"Bu Tong" in Chinese is a three thousand year old therapy and complete medical system, which uses fine, flexible-hairlike filaments, not needles. Filaments are inserted into the body at specific points that have been empirically proven effective in the treatment of specific disorders and syndromes. Healing is accomplished by regulating the flow of Qi (energy) in its pathways, channels or meridians to promote balance.

Q: Does Acupuncture hurt?
A: Acupuncture is essentially painless. However, if the correct stimulus from the insertion of the filament is obtained, the patient should feel some cramping distention, tingling, heaviness, or electric sensation either around the filament or travelling up or down the energy pathway or channel. Some patients may describe these sensations as types of pain. Nevertheless, if there is any discomfort, it is usually mild.

Q: How deep do the filaments go?
The depth of insertion of acupuncture filaments depends of the nature of the disharmony or problem, the underlying anatomy of the acupoints selected, the patients size, age, and constitution, upon the practitioner's style or school. In general, filaments are inserted from 1/4 to 1" in depth.

Q: Are the Acupuncture Filaments clean?
Most practitioners in America today use pre-sterilized, individually packaged, disposable filaments thus assuring there is no transmission of communicable disease from patient to patient due to contaminated filaments. The National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncturist administers a "Clean Needle" test as part of every national board exam for acupuncture competency in America.

Q: How does acupuncture work?
A: This is a big question. Traditionally, Chinese Medicine is based on ancient theories of the flow of Qi (energy) and Xue (Blood) through discrete channels, pathways or meridians which traverses the body similar to but not identical to the nervous, circulatory, and lymphatic systems. According to this theory, acupuncture regulates the flow of Qi, directing it to those areas where it is deficient and draining it from those areas where it is excess. Thus, acupuncture regulates and restores the harmonious energetic balance of the body. In Chinese Medicine there is an axiom that states, "no pain or disease indicates the free flow of Qi, pain and disease indicates lack of flow. Essentially, acupuncture promotes the free and balanced flow of Qi, Blood, and other fluids.

Q: How many treatments will I need?
A: The amount of treatments depends on the duration, severity, and nature of each individual's complaint. Generally from seven to fifteen treatments are adequate for the majority of chronic ailments and constitutes one course of treatment. Many acute conditions may only require two to five treatments. Some degenerative conditions may require scores of treatments. However, it is reasonable for the patient to expect that their major complaint will be addressed and treated in a direct and timely manner. Acupuncture treatment benefit is known to have an effective range with respect to time. This benefit may last for one hour or days. This phenomenon is unique to each individual. The effect of each treatment is cumulative. Therefore, it is important for the practitioner to schedule visits to maintain the effective range in order to achieve the desired therapeutic effect. Otherwise, each successive treatment may be viewed as starting over… Please keep in mind that Acupuncture and its related modalities are not magic (although sometimes it can be). It is a form of therapy that can imply ongoing treatment.

Q: Is there anything I need to do before receiving an acupuncture treatment?

A: Yes, the following suggestions will help you get the maximum benefits from your treatment:
1. Maintain good personal hygiene to reduce the possibility of bacterial infection.
2. Do not wear jewelry during the treatment. Since Chinese Medicine is basically a form of energetic medicine, jewelry may distort energetic balance. This precaution will also help to prevent loss.
3. Wear loose clothing. Women should not wear one piece dresses. Avoid wearing tight stockings or overly restrictive undergarments.
4. Acupuncture treatments should be avoided when excessively fatigued, hungry, full, emotionally upset, or shortly after sex. Other types of modalities within the Chinese Medicine repertoire may be appropriate.

Q: Is there anything I need to do while receiving acupuncture?
1. There is no need to be frightened or apprehensive while receiving the various modalities of TCM. RELAX. This cannot be overemphasized.

2. If you experience dizziness, nausea, cold sweat, shortness of breath, or faintness during treatment, this is known as needle shock. Inform your practitioner immediately and the filaments will be withdrawn. Needle shock is primarily due to anxiety in first-time patients. This rarely happens if the patient is lying down.

3. Feel free to inform your practitioner of any pain or burning sensations experienced during treatment. If you find acupuncture, moxibustion, or electro-acupuncture unbearable at any point during treatment, be sure to speak up so that proper adjustments can be made.

4. Do not change your position or move suddenly. Moving may disrupt filament positioning and cause some discomfort.

Q: What Can I expect after treatment?
A: One may experience an immediate total or partial relief of their pain or other symptoms. This relief may last or some of the pain may return. In some cases the pain or symptoms may be aggravated for an approximately twenty-four to forty-eight hours following treatment. When it subsides, a significant degree of the original symptoms will diminish as well. This is commonly referred to as a "Breakthrough" phenomena. Often the most dramatic results are experienced in the first treatment. In a few cases, there may be no immediate relief only to experience the pain diminish over the next couple of days or after a few treatments.

Most patients will have more questions than these, such as: Should I continue taking my current medication? What should I eat? Is there anything I can do for myself at home? What signs of success should I look for first and after how long? All of these are valid and valuable questions and can be answered in person by the practitioner.

For further reading on Acupuncture and Traditional Oriental Medicine, “The Complete Illustrated Guide to Chinese Medicine” by Tom Williams, PhD, may be purchased from Barnes and Noble book store.

Q: What are the qualifications of a practitioner of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine?
Currently forty-two states have legal practice of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Legislative titles may include L.Ac. (Licensed Acupuncturist), R.Ac. (Registered Acupuncturist), CA (Certified Acupuncturist), AP (Acupuncture Physician), DOM (Doctor of Oriental Medicine), and D.Ac. (Doctor of Acupuncture). In Pennsylvania practitioners are titled as “R.Ac”.

In Pennsylvania and in most states practitioners are required to complete a 3-4 (2900 – 3200 hours) year graduate level (Masters Degree) training program, pass a National Board certification (NACCAOM) , exam, and State Licensing exam.

My office requires a 24 hour cancellation notice.
Patients will be charged for the office visit if the 24 hour cancellation policy is not observed. No exceptions. I will not place myself in the position to judge anyone’s veracity. Bad weather (snow storms, heavy rain storms) are the only exception. However, my office will make a concerted effort to re-schedule your time slot if the 24 hour cancellation policy is not observed. If we can’t, you will be billed. If my office does not give clients at least 24 hours notice regarding re-scheduling or cancellation of appointments, the next visit is free of charge or the client will receive an $80.00 credit. Please bear in mind that not showing up for an appointment is very disruptive to any medical office. Further, it denies someone else of a much-needed appointment. If you must cancel or re-schedule an appointment on the same day of your appointment, please call the appropriate practice location. For those who see me at CIM-TJU, please call the main number (215-955-2221) to speak with the receptionist. The same applies if you are running late during my clinic hours. I am usually too busy to field phone calls.