Frequently Asked Questions?

What should I expect in my first visit?

Your initial visit is a 90 min session.  During this session we will go over your clinical history, as well as your personal goals and expectations. I will ask you questions about your present and past health complaints, work and living habits, physical environment, family health history, and emotional life. I will check your pulse and your tongue.  After we have talked about this, I will create a specific treatment plan for you depending on your unique conditions.  I will combine different therapeutic and healing modalities that I feel will benefit you in body-mind-spirit.  This may include: acupuncture, body-mind therapy, food cures, life style couching, cupping, Chinese therapeutic massage or Tui Na, electro-acupuncture, ear acupuncture, moxibustion, chinese herbs, chi kung, breathing techniques, meditations and visualizations.  Please come in 15 min before your appointment time so that you can fill your intake and consent forms.  Thank you and looking forward to our journey together!

Do needles hurt?

I use new sterile stainless steel and very thin needles for each treatment. The insertion of needles is painless.  The treatment in general should feel very relaxing and comfortable. You might experience a slight pinch when the needles goes in, sometimes you might not feel anything at all.  I use a very gentle technique, and I believe that acupuncture can be effective, without being painful.  Other sensations that you might experience around the needle insertion are numbness, pressure, tingling, traveling warmth, heaviness or ache.  This are all normal and expected.  If you do feel uncomfortable or in any kind of pain, please let me know and I will do my best to make you feel more relaxed and at ease.  Needles remain in place for twenty to forty minutes.  After treatment it is normal to feel like you want to rest more or feel immediately energized.  You may notice a relief of symptoms or feel more energetic in the days that follow treatment.  Most people are pleased to find that sessions are not uncomfortable and even look forward to them.   Because Chinese medicine reverberates in the body and spirit, it can be a catalyst for subtle yet far-reaching and transformative change. 

What is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a complete medical system that has diagnosed, treated and prevented illness for over 3000 yrs.  While it can remedy ailments and alter states of consciousness, Chinese medicine can also enhance healing power, boost immunity and cultivate the capacity for joy, pleasure, clarity, wisdom and love. 

What is Yin and Yang?

Within Chinese cosmology, all of creation is born from the marriage of two principal polarities, Yin and Yang.  This are known as the primordial masculine energy and the primordial feminine energy, Earth and Heaven, winter and summer, night and day, cold and hot, wet and dry, inner and outer, body and mind. Harmony of this union means good health, good weather and good fortune, while disharmony leads to disease, disaster and bad luck. The strategy of TCM is to restore harmony. Each human being is seen as a micro-cosmic reflection of the Universe, a world in miniature, a garden in which doctor and patient together strive to cultivate health. Every person has a unique terrain to be mapped, a resilient yet sensitive ecology to be maintained.  Like a gardener uses irrigation and compost to grow robust plants, the doctor uses acupuncture, herbs, chi kung and food to recover and sustain health. 

How does TCM work?

Body Constituents:  Just as Nature contains air, sea and land, the human body is comprised of Qi or Chi, Moisture, Blood, Essence & Sprit.  Chi is the animating force that gives us our capacity to move, think, feel and work. Moisture is the liquid medium which protects, nurtures and lubricates tissue.  Blood is the material foundation out of which we create bones, nerves, skin, muscles and organs.  Essence or Jing is the most sutil energy of our physical body and correlates to the bio-chemistry and metabolic functions in our body.  Shen or Spirit is related to the psycho-emotional and spiritual parts of our being.

Organ System:  as Nature is organized by five primal powers or elements - Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water - so the body is divide into five functional systems known as the Organ System - Liver, Heart, Spleen, Lungs and Kidneys.  These Networks govern particular tissues, mental faculties and physical activities by regulating and preserving Chi, Moisture, Blood, Spirit and Essence.

  • The LIVER System is responsible for the storage of Blood, flow of Chi and evenness of temperament so when the Liver is affected it can manifest as tension in the neck and shoulders, high blood pressure, headaches, cramping, moodiness and impulsive behaviour.  The Liver is associated with the emotion of anger, the colour green and the season of spring. 

  • The HEART System not only moves blood through the vessels, but contains the Spirit or Shen and governs the mind.  Symptoms as varied as anxiety, restless sleep, angina and palpitations occur when the Heart is agitated.  The heart is associated with the emotion of joy, the season of summer and the colour red. ​

  • The SPLEEN System is in charge of the assimilation of foods and fluids, as well as ideas, so when this system is disturbed, indigestion, bloating, fatigue, scattered thinking, and poor concentration can manifest. The Spleen is associated with the emotion of worry, the colour yellow and the season of late summer. ​

  • The LUNG System sets the body rhythm, defends its boundaries and affords inspiration.  A troubled Lung might trigger tightness in the chest, skin rashes, vulnerability to colds or flus, rigid thinking, or melancholy. The  Lung system is associated with the colour white, the emotion of grief and sadness and the season of fall. 

  • The KIDNEY System includes yet extends beyond the job of managing fluid metabolism which we in the West ordinarily associate with the kidneys.  The Kidney System stores the Essence or Jing responsible for reproduction, growth and regeneration. It controls the teeth, bones, marrow, brain and lumbar region, and is associated with the emotion of fear, the will and the capacity for sharp thinking and perception.   So problems such as delayed growth, infertility, low back pain, paranoia, apathy or despair are viewed as dysfunctions of the Kidney System. ​ The Kidney system is associated with the colour black and the season of winter. 

Body Climates:  Wind, Dampness, Dryness, Heat and Cold.  In Nature, extreme wind, dampness, dryness, heat and cold have a strong effect on the planet.  These same forces can bring unbalance within a human body, affecting or obstructing the movement of Qi in the organs.  As winds shakes the trees of the forest, internal Wind can produce vertigo, unsteady movement and trembling.  As saturated earth generates swamps, so Dampness becomes phlegm and edema in the body. As aridity withers vegetation, so Dryness causes chapping or cracking of membranes.  Just as ice blocks the rush of water in a winter stream, so internal Cold blocks circulation and stops metabolism.  And just as fire scorches the earth, so internal Hear may inflame tissue.  

Health and Illness:  Qi, Moisture and Blood circulate within a web of pathways called channels or meridians that link together all the parts of the organism.  Health exists when adequate Qi, Moisture and Blood flow smoothly.  Symptoms as varied as joint pain, headache, anxiety, fatigue, menstrual cramps, high blood pressure, asthma, indigestion, and the common cold occur when their circulation is disrupted.  All illness is understood as a consequence of either a depletion or a congestion of Qi, Moisture, and Blood.  Depletion leads to weakness, lethargy, frequent illness, poor digestion and inadequate blood flow.  Congestion results in aches, tension, tenderness, pain, a distended abdomen, irritability, and swelling. 

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is based on the assumption that Qi courses through channels in the body just as streams and rivers ebb and flow across the surface of the earth.  Every Organ System has a corresponding set of channels. The acupuncture points are located in small depressions in the skin called "gates" where the channels come closest to the surface.  In ancient times, when cities where fortified by walls, gates were opened to receive sustenance and closed to keep harm away.  With acupuncture, the gates of the body are opened and closed to adjust circulation in . the channels and expel noxious influences from them.  Thin solid sterile and stainless steel acupuncture needles are inserted into acupuncture points to communicate from the outside to the inside.  Acupuncture mobilizes Qi, Moisture, Blood, invigorating proper function of  muscles, nerves, vessels, glands, and organs. 

How many treatments does it take for acupuncture to work?

Treatment:  the goal of treatment is to adjust and harmonize Yin and Yang - wet and dry, cold and heat, inner and outer, body and mind.  This is achieved by regulating the Qi, Moisture and Blood in the Organ Systems. Weak organs are tonified, congested channels are opened, excess is dispersed, tightness is softened, agitation is calmed, heat is cooled, cold is warmed, dryness is moistened, and dampness is drained.  Treatment may incorporate acupuncture, herbal remedies, diet, exercise and massage.  duration of treatment depends on the nature of the complaint, its severity and how long it has been present.  acupuncture is scheduled as often as three times a week or a as little as twice a month.  Response varies.  Some need only a few sessions while others need sustained care to reverse chronic patterns established over time.  As symptoms improve, fewer visits are required, individual progress being the goal. 

What can acupuncture treat?

It would be most accurate to say that acupuncture treats disorders of Qi, Moisture and Blood, and disturbances of the Organs Systems, but this does not correspond to the Western vocabolary of named diseases and conditions. Acupuncture may be helpful for:  withdrawal from addictions such as sugar, coffee, cigarettes, alcholol and cocaine;  stress reduction; post surgical recovery; chronic fatigue; signs of aging; and decreased immunity.  Some of the many conditions for whih acupuncture is considered appropriate are listed by the World Health Organization of the United Nations (WHO):

INFECTIONS

colds an flus

bronquitis

hepatitis

INTERNAL

hypoglycemia

asthma

high blood pressure

ulcers

colitis

indigesiton

hemorrhoids

diarrhea

constipation

diabetes

IBS

PSYCHO-EMOTIONAL

anxiety

depression

stress

insomnia

seasonal depression

bipolar disorder

MUSCLE-SKELETAL & NEUROLOGICAL

arthritis

neuralgia

sciatica

back pain

bursitis

tendonitis

stiff neck

Bell's palsy

trigeminal neuralgia

headache

stroke

cerebral palsy

polio

sprains

GENITO-URINARY & REPRODUCTIVE

impotence

infertility

pre-menstrual syndrome

vaginitis

irregular periods

cramps

morning sickness

labour induction

EARS-EYES-NOSE

deafness

tinnitus

earaches

poor eyesight

dizziness

sinus infections

sore throat

hay fever

DERMATOLOGICAL

eczema

acne

herpes

psoriasis

What is Chinese Herbal Medicine?

Chinese Herbal Medicine is itself a powerful method of healing.  Western drugs often control symptoms, but do not alter the diease process (antibiotics eliminate bacteria but do not improve a person's resistance to infection;  diuretics rid excess fluid without improving kidney function).  Chinese Herbal Medicine treat the underlying condition as defined by traditional diagnosis and rarely cause unwanted side-effects.   Just as soil becomes depleted through overuse, so the Qi, Moisture, and Blood are eroded by overwork, emotional tension, mental strain, too much or to little exercise, and inadequate diet or rest, impairing the capacity of the Organ Systems to do their job.  

What is moxibustion or Moxa?

Moxibustion is a technique where the herb Mugwart is burned and placed near or on the skin. Moxibustion or Moxa is used to warm acupuncture points and in doing so bringing more yang energy into the body. This will help to strengthen and tonify deficiencies in the body-mind-spirit. Examples of deficiencies are coldness in the lower back, frequent urination, low energy, low libido & depressive states.  Moxa is also used to spin babies in the womb when they are breach and for the postpartum time to help warm the womb and support moms in their healing times after giving birth. 

What is cupping?

Cupping is the use of small glass or silicon cups that are placed over the body with a vacuum effect created by using heat or suction. It promotes the flow of blood and chi within the superficial muscle layers of the body. It is also used to remove toxins from when someone has a cold or indigestion, for example. Chinese cupping therapy is an excellent tool to break blood stagnation from muscle skeleton conditions. For example, if you have a chronic sprain in the shoulder, neck or hips, TCM believes that there is an internal bruise, or blood stagnation. By using the cups in the local area of injury and specific areas to move blood, the pain and inflammation can be reduced quite significantly. When used with fire,  it is called FIRE CUPPING, this modality can also be used to treat cold conditions by warming up the area with the cups, for example chronic back pain with feelings of cold in the kidneys. Cupping is an amazing tool and in combination with Acupuncture it can do wonders for your aches and pains.

What is the difference between Western medicine & Chinese medicine?

Because Chinese medicine views people as ecosystems in miniature, it seeks to improve our capacity to balance and renew our resources.  Chinese medicine can maximize the flow of nutrients by increasing circulation, and help prevent bottlenecks that obstruct movement.  Often Western medicine has nothing to offer for nagging chronic complaints that Chinese medicine can help.  The two are not a substitute for each other.  They are often complementary.  Where Western medicine can heroically rescue us, Chinese medicine can protect and preserve our health day to day. 

What is Chi Kung?

Chi Kung or Qi Gong is the study and practice of cultivating our life energy to be healthy, happy and to evolve.  Chi or Qi can be translated as life energy.  Kung or Gong can be translated as the achievement of long practice or the mastery of a subject. The goals of Chi Kung are to improve health, wellness, mental clarity, and to support spiritual practices of enlightenment. This practice has been around for more than 3000 yrs and China was the main country where it was developed.  Other countries like: Korea, Japan, Indonesia & Tibet developed chi kung as well.  That is why there is thousands of different styles.  All of them can be divided in three levels: 

 

  • Wei Dan or External Elixir:  at this level the goal is to develop and cultivate energy in the extremities of the body to then introduce it into the channels and energetic system of the body. This type of chi kung generally involves physical movement and it can be benefited by acupressure or tui na and acupuncture. 

  • Nei Dan or Internal Elixir: at this level the goal is to cultivate internal chi or energy, refine it and then direct it to the internal organs, muscles, bones and marrow through the different channels of the body. This type of chi kung is considered advanced and in order to have success in this practice, a good foundation of Wei Dan Chi Kung is needed. 

  • Shen Dan or spiritual elixir:  at this level the goal is to cultivate Spirit.  Usually this type of chi kung is practiced sitting down or lying down, and it can resemble a meditative state or doing a visualization.  Here the chi is moved with the mind. 

What is Ontogonic Body-Mind Therapy?

Ontogonic Body-Mind Therapy (Mage Therapy) is a comprehensive therapeutic approach that integrates Western and Eastern psychology and multi-faith spiritual traditions like Shaivism Tantra, Dzogchen, Shamanism, Kabbalah, Vajrayana Buddhism & Taoism.  It is an experiential body centered process which brings back to wholeness the disassociated parts of ourselves we have rejected, hidden or lost due to trauma experienced in life. The result is an integration and transformation of the whole experience in the here and now bringing awareness and healing.

What is a birth doula and what do they do?

Doula comes from the greek word “Caregiver.  A Doula is someone that provides non-medical support to women and their families during labour and childbirth, and also the postpartum period.  Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth tends to result in shorter labours with fewer complications, preventing inductions and use of pain medication and epidurals.  The presence of a doula can help women and their partner to feel more confident in the birthing process, have a smoother transition into the new family dynamic and have greater success with breastfeeding.

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