THE BASICS – Acupuncture and Herbs
Acupuncture and herbal medicine are incredible tools for healing the body. While the principles of Chinese medicine are unfamiliar to many, they can be used successfully to treat conditions affecting all of us. Unlike Western medicine, Chinese medicine strengthens the body’s own resources and helps to resolve many medical problems, particularly chronic ones. Acupuncture can shift energetic blockages that cause pain. These blockages may occur as a result of stress, physical or emotional trauma or a combination of all three. The acupuncturist uses tiny needles to balance the energetic pathways of the body, also known as meridians, resulting in relief of pain and improvement in the flow of energy through these channels. Additional benefits of treatment include a greater connection to one’s body and an overall sense of wellbeing.
How many treatments will I need?
Acupuncture tends to have a cumulative effect. Several treatments are recommended fairly close together, usually weekly or biweekly. Often less frequent visits can be effective once the condition begins to improve. In gynecological conditions, treatments are most effective in conjunction with the timing of the menstrual cycle.
What kind of lifestyle changes are involved?
For complex conditions, patients often need to become involved in lifestyle changes — needles and herbs are not always enough! I work with patients at their own pace, supporting their efforts to achieve a healthier lifestyle. This often involves a shift in eating habits, sleep patterns and exercise as well as incorporating stress-reduction techniques.
An extensive part of Chinese medicine involves dietary therapy. I will make recommendations to you types of foods to eat as well as how to prepare them. There is no ideal that works for everyone. These choices will enable you to support your health in the best way possible.
For musculoskeletal conditions, I suggest exercises or stretches to support the treatment’s effectiveness. If necessary, I recommend more extensive support from a physical therapist or other practitioner.
How do I take the herbs?
Herbs come in many different forms that differ considerably in price. My recommendations vary depending on what is best for your situation.
• Granules involve simply adding boiling water. These are usually taken two times per day. More detailed instructions will come with your first herb prescription.
• Traditional soups involve the most preparation. The pharmacy I use in Chinatown will cook and vacuum pack them. If you choose to prepare them yourself, it takes about an hour every couple of days to cook them. They should be warmed up before drinking.
• Pills, tinctures and tablets are usually taken three times per day.
The taste and aroma of Chinese herbs may take some getting used to. Herbs can be followed by another beverage to help with this; brushing your teeth after is also helpful. I recommend taking all herbs on an empty stomach unless you have frequent indigestion or nausea and then take the herbs with food. I will give clear written directions with every prescription.
Where do I get the herbs?
I now have a small granular pharmacy in the office. I am able to provide most patients with formulas from what I have in stock. In addition, I have some tablets, pills, tinctures and topical preparations in the office as well as some nutritional supplements. Other herbs can be special ordered for pick up at the office. Vacuum pack formulas or herbs to be cooked can be picked up in Chinatown at Kamwo Pharmacy (211 Grand St. between Mott and Elizabeth) in Manhattan. Kamwo will also mail herbs for an additional fee.
Often questions arise during the process of treatment; feel free to contact me at anytime by email, text or phone.