Slow Paths FAQs

Clinic Phone: (804) 683-2979

Frequently Asked Questions

While acupuncture and Chinese medicine are more and more accepted in the United States, they are still not familiar to most people.  Here are some Frequently Asked Questions:

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1. What are Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) includes acupuncture, herbal medicine, dietary therapy, and bodywork. Acupuncture is the use of tiny, sterile, disposable needles on points along meridians to treat illness using the meridian  system theories of TCM.  The meridians are a system of "energy highways" along the body that roughly correspond to nerve and blood vessel pathways in modern science.

TCM is the synthesis of Asian medicine taught in China, based on medical theory developed over thousands of years of observing and treating people with all manner of illnesses.  Asian medicine was the premier system of medicine for centuries throughout China, Japan, and Southeast Asia, and has protocols to treat every illness, even if the formal name for an illness has changed in time.  TCM is able to be so effective because it views the body as a whole entity that is affected by emotion, food, events, and its surroundings.  Illness in one area of the body effects the rest of the body.  For example, pain in your back can cause pain in your neck, or fatigue, or depression, or a headache can cause nausea or irritability.  A cloudy damp day can cause depression, or a flare up of arthritis.  Treatments aim to restore normal body function and help your body adjust to your surroundings.

TCM pays special attention to diet, emotions, and the patient's surroundings.  Any health problem can be improved with treatment directed at these three factors.  TCM also recognizes the influence the weather can have on illness, and recommends working with the seasons rather than fighting them. 
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2. A Friend Says Her Doctor Does "Medical Acupuncture". Is It the Same as What You Do?

A Licensed Acupuncturist has over 3,000 hours of training, including at least a 900-hour internship for hands-on application of acupuncture techniques. Training includes proper point location and needling technique, Chinese medical theory, Chinese herbal medicine, as well as classes in Western medicine such as pharmacology and pathology. Medical acupuncture is the term used to describe needling performed by a doctor (Medical Doctor or Doctor of Chiropractic) trained in Western medicine. These practitioners typically have 200 hours of training in using acupuncture needles.

3. Does Acupuncture Hurt?

The most common feeling during needling is of pressure or distention around a point.  A dull ache is also possible.  Acupuncture is never as uncomfortable as an injection at a doctor’s office. Some people feel like they are floating, or the area needled feels warmer or colder than the rest of the body.  Many patients fall asleep during treatment.  If you do feel any discomfort, please tell your practitioner immediately.  She can usually adjust the needle and make you more comfortable.

If you are very sensitive, or do not want to be needled for any reason, there are other options available. We can use magnetic pellets (which do not break the skin) on points in your ear or on your hands.  Acupressure and herbal therapy are other “needle-free” treatment options.

4. Do I need to believe in it?

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Many people believe acupuncture will not work if they are skeptical of its benefits.  Although any form of medicine, including prescription medications and surgery, benefit from a patient’s positive feeling toward it, acupuncture still works if you do not believe in it.  Acupuncture is widely used in veterinary medicine with consistently positive results, even though the animals have no belief in TCM.  

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a form of medicine, not a religion, and requires no more specific set of beliefs to be effective than you take to your medical doctor’s office.  That being said, most doctors will tell you the patients who have a positive attitude about life and take responsibility for their own healthcare typically have better health than those who do not.  The same is true for acupuncture patients.

5. Will It Help Me?

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a complete medical system, and was the only medical system available in China for thousands of years.  It can treat literally any health problem, although for some illnesses, such as acute infectious disease or severe trauma, Western treatments are often more effective.  

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TCM is especially helpful with any pain or stress-related illness, and treats digestive diseases, neurological symptoms, emotional problems, menopausal symptoms, infertility and menstrual problems effectively, sometimes alone but more often as part of an overall  treatment plan including Western and alternative treatments.

The World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health have found acupuncture, the most studied of TCM treatment modalities, to be an effective part of treatment for conditions such as:  anxiety, depression, nausea, abdominal pain, constipation, hyperacidity,neurosis, cataracts, tinnitus, poor vision, infertility, arthritis, back pain, stress reduction, muscle pain and weakness, headaches and migraines, Parkinson’s disease, and disability related to strokes.

Please feel free to call Teresa Green to discuss how Traditional Chinese Medicine can help you with your health issues.

Clinic Phone: (804) 683-2979