Frequently Asked Questions
Is acupuncture safe?
Yes. The acupuncture needle is an extremely fine, disposable (one-use), sterile, FDA approved medical device. This ensures that there is no risk of disease transmission. A licensed acupuncturist has undergone 4 years of training in its safe implementation. There should be no negative side effects from receiving acupuncture treatment.
Is acupuncture painful?
Most people find acupuncture very comforting and relaxing. The hair-thin acupuncture needle bears little resemblance to the hypodermic syringe used for shots and usually provides little to no sensation upon insertion. Most patients experience deep relaxation and many fall asleep during their treatment.
How many treatments will I need?
The course of treatment will vary depending on the nature, severity and duration of the complaint, though most people will experience noticeable relief of their symptoms within a few sessions. Acute complaints tend to show improvement within 2-10 treatments, while chronic conditions may require additional time and effort. In both cases, but especially chronic cases, the speed of progress is assisted by the patient's willingness to follow diet and lifestyle modifications when necessary. During your initial visit, Philip will discuss an individual treatment plan in detail.
I am afraid of needles, can I still get treatment?
Absolutely. First, please read the “Is acupuncture painful?” answer listed above. Second, it is important to know that once most needle-phobic patients try acupuncture, their fear quickly recedes and they tend to enjoy their acupuncture treatments. For those that are still unsure, there are still many treatment options available.
There are various non-insertive techniques such as Shakuju (non-insertive needling), acupressure, cupping, moxibustion, Tui Na, Gua Sha and Chinese herbal medicine. Also, Philip is trained in Japanese style acupuncture, an approach that emphasizes more subtle treatments using extremely thin needles. Any of these methods can be a great introduction to Eastern medicine that can still yield very positive results.
As a new patient, what should I bring?
A list of pertinent medical records, medication lists and supplement information. Also, to save time at your initial consultation, please print, fill out and bring your Health History Questionnaire.
Access Patient Health History form by clicking here.
What should I wear?
Comfortable loose fitting clothing is recommended. Easy access to the arms and legs is essential.
What conditions can acupuncture treat?
Chinese medicine is a complete medical system with the ability to treat a very wide variety of conditions. See the CONDITIONS TREATED section for a list.
How does acupuncture work?
Please visit the ABOUT ACUPUNCTURE AND HERBS section for a discussion on Chinese medical theory.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Are Chinese Herbs safe?
Yes. Though this question is best answered addressing two issues-
In terms of sourcing, our herbs are very safe, please see the HERB SOURCING AND QUALITY section for a more thorough discussion.
In regard to the ingestion of herbs in general, they are considered to be extremely safe by pharmaceutical standards when sourced properly and prescribed by experienced practitioners. Licensed herbalists prescribe whole herbs as opposed to isolated chemicals, as with pharmaceutical drugs. Ingesting whole herbs allows for the natural chemical counterbalances of each herb to neutralize any toxicity or harsh characteristics. For example, ephedrine, an isolated herbal constituent, has the well-known side-effect of speeding up the heart rate, but the whole plant Ephedra sinica does not have this net impact as it contains other alkaloids that slow down the heart rate, balancing the overall effect. Another example of this mechanism can be seen with the ingestion of peanuts which are relatively rich in aflatoxins- chemicals that increase the rate of tumors in animals exposed to it. However, when we eat aflatoxins in peanuts we are eating them together with iron, zinc, selenium, manganese, fiber and vitamin A, which protect the body from this potential carcinogen. This is a major reason why herbs generally produce far fewer side-effects than chemical drugs and are usually limited to mild gas or indigestion.
With that said herbal medicine can be powerful. Just because they are “natural” does not mean they are safe in untrained hands. It takes years of specialized training and supervised clinical application to become adept in the clinical use of herbs. Your herbalist should also know how to stay current with research on herb-drug interactions. For your safety, please insure that anyone recommending Chinese herbs to you is NCCAOM Certified as a Diplomate in Chinese Herbology or in Oriental Medicine (which includes the herbology certification).
Do herbs have side effects?
Herbal formulas tend to balance any harsh characteristics of individual herbs extremely well, especially when compared to pharmaceutical drugs. Most patients experience zero side-effects, but if so they are generally limited to very mild gas or indigestion. Please see the previous question for more information.
Where do you source your herbs from?
Please see the HERB SOURCING AND QUALITY section for a thorough answer.
How much do herbal formulas cost?
Philip has a famous quote with his patients- "The medicine works best when you take it." This speaks certainly to patient's compliance in taking their herbal prescriptions, but also to the ability to of his patients to afford treatment. Philip’s clinical experience has shown the efficacy and safety of Chinese herbal medicine. He believes that everyone should have access to this affordable treatment and takes great pride in his pharmacy offering the lowest cost formulas of any herbal dispensary in the area.
Compared to western pharmaceuticals, herbs are extremely cost efficient. Formulas are charged based on the weight of the formula and the price each of individual herb. The average cost is approximately $15-$25 for a week’s dosage. This price is similar to a co-pay fee for a single pharmaceutical prescription with the added benefits that the patient’s underlying causes of disease are treated and the Chinese herbal formula is not intended to be taken forever. Many Americans take 3+ prescriptions daily and Chinese medicine can help reduce or eliminate this volume, reducing side-effect risk and long-term costs.
How do I take my herbal formula?
Your herbs will come bottled in powdered form. You will add the prescribed dosage of herbs to 1/2 cup of hot water using the scoop spoon that is included. Mix the herbs thoroughly and drink when the mixture has cooled to a warm temperature. Repeat the prescribed number of times daily.
Should I stop taking my medications if I am taking herbs that are addressing the same condition?
The short answer is no. Any reduction of medication should be discussed with your physician that prescribed them. With that said, the goal of many patients is to reduce or eliminate prescription medications, generally because of the side effects. Often, herbs have the ability to replace western medications, helping reduce side effects, and/or heal the underlying cause of disease. Philip has experience working with patients and their Allopathic physician to assist in a weening off regimen of medications.
Can I continue taking my medications while taking herbs?
Almost always yes, but there are certain times to be more cautious. It is very important to provide a full list of medications and any changes in medicines or dosages.