Frequently Asked Questions
Can Acupuncture Help Me?
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Women's Health
Special Focus
Case Studies
Contact Meredith St. John
For More Information
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Health as Harmony
The Five Elements


Acupuncture points on the meridians have very specific uses. For example, if you have a stubborn, dry cough, there are points for moistening. If you have a productive, hacking cough with lots of mucus, there are points to help clear the phlegm and quiet the cough. There are points to help restore the appetite and points to calm it down when you're ravenously hungry all the time. There are points to start the menstrual cycle when it is late and points to stop it when the flow is too heavy. Your acupuncturist is skilled in selecting the right combination of points for you during each treatment.

Acupuncture needles are tiny, solid filaments that are inserted in the skin. The needles are sterile and disposable, just like needles in the doctor's office. But acupuncture treatment doesn't feel anything like getting an injection. Acupuncturists are skilled in setting the needles quickly and painlessly. Sometimes it feels like a quick pinch that rapidly subsides. You may feel a heaviness or fullness at the points, or spreading warmth, or zinging, as if something is flowing. The treatment is usually very relaxing. Many patients nap or rest. Afterward you can expect to feel more energy, less pain, less stress, and heightened sense of well-being.

Your acupuncturist will work out a plan with you for the number of treatments you may need, depending on the severity of your symptoms and how long you have had them. Colds and flus, that develop quickly over a day or two, can usually be greatly helped by one or two treatments. Chronic health problems that have developed over months and years will typically require a longer course of treatment.



What you eat and drink has an enormous impact on your health and on the condition of your qi. Your acupuncturist can advise you about foods that complement your treatment. For example, if your body makes too much mucus and you have a problem like sinusitis or asthma, you may benefit from reducing dairy and cold or raw foods. Many foods benefit yin and yang and help regulate qi imbalances.

Herbal Medicine

Herbal treatments are available today that have been in continuous use for over two thousand years. In ancient times, herbalists studied at their father's knee and passed along herbal formulas, or combinations of herbs, reverently to the next generation. Modern practitioners of Chinese herbal medicine have studied for years to learn how to prescribe the best combinations for your specific health problem. Modern herbal pharmaceutical companies are working to adapt their products for western consumers. Herbs are available that have been tested for purity and packaged according to FDA regulations. Generations of patients have been successfully treated with herbs alone or combined with acupuncture.

text copyright @2003 by
Meredith St. John,
Boston, MA