Empowering your healing journey
Following are some answers to common questions of Heart Spring Health patients. Some may apply to you. If you have questions that are not answered here, please feel free to contact us at any time.
Prerequisites for Chinese medical school include a Bachelor’s degree and courses similar to medical school prerequisites. There are about 50 Chinese medical schools in the U.S. The Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) requires that accredited professional programs in Oriental medicine be 4 academic years in length and at least 2175 hours. The most common degree held by a Chinese medicine practitioner is a Master’s degree, although some practitioners hold a Doctorate. Programs must train students sufficiently in the history of Oriental medicine, basic Oriental medical theory, biomedical clinical sciences (biochemistry, microbiology, immunology, etc.), diagnostic skills, acupuncture techniques, herbal medicine, treatment planning, ethics and safety, nutrition, qi gong, basic counseling and communication skills, and clinical training. Clinical internship is also required.
Most states license Chinese medicine practitioners after they pass national certification examinations in acupuncture, Oriental medicine, and biomedicine. The National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) administers the exams). Graduates of training programs may also elect to take the NCCAOM’s Herbal Medicine examination.
Prior to your visit, we will send you paperwork to complete that includes a thorough health history. When we meet, we will review this together to better understand your concerns. Through physical exam and possibly lab work, we will do a comprehensive analysis of your health that will help inform your personalized treatment plan.
Ultimately, the goal of this first visit is to understand your current health challenges, history and goals. You will leave with a clear picture of how we will work together to support you in your return to radiant health.
While each visit to Heart Spring Health is as unique as the patient, it is common to have the first visit last between 60-120 minutes. This gives us a chance explore the underlying factors affecting your health.
Prior to your visit, we will send you paperwork to complete that includes a thorough health history. When we meet, we will review this together to better understand your concerns. The interview process may be quite thorough, and may inquire into body, mind, and emotions. There is a physical exam, which often includes palpation of the pulses, the abdomen, and the meridians, and a look at the tongue.
The first visit will usually involves a treatment (often acupuncture), a Chinese medicine diagnosis, an opportunity for questions, counseling regarding diet and lifestyle, qigong instruction, prescription of herbs and/or supplements, and specific recommendations for continued treatment.
The frequency and duration of follow-up care is different for everyone. After about 4 visits, generally, enough information has been collected to create a treatment plan that takes into account your unique healthcare needs. Your treatment plan will depend upon the nature of your condition, its state of progression, your constitutional makeup and your desired level of health.
Some factors that will influence any healing process are: your lifestyle and habits, your commitment to care, the extent to which you take an active role in your health, your constitutional makeup, and the severity of your condition. If you have been unwell for some time it is important to know that the restoration of health will also take time.
Naturopathic physicians looks at laboratory results a little differently than M.D.s – and as a result, we offer patients more nuanced information. This may help you understand the subtleties of why you’re not feeling well and how your lifestyle may be impacting your health, so you can get back on the road to feeling great again.
The nature of Chinese medicine allows it to recognize imbalance in the body before symptoms or irregular lab tests occur. It is often said, ‘waiting to do something until symptoms appear is like waiting to dig a well until you’re already thirsty.’ Often, a pattern of imbalance becomes apparent to a Chinese medicine practitioner when the combination of pulse, tongue, subtle skin colors, vocal intonations, and minor signs and symptoms (such as tendency to get cold hands and feet, tendency to slow bowels, craving for sweet, always waking at 3 am, difficulty planning, frequent frustration, etc.) are known. This pattern of imbalance could also be causing you to feel less than your best, yet not show up with any significant lab results.
When people are healthy, they generally report having energy, feeling light and alive, and experiencing a deep sense of peace, freedom, confidence, joy, and gratitude for life. At Heart Spring Health, we support you in establishing (and sustaining) your unique picture of optimal health.
You may find that with treatment at Heart Spring Health, you will need to reduce your doses of prescription medication and eventually may not even need them at all. Please tell both your MD and your Heart Spring Health practitioner about any other doctors you are working with so they can coordinate care and make any medication adjustments as necessary.
Naturopathic medicine can also help support the body during transitional phases (such as pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause etc.) and intensive standard treatment (such as chemotherapy, radiation, etc). Many patients pursue both standard and naturopathic care in such circumstances, and they get the greatest benefit when all of their care providers are working together.
We offer supportive treatment for pre and post surgery, imaging, and for a wide range of conditions requiring the use of long-term pharmaceuticals. We can help by simply treating the side effects of standard treatment and/or by supporting your body so that it can respond optimally to restore itself through healing on all levels
Existing patients may call for free phone consults up to 10 minutes regarding an existing treatment plan or questions regarding your last visit. You will need to call reception to schedule any phone call. Providers are happy to answer questions regarding a new problem, future treatment, or questions needing extensive time for an additional charge. The charge ranges from $25-140 based on the complexity of your situation and the time spent with you on the phone.
Some situations require an office visit to be addressed appropriately, to serve your needs with the highest quality care you will be asked to make an appointment in these cases. Most insurance companies do not cover phone consults or visits. At your request we will courtesy bill your insurance to see if this service is covered by your insurance.
Additional resources on frequently asked questions about naturopathic medicine are found here.