Frequently Asked Questions

Acupuncture & Herbs in Ventura & Westlake Village1) What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of the oldest, most commonly used systems of healing in the world. It originated in China over 3,500 years ago and only since the 1970s has it become popular in the United States. Traditional Chinese medicine teaches that there are over 2,000 acupuncture points on the human body, which are connected by 20 pathways, called meridians. These meridians conduct energy, or qi, between the surface of the body and its internal organs. Each point has a different effect on the qi that passes through it. Qi is believed to help regulate and maintain balance in the body. Acupuncture balances yin and yang, thus allowing for the normal flow of qi throughout the body and restoring health to the mind and body.

2) How does it work?

There are several explanations for how acupuncture works. It affects the nervous system, immune system, circulatory system, and improves the metabolism. Acupuncture stimulates the immune system and raises levels of white blood cells, anti-bodies, and other immune system cells. When needles are inserted into the body, endorphins are released. Endorphins are natural opioids and are the body's natural pain killers. Along with releasing endorphins, neurotransmitters such as Serotonin and Norepinephrine are released. Research has also shown that acupuncture closes nerve gates in the nervous system by overloading them with impulses to reduce the transmission of pain signals, resulting in descreased pain.

The general theory of acupuncture is that proper physiological function and health depends on the circulation of nutrients, substances, and qi through a network of channels or meridians. This network connects every organ and part of the body, providing balance, regulation, and coordination of physiological processes. Pain and illness result when the flow of qi through the body is disrupted or blocked by pathogens, trauma, injuries or medications, as well as lifestyle factors such as overwork, poor diet, emotional upset, lack of rest, or stress.

3) Is acupuncture safe?

When practiced by a licensed, trained acupuncturist, acupuncture is extremely safe. Single-use, sterile, and disposable needles are used. Please notify your acupuncturist before treatment if you have a pacemaker. With a pacemaker, acupuncture can be performed, but electrical stimulation should not be used. It is also important to notify your acupuncturist if you have a tendency to bleed or bruise easily, if you are a hemophiliac, or if you have any other serious health conditions.

4) Does acupuncture hurt?

No, because unlike other needles, acupuncture needles are solid, hair-thin and inserted shallowly into the body. Each person experiences acupuncture differently, but some of the more common sensations include a heaviness, tingling sensation, or a feeling of warmth.

5) How do you diagnose?

We use Chinese diagnostic methods utilizing the qi and the blood. Qi is the life force that flows along a network of meridians and is vital to physical, mental, and spiritual health. If qi and blood are balanced, then there is no disease. Unfortunately, no one is in perfect balance. With Chinese medicine, we balance the qi and blood of the patient in order to achieve homeostasis in the body.

6) What diseases can acupuncture help?

In the late 1970s, the World Health Organization recognized the ability of acupuncture and Chinese medicine to treat nearly four dozen common ailments, including musculoskeletal conditions, emotional and psychological disorders, circulatory disorders, addictions, respiratory disorders, and gastrointestinal conditions. Click here to see the list of diseases the World Health Organization says can be treated with acupuncture. In 1997, a consensus statement released by the National Institutes of Health found that acupuncture could be useful by itself or in combination with other therapies to treat addictions, headaches, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, lower back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and asthma. Other studies have demonstrated that acupuncture may help in the rehabilitation of stroke patients and can relieve nausea in patients recovering from surgery.

As the use of acupuncture increases, more research is being done to study the mechanisms and effectiveness of acupuncture on hundreds of different diseases.

7) What is herbal medicine?

Chinese medicine uses natural herbs like plants, roots, and leaves to help create balance in the body. Herbs can be taken as a tea, powder, or pill form. Please check the herbal medicine page for more information.

8) What should I expect on my first visit?

As with most health practitioners, the first visit begins with the practitioner taking a detailed history. Since traditional Chinese medicine takes a holistic approach to patient care, you will be asked questions that appear unimportant (questions about your sleep habits, your dietary habits, etc.), but are vital to the diagnosis and treatment plan. After reviewing your history, the practitioner will take your pulse and look at your tongue; both are important diagnostic techniques. The acupuncturist will determine a diagnosis and treatment plan, and then insert the needles in acupuncture points. Moxa or electrical stimulation may be used to enhance acupuncture’s therapeutic effect.

9) How long does a treatment take?

The first treatment includes a consultation and takes 1-2 hours. Follow-up appointments are 45-60 minutes.

10) Do you accept insurance?

Yes, we accept most insurance plans. Please call (805) 628-2205 and we will be happy to check if your insurance provides acupuncture benefits.