FAQ w/ Jonathan H Edwards, LAc.
What conditions can acupuncture and herbal medicine help?
A genuinely wide variety: from insomnia to flu, post-chemo recovery to menstrual cramps, UTI's to infertility.
My clinical focus is on anxiety, sleep disorders, digestion, reproductive and menstrual health. I treat pain when it is systemic (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, chronic low back pain) but refer out for orthopedic issues. I treat seasonal and respiratory illness as well.
Do you accept insurance?
I don’t accept insurance at this time, but can provide a Superbill to present to your insurer.
If cost is an obstacle, I encourage you to reach out directly as I'm sometimes able to flex on rates for lower-income patients.
Do you work with Highly Sensitive People (HSP's)?
Yes, but I don't specialize in the particular needs of those whose sensitivities are extremely acute. If there were a "sensitivity scale" from 1-10, with 5 being average and 10 being incredibly sensitive, then I work most often with those in the 4 - 7.5 range.
How frequently will I need acupuncture treatment?
It really depends. Acute conditions can sometimes be resolved (or greatly ameliorated) in one session or with a single round of herbs, though 2-3 sessions is more typical. Chronic and serious conditions take longer and often benefit from intensive treatment at first (e.g. weekly or twice-weekly acupuncture and moxibustion). In a chronic case, improvement may not be noted with every single session, but there should be an upward trajectory over time. Treatment frequency generally decreases with time as well. My goal is to empower you and make myself superfluous over time.
I don’t know if I believe in acupuncture. Should I bother to come in?
You don’t have to believe in acupuncture any more than you have to believe in the road crew. They'll get the job done just the same. That said, some patients respond better to other modalities such as moxibustion and herbal medicine. Your care plan will be individually-tailored to draw on the most effective modalities for your circumstances.
Isn't acupuncture painful?
Sometimes, momentarily. Sometimes not. Needling style can be adapted depending on the sensitivity and state of the patient. In any case, the net effect tends to involve a lot of relaxation and relief. It may sound weird, but people usually enjoy it overall.
What style of acupuncture do you practice?
The style I use most in practice is called Sa’am Acupuncture. This is a Korean style practiced by Buddhist monks that uses comparatively few needles (typically just four).
My herbal approach is rooted in the Han dynasty text, the Shanghan Lun, and leans on classical formulas. I also incorporate modern/empirical formulas and western herbs as appropriate to the needs of the patient.
Moxibustion and Herbs
What about moxibustion? What is that?
Moxa (from the Japanese 'mogusa') refers to various methods of burning mugwort to comfortably stimulate points and warm the channels. Moxa is as important a part of East Asian Medicine as acupuncture, and in my practice I use moxa quite extensively. At my current location (The Wellness Alliance in Carrboro), the main moxa technique I use is okyu, Japanese-style 'rice grain' moxa.
Benefits of moxa include: restoring homeostasis, regulating bowel function, improving overall wellbeing, increasing immunity, promoting relaxation and deep sleep, relieving pain, improving mobility and range of motion.
What form do herbs come in? Will they taste terrible?
The taste of decoction and tinctures can be...memorable. It can also be delightful. It depends. Many sensitive patients end up liking their herbs quite a bit, since they often need nourishing formulas that can be quite tasty.
Generally, either a bulk decoction (concentrated tea) or granule/powder. Tinctures are sometimes given in addition, as are things like topical liniments. It depends on the situation.
I've taken herbs before and they didn't do anything. Why should I expect this to be any different?
If you've taken herbs before and been underwhelmed, it may be because you were taking a one-size-fits-all, generic product not designed to address your particular constitution and situation. The formula that you'll receive after our consultation is different from anything pre-packaged. It's a fine-tuned, custom-tailored medicine rooted in ancient wisdom, designed to meet your system where it's at and move it towards greater harmony.
Are Chinese herbs safe?
There are two potential issues here: the practitioner's skills/knowledge and the sourcing of the herbs themselves. Regarding the first, anything that is medicinal can also be toxic in the wrong amount, which is part of why so much training is required to become an herbalist. I have been a dedicated herb nerd for over a decade and continue to pursue advanced training and continuing ed, and I am confident that the herbs I give are both safe and potent.
As to the issue of sourcing, I stock Asian herbs from the most scrupulous supplier, Spring Wind; they test their products for hundreds of potential pesticides and chemicals and favor organic and ethically-wildcrafted materials wherever possible. I also grow certain herbal materials myself using strictly natural methods, and harvest some others from clean wild places.
What about animals? Am I contributing to loss of endangered species by taking Asian medicine?
Like virtually all Asian Medicine practitioners I know, I strictly refrain from the use of pangolin scales, hornet's nest, rhinoceros horn, tiger bone, and all other animal products that have conservation issues. The main animal products I use regularly are oyster shell and a type of fossilized bone traditionally known as "dragon bone." I also occasionally make use of a few select insect medicinals where refraining from doing so would compromise treatment outcomes (which is rare).
Do I get anything for making it to the end of the FAQ?
Sure, take $15 off your first session! Just mention this offer.