Common Questions We are Asked
Holistic Health, TCM, & Acupuncture is a Different Paradigm for Americans and Many Westerners
The Western style of medicine has "programmed" people to expect results by just taking a pill or having surgery to remove the offending structure. This is unfortunate as the medicines do not cure but mask the symptoms and removing body parts sometimes leads to worse conditions or just create a new type of pain for the patient. Neither approach is healing. Sometimes these medicines and surgeries are lifesaving, sometimes mandatory for longer life. Unfortunately, the cure can be worse than the disease. Sometimes they do not listen to the patient's concerns, who usually knows their own body and is aware when something is not right, even if they do not know what.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) or sometimes just referred to as Acupuncture is a holistic health care system of medicine. It requires an analysis of the patients Chief Complaint, a full medical history, a Diagnosis, a treatment plan, and a review of progress. The goal of TCM is to first keep people healthy. The next goal is to help the patient return to health when they get sick or are in pain.
This means that sometimes when people ask questions, they are looking for a quick fix like a pill or just one treatment to fix the problem. People do not get sick overnight. Things build up due to poor diet, sedentary lifestyle (even excess exercise), exposure to toxins, and even negative thinking and life's stresses. This means there is generally no quick fix. The body will heal itself when given what it needs (good energy, proper diet, lifestyle changes, and sometimes additional supplementation as needed). Unlike Western Medicine where medication may need to be taken for life, the supplementation (like herbs, oils, etc.) are only needed until the condition is healed by the body. Yes, the body heals itself.
For many years we have been answering Acupuncture Related Questions on "Find a Top Doc". Some of the Questions with my responses are listed here. Just scroll down to find a topic you are interested. Each new question has the subject bolded to find what might be of interest to you faster.
First here is information from various sources about what Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), i.e., Acupuncture, has a proven track record with treating.
The World Health Organization (WHO) research recognizes Acupuncture for many conditions including:
- Neurological disorders
- Respiratory disorders
- Digestive disorders
- Blood disorders
- Urogenital disorders
- Gynecological and Obstetric disorders
- Cardiovascular disorders
- Psychiatric disorders
- Pediatric disorders
- Sense organ disorders
- Skin disorders
- Cancer as an adjunct therapy
The World Health Organization Interregional Seminar
drew up the following provisional list of diseases that lend themselves to acupuncture treatment. The list is based on clinical experience, and not necessarily on controlled clinical research; furthermore, the inclusion of specific diseases are not meant to indicate the extent of acupuncture's efficacy in treating them.
Neurological and Musculo-skeletal Disorders
- Low back pain
- Headache and migraine
- Trigeminal neuralgia
- Facial palsy (i.e., within three to six months)
- Paresis following a stroke
- Peripheral neuropathies
- Sequelae of poliomyelitis (i.e., within the first six months)
- Meniere's disease
- Neurogenic bladder dysfunction
- Nocturnal enuresis
- Intercostal neuralgia
- Cervicobrachial syndrome
- "Frozen shoulder"
- "Tennis elbow"
- Spasms of esophagus and cardia
- Acute and chronic gastritis
- Gastric hyperacidity
- Chronic duodenal ulcer (pain relief)
- Acute duodenal ulcer (without complications)
- Acute and chronic colitis
- Acute bacillary dysentery
- Paralytic ileus
Upper Respiratory Tract
- Acute sinusitis
- Acute rhinitis
- Common cold
- Acute tonsillitis
- Acute bronchitis
- Bronchial asthma (most effective in children and in patients without complicating diseases)
Disorders of the Eye
- Acute conjunctivitis
- Central retinitis
- Myopia (in children)
- Cataract (without complications)
Disorders of the Mouth
- Toothache, post-extraction pain
- Acute and chronic pharyngitis
This is the beginning of the Question and Answers Area.
How often should you do acupuncture for anxiety?
I have anxiety and want to treat it. How often should you do acupuncture for anxiety?
My Answer: As with any issue, it will depend on the cause. The rule of thumb is one month of treatment for every year the issue has been a problem. But that is just a rule of thumb. It also depends on external circumstances and if they can be eliminated, if not, then ongoing treatments may be needed as long as the external factors exist. Most people are USD to the Western medicine model, which is based on a symptom or disease and the person is prescribed a pill, where everyone is treated the same. With Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, we treat when whole person, not diseases or conditions. Each case is unique, and the treatment is customized to that person's specific needs.
Can acupuncture help with panic attacks?
My Answer: Panic attacks can be caused by a combination of factors, including biological, psychological, and environmental triggers. Some common causes and contributing factors include:
- Genetics: There may be a genetic predisposition to developing panic attacks or anxiety disorders.
- Brain chemistry: Imbalances in certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and norepinephrine, can play a role in panic attacks.
- Stress and trauma: High levels of stress or exposure to traumatic events can increase the risk of panic attacks.
- Major life changes: Significant life transitions or stressful events, such as job loss, relationship issues, or loss of a loved one, can trigger panic attacks.
- Phobias and fears: Specific phobias or intense fears can lead to panic attacks when confronted with the feared object or situation.
My Answer: To manage and reduce panic attacks, here are some strategies:
- Seek professional help: Consult with a mental health professional, such as a therapist or psychiatrist, who can provide a proper diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment options.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of therapy that helps identify and modify negative thought patterns and behaviors associated with panic attacks. It can teach coping mechanisms and relaxation techniques.
- Medication: In some cases, doctors may prescribe medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), benzodiazepines, or beta-blockers to help manage panic attacks. This should be discussed with a healthcare professional.
- Deep breathing and relaxation techniques: Practicing deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, or mindfulness techniques can help calm the body and mind during a panic attack.
- Lifestyle adjustments: Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, sufficient sleep, and a balanced diet, can contribute to overall stress reduction.
- Avoid triggers: Identify triggers that tend to provoke panic attacks and make efforts to avoid or manage them effectively. This may involve creating a supportive environment, making lifestyle changes, or seeking professional guidance.
Remember, it's essential to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. They can provide appropriate guidance and support based on your specific situation.
Acupuncture in neck and feeling dizzy after
I got acupuncture in my neck yesterday only two needles to help with pain in my neck and I have been dealing with dizziness. After the acupuncture I feel very weird. My head is buzzing and I feel so dizzy and it’s making me nervous. Is this normal? Or what can I do? Will it stay like this forever
Female | 24 years old
Complaint duration: 1 day
My Answer: This is not normal. You should have immediately reported this to the acupuncturist so they could fix it for you. Call now and go back. Acupuncture moves the energy in the body. It gets “stuck”, we call it blockages. We clear the block and move the energy. Clearly, you had more than one blockage and that just needs to also be cleared. Only two needles for the treatment indicate to me that you did not go to an actual acupuncturist. Licensed acupuncturists that are fully trained will have L.Ac. after their name. Frequently MDs, DCs, and PTs in some states will also do acupuncture. They have only limited training. If this is the case, call a licensed acupuncturist and they can clear the block and help with the dizziness. With acupuncture we treat the symptoms and the underlying cause. This will always take more than 2 needles. Only in rare cases would I only use a couple of needles on a patient, four at a minimum.
Does acupressure help nerve pain?
I have nerve pain in my neck. Does acupressure help nerve pain?
Acupressure may help to relieve pain temporarily, but it is not a long-term solution but a temporary stopgap until a full acupuncture treatment is available.
Acupuncture is only one type of modality that acupuncturists use. Frequently we use other treatment styles with acupuncture, called layering for our treatments. For nerve pain e-Stim, or microcurrent may also be needed. This is frequently the case with nerve pain. It depends on the type of nerve, the location, how long the pain has been there, as well as the underlying cause as to the exact treatments that may be needed.
Dizziness after acupuncture
This can frequently happen. It is important to get up slowly. In general, I ask the patient if they feel dizzy when they sit up on the table. If they do I run a little oil on KI-1 on the bottom of their foot to ground them. If they are still dizzy when they stand up I have them sit in the lobby and drink some water. It is not a problem and will go away in a few minutes. This is why I do not work early. I don't want people to get a treatment and then go to work. Do it on a day off or when you can go home and do some self-care after the treatment.
My Answer: This can frequently happen. It is important to get up slowly. In general, I ask the patient if they feel dizzy when they sit up on the table. If they do I rub a little oil on KI-1 on the bottom of their foot to ground them. If they are still dizzy when they stand up I have them sit in the lobby and drink some water. It is not a problem and will go away in a few minutes. This is why I do not work early. I don't want people to get a treatment and then go to work. Do it on a day off or when you can go home and do some self-care after the treatment.
Does acupuncture help nerve pain?
I have neck nerve pain. I want to get acupuncture treatment. Does acupuncture help nerve pain?
My Answer: Yes, Acupuncture is great for all kinds of pain, even phantom pains where the nerves are being triggered for areas of the body not even there. We have different ways of needling depending on the type of pain i.e., skin deep, in the muscles, nerves, or in tendons/ligaments. Acupuncture can even help rejuvenate damaged nerves and stimulate the growth of nerves in cases of severe damage.
Since your pain is in the neck, there might be a spinal alignment issue. If that is the case, I suggest a chiropractor. The two medicines are synergistic with each other. It depends on the cause of the pain, and I do not know your history so it is difficult to determine if it is an alignment issue or not.
Soreness in hands and feet from Acupuncture
I had acupuncture done 6 weeks ago by a licensed professional. Ever since, my hands and feet feel a tight burning sensation on the points where needles were inserted (between pointer and middle finger). Directly after treatment, I noticed it right away when the needle was taken out. Doctor said it should go away in a few hours. It’s now been 6 weeks and feels the same, I’m very worried this feeling wont go away, I work with my hands for a living and its very uncomfortable. I still have motor function, just the unfamiliar sensations of tugging, burning, tight, bruised. When I move my fingers these sensations increase. I’m really hoping I’m just taking longer to heal.
Female | 23 years old
Complaint duration: 50
My Answer: The first question is the term “licensed professional”. Was this an L.Ac., Licensed acupuncturist, or someone else? The acupuncturist should have immediately treated the numbness from the treatment, at least I would have. Second, six weeks is way too long. You need e-stim to fix the numbness, the longer you wait the worse the prognosis. It sounds as if the needle hit a nerve. This happens and can easily be fixed if treated right away. If you went to a licensed acupuncturist, then call them back and go in to get it fixed. If it was not a licensed acupuncturist then contact one and get it fixed right away.
Could acupuncture help consistent ear ringing?
Could acupuncture help consistent ear ringing? I have tinnitus.
Male | 65 years old
My Answer: It depends on the cause and there are many. As with all symptoms, TCM looks at the underlying cause of any symptom and treats not just the symptoms but the underlying cause. In cases where the tinnitus was caused by nerve damage (dental work, Bells Palsy, etc.) then the answer is no, it does not help. If the cause is an issue with the liver, or the kidneys and the underlying cause is addressed then it may reduce the volume of the tinnitus but rarely eliminates it 100%. For example, some people get loud tinnitus after eating. This will be a high pitched sound in the ears. Once the food has passed through the liver the volume will go down low again. Addressing the foods causing the issue and detoxing the liver will help in this situation. If the tinnitus is low pitched and sounds like rushing water, then it is a kidney issue. It is best to see a licensed acupuncturist (L.Ac. after their name) for a diagnosis.
How can you help with allergic rhinitis?
I have allergic rhinitis. How can you help with allergic rhinitis?
My Answer: The first step is to determine the underlying cause. Rhinitis is just a symptom. Western medicine only treats symptoms while Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treats the whole body, including the underlying cause of the symptoms.
For example, the cause could be environmental, or it could be a diet issue. There are treatments that will help but that will not solve the problem permanently. There are remedies to help with the symptom depending on the cause.
Ultimately, the cause of the rhinitis needs to be addressed and if possible healed go at least ways to mitigate the need for the symptoms.
Does acupuncture cure food allergies?
I have food allergies and want to treat them. Does acupuncture cure food allergies?
My Answer: People are so used to Western medicine that they think differently than we do in Traditional Chinese Medicine. To answer your question: it depends on the cause.
Many food allergies are caused by a poor diet and a leaky gut. When people change their diet and have acupuncture and herb support with the change, eventually most of the allergies caused by this problem will go away. If the allergies have been then since birth, then again it depends on the cause but typically not. There are many reasons why people have allergies and even illnesses. Sometimes it is emotional, sometimes it is our thinking or thoughts, and even at times there is a spiritual connection (mind-body-spirit). Acupuncturists explore all of these possibilities when considering the treatment protocol.
Where is the acupuncture point for weight loss?
I want to get acupuncture treatment for weight loss. Where is the acupuncture point for weight loss?
My Answer: People are so used to Western Medicine, take a pill, on do this for that. Unfortunately, acupuncture doe not work that way. We look at the whole person. 1 - why are you overweight? 2 - what emotional issue are you experiencing 3 - then we need to see if it is an organ or a channel problem. 4 - is the problem diet or lifestyle, or both? All of these things are taken into consideration. Then a treatment plan is put together based on the overall picture and diagnosis.
Is there a point by the ear that I use for weight loss, yes? That said there are many points, one for fat metabolism, and several for sugar issues. Several for emotional issues. Then there are points for the organs and channels that need attention. There is no "magic point", there is no "one shoe fits all" like in Western Medicine.
The best thing to do is go to an acupuncturist, get a diagnosis, and a treatment plan. Know that diet and lifestyle must also be changed.
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