Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does Traditional Chinese Medicine Treat?
In spite of the excellence of American medical technology and pharmacology, there are still situations which benefit from the use of acupuncture as an effective alternative treatment.  Here is a list of the most commonly recommended applications.
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Dysmenorrhea (cramps)
  • Amenorrhea
  • Menorrhagia
  • Leukorrhea
  • Menopausal symptoms
  • Rheumatic arthritis
  • Rhemuatoid arthritis
  • Osteo-arthritis
  • Tendinitis
  • Tenosynovitis
  • Bursitis
  • Cervical syndrome
  • Whiplash syndrome
  • Backache
  • Disc problems
  • Shoulder pain
  • Tennis elbow
  • Sprains and strains
  • Migraine
  • Headache
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Intercostal neuralgia
  • Post-operative pain
  • Phantom limb pain
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Facial paralysis
  • Seizure and epilepsy
  • Stroke residuals
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Abdominal pain
  • Crohn's disease
  • Gastrodynia
  • Hyperacidity
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Indigestion
  • Constipation
  • Hiccups
Ear, Nose, and Dental
  • Sinusitis
  • Tinnitus
  • Nervous deafness
  • Meniere's Disease
  • Toothache
Psychiatric and Emotional
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Nervousness
  • Neuroses
  • Neurasthenia
  • Insomnia
  • Allergy
  • Asthma
  • Enuresis (bed wetting)
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Obesity
  • Addictive disorders
  • Smoking cessation
  • Eczema
  • Hypertension
  • Acne
  • Wrinkles
What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?
Traditional Chinese Medicine -- one of the oldest forms of healing -- is a great treasure house. It embodies the fine achievements accumulated over the millennia in the course of medical practice of East Asian physicians, Chinese, Tibetan, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, etc.. The special methods of Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, and Moxibustion, with their multiple advantages, have been handed down from ancient times and improved through the generations.

Today, more and more Western doctors and scientists validate Traditional Chinese medicine. There has been an increasing awareness of the usefulness of acupuncture in treating many medical conditions. The World Health Organization has formally proclaimed that acupuncture is an effective medical treatment, declaring "the sheer weight of evidence demands that acupuncture must be taken seriously as a clinical procedure of considerable value.( Bannerman RH: Acupuncture-World Health Organization's View, California Acupuncturist, 1980; 1(20; 3-8) In California, acupuncture has been recognized as a primary health care profession and it is ever increasing in its popularity.
What is Acupuncture and Moxibustion?
Acupuncture treats disease by inserting very thin disposable needles into certain designated points in the body. Once the needle is in place, the patients will feel a characteristic tingling. Sometimes, an electric apparatus may be used to maintain a constant stimulation.

The therapeutic effect of Moxibustion is produced by the heat of a slow-burning moxa-wool (the common name of this herb is Mugwort). The cigar shaped roll is held near the acupuncture point of the diseased area.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
The Yellow Emperor's Internal Classic (Huangdi Neijing) written around 600-300 BCE contains detailed understanding of physiology, including details of vascular and lymphatic circulation, the entire muscular system, internal organs, and pathology, which were passed down from about 3000 BCE. I often tell people that in ancient times our ancestors did not have TV. They paid more attention to the influence of weather, food, and nature than we do today. The authors of the Neijing predated the understanding of blood circulation by the Western physician William Harvey who in 1628 contributed his work which started a scientific revolution, 2000 years after the ancient Chinese. (D. E. Kendall, Physiologic Basis of Acupuncture)

According to the classical doctrines of Chinese medicine, there is an unceasing flow of "life energy" throughout the body. This vital energy originates in the major organs, and flows along the continuous circulatory channels called meridians, much like rivers on the earth. When the energy flow is smooth and in balance, one is healthy; if the balance is disturbed, then one will feel ill or pain.

There are specific points along the meridians where the energy flow can be stimulated, much like a dam on a river. In this way the function of the related organs can be regulated, thus restoring the delicate balance enabling the beneficial healing to occur. This is how Chinese Medicine normalizes physiological dysfunctions and helps to maintain the body's harmonious equilibrium. According to this philosophy, Chinese medicine not only uses acupuncture, Moxibustion, and herbs to treat diseases, but also to strengthen the body's physical condition, to prevent disease, to promote health, and to achieve longevity.

A recent study used an MRI and audio equipment on test subjects to stimulate the auditory area of the brain. The audio equipment was removed, an acupuncture needle was inserted into a point historically used to affect the ears and hearing, and the MRI once again showed the auditory area of the brain was affected. Modern technology appropriates it's usefulness and integrates traditional wisdom.
What is the Mechanism?
The evidence now available is sufficient to place these age-old Chinese healing arts on a solid scientific base. From the modern medical viewpoint, acupuncture works by means of the following mechanism:

First, according to biochemical and neurological research, acupuncture may work by activating a natural pain-suppression system in the brain. Substantial evidence demonstrates that acupuncture may serve to stimulate the release of endogenous substances, endorphins, which in turn mediate the analgesic effect.

Secondly, acupuncture has an obvious effect of stimulating or strengthening the body's immune system, which mobilizes the natural defense power inside the human body. This reaction is the major mechanism of anti-inflammatory and anti-infectious effects by acupuncture.

The overall influence of acupuncture is regulatory. It is very interesting to know that this kind of adjustment is biphasic in value. Acupuncture can reduce the blood pressure in hypertension; meanwhile it can raise the level of low blood pressure.
What Can I Expect From a Treatment?
First of all I don't wear a white coat, I respect your time and rarely keep you waiting . The "waiting room" has rocking chairs and Tibetan art on the walls, some people come early to catch up on the many health oriented reading materials or just to relax. We will discuss your health issues together and I will guide my questions to confirm a correct TCM diagnosis. Great attention will be paid to listening, understanding, and helping you to understand how we can work together for you to reach optimal health.

Most patients find the treatment very relaxing. As a sign of "obtaining the vital energy", some patients may have a slight sensation of heaviness, numbness, soreness, or distension around the needles. The beneficial reaction can start during the first to five visits. Of course, just like any other medical treatment, not all cases can be cured. However, there is no harmful effect from the therapy in common practice. Therefore, people who suffer from lingering or chronic diseases and do not respond well to orthodox medicine are particularly encouraged to try this promising Chinese art of healing.

How Many Treatments Are Necessary?
Depending on the condition, an acute problem may take only one or two treatments (ie. first signs of cold or flu). For longer standing, chronic issues up to ten treatments is considered a course of treatment. This may entail one or two treatments the first week, then once a week, then once every two weeks, and so on, depending on the specificity of the condition. For a health maintenance program, periodic treatments are recommended. It is most efficacious to receive treatments when the seasons change to prevent illness and boost the immune system.

The treatment plan is based on the type of illness, severity of the condition, and the overall physical health of the individual. Acute illness, ie: cold or flu, may take one or two treatments, whereas chronic issues may start with treatments once a week then "graduate" to every other week and so on as the person's health returns.
Can Acupuncture Treat Children?
Traditional Chinese Medicine offers several healing modalities, of which acupuncture is only a small part. When children come into my office, sometimes the first appointment is simply to meet and discuss with the child about his or her health. The child feels relaxed in my office, and I explain various tools, ie: cupping, Sho Ni Shin, herbs, etc. On infants we generally only use Sho Ni Shin, as very small children are able to react very quickly to get better. Small children we usually insert and withdraw needles quickly as young acupuncture meridians are still developing. Once the child is around 5 or 7 years old the needle may be retained for 20 minutes or so. Herbal Medicine is oftentimes made into very small pills to allow for easy swallowing, tinctures, or can be put into applesauce to augment compliance.
What Is Qi Gong?
Qi Gong (chee goong) can be easily summarized as cultivating energy. It is a method of practice based on the knowledge of Energy Science and through the "great way" of heart cultivation, physical practice, and virtue building. (Grandmaster Foo Wei Zhong, "Da Dao Chan Gong, Level 1") To realize and experience the truth of the universe and reach Enlightenment, either sudden or gradual, is the primary intention.
What Is Medical Qi Gong?
Through very specific movements, healing sounds, and meditation practices, one can affect the function and quality of specific internal organs and the interdependence of all the organs in the body, for prevention, self-healing or to help heal others.
How Pure Are My Herbs?
Knowledge and awareness of the issues involved in herb purity and cleanliness were the primary means in developing Good Manufacturing Process (GMP) in the United States and it's interrelationships with herb manufacturers worldwide. At Real Health, we only utilize and prescribe herbs and herbal formulas from companies that follow strict GMP. We receive testing reports from these companies for contaminants, heavy metals, etc. If any single herb, single herb in a manufactured formula, or formula itself is found to contain negative substances such as lead, cadmium or other heavy metals, we are immediately alerted and can not attain the single herb or formula until all matters are determined safe.

American manufacturers of Traditional Chinese Herbal formulas are hyper vigilant in taking steps to institute measures aimed at avoiding health issues now and in the future.

Most Chinese factories are implementing similar steps in quality control. There is more thorough testing of raw materials and products, there is hiring of additional quality control personnel, and international laws are more stringently enforced.

Personnel must have an adequate training in such fields as pharmaceutical technology, taxonomic botany, phytochemistry, pharmacognosy, hygiene, microbiology, and related subjects such as use of Traditional Herbal Medicines. Training records must be maintained and periodic assessments are conducted.

The premises of production must be designed, located, constructed, maintained, and adapted to suit the GMP operations.

Although it may not be possible to eliminate all such difficulties, by minimizing them and educating herbal practitioners and users of herbal medicine to be aware, we are optimistic with the reliability and safety of Chinese herbs worldwide. Also note that in the state of California, wine must have the Proposition 65 statement, which raises no alarm and people take for granted. When this label is on herb products, some individuals overreact. Oftentimes there is more lead found in a single carrot, which has no Prop. 65 label.
Will My Herbs Interact With the Western Drugs I'm Taking?
Professional Herbalists at Real Health are trained, educated, and cognizant of possible herb/drug relationships. Our library includes current research conducted by the most renowned Pharmacist/Chinese Herbalist in this country, truly bridging East and West. Consequently, there has been more modern research on herb/drug interactions than drug/drug interactions. The most important issue is for the individual seeking treatment to document with their practitioner current medication and/or if medication is added or changed.

Combination of herbs and drugs is generally incidental. Yet some herbs can favorably affect the function of western medication, can reduce the side effects of drugs and help them perform their function better, or help them work more strongly and quickly. In some cases, herbs and drugs may create an increased benefit rather than taken alone.