"Words have no wings but they can fly
a thousand miles."
Q: What are the background and credentials of the acupuncturist?
Klaudia Bae, L.Ac., earned her Bachelor of
Arts degree in Psychology at UCLA. Her Master of Science in Oriental
Medicine (MSOM) is from Samra University of Oriental Medicine. Samra is
the oldest OM teaching institution in the U.S. It is a four-year
curriculum combining Western and Eastern medical training.
Klaudia immigrated to the U.S. from Korea with her family when she was
seven. Her father practiced primarily modern biomedicine in Korea
although, for treating ailments for the family, he relied upon Asian
herbal medicine. Her mother is a therapeutic body work specialist
specializing in injury and pain healing.
As a child, when girls of her age played with Barbie, she grew up with
a microscope kit in one hand and Gray's Anatomy in the other.
Although medical school was within her childhood vision, the
death of her father when she was in college posed financial hardships
preventing her from taking that path. Later on, she realized that
the natural form of healing was her true calling. Ever since, she
has thanked the universe for having revealed her destiny in life as an
For a bit of humor, here is a different take submitted by a dear patient:
"As a child,
when girls of her age played with Barbie, Klaudia's mother found it
alarming when she saw Klaudia had stuck needles in her Barbie doll.
Klaudia's mother immediately spoke to the school's
psychiatrist about the situation and said: 'I am afraid that Klaudia is
going through some sort of difficult emotional time. She puts needles
in her Barbie doll when clearly, the Barbie doll only needed a good
massage." Jeremy Belmont Hilarious...
Q: What qualities should I look for in an acupuncturist?
An acupuncturist is no different from any
other person. The qualities that enable an acupuncturist to excel in
his/her profession are the same as those applying to every other
profession. Generally, those who enjoy their work, are committed and
passionate about their work, and take pride in a job well done tend to
excel in their chosen fields. In most cases, one's commitment, passion
and love for their work are fairly transparent. In addition to these,
anyone in the healing arts, including Asian medicine, should have
humanity and compassion as their guiding principal for doing what they
do. Without humanity and compassion, the passion and commitment will
not survive through the challenges. And in the healing arts, challenges
important is an acupuncturist's direct experience with a specific
condition in determining competency and successful outcome?
Practitioners of this
medicine treat the individual rather than the disease. It is a
fallacy to assume competency simply because one has
treated individual(s) with disease labels such as liver
cancer, disc herniation, eczema, prostatitis, etc. Each patient
presents a unique mix of constitutional make-up, lifestyle and dietary
habits, mental-emotional factors, pattern of disharmony resulting in
the disease, stage and state of disease progression, and so on.
As it concerns pattern of disharmony, for example, liver cancer
can arise from any number of patterns including Liver Qi
stagnation, Spleen deficiency, Blood stasis, Damp Heat toxins, Yin
deficiency of Liver and Kidneys, and so on, or unique combinations of
the foregoing as is often the case. And too, each individual presents a
unique symptom-complex of the disease and its myriad of
According to the core principles of this medicine, one can never
experience, exactly, a specific condition across multiple individuals.
Nor does a standardized treatment regimen apply. Consequently,
each patient must be evaluated and treated according to his/her own
unique presentation, without exception. Competency, then, is largely
determined by the accuracy of the Asian medical diagnosis and the
practitioner's ability to detect and address changes in the patient's
disease pattern throughout the course of the treatment. For it is
diagnosis which drives the treatment plan, initially, and the
skill to continually adjust the plan that will help facilitate a
Q: My doctor thinks that
traditional oriental medicine is not science, the effects of
acupuncture are unproven and not much more than placebo, and safety of
herbs are questionable. What is your response?
I defer to
5,000 years of
historical proof as the medicine's foundation; modern biomedical
testing as its visible markers; and the countless numbers of
individuals who have been treated and helped by this medicine, in
all countries of the world, as evidence. Through MRI technology
some acupuncture channels have been visualized, and areas of the
brain stimulated by actual acupuncture points have been shown to
coincide with their known western physiology. Whereas, placebo or sham
points failed to induce such predictable brain and neural activity.
Given its track record
and the numerous scientific tests being conducted attesting to their
"structure", function and efficacy, what more can anyone ask for?
As for the question on the safety of herbs, please see the
section on Herbs, below.
Q: What kinds of disorders should not be treated by traditional Asian medicine?
the history of this
medicine, it has been used to treat virtually all diseases and
disorders known to man with varying degrees of success as well as
failure. In America, acupuncturists may treat all forms of
disorders except as first line of therapy for cancer. Although,
in Asia, acupuncture and herbal medicine are often used either in lieu
chemotherapy or as an integrated system along with
surgical/chemo/radio-therapies. Pragmatically speaking,
traditional Asian medicine
should not be relied upon for emergency care. This is because, in
America, we are unable to utilize techniques such as herbal injections
and acupuncture surgery which are allowed in Asia. Other than
cancer and emergency medicine, traditional Asian medicine can be sought
for any disorder. It will be up to the discretion of the patient
in consultation with his/her acupuncturist to decide whether or not
this medicine is the best form of therapy for his/her particular
Q: I know people who were benefitted by traditional Asian medicine and some who were not.
Why is there such inconsistent results?
A multitude of factors affect one's healing outcome. In addition to those discussed in the section on Healing Process
(under Patient Information
a few others are also significant. Consistency and commitment are two
of them. True and dedicated professionals of the healing arts help
patients align with nature's healing mechanisms to help the body heal
faster, and more completely, than it could on its own. Still, it
takes time. During this time, consistency in keeping up with the
treatments and having undergone enough treatment sessions to reach an
adequate level of healing are extremely important. Commitment means
taking ownership of one's health to learn about his/her condition,
following the dietary and lifestyle guidelines recommended by his/her
acupuncturist, and making an effort to live it.
Acupuncture is not for everyone - especially not for those seeking a quick-fix. In America
more than most other cultures, our lives are driven by the "time is
money" principal. Few are willing to spend an hour or two a week when
it takes only 10 seconds to swallow a handful of pills for instant,
albeit temporary relief. As is the case with most things governed
by the laws of nature, however, it is better and easier to invest the
time and effort to do something right, at the start, than to go back
and try to fix it later.
Q: My previous acupuncturist, after making the initial diagnosis, pretty much followed the same routine and set of points.
Why do your sessions vary so much?
Diagnosis is the beginning of, rather than
the end of, one's treatment strategy. As your treatments progress your
body condition changes. In order to adjust to these changes and to
focus on any specific set of symptoms the patient may be experiencing
on a particular day, my treatment strategies may vary in order to
account for these factors.
Q: I referred a friend to you for acupuncture and herbs but you advised her to stay with her current acupuncturist. Why?
First of all, I cannot
adequately express my gratitude for having referred your friend to me.
Without referrals I would not be in practice. It is always
with immense regret when, from time to time, I am compelled to turn
away patients. When I do, you can be assured that I have contemplated a
variety of factors, most of which are for the benefit of the patient.
When a patient comes to me who is already under another practitioner's care, I consider the following:
- What is the patient's main reason(s) for seeking a change?
- Is he/she receiving any benefit from his/her current acupuncturist?
- Has he/she received enough treatments from the acupuncturist to justify giving up?
- Would I do things differently to promote significantly better results?
- My sessions are extensive and may be too
intense for some. I do not shy away from using the more sensitive
points if they are necessary to obtain results. My style is not for
- On average, I devote about 10 hours of my
personal time in research and preparation for each new-patient.
When patients are not committed to working in partnership with me for
moderate to longterm goals, the time spent on a transitory patient is
valuable time I could have, but was unable to devote to another patient
during that time.
Based on the probable answers to these questions and factors, I
believed that it was in your friend's best interest to remain with her
acupuncturist. I hope you will understand and continue to send
referrals as I am truly grateful when given the opportunity to be of
help to those in need. Thank you again.
Q: Is acupuncture painful?
Acupuncture needles are extremely
They are about 1/6th the thickness of hypodermic needles. The majority
of acupuncture points located on larger muscle areas are relatively
pain free. Some points at the extremities (hands and feet) can be
temporarily sensitive during needling. Areas of the body that have
experienced a history of trauma followed by development of scar
tissue may also be sensitive initially. In most cases the discomfort
will subside within seconds or minutes.
Without exception, every person
has a different sensitivity level. Also, points that are sensitive to
needling on a given day may not have the same level of sensitivity on
subsequent sessions. The nature of Qi flow and its disharmony, as
reflected at an acupuncture point, is such that it can behave
differently on different days. In many cases, the problem points (those
manifesting the Qi of one's disharmony) often exude a comforting,
'good-pain' sensation to the patient. It is not uncommon for a patient
to say that it feels as if he/she 'really needed that point'.
Q: How safe are Asian/Chinese herbs?
Herbs range from very mild to very strong
in their effects. Herbs are combined in ways to fit the constitution
and health condition of the individual as well as taking into account
the various interaction aspects. In this way, side effects are
minimized. However, as is the case with all things people consume and
are exposed to, some side effects may be experienced by some
individuals such as difficulty in digesting some herbs. In some cases
expected side effects must be temporarily endured. For example, in
treating inflammation and tumor caused by Phlegm and Blood Stasis,
herbs that are dispersing, moving and drying are used. In this example,
the expected side effect may be a tendency for dryness. Such side
effects will be eliminated when the condition has been sufficiently
treated. In all cases, herbal formulas will be continuously adjusted
throughout the course of one's treatments in order to not only reduce
the occurrence of side effects, but also to meet the changes in one's
health condition resulting from the treatments.
For additional information on Herbs, please see the section on Herbs
Q: Many drugs are made by extracting certain elements and compounds from plants. Yet why are herbs more safe than drugs?
In nature, all things - both living
and non-living - are a reflection of the coming together of discrete
entity of things (including elements and compounds) surrounded by (or
existing within) a medium. In order to exist, all things have
somehow grasped and incorporated the art and science of balance
and harmony as a way to manifest itself and survive within its natural
fauna and flora.
In the making of pharmaceutical drugs, specific active ingredient(s) of
a plant are extracted for medicinal use. However, the discrete
ingredient extracted lacks the harmonizing and balancing mechanisms
offered by all the other elements and ingredients, which it is
merely a small part of, in the medium of the living whole-plant/herb.
In the drug, the active ingredient is then fixed in a medium of
chemicals and other compounds, often of synthetic origin. Consequently,
the extracted ingredient will behave differently within the drug-medium
as opposed to the plant-medium. For example, it may
incite mechanisms of uptake, distribution, use, storage, breakdown
and elimination within the body that are different from those incited
by the ingestion of the whole plant. Because of the altered
environment, toxicity and/or adverse side effects may be exerted by
the ingredient (and the drug) which would not normally appear when
taken as a whole plant/herb.
In traditional Asian medicine, we further apply the laws of
balance and harmony by
combining together many herbs of various natures and properties in
prescription formula. Herbs are utliized in their natural whole
forms - whether fresh, dried, or powdered. In my practice, no two
herbal formulas are the
same as every prescription is custom-formulated for each individual
This customization further promotes the safety and wellbeing of
Q: You recommend that we
eat at least 4 servings each of fruits and vegetables per day.
Can I substitute fruit juices for fruit?
I will discuss this and
aspects of nutrition in detail when content on Nutrition is posted.
Relatively speaking, fruit juice is preferred over other flavored
drinks, especially carbonated beverages. But relatively speaking, fruit
juice is not a substitute for the fruit. In the juice-only form,
high sugar content and immediate uptake into the bloodstream often
nullifies its health quotient. Particularly in
those who have disorders in regulating blood sugar, including diabetes
and hypo/hyper-glycemia, juice is not a good option as it will raise
the blood sugar level too quickly followed by a sudden drop. In
the whole fruit, the sugar content is surrounded by and is a part of
other healthy elements offered by the fibrous flesh. The body
processes and uses the whole fruit differently than it does the liquid
juice part, alone. In this way, the whole fruit does not cause
the unhealthy spike and drop in blood sugar to the degree that the
juice alone would. Also, the fiber content is an extremely
important component in keeping the body detoxified and helping the
stool to move better through the digestive system. The longer the stool
remains in the body, the more toxins the body reabsorbs and retains.