Do you work with Highly Sensitive People (HSP's)?
Yes, but I don't claim to specialize in the particular needs of those whose sensitivities are especially acute. If there were a "sensitivity scale" from 1-10, with 4 being average human sensitivity and 10 being incredibly sensitive, then I probably work best with those in the 5-8 range.
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 get the job done, no belief required. Leave the theory to me. You get to enjoy the results.
What conditions can acupuncture and herbal medicine help?
A wide variety. I have personally seen success with everything from insomnia to flu, post-chemo recovery and menstrual cramps. Outcomes vary depending on patient’s constitution, nature of the illness or condition, duration of illness, and willingness to make dietary or lifestyle shifts where appropriate. My best results are with people who self-identify as sensitive.
Is acupuncture painful?
Yes, a little. The style I use most in practice (called Sa’am Acupuncture) uses comparatively few needles--typically just four--but the points themselves can be intense. Expect to say ‘ouch’ once or twice. Somewhere between a pinch and a sting, the sensation doesn’t last long, and people usually become deeply relaxed or fall asleep while resting with needles in.
As for herbal treatment, the taste of decoction and tinctures can be memorable, but I’ve never heard anyone call it painful. Actually most sensitive patients end up liking their herbs quite a bit, since they often need herbs like guizhi, dazao, shengjiang and danggui that are on the sweet and/or spicy side.
What precautions are being taken for Covid-19?
Much as I trust Traditional East Asian Medicine, I also respect the insights of modern epidemiology and the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic. Acupuncture treatments are outdoors during warmer months, with masks during moments of proximity. During the winter, treatments are indoors in limited numbers, with sanitary precautions, air filtration, UV sanitization and masks.
Do you accept insurance? How can I afford treatment?
I don’t accept insurance at this time, though that may change. For now, I can provide a superbill for you to present to your insurance provider. I’m aware that money is tight for many these days and I am often willing to work with those in a lower-income situation--please enquire if you could use rate flexibility.
What about animals? Am I contributing to loss of endangered species by taking Asian medicine?
Like virtually all 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 only animal products I regularly use are oyster shell and a type of fossilized bone traditionally known as "dragon bone." I also occasionally make use of insect medicinals where refraining from doing so would compromise treatment outcomes, which is rare.
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.
How frequently will I need treatment?
It depends who you are and what you’re working with. Acute conditions can often be resolved or greatly ameliorated in one session or with a single round of herbs. Chronic and serious conditions often benefit from intensive treatment at first (e.g. weekly or twice-weekly acupuncture). Improvement can usually be noted with each session, and treatment frequency generally decreases over time.