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Acupuncture has been practiced extensively for a variety of medical purposes ranging from prevention and treatment of disease to pain management for the last 5,000 years in China. It is based on the philosophy of living harmoniously with nature by observing and understanding how the force of nature affects our bodies while striving to restore the balance (homeostasis) of the body when affected by force of nature. Chinese medicine is intended to restore the good health by balancing the three treasures: Essence, Energy, and Spirit (Jing, Qi, and Shen) and harmony of yin and yang for our overall health.

A life force of vital energy (Qi) flows and circulates throughout specific pathways (Meridians) to regulate our daily activities -- talk, laugh, think, metabolize, feel, energy level, mental activities, sleep, dream and love. When the Qi travels freely, there will be a sense of well-being in all aspects of life whereas, if the Qi is blocked, physical and emotional illnesses will occur. The free flowing of Qi can be disturbed by our daily lifestyle such as stress, poor diet, lack of exercise, excessive activity, trauma, or seasonal changes. Acupuncture stimulates specific points on these meridians by unblocking the obstruction of Qi, strengthening the vital energy, and restoring the free flow of Qi.

In the United States, acupuncture is used frequently for the treatment of chronic pain conditions (arthritis, headache, athletic injuries, and post-traumatic/post-surgical pain), chronic pain associated with immune dysfunction (allergies, psoriasis, and asthma), and mind-body disorders (anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue, insomnia, premenstrual syndrome and menopausal symptoms).

Herbal Remedies

Is Chinese herbal medicine safe?

Chinese herbal medicine is a natural and effective way to treat the body if one uses herbal medicines appropriately. Herbs are plants (leaves, barks, roots & seeds) and minerals found in nature. Herbs may be taken as a tea, powder, tablet, extract or wine. Some single herbs, if used alone, may not be as effective as herbs used in combination to make an herbal formula. There are some side effects for certain single herbs if they are overdosed or used for prolonged periods of time. Toxic herbs such as those that contain heavy metals (mercury, arsenic, lead, etc...) are not used by herbalists today.

How to use herbs safely and avoid common mistakes?

Biochemical knowledge of herbs can be useful information clinically, only if the information is integrated within the context of a patient’s symptoms. Otherwise, misleading interpretations may result in the misuse of herbs with resulting side effects ranging from mild to dangerous. For example, people persistently misuse single herbs in large doses for prolonged periods of time for weight loss. People have used Aristolochia (Guang Fang Ji) or Ephedrae (Ma Huang) in a way which violates the principles of TCM Herbal Protocols. First, both are strong diuretic herbs and are not appropriate for weight loss unless the patient also suffers from severe edema. Second, these two herbs are only designed for short term use, a few days or weeks at most. Third, Aristolochia is suspected of containing Aristolochic Acid which is known to be toxic to the kidneys (nephrotoxic) and can induce kidney failure. For this and many other reasons, it is advisable to seek out a professional herbalist before using herbs.


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