Frequently Asked Questions

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an ancient medical treatment that helps millions of people get well and stay healthy. It is one of the three branches of Asian medicine, including herbology and bodywork therapy.

How safe is acupuncture?

Extremely thin, use-once disposable needles are used. Insertion is gentle and subtle to help unblock pools of stagnant Qi energy and stimulate the body's natural flow of it. The needle-shy can feel re-assured that subtle acupressure will help to warm and open the points prior to needling.

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture is based on ancient Chinese theories of the flow of Qi (Energy) and Xue (Blood) through meridians or pathways that course through the body like major highways or a communication system. Acupuncture harmonizes Qi and Xue imbalances between deficiencies and excesses.

How should I prepare?

• Print and complete the necessary forms that are accessed within the "New Patients" page. This helps allow maximum time for treatment during your first session. Scan and email them back or mail them by postal service. Alternatively, bring them with you to the first session.

• Eat something within several hours prior to a session. Avoid a hefty meal but a light snack is acceptable.

• Avoid caffeine for at least three hours and refrain from alcohol and non-prescribed drugs for at least six hours before a treatment.

• It's helpful to keep a journal between sessions to make note of any changes in symptoms or levels of pain.

What is the difference between Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) acupuncture and Medical Acupuncture?

TCM training such as Janet's requires at least 3,000 hours of education. This includes indepth study of the extremely complex medical modality of TCM as well as clinical practice during an internship that is supervised by professors of TCM. A TCM practitioner must also pass national (NCCAOM) exams and meet rigorous requirements for licensure by the State of Texas, including additional education each year. “Medical acupuncture” refers to non-TCM persons that may legally insert acupuncture needles after much less training. Chiropractors may call themselves acupuncturists and begin inserting needles after completion of 100 hours of training. Medical doctors may do the same after 300 hours.

What can I expect in a treatment?

New patients are asked to complete forms from this website if they have not already done so. Many further questions are asked in person because Chinese medical patterns describe the whole person, not just the disease or major complaint. For example, information is helpful about your appetite, diet, elimination, energy, sleep, mood, perspiration, body temperature, reproductive history and many other details beyond the main complaints. This provides a fairly complete picture of you as an individual. All answers are confidential and any patient questions are answered.

Further treatments will not involve as many questions.

Your pulse will be felt on both wrists and your tongue will briefly be examined. These important diagnostic tools will then be combined into a complete picture. Treatment may involve acupuncture, cupping, warming via moxa or a special lamp, integrated and specific acupressure techniques, an herbal prescription and/or nutritional counseling.

During acupuncture and at the point of insertion on your body, you may feel a vague numbness, heaviness, tingling, a dull ache, and/or a sensation of cold or warmth.

Sometimes people experience a sensation of energy spreading and moving around the needle; this is called the "Qi sensation". All these reactions are positive and a sign that the treatment is working. Sometimes a patient feels nothing yet the treatment is also working. After a treatment, you may feel energized yet calm with a deep sense of relaxation and well-being.

What should I do after a treatment?

• Drink at least eight ounces of water to help flush any released toxins out of the body.

• Avoid a large meal.

• Refrain from overexertion, working out, and alcohol or non-prescribed drugs for up to six hours after the visit.

• Avoid overly stressful situations. Make time to relax and get plenty of rest.

How many acupuncture treatments will I need?

This varies from person to person according to factors such as one's constitution and the severity and duration of the problem. Some patients experience immediate relief; others may take months or even years to achieve results. Chronic conditions usually take longer to resolve than acute ones. Often, more frequent treatments are indicated in the initial stages of treatment, e.g., one or two treatments per week. It may then move to monthly visits for health maintenance and then to seasonal "tune ups".

I thought acupuncture was just good for pain control.

That's a general assumption and it is indeed true that acupuncture can help with pain, as recently stated by a study published by the The National Institutes of Health (NIH). However, the NIH and the World Health Organization (WHO) also recognize acupuncture to be effective for a wide variety of medical problems. Here is a list of some other health concerns for which acupuncture has shown effective treatment:







New Patients


Addictions—alcohol, drugs, smoking



Irritable Bowel Syndome (IBS)


Low back pain




Menstrual irregularities

Cancer treatment side effects such as nausea and vomiting


Carpal tunnel syndrome

Morning sickness

Chronic fatigue




Common cold




Dental pain

Reproductive problems





Digestive trouble

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)


Shoulder pain



Emotional problems

Sleep disturbances

Eye problems

Smoking cessation

Facial paralysis/tics

Sore throat




Tennis elbow




Tooth pain


Trigeminal neuralgia

Herpes Zoster (shingles)

Urinary tract infection




Wrist pain


What about herbs?

Herbal treatment is a powerful and integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Use of herbs is perhaps older than that of acupuncture in TCM. An individualized herbal formula can be prescribed following diagnostic procedures.

Why might herbs be recommended for me?

Herbs can be an extremely effective adjunct to acupuncture or a stand-alone treatment. They strengthen and support the body on a daily basis or clear excess conditions such as a cold, fever or acute pain. Contraindications with prescribed pharmaceutical medications are always taken into consideration.

What's the difference between western herbalism and TCM herbalism?

TCM herbal practitioners have the advantage of thousands of years of sophisticated knowledge being intact and coordinated with meridian theory. For example, herbs for a prescription for an individual's headache would be partly based on which meridians appear impacted for that person. In other words, a TCM herbal prescription for a formula is based on an individualized pattern diagnosis as well as a disease diagnosis. Western herbalism tends to treat only diseases or symptoms. Your TCM formula may contain six to 18 herbs of specific amounts suitable for your unique condition. Western herbalism tends to use a single herb or groups of herbs for a treatment. TCM herbalism has extensive and continuing research behind it.

How are TCM herbal prescriptions taken?

The traditional and generally most powerful method is to drink a liquid that has been prepared by simmering the selected herbs. There are also herbal pills, tinctures, and powdered extracts for those who do not have the time or taste for drinking the liquid form.

Why do liquid herbal medicines taste so bad at first exposure?

They tend to taste bitter because they are made mostly from roots and bark where the strongest medicinal ingredients are often found. Also, many westerners are used to sweet teas. After a day or two, the bitter taste may go away and the taste becomes matter-of-fact. Some even grow to like the taste as they associate it with positive changes.

Can pregnant women take TCM herbal prescriptions?

Appropriate herbal prescriptions can be taken by pregnant and lactating mothers.

Can children take TCM herbal prescriptions?

Indeed. Children and babies take reduced dosages as well as specially prepared pediatric medicines in pill, tincture (liquid) and/or powder form. TCM herbal medicine can treat ear infections and earaches, colic, teething fussiness, cough, diarrhea, and fever, for examples.

What qualifies Janet to prescribe TCM herbs?

She has NCCAOM diplomat status for Oriental Medicine, as distinguished from diplomat status only for acupuncture, and is licensed. This includes:

• Extensive study of individual herbs as well as formulas at AOMA Graduate School of Integrated Medicine.

• Extensive clinical practice in supervised settings

• Success with rigorous exams in graduate school

• Success with rigorous exams at the national level (NCCAOM)

• Licensure by the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners

• Continuing Education Units (CEUs) earned yearly


What about acupressure?

Acupressure can be a calming and vital way to prepare and harmonize the acupoints prior to needling and to help regulate the flow of Qi.

What is cupping?

Cupping is a therapy designed to stimulate the flow of blood and Qi within the superficial muscle layers. It is used for sore muscles, tension, neck pain and the common cold.

Small glass cups are placed over specific areas on your body. Heat or suction creates a vacuum under the cup. The cups may be moved over an affected area or left in place. When you leave the office, you may have red circles on the skin of the treated areas, as Gwyneth Paltrow, a Hollywood actress, once displayed while wearing a strapless evening gown. They will soon dissipate.

What is moxibustion?

A dried herb named artemisia vulgaris or "mugwort" may be burned on the handle of the needle, above the skin, on salt, or on a slice of ginger. This is sometimes used to warm acupuncture points or areas in order to hasten the healing process.

Are there financial advantages to this medicine?

Research has shown that acupuncture alone can significantly reduce the need for pharmaceutical drugs with some illnesses as well as the duration of stays in costly treatment facilities that include hospitals and nursing homes. Other research has shown less time lost from work. Surgery is sometimes avoided, e.g., osteoarthritis of the knee, neck conditions, uterine fibroids or carpal tunnel syndrome.


Janet Lee Cook

Licensed Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist

M.S.O.M., L.Ac., M.S., C.A.S.





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