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Knowledgeable patients make the best decisions about their health care!

Please read through the FAQs below, and then click on the following links for more information on acupuncture, Oriental medicine, and healthy living, including:
  • Articles by David Caruso-Radin, LAc
  • A downloadable Organic Shoppers Guide
  • A list of helpful links
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How does an acupucturist know what is causing my illness?

A licensed Chinese medicine practitioner uses a complex system of differential diagnosis to pinpoint the root cause of your illness. When you arrive for your first treatment you will be asked to fill out a detailed questionnaire about your main complaints and your current and past health history. Your acupuncturist will then ask you some questions, observe your facial coloring, look at your tongue, read your pulse and possibly perform other diagnostic tests if necessary. Pulse and tongue reading are two very important diagnostic tools of the Chinese medical practitioner. Your acupuncturist will then use this information to come up with a diagnosis of the imbalances in your body which are causing your illness and a treatment plan to alleviate them.

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What diseases do Chinese Medicine treat?

Chinese medicine recognizes that all diseases are only symptoms of a deeper, underlying health problem, or imbalance. Therefore a comprehensive diagnosis is made which takes into consideration the individual's body, mind, and spirit rather than simply categorizing a person into a one-size-fits-all symptom picture. Chinese medicine's strength comes not only in treating specific diseases in an individualized manner, but also in its power to detect imbalances before they become diseases.

The World Health Organization of the United Nations has compiled the following list of some of the many conditions for which acupuncture is considered appropriate:

  • Infections: colds and flu, bronchitis, hepatitis.
  • Internal disorders: diabetes, hypoglycemia, asthma, high blood pressure, ulcers, colitis, indigestion, hemorrhoids, diarrhea, constipation.
  • Eyes-ears-nose-throat: deafness, ringing in the ears, dizziness, sinus infections, sore throat, hay fever.
  • Dermatological: eczema, acne, herpes.
  • Musculo-Skeletal and Neurologic: arthitis, neuralgia, sciatica, back pain, hiccoughs, sports injuries, bursitis, tendinitis, stiff neck, Bell's palsy, trigeminal neuralgia, headache, stroke, cerebral palsy, polio, sprains and strains.
  • Genito-Urinary and Reproductive: impotence, infertility, PMS, pelvic inflammatory disease, vaginitis, irregular menses or menstrual cramps, morning sickness, sexual dysfunction, fibroid tumors, and post-partum care.
  • Mental - Emotional:  anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia, and chronic fatigue.

The above list are merely examples where the World Health Organization has found significant Western research corroborating Chinese medicines efficay. This list is by no means exhaustive.

Be sure to read through the MindBodyHerbs FAQs.
Do herbs have side effects?

Chinese herbs very seldom have unwanted side effects, however, they often have positive ones. For example: a patient who came in for treatment of low back pain and received acupuncture and herbs came back after two weeks and reported that her chronic asthma had "miraculously" disappeared. The reason for this is that according to her diagnosis the cause of the back pain was that her Kidney Qi (energy) was deficient. This was also the cause of the patient's asthma. When the Kidneys were strengthened the asthma naturally went away.

Like Western medications, Chinese herbs can dispel pathogens from the body and relieve symptoms. However, they also nourish and regulate the Qi, blood, body fluids and the internal organs to alleviate the root cause of the disease.

Many of our patients take medications prescribed by their physicians.  It is the job of the acupuncturist to make certain that any herbs prescribed are not in conflict with or exaggerate the effects of these medications.

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How many treatments are needed?

The number of treatments necessary to alleviate a disorder varies depending upon the type of illness, the duration of the symptoms, and the individual. Each person is unique and will require an individualized treatment plan. The length of treatment depends on the type, severity, and duration of the condition and the state of the patient at the time of treatment. Generally, acute diseases can be treated successfully within a few treatments. Chronic problems which have taken years to develop will not usually be remedied over night. It is important to follow the treatment plan and your acupuncturist's recommendations carefully and complete the course of therapy to restore health.

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Do I have to choose between Chinese medicine and other forms of health care?

Acupuncture is very compatible with other forms of health care. Acupuncturists are used to working in conjunction with all sorts of other practitioners, such as chiropractors, massage therapists, psychologists, physical therapists, and medical doctors. We are trained in western medicine so we can understand your western diagnosis and communicate with your western medical doctor if necessary. As a matter of fact, Chinese medicine greatly enhances the effect of other therapies, and reduces unwanted side effects from various drugs, including Chemo-therapeutics. Often the best results can be obtained by incorporating more than one type of therapy. Please inform your acupuncturist of any other health care systems and/or medications you are currently using so that you can receive the maximum benefits from all of them.

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Is acupuncture covered by insurance?

Many insurance companies cover acupuncture. They are catching on to the financial benefits of keeping patients healthy with low cost, highly effective therapies like Chinese medicine instead of paying the high cost of intervention with drugs, surgery and other invasive, dangerous, and expensive tests and therapies. Check with your insurance company to see if they cover acupuncture, if they don't, tell them that they should!

Acupuncture is covered by California workers compensation insurance. Most automobile policies which include medical payments also cover acupuncture.  I am happy to provide you with an invoice (called a super bill) to give to your insurance company.

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How is the practice of acupuncture regulated? 

In California, acupuncturists must be licensed by the California Acupuncture Board (CAB) (www.acupuncture.ca.gov). There are established guidelines for education and practice. CAB administers a licensing examination, which is the most comprehensive and difficult in the country. California acupuncturists are trained and tested in all aspects of Chinese medicine, as well as in basic Western medicine.

In California, acupuncturists are considered primary providers of medical care. They are licensed to diagnose and treat patients and can be reimbursed by workers compensation insurance and by health insurance companies that cover acupuncture.

Nationally, standards of practice have been established by NCCAOM, the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (www.nccaom.org). NCCAOM administers separate exams in both acupuncture and herbal medicine. All practitioners certified by this commission or the state of California comply with strict requirements for sterile needles.

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