My practice utilizes a pro-active approach for the patient that emphasizes patient education, integration of specialties, and comprehensive care, vital in the cure of difficult and chronic problems, with the goal to help you to achieve a cure—not just control your symptoms. Patient education allows you to make the choices of lifestyle changes and therapeutic routines that suit your schedule and continues the work of getting well, nurturing health and longevity, and preventing illness, beyond the time spent with the physician. Of course, the best utilization of the TCM specialty is always preventive, and comprehensive and intelligent care that prevents future disease and injury with careful individualized assessment and advice is an intelligent choice for healthy patients as well.

The patient that seeks care for the first time from the Licensed Acupuncturist often does so after unsuccessful treatment from standard medicine. This is because insurance coverage of acupuncture and related physiotherapies may be difficult, and public knowledge of this field of medicine is still limited. Often, the patient is frustrated by the time that they decide to see if acupuncture can help where standard treatment has failed. Too often, the patient's frustration is compounded by the fact that they still are in the dark as to the true nature of their condition. These days, patients often resort to the internet to better understand their medical problem, but these sites are often created to sell a product, not to provide a clear explanation. Consequently, I have worked for years to present clear and highly supported evidence-based information on diseases, injuries and treatments on this website, which can be explored by my patients and everyone across the planet. The patient is often the head of a team of physicians trying to form the best integrated treatment protocol, and develop a mind-body approach to therapy. Building an intelligent understanding of their health problems makes this work, although it often involves much work. The results are sometimes astounding, though, when practical medicines and treatments are applied to specific aspects of disease, along with a holistic approach.

My practice provides the time and care to professionally explain to the patient the details of their condition so that a step-by-step practical solution can be found. Human physiology is complex, and this process of understanding can be itself frustrating, but is often vitally important for the resolution of the health problem and prevention of recurrence. Also, since the body is so complexly regulated by the mind, understanding of the problem by the patient establishes a mind-body mechanism that is often an integral part of healing.

The medical approach may vary widely between physicians and is very important when choosing health care providers. Choosing a physician is not like buying a car, and there is a huge difference between TCM physicians, in a medical specialty that is complex in both treatment scope and schools of thought.

It is important to understand that therapy helps your body to correct itself, but it is your body that is ultimately doing the work. The body is not a machine. It is a living organism that needs to be set on a course that corrects dysfunction. Because of this a pro-active approach is vitally important. We have been taught that we can just mindlessly take pills, get surgery and not think about what our bodies are doing to heal. We often leave our care entirely in the hands of the experts, hoping that these people will fix us. Often, this is a frustrating experience. By depending more on yourself to achieve a cure, manage your care, and utilize experts to help you, your chance of success will by greatly enhanced. Also, patient efforts to counter side effects of pharmaceutical medicines and to properly rehabilitate from surgical procedures with Complementary and Integrative Medicine (CIM) may be the key to your successful healthcare approach and outcome.

By utilizing a multi-disciplinary approach, difficult and chronic problems will be solved where a single therapy fails. Even within the practice of acupuncture a multi-disciplinary approach works best. Combining the various physiotherapies of TCM insures a greater chance of success. Acupuncture alone often works well, and this is the easiest and most lucrative way to practice, with the least time spent on each patient, yet combining acupuncture with herbal medicine, dietary supplements, Tuina physiotherapies, and patient instruction increases the chance of a speedy recovery and cure exponentially. Each of these disciplines acts in a symbiotic way to enhance the effectiveness of the other. This is my approach. It was arrived at both by personal experience as a patient, and by years of experience treating difficult cases.

Combining TCM with the care of your medical doctors in a complementary and integrative approach will often increase the chance of success tenfold, and research around the world is finally confirming this fact.

Today, many medical doctors are offering less invasive and harmful approaches to your medical care, such as prolotherapy for the arthritic joints, bioidentical hormone therapy for endocrine dysfunction, laser surgery and other minimally invasive techniques for cancerous tumors and spinal repair. Often, these techniques require much follow-up and complementary care to be fully successful. My practice provides both the modern medical knowledge and approach and the array of time proven therapies to insure a greater chance of success. By combining the traditional knowledge of centuries of Chinese medicine with the latest research, and using the whole array of therapeutic protocol, with acupuncture, direct soft tissue physiotherapy, herbal prescription, nutrient medicine, instruction in targeted stretch and exercise, dietary change and ergonomic changes, you can count on a better outcome. The time intensive care provided will help you understand laboratory and radiology reports and fully integrate the findings with your Complementary protocol. Why take a chance on a healthy outcome? Utilize a professional herbalist and Complementary physician, and a fully trained and experienced acupuncturist to obtain the greatest benefits from this type of care.

Insurance coverage and the use of health savings accounts and wellness plans at work are an important part of your health management, and this office participates in numerous medical provider plans from various insurers, and works closely with the patient to explain and simplify reimbursement from a variety of resources, including tax-advantaged health care plans.

My participation in such medical provider networks as Cigna, Beechstreet, Aetna, United HealthCare, MultiPlan, Clarispoint, AcuCare, and many other provider networks, insures that your care will be covered if your policy is contracted to cover acupuncture services. These network participations reduce my fees, and complicate the practice, but I participate in these networks to better serve my patients. Since my practice is small, it is best that the patient contacts customer service by calling the phone number listed on your card and asking about coverage for acupuncture and my participation in your network. Sometimes, plans will also cover out of network providers, and if I am not listed, ask about this type of coverage. You should also ask about deductibles, which are the amounts that you are required to pay out of pocket at the start of your calendar year for all health services, limitations of coverage, and what types of medical conditions are considered as evidence-supported in the use of acupuncture therapies. By personally understanding your actual insurance benefits, you eliminate the worry that your insurer will not cover all of your medical bills. Often, the insurer does not actually inform me of limited or denied coverage until 90 days after billing, and is not required to truthfully inform me, when I call, of the exact details of the patient coverage. When the patient checks on insurance benefits themselves, the insurer is required to inform the customer truthfully and correctly, although the patient must ask the pertinent questions correctly.

If your plan does not cover acupuncture, or I am not a network provider and out-of-network coverage for acupuncture is not part of the plan, you may already have, or set up, a health savings account, a health spending account, a wellness plan at work, or other types of reimbursable health packages that will cover my services. Even if this health spending account requires a full contribution by the patient, these accounts are either a pretax deduction that lowers your taxable income, or a full tax exemption, if you are self-employed. This means that use of these health spending accounts reduces your tax burden, and thus the services are discounted, or even fully reimbursed in the future. A superbill from this office is given to accomodate such reimbursements from health spending accounts. Information on these types of packages is provided by this physician. By taking a proactive approach to your insurance or health spending benefits, you reduce the financial worry that often gets in the way of treatment and fully and quickly regaining your health or preventing future health problems.

The Tradition of Approach in TCM

“Whenever a physician treats an illness, he must quiet his spirit and settle his will, he must be free of wants and desires, and he must first develop a heart full of great compassion and empathy." Sun Si Miao, the great Tang dynasty TCM Daoist physician hailed as the King of Medicinals in Chinese history. This history of focus on patient care, not the monetary rewards, still guides TCM practice.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has consistently promoted historical approaches to treatment outlined by the most revered physicians in its history. Study of TCM includes these classic pearls of knowledge and wisdom, and encourage practitioners today to continue these traditions. One of the most famous of the early revered TCM physicians was Sun Si Miao, of the Sui and Tang dynasties, who lived from 581 to 682 AD, and was given the title of Yaowang, or Medicine's Monarch. His many writings included treatises on medical ethics, and he is compared to Hippocrates in describing the ethics and approach of a sincere physician.

Sun Si Miao wrote in the text On the Absolute Sincerity of Great Physicians: “Whenever a physician treats an illness, he must quiet his spirit and settle his will, he must be free of wants and desires, and he must first develop a heart full of great compassion and empathy. He must pledge to devote himself completely to relieving the suffering of all sentient beings. If patients suffering from disease come to him seeking help, he many not inquire whether they are nobility or low class or poor or wealthy, (or consider their) old age or youth, beauty or ugliness, or whether he detests or likes them or whether they are his friend, whether they are Chinese or barbarian (foreigner), a fool or a sage. He must treat all of them exactly the same as if they were his closest relative. Neither must he 'look to the front while turning around to cover his back', worry about his personal fortune or misfortune, and guard and cherish his own life. When seeing the suffering and grief of others, he must act as if it were his own and open his heart deeply to their misery. He must not avoid dangerous mountains with rugged cliffs, any time of day or night, the cold of winter or heat of summer, hunger or thirst, fatique and exhaustion. He must singlemindedly attend to their rescue without thinking of efforts or appearances. Acting like this, he can serve as a great physician for the masses; acting against this, he is a gigantic thief to all sentient beings."

More importantly, Sun Si Miao elucidated approaches in Traditional Chinese Medicine that were foolish. He wrote that upon completing three years of medical school training that many practitioners still have trouble successfully treating a single disease. He wrote: “For this reason, students must absolutely acquaint themselves to the greatest extent with the origins of medicine, studying tirelessly with absolute diligence. They may not recklessly repeat rumors (e.g. advertised claims and unsubstantiated reports of herbs having miraculous curing potential) and then claim that this is all there is to the Way of Medicine! Deep indeed is their self-delusion." As one sees from perusing my website, my devotion to continued study and diligent pursuit of medical fact and understanding, both from modern evidence and historical documentation, defines my approach. Too often, modern day physicians do not follow this sage advice of Sun Si Miao, one of the greatest medical doctors in Chinese and world history.

Finally, Sun Si Miao did more than any other Chinese physician to define the holistic approaches in TCM. Sabine Wilms, who holds a Ph.D. in East Asian Studies from the University of Arizona, and has specialized in the writings of Sun Si Miao and Medical Anthropology, and is a founding author at The Chinese Medicine Database, wrote an article for the Journal of Chinese Medicine in June of 2010, Nurturing Life in Classical Chinese Medicine, in which she outlines the importance of the approaches to medicine and health that Sun Si Miao outlined in his encyclopedic treatise Essential Prescriptions. She writes that before Sun Si Miao, the importance and popularity of nurturing health and longevity (health in old age) with a holistic program, called yang sheng, or 'nurturing vitality', focused on personal cultivation. This holistic regimen utilized dietary principles, a reclusive lifestyle, movement and breathing exercises with visualization of the circulation of qi, or qi gong, visualization meditation, and sexual cultivation aimed at the enhancement of the female orgasm in coitus. Dr. Wilms writes that Sun Si Miao, as a Daoist, extended this notion of yang sheng to encompass nurturing of the macrocosmic life and society as a whole as well. It was important to individual health to become one with your society and with the universe as well, and be aware of the totality of sentient and non-sentient spiritual beings in the macrocosm. By extending this awareness and focus to this greater macrocosm, the TCM physician could harmonize the individual with the world outside the individual, and bring much greater health and longevity to the patient. This approach is also integral to my practice.

The Tradition of a Preventive Medicine approach in TCM

The great Cambridge historian, Joseph Needham, in his sixth volume of Science and Civilization in China, illustrated the early approach to medicine as practiced by the famed Daoist physicians of Traditional Chinese Medicine by quoting from the He Guan Zi, an historical compilation from the third century BCE, where one part describes a conversation between the king of Zhuo Xiang, and the son of Duke Xiao of the state of Zhao, with his general, Fang Xuan, who like many generals of his time, was also a physician. Keep in mind that at this time in history, the fine steel acupuncture needles were just being created, and the choices in acupuncture often involved needles made of thicker and softer metals or fine slivers of jade and quartz called 'stone needles'.

“Fang Xuan said to the king of Zhuo Xiang, 'Have you not heard that Duke Wen of Wei asked the great physician Bian Que “of your three brothers, which is the best physician?" Bian Que answered “The eldest is the best, then the second, and I am the least worthy of the three." Duke Wen said, “Might I hear about this?" Bian Que replied, “My eldest brother, in dealing with disease, is attentive to the shen (state of mind, demeanor, consciousness). Before (any symptoms) have formed, he has already got rid of it. Thus his fame has never reached beyond our clan. My next brother treats disease when its signs are most subtle, so his name is unknown beyond our own village. As for myself, I use stone needles on the blood vessels (bleeding techniques), prescribe strong drugs, and fortify the skin and the flesh (perform surgery). Thus my name has become known among all the feudal lords.“ This quote reveals, even in this early time period, the benefits of the more traditional and conservative approaches in traditional medicine as compared to the more dramatic approaches with stronger chemicals and corrective surgeries once the disease is more severe. Bian Que was often cited as an example in Traditional Chinese medical literature. In this passage, we see the respect for the more conservative and preventive medical approach that did not garner the fame, attention or reward, but was considered by Bian Que the superior approach.

Today, like in 300 BCE in China, patients are more likely to wait till they are in a serious condition and their disease is more critical, turning to allopathic medicine to alter the course of the disease. The intelligent approach, though, is to consult with the superior physician who is able to observe the signs and symptoms of each individual carefully, assess the health, and take the steps to prevent the occurrence of serious manifestations of disease. While the results of this approach are, shall we say, hidden, the outcome is far superior. I would encourage all patients to seek care in Complementary Medicine and TCM to prevent health problems and disease, as well as injury, and my practice and knowledge encompasses this type of medical preventive approach. In fact, all treatment in TCM should address the root health of the individual and prevent disease or injury by increasing the overall health and homeostatic function. This is the side effect of the specific treatments in TCM, a boon to underlying health and prevention of future health problems, yet this is rarely acknowledged or appreciated, just as in the days of Bian Que.