about Traditional Chinese Medicine
What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?
Chinese medicine is rooted in an ancient system of thought developed over thousands of years. Central features of Chinese philosophy include harmony with nature, balance of yin and yang, and relationship of the five elements. The human body is seen as a miniature reflection of the cosmos; internal principles of balance and flow are equated to the forces which operate in the external world of nature.
The vital energy of mind, body and spirit flows through 12 main pathways or meridians, each of which is associated with an organ. This vital energy is called qi (pronounced 'chee'). Mental or physical illness arises when any of these channels become blocked, or when the qi is deficient in any meridian. It is necessary to restore the flow of qi in order to treat illness. Proper supply and movement of blood, body fluids, yin and yang are also vital to overall health and balance.
The practitioner of Chinese medicine sees the body as a complex interaction of all its parts, directing attention to the complete physiological and psychological individual. All relevant information is gathered and woven together into a "pattern of disharmony." This diagnostic technique does not specify a singular disease entity but renders an almost poetic, yet workable description of a whole person.
Treatment methods of traditional Chinese medicine include the following:
Acupuncture is applied to specific points along the 12 meridians to affect the flow of qi throughout the body. The use of needles to access the internal qi dates over two thousand years. The first needles were made of stone—today we use very fine stainless steel disposable needles.
Moxibustion is the burning of the herb mugwort (usually in a cigar shaped stick) near certain acupoints. This creates a pleasant, deeply felt warmth which helps to stimulate qi and blood circulation and warm the body.
Tuina ('tway-nah') massage encompasses many therapeutic techniques including acupressure (direct stimulation of acupoints), rolling, kneading, rubbing and hitting. Tuina was developed in kungfu monasteries and by blind practitioners whose sensitivity in their hands is highly refined.
Herbal medicine is seen as working at both an energetic and a functional level. Like Western drugs, herbs have physiological effects on the body; like acupuncture, an herb influences the meridian system and flow of energy. Most herbs are of plant origin. A few are minerals, and some substances are obtained from animals or insects. If you have particular restrictions, please notify your practitioner.
Nutritional principles reflect the over-arching philosophy in that foods are seen as yin or yang, with different energetic properties. Because everyone has a unique body, there is no single diet recommended for everyone; rather, foods should be eaten or avoided according to one's unique condition and constitution.
What does Acupuncture feel like?
This questions is often asked more specifically "does it hurt?" The answer is, acupuncture is usually barely felt. The common misperception is that the needles will feel like the booster shots we got as kids, or the huge needle we give blood through. Hypodermic needles used for injections are large and hollow with a razor-sharp beveled point for piercing through tissue. Acupuncture needles, on the other hand, are extremely thin—often no thicker than the human hair. They are made of solid stainless steel with a rounded pencil-tip point that pushes the tissue aside without cutting it. As a result, only a slight pinprick sensation is felt when they are inserted, and there is usually no bleeding during the entire treatment process.
Once the needle is properly in place, a characteristic tingling or a heaviness may be experienced. Although this sometimes may feel strange and unusual, most patients report that it is not painful. Studies have shown that approximately 5% of the population is hypersensitive to needling; for these patients we might choose another modality.
Are there alternatives to needles?
Yes. Chinese medicine offers several ways to stimulate acupoints and access the meridian system. Acutonics (using tuning forks), Acupressure, moxibustion, and energy transmission are all effective. Needles in less sensitive areas of the body may be experimented with. Apart from these modalities based on the meridian system, other therapies offered in this office are effective for many disorders and for wellness enhancement.
What are the effects of herbs?
Herbs may be prescribed in conjunction with acupuncture and tuina or as a single therapy. They are highly effective for many internal disorders as well as musculoskeletal and skin conditions. Herbs are generally much gentler on the system than pharma-ceutical drugs; so while it may take longer to feel the positive effects, there are rarely harmful side effects. Each of the hundreds of herbs, minerals, and animals in the Chinese pharmacopoeia has unique properties and applications, and many herbs have been found to complement each other, their additive effects being stronger than when used alone. Usually the herbs are combined into formulas of 4 to 20 herbs, crafted to address main symptoms and the overall pattern. I offer formulas of herbs in capsule form.
How much does it cost?
Fees are as follow:
Initial visit $120
Follow-up visit $90
Initial visit includes consultation and treatment, which may be scheduled in one or two appointments. Initial and follow-up treatments may include any of the following: acupuncture, moxibustion, herbal prescription, education, applied kinesiology, tuina/acupressure.
The cost of herbs and supplements is not included in the above costs. An average 2 week supply might range from $20 to $40.
You may choose to pre-pay for your recommended series of treatments; discounts of 12-15% apply to pre-payment of 6-12 visits.
For special rates for non-TCM modalities such as Breema bodywork and Neuro Emotional Technique offered by your practitioner, please see our separate price sheet.
Will my insurance cover it?
Some insurance companies cover acupuncture; most do not cover herbal medicine or supplements. You should contact your company or check your policy to see whether acupuncture is covered, and if so whether there are any practitioner restrictions (preferred provider, etc). If it appears that your insurance will cover treatment, you will be responsible for costs at the time of service and we will provide you a bill which you may submit directly to your insurance company.
What is your training?
I received a Master of Science degree in 1996 after completing a four year program in traditional Chinese medicine at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) in San Francisco. At ACTCM, courses in acupuncture, moxibustion, herbology, tuina, diagnosis and theory make up the core of the program. Western anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology are also emphasized. I completed an internship in Harbin, China and a 300 hour post-graduate course in acupuncture orthopedics. In 2020 I completed the Doctorate program in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine at the Pacifica College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM). Apart from studies of traditional Chinese medicine, I’ve completed over 1000 hours of Breema bodywork training. Additional post-graduate studies in Cranio-sacral therapy, Qigong energy work, Acutonics, and Neuro Emotional Technique enhance my practice.
I hold a Diplomate of Acupuncture (Dipl.Ac.) and Diplomate of Chinese Herbs (Dipl.C.H.) from the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and have also successfully completed the California State Board exams in Chinese medicine. I am a Licensed Acupuncturist in the state of California, a Diplomate of the National Board of Acupuncture Orthopedics, a Certified NET Practitioner, and a Certified Breema Practitioner and Instructor.
What is your perspective on health care?
The aim of alternative medical practices is to restore the body, mind and emotions to their natural state of balance and harmony. My approach in healing work acknowledges the wholeness and wisdom of each individual’s physical, mental and emotional being. Whatever exists and presents itself in the moment is complete.
Within our inherent wholeness, we are continually changing, constantly seeking a state of deeper harmony and balance. The practitioner is present to support the recipient’s process of realizing optimal balance and ease. In my practice three aspects of healing are emphasized:
•Nurturing, tonifying, supporting what is depleted.
•Circulating and moving what is stagnant.
•Releasing what is extra; letting go of conditioned patterns which no longer serve.
Through this process of releasing, moving and nourishing, as we allow that which is vital and harmonized to express and manifest in our lives, we come to move, feel, think, act, experience and respond to life more fully and directly, with greater ease, awareness and adaptability.
What conditions does Chinese Medicine treat?
•Muscle pain and weakness
•Backache or pain
•Irritable bowel syndrome
Eye, Ear, Dental
•Poor vision, central retinitis
•Tinnitus, nervous deafness
•Post extraction pain
•Amenorrhea/lack of period
•During/after radiation or chemotherapy
(especially nausea, poor appetite, pain)
•Increased vitality and energy
•Stress reduction and deep relaxation
•Stop smoking, alcohol or drug addictions
•Enhanced athletic performance
•Immune system tonification
•Regulate blood pressure