"I came to Chinese Medicine of Iowa with a lingering case of pneumonia that even strong antibiotics had not cleared up. Sean was able to fit me in for three treatments that week and he also prescribed Chinese herbs. From the first treatment and dose of the herbs I immediately began to improve and by the end of the week my cough and chest congestion were nearly gone. After few more days on the herbs, my follow-up chest X-ray showed no further sign of pneumonia. I found Sean to be very knowledgeable, caring and professional. I recommend him most highly to anyone seeking highly effective alternative healthcare."
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
The short answer is No. Acupuncture is painless, but not sensationless. Many people imagine the feeling of getting a shot when they think about needles and acupuncture. Acupuncture feels NOTHING like getting a shot. Many patients don't even feel the needle go in. You may feel aching, warmth, pressure, or tingling at the acupuncture point. If people who haven't yet had acupuncture are nervous about the needles it is often due to past experiences with hollow-core, hypodermic needles. The size of an acupuncture needle is not in same ballpark, county, state, or even continent of classification of a hypodermic needle. An acupuncture needle is over 400 times thinner than a hypodermic needle, flexible, and thinner than a human hair.
However, if you still find yourself nervous about Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine has many other tools to offer you that can be very effective, so come talk to us about Massage, Herbs, Cupping, and Moxibustion.
Can you help me with ______?
Chinese Medicine diagnosis and treatment is based on pattern differentiation, not on disease diagnosis. If you have any combination of symptoms, diagnoses, or conditions - Yes, Chinese Medicine can help you by treating the root causes of your condition. If you don't feel right, but no lab test or doctor has been able to put a name to it - Yes, Chinese Medicine can help you. If you have a thousand disease diagnoses and labels, it doesn't matter - Yes, Chinese Medicine can help. Chinese Medicine is a truly holistic medical practice, so any person of any age, in health or disease, can benefit. Diseases can be prevented with Chinese pattern diagnosis and treatment, or treated once they have progressed.
Research has shown the following conditions to benefit from Chinese Medicine:
Acne Acid Reflux Allergies Anti-aging Arthritis Anxiety Back pain Cardiovascular disorders Colds and flu Constipation Depression Diabetes Digestive disorders Eczema Fibroids Fatigue Headache Hepatitis Herpes High cholesterol Hormone imbalance Hot flashes High blood pressure IBS Infertility Irritability Insomnia Low Libido Menstrual pain or irregularity Menopause Mood swings Migraines Neck and shoulder pain Osteoporosis PMS Prostate disorders Psoriasis Sexual dysfunction Sinus infection Sore throat Sciatica Stop smoking Stress Sleep apnea Stroke SIBO Tendonitis Thyroid disorders TMD Weight loss
How long will it take to resolve my condition?
The answer to this question is highly variable depending on the condition, severity, age, timing.
Acute conditions such as colds, flus, acute muscle tension and pain can often be resolved in 1-2 visits and 1-2 weeks of herbs. With early onset colds and flus, one dose of herbs can be enough to kick it out. Once the problem has gone deep into a sinus infection, bronchitis, or pneumonia, this can take 1-2 weeks of herbs to resolve, or longer for those with compromised immune function.
Chronic conditions such as chronic pain, sleep disorders, hormonal imbalances, chronic fatigue, hypertension, feelings of anxiety, depression, and any chronic illness have a much wider timeline of response. A general guideline is that it can often take as many weeks to fix the problem as it has been months you have had it. A problem that has been going on for 6 months may take 6 weeks to resolve. For chronic problems that have been going on for 2 years or longer it will often take 5-6 months to resolve.
Is it possible to have dramatic, rapid results? Yes, it certainly happens. Sometimes chronic pain can be reduced 75% or more in one visit, or patients with chronic fatigue can feel dramatically better in 1-2 weeks of herbs. Does the relief last? It lasts if you continue the treatment until you have stabilized the healthy state.
Chinese Medicine is a therapy, and it takes time to produce powerful, deep, and lasting changes in the body to correct disease processes. You don't go the gym one time and come out with a perfect physique. It takes time, commitment, and dedication. Your commitment, just like in training at the gym, rewards you with the gift of excellent health. Yes it takes time, yes it takes money, but your health is worth it.
Patients routinely come to me for help with problems they have had for 10+ years. They've tried everything western medicine and other alternative medicines had to offer, but their problem persists. If I can help them, then I explain that it is going to take time and dedication, and in most cases 5-6 months of treatment, sometimes longer. Some patients feel dramatically better in 1-2 weeks, others take one or two months to notice positive change. Even at that point, they still have to continue treatment to get the results they want.
There are three phases of treatment.
1) Correction. The initial phase of reducing bothersome symptoms and correcting the underlying problems causing them. Once the problem is 75% reduced or more we move on to
2) Stabilization. The patient feels 75% or more relief from their problem. However long phase 1 took, phase 2 is the same length to make sure the problem doesn't come back. If phase 1 took 5 treatments to reduce pain by 75%, it will take another 5 visits to make sure it doesn't come back. Then we move on to
3) Maintenance. This phase is to prevent future problems and recurrence. The frequency of visits and dosage of herbs is significantly reduced from stage 1 and 2.
How does Acupuncture work? (Short Answer)
How Acupuncture promotes a healing response:
- Acupuncture promotes blood circulation to facilitate optimal healing and recovery.
- Acupuncture relaxes muscles, tendons, ligaments, connective tissues, and relieves spasms and pain.
- Acupuncture stimulates the release of neurotransmitters including serotonin, dopamine, acetylcholine, and norepinephrine, to calm the body, reduce pain, and balance the body.
- Acupuncture regulates the metabolism and proper distribution of body fluids.
- Acupuncture breaks up stagnant blood and fibrous muscle adhesion’s deep in muscle and connective tissue to aid in resolving pain and recovery, including from chronic injury.
- Acupuncture stimulates and regulates the nervous system.
How Does Acupuncture Work? (Long Answer)
Acupuncture works via the nervous system, cardiovascular system, and connective tissue (fascia). The insertion of an acupuncture needle into the body stimulates the nerve where the needle is inserted and this stimulus travels from the peripheral nerves to the central nervous system and on to the brain. The stimulation causes the release of endogenous pain-killers from the brain, and increases blood flow to the needle site and the entire dermatome and fascial train on which the needle lies. Increasing blood flow to the diseased body part allows new healthy blood to nourish the targeted organs and tissues, and increased blood flow also allows waste products to be more efficiently carried away from the diseased area.
Acupuncture has been falsely characterized in the West as "energy medicine." Chinese Medicine works on the physical body and on the physical organs and body tissues. Here is a brief history lesson to explain this. The Huang Di Nei Jing is a foundational Chinese Medical text written in 300 BC. In this book the anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology of the body is described. The internal organs, their physical measurements, average weights, and functions are described. The vascular system is described, including measurements of the major blood vessels and arteries of the body, as well as which organs and body parts they supplied with blood.* The Chinese term for these blood vessels is Jing Mai or Luo Mai. The classical Chinese word "Mai" is correctly translated to vessel, meaning the blood vessel. This includes the major arteries, blood vessels, and also the tiny branches or capillaries.
Enter George Soulié de Morant, a French dilettante living in China in the early 1900s, who was intrigued by the seemingly esoteric Chinese Medicine. Soulié had no medical training and a poor understanding of the classical Chinese language. He translated "Mai" as meridian and "Qi" as energy. No one had ever translated these words to mean "meridian" and "energy", and there is no historical basis to the translation, but it fueled the esoteric intrigue of Chinese Medicine and the idea of an invisible system of psychic energetic pathways was born.
While its entirely likely that there are tangible parts of the human body that are not yet understood, Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine do not function via an invisible energetic meridian system. Acupuncture works via the blood vessels and their tiny branches, capillaries, through the nervous system vessels and its tiny branches, and through the fascia, connective tissue, that connect throughout the entire body from head to toe. Stimulation of an acupuncture point in the hand may thereby affect the face due to connections throughout the circulatory system and nervous system.
Qi is correctly translated as: air, vital air, function, or vital essence.
The Nei Jing says: The Qi flows through the blood vessels = the vital essence of air (oxygen) flows through the blood vessels.
The Lungs receive Zong Qi from the air = the lungs gather the vital essence of air.
The Stomach receives Gu Qi from food and grain = the stomach extracts the vital essence (nutrients) of the food we eat.
Qi is a way of describing the proper functioning of the body. For example: when we say in Chinese Medicine, "the Lung Qi is weak," we mean that the functioning of the Lung is weak.
Chinese Medicine is not magic, but it does work exceptionally well to treat disease, pain, and restore health.
*Note that the accurate representation of the cardiovascular system and venous blood return to the heart was described by the Chinese here in 300 BC, whereas venous blood return was not understood and recorded in the West until 1600 AD by William Harvey. Until then, the Greek physician Galen's theory of blood flow explained that the heart pumped blood to the rest of the body but had no explanation of how it got back to the heart to be re-oxygenated.
Fascial trains and Piezoelectricity
In addition to the nervous system and vascular system, Acupuncture also functions to stimulate the network of connective tissue in the body. Every muscle, organ, and body part is wrapped in connective tissue known as fascia. The collagen matrix that makes up this connective tissue has been shown to be electro-conductive, transferring what is know as piezoelectricity throughout the body. The fascia that wraps around a bundle of muscles in the calf is connected to the fascia on the adjacent muscle and so forth creating what are known as fascial trains. For example, there is a physical and electro-conductive connection between the calf muscles and the base of the skull. Well, that fascial train happens to be in the same location as a channel used in Acupuncture to treat many types of problems on the back surface of the body. An acupuncture needle is metal, and electro-conductive. It has now been shown that inserting the acupuncture needle stimulates an electrical response in the fascia that can travel, extremely quickly, from one part of the body to affect another part that seemed to be "completely separate." Acupuncture needles have been shown to change signal strength along these fascial trains, which suggests a means by which acupuncture can regulate flow of electricity throughout the body.
For more detailed information on acupuncture and fascia, read: The Spark in the Machine: How the Science of Acupuncture Explains the Mysteries of Western Medicine by Daniel Keown