Select a question from the drop down box to go directly to that section. I understand that this only contains more of the frequently asked questions, and this section is not intended as an all-inclusive resources for your questions--merely a guide. If you have any questions that are not included on this page, please feel free to contact me any time. I am very happy to answer your questions.

Q: What is Acupuncture?

A: Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles usually stainless steel (sterile and single use) into specific points in the skin and muscles of the body. These points have been mapped out by the Chinese over thousands of years. Recently, electromagnetic research has confirmed that acupuncture points do exist.

The needles stimulate the flow of Qi (pronounced “chee”) which is a Chinese term for subtle energy. This energy controls the smooth flow of energy throughout the body. Like a fine tuned machine, if one connection is lost, the relay message is lost and the next relay in line to fire is not connected. This creates a domino effect and the end result is “something just isn’t working.” The body is an amazing machine which will tolerate a lot of disharmony before it caves in. The secret to maintaining any machine is proper maintenance and frequent tuning. Acupuncture helps the body heal itself by keeping the connections intact or creating smooth flowing Qi in your body. Return to top

Q: What can I expect?

A: The acupuncturist will sit down with you and ask about medical history, likes/dislikes, sleeping habits, emotions, stressors, cravings, energy levels and when they drop and an array of questions to get an idea what kind of “terrain” your body is showing, dry, wet, deficient or excess. We will examine your wrist pulses (nine in each wrist) and your tongue. These give us clues as to what is going on inside your body. (Allow about two hours for the first visit and one hour for follow up visits). The acupuncturist will create a treatment plan for you based on all the information gathered in the initial intake. Depending on how long and the nature of the disharmony it could be a quick fix or it may take some time. Remember, Acupuncture is not a band aid, it works at a deeper level to correct, not mask the problem. Return to top

Q: Does Acupuncture hurt?

A: Most people do feel something, not necessarily a sharp sensation like when you get an injection. The acupuncture needles themselves are very fine, unlike the needles used for injections and blood tests. Acupuncture needles are about twice the size of a human hair and are fillform (solid, not hollow) since we don’t have to take something out or put something into your body. They are 25 – 50 times thinner than a hypodermic needle. There is little sensitivity to the insertion of acupuncture needles. While some people feel nothing at all, others experience a brief moment of discomfort as the needle penetrates the skin. That can be followed by a mild sensation of tingling, numbness, dull ache, or heaviness.

The needles are left in place for about twenty minutes. Most people find the experience extremely relaxing and some people even fall asleep for the duration of the treatment. Some sensations might last for a while even after the treatment is over but again, different people will experience this in different ways.

Your practitioner will be sensitive to your needs and make you as comfortable as possible. Once in a while you may notice a spot of blood at one or more of the needle sites/or a small bruise could develop. This is usually minimal since the needles are so small, but please talk to your practitioner if you are concerned. Return to top

Q: Is it safe?

A: When looking for an acupuncturist be sure to look for proper qualifications. Many chiropractors and MD’s perform acupuncture. Depending on which state, these practitioners are required to get about 100 hours of training to give acupuncture with a minimum of four years training equivalent to a Masters Degree. You can rest assured that I am a licensed practitioner at 7 Rivers Acupuncture, with the additional experience and training of a nurse. Feel free to explore more about my qualifications. Return to top

Q. Is the procedure or needles sterile?

A: All Acupuncture needles are for single use (disposable) and pre-sterilised by approved methods. The use of Acupuncture and TCM in the hands of a fully qualified professional Practitioner is entirely safe and free of any harmful side effects. Return to top

Q: What is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?

A: Chinese Medicine is a traditional medical system that has been used for well over 2,000 years. According to Chinese medicine, our body can easily lose its balance or harmony due to internal weakness or external invasion or trauma, which results in pain, illness or disease. Return to top

Q:. Why is TCM a natural treatment?

A: Whereas modern medicine mainly relies on chemical drugs and surgery, TCM uses natural methods. Chinese herbs are natural products such as roots, leaves, stems, seeds etc.. Acupuncture involves the insertion of tiny disposable needles in acupuncture points and channels, in order to stimulate the body's own healing processes.

TCM's holistic understanding of the body seeks to re-establish the physiological balance of the body, thereby largely avoiding the serious side-effects of modern medicine. Return to top

Q: How Does Traditional Chinese Medicine and Infertility Work?
A: At 7 Rivers Acupuncture, I use Traditional Chinese Medicine to improve both your overall health and reproductive health. It is my goal to work with you to bring your body to a state of wellness. To do that, I must identify the root cause of the imbalance and problems.

To read more about our Fertility Treatments, please visit our page on the subject. Return to top

Q: How is a diagnosis made?

A: A traditional Chinese diagnosis is used to identify the cause of the disease and to find out where the imbalance lies, and then natural treatment techniques are used to restore the body's harmony and balance. The treatment methods used are typically acupuncture, Chinese herbs and acupressure (therapeutic massage) as well as other associated techniques.

Diagnostic information is gathered by four methods of examination: looking, listening, asking and touching. Traditionally, the most important information comes from careful inspection of the tongue, and from taking the pulse. The state of the tongue, its colour and its coating, will tell the practitioner about the state of patient's health. The practitioner is trained to recognise 29 different pulse qualities at 3 different locations on each wrist, and these will yield further information about the patient's energetic condition. Return to top

Q: Do you use other treatments with the acupuncture?

A: Yes. Other techniques that may be used during treatment. As well as needles, some other types of treatment that may be used are:
Acupressure massage--This is used to loosen and relax tense muscles, and to treat acupuncture points and channels. It may be used as a treatment in its own right or be incorporated into an acupuncture session.

Cupping--In cupping, a glass cup is applied to a part of the body by means of vacuum-induced suction. Cupping can help to rid the body of pathogens, and promote a free flow of Qi in the channels. Read more about cupping here.

Gua-sha--Gua Sha is an East Asian healing technique. Gua means to scrape or rub. Sha is a 'reddish, elevated, millet-like skin rash' (aka petechiae). Sha is the term used to describe Blood stasis in the subcutaneous tissue before and after it is raised as petechiae. Gua Sha is one technique that intentionally raises Sha rash or petechiae. Read more about gua-sha here. Return to top

Q: How many treatments will I need?

A: This will depend on the duration, severity, and nature of your complaint as well as your overall health. A series of five to fifteen treatments may resolve many chronic problems. Some degenerative conditions may require many treatments over time. Chinese herbs can be very helpful to speed this process along. Two treatments a week is not unusual with severe symptoms, once a week is usual although your practitioner will set up a protocol for your specific needs.

Patients often experience the most dramatic results in the first treatment. Some experience partial relief or their pain or other symptoms. This relief may last for various periods of time. The better you are at reporting results to your practitioner, the better we are able to taylor your treatment plan. Return to top

Q: What do I need to do for an acupuncture treatment?

A: 1. Wear loose clothing with minimal jewelry.

2. Avoid treatment when exhausted, hungry, extremely full, or after you have consumed alcohol.

3. Wear minimal make up (we need to see your complexion) and don’t scrape scrub or brush your tongue, we need to see it in its natural state.

After your treatment avoid sudden temperature changes ie: sitting in a hot tub or heavy exercise. You may feel energetic or you may feel so relaxed that you want to rest. Honor your body and be sure to schedule your appointments to allow some down time if you need it.

During treatment avoid changing your position or moving suddenly. If you are uncomfortable, tell your practitioner.

Some people experience dizziness, nausea, cold sweat, shortness of breath. This often occurs if you are nervous. Inform your practitioner immediately so she or she can readjust or withdraw the needles.

Be sure to let your practitioner know if you feel an increasing amount of pain or burning sensation during the treatment. If you find your treatment unbearable at any point, be sure to speak up so your practitioner can make the proper adjustments or stop the treatment. Return to top

Q: What should I do after treatment?

A: It is often helpful to sit quietly following a treatment, and relax, drinking plenty of water. A gentle walk or very mild exercise can also be helpful. Large meals, vigorous exercise, alcohol or excessive aggravation should be avoided. Return to top

Q: What does acupuncture treat?

A: Too many to list, but the World Health Organization has reported more than forty three conditions, including allergies, asthma, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, colds, flu, constipation, depression, gynecological disorder, headache, heart problems, infertility, insomnia, pre-menstrual syndrome, sciatica, sports injuries, tendonitis and stress. For a complete list of these conditions and to read a copy of the report, click here. Return to top

Q: Will my insurance pay for acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine?

A: Check with your insurer to see if the services will be covered. "Coverage varies from state to state, but some insurers will cover acupuncture if ordered by a primary care provider," says Brian Smithers with the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Deductibles may be higher than those for conventional care. "Acupuncture is now provided at U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs health facilities," he says. Seven Rivers TCM can certainly give you a bill or invoice that you can submit to your insurance if it is covered. Return to top

Q: How much does a treatment cost?
A: While the benefits of Acupuncture and TCM are priceless, I do charge for the various services. Your health is my primary concern, so custom packages are available to help our clients with their various needs. Return to top