Q: What is the scope of Chinese Medicine?
A: As a body of knowledge, Chinese Medicine has five branches; namely: Acupuncture, Herbal therapy, Tuina (meridian massage), Dietary therapy, and Qigong.
Q: What are common conditions treated with Acupuncture?
A: In 2003, the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) conducted clinical studies that recognize the efficacy of acupuncture for the following conditions:
Acute & chronic gastritis, Hyperacidity, Acid reflux or GERD, Indigestion, Gas or bloating, Diarrhea, Constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Duodenal ulcers, Colitis, Bacillary Dysentery
Common cold / flu, Sinusitis, Allergic hinitis, Tonsillitis, Bronchitis, Allergies, Pediatric Bronchial Asthma
MUSCULOSKELETAL & NEUROLOGICAL
Headache & Migraines, Joint & Limb pain, Low back pain, Sciatica, Frozern Shoulder, Tennis elbow, Strains and sprains, Muscle spasms and cramps, Trigeminal neuralgia, Peripheral neuropathies, Post-operative pain, Parkinson's disease, Meniere's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Bell's palsy, Facial pain, Osteoarthritis
Asthma, Colic/ Abdominal complaints, Eczema, Ear Infections (Otitis Media), Bedwetting
Insomnia, Depression, Anxiety
REPRODUCTIVE & UROGENITAL
Impotence, Incontinence, Menstrual Syndromes, Menopause, Uterine Fibroids, Ovarian Cysts, PMS, Infertility, Morning sickness, Prostatitis
DISORDERS OF THE EYE
Acute conjunctivitis, Pediatric Myopia (shortsightedness), cataract (without complications)
DISORDERS OF THE MOUTH
Toothaches, Post-extraction pain, Gum sensitivity (gingivitis), Pharyngitis
For a complete list of the conditons studied by the WHO, click here.
For many other diseases, acupuncture and herbal medicine can also effectively:
Reduce symptoms/ pain/ discomfort
Manage the progression of the disease
Minimize the side effects of Western medications
Strengthen the overall immunity of the individual
Q: How does acupuncture work?
A: How acupuncture works remains under debate. The National Institute of Health (NIH) has reviewed 79 clinical trials on acupuncture and concluded that there is currently no comprehensive rationale in western scientific terms for how acupuncture works. However, the NIH proposed that acupuncture stimulates the body's self regulatory processes via the CNS (central nervous system), in particular:
Enhances endogenous endorphin production , blocking pain receptors and alleviating pain syndromes
Enhances circulation through the release of vasodilators
Stimulates neurotransmitter activity, particularly serotonin, increasing the body's capacity to cope with stress
Stimulates the immune system by raising blood levels of white blood cells and anti-bodies to fight chronic infections
To see the NIH review, click here.
Q: Is acupuncture safe?
A: Absolutely. Only sterile, disposable needles are used and are inserted at a specific depth. In competent hands, acupuncture's only side effect can be bruising at the needle site (5% incidence according to research). The bruise usually disappears by itself within a few days.
Q: Do the needles hurt?
A: Almost all of Pamela's patients would answer no to that question. Most of her patients feel a qi sensation, not pain. This is the feeling of the needle grabbing the qi, like a fish grabbing a hook. Pamela is confident that you will feel at ease with her needle technique and healing energy.
Q: How is pediatric acupuncture different from adult acupuncture?
Infants and young children can easily transmit healing effects of meridian and point stimulation without requiring the skin to be pierced. Thus, not all pediatric conditions will require the use of needles and when they do, the needles used are much thinner and are retained for a much shorter time (e.g.: 2 minutes for a toddler, and 10 minutes for an 8 year old).
Needle-free acupuncture treatments may include tools such as rollers and blunt probes (known as Shonishin), as well as pediatric tuina (massage). Cutaneous magnet therapy and microelectro stimulation may also be used on the acupuncture points and meridians. A low frequency is sent to the magnets which tap very lightly and gently on these points to stimulate the channels in place of a needle or probe. We call this the "tickle machine" and children respond playfully to it.
Q: What kind of education and training do acupuncturists receive?
A: Acupuncture is a licensed and regulated health care profession in the United States.
Accredited master's level programs takes 3 to 4 years to complete (on a full-time basis) and requires at least 2,200 hours for Oriental Medicine (includes acupuncture and Chinese herbology), or 1,700 hours for acupuncture only programs. In addition, the National Commission for Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) certifies both acupuncturists and Chinese herbal practitioners. This NCCAOM ceritification is a requirement for New York State licensure.
Pamela Yap attended Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) in New York, a vanguard among acupuncture colleges in America. As a Master of Science graduate, she received over 3,200 hours of instruction and hands-on training, and more than 1,000 hours of clinical internship and hospital externships.
Q: How can I be sure about the safety of Chinese herbs?
A: First and foremost, it is important that you do not self-prescribe Chinese herbs. Each herb has indications and contraindications, plus an appropriate dosage for a certain condition, age, and body type. Make sure you get your herbal prescription from an NCCAOM-certified Herbologist. Secondly, it is important to share with your practitioner all relevant information about the medications & supplements (especially blood thinners such as coumadin/ warfarin) that you are taking, and other health conditions that you have. That being said, know that Chinese Herbalism has been practiced for thousands of years, with sufficient documentation of its toxicology, efficacy, and implementation. Chinese herbs employ the whole plant instead of highly concentrated extracts. Lastly, Pamela understands the concern over contamination with heavy metals and pesticides. Pamela's main sources for herbal medicinal subject their herbs to testing that is more rigorous than is required by the FDA. You can be sure that the companies that grow and handle these herbs care about the herbs, the people who take them, and also care about the land.
Q: What are Moxibustion, Cupping, Guasha, Tuina?
Moxibustion therapy or “zhenjiu” is older than acupuncture and can be twice as powerful when used appropriately. Called moxa for short, it is a method of heat therapy used to warm the channels in conditions of cold or severe weakness. Moxa looks like a cigar stick. It is made out of the leaves of Artemesia vulgaris (also known as mugwort) and is burned (like incense or cigar) at or over specific acupuncture points. Studies reveal that moxa can influence an increase in white blood cells (WBCs) in the immune system. In Chinese medicine, one of the most celebrated uses of moxa is for turning breech babies naturally, without c-section.
Cupping is an adjunct therapy in acupuncture. Also referred to as “fire cupping” (huo guan), it is done by creating a vacuum inside a glass cup and placing it directly on the skin. Patients experience cupping as a strong sucking sensation on the skin. Cupping releases the fascia in places where adhesions have developed. This restores delivery of blood and oxygen to the tissue, and improves circulation in the area. Aggressive cupping can create some bruising that can last for some 3 days. If you will be receiving cupping therapy, it is crucial to bring a scarf and make sure you are warmly dressed.
Tuina is a traditional chinese form of massage which focuses on the acupuncture channels, especially areas of muscles and tendons. It can be performed on a fully clothed patient. Because it directly affects the flow of qi, it is highly recommended for conditions such as sprains, strains, and even neuropathy.
Q: What should I do to prepare for my acupuncture treatment?
It is important to eat a substantial meal within three hours of the acupuncture treatment. Never go into an acupuncture treatment hungry. It is very helpful to not have any caffeine before your acupuncture treatment.
Wear loose comfortable clothing that will allow us to access your knees and elbows.
If you can help it, please do not clean your tongue on the day that you come for a visit. This will allow us to properly evaluate your tongue coating.
Bring with you any lab tests or imaging results that you have on-hand from your other healthcare providers.
Come on time so we can give you your full treatment!
Acupuncture For All Seasons
154 West 14th Street 4/F, New York, NY 10011