meridianahc_sf_650x650
SHHO portrait circle 120x120

Optimize Health with Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine

Hi and welcome! I am Shih Hao Ho, LAc. founder of Meridian Acupuncture & Herb Clinic.

I specialize in wellness, anti-aging, and stress management.

My mission is to help you heal faster, feel better, and live a fuller life.


FAQ about Acupuncture

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a medical modality that entails the insertions of fine needles into a patient's body to effect the betterment of health. It is largely known as a key component of the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), although the use of needles for health is well documented in other cultures. Today, acupuncture is WHO recognized therapy that is practiced around the world. It is a holistic, cost-effective, and safe modality for health maintenance, wellness, and pain management.

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture delivers its efficacy through restoring the homeostatic process and re-balances the physiological processes.

At the most basic level, acupuncture relaxes the nervous systems and the musculature to remove residual stress responses and increase blood circulation. As a result, the mind is calmer and the body carries less tension. The blood circulation is enhanced, the cortisone level is lowered, the body has fewer alarms to deal with so it can focus all the resources toward a more optimal health. Acupuncture also stimulates the body's central nervous system to release endorphins and reprogram the neuromatrix, both are essential in helping to manage chronic pains.

There are many theories as to how acupuncture actually works. When acupuncture points are stimulated, it causes a dull ache or other sensations in the muscle. One theory holds that the stimulated muscle and sensory neurons send a message to the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), causing the release of endorphins (naturally produced pain killers) and other neurotransmitters (body chemicals that modify nerve impulses), which help block the message of pain from being delivered to the brain and have other regulatory effects as well.

What happens during acupuncture treatment?

As in all medical visits, your acupuncturist will examine you and your conditions through Q&A's, physical examinations (palpation, etc.), visual inspections to diagnose the causes and prescribe appropriate course of treatments, which include acupuncture, herbal prescriptions, etc. Acupuncture needles are sterile, pre-packaged, disposable, and hair-thin. Skilled acupuncturists insert the needles at prescribed locations quickly and painlessly to the patients. The needles are placed at various depths, depending on the point locations and the applications.

Wear loose fitting clothing so your acupuncturist can access the points. Exercise good hygiene, refrain from heavy perfume. After the needles are inserted and stimulated, they stay in place from a few minutes up to 30 minutes.

In a treatment series, the acupuncturist will combine different points, needling techniques, and adjunct techniques such as electrical stimulation and moxibustion. These combinations help stimulate new sources of healing as the patient’s response to treatment is observed.

What conditions are treated with acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a highly versatile modality, with applications that range from muscular dysfunctions, pain management, allergy, menstruation dysfunctions, post surgery care, to facial rejuvenation, and many more. In 2003, the WHO published a list of diseases and disorders for which acupuncture has proven to bring positive therapeutic effects. For the complete list, refer to WHO and Acupuncture.

In the US, acupuncture is most often associated with treating and managing intractable pains, particularly chronic pains, myofascial pains, headaches, menstrual pains. For certain conditions, such as cancer, acupuncture is used as an adjunct palliative care procedure that relieve complications from surgeries and chemotherapies. It reduces the frequency and magnitude of pain and increases the quality of life.

What does acupuncture feel like?

You may feel a slight prick when the needle is inserted, but it is much less than the prick you feel during an injection, since the needles are much thinner. You may feel a heaviness, numbness, tingling or mild soreness after the needles have been inserted. A feeling of deep heaviness or numbness, called “Deqi” (pronounced duh chee) means the treatment is working. The patient tells the acupuncturist “yes” when he or she feels this.

Is acupuncture safe?

Yes! By law, acupuncture must be performed with disposable needles under clean, sterile conditions, it is highly unusual to have any complications. One of the advantages of acupuncture is that the incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than that of many drugs or accepted medical procedures used for the same conditions.

However, it is important to keep in mind that all modalities are potentially hazardous when it’s applied inappropriately or carelessly. It is possible to drive the needle too deep and damage a vital organ, however, it is precisely for this reason that all licensed acupuncturists must go through rigorous training and certification to ensure they are aware of the risks and are qualified to perform this importantly task prudently.

Is there something I should do to prepare for my acupuncture treatments?

It's always a good idea to arrive at your acupuncture a little early to give yourself a chance to relax into the session. Because needle insertions must be applied to bare skin when we do acupuncture, please wear loose and comfortable clothes that would allow access to your body. Most of time, I would place needles on the abdomen and upper/lower back, so an overall or a one-piece dress is not ideal (but gowns and blankets are available, in case you need to change).

I commonly palpate and needle points on your lower extremities, so tights, panty hose, or skinny jeans will be a bit hindering. I also commonly use points along the arms, on the shoulders and the neck.

What should I do after an acupuncture treatment?

After receiving an acupuncture treatment, patients usually feel relaxed and a little sedated, akin to waking up from a slumber. So afford yourself a little time to gather your faculties and focus before embarking on tasks that require concentration, like for example driving.

How often should I be treated with acupuncture?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions. And the honest answer to that question will always be “it depends on you and your conditions”. For most acute chief complaints such as a seasonal cold, muscle tensions, etc., patients often achieve their treatment goals after one or two sessions. For more chronic chief complaints, for example allergies, digestive dysfunctions, dysmenorrhea, then more sessions are required. this is especially important for injuries that were caused by repetitive use and life style. I always tell patients that we need to get "ahead of the count" with the treatments. Meaning, the cumulative benefits of the treatments must exceed the re-injuries and damages that incur between treatments. Therefore, once you factor into the patient's overall health, age, life style, habits, and so on, pinpointing a specific number of treatments becomes more difficult.

I always advocate allocating four sessions for two weeks, twice a week. Within one week, we should be able to observe and quantify the effectiveness of the treatments. This gives both the patients and the practitioners good idea of how well the treatments are working and whether to continue, or to change or to stop all together. The four-treatments-in-two-weeks rule establishes has proven to be an effective guideline for patients to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the treatments.

What are some guidelines to follow if I decide to try acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a modality, a very effective and powerful modality. However, it is not "magic", so you can not just rely on acupuncture and expect everything to work itself out. Heed your acupuncturist's and/or primary care provider's advice on necessary diet and life style changes.

Do the needles hurt? Is acupuncture painful?

In a nut shell, no they shouldn’t. If an acupuncturist applies good needling techniques, it would not be painful at all. However, we must keep in mind that pain is, above all, a subjective experience that is highly influenced by factors such as state of mind (nervousness, anxiety, fatigue), trust, and so on. I value helping patient ease and relax into the session so I can lead you through a beneficial and enjoyable session.

Also, to put things in perspective, the diameter of typical hypodermic needles ranges from 1.6 to 0.8mm, while that of typical acupuncture needles ranges from only 0.25 to 0.15mm. The super thin needles, coupled with the quick hand techniques I have developed over the years, I apply the needling in just a fraction of second. It's so quick in fact that most of the time the patients don't even notice the needle has already been inserted.

How do I make the most of my acupuncture treatments?

The initial treatment is arguably the most important appointment because it helps the practitioner to be acquainted not just with your chief complaints, but also your overall health history, constitution, life style, etc. This is the reason the initial appointment takes longer and costs more.

Meridian's initial intake form is there to help you elaborate on your health history, so we insist all patients to take the time to fill out the online initial intake form as completely as possible prior to the appointment. That way we can use the valuable clinic time for diagnosis and treatments instead of filling out paperwork.

Does the medical field approve of acupuncture?

Yes. There are more than 16,000 licensed acupuncturists in the United States and 3,000 physicians who perform acupuncture as part of their medical practice. The World Health Organization currently recognizes more than 40 medical problems -- including pain, gastrointestinal, gynecological, and respiratory conditions as well as sports injuries -- can be helped by acupuncture treatment. Lastly, in 1996, the U.S. Food and Drug administration (FDA) reclassified acupuncture needles, regulating them as it does other medical devices. Acupuncture needles most now be manufactured according to single-use standards of sterility and are intended for general use by qualified practitioners.

Will my insurance policy cover acupuncture treatment?

Some insurance companies will pay for acupuncture treatment. Because each insurance provider has different restrictions, it is best to consult with your provider to determine if your treatment will be covered.

What Is Acupuncture

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a medical modality that entails the insertions of fine needles into a patient's body to effect the betterment of health. It is largely known as a key component of the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), although the use of needles for health is well documented in other cultures. Today, acupuncture is WHO recognized therapy that is practiced around the world. It is a holistic, cost-effective, and safe modality for health maintenance, wellness, and pain management.

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture delivers its efficacy through restoring the homeostatic process and re-balances the physiological processes.

At the most basic level, acupuncture relaxes the nervous systems and the musculature to remove residual stress responses and increase blood circulation. As a result, the mind is calmer and the body carries less tension. The blood circulation is enhanced, the cortisone level is lowered, the body has fewer alarms to deal with so it can focus all the resources toward a more optimal health. Acupuncture also stimulates the body's central nervous system to release endorphins and reprogram the neuromatrix, both are essential in helping to manage chronic pains.

There are many theories as to how acupuncture actually works. When acupuncture points are stimulated, it causes a dull ache or other sensations in the muscle. One theory holds that the stimulated muscle and sensory neurons send a message to the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), causing the release of endorphins (naturally produced pain killers) and other neurotransmitters (body chemicals that modify nerve impulses), which help block the message of pain from being delivered to the brain and have other regulatory effects as well.

Other experts believe that acupuncture works by transmitting signals via the fascia. Fascia is like a thin sheath that surrounds all of the body’s muscles. Some acupuncturists consider the meridians to represent myofascial chains – which helps explain why stimulating an acupuncture point in the lower leg can affect the back or other areas. Interestingly, research shows that acupuncture points have a lower electrical resistivity than surrounding areas. In a practical sense, the meridian system provides a navigable energetic map of the body for acupuncturists to locate and treat many conditions.

What happens during acupuncture treatment?

As in all medical visits, your acupuncturist will examine you and your conditions through Q&A's, physical examinations (palpation, etc.), visual inspections to diagnose the causes and prescribe appropriate course of treatments, which include acupuncture, herbal prescriptions, etc. Acupuncture needles are sterile, pre-packaged, disposable, and hair-thin. Skilled acupuncturists insert the needles at prescribed locations quickly and painlessly to the patients. The needles are placed at various depths, depending on the point locations and the applications.

Wear loose fitting clothing so your acupuncturist can access the points. Exercise good hygiene, refrain from heavy perfume. After the needles are inserted and stimulated, they stay in place from a few minutes up to 30 minutes.

In a treatment series, the acupuncturist will combine different points, needling techniques, and adjunct techniques such as electrical stimulation and moxibustion. These combinations help stimulate new sources of healing as the patient’s response to treatment is observed.

What conditions are treated with acupuncture?

Although acupuncture is not a “cure-all” treatment, it is very effective in treating several diseases and conditions. Acupuncture is most effective at treating chronic pain, such as headaches, menstrual cramps and low back, neck or muscle pain. It can also be used to treat osteoarthritis, facial pain, spastic colon, and repetitive strain conditions. Acupuncture also can improve the functioning of the immune system (the body’s defense system against diseases).

For certain conditions, such as cancer, acupuncture should be performed in combination with other treatments.

What does acupuncture feel like?

You may feel a slight prick when the needle is inserted, but it is much less than the prick you feel during an injection, since the needles are much thinner.

You may feel a heaviness, numbness, tingling or mild soreness after the needles have been inserted. A feeling of deep heaviness or numbness, called “Deqi” (pronounced duh chee) means the treatment is working. The patient tells the acupuncturist “yes” when he or she feels this.

Is acupuncture safe?

Yes. When acupuncture is performed with disposable needles under clean, sterile conditions, it is highly unusual to have any complications.

One of the advantages of acupuncture is that the incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than that of many drugs or accepted medical procedures used for the same conditions.

Lastly, it is important to keep in mind that all modalities are potentially hazardous when it’s applied inappropriately or carelessly. It is possible to drive the needle too deep and damage a vital organ, however, it is precisely for this reason that all licensed acupuncturists must go through rigorous training and certification to ensure they are aware of the risks and are qualified to perform this importantly task prudently.

Types of acupuncture

There are many different styles of acupuncture. Practitioners of Acupuncture Physical Medicine (APM) palpate the body (examine the body by touch) to locate reactive areas and myofascial (muscular) constrictions. Points are selected and stimulated to relieve symptomatic areas based on the relationships of meridian acupuncture theory. Practitioners trained in APM also locate and deactivate “trigger points” using an advanced needling technique. Triggers points are extremely common in pain conditions and cause referred pain and other symptoms of dysfunction in nearly everyone’s life at one time or another.

What should I do after an acupuncture treatment?

It is best to bring someone with you on your first acupuncture treatment so that you will have transportation home. This is because acupuncture has a very calming effect. You may feel overly relaxed after the treatment and shouldn’t drive. No matter how good you feel after the treatment, it is important not to overextend yourself. You should take it easy for a few days after the treatment. In addition, it is important to continue taking your prescribed medications.

How often should I be treated with acupuncture?

Unlike herbs or drugs, acupuncture treatments rely entirely on the patient's ability to heal. The number of treatments required depends on each person’s condition and response to acupuncture. One acupuncture session does not usually result in relief of pain. One or two sessions a week for five to six weeks is the normal course of treatment. Your physician will discuss with you how many treatments you should have and how often you should have them.

What are some guidelines to follow if I decide to try acupuncture?

Don’t rely on acupuncture for treatment of chronic or serious illness unless you see a physician first. Acupuncture may not be the only way to improve your condition. Your health care provider may recommend acupuncture treatment along with other treatment methods such as physical therapy or medication.

In addition, try acupuncture for at least 5 or 10 treatments before giving up.

In a nut shell, no they shouldn’t. If an acupuncturist applies good needling techniques, it would not be painful at all. However, we must keep in mind that pain is, above all, a subjective experience that is highly influenced by factors such as state of mind (nervousness, anxiety, fatigue), trust, and so on. I value helping patient ease and relax into the session so I can lead you through a beneficial and enjoyable session.

Do the needles hurt? Is acupuncture painful?

Also, to put things in perspective, the diameter of typical hypodermic needles ranges from 1.6 to 0.8mm, while that of typical acupuncture needles ranges from only 0.25 to 0.15mm. The super thin needles, coupled with the quick hand techniques I have developed over the years, I apply the needling in just a fraction of second. It's so quick in fact that most of the time the patients don't even notice the needle has already been inserted.

How do I make the most of my acupuncture treatments?

The initial treatment is arguably the most important appointment because it helps the practitioner to be acquainted not just with your chief complaints, but also your overall health history, constitution, life style, etc. This is the reason the initial appointment takes longer and costs more.

Meridian's initial intake form is there to help you elaborate on your health history, so we insist all patients to take the time to fill out the online initial intake form as completely as possible prior to the appointment. That way we can use the valuable clinic time for diagnosis and treatments instead of filling out paperwork.

Does the medical field approve of acupuncture?

Yes. There are more than 16,000 licensed acupuncturists in the United States and 3,000 physicians who perform acupuncture as part of their medical practice. The World Health Organization currently recognizes more than 40 medical problems -- including pain, gastrointestinal, gynecological, and respiratory conditions as well as sports injuries -- can be helped by acupuncture treatment. Lastly, in 1996, the U.S. Food and Drug administration (FDA) reclassified acupuncture needles, regulating them as it does other medical devices. Acupuncture needles most now be manufactured according to single-use standards of sterility and are intended for general use by qualified practitioners.

Will my insurance policy cover acupuncture treatment?

Some insurance companies will pay for acupuncture treatment. Because each insurance provider has different restrictions, it is best to consult with your provider to determine if your treatment will be covered.

Do the needles hurt? Is acupuncture painful?

In a nut shell, no they shouldn’t. If an acupuncturist applies good needling techniques, it would not be painful at all. However, we must keep in mind that pain is, above all, a subjective experience that is highly influenced by factors such as state of mind (nervousness, anxiety, fatigue), trust, and so on. I value helping patient ease and relax into the session so I can lead you through a beneficial and enjoyable session.

Also, to put things in perspective, the diameter of typical hypodermic needles ranges from 1.6 to 0.8mm, while that of typical acupuncture needles ranges from only 0.25 to 0.15mm. The super thin needles, coupled with the quick hand techniques I have developed over the years, I apply the needling in just a fraction of second. It's so quick in fact that most of the time the patients don't even notice the needle has already been inserted.

How do I make the most of my acupuncture treatments?

The initial treatment is arguably the most important appointment because it helps the practitioner to be acquainted not just with your chief complaints, but also your overall health history, constitution, life style, etc. This is the reason the initial appointment takes longer and costs more.

Meridian's initial intake form is there to help you elaborate on your health history, so we insist all patients to take the time to fill out the online initial intake form as completely as possible prior to the appointment. That way we can use the valuable clinic time for diagnosis and treatments instead of filling out paperwork.

What is acupuncture!?

What Is Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a therapeutic modality that entails the insertion of thin filiform needles into specific points in the body to effect physiological betterment.

Acupuncture has been a critical part of traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It first took root in the US in the 70's, and it has been steadily spread to all parts of the world. Although we still do not fully understand all the mechanisms of acupuncture and how they affect various aspects of mammal physiology (I say mammal because veterinarians are now treating animals with acupuncture too), the general population and medical community have recognize its undeniable therapeutic benefits and accepted it as a viable medical modality.

The most common application for acupuncture in the US is in the area of pain management, especially in managing and addressing myofascial pains resulted from sports injuries, repetitive use, and so on. Acupuncture is also an effective and commonly used method to treat allergies, hormone imbalance, and stress management.

Does Acupuncture Hurt? Are the Needles Painful?

In a nut shell, no they shouldn’t. If an acupuncturist applies good needling techniques, it would not be painful at all. However, we must keep in mind that pain is, above all, a subjective experience that is highly influenced by factors such as state of mind (nervousness, anxiety, fatigue), trust, and so on. I value helping patient ease and relax into the session so I can lead you through a beneficial and enjoyable session.

Also, to put things in perspective, the diameter of typical hypodermic needles ranges from 1.6 to 0.8mm, while that of typical acupuncture needles ranges from only 0.25 to 0.15mm. The super thin needles, coupled with the quick hand techniques I have developed over the years, I apply the needling in just a fraction of second. It's so quick in fact that most of the time the patients don't even notice the needle has already been inserted.

How Do I Make the Most of My Acupuncture Treatments?

The initial treatment is arguably the most important appointment because it helps the practitioner to be acquainted not just with your chief complaints, but also your overall health history, constitution, life style, etc. This is the reason the initial appointment takes longer and costs more.

Meridian's initial intake form is there to help you elaborate on your health history, so we insist all patients to take the time to fill out the online initial intake form as completely as possible prior to the appointment. That way we can use the valuable clinic time for diagnosis and treatments instead of filling out paperwork.

Is Acupuncture Safe?

It is important to keep in mind that all modalities are potentially hazardous when it’s applied inappropriately or carelessly. It is possible to drive the needle too deep and damage a vital organ, however, it is precisely for this reason that all licensed acupuncturists must go through rigorous training and certification to ensure they are aware of the risks and are qualified to perform this task safely. Also, it is against California law for an acupuncturist to use any needle that is not disposable, individually packaged, pre-sterilized. Our needles are single-use only and thus minimize the chance of cross contamination/infection.

How Many Sessions Do I Need?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions. And the answer to that question will always be “it all depends on you and your conditions”.

For most acute chief complaints such as a seasonal cold, muscle tensions, etc., patients often achieve their treatment goals after one or two sessions. For more chronic chief complaints, for example allergies, digestive dysfunctions, dysmenorrhea, then more sessions are required. this is especially important for injuries that were caused by repetitive use and life style. I always tell patients that we need to get "ahead of the count" with the treatments. Meaning, the cumulative benefits of the treatments must exceed the re-injuries and damages that incur between treatments. Therefore, once you factor into the patient's overall health, age, life style, habits, and so on, pinpointing a specific number of treatments becomes more difficult.

I always advocate allocating four sessions for two weeks, twice a week. Within one week, we should be able to observe and quantify the effectiveness of the treatments. This gives both the patients and the practitioners good idea of how well the treatments are working and whether to continue, or to change or to stop all together. The four-treatments-in-two-weeks rule establishes has proven to be an effective guideline for patients to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the treatments.

RESOURCE

YOUR VISITS

HOURS + LOCATION

 
 
 
calendar 28x28  

Walnut Creek:
Sun: 9am - 6pm

By Appointments Only!

 
map marker 28x28   675 Ygnacio Valley Road,
Building B, Suite 212
Walnut Creek, CA, 94596

(925) 289-9752

Login/Register

Welcome to Meridian AHC
Take care and be well!