FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is Traditional East Asian Medicine?


Traditional East Asian Medicine is the full complement of modalities used by practitioners. The modalities include acupuncture, herbs, cupping, gua-sha, reflexology, moxibustion, and diet and nutrition. It is the oldest professional and continually-practiced medicine in the world. Many practitioners are trained in several types of acupuncture; Chinese, Japanese, Korean, European, Vietnamese, Tan style, fasciculation therapy, etc. This makes them a well-rounded practitioner and gives them more tools to treat your condition effectively.




What problems can be treated with Traditional East Asian Medicine?


This medicine has been practiced in Asia for thousands of years. In China, it is used to treat almost any non-emergency medical condition. Like all medicines, Traditional East Asian Medicine works very well for some conditions and moderately for others. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports 20% of the world's population uses Traditional East Asian Medicine for primary health care. Its use is rapidly increasing in the United States and Europe. The National Institutes of Health (1997) recommends acupuncture for post-operative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting, and post-operative dental pain. In addition, the NIH suggests acupuncture as an adjunct therapy for addiction, stroke rehab, headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low back pain, carpel tunnel syndrome, and asthma. The WHO recommends acupuncture and Traditional East Asian Medicine for 28 medical conditions to include; pain, digestive disorders, women's health (hormone imbalance, hot flashes, menses, infertility, induce labor, morning sickness) allergies, nausea and vomiting, trauma, and arthritis. To view a list of some of the most common conditions acupuncture treats, click here!




What is acupuncture?


Acupuncture is the practice of placing thin solid needles through the skin and into underlying tissue to alleviate pain and to treat various physical, mental, and emotional conditions.




How does acupuncture work?


Acupuncture triggers the body’s own self-healing reflexes through stimulation of the nervous system, circulatory system, immune system and endocrine system that causes: Pain control and muscle relaxation Reduction of inflammation and swelling Normalization of blood flow and lymph drainage Tissue and wound healing Normalized immune response Increased joint range-of-motion Normalization of organ activity Stress reduction and mood enhancement From a more traditional explanation: "Qi"(chee), or "Chi" (key), circulates regularly throughout the body in a predictable system of internal channels. It brings warmth, nourishment and function to every area.




Does it hurt?


Normally, one feels a sensation but it is not painful. The sensation of heaviness, achy, dullness, and distention are often described. Acupuncture needles are very fine, (the size of a hair), solid, and flexible. They are disposable, sterile, single-use needles. Hypodermic needles used for injections are large, hollow and rigid - designed to force liquid into the body. That hurts!




How do I choose a practitioner?


In the State of Idaho there are technical (T. Ac.), certified (C. Ac.), and licensed acupuncturists (L. Ac.).

  • A technician has minimal training and is generally supervised or has limited use of the therapy.
  • Licensed medical providers (ND, DC) are required to obtain 100-300 hours of acupuncture training and pass a proficiency exam.
  • A MD or DO may receive no training and be certified to practice acupuncture.
  • A licensed acupuncturist has 1700 - 3200 hours of training and generally has a Master's degree in Acupuncture or Oriental Medicine.
As with any professional, check their credentials, schooling, national certification, licensure, and their experience with your particular ailment. Click here for a directory of IAA affiliated licensed professionals in Idaho.




What does a typical treatment entail?


There are many different styles of acupuncture, and treatments often differ from one practitioner to another. Treatments also vary depending on what type of condition you would like to have addressed.




How many treatments will I need?


The number of treatments you will need depends on your condition, its severity and duration, how you respond to treatment, and how complex your condition is. You might require a single treatment for a simple or acute condition or a series of treatments for a chronic, stubborn, or complex case. The results from acupuncture vary. You may have a dramatic result after the first treatment, or you may notice the results hours or days later. Some stubborn conditions require a number of treatments before positive results are noticed. Almost everyone notices a change after the first treatment.




What happens during the appointment?


Generally, the practitioner will do an intake, which includes asking you questions, feeling your pulse and looking at your tongue. Based on the information gathered, s/he will develop a diagnosis for your condition. The practitioner strives to treat the root of the condition, thereby curing the problem, not just the symptoms. The practitioner will use whatever modality s/he thinks is appropriate and you are comfortable with to treat your condition.




Are herbs dangerous?


Herbs have been in use on humans for thousands of years and are quite safe if taken properly. A good practitioner will use herbs that are GMP certified. GMP stands for Good Manufacturing Process, which is a higher standard than the United States requires. GMP means the products are tested for heavy metals, pesticides, sulfur content, and other contaminants. The most common negative side effect of herbs is a mild stomach ache, which is alleviated by taking the herbs with food or taking less of the product. As with anything one ingests, allergic reactions are possible.




What is the difference between acupuncture and dry-needling?


We have a whole page dedicated to this question. Click here!