Frequently Asked Questions
How does acupuncture work?
It’s science! Chinese science; 2000 years of it.
It has its own logical and constructs. It is rigorous from within its own frame. It does not even come close to resembling Western science. And unless you have been schooled in it, it will not make much sense at all; just like chemical engineering is goobledegook to most of us. This is not to say that the average person can not understand it.
Rather than re-invent the wheel, or plagiarize someone else’s excellent work, to get more specific details simply go to any other acupuncturist’s website. Almost everyone has Chinese Medicine 101 on their website. (We particularly like this one, and that one). We would also be delighted to recommend some good books written for laypeople, or even entry level school texts for those who have an inclination toward detail.
Want to really know more?
Get under the hood and tinker around with it, get a command line access to the system? You could go to school, or spend some time in China where the concept of qi is not a concept, but a tangible and useable force.
Want to use it improve your health, or get rid of a lingering concern? Then seek out the experience and skill of those practitioners who are driven to understand this stuff, and let them help you. Use us just like you would use the services of a trusted mechanic, dentist, or business consultant.
How do we know acupuncture works?
The proof, as one of my teachers always like to say, is firmly in the pudding. By all means don’t take my word for it. Or, your friend’s, wife’s, cousin’s or even your mother’s word for it either. Try it yourself.
Take some annoying problem to your local acupuncturist, take it there 4-6 times, if it is around that long, and see how you feel afterwards. Make up your own mind!
How often should I come in for acupuncture?
It is common in the West to come once a week for acupuncture, sometimes twice or three times a week for certain kinds of acute problems such as Bell’s Palsy, acute digestive disorders, or physical trauma.
In China, however, acupuncture is practiced in such a way that a patient will come in everyday, or every other day for 7-10 days. This is considered one course of treatment. Treatment of this kind can often help a patient to make rapid and lasting progress with particular health issues. Due to cultural and financial differences, this kind of treatment schedule is generally not followed in the West. To help the effect of treatments to carry forward, we often prescribe herbs in West; this helps the body to both promote wellness and treat illness.
What can I expect to happen in an acupuncture treatment?
It is much more than just about the pins. We start with a comprehensive interview, which allows us to get to know you as a person. The pulse and tongue are examined, and there is also light palpatory examination of the meridians and abdomen. Needles are carefully placed in strategic acupuncture points based on the findings of the various examinations.
Most people find acupuncture to be extremely relaxing and profoundly restful.
But, just where are these so-called meridians and points anyway?
Where is the spirit, or the soul? Where is the “you?”
Can you slice a person up and find their most cherished memories? Emotions and feeling can light portions of the brain on an fMRI scan, just like acupuncture does, but if you dissect a person, where are they? They are not to be found, they are part of the unfolding process of life.
Is acupuncture safe?
Indeed it is when performed by a qualified professional. The professionals at Yong Kang Clinic have graduated from three year acupuncture programs, and as in most clinics throughout the Western world, we only use single-use disposable needles to insure the complete safety and well-being our our patients
Isn't acupuncture expensive?
We don’t think so. We think illness is expensive. We cotton to the idea that a lifetime drug prescription to treat an issue that your own body can heal is expensive. We think that a lot of problems are created via misinformation and sustained in ignorance. And that it’s verging on delusional to think that one pill to treat your illness and then another two or three to treat the side effects can be construed as healing. It might be controlling symptoms, but it often fails to get to the root of the issue, and that’s just not sustainable if you are looking to actually improve your health and well-being.
How long have you been a chiropractor?
I am not a chiropractor. My degree is in acupuncture and Oriental medicine. Earning that degree required three years of full-time study, which included 1,200 clinical hours. I have passed the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine’s comprehensive board exams for both acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. Additionally, I have spent a number of years studying with doctors in Taiwan and China. My training focuses solely and deeply on acupuncture and Chinese medicine.
If you are looking for chiropractic care, you will need to continue your search.
Do I have to take my clothes off to get acupuncture?
While the popular media is fond of images depicting curvaceous women lounging less than half clad on a spa table with a porcupine’s worth of needles in her back, in reality the vast majority of acupuncture points are accessible so long as you are wearing loose fitting comfortable clothes. In some cases we will need to get to your back or lower hips, so your clothing will need to be rearranged for access. Your privacy and personal comfort are always respected.
And if the amount of needles is a concern for you, rest assured we never use as many as you see in those advertisements. Our goal is to use a limited amount of needles, which we do by careful diagnosis of your condition and then selecting the acupuncture points that will have the greatest influence in helping you get well.
Why do you look at a persons tongue?
The tongue is a lot like a barometer, it tells us a lot about a person’s digestion, fluid metabolism, levels of toxicity and circulation.
I'm afraid of needles, doesn't acupuncture hurt?
Acupuncture is nothing like Nurse Ratchet’s needle that you experienced as a kid.
Jean-Paul Thuot, a Chinese speaking, Canadian acupuncturist, and all around wiseguy about Taiwan says that acupuncture is nowhere near as painful as:
- biting your tongue
- a mosquito bite
- a hypodermic needle injection
- stubbing your toe
- a paper cut
- hitting your funny bone
- a cat’s scratch
- being pinched by your little sister
- your average sore throat
- ‘pins and needles’ from your arm falling asleep
- falling down
- getting a parking ticket
- being slapped
- waxing the hair from ANY part of your body (this is anecdotal, as I’ve never had this done. D swears it hurts, though)
- having to listen to advice from your parents
- an eyelash in your eyeball
- a bee sting
whatever ache, pain, or syndrome that you hope acupuncture can help with, it is a lot less painful that than.
The anticipation of acupuncture hurts worse than acupuncture!
How will I know acupuncture is working for me?
It is your body, you live in it, feel it, and experience it with every breath. If it is working for you, how could you not know?
Actually, this one is quite interesting phenomenon that I have observed from years of clinical practice . Many people just simply forget about certain problems, as if they have never had them in the first place. Sometimes you have to be reminded about a problem that you no longer have, to remember that you used to have it. Best to take notes.
Do I have to believe in acupuncture for it to work?
No, no more than you have to believe in gravity, that toast always falls buttered side down, or that the sun will rise in the east.
Will I have to take those stinky herbs for the rest of my life?
To some degree it depends on the health issues you are facing. Generally speaking acute problems clear up rather quickly. Chronic issues take more time. If you are already on a western pharmaceutical prescription that you are dependent on for your health, then generally speaking, you are looking a longer course of treatment.
As Chinese medicine focuses on restoring health through balance, what you do, the diet you follow, and the habits you have all are part of the solution.
Can acupuncture or Chinese medicine cure everything?
There is not a single medical system that can successfully treat all conditions. Different health issues respond to different treatments. We are all wildly unique individuals. The medications or treatments that work splendidly for one person, may have little effect on someone with a different constitution or chemistry.
Chinese medicine works by helping the body to return to a state of balance. Our bodies have evolved complex methods of maintaining its homeostasis. Acupuncture does not cure illness. I want to be very clear about this, it does not cure illness. What it does do is help to bring the body back to its natural state of balance; from there the body naturally has the ability to restore health and well being.
Chinese medicine can be used by itself to treat many conditions, it is also useful as an adjunct therapy to treat the side-effects of aggressive Western medicine treatments such as chemo-therapy and radiation.
The World Health Organization recommends acupuncture for these conditions. Want the nitty-gritty? Read the WHO’s complete Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials.
Yong Kang is certainly not English, just what does it mean?
If you happen to be in Taipei then Yong Kang would translate for most people as the street you go to for great eats. It is full of small restaurants, food carts, snack stands and some excellent tea houses. The characters “Yong Kang” roughly translate as “Everlasting Wellbeing.” It sounds a little new-agey in English, but in Chinese it reads rather poetically. We like to use the name because it reminds us of the great Shanghai style dumplings and mango shaved ice we eat there whenever we are in town. Joy and delight are essential elements of health!
Still have some questions about acupuncture?
Please don’t hesitate to give us a call, or schedule some time to drop by for a cup of tea!