faq Frequently Asked Questions Q: What is Oriental Medicine? A: Oriental Medicine is a system of medicine that is over 2,000 years old, and is based on the philosophy of Taoism, which states that all things in life are interconnected and may be understood according to the theory of Yin and Yang, the principle of complimentary forces. Oriental Medicine is perhaps best known in regards to acupuncture, the insertion of needles into specific points in the body to balance the patient's Qi (the life force), and thereby restore and maintain health. Oriental Medicine also includes Chinese herbal medicine, nutrition, Tui Na (a form of medical massage), and Qi Gong (breathing exercises).

Q: What problems can be treated with Oriental Medicine? A: Unless you require Emergency medical services (Call 911!), Oriental Medicine is an excellent choice for any health care need. Many health problems can be treated effectively through Oriental Medicine alone, while others diseases may be best treated by combining Oriental Medicine with other forms of therapy, such as modern Biomedicine.

Q: Is acupuncture safe? A: The modern standard of practice of acupuncture is to use pre-sterilized, one time use, and disposable needles. This significantly reduces the risk of exposure to blood-borne pathogens. If you are treated by a licensed professional, or a student intern who is under the watchful eye of a professional, they have been trained to safely insert the needles, knowing how deep they may be inserted, and at what angle.

Q: Is acupuncture painful? A: It is common to hear people say, "I'm afraid of needles." This fear is usually due to experiences with larger, hollow needles that are used to draw blood, or inject some substance into the body. An acupuncture needle is very thin, and is usually inserted painlessly. The sensation the acupuncturist is looking for is a fullness, tingling, or electric sensation that is characteristic of the arrival of Qi to the needling site.

Q: Chinese herbs taste awful, don't they? A: If your not used to drinking Chinese herb teas, they may taste bad to you at first. The Chinese herbalists have a saying; "Good medicine is bitter to the taste." Most patients find, however, that after a while they get used to the taste, and some even enjoy the earthy flavors of natural medicine.

Q: How many treatments will it take? A: It is rare that one treatment with any modality of Oriental Medicine is enough to completely resolve a health problem. For most minor ailments, a series of three to ten treatments will usually give good results, and for more chronic or serious illness, more than ten treatments will probably be needed.

Q: Are Chinese herbal formulas safe? A: When a professional with the appropriate training prescribes Chinese herbs, they are very safe, as opposed to pharmaceuticals, which can be very toxic to the body and result in many unpleasant "side-effects", even when prescribed correctly. The strength of Chinese herbal medicine is that each formula is created to match the specific qualities of the patient, and modified as the patients condition changes. When the herbs are in balance with the patient it maximizes the healing potential, and minimizes the risk of "side-effects."

Q: Are all Chinese herbs of plant origin? A: While the majority of herbs are from roots, rhizomes, tubers, leaves, flowers, bark, and twigs, the "material medica" of Chinese herbal medicine includes substances of animal and mineral origin as well. Many modern herbalists will not use animal substances such as tiger bone, or rhinoceros horn, any more due to problems with extinction and animal cruelty, but it is always recommended that you ask your herbalist what is being used in your formula.

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