ACUPUNCTURE is the insertion of very fine needles into precisely defined points on the body. The needles are solid, sterile, and permanently disposed of after use. They are inserted into the muscle and surrounding tissue, just below the level of the skin. The most common sensation that is felt is a small ‘mosquito bite’ feeling as the needle penetrates the skin, followed by a dull ache as the needle is brought to the proper depth. This sensation typically fades as the needles are retained for a period between 15 to 35 minutes, and patients report a deep sense of relaxation during that time.

By inserting these fine needles into the skin, the acupuncturist can redirect the flow of your body’s healing energy. Qi moves through the body in a series of channels called meridians, not unlike the way your blood flows through arteries and veins.  
When the qi becomes blocked in a meridian, or isn’t quite full enough, there is unbalance. The needles encourage the qi to flow out of areas that are congested to areas that are empty, to regain balance in the meridians. As an ancient Chinese adage goes, “When there is flow, there is no pain. When there is pain, there is no flow.”

What most people refer to as acupuncture is really the profession of Oriental Medicine. Acupuncturists may use a wide variety of therapeutic techniques, including herbal medicine, moxibustion, exercise therapy and nutrition, to deepen and extend the effects of acupuncture treatment.

TAKING CHINESE HERBS daily increases the duration and depth of effectiveness of an acupuncture session. Herbal medicine is a time-honored tradition of gently altering a patient’s condition to correct long standing diseases and disharmonies, as well as acute infections and disorders. They work to restore balance at the deepest levels. Herbal formulas are traditionally prescribed as teapills, granules, tinctures or teas.

While traditional boiled herbs can have a very strong smell and taste, our granule pharmacy provides patients with a safe, convenient and much better tasting option. Many formulas contain ginger, cinnamon, cloves or mint. Most patients actually enjoy taking their herbs, especially because of the feeling of wellness they bring about.

Modern practitioners are trained in the safe use of herbal medicines both alone and in the presence of biomedical drugs. Our integrative training includes a Master’s of Science degree, with extensive training in pharmacology, physiology, and biochemistry, as well as traditional uses and modern understandings of our pharmacopia. Licensed practitioners are required to participate in continuing education events and reading to maintain an up-to-the-moment perspective on these ancient and time-tested therapies. Carrie Murphy chairs the Department of Herbal Medicine at PCOM, a national leader in integrative medicine, and teaches traditional polypharmacy alongside current pharmacological theory.

CONDITIONS COMMONLY TREATED by Chinese medicine include anxiety, depression, cancer support, painful periods, infertility, menopause, heart disease, indigestion, constipation, allergies, asthma, fatigue, and all kinds of muscle and joint pain.

Anxiety and Depression

Life stress? Adrenal fatigue? There is help! Often anxiety and depression can be alleviated with herbal remedies, acupuncture and exercise. Strategies for coping with inevitable stress will be recommended. The therapies do not interfere with western drug therapy and may be administered concomitantly. Many times a reduction in the dosage of prescribed medication can be achieved.

Cancer Support

The side effects of cancer treatment begin the day of the diagnosis. Stress management is the beginning of integrative care, but just as important is helping you through the physical side effects of treatment and boosting immunity throughout to speed recovery and minimize the chances of a recurrence. Research shows acupuncture, herbs and good nutritional choices can reduce or prevent side effects of chemo and radiation. For more information about acupuncture and cancer, click here.

Women's Health

Fertility, PMS, menstrual irregularity respond well to Chinese medicine. Acupuncture and herbs have been shown to improve chances of becoming pregnant by 40 to 60 percent. Heavy or irregular or painful periods can be regulated with treatment, as well as other symptoms of PMS. If you are experiencing perimenopause or menopause, cool down the hot flashes, sleep better and eliminate irritability with our treatments which make the natural course of these physiologic changes smoother and more comfortable.

Heart Disease

High cholesterol, high blood pressure and blood sugar problems can all be corrected through the use of herbs to maximize your body's metabolism, and gentle changes to your diet. Acupuncture supports you while you make changes that can feel stressful and overwhelming, and the simple concepts of traditional nutrition can help anyone get their numbers down and eliminate unnecessary medications.

Digestive disorders, such as IBS, Crohns, Ulcerative Colitis, and reflux can affect the quality of your life. Regulation of the GI system combined with herbs can improve or eliminate unpleasant symptoms.

Stress Management

Excessive stress has been called the "disease of the 21st century". Stress not only interferes with our relationships and makes us feel anxious, it has been linked to insomnia, chronic pain, heart attacks, digestive disorders and more. Stress-related issues are among the most common areas treated and benefited by our modalities. You can feel more self directed, calmer, more grounded and positive.


Patients who suffer from hay fever and other seasonal allergies, allergic rhinitis, and allergic asthma do very well with acupuncture and herbs. Medication use can be eliminated on all but the very toughest few days of the year for most patients. Some patients are able to discontinue inhaler and Claritin use altogether.

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