Our Acupuncture Newsletter! 

 

FAQ

General Questions

  1. What is Chinese Medicine?
  2. How do Chinese herbs work?
  3. How long will it take to experience results?
  4. What can I do to help in my own healing?
  5. What is Chinese Nutrition?
  6. Should my acupuncturist treat all my complaints at once?
  7. If you tried a few sessions of acupuncture treatment and they did not work does this mean acupuncture will never work for you?
  8. Can most illnesses be helped by acupuncture or TCM?
  9. If acupuncture is working for me, should I feel better every day?
  10. If the acupuncturist uses more needles and herbs will this produce better results?
  11. Why is it that sometimes studies do not show the great effectiveness of acupuncture treatments?
  12. Should I always trust my MD’s opinion about acupuncture?
  13. Can medical test confirm a majority of illnesses?
  14. Can traditional Chinese medicine discover something even though Western medicine could not find anything?


Infertility Related Questions

  1. How does Acupuncture treat infertility?
  2. If I use acupuncture to treat infertility, how long will it take to get pregnant?
  3. What is the best time during my cycle to begin acupuncture? Should I begin receiving treatments during ovulation?
  4. Do taking Chinese herbs conflict with my prescribed infertility medication?
  5. Are the same points prescribed all the time for each person?
  6. If I use an ovulation predictor kit, why should I bother to take my temperature and check my cervical mucous?
  7. If a woman is over the age of 40, can acupuncture help her get pregnant?
  8. I have an elevated FSH level. Dose acupuncture treatment and herbal formulas help keep it down?
  9. How do I know acupuncture and herbal medicine works for me?
  10. What else can help to improve my acupuncture treatment results?
  11. What types of medications and illicit drugs affect fertility?
  12. Is it necessary for a couple to get acupuncture treatment together if they are trying to get pregnant?
  13. Why should I see you when you are not on my list of in-network acupuncturists, which is covered by my insurance?
  14. How does acupuncture help boost fertility?


Using a Combination of IUI or IVF procedure with Traditional Chinese Medicine Questions

  1. Can acupuncture be used in conjunction with Western medicine to treat infertility?
  2. I am undergoing IVF treatment. When should I start acupuncture?
  3. During the IVF process, the medication prescribed skewed my hormonal levels. Is acupuncture able to balance this?
  4. When I undergo IVF, can I still use your prescribed herbal formula? Will there be a negative interaction or effect on my treatment?
  5. How can acupuncture and herbal formulas help me throughout the IVF cycle?


Pregnancy Related Questions

  1. Is acupuncture safe for the baby during pregnancy?
  2. Are the herbs safe to use during pregnancy?
  3. How long can a woman receive acupuncture after she gets pregnant?
  4. Can acupuncture help with morning sickness and hormonal changes?
  5. I have a breach baby, does acupuncture help turn the baby? Are there any side effects that may cause the baby to be premature?
  6. What conditions can acupuncture and Chinese medicine help with after delivery?


Male Infertility Related Questions

  1. Does acupuncture help male infertility?
  2. How long does it take to see results?
  3. How often should I get an acupuncture treatment?
  4. Does every patient receive the same acupuncture treatment?
  5. Does every practitioner produce the same results?
  6. What are the side effects of acupuncture and herbs?
  7. How effective is the treatment?
  8. I have been seeing another acupuncturist who told me that my low motility was due to Kidney deficiency. I have been receiving acupuncture treatments for 1 year and am still not seeing any results?
  9. What else can I do to help the process?
  10. Do I feel any changes in my body when my condition is getting better?
  11. Can I still ride my bike or take hot baths while I am getting acupuncture treatments?
  12. Do lifestyle factors or certain medications contribute to male infertility?

Peri-Menopause / Menopause Related Questions

  1. What is menopause?
  2. How long does menopause last?
  3. Do I need to use Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) during menopause? Is it safe to use?
  4. At what age can I expect to go through menopause?
  5. How can I predict when I will experience menopause?
  6. What are the reasons for early menopause, and what will help?
  7. Are there laboratory tests for diagnosing menopause?
  8. Is there any danger or risk associated with having lighter periods or bleeding between periods as menopause approaches?
  9. What factors trigger hot flashes?
  10. What causes menopause sleep disruption and hot flashes?
  11. Can headaches be a sign of menopause?
  12. How can Traditional Chinese Medicine help menopause?
  13. How long will it take to see the results from acupuncture and herb therapy?
  14. Are there any side effects with acupuncture and herbal medicine?
  15. Does acupuncture help with osteoporosis?
  16. If I take Hormone Replacement Therapy, will I still suffer from fatigue, insomnia, and depression? Can acupuncture and herbal medicine help? Are there any adverse reaction combining HRT with acupuncture and herbal medicine?
  17. Will HRT prevent weight gain? Are acupuncture and herbal medicine good at eliminating weight gain during peri-menopause or menopause?
  18. Does Hormone Replacement Therapy really help pre-menopause mood swings?

 

Pain Management

  1. What is our body trying to tell us when we have pain?
  2. How effective is it to have an X-Ray to find out the cause of the pain?
  3. What are the chances of having pain due to a bone structure directly pinching the nerve?
  4. What is the traditional Chinese medicine view on joint pain?
  5. Skeptical about Bi syndrome and pain?  I was too at first!
  6. Is surgery an answer for joint pain?
  7. Will strong muscles produce strong joints?
  8. Is using an ice pad a good choice for chronic joint pain?
  9. In traditional Chinese Medicine, what helps joint pain?

AutoImmune Disorder Questions

  1. Background
  2. What is considered an autoimmune disorder?
  3. Why is my immune system attacking my own tissue?
  4. How does traditional Chinese medicine view autoimmune disorders?
  5. How often should I get a treatment?
  6. How long do I have to receive treatments for?
  7. Are there any side effects from acupuncture and herbal medicine when treating autoimmune disease?
  8. What results can I expect?
  9. Is there any way to gauge my improvement other than how I report feeling?
  10. Why should I receive treatment from a traditional Chinese medical doctor who specializes in autoimmune disease?
  11. Are there any cases that TCM Healing Center has helped treat with acupuncture and herbs?


General Questions

1. What is Chinese Medicine?

The art of Chinese medicine has a history that dates back a few thousand years and integrates the concepts of Yin and Yang, the five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, water), and the union of man and nature. This unique medical theory is rooted in Chinese philosophy and is one of a kind in the medical community. Its outstanding therapeutic efficacy has gained worldwide respect and recognition.

Chinese Medicine is a complete medical system that is currently integrated in modern hospitals and clinics throughout most of Asia and many nations around the world. A basic principle of the medicine is that every person is composed of both electrical (protons, electrons, and neutrons create atoms that course through our entire being) and chemical energies (like the endocrine system). These energies are closely described as “Qi” and “Blood” or “Yin” and “Yang”. Chinese Medicine can intervene on both levels through the use of Acupuncture and Chinese herbs.

Every patient is unique and treated according to the overall patterns of strength or weakness / health or dysfunction he or she exhibits. Patients are encouraged to share all their symptoms, regardless of whether or not they believe these symptoms to be significant. Symptoms are part of a pattern of illness, as well as progression to health. Additionally, patients are taught how to intervene in their own healing process and encouraged to practice awareness of both their physical and spiritual well-being.

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2. How do Chinese herbs work?

Herbal medicine is an integral part of Chinese medicine. The majority of the Chinese herbal medicine is from organic substances such as different parts of plants (many of which are only grown in Asia), as well as certain minerals and animal products. Herbal formulas rarely elicit side effects, as they have been used safely for centuries across large populations. These formulas, when prescribed by a well-trained practitioner, can be used by adults, children, and the elderly, as well as pregnant and lactating mothers. The combination of Chinese herbs and acupuncture produces a very effective treatment protocol for many ailments. Our clinic customizes each herbal formula for the individual patient. The prescribed herbal formula targets the symptoms as well as the root cause of the disorder. As the patient progresses, the herbal formula is changed.

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3. How long will it take to experience results?

In general, acute conditions require fewer treatments, and chronic conditions often require a longer commitment to regular treatment. Since every patient’s health condition and constitution are unique, the number and frequency of treatments varies. Typically, the recommendation is 1-2 treatments per week for a month or even several months. Many patients experience some relief after the first few treatments. Some conditions many require 9 to 12 months to completely change the body’s energy flow and restore balance. Pain syndromes may require multiple treatments each week, tapering off as the pain is reduced. Fertility issues often require only once-a-week treatments, but the treatments may require 3-12 months to regulate the hormonal balance. Just like the seasons, healing occurs in cycles. Recovery may include periods of change and then may plateau. While undergoing therapy for one aliment, other problems may resolve and over time, general health will be enhanced.

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4. What can I do to help in my own healing?

Chinese Medicine is a holistic paradigm. The philosophy of this medicine considers what a person does and does not do on a daily basis to greatly impact their health. Chinese Medicine works best when patients are dedicated to their own healing. It is essential to adopt healthy daily habits such as balanced and informed nutrition, exercise, and stress management techniques. Additionally, it is important that patients maintain consistent care by keeping regular appointments and drinking herbal teas as prescribed.

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5. What is Chinese Nutrition?

One of the most fundamental ways we can take care of our bodies is through proper nutrition. No matter what your concern, our practitioners will likely make nutritional recommendations for you, or may conduct a thorough analysis of your daily food journal. Adequate nutrients are necessary for your body to maintain its vital energy, prevent disease, and undergo growth and development. Improper food choices can add to the toxins and imbalances in your body, countering the body’s ability to perform its functions efficiently. In the early stages of improper diet, you may notice symptoms such as fatigue, energy fluctuations, allergies, and increased pain. We see many patients who have rationalized these symptoms as being overworked or simply “getting old”. They are amazed at the difference that simple modifications can make in their overall sense of well-being!

We’ve all heard lots about calories and nutrient ratios (fat, protein, carbohydrates); these are undoubtedly important considerations in evaluating a patient’s diet. However, we are also concerned with the timing of your meals, frequency of proper hydration, and the energetics of the foods you eat. In Chinese nutrition, all foods have different energetic properties (cooling, warming, drying, etc.). Therefore, foods should be chosen that compliment your body and enhance its ability to attain balance. Since every patient’s constitution is different, it is clear that everyone has different dietary needs. Whether your goal is to lose weight, gain weight, or simply achieve good health and longevity, our practitioners can help you make food choices that fit both your goals and your lifestyle.

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6. Should my acupuncturist treat all my complaints at once?

It is better to focus on one complaint at a time.  Keep in mind that in many instances, all of your various symptoms are most likely derived from the same root cause.  If this is the case, a long-term approach is ideal.  For specific symptomatic relief, your acupuncturist should concentrate on one thing at a time.  Your body will respond better to this type of treatment because it knows exactly where to focus.  It can be likened to driving a car – you can’t turn right and left simultaneously.  If you ask for more, often times you get less.

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7. If you tried a few sessions of acupuncture treatment and they did not work does this mean acupuncture will never work for you?

If you had a negative experience with acupuncture treatments in the past, it may still be worth giving it another try. The beauty of Chinese Medicine is the individual approach that is taken, different treatment protocols, different practitioners, and different physical stages. All of these variables can affect the treatment results. If you tried a few acupuncture treatments and they did not work for you, then you should communicate with your practitioner to find the right treatment plan for you. Sometimes you need a longer length of time to find the key that will lead you to wellness.

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8. Can most illnesses be helped by acupuncture or TCM?

Yes.  The Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic stated, “All illnesses should be able to be treatable with acupuncture or herbs.  If you have not experienced good results, it is because you did not figure out how to treat the illness effectively.  This does not mean that the medicine does not work.” 

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9. If acupuncture is working for me, should I feel better every day?

Not necessarily. Health development, like anything else, goes in cycles.  This means that you may see a great improvement for a while, then it will plateau or even decline, and then you will once again feel better again.  In medicine and health, sometimes you will experience a worsening of symptoms before your condition improves.  We call this the healing crisis, or darkness before dawn.  Over the long-term, however, you will feel a great improvement and lasting results.

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10. If the acupuncturist uses more needles and herbs, will this produce better results?

Quality is more important then quantity.  Less is more because the energy is more focused.  For instance, I once prescribed a formula for a patient to help with her cough, but after a few days of trying the formula, it still didn’t work. If I had added more ingredients we would still get the same results, so rather than adding more herbs, I took out a few, and the formula worked like a charm.  The same can be said with needles.  Sometimes two needles work great, and if you insert a few more, the treatment becomes less effective.  Of course, getting good Qi is key.

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11. Why is it that studies do not always show the great effectiveness of acupuncture treatments?

The problem is that most of the studies are conducted utilizing a Western medical modality, which means that certain conditions are treated by the same group of points and/or herbs repeatedly for a set length of time.  This does not correspond well with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  In TCM, the same illness or symptoms can have varying root causes, which require different treatment approaches.  This is why only a small part of a large group will get positive results.  The beauty about Chinese medicine and what sets it apart from Western medicine is its unique diagnostic and treatment method that is specified and catered to the individual.  The TCM practitioner does not see 50 patients who all have a bacterial infection and give them the same points and herbal prescription.  Even the smallest of symptoms such as headache or no headache, chills or no chills, sweating or no sweating, body aches or no body aches, fever or no fever, can have an enormous impact on the treatment protocol.  

In addition to the varying root causes of the illnesses that need to be addressed, we also must take into consideration the individual’s lifestyle, dietary intake, constitution (genetic background), and other elements that are unique to that person.  These factors will also play an enormous role in the diagnosis and treatment protocol.

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12. Should I always trust my MD’s opinion about acupuncture?

In our opinion, trust should be based on the level of expertise.  If your MD specializes in the field of neurology, then it would be safe to assume that you could trust him/her when it comes to matters pertaining to neurology.  If your MD does not specialize in acupuncture, how does he/she know anything about it and its efficacy?  To learn more about acupuncture you should ask an acupuncturist.

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13. Can medical test confirm majority of illnesses?

Medical tests can confirm many illnesses, but as with everything, they have their limits.  When medical tests indicate “normal” this does not necessarily mean that you do not have an illness.  Conversely, a medical test may indicate that you have a serious illness only to find out later you were misdiagnosed.  Hopefully, in the future we will see a development in the accuracy of medical testing.

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14. Can traditional Chinese medicine discover something even though Western medicine could not find anything?

From a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) point of view, the human body is constantly in a state of energetic flux.  Because of this constant imbalance, TCM doctors can always find where your body is functioning at a less than optimum level.  So, even if Western medicine does not diagnose you with an “illness”, TCM can help treat minute imbalances before they become an illness. 

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Infertility Related Questions

1. How does Acupuncture treat infertility?

Acupuncture, as an ancient holistic approach, affects the function of the central nervous system and endocrine system. In traditional Chinese medicine we assign these two systems Yin energy and Yang energy. A group of prescribed points can directly regulate the Hypothalamic – Pituitary – Ovarian hormonal axis, adjusting any imbalances. Acupuncture can also promote blood circulation to the pelvic region, refreshing the ovaries, uterus, and testicles, which is intrinsically important for conception.

The condition of poor blood flow and energetic congestion manifests as amenorrhea, painful menstrual cycle (dysmenorrhea), pain during intercourse, premenstrual symptoms, mid-cycle bleeding and pain, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), tubule blockage, uterine fibroids, menstrual clotting, migraine headaches coinciding with the menstrual cycle, elevated follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and poor quality of sperm analysis.

While the above signs and symptoms in and of themselves may or may not be the primary cause of infertility, they do reveal internal blockages of energy and blood, which may be contributing factors.

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2. If I use acupuncture to treat infertility, how long will it take to get pregnant?

In most cases, men and women need a minimum of 3 months of consistent regular treatment. Most couples conceive anywhere between 6 to 12 months. The consistency of receiving acupuncture treatments and taking herbal formulas is crucial because specific hormonal adjustments are made during each week of the cycle. Missing a week of treatment may be detrimental, in that an important opportunity to balance a particular segment of the four-phase menstrual cycle (follicular phase, ovulation, luteal phase, and menstruation) is lost.

A minimum of 3 menstrual cycles (12 consecutive treatments) usually begins to regulate a woman’s hormonal system regardless of biological age. However, if you use acupuncture with assisted reproductive technology (ART), the treatment period varies, depending on the success of the procedure. Because of the cumulative healing affect of acupuncture and herbal formulas, and their ability to increase one’s fertility quotient, most patients continue receiving acupuncture for the duration of conception. Acupuncture treatments can also detoxify the body from chemical medications or other toxic substances, hence enhancing the body’s likelihood of conception.

Trying to get pregnant is a numbers game. The longer you try, naturally or with ART, the better your chances are. This applies to acupuncture and herbs as well. The longer you allow your body to reach homeostasis through the use of Chinese medicine, the better your chances are. If you have gone through multiple ART procedures without success, receiving long-term regular acupuncture and herbal medicine treatments will significantly improve your chances of conception. Therefore, the couple must expect to devote 6 to 9 months of consistent treatment before evaluating results. There is no quick-fix-path when it comes to conception, full-term pregnancy, and the health of a baby, but it’s well worth the long wait!

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3. What is the best time during my cycle to begin acupuncture? Should I begin receiving treatments during ovulation?

You can begin receiving treatment anytime during your cycle. One time is not better than another. Once you begin treatment, acupuncture should be received on a regular basis throughout your cycle. Compared to many of the fertility medications, that provide a powerful affect for a short duration, acupuncture, in general, is very subtle. However, the cumulative affect from consistent acupuncture and herbal treatments can produce significant long lasting results.

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4. Do taking Chinese herbs conflict with my prescribed infertility medication?

In most cases, couples who are treated with a combination of acupuncture and customized Chinese herbal formulas in addition to traditional Western fertility medication have an improved chance of conception. Even when combined with the strongest Western medication used to assist in IUI and IVF procedures, herbs are safe and effective to use. The key to receiving optimal health care is to choose fertility specialists in Western medicine and Chinese medicine who are experienced and have a history of excellent results.

Our doctors have almost 30 years of clinical experience traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, and herbal formulas. We follow the natural rhythm of the menstrual cycle - the follicular phase, ovulation phase, luteal phase, and menstrual phase - to regulate the hormonal system. When a patient is under powerful fertility medication, we work together with his or her Western physician and prescribe herbs that will improve the body’s response to the medication while minimizing any side effects from the drugs, thus increasing the chances of conception.

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5. Are the same points prescribed all the time for each person?

The acupuncture treatments and customized formulas are unique to each person and also differ during each stage of the cycle. For example, during a woman’s menses, the acupuncture treatment is geared towards clearing stagnation, releasing congestion like premenstrual tension syndrome, and preparing for the primordial follicle to grow. During the ovulation stage, we balance the hormones in order to promote the release of eggs in a timely manner. During the luteal phase, a treatment protocol is established and maintained to lower stress levels and support embryo implantation by thickening the uterine lining.

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6. If I use an ovulation predictor kit, why should I bother to take my temperature and check my cervical mucous?

Recognizing the changes in your cervical mucous alerts you to your most fertile days, since the fertile mucous precedes ovulation. The fertile mucous indicates that ovulation is about to occur, at which point the ovulation predictor kit (OPK) can be used to confirm the approximate day of ovulation. This can allow you to decrease the number of strips used from the kit. The basal body temperature (BBT) chart is not only used to confirm that ovulation has occurred, it is also used to determine your hormonal function and reactivity. Recording the BBT changes over 3 months will build an individual profile that is quite informative, especially if you are having difficulty in conceiving. These are diagnostic and evaluation tools that should be used by any experienced acupuncturist who specializes in infertility. Any irregularities in the BBT chart and fertile mucous can be effectively treated with acupuncture and herbs.

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7. If a woman is over the age of 40, can acupuncture help her get pregnant?

There is a strong correlation between age and reproductive health. However, it is important to remember that there are two types of aging: chronological and biological. While everyone ages at the same speed chronologically, the biological aging process differs greatly among each individual. That is the reason why women enter menopause at different times of their lives. So while it is generally true that starting around age 35, the quality of a woman's eggs decline as she ages, the eggs of some women in their 40’s can be of excellent quality due to a slow biological aging process, which is evident by how healthy she is.

It is impossible to stop our body’s chronological aging, but we can definitely slow down or influence the biological aging process.  Abusive lifestyle factors such as poor diet, smoking, alcohol consumption, stress, insufficient sleep, and drug use, all accelerate molecular oxidation and the biological aging process.  Practicing a healthy lifestyle by eating healthily, taking care of your self emotionally and mentally, and exercising, along with regular acupuncture and herbal treatments, will have a positive impact in slowing down the aging process. 

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8. I have an elevated FSH level. Can acupuncture treatment and herbal formulas help keep it down?

Usually, an elevated FSH indicates a less than optimal ovarian function. With consistent acupuncture treatments and the use of customized herbal formulas, all hormones can be balanced, including FSH. Acupuncture and herbal medicine affect the hormonal regulation centers in the brain and autonomic nervous system (Hypothalamic – Pituitary – Ovary Axis). As a result, improvement in hormonal status can occur over time.

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9. How do I know if the acupuncture and herbal medicine treatments are working for me?

If you are not presently taking hormones, we recommend that you record your basal body temperature (BBT) every morning when you first wake up. The BBT chart is not the best method available to detect ovulation, but it is an excellent method to get an idea of your hormone fluctuation pattern (including estrogen, progesterone, ovulatory, even thyroid function, etc.) By observing changes in the BBT pattern from month to month, it can be used as an index to measure your progress.

Regular acupuncture and herbal medicine treatment focuses on improving overall health. Therefore, as a patient receives a series of acupuncture treatments, many will experience easier menses, less or no PMS symptoms, increased energy, decreased anxiety, and better quality of sleep – in other words improved general health. When good health comes, conception is not too far behind.

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10. What else can help to improve my acupuncture treatment results?

Besides regular acupuncture treatments and herbal medicine, eating healthily (a variety of food that includes more fresh green vegetables, high quality lean protein, whole grains, plenty of water and fruits, limited consumption of coffee, alcohol, cigarettes, sugar, juice, and greasy food, eating in smaller portions, and thoroughly chewing your food), daily exercise, good sleep, and less stress can help improve treatment results.

  • Improving your overall diet will at best improve your state of fertility and at worst reduce your risk of life-threatening disease. You have nothing to lose.

  • Your goal in using diet as a therapy for fertility is to feed your body only food that will increase and support optimum health.

  • Even household cleaning agents, such as oven cleaners, mold treatment products, and ammonia-based products, have been shown to have negative affects on the health of sperm and ova. It is best to use cleaning agents that are eco-friendly and contain more natural substances.

  • Caffeine is suspected of having several affects on the reproductive process, including a possible impairment of or delay in conception. This effect was noticed in a large European study on infertility risk factors.

  • There is no doubt that long-term alcohol use can lead to impotence, poor sperm quality, and further fertility complications due to liver damage. Many believe that drinking alcohol, even moderately, can alter the fertility of both women and men. In women, alcohol affects the liver’s ability to clear hormonal debris, disrupting hormonal levels and interfering with egg production. While the amount of alcohol required to alter brain chemistry and hormonal levels varies from woman to woman, evidence suggests that even moderate drinking can contribute to infertility.

  • Being significantly under or over your ideal weight can affect the level of fertility in both male and female.

  • Regular, quality sleep – having regular, quality sleep is extremely important for fertility. Studies indicate low fertility rates and early pregnancy losses among shift workers. Regular, quality sleep is particularly important if a woman is suffering from an irregular menstrual cycle, anovulation, amenorrhea, or PCOS. All of these issues are considered to be part of a biological rhythm disorder.

  • Stress relief and relaxation – stress has an extremely detrimental impact on our brain because of the hormonal imbalance it causes. Many studies have confirmed the incredible impact which stress has on fertility. Too much stress will drain the adrenal glands and thus inhibit the proper production of hormones.
    (Source: New Hope for Couples with Infertility Problem. Fox and Dr. Gindott, 2002)

Practicing stress management and relaxation exercises is very important. However, in this day and age, everyone is exposed to a certain degree of stress. Realistically, it is impossible to avoid stress all together. In fact, the process of medical testing and infertility treatment are major sources of stress for many women trying to conceive. Acupuncture treatment is one of the best methods to relax the body and decrease stress levels.

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11. What types of medications and illicit drugs affect fertility?

Some medications and illicit drugs may decrease your fertility because they can adversely affect the fertile cervical mucous produced around ovulation time. Acupuncture and herbs can be effective in restoring fertile cervical mucous, thus increasing your fertility. A treatment plan that emphasizes quantity and quality of fertile mucous is especially important if sperm count or motility is low. An environment that maximizes survival of sperm and encourages entry to the uterus may be all the advantage sub-optimal sperm need to reach their destination.

Examples of some drugs and medications are as follows:

Certain antibiotics: can allow an overgrowth of vaginal candida or thrush
Anti-seizure drugs
Anti-depressive drugs
Anti-hypertensive drugs
Cortisone
Corticosteroids
Anti-ulcer drugs
Calcium channel blockers
Procardia
Adalat (it is restricted to male and affects sperm quality)

Birth control pills – even after the return of regular periods, the cervical mucous produced after being on the pill may not allow the sperm to gain entry to the cervix.

NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can decrease the amount of fertile mucous by lowering prostaglandin levels.

Antidepressants – including SSRI’s such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Lovan, Lovox, Cipramil and Aropax, can reduce the number of days of fertile mucous production.

Antihistamines – can dry fertile mucous, since they work by drying most of the mucous membrane in the body.

Clomid – inhibits the function of the mucous producing glands in the cervix.

Many illicit drugs are used because they alter the central nervous system and create an altered sense of being. Unfortunately, they also alter the brain’s output of both male and female hormones that control reproduction. Some of them are: amphetamines, anesthetics, cocaine, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, tranquilizers, heroin, and marijuana.

(Source: New Hope for Couples with Infertility Problem, Theresa Fox and Dr. Paul Gindott – 2002 Dec.)

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12. Is it necessary for a couple to get acupuncture treatment together if they are trying to get pregnant?

It is estimated that men are responsible for up to 40-50% of infertility among couples. There is little to no Western medical treatment available for men suffering from infertility. IVF is currently the only option. In our practice the majority of women pursue IVF because of male factor infertility.

Acupuncture and herbal medicine have a great success when semen analysis shows decreased sperm count and motility, slow or low level liquification, or low or abnormal morphology. Recently, studies show that acupuncture, when directed at motility and morphology, can improve semen abnormalities. If the man receives an appropriate treatment course at the onset of diagnosis, it is most likely the couple will not need IVF and would be able to naturally conceive. Actually in a case like this, acupuncture and herbal medicine should be strongly considered as a primary treatment course. If your partner/husband is unwilling to receive acupuncture treatments, we highly recommend that he come in for herbal and nutritional consultation. Although this approach is not as effective as when combined with acupuncture, taking a customized herbal formula can improve sperm abnormality a great deal. Ultimately, treating the couple at the same time will speed up the process and ensure a better chance of success in conceiving.

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13. Why should I see you when you are not on my list of in-network acupuncturists, which is covered by my insurance?

Our specialization is women’s health and fertility. Dr. Jing and Dr. Lim received advanced training in reproductive enhancement that included a combination of Western and Eastern specialized education in the field of Gynecology at Beijing University. In China, Dr. Jing worked as an O.B.G.Y.N. Doctor with a high success rate in treating infertility and women’s health. With almost 30 years of clinical experience, she has gained profound knowledge in this area. Dr. Lim holds a clinical doctoral degree in Oriental reproductive medicine and interned with some of the best fertility doctors in Shanghai, China. Their strong Western background makes them competent in working with ART (Assistant Reproductive Technology) procedures, including IUI and IVF.

Most acupuncturists are general practitioners and will give a sufficient level of care and prescribe basic herbal formulas. Because of their lack of specialized training and/or experience, conception may take longer, or in the worst case, is unsuccessful, costing precious time and money.

Remember that pregnancy is only the 1st step towards achieving the end result - having a healthy baby and safe delivery. The comprehensive approach we use involves not only fertility enhancement, but also nurturing a healthy pregnancy, preventing miscarriage, regulating the baby’s position, and easing complex deliveries.

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14. How does acupuncture help boost fertility?

  • Stimulates brain function to regulate hormonal release and aids overall reproductive health

  • Improves blood flow to the ovaries and uterus, allowing for increased amounts of quality follicles and a thickening of the uterine lining which nourishes and enhances implantation.

  • Increases endorphin production, which in turn promotes the release of gonadotropin releasing hormone (GNRHR ) to regulate reproduction.

  • Decreases the affects of stress on the adrenal glands to enhance the hormonal balance for fertility.

  • Normalizes plasma hormone levels to promote fertile cervical mucous: follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), estradiol (E2), and progesterone.

  • Normalizes the Hypothalamic – Pituitary – Ovarian Axis, a key component in fertility.

  • Combats polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

(Source: New Hope for Couples with Infertility Problems, Theresa Fox and Dr. Paul Gindott – 2002 Dec.)

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Questions About Using a Combination of IUI or IVF Procedres with Traditional Chinese Medicine

1. Can acupuncture be used in conjunction with Western medicine to treat infertility?

A number of patients that we currently treat have been receiving acupuncture while undergoing IVF or IUI treatment. Our special training allows us to competently enhance the Western treatment you are receiving, while minimizing any side affects you may be experiencing from the treatment, thereby increasing your success rate!

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2. I am undergoing IVF treatment, when should I start acupuncture?

We highly recommend that you begin receiving acupuncture and herbal medical treatment 2 or 3 months prior to the IVF procedure. This will allow your body time to attempt to reach homeostasis by making your central nervous system and hormonal system balanced. Many patients can require several months to 1 year of treatment before receiving IVF. The recommended treatment schedule varies for each individual and is based on a variety of factors. You are recommended to come once or twice per week until your egg retrieval and embryo transfer.

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3. During the IVF process, the medication prescribed skewed my hormonal levels. Is acupuncture able to balance this?

Acupuncture has a balancing effect on the body. It stimulates the normal regulative center of the brain, thus only influencing those hormones that are out of balance and helping them fall within their proper homeostatic range. Acupuncture, therefore, helps regulate the hormonal imbalance and alleviate the side effects caused by IVF medication.

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4. When I undergo IVF, can I still use your prescribed herbal formula? Will there be a negative interaction or effect on my treatment?

Chinese herbal medicine is based on individual care. Each person has their own constitution and their own physical stages. When a practitioner completely understands your blood hormone test results, as well as the function and dosage of the medications you are taking, he or she will be able to competently make a corresponding customized herbal prescription to assist your IVF procedure, hence assisting the base results.

Unfortunately, there is lack of statistical research and study on herbal prescriptions via United States standards. And, often times, students do not receive specialized training in gynecology and infertility at a Master level acupuncture school. However, the results of using Chinese herbal medicine, if used correctly, is tremendous and a massive advancement in the medical field. We firmly believe that in the near future, studies will be conducted in the U.S. showing the efficacy, safety, and overall remarkable healing capability of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in the treatment of infertility and women’s health.

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5. How can acupuncture and herbal formulas help me throughout the IVF cycle?

We highly recommend that you begin receiving acupuncture and herbal medical treatment 3 months prior to beginning IVF. In women, this will help improve the egg quality and regulate hormone levels. In men, this will improve the semen quality and quantity.

During the IVF procedure, acupuncture can increase the quality of follicles and improve the quality of uterine blood circulation, creating a thickening of the uterine lining, and ultimately enhancing the ability for implantation.

If successful conception occurs, emphasis is on preventing miscarriage and minimizing 1st trimester symptoms such as nausea and morning sickness.

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Pregnancy Related Questions

1. Is acupuncture safe for the baby during pregnancy?

Acupuncture, as a form of holistic medicine, does have precautions and contraindications. If performed properly by a highly experienced practitioner, acupuncture is an extremely safe modality. There are virtually no potential complications or side affects, even in children and during pregnancy. Not only does acupuncture not have any harmful affects on the baby or mother during pregnancy, it can improve blood flow to the uterus, thereby nurturing the fetus and creating an easier pregnancy and healthier baby.

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2. Are the herbs safe to use during pregnancy?

Chinese herbs have an experiential history that spans thousands of years. As with any other medicine, single herbs do have side effects and contraindications that are well documented, especially during pregnancy. If the herbs are prescribed by an advanced traditional Chinese medicine gynecological specialist, who is highly experienced, there should be no side effects at all. The goal is to create a specialized formula that continues to balance the body’s hormonal levels, while maintaining a normal pregnancy, and avoiding any potential risk factors related to medical conditions. The end result is having a healthy baby and mother.

The prescription of Chinese herbal medicine is based entirely on the patient’s body type, symptoms, signs, a correct pulse finding, and proper diagnosis. Usually the customized herbal formula is safe for the specified condition during the specified time.

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3. How long can a woman receive acupuncture after she gets pregnant?

Acupuncture should begin as soon as the mother discovers she is pregnant, and continue once per week during the 1st trimester (first 3 months). Throughout this period, preventing any miscarriage and avoiding any pregnancy related condition is the prime focus.

The patient is then recommended to receive acupuncture treatments every other week or even once a month. Throughout the 2nd trimester, the prime focus is on keeping the energy, hormonal level, and constitution in balance. This is done by utilizing special channels during each month of pregnancy and is called “fetus education”.

Fetus education is a set of hygiene rules for pregnant women formulated in the belief that the mother’s diet, lifestyle, and emotions all affect the fetus. Therefore, maintaining a healthy diet, regulating your emotions, and having monthly acupuncture treatments helps keep the flow of energy balanced and will have a positive effect on the fetus.

During the last 4-6 weeks before the expected delivery, the patient is recommended to receive acupuncture treatments once or twice per week. The prime focus is on gently opening the pelvic energy and preparing the body for a natural delivery.

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4. Can acupuncture help with morning sickness and hormonal changes?

The majority of pregnant women experience some degree of morning sickness. This is a normal process and is the body’s way of communicating to you that you are pregnant and your body is beginning to change. In addition to morning sickness, hormonal changes can cause physical discomfort, fatigue, chills, sleepiness, sinus congestion, nausea, lack of concentration, irritability, et cetera.

Acupuncture is a great treatment modality that continually keeps the central nervous system and hormone levels in balance during pregnancy. It helps blood flow to the uterus and helps the body become stronger so as not to miscarry. Acupuncture can work on special meridians (Stomach and Spleen) to increase the vital energy to the body and help alleviate most, if not all, of the uncomfortable symptoms associated with pregnancy.

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5. I have a breach baby. Does acupuncture help turn the baby? Are their any side effects that may cause the baby to be premature?

Yes, acupuncture combined with moxibustion can definitely help turn breeched babies (especially when there are no structural obstacles). Studies confirm that moxibustion has more than a 70% success rate when used to turn breeched babies. This technique has been used for centuries in China. Moxibustion involves burning an herb close to your skin on a specific point that is known to stimulate the baby’s movement. The best time to apply this method is during week 29 – 34. The point and channel selection are key when attempting this treatment protocol, and if the practitioner is experienced, this modality will not cause an early labor.

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6. What conditions can acupuncture and Chinese medicine help with, after delivery?

Acupuncture can help to restore the mother’s energy level after the stress of birth and can help with the following conditions:

• Post-partum depression and anxiety

• Post-partum abdominal, vaginal, and back pain

• Post-partum fatigue

• Insufficient lactation or excessive milk production

• Mastitis

• Post-partum constipation and hemorrhoids

• Post-partum carpel tunnel syndrome, wrist pain, and joint pain

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Male Infertility

1. Does acupuncture help male infertility?

It is estimated that men are responsible for up to 40-50% of infertility among couples. There is little to no Western medical treatment available for men suffering from infertility. IVF is currently the only option. In our practice the majority of women pursue IVF because of male factor infertility.

Acupuncture and herbal medicine have a great success when semen analysis shows decreased sperm count and motility, poor or slow liquification, and low or abnormal morphology. Recently, studies show that acupuncture, when directed at motility and morphology, can improve semen abnormalities. If you receive an appropriate treatment course at the onset of diagnosis, it is most likely you will not need IVF and would be able to naturally conceive. Actually in a case like this, acupuncture and herbal medicine should be strongly considered as a primary treatment course. If you are unwilling or reluctant to receive acupuncture treatments, we highly recommend that you come in for herbal and nutritional consultation. Although this approach is not as effective as when combined with acupuncture, taking a customized herbal formula can improve sperm abnormality a great deal.

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2. How long does it take to see results?

Each person’s response varies, but normally it takes 2 – 4 months to see a noticeable change. In some cases, it only takes 4 weeks to see results.

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3. How often should I get an acupuncture treatment?

We recommend getting an acupuncture treatment twice a week for the first couple of weeks, then once a week for the remaining treatment plan. However, in some cases, patients can only come once a week. Although this is not optimal, a patient can still get good results.

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4. Does every patient receive the same acupuncture treatment?

Not at all. The same presenting condition may have a completely different root cause. Our treatment plans are based on a highly individualized approach. The treatment you receive depends on the traditional Chinese medical diagnosis, not only on Western diagnosis. For example, low sperm count may be the result of more than twenty diverse causes. Hence, each individual's treatment plan will vary.

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5. Does every practitioner produce the same results?

The results vary from practitioner to practitioner. Acupuncture treatments are like art work, the same point can be utilized by many acupuncturists, but the technique can produce completely different results. Plus, proper traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) diagnosis is very refined and takes years of clinical experience and specialized training to learn and understand. Not all TCM practitioners get trained in the area of male infertility.

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6. What are the side effects of acupuncture and herbs?

Acupuncture is subtle, gentle, and comes with almost no side effects. We combine a group of single herbs to create a formula, rather than a high dosage of one single herb. This approach allows the individual herbs to work synergistically together and balance each other out. With the proper dosage and combination of herbs, patients rarely experience any negative side effects.

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7. How effective is the treatment?

Again, every practitioner produces varied results. In our clinic, if a patient receives regular treatments for a duration of 3 – 4 months and follows the professional practioner’s advice, he will almost always see significant positive results on his next semen analysis report.

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8. I have been seeing another acupuncturist who told me that my low motility was due to Kidney deficiency. I have been receiving acupuncture treatments for 1 year and am still not seeing any results. Why?

It is imperative to receive treatment from an acupuncturist who specializes in male infertility. The typical traditional Chinese medical treatment for treating male infertility is to tonify the Kidneys, assuming that the infertility is due to a Kidney deficiency. However, in our clinical experience we find that most male infertility cases do not respond well to this treatment protocol.

Through our clinical experience, we have discovered that we usually have to clear what is known in Chinese medicine as heat, wind, cold, dampness, phlegm, and/or toxins out of the body before we can begin tonifying the Kidney energy. Otherwise, patients may get worse rather than better. It is equivalent to pouring clean water into a dirty container. Getting rid of toxins from the body is not easy. People will often try colonics, fasting, increasing their bowel movements, et cetera, and although this does cleanse the system out somewhat, it is not thorough enough. Each patient is like a unique lock - the right key must be found. Our specialized training in male infertility allows us to find just the right key for each patient in an effective, efficient manner!

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9. What else can I do to help the process?

If the patient follows the advice well by making appropriate changes to his diet, taking the herbal formula as prescribed, and receiving regular acupuncture treatments, he will see results. Discipline is key. Keep in mind that you only need to strictly follow our instructions for a short duration of time - not years - so you can do it!

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10. Do I feel any changes in my body when my condition is getting better?

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) views your body as a whole and treats the body in its entirety. Because of this, you will begin to feel an increase in energy, your sleep will be more restful, your mind will feel more focused, clear and sharp, you will feel an overall sense of well-being and relaxation, and any depression, discomfort, and anxiety you might have felt will be gone. Most importantly, you will be able to see positive changes in your semen analysis report.

Eighty percent of patients report that their bodies tend to over-heat, their hands and wrists are warm and clammy, and they perfer cooler environments. Twenty percent of patients report the exact opposite, they are cold all the time, and their hands and feet are cold and clammy. This is related to an imbalance in your reproductive system. Once this imbalance is addressed and treated using TCM, you will feel a noticeable difference.

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11. Can I still ride my bike or take hot baths while I am getting acupuncture treatments?

If you lean toward hot and prefer a cooler environment, we suggest that you do not take hot baths.

If you are a cyclist, we recommend that you do not wear tight-fitted pants or biker shorts, and that you keep your riding to a minimum.

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12. Does lifestyle or any medication contribute to male infertility?

Yes. Current studies show that certain lifestyle choices may negatively impact male fertility, especially for men who have pre-existing conditions such as chronic allergies, sinus issues, autoimmune related conditions, liver issues, kidney issues, hypertension, and cancer. These men will typically already have low semen count and quality. Maintaining healthy lifestyle choices like the ones listed below will improve one's overall health and the quality and function of sperm.

  • Eating a balanced low-fat diet.

  • Lowering emotional stress

  • Exercise moderately, not excessively. Studies report that men who are extreme athletes have some decrease in sperm count and motility. This may be due to their percentage of body fat (or lack thereof) that alters their hormonal balance.

  • Some infertility specialists recommend wearing boxer shorts and stipulate that this may help the quality of semen.

  • Hot tubs are not so hot for sperm. Some studies show that frequent use of saunas or hot tubs can depress sperm counts temporarily. Our advice is, if you are trying for a pregnancy, avoid saunas and hot tubs.

  • Smoking is not good for sperm (or any other part of your body); marijuana is even worse. Several research studies have shown that men who smoke have somewhat lower sperm count and motility, and abnormal morphology of sperm cells. Marijuana definitely damages the semen.

  • Alcohol is another factor to consider in cases of male infertility. It is clear that excessive alcohol consumption can severely damage the liver. Furthermore, any amount of alcohol intake can affect hormonal balance in the reproductive system. In addition, studies also show that alcohol has a direct toxic affect on the tissue of testicles. Doctors recommend that if you are trying to get pregnant, reduce your alcohol intake to a maximum of 6 oz. per day.

  • In a study conducted in Italy, heavy coffee consumption was found to be one of the causes of male infertility.

  • Beware of recreational drugs. Studies show that regular marijuana, cocaine, crack cocaine, or heroin use will impact sperm count, motility, and morphology. Illicit drugs can also damage testicle tissue.

  • Stay away from anaerobic steroids; they will decrease sperm cell production.

  • Chemotherapy medication decreases sperm count, motility, and also damages existing sperm.

Also, avoid or minimize usage of the following medications listed below, which have been known to affect sperm quality: (Note the bullet points below)

Anti-fungal medication: Ketoconazole (Nizoral)

Antibiotics: Sultasalazine (Azulfidine)

Anti-Seizure medications: Depakene

Diuretic medication: Aldactone, Aldactazide (which is used to increase urine output to relieve swelling and treat hypertension)

Anti-uric acid for gout medication

Calcium channel blockers: Nitedipine, Procardia, Adalat, Calam, Verelan

Arthritis medication

Cholesterol lowering medication

Anti-depressant medication: SSRIs (Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Lovan, Luvox, Cipramil, and Aropax, can damage sperm DNA thus decreasing normal morphology)
(Source: Overcoming Male Infertility, Leslee Schone, PhD. & Dr. Anthony Thomas – 2000)

All the above can affect male infertility. If you can improve your health habits by eliminating as many foreign substances from your body as possible, making healthier food choices, and exercising more regularly, with 3 months of consistent acupuncture and herbal treatments you should get great results!

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Peri-Menopause / Menopause Related Questions

1. What is menopause?

Menopausal syndrome is not a disease. It is a natural transition in a woman’s life that indicates the cessation of ovarian function resulting in permanent cessation of the menstrual cycle. Usually, a healthy woman can go through this physical transition without much suffering. However, some women do experience menopausal related symptoms including hot flashes, night sweats, irregular periods, sleeping disorders, mood swings, irritability, generalized or intellectual fatigue, vaginal dryness, painful sexual intercourse, and a decrease in bone density, which leads to loss of height and fragile bones that are more prone to breaking (osteoporosis). Usually, these symptoms will not appear simultaneously but gradually at differing times, and some symptoms may be worse than others.

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2. How long does menopause last?

Menopause syndrome includes three different periods:

  1. Peri-menopausal "around menopause" - This is when a woman begins noticing physical changes and the gradual cessation of menses occurs. Symptoms typically begin in the 40’s and can fluctuate for years. Reports indicate that only 1 out of 3 women are without any physical discomfort throughout this time, and 2 out of 3 women will experience symptoms related to a lack of estrogenlack of estrogen as mentioned above. The menopause transition period typically commences around age 45 and lasts for 4-5 years until the last menstrual cycle. During this period, women will experience some degree of endocrine, physical, and mental/emotional symptoms.
  2. Menopause - Represents the last menstruation in a woman’s life and lasts for 1 year.
  3. Post-Menopause - Is measured from the very last menstruation until the end of life, almost 20-30 years.

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3. Do I need to use Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) during menopause? Is it safe to use?

The biggest issue today for women approaching menopause is whether or not to use hormone therapy. What are the risks, and what will happen ten or fifteen years down the line if you choose to use HRT? Like most important questions, this does not have a simple answer that is applicable to all women. Each woman must decide whether she wishes to try using HRT. If she does, then she must decide whether to use it short term for acute symptoms, long term for health reasons, or to improve the quality of life.

HRT has been used for 15-16 years in the treatment of menopause. In 2002, the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) initiated a trial analyzing the health of 10,000 women ages 50-79. After 5 years of using a synthetic hormone regimen (a combined conjugated equine estragon plus progesterone called Prempro), the results indicated that the overall health risks exceeded benefits during long-term use. Stoke incidence increased by 29%, negative cardiac conditions increased by 40%, and breast cancer increased by 24%. There are many studies being conducted on the safety of HRT. Before making the decision to use HRT, it is highly recommended that you do some research first.

The decision to use HRT should be based on your family history, your personal health history, and your overall life style. If your mother’s side has a history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, or even fibroids, you should definitely try to avoid using HRT. Choose a simple and different approach like acupuncture and herbal medicine to help you through menopause. Traditional Chinese medicine has a long history of treating menopause that spans thousands of years. Acupuncture and herbal medicine gradually balance the body and help it to achieve a new level of homeostasis by adjusting your endocrine system and retraining the body to secrete enough of its own hormones to avoid loss of bone density (osteoporosis), and optimally improves a woman’s quality of life.

Conversely, if there is a history of osteoporosis on your mother’s side of the family, or you are experiencing severe menopausal symptoms (hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety, poor sleep, etc.) then you may consider short-term use of natural bio-identical HRT to quickly help. Afterward, you can then use a combination of acupuncture and herbal formulas to balance out your system and gradually stop using HRT.

HRT is still relatively new and very much in the trial stages. In the future, we will be able to better gauge the efficacy and long-term effects of HRT. Because of this, a natural approach to helping menopause is recommended. Studies in England and China both verify that women can adequately use acupuncture and herbal formulas to help offset the effects of menopause, including osteoporosis, without using HRT.

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4. At What age can I expect to go through menopause?

In the USA, a woman reaches menopause at approximately 51 years of age. This statistic has remained remarkably constant over the years. The normal range is 45-55 years old. However, many women may experience symptoms of peri-menopause as early as their mid-thirties or as late as their forties. This is mostly based on overall health and somewhat based on genetic predisposition. Therefore, maintaining hormonal balance will result in an easier transition and may even result in a later menopause.

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5. How can I predict when I will experience menopause?

Several things will influence the time at which menopause occurs. First, family history (genetics) - if your mother was menopausal at 42, then it is likely that you will experience a relatively early menopause, although maybe not at that exact age. The same can be said if your mother experienced a late menopause - it is probable that you will too.

Second, the classic dogma referring to the menarche cycle used to be that if you began menstruation late, around 16 years old, then you would reach menopause early. Conversely, if you began your menstruation early, between 11 to 12 years old, you would reach menopause relatively late. The presumable notion behind this theory was that if your ovaries weren’t robust to begin with (accounting for late onset of menses) the ovaries would stop functioning early.

Third, life habits have an enormous effect on the onset of menopause. Leading a healthy lifestyle, which includes regular exercise, a healthy diet, proper stress management, et cetera, assist in a smooth menopause transition. Studies show that smokers are prone to an earlier menopause than non-smokers. Studies also show that women who receive proper natural medicinal care, including acupuncture and herbs, will have a healthier and later menopausal onset.

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6. What are the reasons for early menopause, and what will help?

Early menopause, also called premature menopause or premature ovarian failure, is menopause that occurs for any reason before the age of 40. It happens to about 1% of American women. Roughly 30% of these women have a female relative who is also affected, which indicates a genetic predisposition. The exact reason, however, is yet unknown.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we believe this is due to “Kidney Jing deficiency” during the early puberty period, which leads to exhaustion of Kidney essence and energy, as well as premature ovarian failure (POF). In some cases, the Spleen channel develops improperly and will derive its nourishment from the ovaries. Like some autoimmune disease, the antibodies then attack her ovaries.

Studies show that acupuncture and herbal medicine are a great way to prevent POF from happening and assist menopausal transition by regulating the Kidney and Spleen channels, rebalancing Qi and blood flow, reducing ovarian tension, and enhancing ovarian function. In doing so, all menopausal related symptoms will be manageable and long-term consequences can be avoided, especially if you receive treatment early.

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7. Are there laboratory tests for diagnosing menopause?

Yes and no. Yes, there are tests; no they will not tell you whether you are menopausal or how far along in the process you are. One of two tests can be given: the first measures estrogen (mainly estradiol) in the blood stream, looking at a range of less than 20 pg/ml (picograms per milliliter); the second measurement is elevated Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH), they might range abover 30 pg/ml or even rise to 100 pg/ml). From the measurements of FSH, LH and Estrogen you can confirm menopause is occurring.

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8. Is there any danger or risk associated with having lighter periods or bleeding between periods as menopause approaches?

Many women experience lighter periods as they approach menopause, and most of them are pretty happy with this change, but occasionally a patient comes in worried about diminished flow. Once a woman knows that lighter periods are simply a sign of approaching menopause, she is content with the situation.

During the onset of menopause, many women experience erratic menstrual periods. This can be considered normal, and is due to the lack of estrogen and progesterone. Because spotting between periods is one of the indications of uterine cancer or cervical cancer, it can be a reasonable cause of concern. Therefore, if you are spotting repeatedly or routinely, we highly recommend you receive a check-up performed by your OBGYN Doctor.

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9. What factors trigger hot flashes?

Hot flashes are usually triggered by weather (especially high humidity), hot rooms, heavy clothing, hot showers, drinking hot beverages (especially tea and coffee or anything containing caffeine), and of course alcohol is a well-known inducer of hot flashes.

Insomnia, stress, anxiety and nervousness are other causes of hot flashes; so is fatigue. The relationship between hot flashes and eating is problematic. Often when you eat a really large meal, especially with sugar, hot flashes will increase. Also, certain medications are known to induce hot flashes. For example, Sudafed and other over-the-counter sinus remedies that contain adrenaline.

Certain diseases like hyperthyroidism can be confused with menopause: displaying symptoms of irregular periods, feeling hot, hair loss, et cetera. Other rare ailment can also cause hot flashes. These illnesses can easily be distinguishable from menopause by your medical doctor.

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10 . What causes menopause sleep disruption and hot flashes?

Unfortunately, we really do not know. Neuro-endocrinologists have postulated that the activity of the pituitary gland, the hypothalamus, and almost every other gland and function of the endocrine system for that matter, peaks between one and three o’clock in the morning. They guesstimate that this is probably the reason why hot flashes and sleep disturbances occur more often at night. Poor sleep is also correlated with low estrogen.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we understand that one to three o’clock a.m. corresponds to the liver channel, and many of the pathologies associated with menopause are due to liver yin exhaustion that causes liver and kidney deficiency. Yang energy thus rises because there is not enough yin to anchor the yang, and hot flashes occur or you wake up between the hours of one and three a.m.

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11. Can headaches be a sign of menopause?

Although headaches certainly can occur at any time in life, they can also be due to the hormonal transitions that occur during menopause. Estrogen levels drop off during the pre-menopausal stage, which can lead to significant migraines, especially during the time of menstruation. Studies show that estrogen therapy does help somewhat to alleviate headaches. Acupuncture and herbal medicine can rebalance hormonal function and control migraines.

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12. How can Traditional Chinese Medicine help menopause?

According to Traditional Chinese medicine theory, women ages 42-49 undergo a natural physiological transition without any adverse responses. Western studies do show that women who maintain healthy life habits, exercise regularly, eat a variety of nutritious foods, and are relatively emotionally and mentally healthy, have an easier time, and the physical body naturally adjusts to the changes. Respectively, if a woman maintains poor life habits such as drinking coffee, alcohol, smoking cigarettes, lack of exercise, unhealthy eating habits, poor sleep habits, and has a high level of stress, it is more likely that she will experience intense cycles of menopause. Therefore, taking responsibility for leading a healthier lifestyle makes an unequivocal difference.

Chinese medicine, specifically acupuncture, can help by correcting and regulating the energy flow in the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian axis, and maintaining homeostasis in the body. We also use prescriptive herbal formulas that rebalance a woman’s endocrine system in an attempt to maximize the quality of each hormone.

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13. How long will it take to see the results from acupuncture and herb therapy?

Each woman’s body responds differently to acupuncture and herb therapy. Therefore there is no generalized set time for improvements to be seen. Many factors are involved in how well and how soon you respond to Chinese medicine (lifestyle, length of menopausal symptoms, family history, use of HRT, et cetera.).

For a woman who is generally in good health and has just started experiencing symptoms, and who has never used HRT, a significant difference can be felt after 1 or 2 sessions. For a woman who generally experiences poor health, has an unhealthy lifestyle, and she has been experiencing symptoms for more than 1 year, or was on HRT in the past, acupuncture and herbal therapy may take as long as 6 months to 1 year. This is also assuming that when the woman begins using Chinese medicine to treat menopause, she also takes responsibility for changing any unhealthy life habits.

Generally speaking, a minimum of 3 months of weekly treatments is required. The important thing to remember is that Chinese medicine has a cumulative effect, and with every treatments, you should begin feeling much better. Using Traditional Chinese medicine to treat menopause is a safe and natural way for long-term care and is an excellent alternative to HRT.

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14. Are there any side effects with acupuncture and herbal medicine?

Acupuncture uses the body’s own natural mechanism to reach homeostasis. Every medicine, if not used properly, can elicit a negative response. It is imperative that the doctor treating you has profound clinical experience and is well versed in the field of women’s health. If this is the case, you should experience no negative side effects.

The patient’s responsibility is to communicate honestly with her Doctor concerning any life changes, Western medication alterations, and/or any adverse reaction experienced after the treatment. The doctor’s responsibility is to adjust the treatments and herbal formulas accordingly based on presenting signs and symptoms. Taking all this into consideration, acupuncture and properly prescribed herbal formulas have no side effects at all.

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15. Does acupuncture help with osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a silent killer in menopausal women. The progressive loss or softening of bone through time will lead to joint pain and body aches. In severe cases, osteoporosis will lead to bone fractures or fatality. One of the huge benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is its ability to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. While considering the other side effects and the risks associated with HRT, acupuncture and herbal formulas are an excellent alternative!

According to Chinese medicine theory the main contributing factor to osteoporosis is a deficiency in the Spleen and Kidney channels. By invigorating, generating, and promoting the smooth flow of Qi and blood, acupuncture and herbal formulas can help maintain bone marrow mass and strengthen muscles and tendons in an attempt to create a tight network around the bones to keep them in place.

There are also 2 other important factors involved in maintaining bone mass:

  1. Exercise:

    The importance of exercise in the fight against osteoporosis cannot be underestimated. Lack of regular exercise, even while making good changes in your diet, will not result in increased bone mass. Starting the right kind of exercise in combination with other preventive measures like appropriate calcium intake can help build bone mass, especially in high risk fracture sites like the wrist, hip and spine.

    Putting stress on the bones fights fractures. The key here is “weight-bearing exercise," ' which means exercises one performs while on their feet that works the bones and muscles against gravity. Popular forms of weight-bearing exercise include: walking, jogging, stair climbing, dancing, hiking, volleyball, tennis, tai chi, qi gong, and certain types of weight lifting/resistance exercises (e.g., squats). The particular form of exercise will depend on the person’s overall physical health, the extent of bone loss, and whether the person already regularly engages in physical activity. It is recommended that individuals speak with their physician about the appropriate types of exercise to include in their osteoporosis treatment plan, especially people who have been sedentary most of their adult life or who are already diagnosed with low bone mass (termed “osteopenia”) or osteoporosis. Certain movements, like those that require twisting of the spine or bending forward from the waist (like sit-ups or toe touches), and most high-impact exercises, can put certain people at risk for fracture and should be avoided.

    Recommendations on frequency of exercise needed to increase bone density vary. Depending on one’s diagnosis and doctor-recommend activity restrictions, typical exercise routines that are recommended may range from: 20-30 minutes of aerobic exercise 3 to 4 times weekly, to
    30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day plus strength training 2 to 3 times per week.

    Many patients benefit from working with an exercise specialist (trained in exercise physiology, physical education, physical therapy, or a similar specialty) to learn the proper progression of exercise, how to stretch and strengthen muscles safely, and how to correct poor posture habits. This is particularly true for those with relatively advanced osteoporosis (who are most at risk for a fracture) and those who are starting a new exercise program. The exercise specialist should be familiar with the special needs of people with osteoporosis.

  2. Diet high in calcium:

Food

Milk 1% fat
Yogurt
Cottage Cheese, low fat
Collard Greens, cooked
Broccoli, cooked
Kale, cooked
Sardines, canned
Salmon, canned with bone
Tofu (soybean curd)
Orange juice, natural/organic
Orange juice, calcium fortified

Quantity

1 Cup
1 Cup
1 Cup
1 Cup
1 Stalk
1 Cup
8 Medium
3 Ounces
4 Ounces
1 Cup
1 Cup

Calcium (mg)

350
300
120
360
160
200
350
170
150
30
320

Source: A Woman's Guide to Menopause / Peri-menopause. Dr. Mary Jane Minkin


  • Taking calcium 1200 mg – 1500 mg / daily + Vitamin D 400 mg + Magnesium 500 mg (should take this after your meal)

  • The Stomach is producing copious amounts of acids to digest your food. That is the best environment for the body to absorb calcium.

  • Monitor your bone mass regularly throughout the year.

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16. If I take Hormone Replacement Therapy will I still feel fatigue, insomnia, depression? Can acupuncture and herbal medicine help? Are there any adverse reaction combining HRT with acupuncture and herbal medicine?

Even when using HRT, many women still experience hot flashes, night sweats, sleepiness, fatigue, bloating, weight gain, feel tearful, jittery, anxious, depressed, etc. Even though you are receiving a certain amount of estrogen into your body through HRT, the body’s ability to digest the estrogen is still an issue. When used properly, acupuncture and herbal formulas can enhance HRT by helping the body absorb estrogen and minimize the side effects of HRT. Therefore, acupuncture and herbal medicine treatments combined with HRT or without HRT, can help alleviate menopausal symptoms and maintain and prevent bone loss. Used with HRT, Traditional Chinese Medicine, when used properly, has no adverse reactions and can be quite beneficial. When used without HRT, acupuncture and herbal medicine rebalances our body’s nervous and endocrine systems which helps alleviate menopausal symptoms.

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17. Will HRT prevent weight gain? Is acupuncture and herbal medicine good at eliminating weight gain during peri-menopause or menopause?

The cause of weight gain is lower estrogen levels. As women enter menopause, estrogen levels drop leading to insulin resistance. Gradually we notice that we are putting on weight around the abdomen and hips. HRT does not prevent or help redistribute fat on the body even though it helps artificially introduce estrogen to the body. In fact, HRT will ususally lead to more weight gain and water retention.

Chinese medical theory views weight gain as a stagnation of energy mainly in the Spleen channels. We remove the stagnation by connecting the Spleen, Liver and Kidney channels. In addition, eating smaller meals throughout the day, combined with regular exercise, will help maintain your ideal weight.

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18. Does Hormone Replacement Therapy really help pre-menopause mood swings?

The exact relation between sex hormones and mood is still ambiguous. However, some facts are beginning to emerge. Estrogen does have a positive effect on mood in some women, though neither the mechanism nor the reason behind it is understood. Current studies do show that maintaining a leveled estrogen/progesterone balance helps alleviate depressive symptoms. We do know that the symptoms are triggered by changes in the hormonal levels. Thus we can safely speculate that mood swings are an imbalance of hormones. Acupuncture and herbal formulas can adjust hormone levels and consequently positively effect mood swings.

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Pain Management

1. What is our body trying to tell us when we have pain?

Pain is like an alarm that goes on in our body signaling to us that something is going on and we need to pay attention to it. Pain, in and of itself, is not the problem. The problem is the cause behind the pain. Solely eliminating the pain is not an adequate course of treatment and can be likened to putting a plug in your ear to shut out the sound of the alarm; this will not dissolve the root cause of alarm nor the pain. We believe that when our body feels pain, it means our system’s energy is congested and not flowing. Acupuncture can naturally relieve pain by short-circuiting the neurological signals. It does this by increasing oxygen to each molecule, reducing inflammation, and speeding up the healing process.

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2. How effective is it to have an X-Ray to find out the cause of the pain?

Having an x-ray is the standard way to look into the origin of the pain.  However, it is only able to detect the problem or abnormality of bone structure or cartilage, and not able to tell much about soft tissue damage.  In the clinic, most pain is due to a problem with the soft tissue, which is why you can be in severe pain but the x-ray will show nothing is wrong.  Additionally, bone and cartilage change is an age related process, so for elderly patients you may always see a problem when viewing an x-ray film even if the patient is not experiencing any pain.  Before or after the onset of acute, short-lasting joint pain, you may see no change in an x-ray.  This is why if you only review an x-ray you can never tell who is in pain and who is not, with the exception of cancer or broken bones.  In most cases, x-rays do not change treatment plans for acupuncture.

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3. What are the chances of having pain due to a bone structure directly pinching the nerve?

In the clinic, a bone directly impinging on the nerve causes less than 1% of pain.  In such instances, the pain usually lasts 24 hours, with no relief, and with severely limited mobility.  If the problem persists, surgery is the only alternative.  In the majority of cases that I see people experience pain that comes and goes (wandering pain).  These problems are due to soft tissue damage and will not show up on x-rays and possibly MRIs.

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4. What is the traditional Chinese medicine view on joint pain?

According to traditional Chinese medicine, joint pain is considered “Bi syndrome” and is attributed to wind, cold, dampness, or a combination of these factors.  The pathogenic factor attacks the joint and creates energy flow blockages that lead to pain that is sometimes susceptible to changes in weather.  Often times, Bi syndrome shows up as inflammation in local tissue but does not respond to anti-inflammatory medicine alone.

Acupuncture and herbal formulas can directly eliminate Bi syndrome permanently from the body.  If you only focus on relieving the symptomatic pain and do not treat the root of the Bi syndrome, the pain will always return or move to other areas of the body.  The longer the Bi syndrome remains in your body the more physical damage it will cause, possibly leading to arthritis (Bi syndrome in the bone), tendonitis (Bi syndrome in the tendons), fibromyalgia (Bi syndrome in the muscle), or neuropathy (Bi syndrome in the skin). 

For example, after you build up a sweat from exercising, and if you continuously put your joints in cold water or air, you will begin developing joint pain.  This is because the “cold” has settled into your bones.  Medical research uses the same concept to test certain medication by inducing arthritis in animals via temperature. 

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5. Skeptical about Bi syndrome and pain?  I was too at first!

When I began learning TCM, I didn’t believe in the concept of Bi syndrome causing pain.  After 24 years of practice, especially since the majority of my patient’s cases are pain related, I have come to the conclusion that Bi syndrome is ultimately the cause of the majority of pain, with the exception of traumatic injury or sport’s injuries.  Sports injuries or traumatic injuries cause pain only when you move the specified injured area, in contrast to that of Bi syndrome that is a constant pain. 

Often times when I see a patient whose chief complaint is pain, and upon further questioning regarding the pain, I discover that many cases are due to sleeping with no clothes on and the windows open or air conditioning on, having the air conditioning on in the car, exercising and leaving the gym without a jacket, etc.  When I suggest to my patients to change these patterns, the pain disappears.     

Personally, after I learned about the concept of Bi syndrome, anytime that I would feel pain I would pay close attention to what I had done and my surrounding environment.  Every time that I felt pain, it could be attributed to cold; three times in my shoulder from the air conditioning blowing directly on my upper body while driving, and twice in my lower back and sciatica while I was sitting on a cold surface. 

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6. Is surgery an answer for joint pain?

In some instances it is definitely necessary (bone chip pinching on a nerve, fracture, bad injury, or tumor).  If the pain is due to Bi syndrome, surgery will not fix this.  Sometimes, surgery will temporarily alleviate the pain only to have it return years later or manifest elsewhere in the body.  Additionally, the joint may never fully recover from surgery. Even with physical therapy, patients will continue to lose muscle strength and have poor circulation.  From a traditional Chinese medicine view, this is because surgery did not eliminate the Bi syndrome.

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7. Will strong muscles produce strong joints

We believe that strong Qi – not strong muscles - produces strong joints. In addition, you cannot exercise enough to build strong muscles when you are suffering from chronic pain. Building up Qi works much more quickly than building muscles and does not require intense exercise.  Strong Qi not only produces strong joints, but it also helps you recover much sooner from injury.  For example, children have strong Qi, not strong muscles, and because of this, have a fast recovery time.  Acupuncture and herbs are very good to eliminate Bi from your joints and help build Qi, all the while relieving pain and creating stronger joints, thus preventing further injury and hastening recovery time.

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8. Is using an ice pad a good choice for chronic joint pain?

During the first 24 hours of an acute injury, it is advisable to use an ice pad to reduce swelling and inflammation.  After this, you should discontinue the use of cold and use a mild warming pad to help with local blood circulation.  Chronic joint pain can be caused by cold or damp.  The worst thing you could do for bone and joint pain is to alternate between an ice pad and a heating pad because heat opens your pores and lets the Bi settle deeply into your joints.  This creates stagnation, which will further your pain and eventually lead to arthritis. 

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9. In TCM what helps joint pain?

From our point of view, cold bothers your joints more than physical activity.  So, keeping your joints warm is most important.

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AutoImmune Disorder Questions

1. Background

Dr. Lu worked at Beijing Modern Clinical Research Center of Chinese Medicine for the Treatment of Immune Disorders before he relocated to the United States.
At this clinic, his main focus was treating patients with lupus, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and psoriasis.  There he received specialized training in the treatment of immune disorders and had the opportunity to work with famous Chinese doctors who specialized in autoimmune disease.  During this time, he was able to see thousands of cases and gain exceptional experience and an intrinsic understanding of these conditions.  Please read Dr. Lu’s Testimonials.

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2. What is considered autoimmune disorder?

Autoimmune disorder includes commonly known conditions such as Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Psoriasis, Ulcerative Colitis, Macular Degeneration, arthritis, asthma, allergies, and some even classify Fibromyalgia as an autoimmune disease.

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3. Why is my immune system attacking my own tissue?

To further understand autoimmune disorders, it is helpful to understand the workings of the immune system. The purpose of the immune system is to defend the body against attack by infectious microbes (germs) and foreign objects. When the immune system attacks an invader, it is very specific—a particular immune system cell will only recognize and target one type of invader. To function properly, the immune system must not only develop this specialized knowledge of individual invaders, but it must also learn how to recognize and not destroy cells that belong to the body itself. Every cell carries protein markers on its surface that identifies it in one of two ways: what kind of cell it is (e.g. nerve cell, muscle cell, blood cell, etc.) and to whom that cell belongs. These markers are called major histocompatability complexes (MHCs). When functioning properly, cells of the immune system will not attack any other cell with markers identifying it as belonging to the body. Conversely, if the immune system cells do not recognize the cell as "self," they attach themselves to it and put out a signal that the body has been invaded, which in turn stimulates the production of substances such as antibodies that engulf and destroy the foreign particles. In case of autoimmune disorders, the immune system cannot distinguish between "self" cells and invader cells. As a result, the same destructive operation is carried out on the body's own cells that would normally be carried out on bacteria, viruses, and other such harmful entities.

The reasons why immune systems become dysfunctional in this way is not well understood. However, most researchers agree that a combination of genetic, environmental, and hormonal factors play into autoimmunity. Researchers also speculate that certain mechanisms may trigger autoimmunity. First, a substance that is normally restricted to one part of the body, and therefore not usually exposed to the immune system, is released into other areas where it is attacked. Second, the immune system may mistake a component of the body for a similar foreign component. Third, cells of the body may be altered in some way, either by drugs, infection, or some other environmental factor, so that they are no longer recognizable as "self" to the immune system. Fourth, the immune system itself may be damaged, such as by a genetic mutation, and therefore cannot function properly.

Because the immune system dysfunction is not fully understood, the main focus of treatment is symptomatic relief.  Often times, patients are prescribed drugs such as steroids that only offer temporary relief with negative side effects.  This creates a downward cycle as the patient’s condition worsens and their side effects become more violent.  At this point, many patients begin to search for alternative solutions. 

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4. How does traditional Chinese medicine view autoimmune disorders?

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) refers to these conditions as “Bi” syndrome that could happen anywhere in the body.  Often times, Bi syndrome is due to an external pathogenic invasion that is due to wind, cold, heat, damp or a mixture of these pathogens that attack the body.  We can almost translate this as an “infection”, but not as a bacterial infection that can be cured with antibiotics.  Sometimes, Bi syndrome can be caused by a viral, fungal, or any other kind of microorganism infection.  Wherever these “infections” come from, they can lodge themselves in any part of the body. 

Infections then take resident in the following systems and create autoimmune disease:

Infection in blood vessels – Lupus
Infection in bones – Arthritis
Infection in nerves – Multiple Sclerosis
Infection in respiratory system – Allergies
Infection in digestion system – Ulcerative Colitis
Infection in skin – Psoriasis

TCM is unique in its diagnosis of autoimmune disease and does not follow the Western paradigm.  Because of this, we are able to treat not only the symptoms, but also the root cause, the goal then being to eradicate the infection.  Acupuncture and herbal treatments combined, can have a tremendous positive effect.  Depending on the length and severity of the condition, Chinese medicine can certainly keep the autoimmune disorder in remission.  However, legally we are unable to use the term “cure”. 

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5. How often should I get a treatment?

You should receive acupuncture and herbal treatment once a week.  In cases of acute onset, twice weekly treatments are recommended.  Once the problem improves, one treatment every other week is recommended. 

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6. How long do I have to receive treatments for?

Autoimmune disorders require long-term care.  Some viral or fungal infections are very stubborn and take a long time to treat.  With consistent treatment, you should begin seeing results and improved health in just a few weeks to a few months.  It is very important that you follow your TCM doctor’s herbal, nutritional, and lifestyle recommendations. 

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7. Are there any side effects from acupuncture and herbal medicine when treating autoimmune disease?

There are no noticeable side effects.  Acupuncture and herbal formulas are natural and gentle on the body.  Even if the recommended treatment does not immediately help you, it will not harm your body.  At TCM Healing Center, sometimes patients have reported some discomfort, and upon further questioning, it was discovered that the discomfort was attributed to an external factor such as weather, diet intake, et cetera. 

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8. What results can I expect?

Normally, you should begin feeling improvement in several weeks to a months.  As time goes on, the feeling of improved health will increase.  There may be episodes of set back or plateau, which most likely is due to physical activity, diet, lifestyle change, weather, stress level, et cetera.  But the long-term prognosis is excellent!

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9. Is there any way to gauge my improvement other than how I report feeling?

Pulse diagnosis is a key instrument in gauging improvement.  When you have an external pathogenic invasion your pulse feels “floating” or “superficial”, which means that the practitioner does not have to press very hard at all to feel a pulse. Rather, it is right at the fingertips.  Once the invasive pathogen begins leaving the body, the pulse will feel deeper.  Lupus or multiple sclerosis can take a longer time to respond to treatment, but arthritis or allergies can respond very quickly.  The more acute and recent the problem, the faster the response time will be. 

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10. Why should I receive treatment from a traditional Chinese medical doctor who specializes in autoimmune disease?

The treatment of autoimmune disease requires specialized knowledge by the practitioner. Our treatment is dependent upon a concise diagnosis that ascertains the percentage of illness that is attributed to wind, heat, dampness, and/or cold.  If the diagnosis is off, then the body will not respond to treatment.  It is the equivalent to seeing a Western medical doctor who specializes in feet for a problem with your heart.  He/she may be an excellent practitioner but will not have the necessary skills to treat your specific condition. 

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11. Are there any cases that the Traditional Chinese Medicine Healing Center has helped treat with acupuncture and herbs?

There are many patients who suffered from multiple sclerosis (MS) for years before they came to the TCM Healing Center to receive treatment.  One patient in particular used to get flair-ups every year, with some years worse than others.  Ever since this patient started receiving consistent treatments, he has not experienced one flair-up in the past 6-7 years.  The strength in his extremities is continuing to improve, and tests confirm that the lesions in his brain show no progression, which in itself is a miracle from a Western medical standpoint.  Without receiving acupuncture and herbal formulas, this patient would only have been taking the Western medication “Copaxone” and would still continue to have annual flair ups.

Another patient had MS for years before beginning to receive acupuncture treatments.  The patient has been off Western medication, receiving treatments at the TCM Healing Center, and for the past six years her MRI shows no progression.  We have also had great success in treating a patient with Lupus.  With continual consistent treatment, this patient experienced no flair-ups in 7-8 years.  Arthritis and allergy patients have even better results.  Please read “Testimonials” for additional success stories.

 

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