ReturnAcupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine FAQ


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  • What is Eastern medicine?

    Eastern medicine encompasses traditional healing systems dating back more than 3000 years. Eastern medicine works by categorizing bodily signs and symptoms into patterns of diagnoses that correspond with treatment options, such as acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, and herbal therapies.

  • What is acupuncture?

    Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles at acupuncture points throughout the body to balance the flow of energy (qi) and blood.

  • What is qi (pronounced "chi")?

    Qi is the body’s energy. Qi circulates along channels (meridians) in the body, powering our tissues and organs.

  • How does acupuncture work?

    When there is blockage along one or more of the body’s channels (meridians), it interrupts the flow of qi (energy) and blood to the tissues and organs along the blocked channel and results in imbalances, and sometimes pain and/or disease, especially if the blockage is long-standing. The insertion of needles at acupuncture points restores qi flow and reestablishes a healthy balance in the body.

  • Does acupuncture hurt?

    The sensation caused by acupuncture can vary, but most people do not feel pain at all. Some patients feel a slight pinch as the needles are inserted, and slight tingling or numbness when the needle is manipulated. Unlike injection needles which are hollow with thick walls, acupuncture needles are tiny, bendable, and as thin as a hair. Most patients find the treatment relaxing. SCU Health adheres to clean needle technique which involves single-use, sterile, disposable needles, and has a 0% infection rate.

  • What conditions can acupuncture treat?

    Acupuncture can treat a wide variety of conditions including pain management, weight loss, stress management, difficulty sleeping, women’s health issues, allergies, cold/flu, heart/lung/liver/kidney conditions, gastrointestinal conditions, and many more. Along with being an effective treatment for a variety of conditions, acupuncture can effectively maintain wellness and accomplish rejuvenation both internally and cosmetically.

  • What is moxibustion?

    Moxibustion is a treatment method that focuses heat on affected areas of the body. A Chinese herb called mugwort is rolled into a stick-like shape similar to incense, and burned near the body. Moxibustion is commonly used in treating immune deficiency, digestive issues, infertility, psoriasis, and pain due to injury or arthritis.

  • What is cupping?

    Cupping is a therapy that utilizes glass or plastic cups to create suction along the surface of the skin to remove stagnation and improve qi (energy) flow. Cupping is helpful in the treatment of muscle aches and pain, and a range of respiratory conditions such as asthma.

  • How quickly do patients experience benefits?

    Some patients notice improvements in their condition during the first or second visit, while others may take a few more treatments to experience the benefits. Every person and condition is different, which results in various recover speeds; however, in general, long-standing conditions take longer to resolve than problems that are newer.

  • How many treatments will I need and how frequent?

    Response to acupuncture and Eastern medicine is individual, and as such, the number of treatment and the frequency of treatment may vary. Generally, patients can receive treatment as often as once or twice a week and as few as once a month. Once a clinician has assessed your condition, a personalized treatment plan will be devised.

  • What is herbal therapy?

    Herbal therapy is the use of herbs to optimize health and treat conditions. Though plant-derived herbs are the most commonly used, animal and mineral substances are also utilized at times to treat various conditions. Similar to medications, herbs are used as a way to enhance the healing process.

  • What is tui-na?

    Tui-na is a therapeutic massage technique most commonly utilized along with other Eastern medicine modalities to establish a balance flow of energy (qi). The muscles and tendons are massaged using manual (by hand) and acupressure techniques to influence the flow of qi at different acupuncture points to aid the healing process.

  • What should I expect on my first visit?

    Your first Eastern medicine consultation will take about 90 minutes, which typically includes 20 minutes of acupuncture treatment. Your first visit will begin with an in-depth conversation about your health and symptoms to evaluate and find the underlying cause of your condition. Next, there will be a physical examination which includes similar components that you experience at a Western primary care check up, but also includes different things such as looking at your tongue and palpating (examining by touch) areas of your body to locate points of imbalance and patterns of disharmony. Following the examination, the doctor will discuss a personalized treatment plan to meet your individual specific needs, and you may receive treatment or therapy.