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How Does My Acupuncturist Make a Diagnosis?

Posted on April 10, 2016 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (823)

When I first began working with my acupuncturist I assumed that she would just start sticking needles in and that would be that. I was pretty surprised that I had to go through a diagnosis process during the first visit. It was similar to any visit to a doctor, and at the same time very different. I know that I mentioned this earlier, but now I would like to explore a bit of the “why” involved in the process.


Ancient Chinese Medicine, including acupuncture, is meant to work with the body’s own natural healing abilities to bring both the body and the spirit back in balance. Ancient Chinese Medicine believed and believes that both are necessary to achieve wellness (Wilkowski). This means that all of the diagnostic tools look at the body as a whole.


The initial visit usually includes some type of health questionnaire. A health questionnaire just makes sense for any health practitioner. After all, it’s important to know about pre-existing conditions, medications, and general health. I didn’t even question that one.


Then came the tongue examination. Why is it important and included in every visit? The tongue is one of the maps of your body’s Qi (often pronounced chee or kee). Qi is the vital life energy circulating through your body, and is a balance of both positive and negative.


By looking at the color, coating, and shape of your tongue, your acupuncturist can tell a lot about your Qi. The color of the tongue indicates heat. Your tongue has a coating (even if you brush or scrape your tongue). The thickness of the coating, as well as the color of the coating, can indicate imbalances in certain organs. The tongue tends to change shape and size according to the amount of fluid the body retains or loses. Other deficiencies can also change the shape and size of the tongue (Try Acupuncture).


After checking my tongue, my pulse was checked. My acupuncturist checks my pulse in both wrists. Sometimes she will check in my ankles, as I have bad arthritis in both feet and fibromyalgia that affects my ability to walk without a lot of pain. Your practitioner will check pulses according to your needs. It’s all part of the life flow and energy circulating throughout your body.


Next time, we’ll look at how the information from these tools are used to help your acupuncturist determine how to treat you.


Remember, if you have questions about your treatment plan – Ask! And if you have questions about what is included in my blog posts, please post a comment.



Try Acupuncture.org. The Importance of the Tongue in Traditional Chinese Medicine. http://tryacupuncture.org/the-importance-of-the-tongue-in-traditional-chinese-medicine/


Wilkowski, Rebecca A. Acupuncture: Ancient Medicine for a New Millennium. Qi: The Journal of Traditional Eastern Health & Fitness, http://www.qi-journal.com/acupuncture.asp?Name=Ancient%20Medicine%20for%20a%20New%20Millennium&-token.D=Article


Why Choose an Acupuncturist Trained in Oriental Medicine?

Posted on November 8, 2015 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (29)

My daughter asked me why I drive 45 miles for acupuncture when I could easily find services in town. There are several reasons for my decision. One is that I am willing to travel to work with a health care provider that I like and trust. (I still drive 15 miles for my primary care physician!) The second is that I really appreciate Mandi’s gentle touch. I don’t feel tense or nervous about her inserting the acupuncture needles because I know from experience that she has a light and gentle hand. This is very important to me and I am willing to go a considerable distance to receive this special care. The third reason is that I tried the services here at Lotus Moon on the referral of a friend. I needed help and didn’t know where else to go.


Now that I have done some research and know more about acupuncture I would not go to anyone who was not a combination of two things: a licensed acupuncturist and someone trained in oriental medicine. Why is this combination so important? In Nebraska you can receive acupuncture from a doctor of chiropractic or to someone who just has a license in acupuncture, so what makes the addition of training in Oriental Medicine so special?


To be licensed in acupuncture in the state of Nebraska requires certification by NCCAOM, which requires schooling in acupuncture. This schooling can be for acupuncture alone and does not have to be in the Chinese tradition, but must include a minimum of 1905 classroom and clinical hours to qualify the student to sit for the NCCAOM certification exam in acupuncture alone, or 2625 classroom and clinical hours for acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. * Mandi completed a Master’s Degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine at Arizona School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ASAOM), which included a total of 3,146 classroom and clinical hours. As the president of ASAOM writes “Chinese Medicine teaches that we are all part of the same microcosmic and macrocosmic systems, striving to maintain a balance that results in health of mind, body and spirit.” **


I have found that the combination of acupuncture, massage and Chinese herbal therapy work together in a powerful combination to help me move toward that balance of mind, body and spirit. I have spoken to others and know that this is true for them as well. For some it is a different combination. For some it is just acupuncture. Training, touch, trust, and relationship with your acupuncturist are key, whether you are seeking acupuncture alone or a combination of acupuncture and another therapy.




*National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine http://www.nccaom.org/applicants/eligibility-requirements

**Holland, Alex, Arizona School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine http://www.asaom.edu/admissions/programs/#program1



Posted on October 24, 2015 at 1:05 AM Comments comments (50)

Hi, I’m Laurie. Like many of us, I turned to acupuncture because I hadn’t found sufficient pain relief from traditional medicine without massive doses of narcotics. I was lucky, I had a friend who suggested acupuncture and referred me to a wonderful acupuncturist - Mandi. My friend was able to tell me what to expect, who would be good, and why it would help. For many, there isn’t anyone to do the referring.

Being a naturally curious sort, I’ve asked a lot of questions during my time here. I’ve also begun to do a lot of research. I hope that what I share will be of help to you, as it has been of help to me.

Today is Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day, so I thought I’d celebrate by sharing what I experienced on my first visit for acupuncture. Maybe this will answer some of the questions and concerns that are keeping you from booking your first appointment!

I was a little surprised that I had to fill out a health questionnaire before I even arrived for my first appointment. It was a lot like those I had filled out for every medical office I had ever been to. When I arrived, Mandi spent time reviewing the paperwork with me (observing me the whole time). She then asked me to stick out my tongue. After looking at it closely, she made some notes. Further conversation followed, and another look at my tongue. Then we moved to the treatment room, which was dimly lit and had low soothing music playing. I removed my shoes and socks and lay down on the table. Mandi checked my pulse, using 3 fingers on each wrist. She then moved to my feet and began inserting needles. I did feel a little tiny poke with the first needle because I was tensed up and expecting it, but it was so minute that I laughed. I really didn’t feel anything after that. I just relaxed for about 20 minutes and enjoyed a quiet time listening to the music.

Everyone has a different experience before, during and after their treatments, but acupuncturists like Mandi complete thousands of hours of training and their goal is to make you feel better – not to hurt you. Like any good health practitioner, they work with you to come up with a plan that works for you, and with all of the other pieces of your health care regime. This has certainly been my experience.

Stay tuned for more information on acupuncture and oriental medicine. Why does Mandi look at your tongue? What do the needles do? Where do the practices come from? Have a question? Let me know and I’ll try to find out. Like I said – I’m a naturally curious sort, and I like to research!

Happy Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day!



Coming Soon!

Posted on October 22, 2015 at 9:15 PM Comments comments (2874)

Saturday, October 24, 2015 is launch day!

Watch for our first post and help celebrate



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