Frequently Asked Questions
How does acupuncture control or eliminate pain?
Acupuncture is an effective pain management modality. All pain is due to stagnation of qi and blood, just like a traffic bottleneck, there is aggravation and pain where there is blocked flow. Acupuncture works on a core level, identifying what pattern (or, in the real world: multiple pattern) of organ imbalance is allowing the pain to persist (a body with balanced organ systems has enough energy to course, or clear stagnation, pain) and re-balancing the root problem so pain will not recur. Acupuncture also works on chronic and acute pain very quickly: I use a instant pain points, some of which are Traditional Chinese acupuncture points, and some of which are Tung-family Taiwanese points to stop pain within minutes.
How does acupuncture increase immunity?
Acupuncture functions to increase immunity by restoring your energy to a state of harmony or balance. An energetically balanced body has enough wei qi flowing on the surface of the body to keep the exterior of the body “closed” to pathogens that get in through the skin. If only one organ is out of balance (and that is rarely the case in the real, clinical world) it starts a domino effect, upsetting the balance between it’s linked, husband/wife, yin/yang paired organ, which then affects the balance of the next of the six paired organs, and on down the line. Acupuncture is an excellent preventive medicine; if you put the energy into maintaining balance, breakdowns rarely occur.
Will I need herbs, or what you call herbal medicine?
You may need herbs or herbal medicine because acupuncture has specific strengths (ie. Acupuncture excels at balancing the energy you already have in your body, and it also excels at pulling excess out of the body—the stagnation that causes pain). Herbs or herbal medicine have been used together with acupuncture for the past 3,000 years because the specific strength of hers is tonification, or adding energy to the organ systems. I always start conservatively, using acupuncture alone to see if you can get and maintain balance with acupuncture alone. For more ingrained imbalances, or for older patients without much energy to work with, a custom herbal formula may be prescribed after 3-4 treatments.
How do acupuncture and herbs increase fertility?
Acupuncture and herbs increase fertility in both men and women by identifying the core, organ level imbalances (usually Liver and Kidney) and/or meridian level stagnation/blockages that are allowing the imbalance to persist and correcting them. Acupuncture and herbs are the quickest and most effective way to increase fertility, and many western in vitro procedures are preceded and followed by acupuncture treatments to increase the odds for success.
How do acupuncture and herbs address anxiety, stress, fatigue, depression and insomnia?
Acupuncture and herbs address anxiety, stress, fatigue, depression and insomnia usually by balancing the Heart and Liver organ systems (although there are overlaps and multiple diagnoses frequently involved). Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine make no distinction between the health of your body and the health of your emotions (or spirit, what Chinese Medicine refers to as the shen). Each of the 12 organ systems has a specific emotion attributed to it. By means of tongue and pulse diagnosis and taking an exhaustive medical history, I determine which of the organ systems is excess and which deficient and balance the energy in the body so I can treat with acupuncture and herbs that imbalance and turn it around. Ingrained patterns take more time and effort to balance and keep balanced.
How do acupuncture and herbs help me achieve physical and emotional harmony or wellbeing?
Acupuncture and herbs help you achieve physical and emotional harmony or wellbeing by keeping balancing and keeping balance the energy on a core, organ level. Physical and emotional harmony or wellbeing is the natural state of a healthy human. Like my first acupuncturist told me when I was amazed at how good I felt: “That’s how you’re suppose to feel.”
How do acupuncture and herbs address menstrual problems like menstrual cramps, PMS, hot flashes and nightsweats?
Acupuncture and herbs address menstrual problems like menstrual cramps, PMS, hot flashes and nightsweats by identifying the core level organ imbalances and putting them right by means of herb and acupuncture. There are many points known to immediately and effectively eliminate menstrual cramps and and organ level balance keeps the the energy in the affected (Liver) meridian from stagnating and thus causing pain. Acupuncture and herbs help to mitigate and then eliminate hot flashes and nightsweats by recognizing what is happening to the patient on a very simple but critical level: yinyin is cool, nutritive, female energy: fuel. Yang is pure fire, male energy. Everyone has and needs both. When women age their essence, defined as yin (cool energy) begins to wane, leaving them feeling the relative excess of yang (male fire energy) and so they experience unpleasant heat sensation. Yin energy is best replaced by herbs. A custom herbal formula can address the real worldyin replacement needs of menopausal patient.
How do I take my herbs?
I use only the best, granular (powder) form of herbs, from Taiwan. They are tested extensively for heavy metals and the like, and have never been identified by the FDA for letting in anything but the finest quality herbs
Why is a custom formula better than an off-the-shelf formula?
A custom herbal formula is better than an off-the-shelf formula because it can be modified for your specific imbalance. Many practitioners use pre-made traditional formulas. I start with a traditional formula (who am I to re-invent the wheel?) and then modify it (add and remove certain herbs or adjust the ratio of certain herbs) based on your specific needs. Custom formulas work better and faster than off-the-shelf formulas, and you need to take less of them for a shorter period of time this way.
What’s the most common myth about acupuncture?
Some people worry that acupuncture will hurt. It doesn’t—most people describe the sensation of being needled as a temporary dull ache around the insertion site (acupuncture needles are very thin), and most people sleep through the treatment and leave feeling extremely relaxed and centered. Even the rare, exceedingly needle-phobic patient tolerates acupuncture needles well, and those very few who can’t tolerate them can be helped substantially by tui na (point-specific Chinese massage) and by taking a custom herbal formula.
If I’m that person with 20 years of acute, chronic back pain, what should I expect?
That depends on how healthy you are in general. If you’ve been self-medicating and paying no attention to your diet for the past 20 years, expect to need to see me more frequently than someone who’s been taking better care of him/herself.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture adjusts the energy, or qi, that flows through the meridians of your body. These meridians are pathways which connect to the inner organs. Acupuncture rectifies patterns of energy imbalance—what Westerners refer to as disease or pain.
How do I know it works?
Your body tells you that acupuncture works. You feel relaxed and “rooted” after a treatment–that’s how an energetically balanced human is supposed to feel. And if we’re dealing with pain, you’ll almost always feel a diminution of pain within minutes of the needles going in. Also, the fact that acupuncture and herbal medicine have been in constant use for over 3,000 years by a huge portion of the earth’s population gives TCM some pretty solid credibility. In fact, I can’t think of any medical system with a longer track record.
How many treatments will I need?
Hard to say–it depends on how imbalanced your energy is and how much energy you have for me to work with. The good news is that acupuncture and herbal medicine is a cumulative type of medicine—that is, the more time you spend with the needles in (getting your energy adjusted), the more effective the treatments become. But there is no short cut to balance–you simply have to spend some time with the needles in, and once you start getting regular treatments (and taking your herbal formula, if necessary) you’ll find your symptoms begin to abate and you’ll find you get sick less severely and less frequently, which is one of the many up-sides to a preventative medicine. Plus you end up having more energy and just feeling better.
What do you mean by “regular treatments?”
After the first few treatments, your response to treatment and your own preferences determine your frequency. There’s no set rule. Some people do well with being treated once a month; some people prefer to come in once a week or once every two weeks. Some people come in once a week until an acute symptom is gone, then go back to once a month.
Do I have to believe in it?
Not at all. Acupuncture is not a religion or a cult (there’s no purple Kool-Aid in my clinic, but I do push green tea). You don’t have to believe in acupuncture for it to work. You do, however, have to believe in it enough (or be open-minded enough) to make your first appointment and start getting treatments.
What does TCM treat?
The World Health Organization recognizes acupuncture and TCM’s ability to treat over 43 common disorders [ such as: joint pain, anxiety, stress, insomnia, addictions (drugs, smoking, alcohol), allergies, asthma, frequent colds, gynecological problems, male and female infertility, gastrointestinal disorders, circulatory disorders & etc].
What’s the most unusual acupuncture treatment you’ve ever done?
To Western ears, I suppose the strangest sounding acupuncture treatment is the Seven Dragons Treatment, also known as a Possession Treatment.
That sounds scary…
No, it’s just semantics. Remember, we’re talking about a 3,000 year old medicine here. Possession is a blanket term for any skewed or blocked “qi” (or “energy”). So the ancients used the Possession/Seven Dragons Treatment to address disorders ranging from emotional (depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, the after-effects of abuse) to physical (a “demon” in a joint—which we would now call, somewhat more prosaically, tendonitis).
So acupuncture treats more than just physical pain?
Yes. Traditional Chinese Medicine makes no distinction between emotional and physical disorders—energy is energy—it’s holistic in scope. I use the Seven Dragons in cases of unresolved emotional issues surrounding abuse or abandonment. I also use it in cases of physical trauma—sports injuries, sequela of stroke—in which standard acupuncture and herbal treatments aren’t giving fast enough results.
Can you describe the treatment?
The Seven Dragons refer to the seven points needled. They are key points that work together to calm the spirit, clear phlegm obstructing the heart, transform damp, clear heat, and dissipate wind-damp. I use a sedating needle technique on all the points to remove stagnant energy from the system.
When should I get treated?
Sooner is always better than later. The more entrenched patterns of energy imbalance become, the harder they are to treat. Western medicine has realized the same thing—pain left untreated too long becomes hard wired and more difficult to alleviate.
Wait a minute, what does my diet have to do with back pain?
Traditional Chinese Medicine, which includes acupuncture and herbs, is a holistic medicine. It treats the whole person, making no distinction between the patient’s body, mind, and spirit. For the Chinese it’s a one-stop-shopping kind of medicine because, in the Chinese paradigm, all three are inter-connected. It’s all about keeping your energy balanced. So if, for example, you’re eating an awful diet that causes damp accumulation in your body, your body will be preoccupied with trying to deal with that pathogen of excess damp and will have less energy available to it to deal with your back pain. That damp pathogen will also cause sluggish/muddled thinking, a feeling that you’ve lost your edge, and that can lead to anxiety or depression. It’s all connected, and every acupuncture treatment (every one of mine, at least) always treats the whole patient, addressing the root cause as well as all branch symptoms.
Where are you located?
We are located in South Reno Athletic Club, 9393 Gateway Dr., Reno, NV 89521 or call us at (775) 849-9800 to set up an appointment for a (free) consultation or treatment. Email Dr. Danchak at DrGary@SouthRenoAcupuncture.com.