chinese medicine


Why Oriental Medicine? 

Conventional medicine excels at providing fast, emergency care for treating the advanced stages or diseases with life-saving techniques. However, when it  comes to more basic, everyday health care- the common cold, aches and pains, digestive problems or allergies, for example-or chronic problems such as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome, conventional medicine has fewer options to offer. Many people believe that Oriental Medicine, a system of medicine originating more than 5000 years ago in China, has answers to many of these problems. The most well-known of these techniques are acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine, but other aspects include Tui Na (massage), as well as nutrition and lifestyle options based on the principles of Oriental Medicine. Together, these modalities create a holistic, comprehensive system of health care that has much to offer Western patients in the 21st century and beyond as it had to offer those in China 5000 years ago.

About Acupuncture 

In 1996 the Food and Drug Administration approved acupuncture needles as "safe and effective medical devices". This was followed in 1997 by a consensus  statement issued by the National Institutes of Health, which recognized acupuncture as an effective treatment for a variety of conditions. Furthermore, the World Health Organization recommends the use of acupuncture for 29 conditions. Of course, Asians have been successfully treated with acupuncture for thousands of years, with millions and millions of "clinical trials" demonstrating it's effectiveness. Now, however, the WHO, the NIH, and the FDA have all conceded that acupuncture does indeed work, and a good deal of exciting research is underway to discover more and more uses for this traditional technique

How It Works

Some Western researchers think that acupuncture activates endorphins (the body's own painkillers), while others think that acupuncture needles somehow manipulate the body's own electromagnetic current. According to the Chinese, however, acupuncture is just one way of controlling and redirecting Qi (chee), the vital energy that fills the universe and also animates all living creatures, driving all of our bodily functions. Qi fills the channels or "meridians" that run all throughout our bodies, much like the nervous or circulatory system. Sometimes, the Qi can get stuck along one or more of these channels or become excessive or depleted. By placing acupuncture needles at specific points along the major channels, the Qi can be moved, decreased (if excessive), or increased (if deficient), depending on what's needed.

The Treatment

In a typical acupuncture treatment, extremely thin, sterile, disposable steel needles are inserted into specific points along certain channels to produce an effect. The effect may be immediate, such as in the reduction of headache or joint pain and muscle tension, or the effect may be more subtle, noticeable only after a series of treatments, such as in the gradual healing of a chronic illness. Due to the frequency of blood work, vaccinations, and other injections, many Westerners have become afraid of needles and assume acupuncture needles hurt as well. There is a great difference in size, however, between hypodermic needles and the hair-thin needles used in acupuncture. Furthermore, acupuncture needles are solid, with a rounded tip, and cause much less tissue damage—and thus less pain—than the larger, hollow needles used in conventional medicine. 

The Chinese consider acupuncture to be bu tong, a painless procedure. The sensations one may experience during the course of a treatment often include mild cramping, heaviness, distention, "electricity" or tingling at the point of insertion, feelings of extreme, full-body relaxation, mild euphoria, and warming or cooling sensations. Patients become accustomed to these sensations quickly and often enjoy them after the first treatment.

During a treatment at a Acupunture or Oriental Clinic, one may experience other forms of treatment besides acupuncture and herbal medicine. Moxibustion is a procedure wherein a small amount of the herb mugwort is laid over the skin or on the head of a needle and the ignited, causing heat to stimulate acupoints in the immediate area; heat lamps may also be used for this purpose. Cupping is a technique that uses suction to improve circulation and stimulate tissues. Gua sha has a similar effect to cupping, but it is accomplished through a vigorous rubbing with a ceramic spoon. Tui na is a Chinese massage technique. Patients may experience one or more of these techniques during any given treatment.


Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are safe. efficacious medical procedures with few side-effects when administered by a licensed practitioner. In Rhode Island, licensed practitioners receive the title D.Ac. (Doctor of Acupuncture), are required to have 2500 hours of training, and must pass the rigorous three day NCCAOM national exam in acupuncture and oriental medicine.