Commonly asked questions
How does it feel to get to get acupuncture?
During or after the treatment, depending on each individual patient, one may experience any/all o the following sensations: feeling of lightness, heaviness, warmth, tingling, an electrical sensation or nothing at all.
Is acupuncture painful?
Acupuncture needles are very thin, fine and flexible (only 0.2-0.3 mm), as compared to intravenous needles used for injections. The individual’s threshold for pain is different, as such some may describe receiving acupuncture as painless, a light sensation or comfortable. Most people describe a stimulating sensation, the so-called needle sensation (De Qi). Sometimes an individual may experience a dull, deep ache, or pressure along or on certain areas of the meridians.
Can children be treated by acupuncture?
Yes. Children receive fewer needles than adults and also quicker treatment; needles are inserted, stimulated then immediately removed. Teenagers are often treated similar to adults. Small children are often treated with herbal medicine or with Tui Na massage (refer to massage section) before acupuncture is used.
Do acupuncture needles get re-used?
No. In most western countries, mostly sterile, one-time use needles are utilized, which are disposed of after each treatment. This is done to lower the risk of spreading disease.
Is it possible to receive treatment during pregnancy?
Yes. It is essential that you inform your practitioner if you are pregnant. There are some acupuncture points and herbs that are contraindicated during pregnancy, as they may stimulate uterine contractions.
Acupuncture during pregnancy, birthing and postnatal can be very effective in supporting health and relieving any symptoms that might be present due to the changes in the body. Depending on the presenting indications, acupuncture, herbal medicine or/and massage, and even Qi Gong (refer to massage and Qi Gong section) may be utilized to support all the stages of pregnancy.
How many treatments would I need?
The number of treatments depends on the individual and the condition. Generally, chronic issues require more treatments than acute ones. A treatment cycle is often between 6 to 12 treatments and repeat, when needed, after a break of 1 to 2 weeks. Normally, patients begin to experience changes after 4 to 6 treatments, demonstrating that the healing process has begun.
Are treatments covered by my health insurance?
Almost all insurance companies cover TCM treatments when you have the supplement for complementary medicine, paying a certain portion of you treatment. All practitioners at ICM are registered and approved by most health insurance in Switzerland. Please check with your insurance company on your healthcare coverage.
How should I take the herbal medicine?
In Europe, most herbal medicine come in the form of powdered granulates. This is simpler and cheaper, though slightly less effective, than the traditional decoct (raw herbs cooked in water to obtain a tea). The powder is mixed with warm/hot water, with a specified dosage (measuring spoon) prescribed by your practitioner, and taken 1 to 6 times a day; most prescriptions are taken 2 times a day with a prescription of 2 to 3 grams. You will receive instructions from your practitioner as well as from the Chinese pharmacy, which will mail your prescription direct to you. Raw herbs are soaked and cooked in water for over half an hour, strained and then drunk over the course of a day or two. Both forms are seldom found to be tasty, one has to get use to the taste!
However, if the taste is truly an issue, speak to your practitioner about the possibility of tablets or capsules, which are available at additional costs.
What kind of side-effects can one experience from herbs?
Generally there are no side-effects from Chinese herbs. Sometimes, one might observe that the stools may be softer than usual, or possibly some gas. In most cases, the digestive system will regulate itself after a few day. One may observe that the appetite gets better, which is a good sign in TCM. The effects of the herbs are generally very positive, since the body and mind are balanced and functioning as one; the concomitant symptoms such as fatigue, the feeling of warmth or coldness, sleep disturbances, restlessness, constipation etc. disappear, without being specially treat for them.
Do I have to pay special attention to what I eat or drink when I take herbs?
One should do that always! To help the system better absorb the herbs, it is best to take the herbs on an empty stomach, approximately an hour before a meal or 2 hours after. You may drink as much as you want. Your practitioner may have special nutritional tips for you, which pertain specially to your case.
11.Herbal MedicineCan I drink alcohol when I take my herbal medication?
You may drink alcohol even while taking herbal medication, in reasonable amounts. In some cases, your practitioner may even recommend that you take the herbal prescription with some alcohol to promote the positive effects of the herbs, as alcohol in reasonable amounts can also be medicine.
Do I have animal products in my herbal prescription?
At ICM animal products are seldom prescribed and when utilized, only because it will improve your condition significantly. Please inform your practitioner if it is an issue.
Can I take herbal medicine with other medication?
Inform your practitioner about your medication, modification can/may be made. You should also consult your doctor on this issue. Generally, there should be a minimum of 90 minutes between the intake of western medication and Chinese herbs.
Can I continue to take homeopathic medicine if I take herbs?
In TCM there is no reason against this. Consult your practitioner on this issue. It is generally better to stay with one method of therapy over a longer period to feel its effects. Too many impulses at the same time may confuse the body, and as such result in lowered effectiveness. Sometimes less is more!
How do the herbs work?
This question can only be answered after a complete Chinese medical intake (this interview generally last an hour). The effects and workings of the herbal medicines are dependent on the diagnosis and the severity of the condition. Ask your practitioner after your first consultation.
How long does a therapy with herbal medicine last?
This is also dependent on the issue and its severity. The length of time the imbalance and the condition to manifest, influence the length of time of the treatment. An old Chinese medical saying states, “Each year of disease needs a month of treatment.”
17.Tui Na/An Mo Massage
What can I treat with Tui Na/An Mo massage?
This form of massage can treat muscular-skeletal issues, pain (e.g. migraines, headaches), digestive complaints, menstrual difficulties, psycho-emotional conditions, fatigue and many other internal imbalances. In essence, Tui Na/An Mo is like acupuncture, only without the use of needles. Children are often effectively treated with Tui Na/An Mo.
18.Tui Na/An Mo Massage
If I have a cold/flu can I still get massaged?
Yes, and it can even help treat it. Sometimes a combination of massage with herbal therapy or other TCM methods may be used to alleviate the symptoms of the cold/flu, thereby speeding up the healing process or even completely clearing the symptoms before they even develop.
19.Tui Na/An Mo Massage
Can my child get Tui Na massage?
Yes, it is even recommended. Children are very receptive to treatment, hence, massage for even just a few minutes can make a great effect. Tui Na/An Mo massage can treat almost all childhood ailments, from common colds and digestive issues to bedwetting and night-waking, to even more serious conditions such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Sometimes Tui Na is used in combination with herbal therapy or cupping or other TCM methods.
20.Tui Na/An Mo Massage
Can I receive Tui Na massage during pregnancy?
Yes, definitely. It can help alleviate many issues that may arise during pregnancy, such as back pain, fatigue, water retention and muscular tension. Often it is used in combination with acupuncture for birth preparation, which can help smoothen and accelerate the birthing process. Always inform your practitioner of your pregnancy prior to treatment.
21.Tai Ji Quan/ Qi Gong
What is the difference between Tai Ji Quan and Qi Gong?
Tai Ji Quan is a martial art and Qi Gong is energetic exercises. Tai Ji Quan often involves a series of choreographed movement performed at a slow pace, which stances and movements that can theoretically be used in fighting. Qi Gong can be performed in standing, sitting, or lying, depending on the form that is being practiced. It may also involve some self-massage, stretching, meditation, breathing exercises imagery. Both Tai Ji Quan and Qi Gong aid in maintaining health and vitality.
22.Tai Ji Quan/ Qi Gong
What are the benefits of practicing Qi Gong?
Qi Gong can help relieve stress and promote relaxation. The exercises are often simple but profound in their effect.