Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine

About Acupuncture

Acupuncture is rooted in traditional Chinese medicine, which also includes herbal remedies, massage, diet, and nutrition. The practice of acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin sterile needles into specific points in the body to create a therapeutic effect.


Acupuncture is based on the belief that living beings have a vital energy - known as qi (pronounced "chee") - that circulates throughout twelve invisible energy lines, or meridians, on the body. In the tradition of Chinese medicine, it is said that disease or pain are often caused by an imbalance in the flow of qi throughout a meridian. The goal of acupuncture, therefore, is to stimulate energy along the meridians to restore the normal and optimal flow of energy. This restoration can help decrease pain, provide therapeutic effects for disease management, and help increase overall vitality.

Acupuncture is often supplemented with traditional Chinese herbs to complement or enhance the results of therapy. The practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) was recorded as early as 300 B.C.E., with herbs playing a major role in treating disease and promoting health. TCM employs more than 3,000 herbs, 300 mineral and animal extracts, and more than 400 formulas that can be taken as teas, pills, tinctures, powders, or syrups. The acupuncturist at IOBT obtains herbs only from companies that follow good manufacturing processes, which include laboratory testing to verify the quality and safety of the herbs. The IOBT acupuncturist can also customize herbal formulas to meet the specific needs of any client.

Acupuncture Benefits

A wealth of evidence-based research exists confirming the efficacy of acupuncture for stimulation of various neurotransmitters, endorphins (the body's natural pain killers), and blood circulation, as well as regulation of the autonomic nervous system. IOBT clients use acupuncture to help with successful treatment of:

  • Musculoskeletal pain and inflammation, including management of fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndromes
  • Chronic low back pain
  • Sciatica
  • Migraine symptoms and other headaches
  • Common cold and flu symptoms
  • Chronic sinusitis and allergies
  • Arthritis pain
  • Menstrual disorders
  • Menopausal symptoms
  • Asthma
  • GERD and other gastrointestinal disorders
  • Insomnia

Chinese Herbal Medicine

Chinese herbal medicine has been used for thousands of years to treat diseases and promote the healing ability of the body while restoring harmony. Over the centuries chinese herbs and formulas have been studied and organized into a complete healing system. The written history of Chinese herbal medicine goes back as far as 300 bc with Huang Di Nei Jing or The Yellow Emperors Inner Classic. In the third century AD, Zhang Zhong Jing, a celebrated master of Chinese medicine, wrote two classics on Chinese herbal medicine (Shang Han Lun-Discussion of Cold Induced disease) and (Jin Gui Yao Lun-Synopsis of Prescriptions of the Golden Chamber). These formulas continue to be clinically relevant today. Chinese herbal treatments can be administered in a variety ways and the following are types of herbs your practitioner may prescribe for you.

Raw Chinese Herbs are uncooked herbs such as flowers, barks, roots, twigs, etc. The formula requires cooking at home and consumed as a tea. These decoctions can be highly potent and easily digested. These herbal formulas can be very effective and individualized.

Granulated Herbs are dried decoctions of the raw herbs. They are mixed with warm water and do not need to be cooked. They tend to have about 80% the potency of the raw herbal formulas. They can be individualized and are more convenient to consume.

Patent Medicines are prepared herbal formulas that are made into small pills, tablets, syrups, lozenges, plasters or tinctures. These are very easy to take but cannot be individualized. They are very standard and are applicable to a wide variety of chronic and acute ailments.

While taking chinese herbs, one should expect changes to occur in the body. Changes can vary depending on the diagnosis, severity of symptoms, acute or chronic nature of the symptoms, the body's overall constitution and other variables to treatment such as stress, diet, exercise, etc.. Changes may include a reduction or cessation of symptoms, improved energy, improved digestion, decreased pain, etc.. It is always important to report any changes that occur and to notify the practitioner. This will allow him to reassess if the herbal treatment is right for you.

Schedule an Appointment

Please call the studio (919.361.0104) or e-mail us to schedule an appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who is the practitioner at IOBT?
A: IOBT has two Acupuncturists. Austin Dixon and Taran Rosenthal. Read more about Austin and Taran on our Staff page.
Q: What do I need to bring to my session?
A: Just bring yourself. At IOBT, we provide everything needed for your acupuncture sessions.
Q: What will the experience be like?
A: Your initial evaluation and treatment will include a thorough medical and physical history followed by examination of the tongue and pulses, as well as palpation of the abdomen or any areas of pain. Your acupuncturist will then develop and discuss with you a treatment plan for the session.
Sterile needles will be inserted and retained from 15 to 45 minutes, depending on the location and desired therapeutic effect. Your acupuncturist may also employ other modalities, including:
  • Moxibustion ("Moxa"): heating of acupuncture needles with a dry herb to activate and warm the acupuncture point
  • Cupping: application of glass cups to the skin to create a suction effect that may help relieve stagnation of qi and blood related to trauma and pain
  • Herbal medicines: Chinese herbs given in the form of teas, pills, and capsules to supplement and complement acupuncture treatment
  • Electrostimulation: Electrical stimulation of two or more acupuncture needles to help further pain relief
  • Microstim: Very subtle electrical stimulation used to decrease pain and inflammation and increase circulation
Q: Does acupuncture hurt?
A: Acupuncture needles are 25-50 times thinner than a hypodermic needle, so most clients experience very little sensitivity to their insertion. A very small prick may be felt upon insertion, but no pain should be felt after the needle is inserted. In fact, many patients fall asleep during the treatment.
Some clients will experience soreness during or after treatment. Be sure to communicate any soreness to your acupuncturist so they can modify treatment if necessary to make you more comfortable. Your practitioner is always interested in knowing how you are feeling during and after treatment.
Q: How long will my session last?
A: Your initial evaluation and treatment will last approximately 90 minutes. Follow up treatments usually last about one hour.
Q: How many sessions will I need?
A: Unfortunately, it is very difficult to know how many sessions will be needed because all clients respond to treatment differently and different goals take varying amounts of time. The number of sessions you need will depend on your age, health, and how your body responds to treatment. Some acute problems may respond with just a few treatments while other chronic conditions may require multiple treatments. Acupuncture assists your body to make changes that alleviate pain and restore energy levels. It is important to understand that these changes take time. Your acupuncturist will discuss an estimated number of treatments based on previous experience, while also taking into account the individual nature of each client's treatment and response.
Q: How much does a session cost?
A: For full pricing details, visit our Pricing page.
Q: Where can I learn more about acupuncture?
A: The following links are excellent resources, providing articles, videos, testimonials, and more.