Points for Health

Acupuncture + Herbal Medicine

frequently asked questions

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  • what is traditional chinese medicine?
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an ancient medical system that takes the laws and patterns of nature and applies them to the human body. TCM is not "New Age," nor is it a patchwork of different healing modalities. TCM is a complete medical system that has been practiced for more than five thousand years.

    At the heart of TCM is the tenet that the root cause of illnesses, not their symptoms, must be treated. In modern-day terms, TCM is holistic in its approach; it views every aspect of a person (body, mind, spirit, and emotions) as part of one complete circle rather than loosely connected pieces to be treated individually.

    Fundamentally, Traditional Chinese Medicine is about striking a balance between yin and yang, and it is believed that medical problems stem from an imbalance in these elements which must be corrected. This imbalance leads to a blockage of the flow of the vital energy (Qi). Techniques such as acupuncture, moxibustion, Chinese herbs, nutrition, exercise (meditation/qi gong, tai ji) and tui na (Asian bodywork) are the key treatment components of Chinese medicine and are used to promote balance of the yin and yang and regulate one's vital energy.

  • what is acupuncture and how does it work?
  • what is acupuncture?
    Very basically, acupuncture is the insertion of very fine needles, (sometimes in conjunction with electrical stimulus), on the body's surface, in order to influence the physiological functioning of the body.

    how does acupuncture work?
    The classical Chinese explanation is that channels of energy run in regular patterns through the body and over its surface. These energy channels, called meridians, are like rivers flowing through the body to irrigate and nourish the tissues. An obstruction in the movement of these energy rivers is like a dam that impeded this flow of energy.

    The meridians can be influenced by needling the acupuncture points; the acupuncture needles unblock the obstructions at the dams, and reestablish the regular flow through the meridians. Acupuncture treatments can therefore help the body's internal organs to correct imbalances in their digestion, absorption, and energy production activities, and in the circulation of their energy through the meridians.

    The modern scientific explanation is that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body's own internal regulating system.

    The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body's natural healing abilities, and in promoting physical and emotional well-being.

  • is acupuncture safe?
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees the use of medical devices, a category that includes acupuncture needles. In 1996, the FDA reclassified the needles as Class II medical devices, deeming them safe for general use by licensed, registered, or certified practitioners. This lifted the "experimental device" status that had been in effect for more than 20 years. Acupuncture is performed with only single use disposable, stainless steel needles, so there is no risk of cross infection.

    Complications from the use of acupuncture are very rare as reported by numerous studies both in the U.S. and abroad. Click here to learn more about the safety of acupuncture and it's comparison with western medicine.

  • does acupuncture hurt?
  • Acupuncture uses very fine needles approximately the size of a human hair to stimulate the energy (Qi) in the meridians. As the needles are gently manipulated, patients typically feel a dull ache, tingling or heaviness in the area or along the meridian. These sensations are attributed to the arrival of Qi and signal the beginning of the healing process. Although each individual will experience acupuncture differently, common responses are a feeling of renewed energy and deep relaxation.

  • what conditions can acupuncture treat?
  • Acupuncture is recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) to be effective in the treatment of a variety of conditions including:

    Respiratory
    Allergies, asthma, sinusitis, bronchitis, tonsillitis, common cold and flu

    Circulatory
    Anemia, arteriosclerosis, hypertension

    Gastrointestinal
    Chronic diarrhea, indigestion, constipation, abdominal pain, colitis, acid reflux, IBS

    Gynecological
    Fertility, irregular menstruation, PMS, menopause

    Neurological
    Headache, migraine, post-operative pain, stroke recovery, facial pain & palsy, trigeminal neuralgia, dizziness & vertigo

    Musculo-skeletal
    Lower back pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, general pain, sciatica, tennis elbow, golfer's elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, knee pain

    Urogenital
    Stress incontinence, urinary tract infection, sexual dysfunction

    Emotional
    Neurosis, anxiety, insomnia, stress

    Ear, Nose, Throat, Dental
    Poor vision, tinnitus, ear infection, toothache, gum problems

    Other Benefits
    Immune disorders, addictions, ADHD, weight control, fibromyalgia, morning sickness, chronic fatigue, skin disorders.

  • what other treatment techniques will be used?
  • Acupuncture is just one of many treatment methods utilized in traditional Chinese medicine. During each treatment we may choose to employ various adjunctive techniques depending on your diagnosis. These may include the following:

    auricular acupuncture
    The ear is a microsystem of the entire body and can be treated alone or in conjunction with body acupuncture for conditions such as addiction, emotional issues or weight loss.

    cupping
    This treatment technique involves the use of glass or plastic cups that are placed on the body forming suction which helps to remove toxins and relieve muscle tension. Cupping is often used to treat patients who have symptoms of pain, a cold, allergies or asthma.

    electro-acupuncture
    This treatment technique involves the stimulation of acupuncture needles with a small electric current. This technique is most often used in the treatment of conditions involving pain.

    gua sha
    This treatment technique is used to release pain and stiffness and treat upper respiratory and digestive problems. A specialized round-edged tool is used to stimulate the skin over the affected area resulting in the appearance of small red petichiae called "Sha" that will fade in 2-3 days.

    moxibustion
    This treatment technique involves the burning of the herb, Artemesia Vulgaris, often referred to as moxa, either on top of the acupuncture needle or above the acupuncture point. This technique is often used to treat patients who are diagnosed with cold or stagnant conditions such as abdominal cramps, arthritis or pain.

    tui na
    Tui Na is a form of Asian bodywork or therapeutic massage that is targeted toward acupuncture meridians and points. This technique is used to treat a wide variety of conditions and has proven to be beneficial in relieving muscle tension and stress. Education and consultation regarding lifestyle adjustments through nutrition, exercise and meditative practices is also provided and tailored for your individual health needs.

  • can acupuncture be effective when other treatments have failed?
  • Absolutely. It is not uncommon for patients to turn to acupuncture as a 'last resort'. Many patients have been treated with conventional medicine that may or may not have suppressed their symptoms, but has not addressed the root cause of their health problems.

    At the heart of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is the tenet that the root cause of illnesses, not their symptoms, must be treated. In modern-day terms, TCM is holistic in its approach; it views every aspect of a person (body, mind, spirit, and emotions) as part of one complete circle rather than loosely connected pieces to be treated individually. During your first visit, the practitioner will discuss with you at length your symptoms, lifestyle and behaviors and how these may contribute to your overall health condition. It is important that you inform the practitioner of all of your known medical conditions and treatments as well as the medications and supplements you are currently taking in order for an appropriate TCM diagnosis to be established and a treatment plan implemented.

  • how many treatments will i need?
  • Obviously the number of treatments varies with different conditions and individuals. Chronic problems generally require more treatment than acute ones. Some patients notice an immediate improvement after the first treatment, whereas others many not notice any effect until the seventh or eight visit. It has been shown that a certain percentage of patients receive maximum benefit up to three months or longer following a course of therapy.

    A small number of patients will receive a worsening of symptoms, as the body's energies are returning to normal. This is rare, but if it does occur there is no need for alarm as it is followed by improvement of the symptoms. Researchers internationally agree the usual course of treatment is between ten and fifteen visits. To achieve the maximum benefit from treatment, it is recommended that patients receive treatment at least one time per week.

    Patients are urged not to enter acupuncture treatment with the thought of "taking a few" to see what will happen. You may see results after one or two treatments, but a program of 10 to 12 treatments is usually needed. Remember your problem usually didn't happen overnight nor will it go away overnight. Be patient...acupuncture works!!

  • does insurance cover acupuncture treatment?
  • Please bring your medical insurance card and driver's license to your first appointment. You may print the Insurance Verification Form and fax it to (972) 393-4200 prior to your first appointment. We will verify your acupuncture benefits within 48 hours. Payment for treatments is nevertheless required at the time of service until otherwise notified.

    We are now a provider in the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, Blue Choice® (PPO & POS), United Healthcare® and HMO Blue® Texas networks.

    If you are not covered by insurance, we accept cash, check, all major credit cards and medical flexible spending accounts.

  • who can perform acupuncture in the state of texas?
  • In order to practice acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncturists must be licensed by the Texas State Board of Acupuncture Examiners. The current basic requirements are:

    • Graduate from an acupuncture school accredited by the Accreditation
    • Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). Complete 1,800 hours of Acupuncture training from an accredited acupuncture school.
    • Complete 450 of the 1,800 hours in herbal therapy training.
    • Have completed 60 college hours in addition to acupuncture training.
    • Pass the following NCCAOM (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) Boards:
      • Foundations of Oriental Medicine
      • Acupuncture and Point Location
      • Chinese Herbology
      • Biomedicine
    • Pass the CCAOM (Council of College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) Clean Needle Technique Course and Practical Examination
    • Passage of Jurisprudence Examination of the State of Texas Prove English proficiency

    In the state of Texas, medical doctors (M.D.), doctors of osteopathy (D.O.) and chiropractors (D.C.) can also practice acupuncture, but chiropractors only need 100 hours of acupuncture training and are not required to take any examination to test their skills. Medical and osteopathy doctors have no minimum requirements to practice acupuncture.