Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is acupuncture?
A: Acupuncture is a method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and to improve functioning. This is done by inserting needles and applying heat or electrical stimulation at very precise acupuncture points.
Q: How does acupuncture work?
A: The classical Chinese explanation is that channels with circulating Qi, or energy, for lack of a better description, run in regular patterns through the body and over its surface. These channels, called meridians, are like small rivers flowing through the body to irrigate and nourish the tissues, organs and muscles. An obstruction in the movement of these rivers is like a dam that backs up.
The meridians can be influenced by needling appropriate acupuncture points; the acupuncture needles unblock the obstructions at the dams, and re-establish the regular flow through the meridians. Acupuncture treatments can therefore help the body's internal organs to correct imbalances in their digestion, absorption, and energy production activities, and in the circulation through the meridians. Acupuncture can also boost or increase the amount of circulating Qi in the meridians.
The modern scientific explanation is that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones, which influence the body’s own internal regulating system.
The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body's natural healing abilities, and in promoting physical and emotional well-being. Acupuncture not only restores blocked Qi but can also decreases excessive energy flow as well, which can cause as many problems as blocked or decreased QI. The key of acupuncture that it enables and encourages the body to move toward and obtain internal balance.
Q: Are there any "do's and don't's" for me on the day of treatment?
A: Yes. To enhance the value of a treatment, the following guidelines are recommended:
- Do not eat an unusually large meal immediately before or after your treatment. However, having a light snack 1 hour prior to treatment is recommended.
- Avoid over-exercise or consumption of alcoholic beverages within 4-5 hours prior to your treatment.
- Plan your activities so that after the treatment you can get some rest, or at least not have to be working at top performance. This is especially important for the first few visits.
- Remember to keep good mental or written notes of what your response is to the treatment. This is important for your acupuncturist to know so that the follow-up treatments can be designed to best help you and your problem.
Q: Will my acupuncturist talk with me about herbal prescriptions or supplements?
A: Chinese Medicine relies heavily on a balanced, healthy lifestyle. Sometimes our bodies need encouragement to move us in the right direction. Depending on the complexity of your case, recommendations regarding diet, exercise, supplementation and herbal prescriptions may be discussed. It is well known that a healthy diet improves long-term health, but often due to our lifestyle and environmental stressors, diet isn’t enough. At Indigo, only the highest quality Chinese Herbal products and supplements are prescribed. The products surpass state and federal standards for quality control specifications. Supplements are chosen from several companies based on the quality along with affordability. Whenever possible, organic, non-GMO, and products with natural binding ingredients are chosen.
Q: What is saliva testing and when do you need it?
A: Increases or decreases in hormone levels effect individuals in many different ways. A few examples include mood disorders, aches and pains, decreased libido, cognitive changes, fatigue, obesity, postmenopausal symptoms and poor quality of sleep. The major steroid hormones that play a role in causing these symptoms are estrone, estradiol, estriol, progesterone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), testosterone, and cortisol. However, measuring levels of hormones to explain and treat symptoms is not always reliable by traditional serum (blood) testing methods. It is possible for an individual to have laboratory values that are within normal limits and still complain of a diminished quality of life. Therefore, the challenge is to offer a method to individuals that would be accurate and reflect the fluctuations of his or her hormone levels.
Serum testing is a one-time look at hormone levels throughout the day and makes it virtually impossible to follow an individual’s hormonal pattern. This would require multiple specimen samples serum testing which just isn’t convenient. Also, hormones in blood are attached to carrier proteins. Serum tests measure the total level of a hormone including those bound to carrier proteins and from there the free fraction hormones are extrapolated. Because carrier proteins only exist in blood, saliva testing is superior to conventional testing and studies have shown that it is a more reliable assessment of free fractioned hormone levels.
Q: How do you benefit from saliva testing?
A: The following are the benefits of saliva testing:
- Less expensive than Serum (blood) or urine testing
- Non-invasive and easy to collect, i.e. no pain from venipuncture, collection kits are provided for at home collection, easy to store and ship to lab
- Results are more clinically reflective of your true hormone status and needs
- Results lead to an individualized and customized treatment plan using natural medicine
- Multiple sample collections give a more reflective understanding of hormones, i.e. Cortisol, male/female sex hormones, DHEA
- Food intolerances and Immunity measurements are easily detected, i.e. gluten, egg, soy, milk and total secretory IgA. These intolerances are critical to detect as they can adversely affect digestive health. And, if left undetected can result in much broader and more involved challenges.
Q: What is functional blood chemistry analysis?
A: Twenty or so years ago, MD’s were able to order extensive blood tests that gave a broad overview of the health of an individual. Now, due to managed care restrictions, only a fraction of those tests are ordered. In addition, how often have you gone for a visit to your MD because you felt poorly and blood tests were ordered only to find out you fell into ‘normal’ ranges for testing? Then, with this information you are left feeling confused and helpless and still feeling poorly. The problem is twofold, extensive testing in the current Western medical model is obsolete and ‘pathological ranges’ are used to assess disease only.
However, you can attain proper testing as well as a comprehensive overview of potential healthcare challenges or risk on the horizon. Here’s how.
At Indigo, we use labs willing to bypass insurance companies. These labs offer dramatically discounted prices for testing and results. This concept works because patients prepared to pay out of pocket allow labs to avoid involved paperwork and reimbursement challenges with insurance companies. The results are sent directly to Indigo for analysis using the functional blood chemistry model.
The use of functional blood chemistry analysis creates the ability to prevent disease and promote wellness. This system utilizes ‘functional ranges’ instead of ‘pathological ranges’ currently in use by Western medicine, to analyze the data. Functional ranges assess the risk of disease developing verses pathological ranges which are used to diagnose disease. Many traditional healthcare providers do not embrace the concept of functional ranges and believe care should only be provided when disease is present, so the value of prevention is completely ignored.
Why is this important? Prior to becoming reliant on prescription medication there are patterns that begin to emerge. A well trained practitioner can use functional ranges to identify these developing patterns and employ the use of nutrition, diet, exercise, proper supplementation and herbal medicine to address these issues.
Do you have a question not covered in the FAQ? Contact us today and we will be in touch with an answer.