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In Private Practice at:

Patti Carey L.Ac.
2121 W. Spring Creek Pkwy
Suite# 107
Plano, TX 75023

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Common Questions:

What is Acupuncture?

Diseases Treated?

How does it work?

What about the Needles?

Who Patti Recommends

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of five components that are known as Traditional Oriental Medicine (TOM) or Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The term “acupuncturist” is the most commonly used title for an Oriental Medicine Practitioner or Oriental Medicine Doctor. Through the use of fine, sterile, disposable needles inserted on specific acupuncture points, acupuncture encourages the body to promote natural healing by activating the body’s “Qi” (vital energy, or life force) thus enhancing recuperative power, immunity, and physical and emotional health, and improving overall function and well-being.

The other components of TCM include Chinese herbal medicine, constitutional nutrition, exercise such as Tai Chi and Qi Gong, and energetics such as bodywork (Tui Na). TCM is the second largest health care system in the world, is over 2,500 years old, and is based on the view that a person is a complete energy system which includes the body, mind, and spirit. Unlike allopathic medicine which attempts to isolate and separate the disease from the person, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) emphasizes a holistic approach that treats the whole person.

Many, many, many thanks to you for your kind and in depth healing to my body. I benefited a lot and will do my best to follow what you have taught me back in Hong Kong. Your work is such a miracle. I shall plan to come back to receive your advice and treatment as often as I can. -EA

What Diseases Can Acupuncture Treat?

Acupuncture can be effective as the only treatment used, or as support or adjunct to other medical treatment forms in many medical and surgical disorders. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recognize the use of acupuncture in the treatment of over 50 diseases, diagnoses, or symptoms, including:

  • Addiction - alcohol, drug, smoking
  • Arthritis
  • asthma
  • bronchitis
  • Carpel tunnel syndrome
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Colitis
  • Common cold
  • Constipation
  • Dental pain
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Digestive trouble
  • Dizziness
  • Dysentery
  • Emotional problems
  • Eye problems
  • Facial palsy/tics
  • Fatigue
  • Fertility
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gingivitis
  • Headache
  • Hiccough
  • Incontinence
  • Indigestion
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Low back pain
  • Menopause
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Migraine
  • Morning Sickness
  • Nausea
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pain
  • PMS
  • Pneumonia
  • Reproductive problems
  • Rhinitis
  • Sciatica
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • Shoulder pain
  • Sinusitis
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Sore throat
  • Stress
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Tonsillitis
  • Tooth Pain
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vomiting
  • Wrist pain

The number of treatments needed differs from person to person. For complex or long-standing conditions, one or two treatments a week for several months may be recommended. For acute problems, usually fewer visits are required, and for health maintenance, monthly, bi-monthly, or only four sessions a year may be all that is necessary.

What is Qi (Chi or Ki)?

At the core of this ancient medicine if the philosophy that Qi (pronounced "chee") or vital energy, flows throughout the body. Qi helps to animate the body and protect it from illness, pain and disease. A person's health is influenced by the quality, quantity and balance of Qi.

What Type of Schooling Is Required to Become an Acupuncturist?

Acupuncturists receive 3 to 4 years (3500-4000 hours) of extensive and comprehensive graduate training at nationally certified Oriental Medicine schools. All acupuncturists must pass a national exam, and meet strict guidelines to acquire a license to practice in every state.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

The classical TCM 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 body. An obstruction in the movement of these energy rivers is like a dam that backs up the flow in one part of the body and restricts it in others. The meridians can be influenced by needling the acupuncture points; the acupuncture needles unblock the obstructions at the dams, and re-establish the regular flow through the meridians.

The scientific explanation is that needling 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.

What Can I Expect From Acupuncture Treatment?

During the initial exam, a full health history will be taken, and questions asked about symptoms, health and lifestyle. The acupuncturist may also check pulses, and look at your tongue, and conduct a physical exam. There are 12 pulse positions on each wrist that the acupuncturist will feel, looking for 27 individual qualities that reflect overall health. If there are health problems, they may appear in the pulse. The tongue is a map of the body, and will reflect the general health of the organs and meridians. The acupuncturist will look at the color, shape, cracks, and coating on the tongue.

It is quite common with the first one to two treatments to have a sensation of deep relaxation during and immediately following the treatment. As energy is redirected in the body, internal chemicals and hormones are stimulated and healing begins to take place.

The immediate response to acupuncture varies based on the constitution of the client and the condition that is being treated. Some clients experience immediate relief of their pain or symptoms, and others may notice symptoms diminish over the next couple of days. The treatment does not end once the needles are removed. Acupuncture initiates a change in the body and the client is encouraged to assist these changes through lifestyle, dietary changes, and/or Chinese herbal medicine as prescribed by the acupuncturist.

Occasionally the original symptoms may temporarily increase after the treatment. This is known as a “healing crisis” and can be seen as a good sign. The body is using energy to remove old patterns of disease so that a new balanced flow of energy may be established. Several treatments close together are recommended to evaluate how quickly the rate or response will be to acupuncture. The effect is cumulative and once positive change is established, treatment frequency can decrease.

Do Acupuncture Needles Hurt?

The sensation caused by the needles varies. Some people feel the tiniest of prick as the needle is inserted, but most people feel no pain at all. The needles are about the size of a human hair, or a cat’s whisker. Acupuncture needles are FDA approved medical devices. They are single use, disposable, sterile, very thin and solid and are made from stainless steel, gold, or silver. The point is smooth, not hollow with cutting edges like a hypodermic needle which can cause pain and bruising and irritation when inserted through the skin. Nothing is inserted through the needle which is solid, nor is anything withdrawn from the body.

How Deep Do They Go?

The depth of insertion varies, but typically 1/8” to 1-1/2” in the fleshier areas of the body such as the buttocks.

What is the Risk of Infection with Acupuncture Needles?

Only sterile, disposable, one time use needles are used, thus reducing the possibility of infection.

What Are Side Effects of Being Needled?

Acupuncture is an extremely safe method of treatment, but it may occasionally include minimal bruising, numbness or tingling near the needle sites that may last a few days, or a patient may become dizzy or faint, often due to lack of eating, dehydration, or anxiety about the treatment.

Does Acupuncture Really Work?

Yes. In the past 2,500 years, more people have been treated with acupuncture than with all other health modalities combined. Today, acupuncture is practiced widely in Asia, the Soviet Union, and in Europe and is gaining acceptance by patients, health practitioners and physicians across the United States. A person does not need to “believe” in acupuncture. It has been used successfully on cats, dogs, horses, and other animals that do not have a “belief” system (as far as we know!).

Are there any "Do's and Don'ts" for me on the Day of Treatment?

Yes. To enhance the value of a treatment, the following guidelines are important:

  • Come with your questions – we are here to help you.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothes for easy access to acupuncture points.
  • Do not eat an unusually large meal immediately before or after your treatment, but do eat something prior to treatment, and remember to stay well hydrated prior to and after treatment.
  • Refrain from over exercising, working out, drugs or alcohol, or engaging in sexual activity within 6 hours before or after the treatment.
  • Plan your activities so that after the treatment you can get some rest, or at least not have to be working at top performance. This is especially important for the first few visits.
  • Continue to take any prescription medicines as directed by your regular doctor. Substance abuse (drugs and alcohol) especially in the week prior to treatment will seriously interfere with the effectiveness of acupuncture treatments.
  • Between visits, remember to keep good mental or written notes of what your response is to the treatment. This is important for your acupuncturist to know so that the follow-up treatments can be designed to best help you and your problem.

Is Acupuncture Safe for Children?

Yes, and in some instances they actually respond more quickly than adults! If your child has an aversion to needles, there are other ways of accessing the acupuncture points such as acupressure.

Will Acupuncture Conflict With Other Medical Treatments I’m Getting?

No. Acupuncture treatments can be given simultaneously with conventional Western medicine, Osteopathic or Chiropractic adjustments and Homeopathic or Naturopathic prescriptions. It is important you share your current medical care with your acupuncturist so he or she can help you get the most benefit from all your treatments.

Are There Additional Traditional Oriental Medicine Techniques?

Yes, acupuncture is more than just needles! In addition to acupuncture, techniques include cupping, gwa sha, tui na, moxibustion, nutritional counseling, and Chinese herbal medicine, all or some of which may be used in addition to or in conjunction with acupuncture.

What is Cupping?

Cupping is a therapy designed to stimulate the flow of blood and Qi within the superficial muscle layers. It is generally used for sore muscles, tension, neck or back pain, and the common cold. In this therapy, small glass or plastic “cups” are placed over specific areas or meridians of the body. A vacuum is created under the cup, using heat or suction. They may be moved over the affected area, or left in place. You may leave the office looking as though a large octopus gave you a big hug, but there is no need for alarm. The slight redness will quickly go away, and most people are able to sense an immediate increase in their mobility, or reduction in their level of pain.

What is Gwa Sha?

Gwa Sha is another technique used to release muscle tension, tightness and constriction. A special tool is used to gently scrape or rub the skin over the problem area, often feeling like a deep massage. This too could some slight redness, but it will quickly dissipate.

What is Tui Na?

Tui Na is translated as push-grasp, which is a massage technique that moves the “Qi” in various parts of the body. It relieves muscle pain, tension, and inflammation, and supports quicker healing of injuries.

What is Moxibustion?

Moxibustion is a treatment using an Chinese herb called mugwort, which is either burned on the handle of the needle, above the skin, on salt, or on a slice of ginger. It is used to warm acupuncture points, or areas of the body to quicken the healing process. Because of the strong odor, many acupuncturists now use a liquid or spray moxibustion coupled with a heat lamp to achieve the same effect.

Why Are Chinese Herbs Recommended?

Chinese HerbsChinese herbal medicine is a major component of Traditional Chinese Medicine and has been used for over 30000 years worldwide. Long before acupuncture needles and pharmaceuticals, Chinese herbal remedies were used for healing and balancing the human body. Chinese herbs have shown their effectiveness repeatedly under the scrutiny of both empirical study and modern clinical trials in both Western medicine and Eastern Medicine.

Chinese herbs can be a powerful adjunct to acupuncture treatment. They can be used to strengthen, build, and support the body, or to clear it of problems like a cold, fever, or acute pain. Unlike most pharmaceuticals, Chinese herbal prescriptions are tailor-made for the individual. The acupuncturist may suggest starting with Chinese herbs and then added acupuncture to your treatment in the future. This is done to build up a person’s internal strength to receive the full benefits acupuncture has to offer. It is important that the acupuncturist be informed of any western medications or herbs being taken to assure there are no contraindications to the Chinese herbal formula being recommended.

What is Nutritional Therapy?

Nutritional TherapyIt is common knowledge that diet and nutrition are instrumental in achieving and maintaining good health. Dietary changes and nutrition are fully integrated into the theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and are key to maintaining health and success in a treatment. Dietary recommendations are provided to patients throughout their treatment, based on their individual constitution and needs. Nutritional Therapy is key in the treatment of weight loss and other eating disorders.

How Much Does Acupuncture Cost?

As in any other medical practice, fees vary. It is best to talk with the acupuncturist about charges and whether or not insurance coverage is provided.

Is Acupuncture Covered by Health Insurance?

Some insurance companies currently cover acupuncture costs while other companies do not yet recognize the value of acupuncture. Each health policy must be reviewed to determine acupuncture benefits. You can help by insisting that your insurance company offer you reimbursement for medically indicated acupuncture treatments before you accept their policy.

Who do you recommend for other services that you don't cover?

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Angie Shapira, MS, ND, CYT

Tom Lenahan, DC

Medical Massage Therapy
Kathy Platt, MS, LMT

The Intuitive Interior
Beverly Biehl

In Light Wellness Systems

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