Frequently Asked Questions
What is an ND?
An ND in Washington State is a holistic primary care/family doctor that utilizes natural therapies, counseling, diet and lifestyle changes as their core identity. Their scope of practice in WA allows them to prescribe medications, run and order lab test, imaging, and perform minor office procedures. Simply put, Naturopaths are doctors who practice the integration of both the natural and modern sciences.
How is an ND different from a DO?
DO's are also considered primary care physicians but with a heavy focus on the musculoskeletal system and have made a push to be more in line with MD medical care practices.
What can I expect from an ND visit?
Your first ND visit will be primarily focused on collecting client information and a comprehensive medical history. This visit may range from 1-1.5 hours and may or may not include treatment at the end depending on time. Follow-up visits range from 30-45 min.
When should I see an ND? For what conditions?
Treat an ND like any other family doctor or primary care physician with a natural and holistic twist. ND's see a variety of diseases and concerns, and all ages, from infants to the elderly and everything in between. Naturopathy is at its best when treating chronic illnesses, although it can address many minor acute situations as well. Even if natural therapy is not the primary method of treatment, there are many things your ND can work with you on to improve your health status, manage symptoms of other treatments, and/or compliment other therapies.
What modalities (therapies) are used?
ND's are trained in the practice of herablism, counseling, mind-body therapy, physical medicine, homeopathy, nutrition, IV therapy, and lifestyle counseling. Some choose to specialize in certain modalities and refer out for others, and some practice them all.
Are ND visits covered by health insurance?
Health insurance coverage for ND's varies among companies and region. Most WA State insurances now cover some ND visits, but it is the client's responsibility to double check their benefits with their insurance provider prior to making an appointment to ensure adequate coverage.
What can I expect with an Acu visit?
Your first acupuncture visit will be 1 hour long, focused on collecting client information and a comprehensive medical history from a TCM perspective - this will differ a little from an ND visit. The appointment will end with a short treatment session. Your follow-up visit will be 30 min. with treatment being the priority.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Aside from a very quick prick when the needle is first inserted, acupuncture should not hurt or be uncomfortable. Some clients report short periods of tingling, a dull ache, muscle twitch, or a heavy sensation with certain points during needle insertion -- this is all normal and can be expected, although some points will elicit no reaction at all which does not mean "it's not working." Of course each person's sensitivity will vary but an acupuncture treatment should be relaxing, rejuvenating, and overall painless.
Is it safe?
Yes, acupuncture is actually a very safe when performed by a professionally trained and experienced practitioner. It is not recommended to receive acupuncture from someone who is not a Licensed Acupuncturist.
What type of needles are used and are they reusable?
The standard needles used in the United States are sterile, disposable needles made of surgical stainless steel. They are single-use only, therefore, are never reused under any circumstances. Needles vary in length and gauge depending on the area of the body being worked on.
Are there side effects?
Acupuncture is a very safe form of therapy, even if it seems like it shouldn't be with needles being the treatment tool of choice. Some clients may experience any of these after a treatment:
calm, relaxed, sleepy/fatigue
feeling worse before getting better
Rare instances from Acu
a drop of blood post needle removal from the point
bruising around a point
circular bruising pattern, redness of the skin
redness, bruising, soreness/tenderness of the skin
Can pregnant women and children receive acupuncture treatments?
Yes, it is safe even for pregnant women and young children. Different techniques and needles sizes are used, as well as careful considerations taken with these clients.
Which conditions can Acu therapy help?
Acupuncture is a holistic therapy and address multiple conditions and concerns at once, from the mind to the body, all can benefit from Acu therapy. Some ailments respond better to Acu than others, these include aches and pains, problems relating to sleep, digestion, the skin, mental-emotional, and stress. Many other conditions will benefit from the combination of other therapies along with Acu, these will be assessed and prescribed by your physician.
Can I get acupuncture if I don't have a "problem" or "disease"?
But of course! Acupuncture, like Naturopathic medicine and CHM, aims to maintain health and prevent disease. Many clients receive regular treatment as a form of self-care and wellness instead of utilizing it like a "pill" for only when a problem has developed.
Are Acu visits covered by health insurance?
Most WA State insurances now cover Acu to an extent, therefore, it is the client's responsibility to double check their benefits with their provider prior to making an appointment to ensure adequate coverage. Please note that cupping, Tui Na, Gua Sha, and moxibustion specifically are not likely covered.
What can I expect at a CHM visit?
Your first visit will be 45 min. to an hour long where your doctor will sit down with you to discuss your main health concerns, compete a TCM assessment and diagnosis, and prescribe an herbal formula(s) at the end of the visit in the form of tea parcels or raw herbs. Follow-up visits will be 15-30 min. long and follow the same principles.
How are herbs prescribed?
Herbs will be dispensed either as bulk herbs or tea parcels in 1-week prescriptions. Exceptions for longer periods can be made for certain situations and special circumstances as approved by the doctor.
What are tea parcels?
Tea parcels are unique especially in the United States, not many CHM practitioners have access to them. Here at TNMA, Dr. Tseng brews the medicinal teas herself in a large, self-contained, stainless steel, automated decoction (cooking) and packaging machine specifically designed for this process imported directly from China. The final product is the tea in small 100 mL parcels ready for consumption. This takes the hassle and time-consuming aspects out of the equation for patients, yet preserves the powerful effects of the herbs. CHM in tea form produces the highest therapeutic effect over the powder (granules) and tea pill forms. For this reason, they come at a higher cost.
What are bulk herbs?
These are dried herbs in whole form measured out according to weight. If clients wish to brew the herbs themselves at home, this is the other option instead of the parcels. This option is much cheaper but will require the purchasing of a decoction pot, and a couple hours of brewing, monitoring, and measuring the tea each time. As expected, most clients do not have the time or energy to sustain this.
Does it taste good?
I think you already know the answer =D Formulas have an earthy/herby taste to it but can also be bitter, sweet, spicy, sour, among others depending on which herbs are included and their ratios. Be prepared for something out of this world, but if you like trying new things, you'll get a kick out it.
Is it safe?
Yes, CHM for the most part is very safe for all ages and all walks of life, even for young children and during pregnancy, when prescribed by an experienced practitioner. Be sure to notify your provider if you are or have the possibility of being pregnant.
Are there side effects?
Chinese herbs are powerful and can cause unwanted results (though not serious) if not taken as directed. These will be addressed by your provider during your appointment.
Can I take Chinese herbs if I'm on medication?
Yes, drug interactions are not a concern for the majority of herbs used and formulas prescribed. There are some exceptions and special considerations so be sure to provide a fully updated list of medications you're currently taking to your practitioner.
Which conditions can CHM help?
CHM is a holistic therapy which means it can treat a whole host of problems, mental, emotional, and physical concerns at the same time -- even in a single formula. CHM is one of the most powerful and widest reaching of all the holistic and natural therapies. Ask your doctor at TNMA if this is something you're interested in!
Do the herbs come with the appointment?
Unfortunately they are a separate charge. Please note that all herbal prescription (bulk or tea parcels) costs are in addition to appointment fees and are not covered by any insurances -- these are strictly out-of-pocket expenses.
Are CHM visits covered by health insurance?
Unfortunately, to the best of our knowledge, no aspect of CHM (appointments or herbs) is covered by health insurance.