Common Questions
Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine

Is Acupuncture safe?
When given by a trained and licensed professional, acupuncture is an extremely safe form of medicine. All licensed acupuncturists today use individually packaged, sterile, disposable needles. Each needle is used once and then discarded in a sharps container.

What does acupuncture feel like?
Acupuncture is a medicine that engages the deep and natural energy of the body. In some cases you may not feel the needles. In other cases you might feel a small pinch when the needle is inserted. Once the needle is in, you might experience various sensations like tingling, warmth, heaviness, or numbness. These feelings are the sensation of qi as it moves in the body and are completely normal. Most people find acupuncture to be very relaxing, both during and after the treatment. Many people fall asleep during the treatment.

How many treatments will I need?
This depends on the nature of your complaint, as well as its severity and duration. You might need only one treatment for an acute condition. Chronic problems may take a series of treatments to resolve. Some degenerative conditions might require consistent longer term maintenance. To help reduce the number of treatments and assist the healing process, your practitioner may suggest specific exercises, dietary modifications, or relaxation techniques all of which increase treatment effect.

How are Chinese herbs taken?
Chinese herbs are given in many different forms. Most commonly the herbs are taken as a decoction. This means that whole dried herbs are given to the patient and then boiled in water for a set amount of time. The resulting liquid is drunk much like tea. Another method is to take whole herbs and grind them into a powder, then cook or steep to make a tea. Herbs can also be taken in granular form, which is a dissolvable powder that can be added to any liquid and then drunk. There are also pill, tablet and tincture herbal formulas. Not all Chinese herbs are taken internally. The herbs can be made into poultices, ointments, oils and lotions and used externally.

Are there side effects to the herbs?
If the formula has been correctly chosen and written for the patient, there should be no side effects. Most of the substances in the Chinese herbal pharmacy have very low toxicity, even when compared with over-the-counter Western drugs. If you experience any discomfort while taking Chinese herbs, tell your practitioner, who can then modify the formula until there are no side effects.

Do the herbs come from China and are they safe?
Most of the herbs are grown in China, and manufactured in mainland China, Taiwan, and Japan. To ensure safety, the FDA monitors imported herbal products. In addition, the herbs prescribed at Earth and Sky Healing Arts all come through an American distributor who monitors the quality and composition of the products. Not all pharmacies use herbs that are safe, so be sure to know and trust your practitioner or herbal pharmacy.

Can children and pregnant women take Chinese herbs?
Yes, if prescribed by a certified and licensed traditional Chinese medicine practitioner. The doses are reduced for children. If you are pregnant or become pregnant while being treated with Chinese medicine, it is important to tell your practitioner so they can change your formula to reflect the change in your body.

Can I have acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatments while undergoing Western medical treatment?
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine treatments can be complimentary to your Western treatments. Chinese medicine is often used to alleviate the side effects of Western medicine, as well as to augment the treatment benefits. Please let your practitioner know of any other treatments that you are undertaking.

What can I expect during a treatment session?
Acupuncture sessions begin with a comprehensive interview and physical examination. During the first visit your practitioner will ask you about your medical history as well as your current health condition. The interview process is shorter during follow up visits and focuses on changes since the previous treatment, as well as feedback about the treatment. The practitioner will feel your pulse, look at your tongue, and palpate your abdomen. After a thorough assessment, the acupuncture treatment will begin. Anywhere between 2 and 20 needles are used at a time. The needles are left in for up to 40 minutes while the patient relaxes. During this time the practitioner makes the herbal formula for the patient to take home. Most people feel deeply relaxed during a treatment. For some, the experience of relaxation sustains after treatment, while for others there is a feeling of rejuvenation.

Craniosacral Bodywork

What is Craniosacral bodywork?
Craniosacral bodywork regulates imbalance and has as its source the flow of the cerebral spinal fluid, one of the deepest rhythms and essential movements of the body. Using gentle, non-invasive contact to reach this rhythm, Craniosacral techniques help restore optimal movement to the body. Craniosacral work differs from most other modalities by its lightness of touch and the long, attentive duration of each contact. Responsiveness and gentleness are foundations of this healing modality.

What problems can craniosacral work treat?
Craniosacral work has been shown to be effective for muscle contraction headache, migraine, cluster headache, neck arthritis, low back pain, scoliosis, personality disturbance, dyslexia, whiplash, Bells Palsy, vertigo and temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD). This work can be highly effective in helping the return of mental clarity and abundant energy after a life-crisis, and sometimes helps alleviate chronic depression. Craniosacral work is also sought out by those who are perfectly healthy as a meditative and calming experience. The cranial practitioner’s job is to facilitate and enhance the workings of each person’s natural healing response.

What types of conditions can be treated by acupuncture?

The World Health Organization recognizes acupuncture’s effectiveness for over 40 ailments. These include, but are not limited to:

Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders

  • tooth aches
  • ear aches
  • sinusitis
  • rhinitis
  • laryngitis
  • allergies

Respiratory Disorders

  • colds and flus
  • bronchitis
  • asthma
  • emphysema

Gastrointestinal Disorders

  • food allergies
  • nausea
  • indigestion
  • acid reflux
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • ulcers
  • colitis

Circulatory Disorders

  • hypertension
  • high cholesterol
  • arteriosclerosis
  • angina pectoris

Urogenital Disorders

  • cystitis
  • incontinence
  • prostatitis
  • prostatic hypertrophy
  • urinary tract infections
  • sexual dysfunction
  • low libido

Gynecological Disorders

  • menstrual irregularities
  • painful menstruation
  • endometriosis
  • PMS
  • infertility
  • menopausal syndrome

Musculoskeletal Disorders

  • tennis elbow
  • frozen shoulder
  • TMJ
  • sciatica
  • back pain
  • arthritis
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • fibromyalgia

Neurological and Psycho emotional Disorders

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • insomnia
  • headaches
  • migraines
  • trigeminal neuralgia
  • intercostal neuralgia
  • stroke paralysis
  • dizziness
  • tinnitus
  • post-traumatic stress disorder


  • alcohol
  • nicotine
  • drugs

Dermatological Disorders

In addition, acupuncture has been used throughout Asia, Europe and the United States to treat hundreds of other disorders.