Needham Newton Wellesley Clinic
1410 Highland Ave, Needham, MA 02492
Tel: (781) 492-2899     (Next to Townhall)
Boston Cambridge Brookline Clinic
7 Whittier Place, Boston, MA 02114 (Next to MGH)
Tel: (617) 642-4088      email:

Free Parking/Next to T     Medical Building     Evening & Weekend Available
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Boston Chinese Acupuncture Center

Needham Office

1410 Highland Ave. Suite 102

Needham, MA 02492

Tel: 781 492 2899

Fax: 781 444 9889


Boston Office

7 Whittier Place

Boston, MA 02114

Tel: 617 642 4088

Fax: 617 227 9889


A Comprehensive Chinese Medicine Provider           


      What is acupuncture?
      Is acupuncture safe?
      Is acupuncture painful?
      Are the needles clean?
      What can acupuncture treat?
      What does acupuncture feel like?
      How might acupuncture work?
      How widely is acupuncture used in the United States?
      How many treatments are needed?
      What can I expect during my first visit?

      What are Chinese herbs?
      Where do Chinese herbs come from and how are they grown?
      How are Chinese herbs being taken?
      Are Chinese herbs taste bitter?
      How are the right herbs selected?
      Are Chinese herbs toxic and do they have side effects?

      What is acupuncture?
      Acupuncture is one of the oldest, most commonly used medical procedures in the world. Originating in China more than 5,000 years ago, acupuncture is getting more and more popular in the United States.

      Acupuncture is a medical procedure involving stimulation of anatomical points (called acupoints) on the body by a variety of techniques. The acupuncture technique that has been most studied scientifically involves penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic, hair-size needles that are manipulated by the hands or by electrical stimulation. Zhang uses the standard Traditional Chinese acupuncture technique in his practice.

      Is acupuncture safe?
      The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved acupuncture needles for use by licensed practitioners in 1996. The FDA requires that sterile, nontoxic needles be used and that they be labeled for single use by qualified practitioners only.

      Very few complications from the use of acupuncture have been reported to the FDA Practitioners should use a new set of disposable needles taken from a sealed package for each patient and should swab treatment sites with alcohol or another disinfectant before inserting needles. Only sterile disposable needles are used in Zhang's practice.

      Is acupuncture painful?
      When people talk about needles, they think of needles used by nurse for injection. Actually it is totally wrong. Acupuncture needles are metallic, solid, and hair-thin. If your treatment is provided by an experienced acupuncturist, you feel no or minimal pain. Over 98% of Zhang's patients feel no any pain, so you never have to worry about pain at Acuhealing.

      Are the needles clean?
      Only sterilized, individually packaged, disposable needles are allowed to use by licensed acupuncturists according to FDA requirement. This eliminates the possibility of transmitting a communicable disease by a contaminated needle.

      What can acupuncture treat?
      According to the NIH resource, promising results have emerged, showing efficacy of acupuncture, for example, in adult postoperative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting and in postoperative dental pain. There are other situations--such as addiction, stroke rehabilitation, headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low-back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and asthma--in which acupuncture may be useful as an adjunct treatment or an acceptable alternative or be included in a comprehensive management program. An NCCAM-funded study recently showed that acupuncture provides pain relief, improves function for people with osteoarthritis of the knee, and serves as an effective complement to standard care. Further research is likely to uncover additional areas where acupuncture interventions will be useful.

      NIH has funded a variety of research projects on acupuncture. These grants have been funded by NCCAM, its predecessor the Office of Alternative Medicine, and other NIH institutes and centers. Zhang has worked on several clinical trials in Massachusetts General Hospital regarding acupuncture's effect on hypertension, side effect of chemotherapy on cancer patients, stroke funded by NIH.

      World Health Organization list 43 conditions:

      Acupuncture therapy is appropriate for the conditions listed here.

      Abdominal pain
      Poor vision
      Premenstrual syndrome
      Menopausal symptoms
      Addiction control
      Athletic performance
      Blood pressure regulation
      Chronic fatigue
      Immune system toning
      Stress reduction
      Back pain
      Neck pain
      Muscle pain
      Muscle weakness
      Muscle cramping
      Neurogenic bladder dysfunction
      Parkinson's disease
      Post-operative pain
      Asthma Bronchitis
      Common cold Sinusitis
      Smoking cessation

      What does acupuncture feel like?
      Acupuncture needles are metallic, solid, and hair-thin. People experience acupuncture differently, but most feel no or minimal pain as the needles are inserted. Some people are energized by treatment, while others feel relaxed. Improper needle placement, movement of the patient, or a defect in the needle can cause soreness and pain during treatment. This is why it is important to seek treatment from a qualified experienced acupuncture practitioner.

      How might acupuncture work?
      Practitioners of Chinese medicine seek to promote or restore health by diagnosing and treating "disharmonies" or "imbalances" in the qi, or vital energy of the body. In the Chinese Medicine system, the body is seen as a delicate balance of two opposing and inseparable forces: yin and yang. Yin represents the cold, slow, or passive principle, while yang represents the hot, excited, or active principle. Among the major assumptions in TCM are that health is achieved by maintaining the body in a "balanced state" and that disease is due to an internal imbalance of yin and yang. This imbalance leads to blockage in the flow qi (vital energy) along pathways known as meridian. It is believed that there are 12 main meridians and 8 secondary meridians and that there are more than 2,000 acupuncture points on the human body that connect with them.

      Acupuncture produces its effects through regulating the nervous system, thus aiding the activity of pain-killing biochemicals such as endorphins and immune system cells at specific sites in the body. In addition, studies have shown that acupuncture may alter brain chemistry by changing the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones and, thus, affecting the parts of the central nervous system related to sensation and involuntary body functions, such as immune reactions and processes that regulate a person's blood pressure, blood flow, and body temperature.

      How widely is acupuncture used in the United States?
      In the past two decades, acupuncture has grown in popularity in the United States. The report from a Consensus Development Conference on Acupuncture held at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1997 stated that acupuncture is being "widely" practiced--by thousands of physicians, dentists, acupuncturists, and other practitioners--for relief or prevention of pain and for various other health conditions. According to the 2002 National Health Interview Survey-- an estimated 8.2 million U.S. adults had ever used acupuncture, and an estimated 2.1 million U.S. adults had used acupuncture in the previous year.

      How many treatments are needed?
      The number of treatments necessary depends on a whole host of factors relating to the specific individual. For example, the duration of the illness, general state of energy, constitution, life style, are all taken into consideration. Generally speaking the more acute the disease the sooner it will respond, although there are instances where acupuncture has brought quick ref to many chronic problems. The initial treatments will usually be twice a week and their frequency will be decreased as the person progresses, to once a week, twice a month etc, until there is only a need for an occasional preventative check-up.

      What can I expect during my first visit?
      During your first office visit, the practitioner will ask you about your health condition, lifestyle, and behavior, look at your face and tongue, take your pulse. The practitioner will want to obtain a complete picture of your treatment needs and behaviors that may contribute to your condition. Inform the acupuncturist about all treatments or medications you are taking and all medical conditions you have.

      After the practitioner takes all the information from you, he will make a TCM diagnosis, then start the first treatment. It took about an hour for your first visit and treatment.

      What are Chinese herbs?
      Chinese people have been using natural herbs to treat a wide variety of diseases and conditions. These herbs are called Chinese herbal medicine, which are composed of roots, bark, flowers, seeds, fruits, leaves, and branches of plants. Chinese herb medicine is one of most important part of Traditional Chinese Medicine which also includes acupuncture, acupressure, cupping, qigong and Taichi. There are over 6000 different herbs that can be used for medical purposes, around 200 to 300 of them are commonly used.

      The term "herbal" medicine is actually not quite correct. Although about 90 % of the medicinal substances used are of plant origin, another 10 % are derived from minerals. Chinese "Materia Medica" lists a total of 5,767 substances.

      Where do Chinese herbs come from and how are they grown?
      Chinese herbs coming to the US are grown primarily in China or other Asian countries. The Chinese have developed refined methods of cultivation for large yields of high quality herbs. Some raw materials are grown outside of China, imported for processing and may be exported again.

      How are Chinese herbs being taken?
      The classic way of ingesting Chinese herbs is to make a decoction from raw dried materials. This means that the herbs are cooked at a low boil for a long time and then drunk as a tea. It is very inconvenient and most Americans object it. Since 1990's, Chinese scientists have developed a very nice form of herbal medicine called scientific herbal. The active ingredients of herbal are insolated and concentrated as powder. Each single herb is insolated individually and packed in single bottle. They are prepared by Chinese pharmaceutical companies and have better effects than the raw herb. All you need to do is just put the powder in a cup, mix with hot water and drink like a tea.

      Are Chinese herbs taste bitter?
      The active ingredients of Chinese herbs are frequently roots and barks. They need to be cooked for a long time to extract the active ingredients which make them bitter. How ever, since the use of scientific herbal powder, the herbal tastes less bitter and easier to take.

      How are the right herbs selected?
      Chinese herbal medicine is prescripted according to TCM diagnosis. The practitioner will take a thorough health history, ask questions regarding all body functions, feel the wrist pulse, look at the tongue and palpate certain body areas to make a clear diagnosis. The herbal powder will be selected according to the diagnosis and Chinese medicine theory.

      Are Chinese herbs toxic and do they have side effects?
      Most of the components of Chinese herbal medicine have a very low toxicity compared to OTC Western drugs. When they are prescribed according to a correct TCM pattern diagnosis, they should have few, if any, side effects, only beneficial healing results.

      Toxic parts of plants are removed or processed to eliminate toxicity. Herbs with potential side effects are combined appropriately and given in small doses only. The most common side effect may be some bloating because of the cloying nature of tonic herbs. This can easily be corrected by adding digestive herbs into the prescription.

      If you experience any discomfort while taking Chinese herbal medicine, tell your practitioner ASAP.

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