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ACUPUNCTURE 101

  1. Can acupuncture help me? 
  2. What is acupuncture? 
  3. How does acupuncture work? 
  4. Is acupuncture painful? 
  5. How many treatments do I need? 
  6. Does medical insurance cover acupuncture treatment? 
  7. What can I expect on the first visit?
  8. Testimonials

1. Can acupuncture help me?
Acupuncture isn’t directed toward a particular disease or condition. It works instead by activating the body’s self-healing ability. This is why acupuncture can address everything from infertility to irritable bowel syndrome to back pain to the side effects of chemotherapy.

When you get an acupuncture treatment for elbow pain, your elbow pain will go away but it’s also likely that you’ll see improvements in other areas. The headaches you’ve had for ten years will get better, you’ll have more energy, you’ll be better able to handle stress, and you’ll sleep better.

The reason acupuncture can do this is that it focuses on treating the root cause of your health problems. The ancient Chinese knew that symptoms don’t arise out of nowhere. Symptoms are manifestations of an underlying malfunction and disease process. The progression from malfunction to disease process to symptom can take many years. If you just address the symptom without addressing the malfunction or disease process, healing doesn’t occur.

The Chinese also knew that a malfunction or disease process can give rise to many different symptoms that may seem unrelated. For example, low back pain, joint pain, arthritis, hearing problems, memory loss may all be expressions of the same underlying problem.

Western medicine, on the other hand, often mistakes symptoms for disease. Treatment is almost always directed at the symptom, not the disease. Western medicine is based on the Cartesian paradigm that the body is a machine composed of many separate parts, and that health can be achieved by simply addressing each part in isolation. There is no consideration for how the parts are connected and related.

This is why in western medicine we have doctors for every different part of our body. Acupuncturists have a different perspective. Acupuncturists look at the body as one interconnected whole. From this viewpoint it is impossible to consider a specific part (like the knee, or the heart) without considering it in relation to the whole. This explains why a single therapy like acupuncture can treat your entire body at the same time. Top


2. What is acupuncture?
Chinese medicine is a complete medical system originating from China more than 3000 years ago. Acupuncture, a therapeutic specialty of Chinese medicine, applies traditional Chinese medical theory to diagnose and treat illness, prevent disease and improve well-being by inserting acupuncture needles at specific points throughout the body.  

Acupuncture points are neurovascular nodes that contain a high concentration of sensory fibers, fine blood vessels, fine lymphatic vessels, and mast cells. Ancient Chinese physicians recognized that these areas on the surface of the body could reflect disease conditions in the internal organs, and that these same nodes could be stimulated to relieve pain and treat internal organ problems. This was a revolutionary discovery that formed the theoretical basis for acupuncture treatment thousands of years ago. In contrast, it was not until the early 1890s that this phenomenon of organ-referred pain was discovered in the West, by British physician William Head. Top

 

3. How does acupuncture work?
Several modes of action have been identified for acupuncture. The mechanisms can get quite complex. But ultimately acupuncture is a remarkably simple technique that depends entirely upon one thing: the stimulation of the peripheral nervous system. It’s important to point out that when nerves supplying acupuncture points are cut or blocked there is no acupuncture effect.

Mechanisms of actions:

* Acupuncture promotes blood flow. This is significant because everything the body needs to heal is in the blood, including oxygen, nutrients we absorb from food, immune substances, hormones, analgesics (painkillers) and anti-inflammatories. Restoring proper blood flow is vital to promoting and maintaining health. For example if blood flow is diminished by as little as 3% in the breast area, cancer may develop. Blood flow decreases as we age and can be impacted by trauma, injuries and certain diseases.

* Acupuncture stimulates the body’s built-in healing mechanisms. Acupuncture creates “micro traumas” that stimulate the body’s ability to spontaneously heal injuries to the tissue through nervous, immune and endocrine system activation - the same reaction that would occur if you cut yourself. As the body heals the micro traumas induced by acupuncture, it also heals any surrounding tissue damage left over from old injuries.

* Acupuncture releases natural painkillers. Inserting a needle sends a signal through the nervous system to the brain, where chemicals such as endorphins, norepinephrine and enkephalin are released. Some of these substances are 10-200 times more potent than morphine!

* Acupuncture reduces both the intensity and perception of chronic pain. It does this through a process called “descending control normalization”.

* Acupuncture relaxes shortened muscles. This in turn releases pressure on joint structures and nerves, and promotes blood flow.

* Acupuncture reduces stress. This is perhaps the most important systemic effect of acupuncture. Recent research suggests that acupuncture stimulates the release of oxytocin, a hormone and signaling substance that regulates the parasympathetic nervous system. You’ve probably heard of the “fight-or-flight” response that is governed by the sympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system has been called the “rest-and-digest” or “calm-and-connect” system, and in many ways is the opposite of the sympathetic system. Recent research has implicated impaired parasympathetic function in a wide range of autoimmune diseases, including arthritis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

Several other mechanisms have been identified, but the ones I’ve listed above are the most relevant and clearly understood. Top


4. Is acupuncture painful?
While most people express fear or anxiety of needles before their first treatment, they are surprised by the pleasantness of the acupuncture treatment. Unlike hypodermic needles used for injections, acupuncture needles are very fine - about the thickness of a human hair. There should be very little or no discomfort with needle insertion. For your safety, only sterile and disposable needles are used. There are certain transient sensations, not considered painful, associated with the therapeutic effects of acupuncture which may include euphoria, warmth, tingling, heaviness, distention, or numbness. Top

5. How many treatments do I need?
Since each person is unique, the number of treatments will vary. Among the determining factors are the nature, severity, and history of each person's complaint, as well as the general health of the individual. Usually one or two treatments per week are necessary to begin with. Many conditions can be alleviated very rapidly with acupuncture and herbs. Chronic illnesses may require treatment for several weeks or longer. Acute problems generally respond much faster. As in any form of medical care, the patient's attitude, diet, determination, and lifestyle will affect the outcome and course of treatment. Top

6. Does medical insurance cover acupuncture treatment?
Some health insurance companies cover acupuncture treatment. You should contact your health insurance company to verify acupuncture coverage. We would also be happy to verify coverage for you. Please call us to discuss the specifics of your situation. Top

7. What can I expect on the first visit?
During your first office visit, your practitioner may take a detailed medical history, discuss your symptoms, examine your pulse and tongue, then apply appropriate treatment according to the diagnosis derived from the intake . After arriving at a specific diagnostic conclusion, one or several of the following techniques will be incorporated:

Needles: Thin, sterile, stainless steel needles are placed in specific acupuncture points. The needles are at least five times thinner than typical hypodermic needles and insertion is usually painless. You may feel a dull ache or tingling sensation when the needle is stimulated. Acupuncture is generally a very relaxing experience.

Electric Stimulation: Very low level electrical current may be applied to the needle or to the skin. This is often used for muscle spasms and acupuncture analgesia and to enhance point stimulation in general.

Moxibustion: Moxa is a Chinese herb (mugwort) which is rolled into sticks or cones and burned above the skin. This aromatic herb creates a sensation which is warming and pleasant and regulates the qi.

Massage: Massage and body work are often applied in coordination with needling to release muscle spasms.

Herbs: Herbology is an intrinsic aspect of Oriental medicine. Herbs may be prescribed to reduce acute conditions or as a dietary supplement which will build and strengthen the body.
Top



8. TESTIMONIALS
"I have personally benefited from Julie Chang's expertise with Traditional Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture. In treating a recent illness I first turned to traditional medicine. The physicians were able to make a diagnosis, but were unable to resolve my symptoms despite multiple trials over the course of several months. After receiving acupuncture and Chinese Herbs from Julie my symptoms resolved within a few weeks. I owe my good health today to Julie's healing skills and would recommend her to anyone."
- Dr. Cynthia A. Robertson, MD., FACP, Poway

"I am currently seeing Eric ( AKA 'Miracle Worker!') for chronic low back pain, irregular menstrual cycle and digestive problems. I have only had 3 treatments so far and my back pain is 90% better with no shooting pain! My menstrual cycle was off because I was without it for 2 months but after my visit with Eric, he literally got my 'qi' flowing back to regular and only after 1 treatment. After returning from vacation, I was suffering from major digestive problems from eating out and eating the wrong foods. I was relying on laxatives the entire week while I was away. When I returned home to see Eric I explained to him of my digestive problem and he worked his magic. The very next morning my digestive system thanked me and I was back to normal.
Like I said before, Eric is truly a miracle worker. He can treat anything from backaches to menstrual problems. I never believed in acupuncture until I tried it, and now I know that it truly works. I couldn't imagine my life without it!"
- Nicole N., San Diego

"After almost 1 year of dealing with the bureaucracy and inefficiencies of the worker compensation system, I gave up on it and decided to take control of my health: this is when I started my treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome with Eric, despite my previous doctor's opinion that it wouldn't work. I noticed improvements since the first session, the pain diminished gradually, and I didn't need to take anti-inflammatory medicines to control the pain. The strength of my hands improved in a way that today I can do everything that I couldn't do a year ago: I am back to the gym and I can unload my car after going to the grocery store; I do not need help to carry my baby nephew, open jars, dry my hair, take out the garbage, and do many little things that were impossible just 3 months ago. I am still working in front of a computer the whole day, and sometimes I play video games with my son. And about those medicines and pain relieving creams that didn't work and are quite expensive ..... I threw them out in the garbage this New Year's Day! Thank you Eric for giving me my life back!"
- Najla Abdala, Associate Business Manager

"I started treatment with Eric Hollander 3 weeks ago. I had been suffering from chronic pain for the last three years after 4 automobile accidents in 22 months. The pain was increasing and I was taking morphine, as well as needing a cane to walk by the time I came in to see Eric. I feel Eric must be an absolute angel. He treated my back, hip, shoulder neck, knee and wrists. After 2 weeks of treatment 3-4 times per week I was off the morphine, and by the second week I stopped using the cane. Eric really saved my life! The pain is so much less I am feeling like I am human again. Thank you Eric for helping me. I will tell everyone to use your services."
- Eli A., San Diego

"I was experiencing unbearable neck pain that was causing headaches that rendered me incapable of normal daily activities. No type of treatment was working and I was miserable. My chiropractor referred me to Chang Acupuncture and I went, having had no prior experience with acupuncture treatments. After my third visit, I began to experience almost miraculous relief from the neck pain and headaches that no other treatment form was able to relieve. I have been relatively pain-free for a couple of months now, thanks to Eric. I cannot say enough about how satisfied I am with Eric and Chang Acupuncture."
- Mark Neilson, San Diego

"My first experience with another acupuncturist was not a good one so I was a bit hesitant when my primary doctor recommended I try it for back pain and fertility issues. A friend of mine knew of Chang Acupuncture and Associates and insisted I give them a try. After my first treatment, many of the symptoms associated with my menstrual cycle which I have been coping with for over 10 years had subsided. As I continued to receive treatments, i am amazed with the results, no more disabling cramps, fatigue, headaches, heavy flow, moodiness, etc. Julie and Eric have done wonders for me. Recently, I found myself with horrible lower back pain to the point where I could barely walk up the stairs. I had seen my primary doctor for this before and due to a degenerative disc there wasn't much she could do. I decided to give Eric a call to see if he could help me. I'm not sure what he did but it was like a miracle, after the treatment I felt so much better and within one day the pain had totally subsided."
- P.C., San Diego

"I had low back pain for five months. It was my most unpleasant experience physically, mentally and emotionally. I was lucky when I found Mr. Eric Hollander as my acupuncturist. He treats his patients in a holistic manner, listens, and it is easy to establish a rapport with him. I also found Eric to be honest, accommodating and very knowledgeable of his profession. I have recommended him to my family, friends and co-workers. I am so grateful that I have been able to get back to work after six acupuncture treatments!"
- M.H. , San Diego

"Eric, I want to thank you so much for helping through 'the shingles.' Right from the first appointment you helped me with the pain. It was like a miracle and you got me back to normal in such a short time. I consider you an angel. Thank you again."
- Ortie Kinshella, San Diego

"I was diagnosed with cervical arthritis in 1991. The pain came on now and then, but as the years went by it became progressively worse. By October of last year the pain became very severe. Two days after a very severe episode I was treated with acupuncture by Eric, and right after the treatment I felt the difference. The weekly treatments I received made me feel better then ever. After four months of treatment I seldom have any pain thanks to Eric's skill and professionalism."
- A.L., Spring Valley

"I saw Eric because I had an extremely bad headache/sinus pain. My head hurt so badly I could hardly put my head on the pillow. Any kind of pressure on my head -- such as putting my head on my pillow, or movement of my eyes would cause even more pain. Eric began his treatment for headache pain. Within 20 minutes my headache was about 2/3 gone. I was amazed. The treatment lasted for about 40 minutes. At the end of the session I had no pain. I am now 2 weeks out and I still have no pain. I would highly recommend seeing Eric for acupuncture treatment."
- Kim Morris, San Diego

"I was suffering with horrible headaches on a daily basis for a period of three weeks. My mother suggested I try acupuncture to help ease the pain. I was skeptical at first, but it's been several days since my first visit and I have had no headaches! It was very relaxing and comfortable. I would suggest (Eric of) Chang Acupuncture and Associates to help ease your pain too!"
- Jamie Thompson, Santee

"I developed a sharp pain in my left arm, along with pins and needles to the tips of my fingers-especially aggravated by computer use. I ended up trying to do my electronic charting at work using only my right hand. A co-worker, who had suffered a back injury and had undergone acupuncture, directed me to Eric Hollander at Chang Acupuncture and Associates. Now, a month later, the severe pain in my left arm had gone away. I can turn my head without any discomfort, and only occasionally get 'pins and needles.' Thank you, Eric, for a job well done."
- Karen D. Wilkins, R.N., San Diego

"The tendonitis in my elbow was getting so painful I could barely move or use my arm. I was so fortunate to have been recommended to Julie Chang for acupuncture. After only three treatments the pain in my elbow was significantly reduced. I would recommend Julie Chang to anyone with any kind of pain. Julie is very professional and very gentle. The acupuncture itself is painless and the treatments are actually relaxing. My fifteen year old son's acupuncture treatment for pain from a broken wrist greatly reduced his pain and aided in the healing process. In the future, my family and I would definitely return to Julie for any health challenges we may face."
- Patty Gage, Homemaker, San Diego

"While studying ballet, I began to experience soreness & sharp pain in both of my knees. I decided to come in for acupuncture treatment on my knees. The NEXT DAY I noticed improvement in the pain. The pain was still there, but it was not as much. I decided to do a second treatment. With that the pain was nearly gone. After the third treatment I have experienced no more pain with my knees. I no longer have that awful, sharp pain in my knees, & I'm studying ballet comfortably & painlessly once again. Thank you SO MUCH, Julie!"
- Rachel Hurt, Dancer, Los Angeles

"I've been seeing Julie Chang for Golf and exercise related sports pain, specifically knee and lower back. The treatments I have received are delivered in a truly professional manner and have been extremely beneficial!! I can honestly say I am playing better golf due in large part to the acupuncture regimen administered by Julie Chang, LAC."
- Jeff Jensen, Consultant, Oceanside

"Before I met Julie Chang, I had forgotten what it was like to do the menial tasks in life pain free. I had been suffering from chronic lower back pain for the past 7 years until I was finally encouraged to see Julie. Now my early morning routines, such as putting on my shoes, shaving, or simply driving to work no longer involve pain. Thank you Julie!"
- Marc Held, Engineer, San Diego

"Eric - My back pain is 100% better thanks to the acupuncture work you did for me. Being a person terrified of needles, I was hesitant to get treatment, but the pain got the better of me and I am so glad I made the appointment now! I am now back to exercising and taking care of my kids the way I was before the pain began. It was truly a relaxing, amazing experience that completely took care of the pain."
- J. Jenkins, San Diego

"Eric, currently everything (trigeminal neuralgia and cervical arthritis) is doing well. Having attended the sessions definitely helped my pain go away."
- C.C., San Diego

"I am a very active person and I've had chronic back pain for the last 15 years. I have been to doctors and specialists from Florida to California and no doctor has ever been to able to give me a reason for my back pain or an effective treatment. As a last resort I turned to acupuncture. I came and saw Eric and after my first appointment my pain was 95% gone. It is wonderful to have days go by where I do not feel my back at all. Eric Hollander and acupuncture has truly taken my pain away."
- Drew Stauffer, San Diego

"When I first began seeing you (Eric Hollander) I was suffering from digestive problems, some type of vaguely/newly diagnosed anxiety disorder, and overall fatigue/weakness. At the time, I was under the care of 5 Western Doctors of varying specialties who were consulting with another 4 "medical experts" from varying fields. The only answers I received were dietary recommendations, endless prescriptions, or statements that the condition was "self-limiting." After 8 months of suffering through medical hell, I was ready to try anything. Upon my first visit to your office, you were able to completely eliminate all symptoms of what they had diagnosed as 'Irritable Bowel Syndrome.' I would not have believed it, if I had not experienced it firsthand! Subsequently I have had only very minor recurrences, which you have readily eliminated. Additionally, I am now completely free from all prescription medication. With your help, I have returned to the perfect health that I have been lucky to have experienced my entire life. I can say that when I first came to your office, I was a true skeptic of the possible benefits of acupuncture. Without a doubt, I am now a believer! Words cannot possibly convey the gratitude due the one who has helped me to retrieve my life back from illness! Along with the thousands of dollars in savings from snake-oil hawking Western Doctors incapable of effective diagnosis and treatment, I now have an entirely different outlook on health and the body, which you have helped to share with me. Thank you again Eric!"
- Joseph M, San Diego

"Julie Chang has performed a miracle of sorts - after a few weeks of acupuncture treatments I no longer have the cravings for alcohol and illicit drugs! Don't ever let a 'regular' doctor say it can't be done."
- A.K., San Diego

"Since coming to see Eric, my migraines and tension headaches have become less frequent and less severe, my IBS is practically non-existent, and I've gone from severe sperm morphology issues to fathering twins. This man works miracles." 
- J., San Diego
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7969 Engineer Road | Suite 209 | San Diego, CA 92111 | 858.495.0771
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