

Does acupuncture hurt?

The practitioner will first have the patient fill out a medical history form and have the patient sign a consent form for acupuncture. The acupuncturist will ask questions regarding the main health concern and relevant symptoms as well as other health issues. Then he/she will check the pulse on the patient’s wrists, look at the tongue, and conduct an appropriate physical examination. The acupuncturist will then establish a diagnosis for treatment based on Traditional Chinese Medicine. After the diagnosis has been made the acupuncturist will choose acupuncture points according to the diagnosis and based on the individual’s needs. The patient usually lies in a comfortable position, either on the stomach, on the back, or side. Occasionally the patient may sit in a chair. The acupuncture needles are then inserted into specific acupuncture points. Needles stay inserted for ten minutes to an hour, depending on the condition or conditions being treated.

How many treatments will I need?

The amount of treatments vary from person to person. People often have results after the first treatment. Chronic conditions usually require more treatments. Some conditions may only require one-five treatments while others may take twelve or more.

How does acupuncture work?

Traditional Chinese Medicine views health conditions as the result of imbalances or disruptions in the body’s vital energy (Qi). TCM believes that this vital energy (Qi) flows throughout the body in channels or pathways called meridians. Each meridian is associated with a particular organ. TCM believes that when a health condition is present, there are imbalances within the meridian and organ systems. Acupuncture is used to manipulate the energy in the meridians to help correct imbalances and restore health.

Most diseases do not occur overnight, they are caused by a disharmony within the body that occurs over time. An acupuncturist is able to identify the patterns of disharmony based on the history of the patient, observation of the tongue, feeling the pulses on both wrists, and palpation of certain points on the body. Once the pattern is identified, an appropriate treatment plan can be developed.

Why does the acupuncturist look at my tongue?

The acupuncturist can tell a lot about a person’s condition by looking at the tongue. The practitioner will look at the tongue body and the tongue coating. The tongue can indicate what is going on in a person’s body, helping to diagnose health conditions. Some people have red tongues while others may have pale, puffy, or purple tongues. Some people have thin white or yellow coating, others may have a thicker coating or none at all. Some have cracks on their tongues, deviations, or purple spots. The condition of the tongue corresponds to health conditions of the individual.

What can the acupuncturist tell from feeling the pulse in both wrists?

The acupuncturist feels both wrists, three positions and three different levels on each wrist. The positions and levels correspond to different organs and energy relationships. There are twenty-eight different pulse types. The practitioner feels for these different qualities of the pulse in each position which gives insight as to what and where the imbalances are in the patient’s body.

Can you tell me more about the needles that are used for acupuncture?

The number of needles used in a treatment varies from person to person and from condition to condition. Many acupuncturists use anywhere from 4-12 or more. The depth of the needle depends on the location of the acupuncture point, ailment, age, and constitution of the patient. Seasons also have an effect on the appropriate depth of needle insertion. Needles may go in from 1/5 of an inch to a few inches. Needles are sterile and disposable. Needles are thrown away into dedicated medical containers after they have been used. The containers are picked up or sent off for hazardous waste disposal.

Should I eat before the treatment?

People should not receive acupuncture if they have either just eaten a large meal or have an empty stomach. It is best to have something to eat about 1 hour or more before the treatment.

How will I feel after the treatment?

It really depends on the person and what condition the acupuncturist is treating. Many people feel very relaxed after acupuncture treatments. Others may feel energized after a treatment.

Will acupuncture or herbs interfere with the medications that I am taking?

Acupuncture will not interfere with any medications. It is important to inform the practitioner of any blood thinning medications before the treatment. Certain herbs should not be mixed with particular Western medications, these interactions should be addressed by the practitioner. It is important to inform the practitioner of all medications and supplements currently taken. Herbs are an effective form of treatment for many disorders and can be safely used in conjunction with most Western medications. There are some drug-herb contraindications. A knowledgeable herbalist will be able to safely prescribe the appropriate herbal formula.

How does Chinese herbology work?

Each herb has different properties that affect the flow of energy in the body. These properties include different temperature and taste qualities, and the capability to affect or enter certain meridians or areas of the body. The actions and indications of each herb are determined by their specific properties. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, herbs are usually combined in formulas to maximize each herbal prescription’s function. Choosing the correct formula is considered an art in Oriental Medicine. From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, herbs are carefully selected to correct imbalances within the body and are prescribed depending on the individual’s TCM diagnosis. To find the appropriate herbal formula the practitioner must first perform an appropriate intake including a medical history, observation of the tongue, and palpation of the pulse. Western medications often control the symptoms of an illness but do not alter the disease process. Herbology, when used properly, can treat the underlying conditions that caused a particular illness or health condition. Herbs may work slower than Western medications in alleviating symptoms because they focus on the root of a condition.

How long do I have to take the herbs?

For acute conditions herbs may only be taken for a couple days to a couple weeks. More chronic conditions will require taking the herbs for a month or more. For acute conditions results may occur in a matter of minutes. Results from chronic conditions may be seen within two weeks.

Can I take herbs while pregnant or nursing? Can my herbs be shared with my partner or children?

Herbal formulas are specific for the individual. Herbal formulas should not be given to others without consulting the practitioner. Certain herbs should be avoided during both pregnancy and nursing. A knowledgeable herbalist will be able to safely prescribe herbs that are appropriate for these stages.

What is Tui Na?

Tui na is a form of massage commonly used throughout China to treat a variety of ailments including musculoskeletal disorders such as injuries of the tendons, muscles and bones, headaches, migraines, gastrointestinal, respiratory, gynecological disorders, obstetric, pediatric diseases as well as diseases of the eyes, ears, nose, and throat. This form of massage can boost the immune system and is used to treat people of all ages from infants to the elderly. Tui na is also a popular form of massage utilized for cosmetic purposes. Face tui na is often used to strengthen the face muscles and increase blood supply to the face, preventing wrinkles, sagging skin, dark circles and puffiness under the eyes. Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that there are specific energy pathways that circulate throughout the body. These flows of energy are called meridians. Diseases occur through imbalances in this energy system. There are certain areas and points on the body which can be manipulated to correct these imbalances. Tui na is an effective form of therapy to balance the energy of the meridians and in regulating the functions of the internal organs.

Tui na is an external form of treatment that incorporates various manipulations according to the particular ailment, age, constitution and TCM diagnosis of the individual. Tui na applications focus on areas of pain, acupuncture points, meridians, muscles, and joints. Manipulations often used on adults may include pressing, kneading, rolling, rubbing, grasping, patting, rotating, pulling, and extending, just to name a few.

Does insurance cover acupuncture?

More and more insurances are now accepting acupuncture. Some plans only cover in-network providers, and other plans cover both in and out-of-network providers. Call Element Natural Healing Arts with your plan details and we will check into your particular policy to see if you are eligible for acupuncture benefits or any discount.

How are acupuncturists and herbalists accredited?

Laws vary from state to state. The NCCAOM (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) certifies practitioners in acupuncture, Chinese herbology, Asian bodywork therapy, and Oriental medicine (which is the combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbology). When searching for practitioners of acupuncture or Chinese herbology in New York, find out if they are state licensed in acupuncture and certified by the NCCAOM in acupuncture and Chinese herbology or Oriental medicine. All acupuncturists and herbalists at Element Natural Healing Arts are NY state licensed and NCCAOM certified.