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Questions & Answers
                  
                       "Words have no wings but they can fly a thousand miles.
"
                                                                        -[Korean proverb]


General


Q: What are the background and credentials of the acupuncturist?

A: 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 holistic healer.  
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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?
A: 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 are many.

Q: How important is an acupuncturist's direct experience with a specific condition in determining competency and successful outcome?
A: 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 complications. 

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 successful outcome.

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?
A: 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 virtually 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?
A: Throughout 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 of 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 presentation.  

Q: I know people who were benefitted by traditional Asian medicine and some who were not.  Why is there such inconsistent results? 
A: 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?
A: 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?
A: 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:
  • Why?
    • 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?
  • Fit
    • 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 everyone.  
    • 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.  



Acupuncture

Q: Is acupuncture painful?
A: Acupuncture needles are extremely thin. 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'.



Herbs

Q: How safe are Asian/Chinese herbs?
A: 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?
A: 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 a 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 patient. This customization further promotes the safety and wellbeing of the patient.  



Nutrition

Q: You recommend that we eat at least 4 servings each of fruits and vegetables per day.  Can I substitute fruit juices for fruit?
A: I will discuss this and other 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, the 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.  


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