Integrative Oriental Medicine

Ancient Wisdom. Modern Methods. A New Kind of Healthcare.

General
  • What is Oriental medicine?
  • I don't believe in qi. Will Oriental medicine still work for me?
  • What is integrative medicine?
  • What conditions do you treat?
  • How is a Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.) different from other professionals who practice acupuncture or "dry needling"?

Services
  • What are acupuncture and moxibustion?
  • I've never had acupuncture before. What should I expect?
  • Will I experience pain during acupuncture and/or the other therapies you offer?
  • What is laser therapy?
  • What types of testing panels do you offer? What can they tell me?
  • What is tuina? How is it different from massage or reiki?
  • What is cupping?
  • What is gua sha?
  • What is Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)?
  • What are tai chi and qigong? Why should I practice them?


Payment

  • Do you take insurance?
  • What types of payment do you accept?
  • May I buy packages of multiple treatment sessions at a discounted rate?
Nutritional and Herbal Consultations
  • What should I expect with an herbal or nutritional consultation?
  • What is the difference between herbal medicine and nutritional supplementation?
  • Are your herbs and nutrients approved by the FDA?
  • Are herbs and nutrients safe?
  • Is it okay to take my herbs and/or supplements in combination with my over-the-counter and prescription medications?
  • My doctor says I should not take herbs or nutrients because little is known about them, but Integrative Oriental Medicine advocates the use of herbs and nutrients. How do I know how to make an appropriate treatment decision for myself with conflicting advice?
  • What is your Reconditioning And Purification Program (RAPP)?
  • What product lines do you carry? How are they different from supplements or herbs I buy at grocery or health food stores?
  • I need to reorder my supplements and/or herbs. How do I request refills?

Appointments and Scheduling
  • How do I schedule an appointment?
  • Do you offer private tai chi and qigong classes?
  • I'm interested in scheduling group tai chi or qigong classes. How many people need to sign up to schedule a class?
  • Do you make house calls?


General

What is Oriental Medicine?

Oriental medicine uses traditional eastern modalities such as acupuncture, moxibustion, herbal medicine, tuina, cupping, and gua sha to treat illnesses and injuries. The philosophy of Oriental medicine postulates that a vital energy force called "qi" circulates throughout the body, and inhibition of qi flow causes disease. Traditionally, herbal medicine, moxibustion, qigong, and tai chi are used to strengthen existing qi whereas acupuncture, cupping, gua sha, and tuina remove blockages and allow qi to circulate more smoothly. 

I don't believe in qi. Will Oriental medicine still work for me?

Yes. Oriental medical therapies do not require the patient to "believe in" them in order to work.


However, what Oriental medicine calls "qi" can be viewed as the body's electromagnetic field. Acupuncture is thought to work by manipulating this force through the insertion of a conductor (acupuncture needle) into an area of high electromagnetic activity (acupoint). The presence of the conductor reroutes electrons to new pathways, thus allowing the electromagnetic field to evenly redistribute across the body. Redistribution of the electromagnetic field has been observed prior to anatomical and morphological changes.

What is integrative medicine?

Integrative medicine involves the merging of different medical philosophies, techniques, and practitioners. Integrative Oriental Medicine uses techniques that draw on both Oriental and biomedical models. Communication with other healthcare professionals involved in each patient's care is welcomed and encouraged.

What conditions do you treat?

Integrative Oriental Medicine is able to see patients with any non-emergency medical condition or psycho-emotional problem. Areas of specialty include:
  • Pain management
  • Stress management
  • Neurological health
  • Endocrine health
  • Digestive health

How is a Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.) different from other professionals who practice acupuncture or "dry needling"?

Licensed acupuncturists have a minimum of a 4-year master's degree in Oriental Medicine with at least 972 clinical hours. They must also pass a rigorous set of national board exams which are administered by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) which test proficiency in Oriental medical principles, acupuncture, herbal medicine, and biomedicine.

Professionals who are not licensed acupuncturists (any practitioner that does not have "L.Ac" after his/her name) has completed one of many continuing education courses that teach acupuncture. The content and rigor of these courses varies, there is no minimum requirement for clinical hours or standardized testing for proficiency.


Services

What are acupuncture and moxibustion?

Acupuncture is the insertion of solid needles into the body in a manner which relieves pain, stress, or symptoms of disease. Acupuncture involves many different techniques, the employment of which depends on the practitioner's preference and patient's presentation.

Moxibustion involves the burning of mugwart leaf (moxa) to warm certain acupoints. Moxa may be applied directly to the skin, placed in a box that sits over a large area of the body, or formed into a stick which is moved close to the skin as it is burned.

I have never had acupuncture before. What should I expect?

All acupuncture sessions involve a discussion of your symptoms and therapy options with your practitioner. 


In a traditional acupuncture session, multiple needles are inserted and the patient rests with the needles for approximately 15 minutes. Often, both the front and back sides of the body are treated in the same session. Traditional sessions may also include other treatment modalities like cupping, gua sha, moxibustion, and herbal and nutritional consultation. Sessions last 60 minutes with 90 minutes for the initial visit.


Motor point acupuncture sessions involve the rapid insertion and removal of a single needle which is stimulated with electricity. The current causes the muscle to twitch and eventually fatigue. The patient does not rest while retaining needles as in traditional sessions. Sessions last 15 minutes.


Acupuncture for balance and gait requires the patient to conduct a series of simple balance exercises with two needles placed in the scalp. Needles are manually stimulated during the exercises. Sessions last 15 minutes and are recommended 3 times per week for the first 4 weeks with weekly maintenance treatments in perpetuity.


IMPORTANT NOTE:

PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU HAVE EATEN WITHIN 3 HOURS BEFORE HAVING ACUPUNCTURE OF ANY KIND. Although it is rare, the insertion of needles can sometimes create a hypoglycemic state known as "needle shock." Needle shock is not life threatening, but can make the patient feel faint, nauseated, and disoriented and requires that the treatment session end immediately. Eating before treatment will ensure that you will not experience needle shock.

Will I experience pain during acupuncture and/or the other therapies you offer?

There is no way to preemptively tell whether or not a patient will experience pain during treatment. The presence or absence of pain depends more on the patient than the application of the therapy. Some people have very sensitive nervous systems and experience intense sensations, whereas other patients may undergo identical treatment and feel little pain or nothing. Pain experiences can also vary between treatments for individual patients. Often anxiety contributes highly to pain sensation. If you are concerned about pain during therapy, ask your practitioner for a special ear protocol that will relax your nervous system before treatment begins.

Acupuncture needles are filiform (solid metal without a hole in the middle). Their solid, thin structure combined with the act of stretching skin before insertion acts to minimize pain. Most often, pain is experienced for about 1-2 seconds as the needle is inserted, after which it dissipates completely. If a needle continues to cause sharp, tingling pain that lasts for longer than 15-20 seconds, it should be removed. Occasionally patients feel an aching sensation for the duration of the treatment, which as long as it is not intolerable, is desirable because it indicates that the body is responding well to the needles. Most patients experience only slight, transitory pain or no pain with acupuncture.

Cupping and gua sha can cause pain similar to a deep tissue massage when applied to very tight muscles. Some patients find the sensations associated with these therapies pleasant. 

What is laser therapy?

Laser therapy is the use of a laser to promote cell growth. Its frequency promotes the production of adensine triphosphate (ATP) within cells. High amounts of ATP give cells more energy to multiply quickly and speed healing. Laser is especially recommended for tendon and ligament tears, but will also work for muscle or other tissue damage. Each session lasts 5-15 minutes and involves the placement of a handheld probe on the injured area. Patients typically feel a warming sensation during treatment. Multiple sessions at frequent intervals are recommended to maximize benefit. Laser therapy is not appropriate for cancer patients. Click here to learn more about IOM's laser treatments.

What types of laboratory testing panels do you offer? What can they tell me?

Integrative Oriental Medicine offers laboratory testing panels that evaluate levels of neurotransmitters, hormones, and minerals present in the hair.

Neurotransmitter testing is conducted by Neurogistics Corporation in Austin, TX. These tests evaluate brain wellness by discovering the amounts and ratios of important messenger molecules in the brain. Patients purchase a home test kit from Integrative Oriental Medicine and send the completed test to Neurogistics along with a processing fee ($199.00 or $298.00 depending on which test is chosen). The patient then schedules a follow-up consultation with Integrative Oriental Medicine to discuss test results and go over recommended supplementation and lifestyle changes. These tests are appropriate for children and adults experiencing stress, brain fog, anxiety, panic, moodiness, depression, attention problems, autistic spectrum disorders, memory loss, sleep problems, PTSD, and migraines.

Hormone testing is conducted by Diagnos-Techs in Kent, WA. These tests evaluate the levels and ratios of hormones in the saliva and urine. Panels can be ordered to evaluate adrenal health, female hormones, and male hormones. Patients purchase a home test kit from Integrative Oriental Medicine and send the completed test to Diagnos-Techs along with a processing fee. The patient then schedules a follow-up consultation with Integrative Oriental Medicine to discuss test results and go over recommended supplementation and lifestyle changes. These tests are appropriate for patients experiencing stress/panic, weight gain/loss, hair loss, skin changes/acne, moodiness, menstrual cycle irregularities, low libido, vaginal dryness, erectile dysfunction, changes in appetite, restlessness, palpitations, fatigue, and feeling of inner trembling.

Hair mineral analysis is conducted by Analytical Research Labs (ARL) in Phoenix, AZ. This test involves cutting a small portion of hair at the nape of the neck, which is then sent to ARL. The hair is evaluated for mineral content and ratios which provide information about the patient's metabolic rate, energy levels, sugar and carbohydrate tolerance, immune system, autonomic balance, glandular activity and metabolic trends. The patient pays $30 to Integrative Oriental Medicine and $110 to ARL for this test. Follow-up consultation is recommended to discuss test results and go over supplementation and lifestyle changes. Hair analysis is appropriate for all patients and all conditions, but can provide pointed information about the causes of chronic fatigue, anxiety, poor digestion, and effects of potential toxic exposures.

What is tuina? How is it different from massage or reiki?

Tuina is a form of manual therapy that aims to rectify qi flow throughout the body. It works on the body's meridian systems and uses acupressure in addition to other manual techniques to move qi and relieve blockages.

Massage therapy, by contrast, employs a biomedical model that aims to release tight muscles and restore visceral function via manual manipulation. Tuina often relieves tight muscles as a side benefit, but its primary goal is to restore energetic balance.

Like tuina, reiki focuses on moving energy throughout the body. However, reiki practitioners do not touch patients, whereas tuina involves therapeutic touch.

What is cupping?

Cupping involves the application of suction cups to areas of the body. The amount of suction varies depending on the patient's needs and preferences. Cups may be placed and left untouched or may be manipulated once they are placed.
 
Healing time decreases with cupping due to its creation of a small, controlled amount of inflammation. The "artificial crisis" created by the inflamed tissue releases chemical mediators that cause the body to route resources (blood, glucose) to the area, allowing it to heal faster than it would if the area remained untouched. Cupping also acts to release fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds muscles. Fascia can contract independently of muscle fibers, and cupping often allows persistent muscle tension to be released due to its fascia releasing capability. 

Cupping may also be used as a diagnostic tool during traditional Chinese acupuncture sessions. The color that presents on the skin in response to cupping tells practitioners where qi flow is blocked. If qi flow is severely impeded, cupping can sometimes feel uncomfortable, but most patients find the experience pleasant. Continued cupping sessions can help rectify qi flow and will become more comfortable with time, however, no more than one session per week is recommended.

This therapy often leaves marks on the skin that last for 4-7 days. As qi flow increases, marks decrease in quantity, color, and duration.

What is gua sha?

The term "gua sha" translates to "scraping bruises". The therapy involves placing oil onto the skin and using a blunt edged object, such as a spoon, coin, or specialized tool to scrape along body lines. Similar to cupping, gua sha releases fascia and acts to create a small, controlled amount of inflammation which speeds healing time by routing blood and nutrients to the area.

The controlled amount of inflammation produced by gua sha stimulates the immune system throughout the body when it is applied over a wide area. Therefore, it is often applied during the course of infectious diseases to speed recovery.

Gua sha can also be used as a diagnostic tool for practitioners, as the marks it generates pinpoint areas of qi blockage. Unlike cupping, gua sha does not penetrate deeply into tissue, allowing it to be better suited for smaller areas and superficial injuries.

Gua sha often leaves marks on the body that last for 1-4 days. As qi flow increases, the marks decrease in quantity, color, and duration.

What is Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)?

EFT is a sequence of acupoints that can be tapped with fingers in order to alleviate stress. Once learned, the tapping sequence can be self-administered any time when a patient feels stress or negative emotions. Using the sequence helps patients immediately dissipate negative emotions as they occur. While EFT is useful for everyone, studies have demonstrated EFT's efficacy for treating phobias, PTSD, and anxiety. EFT sessions may be scheduled for individuals or groups.

What are tai chi and qigong? Why should I practice them?

Tai chi and qigong are sequences of movement that increase and balance qi flow within the body. Tai chi is a martial art that is performed for both self defense and health benefits. Qigong is comprised of repeated movements that are strung together to enhance meditation. Many styles of tai chi and qigong exist. Integrative Oriental Medicine teaches Yang style long form tai chi, and a Sheng Zhen, a form of seated qigong.

Both tai chi and qigong relieve stress, improve depression, lower blood pressure, improve overall health, and support recovery from disease. The mild movements involved in both activities can also improve balance, strength, and coordination.


Herbal and Nutritional Consultation

What should I expect with an herbal or nutritional consultation?

Herbal and nutritional consultations involve discussion of symptoms and prescription of herbs, nutritional supplements, and dietary and lifestyle changes. Patients may be advised to begin a regimen of nutrients and/or herbs which usually come in the form of tablets, capsules, powders, or liquids. The cost of these items is not included in the consultation fee. Consultations also include information about menu planning and targeted physical activities for symptom relief. Sessions last 15 minutes with 30 minutes allotted for the first visit.

What is the difference between herbal medicine and nutritional supplementation?

Herbal medicine is targeted to provide relief from specific disease processes and may be prescribed using either Chinese or Western methodology. Chinese methodology uses a special system of disease diagnosis that focuses upon rectifying qi flow within the body. Multiple herbs are often mixed together to mutually enhance their properties.  While Chinese herbal medicine does relieve symptoms of disease, it works to support the whole body and stop the disease process at its source. Western methodology in contrast, takes a more pharmaceutical approach to treatment, pairing specific herbs to relieve specific symptoms and focusing more on tissue function rather than energy flow. While Western methods also combine herbs into formulas, single herbs are more often prescribed for relief of specific symptoms. Both methods are effective and are often used in conjunction with each other at Integrative Oriental Medicine.

Nutritional supplementation aims to restore health by providing nutrients to support body functions. Unlike herbal medicine, nutrients are not targeted to specific disease processes. Rather, body systems are supported by providing nutrients that may be missing or being consumed in inadequate quantity in the diet. In many cases, symptoms may be relieved with nutritional supplementation alone, but the combination of nutrients with herbal medicine allows therapy to target specific symptoms while providing overall support for the body.

Are your herbs and nutrients approved by the FDA?

No. The FDA has not approved any herbs or nutrients for treating specific diseases. However, they may be used to provide support for the body during the presence of symptoms.

Are herbs and nutrients safe?

Yes. Integrative Oriental Medicine stocks only herbs and nutrients that have been assayed to ensure both quality and safety. However, herbs and nutrients should not be taken without recommendation from a trained professional. While herbs and nutrients are made from food sources, they can cause discomfort if taken incorrectly or in excess. In rare cases, they may cause adverse reactions or interact with certain medications.

Is it okay to take my herbs and/or supplements in combination with my over-the-counter and prescription medications?

Usually yes. Herbal medicines and nutritional supplements do not usually pose risk when taken in conjunction with medications because they are made mostly from food sources. However, a small number of medications may interact with herbs and nutrients. Some patients may also have poor tolerance of certain herbs or nutrients. Licensed acupuncturists are trained in herbal safety and will not prescribe if there is a risk of interaction or intolerance.

My doctor says I should not take herbs or nutrients because little is known about them, but Integrative Oriental Medicine advocates the use of herbs and nutrients. How do I know how to make an appropriate treatment decision for myself with conflicting advice?

Many different options exist for treating diseases, and only the patient can decide what type of treatment is best for him/her. Over-the-counter and prescription pharmaceuticals effectively relieve symptoms and often work much more quickly than herbal medicine and nutritional supplementation. Drugs can also provide more effective treatment for certain diseases. However, many diseases respond well to herbal and nutritional treatments. These methods often present fewer negative side effects and cause greater overall health when they are implemented and maintained. Most biomedical practitioners are not trained in herbal medicine or nutritional supplementation, so they are often hesitant to recommend these options to their patients because they do not want liability for treatment methods with which they are unfamiliar. This is one of many reasons why Integrative Oriental Medicine encourages open conversation with all practitioners involved in a patient's care.

What is your Reconditioning And Purification Program (RAPP)?

The Reconditioning and Purification Program (RAPP) is a regimen of nutritional supplements that aim to restore gut function, promote proper elimination of toxins, and stabilize endocrine and pancreatic function. For more information, please visit the RAPP page.

What product lines do you carry? How are they different from supplements or herbs I buy at grocery or health food stores?

Integrative Oriental Medicine carries product lines from Standard Process, MediHerb, Far East Summit, and Great Lakes Gelatin.

Standard Process and MediHerb products are made from unaltered, organically grown foods and herbs. Thus they are more easily absorbed and assimilated into body systems than products that consist of isolated or synthetically produced compounds. This makes them more potent, more powerful, and faster-acting than their lower quality, synthetic counterparts. All Standard Process and MediHerb products are organically grown in the United States and Australia. They assayed for quality to ensure product potency and consistency.

Far East Summit products are USFDA compliant and are made in their company-owned facility in Lane County, Oregon.

Great Lakes Gelatin manufactures collagen hydrolysate from grass-fed cattle. Their products are certified by the USDA which means that their animals are free from infectious diseases. The collagen is gluten-free and contains no MSG.

I need to reorder my supplements and/or herbs. How do I request refills?

Many of the products Integrative Oriental Medicine prescribes are available via our web store. All Standard Process and MediHerb refill requests may be e-mailed to refills@austiniom.com. Please specify in your request whether you would like them shipped to your home or if you would prefer to pick them up at your next appointment.


Appointments and Scheduling

How do I schedule an appointment?

Patients may schedule an appointment via our appointments page or by calling (512) 599-9313. Please note that full price will be charged for no-call/no-shows and for cancellations with fewer than 24 hours notice.

Do you offer private tai chi and qigong classes?

Yes. A one-hour private session may be scheduled for $100.

I'm interested in scheduling group tai chi or qigong classes. How many people need to sign up to schedule a class?

A minimum of 5 people will be needed for a 1 hour group session. Classes will cost $25 per participant. If a group wishes to buy a package of 10 classes, prices drop to $20 per participant.

Do you make house calls?

Usually no. Some special circumstances may be considered for house calls. An additional travel fee will apply.


Payment

Do you take insurance?

Integrative Oriental Medicine does not currently accept insurance, but we will provide insurance codes for patients to file for reimbursement.

What types of payment do you accept?

Cash, all major credit cards, and checks are accepted. Payment is due at the time service is rendered. Full price will be charged for cancellations with fewer than 24 hours notice.

May I buy packages of multiple treatment sessions at a discounted rate?

Currently, package rates are only available for cold laser sessions, facial rejuvenation, and group tai chi and qigong classes.