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Q & A

Some common questions about our acupuncture and holistic medicine practice are answered below. Email us if you have other questions or if you are interested in improving your life through acupuncture treatment Register and Schedule Your First Appointment.

What is Acupuncture & what is Oriental or Chinese Medicine?

Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine and Chinese Medicine are effective forms of health care that has evolved into a complete and holistic medical system. Practitioners of acupuncture have used this noninvasive medical system to diagnose and help millions of people get well and stay healthy. Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine and Chinese Medicine are the most widely used medical system treating most of the world’s population.

Acupuncture is the insertion of very thin, sterile needles at specific acupoints on the body. This activates the body’s Qi and promotes natural healing by enhancing recuperative power, immunity and physical and emotional health. It also can improve overall function and well-being. It is a safe, painless and effective way to treat a wide variety of medical problems.

Oriental Medicine and Chinese Medicines include several therapies such as the application of acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutrition, Qi Gong exercises, meditation and life style changes to “treat” (provide supportive care to or palliative relief of) diseases, illness and/or disorders.

In California the terminology Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine and Chinese Medicine are interchangeable due to a mistake made 35 years ago. The licensure to practice acupuncture, Oriental Medicine and Chinese Medicine was named ‘Acupuncture’. Hence an Acupuncturist in California has training and legal rights to also practice Oriental and Chinese Medicine. Yes it is confusing and it is an error made by the California State legislature a long time ago.

More importantly, the public is not aware that an Acupuncturist in California is a Primary Health Provider which places the same level of responsibility to a patient as that of a Medical Doctor. To full fill that responsibility an Acupuncturist has the legal right to order any laboratory test or exam to assess a patients condition. These are the same tests and exams that a Medical Doctor may order such as blood, urine, ultrasound, radiograph (x-ray), CT scan, and MRI.

What will occur at a typical appointment?

During the initial exam a full health history will be taken. Questions will be asked regarding symptoms, health and lifestyle. Your pulses and your tongue will be assessed and variations of a physical exam will be conducted depending upon the chief complaint. This information is then organized to create a complete, accurate and comprehensive diagnosis of where Qi has become blocked or imbalanced. After the interview process you’ll receive an acupuncture treatment. Visits with your acupuncturist may last from thirty to ninety minutes.

Why feel and assess my pulse?

The pulse assists to make a diagnosis. There are three pulse positions on each wrist that your acupuncturist will palpate. Each position corresponds to a specific meridian and organ. Variations of the qualities felt in a pulse that reflect different health conditions. If there are any problems, they may appear in the pulse. In addition, pulses are assessed on head, neck, torso, legs and feet to assess both biomedical disorders/diseases and Oriental Medicine conditions.

Why look at my tongue?

The tongue is a map of the body. It reflects the general health of the organs and meridians. The color, shape, movement, cracks and coating on your tongue are all indicators that assist in the diagnosis.

Why are herbs or nutraceuticals recommended?

Herbs and nutraceuticals can be a powerful adjunct to acupuncture care. They are used to strengthen, build and support the body through biochemistry to clear it of excess problems like a cold, fever or acute pain, provide concentrated dosages of nutrients for cellular replication and organ functions.

Is acupuncture safe for children?

Yes. In some instances children actually respond more quickly than adults. If your child has an aversion to needles there are alternate methods to stimulate the Acupoints such as massage, magnets, vibrations, essential oils or Infared heat. These alternate forms provide excellent stimulation for children.

How many treatments will I need?

The number of treatments will vary from person to person. Some people experience immediate relief; others may take months or even years to achieve results. Chronic conditions usually take longer to resolve than acute ones. Plan on a minimum of a month to see significant changes.

Treatment frequency depends on a variety of factors: your constitution, the severity and duration of the problem and the quality and quantity of your Qi. The condition may require one or two treatments per week, or monthly visits for health maintenance and seasonal “tune ups”.

How much does it cost?

Rates vary and depend upon what procedures that are performed.

See our list of Fees.


Will my insurance cover acupuncture?

Insurance coverage varies from state to state. Contact your insurance provider to learn what kind of care is covered. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Will my plan cover acupuncture?
  • How many visits per calendar year?
  • Do I need a referral?
  • Do I have a co-pay?
  • Do I have a deductible?
  • If yes, has it been met?

How safe is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is very safe. It is an all-natural, drug-free therapy yielding few side effects. Many people experience feelings of deep relaxation and well-being. There is little caution of infection from acupuncture needles because they are sterile, used once, and then discarded.

How are acupuncturists educated?

California requires passing the state licensure test. To qualify for the test an acupuncturist must have a Master’s Degree from a College that is Nationally Accredited and include 3,400 hours of study and 950 hours of clinical internship. The programs include comprehensive studies of biomedicine, acupuncture and herbal medicine. Van is licensed in California and is certified to practice nationwide.

Read My Credentials

What can acupuncturists ‘treat’ or provide care?

Acupuncture is recognized by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to be effective in the treatment of a wide variety of medical problems. Below are some of the health concerns that acupuncture can effectively treat.  Read a List of My Areas of Specialization

  • Addiction
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Colitis
  • Common cold
  • Constipation
  • Dental pain
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Digestive trouble
  • Dizziness
  • Dysentery
  • Emotional problems
  • Eye problems
  • Facial palsy
  • 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
  • Smoking cessation
  • Sore throat
  • Stress
  • Tennis elbow
  • Tonsillitis
  • Tooth pain
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vomiting
  • Wrist pain


What is meant by the words ‘Treat’ and ‘Support’?

In the USA different healthcare professions have legal usage of specific words.  By legal definition a medical doctor (MD) is the only health care provider that can use the word ‘treat’ or ‘treatment’ to indicate an action upon a disease, illness and/or disorder to promote healing or wellness. All other healthcare providers cannot use the word ‘treat’ and they use the following phrases to describe their actions upon a disease, illness and/or disorder to promote healing or wellness.

Provide adjunct care

Provide palliative relief

Provide supportive care

This website has included the word ‘treat’ due to the predominant cultural language association of the word ‘treat’ to be inclusive of all remedies and healthcare professions to provide palliative relief, adjunct and supportive care to a disease, illness and/or disorder.


Acupuncture 101: How do Needles, Acupoints & Meridians Work?

Ever wonder why inserting a tiny needle between your thumb and index finger can help your headache?  Or putting needles in your ear can help your indigestion?

Many people wonder how acupuncture works.  Scientists and doctors are especially skeptical about acupuncture. With the advances in laboratory testing the mystery of acupuncture is being revealed. Research began in the 1980’s by the US government using blood tests and they discovered that acupuncture stimulated the release of endorphins, which results in pain relief. Today’s technology using MRI studies of the brain revealed one of the mechanism of pain relief. It has been confirmed that certain acupoints, when stimulated by an acupuncture needle, cause deactivation of brain activity in regions that recognize and process pain signals thus providing pain relief. Hence it ‘re-boots’ the autonomic nervous system. Also, studies have found that is can increase circulation and reduce high blood pressure. Hence it is possible for several mechanisms to be activated simultaneously providing a wide range of healing effects.

What anatomical structure is an acupoint? They vary – some are identified as trigger-points and others are a minute structure that is comprised of a nerve and blood vessel capillary surrounded by a net of fascia tissue. Hence acupoints can be stimulated by a needle insertion that activates a nerve that reports to a gland, organ or the brain’s endocrine system or the activation of the local immune system. Light can activate a photo sensor nerve. Essential oils can be absorbed in to the blood vessels and transported to specific structure or throughout the entire body. And there are many more.

There is continually growing body of scientific evidence that acupuncture is an effective treatment for many types of pain, injuries and diseases with no side effects.  For these reasons more and more hospitals, clinics and doctors worldwide are recommending it for their patients.

Research and clinical trials will continue. For the people who have not found relief from their pain,  disease symptoms or disorders by pharmacology or surgery there is hope using acupuncture and other complementary modalities and medicines.

Understanding Qi through Modern Science 

Acupuncture has a long history with a recorded history of 2500 years which is the same time period that western medicine began in Egypt and Greece. Just like in the west, neither had the technology to test blood, to look into microscopes at bacteria or viruses, They did not have EEC to measure the brain’s electrical activity, a Functional MRI to observe areas of the brain activated or CTScans to observe blood circulation. Hence, both had to theorize explanations for the function of the body and disease pathology.

The traditional eastern theory states that “Qi”, or life energy, flows through the body.  The Qi flows in channels called meridians and the meridians connect the organs together.  To remain healthy you need the free flow of Qi through the meridians, much like rivers flow in their riverbeds. It is a good theory because today we know from science that the human body is a self-energizing electrical battery and you can measure electrical conductance/resistance at the acupoints and along the channels (meridians).

What anatomical structure is the meridian? It has two forms. First, there is the fascia tissue combined with body fluids filled with electrolytes that connects every cell of the body to each other. It is a communication network of cellular activity. Second, the meridians have a non-anatomical form represented by the interactions of the neuro-endocrine and immune systems – biochemical pathways.

Sometimes the flow of Qi becomes imbalanced. In biomedicine, a Qi imbalance can be due to reduced neuro-endocrine activity, lack of electrolytes and/or due to a nutrient deficiency just to name a few. Minerals are electromagnetically charged thus they are magnets and responsible for trillions of biochemical reaction that produce Qi. Like a river, Qi can be blocked, it can be in an excessive or deficient state respectively thus there can be a electromagnetically polarized reaction or a lack of biochemical reactions. Since the meridians connect all of the body’s organs, sometimes you can stimulate an acupuncture point that seems completely unrelated to the organ you want to balance.

A disease or disorder in traditional theory is describe as a blockage, excess or deficiency of Qi causing an imbalance of Qi hence the treatment goal is to rebalance the Qi,  When you stimulate acupuncture points you seek to activate a free-flow of Qi and return it to a more balanced state. Hence, stimulation of the acusystem will activate the various biochemical processes and return the body to homeostasis.

Learn About AcuGraph Technology That Measures Qi