Nawei's Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine

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Frequently Asked Questions

How does Acupuncture work?

In traditional Chinese medicine, Qi (pronounced “chee”) is our vital energy; it is what distinguishes us and all living creatures from inanimate objects. Qi keeps our blood circulating, warms our bodies, and fights disease by flowing through a network of meridians, coordinating all of our physical, mental, and emotional functions. There are twelve major meridians, each connected to and named after an internal organ, as well as two governing meridians.

When Qi flows freely through our meridians, we enjoy optimal health, but if for any number of reasons that flow is compromised, interrupted, too weak, or too strong, we suffer from imbalance, illness, and pain.

After a careful evaluation of a patient’s condition, Dr. Nawei inserts thin needles into specific, strategic points along his or her meridians. This regulates the flow of Qi in the patient’s corresponding organs and bodily functions, facilitating healing and restoring vibrancy and wellness.


What are Dr. Nawei’s qualifications?

Dr. Nawei earned both her Medical Bachelor’s degree (1987) and her M.D. (1990) from Chang Chun University, which certified her to practice medicine in China. She served as a staff gynecologist and internal medicine specialist at the University Hospital in Chang Chun until 1995, when she entered the doctoral program in Acupuncture at Heilongjiang University in Harbin. In 1998 she successfully defended her thesis and was awarded her Ph.D. in Acupuncture.

Since 1999, Dr. Nawei has been licensed by the State of Colorado to practice acupuncture and board-certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

On this site’s About Dr. Nawei page you can find a more detailed description of her education and experience.


How does Dr. Nawei make a diagnosis?

To make a comprehensive diagnosis in a patient’s initial session, Dr. Nawei pays close attention to his or her posture, gait, energy level, odor, and vocal resonance. She listens to the patient’s description of his or her symptoms and health concerns, lifestyle, diet, occupation, medical history, and emotional state, and she asks follow-up questions for clarification. She also carefully measures the strength, rhythm, and quality of the pulse at different locations on the patient’s wrist, and she examines the shape, color, movement, and coating of his or her tongue. What Dr. Nawei is looking for is a pattern of symptoms from which she can construct an overall picture of the patient’s energy imbalances. Only by considering all of this information can she understand the severity and progression of the patient’s condition and recommend a specific course of treatment.


How should I prepare for an acupuncture treatment?

It is best if you arrive in a relaxed state and important for you to have eaten in the last few hours, although you don’t want to have eaten heavily. In your initial visit, you will facilitate Dr. Nawei’s diagnosis if you can be straightforward, clear, and candid about your health history and the nature of your condition. Please describe all your physical and emotional symptoms, even if you think they might not be related to your primary concern.


Does acupuncture hurt?

When many people think of needles, they picture the hypodermic syringes they’ve seen in the hospital or a doctor’s office, and most first-time acupuncture patients express their relief and amazement at how painless a treatment can be. The needles Dr. Nawei uses are as fine as one or two strands of hair, and after so many years of experience, her technique is sure and precise. Whereas there occasionally may be some temporary discomfort, it is almost never enough for patients to forego the many benefits of acupuncture.


Is there any danger of infection from the needles?

Absolutely not. Dr. Nawei uses only sterile, individually sealed, one-time-use acupuncture and hypodermic needles (for Acupuncture Point Injection Therapy).


What happens during a typical acupuncture treatment, how will I feel, and how long will it last?

In a typical session, Dr. Nawei first reviews and discusses any changes in a patient’s symptoms. Then, depending on the areas to be treated, the patient finds the position in which he or she can best relax. Dr. Nawei carefully inserts the acupuncture needles, and when she is sure the patient is comfortable, she turns on some soothing music and dims the lights. The patient rests for about half an hour and ordinarily slips into a deep state of repose. Afterwards, Dr. Nawei or her trained assistant removes the needles, and the patient dresses.


How will I feel after a typical acupuncture treatment?

Patients usually feel relaxed and centered immediately after acupuncture therapy, and many report a heightened sense of well-being. This indicates that the treatment has stimulated the body’s remarkable ability to heal itself.

Some are inclined to go home and rest, having found that this reinforces the effect of Dr. Nawei’s efforts. Others feel invigorated and jump right back into the day’s activities. You will know what is best for you if you listen to your body.

Although those suffering from chronic, severe conditions may respond more gradually, after a treatment most of Dr. Nawei’s patients experience rapid and noticeable relief from their symptoms. 


How often will I need treatments, and how many treatments are necessary for my condition?

Dr. Nawei creates a customized, dynamic treatment strategy for each patient. She considers many factors, including how long the patient has delayed treatment, how long he or she has been suffering from his or her condition, whether that condition has been complicated by surgery or prescription drugs, and how readily the patient responds to traditional Chinese medicine. The resolution of an acute, persistent, or chronic condition may require a commitment to a series of treatments; less tenacious issues such as muscle spasms, however, can often be addressed in a single session.

The patients whose conditions improve the fastest are generally those willing to make the kind of lifestyle and dietary adjustments that will best support their healing process.


Do I have to “believe in” acupuncture for it to work?

Many Americans regard the use of acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas as mystical and vaguely religious, in the same general category as incense-burning, chanting, saffron robes, and the quest for esoteric, transcendental states. Let us disabuse you of that myth. Traditional Chinese medicine is a rigorously scientific discipline upon which billions of people have relied to manage their physical and emotional well-being, and it predates Hippocrates, the Greek “Father of Western Medicine,” by at least ten centuries.

Whereas it would be foolish of anyone to underestimate the power of belief, all we can suggest is that if you pay close attention to your body after trying acupuncture, you will see improvements. We know that veterinary acupuncture is very effective, and it’s a pretty safe bet that animals don’t “believe in” it!

It’s important to remember, however, that because of its fundamentally different approach, traditional Chinese medicine can be subtler than pharmacotherapy and other more invasive, heavy-handed Western methods, and depending on your condition, a number of treatments may be necessary for lasting relief from your symptoms. Then you can decide what you think.


Can acupuncture benefit me even if I feel well?

Of course. Acupuncture is effective for much more than the relief of acute and chronic conditions. In fact, many of Dr. Nawei’s patients come in for regular maintenance and “tune-ups” to maintain and safeguard their good health. Furthermore, with her extensive training and experience, Dr. Nawei can often detect the subtle signs of energy imbalances and illness long before they become apparent to the patient.


What is “dry needling,” and how is it different than acupuncture?

The practice of “dry needling” has recently gained quite a bit of attention . . . and notoriety. A number of Colorado chiropractors and physical therapists are using acupuncture needles to stimulate “trigger points” on their patients, primarily with the intention of relieving muscle and joint pain.

Colorado requires only about five days of training for a license to practice “dry needling.” There are few methodological standards, and relevant studies are haphazard and of dubious quality. The expression “Wild West” comes to mind.

In unvarnished terms, “dry needling” is acupuncture practiced by people who have insufficient training and not much accountability. This puts patients in a position of considerable risk.

State Training Guidelines


When does Dr. Nawei decide to complement acupuncture with other forms of traditional Chinese medicine?

Drawing from her extensive education and experience, Dr. Nawei employs a wide range of methods to enhance and to augment acupuncture treatments. If, for instance, she determines that a patient’s chronic pain is caused or exacerbated by a blockage of Qi, she may use electro-acupuncture to speed healing. For an individual with a stubborn respiratory infection, she may incorporate cupping into his or her treatment. Or to address other challenging health issues, Dr. Nawei may custom-compound a formula from the clinic’s complete stock of Chinese medicinal herbs (the largest in the state).

Her goal is to suggest whichever combination of therapies she believes is most suitable for and best tolerated by each patient in the resolution of his or her condition.


Is acupuncture safe for pregnant women, children, and infants?

Women can receive acupuncture during pregnancy without risk to themselves or their babies as long as certain points are avoided. In fact, because of acupuncture’s very few side effects, many women have chosen it over Western drug therapy for pregnancy complications and complaints.

Adolescents and children with health conditions ranging from headaches to depression to indigestion to ADHD can also benefit from acupuncture.  Babies and infants, of course, need a gentle touch, and for them Dr. Nawei ordinarily uses finger pressure (or acupressure), a technique she is happy to explain to parents so they can use it at home.