Frequent asked questions:
What is Qi?
Qi is a word and concept essential to the understanding Chinese medicine. It is difficult to assign a word to translate accurately and culturally the word “Qi”, however looking at the traditional character 氣 you can see where it obtained multiple meanings of air, force, action and evidence of a steaming pot of rice. The bottom of the traditional character is a pictogram 米 rice serving as part of the meaning, and the top is a pictogram 气 rising vapor serving as the sound and another part of the meaning. So from this we can deduce that culturally the word Qi is the steam produced when cooking rice, it is the force created when heat is added to water and nutrients, which is the energy cultivated from heat, water and nutrients. It is both the kinetic and potential energy of all forms of life. Examples of qi are the complexion of a healthy person, the ability to digest food, the breath, movement, what catalyzes life in all living creatures etc.
How can acupuncture help me? How about Guasha, Cupping and Tuina?
According to Chinese medicine, the most basic cause of pain and imbalance in the body is the stagnation and the deficiency of qi. Acupuncture treatments involve inserting fine thin needles in strategic locations to move stuck, or stagnant, qi as well replenish areas that are deficient in qi. Once proper movement of qi is reestablished, the body is able to heal. Guasha is a practice that involves scraping the skin in order to generate healthy circulation of blood and lymph. By repeated pressure strokes with a ceramic or jade tool over lubricated skin, “sha” or ecchymosis appears, which elicits a response from your body in order to repair and regenerate circulation in the peripheral capillaries. This response is ideal for addressing pain, stuck qi and therefore moving qi. Cupping is very similar to Guasha, however one may be chosen over the other depending on how the patient reacts to the treatment. Tuina is a manual therapy, sometimes deemed the Chinese massage, however it involves much more than massaging muscles and tendons. Tuina, much like acupuncture, guasha and cupping, is a therapy that moves qi in order to restore balance.
How do Chinese formula medicinals work?
The pharmacopeia of Chinese medicinals is incredibly extensive and has been written about in great lengths for several thousands of years. The components used in medicinal formulas are measured by their taste, by their temperature, by their mode of preparation and by region and time of harvest. These components are then combined into a formula, to create a medicinal that acts as a messenger in the body, communicating on multiple levels with the body. In allopathic medicine, you might hear doctors refer to pharmaceutical drugs as interacting, inhibiting or antagonizing the nervous system. However Chinese medicinals, when correctly prescribed, should not inhibit one’s own system, rather they should interact with the body in order to promote balance.
What diseases or disorders can Chinese medicine treat?
Chinese medicine is a complete system of medicine. Anything you go to your medical doctor for, you can see a practitioner of Chinese medicine. But each have their relative strengths. If you are coming down with a cold or flu, have chronic pain, trauma, migraines, arthritis, allergies, digestive problems, menstrual pain, etc., try Chinese medicine. Chinese medicine is absolutely helpful for treating post-stroke, post-heart attack and post-trauma. However, if you are experiencing a medical emergency such as a stroke, heart attack or you have just been in a car accident, I suggest you go straight to an emergency room / hospital. For a more conclusive list of what disorders I have treated and can treat, please see the list of commonly treated pathologies and disharmonies.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Yes, sometimes, for a moment, but it depends on the person and the area that is being needled. The needles are very thin (typical acupuncture needle link to photo) and most of the time you may feel a very slight prick as it touches your skin. That feeling is very momentary, however there may be other sensations felt once the needle is inserted. Other times, especially on the hands and feet where there are more nerve endings (more sensibility), the needle may elicit a sharp sensation once inserted, but this sensation is short lived. Taking deep breaths into your abdomen, and breathing out slowly will ease any needle insertion, and decreases the sensitivity of the needle dramatically. The point is to feel the needle sensation which catalyzes a physiological response from the body, though we want to do this as comfortably as possible. After the initial insertion, the more important sensations you may notice could be a tingling, radiating or dull heavy feeling. This is the feeling of qi moving, and this is the objective of acupuncture, to move qi. Once the qi can move, blood will follow. That new blood in the area is what starts the healing process.
What if I feel something in my neck when you put a needle in my arm?
It is actually common to feel your body interacting with the acupuncture point. It should be understood that every mechanism is interconnected within the body. Treating neck pain by needling a point on the wrist or hand is very common. Treating digestive issues with points on the legs is also very common. The pathways of qi run up and down the extremities, the back, the chest and abdomen, and even the face. Therefore, needling an area on the hand or wrist may be treating an area around the neck or ankle. Just as the nervous and circulatory systems affect all different regions of the body, so do the pathways of qi.
How long is a treatment?
There is always an intake involved before treatment is administered, which includes questioning and pulse taking. An average appointment lasts an hour. New patients should be aware that an initial treatment can last between 1.5-2 hours as the initial intake is very thorough in order for the practitioner to acquire all information necessary for diagnosis.
Why does a practitioner of Chinese medicine feel my pulses?
Pulse taking in Chinese Medicine is a major diagnostic tool. The pulse indicates what, how and why an imbalance exists. It provides guidance to the practitioner. The quality and pace of the pulse (the feeling and speed of the pulse) is assessed, and in conjunction with the patient’s symptoms, a diagnosis is made. This diagnosis is what determines the treatment plan and guides the treatment. Knowing how your body is circulating blood and understanding why is a very arduous skill and altogether an incredible resource.
What do I do during the treatment?
During a treatment, the best thing to do is relax. There is usually a deep feeling of relaxation that occurs during acupuncture, moxa, cupping/guasha and tuina treatments. The body will switch out of the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight), and into the parasympathetic system (rest and digest). The parasympathetic nervous system needs to be functioning for self healing to occur, therefore allowing yourself to relax is part of the healing process and best for achieving treatment goals.
How do I prepare for my appointment?
Patients are advised to wear comfortable clothing and have one small meal 1 – 2 hours prior to treatment. If you tend to have imbalanced blood sugar levels, bring a small snack with you. If you are a new patient, please arrive 15 minutes early to fill out your new patient information packet before your scheduled appointment time.
What should I do after the treatment?
It’s best to not overexert yourself after receiving a treatment, as in going to the gym to workout or doing heavy lifting. It’s also best to stay warm, and not eat cold or raw foods after a treatment. Resting, taking a gentle walk, drinking a warm infusion after a treatment, continuing normal daily activities are all advisable.
What will I feel after treatment?
The most common response is relaxation. However, personal reactions will vary, as will the individual treatment sessions. Some patients may feel energized and invigorated after their treatment, while others feel calmed and soothed. No two treatments are exactly the same, and your body will react differently with each acupuncture treatment. It is important to communicate with the practitioner about the body’s response to the treatment.
How many treatments do I need?
This is very dependent on the condition and the individual, but it is best to start with 6-8 treatments and reassess. For very acute problems, where treatment is started right away, 3-5 treatments over 2-3 weeks is usually sufficient. For long term and chronic issues, a good guideline is a month of weekly treatments for every year you have had the health problem. After about 6 treatments, we should know if you are being helped by the treatments. When a condition has been sufficiently helped and weekly treatment is no longer necessary, I like to see patients once a month or every few months to check in on their health and wellness.
When and how can I book an appointment?
Monday through Friday 18:30h -21:00h, Saturtday 10h-14h You can call or fill in the contact form with your request for an appointment.