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Frequently Asked Questions

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Comprehensive Holistic Healthcare
Serving Ventura County since 1995

Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. -Lao Tsu

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the ancient Chinese practice that involves puncturing the skin with hair-thin needles at particular locations, called acupuncture points. Acupuncture helps reduce pain & bring body function into balance. Sterile disposable needles are gently placed at specific points on the body. Acupuncture is part of Chinese medicine which incorporates a number of different healing modalities, although acupuncture has been utilized as a stand-alone practice for over 3,000 years. Acupuncture is a catalyst which stimulates the body's own healing potential.

What does acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture can treat a variety of illness such as muscular pain, injury due to trauma, headaches, digestive disorders (Crohn’s disease, IBS, constipation), allergies, problems and gynecological complaints and stress, infertility, menstrual pain, insomnia, migraines and low energy. For a more inclusive list consult the Conditions Treated page.

Perhaps most importantly, acupuncture treats many problems misunderstood by Western medicine because there is no underlying pathology appearing in conventional western testing.

For example: tinnitus (ear ringing), plum-pit (chronic feeling of something being stuck in the throat), fatigue, difficulty sleeping, frequency of getting colds, cold hands and feet, excess sweating, vision problems, mouth sores and many other frustrating chronic problems not easily resolved.

How long has acupuncture been around?

Acupuncture, a key element in Chinese medicine, goes back over 3,000 years.

What is the relationship between Chinese medicine and acupuncture?

Chinese medicine encompasses acupuncture, along with herbal medicine. Chinese medicine uses tiny needles and herbs to help nurture the body back to health by helping resolve energy imbalances. According to the dictates of classical Chinese medicine, energy (Qi, pronounced chee) flows in channels throughout the body and over its surfaces. These channels are called meridians. The Chinese have identified 12 primary meridians / 8 extraordinary meridians often compared to a series of interconnected highways in the human body. Each of the major organs in the body is associated with its own meridian. Through this network of meridians, the internal organs are connected to certain areas and parts of the body—including the muscles, bones, joints and other organs.

The Chinese believe that when the body is internally balanced and in harmony with the external environment, Qi flows smoothly through the meridians to nourish the organs and tissues. If an obstruction occurs in one of the meridians, and the Qi cannot flow smoothly or is forced to flow in the opposite direction, the body’s innate balance is disrupted and illness results.

Acupuncture engages the Qi by inserting needles at specific points on the meridians where energy is both concentrated and accessible. The goal is to restore the proper flow of Qi, because as the body regains its natural balance, well-being returns.

NOTE: Other aspects of Chinese medicine include Qi Gong (combines movement, breathing, sound and visualization for healing), Tui Na (gentle rocking massage), Gua Sha (rubbing technique using a jar cap or plastic spoon), moxibustion (applying heat with an herb called mugwart, I Ching (ancient Chinese numerology system) and diet (based on the Chinese 5 elements and energy characteristics of different foods).

What are acupuncture needles like?

Acupuncture needles are small and ultra-thin sterile & disposable. They are solid, not hollow like needles used by western doctors. The end of an acupuncture needle is smooth and rounded. Acupuncture needles are designed to be as comfortable for the patient as possible.

Does acupuncture hurt?

There are different styles of “needling.” If any sensation is experienced during insertion, it is often compared to a mosquito bite and disappears very quickly. Once the needles are inserted, they may be manipulated to obtain a mild “Qi” sensation. This is how an acupuncturist engages the energy in your body in order to help balance it. Often people describe their sensations as warming, heavy, numb or tingling. Acupuncturists take great care to make their clients very comfortable so that they can relax while the needles are in place. The more you can relax during an acupuncture treatment, the better the results. Many people even fall asleep during treatment. After treatment, patients commonly feel a tremendous sense of relaxation and calm.

Is acupuncture safe?

Only sterile, disposable needles are used. There is no risk of infection. Needles are used once, then disposed of. Complications are extremely rare. If the practitioner follows the basic standards of care taught in the schools, then it is very unlikely any treatment-associated problems would occur.

How often should I be treated?

Typically, treatment occurs at least once a week. If the condition is acute and painful, the practitioner may want to do treatments 2-3 times per week for the first couple of weeks. Benefits of treatments tend to last longer as they progress, so that patients typically need treatment less and less. Eventually patients return to the office only periodically for maintenance.

Are herbs used as a primary treatment in Chinese medicine?

Chinese herbal medicine is a powerful healing part of oriental medicine. We use herbs to support the treatment and give internal support between visits.  The combination of herbs and acupuncture are mutually supportive.

How is Chinese herbal medicine different from western medicine?

Chinese herbal formulas tend to be much gentler than western medicine. They work to not only help relieve symptoms, but to help return the body to balance and equilibrium, so that herbs will not be needed further. As one’s body starts to shift towards a state of balance, herbs are modified accordingly.

Are Chinese herbs compatible with my medication?

It depends on the medications you are taking. This would have to be evaluated on a case by case basis

What is Moxibustion?

Moxibustion uses a dried herb (mugwort) to heat points that stimulate the body's qi and blood and immune function.

Do I have to believe in Chinese medicine for it to work?

No. Chinese medicine works whether you believe it will or not. Acupuncture is even used successfully on animals and children. They do not necessarily understand or believe in the process—yet they do get better. A positive attitude helps with any type of therapy, but it is not essential to ensure outcome.

IMPORTANT: Since positive expectations and belief in a particular therapy do help to increase therapeutic results, patients are encouraged to raise any concerns or doubts you may have about acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine prior to or during the course of the treatment process. Practitioners are happy help you to better understand acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine.

How soon can I expect to feel better?

In general, patients should start to feel the benefits from treatment within 2-3 sessions. If the problem is acute, sometimes improvement is felt after a single treatment, and may only need 3-5 treatments to resolve. IF the problem is chronic and long term, it may require additional treatments to generate improvement.

Does my insurance cover acupuncture?

Some insurance does. You need to check with your insurance plan and then see if your local practitioner accepts that plan.

What should I wear for the treatment?

Loose fitting clothes that can be easily rolled up above your elbows and knees.

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Welcome to the Ventura Acupuncture Clinic, where our focus is on caring, comprehensive restorative treatment. Kirk Mann, M.Ac. L.A.c, is a licensed acupuncturist with a holistic, compassionate health approach that integrates gentle acupuncture, nutrition, herbal medicine, Chinese medicine, classical homeopathy and a range of physical therapeutics (including reflexology, acupressure, shiatsu, moxibustion, tui na) into your treatment. Ventura Acupuncture Clinic is proud to serve the cities of Ventura, Oxnard, Ojai, Camarillo, Santa Barbara, Santa Paula, and Fillmore.