Frequently Asked Questions

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture has been a major Eastern method of medical treatment for over 2000 years. Acupuncture encourages the body toward natural healing by using the body’s own energy. This is done by placing very fine needles at specific locations on the body where energy can be influenced (called acupuncture points). These points may also be warmed by burning an herb called moxa (Artemisia vulgaris).

According to modern scientific concepts, acupuncture is believed to stimulate the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) to release chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. Acupuncture has been shown to activate the natural narcotic system (endorphins) and influence the body’s pain regulation and immune systems. The improved energy and chemical balance stimulated the body’s natural healing abilities and promotes emotional and physical well-being.

What is the philosophy behind this style of Chinese medicine?

In the traditional Chinese model of health and disease, a patient’s harmony or disharmony results in wellness or illness. The Five Element system of diagnosis and treatment regards all natural phenomena as manifestations of Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood. If one element is out of balance in a farmer’s field, for example too much or too little water, the health of the crop will be affected. These elements which can be observed in Nature can also be observed in human beings. The Five Element practitioner searches for the person’s root imbalance among the elements in order to bring greater harmony to all elements and to all levels of body, mind, and spirit.

What is qi?

Acupuncture is based on the belief that “qi” (pronouced “chee”) is the vital life energy present in all living organisms. Qi regulates emotional and physical balance. If the qi is balanced and healthy, illness cannot gain a foothold. When the flow of qi is imbalanced or blocked for any reason, it can result in the disruption of physical, mental or emotional health. Qi circulated through the body in specific energy pathways called “meridians.”

What are meridians?

Qi circulates in the body along 12 major pathways, known as meridians, each linked to an organ and to one of the five elements. The acupuncture points are the locations along the meridians where the qi can be influenced. The acupuncture points provide gateways to increase, decrease, or redirect qi to correct imbalances.

Do I have to believe in acupuncture for it to work?

You don’t have to believe acupuncture will work. Just like medications, acupuncture is effective in most people. In fact, acupuncture is used on cats, dogs, horses and other animals with good results. However, just as in any medical treatment, a patient’s positive or negative attitude can influence the effectiveness of treatment.

How many treatments are necessary?

The frequency and number of treatments depends on the patient and the condition. In most cases you will notice changes within a few treatments. Some people experience relief rapidly, especially if the condition is of recent onset. Long-term (chronic) or complex conditions will require treatments over time before significant relief is apparent. At the beginning, treatments are needed more often, then the frequency is gradually decreased.

Many clients without specific symptoms come in periodically (monthly or at each change of seasons) to maintain and promote general health and well-being.

What methods of payment are accepted?

We accept cash, checks, and Visa and Mastercard. We are unable to bill insurers directly, but you will be given a “superbill” which you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.

I have more questions. May I contact Dr. Foley?

If you have questions about acupuncture or Dr. Foley, you may call for a complimentary 20 minute consultation by phone.

By appointment only (310) 837-2378