Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What should I expect the first time I come to the clinic?
A: Your first visit to the clinic will include a review of your medical history, intake and full preparatory treatment by a clinic staff member, consultation with Dr. Wu, treatment by a licensed acupuncturist, and (if needed) herbal prescriptions. Dr. Wu may recommend changes to the way you eat and drink, self-care techniques, or additional acupressure treatments.
Q: When will I get a diagnosis of my condition and a complete treatment plan?
A: Dr. Wu will provide a diagnosis on your first visit. She recommends you schedule a consultation after eight visits to receive an updated diagnosis (if necessary) and treatment plan.
Keep in mind that your diagnosis will follow traditional Chinese medical principles and may not resemble your Western diagnosis. If you’d like more information on Traditional Chinese Medicine and its form of diagnosis, see the recommended reading list in the Resources section of this Website.
Q: How long does a treatment take?
A: It depends on the type of treatment you’re having. Acupuncture alone requires a one-hour visit. Acupuncture in combination with Organ Acupressure, Meridian Acupressure, or a half-Organ/half-Meridian treatment (called a half-and-half) requires 90 minutes. A full session — Acupuncture and both Organ and Meridian Acupressure — requires two hours. Sometimes Dr. Wu recommends clients see Dr. Devin Wu for specialized treatment at the same time, which may take an additional hour-plus.
For your first visit, plan to spend at least three hours (4-5 hrs if you see Dr. Devin Wu at the same time) to allow for everything that takes place outside the treatment room: receiving an orientation to the program, learning about self-care, checking out, receiving herbs, rescheduling, etc.
We ask your patience if your appointment is delayed because we must accommodate a client undergoing fertility treatment. Clients who are in the midst of IVF procedures often need to schedule at the last minute. Because we’re committed to optimizing their chances for pregnancy, we may need to juggle appointments to accommodate them, which could require a delay in your treatment. We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause.
Q: How often will I need to come to the clinic? How many treatments will I need?
A: The length of a course of treatment varies by client, and depends on the condition being treated. Some clients come once or twice a week for a short period of time to treat a specific condition. Others continue to come for support with long-term health maintenance, or because they find regular treatments beneficial.
Time required to treat a condition can depend on your constitution and state of health, the duration of the condition, your body’s responsiveness to treatment, your attitude, and your commitment to self-care. Even after you have achieved the results you desire, Dr. Wu recommends regular “tune-ups” to maintain your health.
Women seeing Dr. Wu for fertility enhancement should allow their bodies three to six months of treatment in preparation for pregnancy. Treatments should continue after that time on a schedule recommended by Dr. Wu. For more information, please see our Fertility Program.
Q: What if I need to reschedule an appointment?
A: If you need to reschedule, be sure to call the clinic 48 hours before your scheduled appointment so we can make your time available to another client. If you do not reschedule 48 hours in advance — or if you miss an appointment — you will be charged the full cost of the treatment for which you were scheduled.
Q: Will the needles hurt?
A: Response to needles varies by client, and for a particular client may differ depending on general health and where on the body the needle is being placed. Some people report no sensation whatsoever when needles are inserted. Most patients who report discomfort describe the treatment as feeling like a mosquito bite. Clinic staff will coach you on breathing techniques to help your body receive needles without discomfort, and to improve the effectiveness of the needles.
Q: How long will the needles stay in?
A: In most cases, your needles will stay in for about 15 minutes.
Q: What should I do if I feel any discomfort while the needles are in?
A: Relax and bring your awareness back to your physical body. Breathe to the place you feel pain, imagining that each inhalation is bringing healing energy to the point, and that each exhalation is clearing out discomfort.
If you continue to feel pain or experience severe anxiety during a treatment, ring the bell by your side and a staff member will assist you.
Q: Why do I sometimes feel strong emotions during a treatment?
A: Sometimes clients experience profound emotions during a treatment that may or may not reflect their emotional state upon entering the clinic. Emotions may be released during treatment because Traditional Chinese Medicine treats the whole person — physical body, emotions and spirit. In Chinese medical theory, each organ is associated with a set of positive and negative emotions or virtues — for example, sadness/valor for the lungs, fear/calmness for the kidneys — which may be triggered and released when needles stimulate related acupuncture points. Also keep in mind that 95 percent of the body’s seratonin is housed in the gut, where the organs also store stress and other emotions. Seratonin is the chemical associated with the body’s “fight or flight” response to stress.
Q: Before my treatment, why am I asked questions about health matters that seem to have nothing to do with the condition Dr. Wu is treating — for example, sleep, thirst, bowel movements?
A: Traditional Chinese Medicine treats the total person — body, mind and spirit. To treat you, Dr. Wu must assess health patterns that reflect the way energy or Qi/Blood flows through your body’s meridians — along which needles are placed. Because all our body’s organs act in concert, a complaint in one area may reflect an imbalance that originates in a seemingly unrelated organ. For example, an eye condition may reveal information on the health of your liver. In addition, things like sleep, thirst, and bowel movements tell a lot about your general energy, body “climate” (warm vs. cold), and ability to digest food and eliminate toxins. Dr. Wu is interested in all these aspects of your health as they relate to the specific condition she is treating.
Q: What does cupping do? What does it mean when the cups leave marks?
A: Cupping, like acupuncture and acupressure, stimulates points along the body’s five energy meridians to rebalance Qi/Blood, or life-force energy. Cupping is particularly effective at clearing congestion and stagnation and, because it draws blood to the capillaries, improving circulation. Cupping is also used in diagnosis; skin discoloration that occurs during the process can reveal important information about the flow of energy, or Qi/Blood, in the body.
Particularly after your first treatment, the suction created by the cups may leave marks — light to dark bruising. Usually these marks, which occur at an acupuncture point where congestion or stagnation is being cleared, disappear within a week.
Q: What does moxibustion do?
A: Moxibustion uses heat to stimulate and warm specific acupuncture points. Moxa, the dried form of the herb mugwort, is applied directly to needles or, sometimes, to fresh ginger or to a mixture of garlic, salt, and herbs, applied to the skin. You can also light a stick of moxa and use it to heat a specific point, waving the moxa wand in a circular motion above the skin.
If moxibustion is included in your treatment or is part of your self-care regimen be sure to drink a little warm water after treatment to help balance the “heat” added by moxibustion.
Q: What does Chi Organ Acupressure do? What does it mean when it hurts to press certain spots during treatment?
A: Chi Organ Acupressure is a form of acupressure that uses pressure on the abdomen to affect inner organs — for example, your lungs, liver, spleen, kidneys, and reproductive organs. By pressing specific points around the navel and elsewhere on the abdomen, Chi Organ Acupressure can “rewrite” cellular memory, clear congestion, and break up “knots” in tissue or viscera caused by stress or illness. For example, by stimulating key organs, the “uterine lift” technique practiced on many female clients can boost fertility, improve health and energy, and prevent uterine prolapse or incontinence. Any pressure you feel during Chi Organ Acupressure tells you that congestion in a certain organ is being relieved.
Q: What do the herbs prescribed for me do?
A: Dr. Wu prescribes each herb to different clients for different reasons. Each herb works in conjunction with the other herbs prescribed for you. For this reason, it’s very important to take all of the herbs Dr. Wu prescribes for you, rather than choosing on your own to take only one or some of the herbs prescribed. The herbs are prescribed together to support your particular constitution.
Q: What are the ingredients in the herbs prescribed for me?
A: Chinese herbal ingredients are listed on the packaging in Chinese Pinyin (Chinese spelled phonetically in English). If you’d like to know the English equivalent, it’s easy to do an online search for these herbs. In some cases, you can search for the name of the herbal formula itself.
Q: Where are these herbs from? Are they organic?
A: Dr. Wu purchases herbs from a high-end manufacturer in Taiwan called Qualiherb, which produces the highest grade herbal medicines in the world (Tier One level), meeting stringent pharmaceutical quality and manufacturing standards.
Q: How can I find out more about the herbs Dr. Wu prescribes and how they work on my body?
A: Chinese herbal medicine is a complex science that, like acupuncture, treats each person as an individual with unique patterns. Your herbal formula may differ from that of someone who, diagnosed by Western medicine, has the same condition as you.
To gain a better understanding of the role Chinese herbs play in your treatment program, ask Dr. Wu to define your basic health pattern, then follow up with one of the herb books recommended in the Resources section of this Website.
Q: What should I do if I run out of herbs between treatments?
A: In general, Dr. Wu recommends you take a proactive approach to herbal therapy — monitoring your own supply, observing your formula’s impact on your health, and informing her when you need more herbs or have questions about your formula. However, unless your condition is acute or timing is of particular concern in your healthcare program (as maybe the case during an IVF cycle, for example), don’t worry if you run out of herbs between treatments. A short-term break from herbal therapy can refresh your body’s response when you resume your herbal formula.
Please note that, if you run out of herbs while preparing for an IVF cycle, you should make special arrangements to pick up additional herbs and plan accordingly between appointments.
Q: Why are Dr. Wu’s eating/drinking guidelines different from the basic nutritional advice I’ve always received?
A: Dr. Wu’s eating/drinking guidelines reflect the Five Elements and Eight Principles theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In this approach, each food, regardless of its nutritional content, has distinct characteristics that affect the flow and nature of energy in the body. For example, some foods contribute dampness or heat; others clear these conditions. Some foods cause energy to contract in the body; others encourage expansion.
Different health conditions and body “climates” call for different eating/drinking guidelines. For example, Dr. Wu may recommend that someone with a cold or weak constitution avoid cold or raw foods. Dietary guidelines also vary by season, when different weather has a different affect on the body, and, for women, by phases of the menstrual cycle.
In addition to Five Elements and Eight Principles guidelines, Dr. Wu may also recommend food-combining principles that affect your body’s ability to use the nutrients in the foods you eat.
Q: I’m having a lot of trouble sticking to Dr. Wu’s eating/drinking guidelines. What if I have to compromise?
A: We ask that you simply do the best you can to adhere to the eating and drinking guidelines in each situation, whether you’re cooking for yourself, dining in a restaurant, or enjoying a meal at a friend’s house. If you find that you simply cannot follow the guidelines, listen carefully to your body before you compromise. If Dr. Wu has recommended you avoid cold foods but you choose to eat ice cream, observe the impact on your body. How do you feel after eating ice cream? Is the short-term satisfaction worth the immediate impact on your health? Keep your observation in mind the next time you feel like straying from your guidelines.
For fertility program patients in particular, Dr. Wu offers the following advice: In moments when you feel you cannot be more than 75 percent committed to your eating/drinking guidelines, keep in mind that there is no such thing as 75 percent pregnant.
Q: If I’m feeling better can I disregard my eating/drinking guidelines or discontinue my herbs?
A: An improvement in your health is testimony to the effectiveness of your treatments and your commitment. Rather than jeopardizing your progress, continue following your eating/drinking guidelines and taking your herbs until you’ve had the opportunity to discuss your condition with Dr. Wu. Your pulses and other indicators will tell her if your health pattern has shifted significantly enough to warrant a new approach — or if you should continue your regimen to maintain your new good health.
Q: If I have questions about my health between treatments what can I do?
A: Shifts in your health between treatments can be a sign of improvement. Pay close attention to any changes in your health pattern or symptoms, noting any external factors that may have an impact (e.g., eating/drinking, sleep, stress), and report your findings at your next treatment. However, if you notice a severe change in your health, call the clinic to see about scheduling a more urgent appointment.
Q: How can I learn more about Traditional Chinese Medicine and the techniques practiced at the clinic?
A: Even if you’re not experiencing fertility challenges, we recommend reading Dr. Wu’s book, Fertility Wisdom, which teaches the health benefits of using Traditional Chinese Medicine to create balance within the body. For more information please see the Resources sections of this Website.