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acupuncture and chinese herbs

lily lotus acupuncture 

What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a complete system of healing developed in China over 2,000 years ago. Embracing Daoist principles, TCM is one of the world’s oldest medical practices. The Chinese developed this unique medical system through careful and diligent study of the body, mind, emotions, spirit, and the natural world.  TCM treats the body holistically, bringing it into balance by using a combination of Acupuncture, Chinese herbs, Moxibustion, massage, and dietary and lifestyle recommendations.

TCM works with the body’s innate ability to heal itself.  Qi, or energy, runs in regular patterns throughout the body and over its surface.  These energy channels are called meridians, and they flow like rivers through the body, irrigating and nourishing tissues.  Any obstruction to the movement of this energy is like a dam that backs up, causing blockage, imbalance, and pain.  Energy may also become depleted as a result of stress, overwork, chronic illness, or other factors, and the depletion may cause the current to dry up and eventually stop flowing.

A practitioner of acupuncture inserts fine, disposable needles with rounded tips just below the surface of the patient’s skin, stimulating qi. Qi (pronounced “chee” or “chi”) is the body’s cyclic energy flow. Acupuncture needles unblock and stimulate qi pathways, allowing the body’s natural healing response to take place. This in turn improves the body’s overall functioning.

TCM recognizes that every individual is a unique combination of personal constitution, environmental influences, diet, emotions, beliefs, lifestyle, and health history.  Therefore, each treatment is specifically tailored to the patient, recognizing each person as an individually unique whole being.

What types of health concerns does Traditional Chinese Medicine treat?

TCM treats a wide variety of health problems. Specifically, the World Health Organization recognizes acupuncture as an effective treatment for many disorders, including:

  1. Gynecological disorders such as irregular or heavy periods, infertility,

    PMS, post-partum recovery, and menopausal symptoms.

• Respiratory disorders such as allergies,asthma, bronchitis, and sinus infections.

• Back pain shoulder pain and frozen shoulder, knee pain, sprains, tennis elbow, sciatica and arthritis pain.

•  Hypertension high blood pressure and migraines.

•  Colds and flu (prevention and treatment)

•  Anxiety, depression, insomnia and other mood disorders.

• Gastrointestinal disorders such as chronic constipation or diarrhea, colitis, indigestion, gastritis, and irritable bowel syndrome.

•  Drug/alcohol/smoking addiction


Does acupuncture hurt?

Acupuncture needles are approximately the width of a human hair, and they are solid.  This is very different from hypodermic needles, which cause pain because they are much larger and hollow. Some people don’t even notice needle insertion.  Others describe sensations of tingling, numbness, pinching, heaviness, or a dull ache. Once inserted, the needles stay in place for up to 40 minutes.  Most people feel very comfortable and relaxed during treatment, and it’s quite common to fall asleep while the needles are in place.

Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture is very safe when conducted by a licensed practitioner; the State of California has the highest licensing criteria in the country.  We use only pre-sterilized disposable stainless steel acupuncture needles, and dispose of the needles after one use.

How many treatments will it take to treat my condition?

The number and frequency of treatments depends on many factors, including the nature, intensity and duration of your complaint, and your lifestyle and diet.  Generally, acute conditions need only a couple of treatments. Chronic conditions may resolve within a course of 10-12 treatments. Severe or degenerative conditions may need several treatments before any improvement is seen at all, and may require many treatments over time.  Initially, treatments are scheduled anywhere from three times a week to twice a month.  The frequency of treatments drops as symptoms begin to improve or disappear.

Your practitioner may suggest changes in diet, exercise, or other lifestyle factors.  Following these recommendations often decreases the number of treatments needed to improve or resolve your complaint.

What is included in Chinese Nutritional Therapy?

Traditional Chinese Medicine looks first to food therapy, diet, and lifestyle changes when treating people who are trying to stay well, remain in balance, or recover from illness.  The ways we eat can either keep us well or make us sick.

According to Chinese thought, food temperature and energetic qualities are critical to healthy digestion and assimilation of nutrients.  In TCM, the understanding is that the Spleen and the Stomach are the organs of digestion, and they are responsible for our post-natal qi. This essential energy is most directly affected by diet, treatment and lifestyle choices.

Chinese Nutritional Therapy includes these basic concepts:

  1. Eat at regular times - in a relaxed atmosphere, while paying attention to your food.

  2. Remember to eat breakfast - it is the most important meal.

  3. Eat cooked foods - digestion is looked at as bubbling cauldron, and all food must be warmed in order to best access the qi of the food.  Cold foods require valuable qi just to be warmed and processed. Cold and raw foods are injurious to the Spleen and Stomach energy, and should be eaten sparingly.

  4. Whenever possible, eat foods that are in season and grown close to home - These foods are fresher and contain more food energy, and therefore have more available qi

  5. Chinese Herbs - can be added to foods to increase their vitality and to treat certain conditions.

What should I expect from my first visit to the Lily Lotus Acupuncture Clinic?

Your first treatment is our opportunity to get to know each other.  I will ask you to fill out a medical history form as part of a detailed intake process.  I will review the form with you in order to learn more about your various symptoms and how they may be interrelated.  I will also look at your tongue, feel your pulse, and palpate points on the body where you experience pain or tenderness, in order to determine the underlying causes of your complaint. 

Generally it is best to wear comfortable stretchy clothes to your treatment, the more relaxed, the better. If you are coming from work or another function we have sheets to drape you and make you comfortable.

When you are comfortable, I will insert the needles, and then you will lie quietly and relax for about 20 to 30 minutes.  I may also warm parts of the body using the herb Moxa and heat lamps, or incorporate Tui Na massage with Chinese liniments.  For certain conditions I will use electro-stimulation, a process where the needles are connected to a mild electrical current to help relax muscles, relieve pain and restore balance.  After the removal of the needles, I may suggest an herbal strategy, and recommend dietary or exercise changes as part of your treatment plan.

What should I do before, during, and after a treatment?

I would advise that you avoid coming to a treatment on an empty stomach or immediately after a large meal.  It is also best if you’re not extremely fatigued or emotionally upset.  Wear loose, comfortable clothing.

During the treatment, please feel free to ask me any questions you may have.  The more relaxed and comfortable you are, the better. I suggest that you avoid physical activity directly after receiving a treatment.

What are your office policies?

I accept checks and cash. I do not bill insurance, although I can give you a receipt to submit your insurance company in order to be reimbursed by them.  If you need to cancel an appointment, please give me 24 hours notice; otherwise, I reserve the right to bill you for the appointment.

Lia Willebrand


2615 Ashby Ave. 2nd floor Berkeley


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