Frequently Asked Questions

 

What conditions does acupuncture treat? What does Chinese herbology treat?

  • Eye, Ear, Nose, Throat
  • Gynecological/Genitourinary Disorders
  • Gastrointestinal Disorders
*Sinusitis *Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) *IBS
*Sore Throat *Irregular, Heavy, or Painful Menstruation *Spastic Colon
*Hay Fever *Endometriosis  *Colitis
*Earache *Menopause  *Constipation
*Nerve Deafness *Fibroids  *Diarrhea
*Ear Ringing *Chronic Bladder Infections  *Food Allergies
*Dizziness *Complications in Pregnancy  *Ulcers
*Poor Eyesight *Morning Sickness  *Gastritis
 *Allergies *Kidney Stones  *Abdominal Bloating
  *Impotence  *Hemorrhoids
  *Infertility in Men and Women  
  *Sexual Dysfunction  
  *Recurrent Miscarriage  
  *Libido Issues  
  *IVF Preparation  
     
  • Circulatory Disorders
  • Emotional & Psychological Disorders
  • Respiratory Disorders
*High Blood Pressure *Anxiety *Asthma
*Angina Pectoris *Insomnia *Emphysema
*Arteriosclerosis *Depression *Bronchitis
*Anemia *Stress *Colds & Flus
  *PTSD  
     
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders
  • Immune Disorders
  • Addiction
*Arthritis  *Candida *Smoking cessation
*Sciatica *Chronic Fatigue *Drugs 
*Back Pain *HIV & AIDS *Alcohol
*Bursitis *Epstein Barr Virus  
*Tendonitis *Allergies  
*Stiff Neck *Lupus  
*Sprains & Strains *MS  
*Muscle Spasms *Hepatitis  
*Headaches & Migraines    
     
  • Neurological Disorders
  • Acupuncture Also Treats
 
*Neuralgia *Chemotherapy & Radiation Side Effects  
*Bell's Palsy *Diabetes  
*Trigeminal Neuralgia *Dermatological Disorders  
*Stroke *Weight Control  
*Cerebral Palsy    
*Polio    
*Shingles    

How does acupuncture work?

The way I describe how acupuncture works in "Western" terminology is the following: think of what happens when you get a cut on your body, or a small injury. With a cut, your body immediately sends blood and energy to the damaged area to actively try to repair the injury. The blood clots, and a scab quickly forms. All of the energy that it took to repair the damage is apparent when you see how rapidly the body works to fix it.  Acupuncture works in similar way by causing a minute amount of damage to the body with a very thin needle, causing the body to focus on that area, and send blood and energy to it.  The inserted needle signals to the body that the local area needs work, and it also activates the channel on which the point is located, sending blood and energy throughout the body along that channel. In this way, acupuncture can not only heal an acute injury, but it can also heal the entire body. 

 

Diane Joswick, L.Ac., explains, "Acupuncture points are areas of designated electrical sensitivity. Inserting needles at these points stimulates various sensory receptors that, in turn, stimulate nerves that transmit impulses to the hypothalamic-pituitary system at the base of the brain.

 

The hypothalamus-pituitary glands are responsible for releasing neurotransmitters and endorphins, the body's natural pain-killing hormones. It is estimated that endorphins are 200 times more potent than morphine. Endorphins also play a big role in the functioning of the hormonal system. This is why acupuncture works well for back pain and arthritis and also for P.M.S. and infertility.

 

The substances released as a result of acupuncture not only relax the whole body, they regulate serotonin in the brain which plays a role in human and animal disposition. This is why depression is often treated with acupuncture.

 

Some of the physiological effects observed throughout the body include increased circulation, decreased inflammation, relief from pain, relief of muscle spasms and increased T-cell count which stimulates the immune system."--Acufinder.com, Diane Joswick, L.Ac., MSOM

Are there side effects?

Usually not. Acupuncture is a very safe method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and improve function.

 

Done properly, acupuncture rarely causes serious side effects. Many people feel a brief stinging sensation, like a pinprick, during insertion of the needles. Others experience a dull ache around the needle after it goes in.

 

Other problems documented by researchers resulted from mistakes made by the acupuncturists. For example, some have failed to refer their patients for other kinds of treatment that might be more effective for their illness. Others have spread serious infections by using needles that weren't sterile. A handful have injured patients by pushing a needle into a vital organ such as a lung. But overall, as the National Institutes of Health recently concluded, acupuncturists have an extremely good safety record.

 

One side effect that can occur is that the original symptoms worsening for a few days after an acupuncture treatment.  Sometimes other general changes in appetite, sleep, bowel or urination patterns, or emotional state may be triggered. These should not cause concern, as they are simply indications that the acupuncture is starting to work.  This phenomenon can be explained like this: Acupuncture is smoothing out blocked Qi (energy) that is stuck in areas of your body. When a garden hose gets a kink in it, the water stops flowing. When you straighten the hose, the built up pressure makes the water burst out in the beginning. This is what can happen when you first have acupuncture.
 
It is also common with the first one or two treatments to have a sensation of deep relaxation or even mild disorientation immediately following the treatment. These effects should wear off within 24-48 hours.--Acufinder.com, Diane Joswick, L.Ac., MSOM

 

Risks: (Some of these risks are EXTREMELY RARE!)

  1. Bruising
  2. Fainting
  3. Muscle Spasms
  4. Bleeding
  5. Nerve Damage
  6. Punctured Lung
  7. Accidental Injury to organs (Brain, Spinal Cord, Heart, Liver, Spleen, Kidney)

What is an average treatment like?

In an average treatment, you, the patient, come into my office after filling out New Patient Forms with your confidential personal information and medical history. We then discuss your chief complaint and other issues you may be having. I then take your pulses and look at your tongue, which are tools used for diagnosis in Chinese Medicine. If there is any pertinent biomedical issue, such as high blood pressure or a head cold, I will also take your temperature, pulse rate, and a blood pressure reading for reference.

 

Once I have done a thorough intake, the treatment begins. You, the patient, lie on an acupuncture table and then I swab your skin with alcohol over the points I have chosen to use in your treatment. The alcohol disinfects the area so that there is no chance of infection. I then insert the needles into various points on your body. Once all of the needles are inserted, I leave you in the room for approximately 20 minutes with a heat lamp over your feet, or preferred area of your body, to keep you warm. After 20 minutes have gone by, I return and remove all the needles. If there are any adjunctive therapies we have discussed doing, such as cupping, I will usually do them after all of the needles have been removed. If not, the treatment is over.

 

The entire initial treatment, from the beginning of the intake until needle removal, usually takes one hour, give or take. Follow-up treatments usually take less time because the intake is much shorter.

Are the needles disposable?

Yes, I use only disposable, sterile, single-use filiform acupuncture needles. They are individually packaged and sealed, and thrown away after each treatment into a regulated medical waste, or biohazard, sharps container.

How will I feel after a treatment?

Everyone is different, so how you feel after a treatment really depends. Many people getting acupuncture for the first time experience a deep relaxation, drowsiness, or even a euphoric stupor afterwards. Others don't feel anything at first, and then feel either tired and need to take a nap, or feel very energized. Sometimes for pain treatment, the pain will be gone after a treatment, sometimes it feels like nothing has happened for a few hours, and then the pain dissipates. In my experience, people generally feel relaxed and slightly foggy, so I recommend not scheduling anything important like a business meeting immediately after a treatment. People usually feel completely normal again, if not much better, in one to 3 hours.

Do Chinese herbs taste bad?

Honestly, yes, some Chinese herbs do taste bad. Some taste really bad. Some taste bland. Some taste sour. And some taste sweet. It really depends on which formula is prescribed for you, and which individual herbs comprise the formula. However, only the raw and powder herbs, as well as decoctions (which are prepared with alcohol in liquid form) have the potential to taste bad. Capsules and tablets do not. So, if you are worried about the taste of the herbs, then taking herbs in capsule or tablet form would be the way to go.

How do you take Chinese herbs?

Chinese herbs can be taken in a few different ways. It really depends on the patient and their preference for taking the herbs. Below is a list of the different forms of herbs and how they are taken.

 

  • Raw herbs/herbal decoctions
    • Raw herbs are literally that--raw. They are the actual plant, animal, or mineral before it has been ground down into powdered form and processed. Depending on the formula, raw herbs are selected and put into packets to be boiled in water by the patient at home. The herbs are then strained out of the water and consumed by the patient as a tea. The tea can last for up to two days, and then a new batch needs to be cooked. Cooking the herbs can take up to a few hours at a time.
    • Pros:
      • Herbs are in their most natural form.
      • Herbs are rapidly absorbed by the body.
      • Formulas can be customized to suite the particular needs of the patient.
    • Cons:
      • Raw herbs can be expensive.
      • Raw herbs have a short shelf-life (two days once boiled).
      • Decoctions are time-consuming and difficult to prepare correctly.
      • Herbs are bad-tasting (more so than other forms).
  • Powdered herbs/granules
    • Herbs are ground up and sifted into a relatively uniform powder, mixed with luke warm water, and ingested orally. Powders can also be applied topically to the skin. Sometimes powders can be blown up the nose or down the throat for treating localized disorders.
    • Pros:
      • Convenient to prepare. Usually 3 scoops of powder into a glass, mixed with water, ingested.
      • Herbs in powder form can be stored for long periods of time. 
      • Less expensive than raw herbs.
      • Formulas can be customized to suite the particular needs of the patient.
    • Cons:
      • Can still taste bad.
      • Some people don't like the texture of the granules when drinking them and would rather take a capsule.
  • Capsules
    • Usually these formulas are comprised of powdered herbs that have been manually encapsulated for the convenience of the patient. It is exactly the same as taking a powdered formula, just with a capsule surrounding it.
    • Pros:
      • Very convenient to take.
      • No bad taste.
      • Can be stored for long periods of time.
      • Formulas can be customized to suite the particular needs of the patient.
    • Cons:
      • Usually there is an encapsulation fee for capsules because the powder has to be placed manually inside the capsules, making these formulas slightly more expensive than the powdered form.
  • Pills or tablets (patents)
    • The herb ingredients are finely ground or pulverized, a liquid or other viscous medium is added, and round pills are formed. Pills come in large, medium, or small sizes, even as small as mustard seeds.
    • Pros:
      • Less expensive than any of the above.
      • Easily stored for long periods of time.
      • No bad taste.
      • Very convenient to take.
    • Cons:
      • Cannot be customized for the specific needs of the patient. 
      • Pills are absorbed more slowly by the body and take longer to work.
  • Tinctures
    • These are made by soaking the ingredients in a solvent (usually alcohol) to extract the active ingredients, and the heating the result to dispose of a specified percentage of the solvent. They are taken orally (squirted into the mouth with a dropper and swallowed).
    • Pros:
      • Quickly absorbed in the body (alcohol absorbs rapidly through the lining of the stomach into the bloodstream). Probably the most effecient and quick-acting way to take herbs.
      • Easy to take. Usually don't taste bad--taste more sugary and sweet than other herb forms.
    • Cons:
      • More expensive than pills or capsules, but still less expensive than raw herbs.
      • Cannot be taken by alcoholics or people with alcohol abuse problems.
      • Must be used with caution in infants due to the alcohol solvent.
  • Teas
    • Some herbal companies have created teas out of traditional Chinese formulas. These herbs come in a tea bag just like any other tea, are placed in a cup of hot water, and consumed. 
    • Pros:
      • Easy to consume and prepare.
    • Cons:
      • Can taste bad.
      • Not all formulas are made into teas. Therefore, depending on the patient's issue, teas can't always be used.
  • Injections
    • These are made by extracting the active ingredients with modern methods and preparing a sterile solution that can be administered by injection. These are injected subcutaneously, intramuscularly, or intravenously.
    • Pros:
      • Delivery of active ingredients is precise, fast, and unaffected by any interaction with the digestive system or foods.
    • Cons:
      • Patient must have injection administered by a practitioner or doctor.
      • I, Alex Leddy, do not administer herbal injections at this time.

Do you sell herbs at your clinic?

At this time, I do not have a pharmacy or large supply of patent herbs for sale at my office. When patients want herbal formulas, I prescribe them through a company called The Crane Herb Company, which is located in California and Massachusetts. I can order patent herbs through Crane, as well as make custom formulas for patients through their online pharmacy. The patient can then "pick them up" online, pay for them through Crane, and have them delivered directly to their house. I can also order herbs for patients and have them delivered to me, and the patient can pick them up at my office. 

Can I go buy my own Chinese herbs?

You can buy your own herbs from China towns in different cities in the US, although products found there can be counterfeit and are not tested and regulated, so you never quite know what you're getting. Also, if you do not know how to take the herbs, you can put your health at risk. I do not recommend trying to buy your own herbs unless you have studied Chinese medicine and herbal formulas in depth and know exactly what you are looking for. I only recommend having a licensed practitioner order or buy herbs for you. 

How long will my first appointment be?

The first appointment usually ranges from between one hour to 90 minutes. An initial front and back treatment takes longer as it includes acupuncture on both the front and back of the body. These sessions usually take from 90 minutes to 2 hours.

 

During the first appointment, I do a thorough history and intake with the patient, including taking blood pressure, pulse rate, temperature readings, feeling for pulse quality, and looking at the tongue for Chinese medicine diagnosis purposes. Then I insert needles, and let the patient rest in the room for about 20-30 minutes. Lastly, I discuss the treatment plan with the patient and discuss the option of herbs for their specific condition.

How long will follow-up appointments be?

Follow-up appointments usually ranges from between 45 minutes to one hour. A follow-up front and back treatment usually takes from 75 to 90 minutes.

 

During follow-up appointments, I do a brief intake with the patient, including finding out how they felt after their first treatment and if they feel better, worse, or the same. If they are taking herbs, we discuss how they are feeling while taking them. Then I insert needles, and let the patient rest in the room for about 20-30 minutes.

How often do I need to come?

It depends on the condition being treated and how severe it is, but usually I recommend coming in for treatments once a week. If the condition is very acute, painful, or severe, I recommend coming in at least twice per week. And if it is less painful, chronic, or not severe, I recommend coming every two weeks. Most importantly, it depends on how effective the first treatment is for the patient and how long the results last. If they feel painless for a week, then I recommend they come in a week, if they only feel painless for a couple of days, then I recommend they come back in a couple of days.

 

I always encourage an open dialogue with the patient so that we can decide together what is best for them to achieve optimum results.

Do I need to eat before my treatment?

I always recommend having a full stomach when you come in for an acupuncture treatment. This helps prevent fainting, nausea, and unpleasant side effects that occur when someone's blood sugar is low with the introduction of needles.

Can I fill out my paperwork before coming in?

Yes, you can fill out paperwork before coming in. Please click on the link below to go to the Forms page. If you do not want to fill out paperwork before coming in, please come 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time to fill it out in my office.

 

Forms

Do you take insurance?

At this time, Alex Leddy Acupuncture accepts Cigna Health Insurance, United Healthcare, and American Specialty Health Insurance. Please click on the link below for more information about insurance billing.

 

Insurance Information

What should I wear to my appointment?

I recommend wearing comfortable, baggy clothing for acupuncture treatments. This way, not only will you will be comfortable during your treatment, but I can also access most points on your body without you having to remove all of your clothes.

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Alex Leddy Acupuncture
225 N. Mill Street #114
Aspen , Colorado 81611
Phone: 970-309-5853 970-309-5853
Fax: 970-429-8118
E-mail Address:

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Business Hours

Monday: 8 am-6 pm

Tuesday: 8 am-6 pm

Wednesday: 8 am-6 pm

Thursday: 8 am-6 pm

Friday: 8 am-6 pm

Saturday & Sunday: Closed

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