FAQ › Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions About Our Different Services


What is colon hydrotherapy?

Colon hydrotherapy, colonic, colonic irrigation,high enema or colon cleansing are all terms used to describe the practice of using warm filtered to help hydrate, stimulate and dissolve matter in the large intestine.
 
Our sessions are scheduled for 45 min and a colon hydrotherapist is present during the entire process. At Optimal Health we use only a CLOSED SYSTEM equipment.

Will I be embarrassed during the session?

Our therapists are great at making you feel comfortable. You are covered during the entire session. The session takes place in a private room with an adjacent bathroom. During the session, as we use “closed system colonic equipment” so there rarely is any smell or uncontained waste materials.

What happens during the colonic session?

During the session you wear a gown and are covered at all times. In our sessions, a therapist is present at all times. You lay comfortably on a massage table, usually on your back or on your side.
 
In the beginning of the session, you will be instructed to insert a disposable plastic speculum/rectal nozzle (a small piece of plastic tubing) into your rectum. The therapist is there to assist you if needed. The speculum connects to the colonic equipment.
 
All water and waste are contained. The therapist regulates water pressure, flow and temperature The colonic itself is a series of fill and release cycles, where the gentle inflow of water hydrates, dissolves waste and stimulate your peristalsis. You can see what is being released through a viewing window in the equipment. The room is booked for 45 min, and the actual colonic usually lasts 35-40 min.
 
After the session, you will “finish” in the adjacent bathroom. Always take your time in the bathroom to assure excess water and gas has been released.

What is constipation?

Constipation refers to bowel movements that are infrequent or hard to pass. The stool is often hard and dry. Other symptoms may include abdominal pain, bloating, and feeling as if one has not completely passed the bowel movement.

What should I do before a colon hydrotherapy session?

The day of the session please refrain from eating a full meal 2 hours prior to the session avoid drinking large quantities of fluids 1 hour before.
 
If you have a few days to prepare, and for best possible experience make sure you are as hydrated as possible. Reduce processed food, sugar,bread, pasta and rice and pasteurized dairy. And optimally, avoid soda, coffee and other diuretics.

What should I do after a colon hydrotherapy session?

Eat light easily digested foods; steamed, cooked or raw vegetables, soup and light protein.
 
Drink green juices and smoothies.
 
Drink plenty of warm water and fluids. Avoid cold foods and drinks.
 
Be cautious of nuts- as it can be hard to digest them.
 
Be cautious of beans- they are often gas forming.
 
If you are on one of our cleansing programs, you will have more detailed directions to follow.

How many colon hydrotherapy sessions will I need?

When you are here, the therapist will discuss with you what your goals are and guide you accordingly. If you want to do a thorough cleanse or are trying to change something you have problems with, we recommend you have a series of colonics to achieve your goal.
 
If all you want is to feel a little lighter and flatter, maybe one or two is enough. Ultimately it is your choice of what you want to do, we are here to guide you and help you achieve the health goals you have set for yourself. Whatever level you might be on we will do our best to help you proceed.

Will I experience any intestinal discomfort or fatigue afterwards?

Most clients report feeling lighter, flatter, and full of energy after a session but keep in mind experiences vary depending on each individual body. Most people have no problem going about their day and activities as usual.
 
There might be moments of discomfort if you are constipated or if your waste is hard and if your digestion is off. Clients report that they might have felt it to be “a little strange,” but after the first time colonics has a relaxing effect on your body. If you know you are particularly toxic, you may wish to allow yourself time after the appointment to relax and rest.

Can I have a colon hydrotherapy session if I am menstruating?

It is no problem at all receiving a colonic session during your menstrual cycle is a good time to since your body is already in a natural state of cleansing. Your flow will not interfere with the success of the treatment.
 
Just inform your therapist that you are on your cycle before you begin your session. Your cycle does NOT exempt you from the 24 hour cancellation policy.



What Does Acupuncture Feel Like? Does It Hurt?

People experience acupuncture differently, but most feel no paint, or minimal pain, as the needles are inserted. The different acupuncture points vary in sensitivity from patient to patient and even from day to day.
 
Acupuncture needles are metallic, solid, and hair-thin. Many acupuncture needles can fit inside of one hypodermic syringe (the kind of needle blood samples are drawn with.) It does not at all feel like getting an injection or taking a blood sample.
 
There are a variety of techniques that are selected from, according to the needs of the patient. Some techniques require strong stimulation while others are extremely mild.
Again, during the insertion of the needle there is usually little or no pain.
 
After insertion, the needles will be manipulated in order to activate the body's energy system. This activation, known as “the arrival of qi” can be experienced in a variety of ways. It has been described as a dull ache, swelling, pinching, tingle, twitch, grabbing, numb or just as a plain, odd feeling. These sensations can travel along the meridians too, but dissipate quickly and the patient sinks into a deep relaxation, or falls asleep entirely.
 
During the relaxation period, a person can experience a variety of states: a deep calm, a floating feeling or a sinking feeling, a meditative state, one may lose track of time, fingers or toes might twitch like when one is falling asleep or sometimes, emotions may arise. Some people are energized by a treatment, while others feel relaxed. The most common feeling is a clear, calm state of being.

Is Acupuncture Safe? Are The Needles Clean?

Acupuncture is a drug-free, minimally invasive approach to health and well-being. Because of this, you may avoid the risks of drugs which may cause side effects and dependency. Acupuncture is considered safe and effective for infants, children, men, women and those in their golden years.
 
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved acupuncture needles for use by licensed practitioners in 1996. The FDA requires that sterile, nontoxic needles be used and that they are labeled for single use by qualified practitioners only.
 
Our acupuncturist uses sterile, disposable, single-use needles.
 
Relatively few complications from the use of acupuncture have been reported to the FDA in light of the millions of people treated each year and the number of acupuncture needles used. To put it another way, statistically, driving through Los Angeles traffic is thousands of times more dangerous than the actual procedure!

Is There Anyone Who Should NOT Get Acupuncture?

There are a few medical conditions which are not suitable for acupuncture. With some of these conditions, a note from your primary care condition specifically stating it is permissible to receive acupuncture may suffice.
 
Some of these conditions may include:
 

  • Bleeding diathesis (hemophilia or other blood disorders)
  • Epilepsy
  • People unable to give informed consent (such as minors without guardians)
  • Intoxicated people (alcohol or other drugs)
  • Psychiatric instability

Can I Receive Acupuncture If I'm Pregnant?

Yes. However, there are certain acupuncture points that are contraindicated during pregnancy. It is important to notify the acupuncturist if you are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant.

What Are The Side-Effects, If Any, Of Acupuncture?

Many people consider the most common side-effects of acupuncture to be the best part: Relaxation, a feeling of peace, euphoria and general well-being are the most commonly experienced “side-effects.”
 
While these are mostly pleasant sensations, they may interfere with the operation of heavy machinery or extreme precision for a few minutes after the treatment. It's best not to rush into performing neurosurgery or fly an airplane immediately after receiving acupuncture. 🙂
 
On very rare occasions, people feel faint or nauseous during the treatment. If this happens, mention it to the acupuncturist who will remove the needles and have you lie down for a few minutes to settle down.
 
Occasionally, there may be slight bruising around the site of needling. The bruises tend to be smaller than a nickel and disappear with a few days. There may also be a drop or two of blood at certain sites when the needle is removed, though this does not occur often.
 
Finally, there is the healing process itself. As your body becomes healthier and stronger, blood circulation and the body's ability to push out stored toxins improves. Sometimes during the detoxification and the healing process you may feel achy, irritable, and may not sleep well. Let the acupuncturist know so that s/he can address your situation.

What Conditions Can Acupuncture Help?

According to the World Health Organization, acupuncture may be helpful in the following conditions:
 

  • Digestive disorders such as: abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, hiccough, ulcer pain, food allergies, colitis, gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), hyperacidity & indigestion.
  • Emotional difficulties such as: anxiety, depression, insomnia, stress, nervousness & neurosis.
  • Eye-ear-nose-throat conditions such as: cataracts, poor vision, toothache, gingivitis & tinnitus.
  • Reproductive & genitourinary imbalances such as: bladder dysfunction, erectile dysfunction, infertility, menopausal symptoms, premenstrual syndrome, painful or irregular menstruation, morning sickness, induction of labor, the malposition of fetus.
  • Musculoskeletal conditions such as: arthritis, back pain, neck pain, muscle pain, sciatica, muscle weakness, muscle cramping, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, jaw pain, dental pain, “tennis elbow”, “frozen shoulder” and shoulder pain, knee pain & whiplash.
  • Neurological conditions such as: headaches, migraines, Parkinson's disease, stroke, post-operative pain, neurogenic bladder dysfunction, facial pain and paralysis including Bell's Palsy, trigeminal neuralgia, shingles, peripheral neuropathies, fibromyalgia & pareses following stroke.
  • Respiratory disorders such as: asthma, bronchitis, common cold, sore throat, sinusitis, rhinitis, tonsillitis & smoking cessation.

 
…And other conditions such as: Addiction disorders including nicotine, cocaine, alcohol, overeating and opiates, blood pressure regulation, poor circulation, edema, eczema, chronic fatigue, tinnitus, post-operative recovery, immune system improvement & athletic enhancement.

How Does Acupuncture Work From The Standpoint Of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Chinese medical theory posits the circulation of a vital life energy or “qi” throughout the body along pathways or channels known as meridians. These meridians are similar but not identical to the nervous and blood circulatory systems. When the flow of this qi is smooth, even and unimpeded, health results on all levels: Physically, mentally and emotionally. An imbalance or blockage of this flow leads to all forms of ailments, disease and illness.
 
The balance of life is conceived of as the interplay between two forces: yin and yang. Yin is the cold, slow and passive principle. Yang is the hot, fast and active principle. Acupuncture aims to restore the free, easy and smooth flow between yin and yang.
 
The 12 primary meridians and 8 secondary meridians are where most of the acupuncture points are placed. The stimulation, sedation or activation of these acupoints through needling and other techniques strengthens, unblocks and balances the energetic flow of qi. Acupuncture stimulates the qi to flow in the meridians that form an interconnected web throughout the body.

How Does Acupuncture Work From The Standpoint Of Western Medicine?

Preclinical studies have documented acupuncture's effects, but they have not been able to fully explain how acupuncture works within the framework of the Western system of medicine that is commonly practiced in the United States.
 
It is proposed that acupuncture produces its effects through regulating the nervous system, thus aiding the activity of pain-killing biochemicals such as endorphins and immune system cells at specific sites in the body.
 
In addition, studies have shown that acupuncture may alter brain chemistry by changing the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones and, thus, affecting the parts of the central nervous system related to sensation and involuntary body functions, such as immune reactions and processes that regulate a person's blood pressure, blood flow, and body temperature.

How Old Is Acupuncture?

Many believe the practice of acupuncture is well over 3,000 years old. The first formal record of acupuncture was compiled between 300 BC and 100 BC. However, that compilation is so extensive and complete it is obvious that acupuncture had already been practiced for a very long time even at that point in time.

How Much Is Acupuncture Used In The United States?

Acupuncture is one of the oldest, most commonly used medical procedures in the world but only gained public attention in the United States in 1971, when New York Times reporter James Reston wrote about how doctors in China used needles to ease his pain after surgery.
 
In the past two decades, acupuncture has grown in popularity in the United States. The report from a Consensus Development Conference on Acupuncture held at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1997 stated that acupuncture is being “widely” practiced – by thousands of physicians, dentists, acupuncturists, and other practitioners – for relief or prevention of pain and for various other health conditions.
 
According to the 2002 National Health Interview Survey–the largest and most comprehensive survey of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use by American adults to date–an estimated 8.2 million U.S. adults had used acupuncture, and an estimated 2.1 million U.S. adults had used acupuncture in the previous year.

What Is The Relationship Between Acupuncture And Conventional Medical Care?

While acupuncture is concerned with the whole person and addresses itself to many levels of functioning, it is also a particular form of treatment with its own limitations. It needs to be used in conjunction with health-promoting attitudes and behaviors. Our acupuncturists happily works in conjunction with many different healthcare providers including traditional western medical doctors.

Can Acupuncture And TCM Be Combined With Other Treatments?

As a general rule, acupuncture compliments other treatments (including chiropractic, massage, detoxification, physical therapy, etc.)
 
It is important that you inform other practitioners, including your primary care physician, that you are receiving acupuncture or taking Chinese herbs. It is also important that you inform your acupuncturist of other treatments you are having or medications you are taking (including herbs, supplements and homeopathic medicines.)

What is Sports Acupuncture?

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine is a holistic medical system that is particularly effective for the prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, making it an ideal treatment for recreational and professional athletes.
 
Acupuncture releases tension in the muscles and connective tissue so that the nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems are able to function more effectively. Numerous sports figures, including Carl Lewis, Kimiko Date, Jim McMahon, Shaquille O'Neal, Misty May, John Salley and Charles Barkley have used acupuncture to enhance training and performance, accelerate healing and manage pain.

What is Comprehensive Acupuncture?

An acupuncturist has several tools to work with when treating a patient. For example, electro-acupuncture, massage, gua sha (scraping), various cupping techniques, infrared heat, herbal oils or patches.
 
Comprehensive Acupuncture utilizes and combines several of these techniques together to get the most positive result as possible for the patient per treatment. There is an old acupuncture saying that essentially says, “If you move the qi, then you will move the blood. Conversely, if you move the blood, then you will move the qi”.
 
Comprehensive Acupuncture combines therapies in order to move qi and blood for maximum results.

How Much Will Acupuncture Cost? Will It Be Covered By My Insurance?

Many insurance companies and healthcare plans do cover acupuncture. Check with your provider for your “out-of-network” coverage and deductible. We can provide “a superbill”, a receipt for services, which you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement according to your plan.

During your first office visit, you will be asked questions about your health, lifestyle, and behavior. A more complete picture of your particular situation and behaviors allows for a more customized treatment and better care.
 
Inform the acupuncturist about all treatments or medications you are taking and all medical conditions you have.
 
The acupuncturist may examine your pulses, your tongue and will usually palpate (press) along the meridians throughout the body or abdomen to look for places of tenderness or other kinds of blockage.
To set up your first appointment, call us today at (310) 360-1199 or send us an email.

How Long Does An Acupuncture Treatment Take?

An initial visit typically lasts for approximately 60 minutes. Each treatment after that lasts for about 45 minutes.

How Many Acupuncture Points Are Used During a Treatment?

This is a very difficult question as the acupuncturist will often use different techniques and protocols depending upon many factors. Each treatment is specialized to the particular situation and the uniqueness of the individual patient. A treatment may use anywhere between 2 and 20 points, though 10 is average.

Where Do The Needles Go?

This depends upon many different factors including the condition being addressed, the techniques being employed and imbalances of the individual patient. Although acupoints are located all over the body the most commonly used points are placed from your elbows to your fingers, from your knees to your toes and many different points on the back.

Does Acupuncture Always Help?

No healing method is 100% effective. At Optimal Health we experience a high rate of success with our acupuncture patients.

What Type Of Response Can I Expect? How Quickly Can I Expect To Feel Better?

Each person responds differently but many people experience a sense of peace and tranquility that can last for days as their bodies come to a deeper balance. Your response can be immediate or delayed, dramatic or slow and subtle.
 
The only way to tell is to watch for differences. With pain conditions, look for any diminished effect regarding the intensity. With functional disorders, such as constipation or allergies, the desired effect may take a bit more time.

How Many Treatments Will I Need? Can I Have Too Much Acupuncture?

In China, acupuncture is often given to patients every day. Here in the United States this is often not practical even though it tends to produce the best results.
 
Remember that problems that have been around for a long time usually take more treatments to resolve than ones that have come about recently. Acupuncture treatments tend to produce a cumulative effect and results continue to build and grow over time.
 
During the initial stages of recovery from an acute or traumatic condition, acupuncture can be recommended up to three times per week. This can be gradually reduced to once a week or once every other week while recovery continues. Many patients come in for a “tune-up” once or twice a month in order to maintain and promote good health.

I Heard That It Only Works As a Placebo; What If I Don't believe In Acupuncture?

The idea that acupuncture only works as a placebo is one of the biggest misconceptions about acupuncture. You are not required to believe in acupuncture for it to work. Studies have shown acupuncture to be very effective in treating a number of conditions in humans, as well as animals such as horses, dogs and cats.
 
Animals are incapable of actually “believing” in acupuncture, yet it still works very well for them. Testing for an acupuncture placebo in humans is much more challenging. However, there have been studies conducted at major universities such as the University of Vermont, that have concluded that acupuncture acts as more than just a placebo.

Is This a Cure Or Just a Temporary Block?

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine are meant to uproot the imbalances that are the foundations of disease. This is why it usually takes a few visits to get the desired results.

If It Works Will I Always Have To Continue Treatments?

No. As our patients realize results from the treatments, they begin to space out the treatments more and more until maximum results are achieved. If the symptoms do return at a later date, a subsequent treatment may help restore the previous results.
 
After the obvious condition is addressed, many of our patients choose to receive acupuncture for stress relief, prevention or a monthly “tune-up.”

What Does a Session Involve Other Than Acupuncture?

Our acupuncturist has extensive formal and informal training not only in acupuncture, but in many different branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine and other forms of holistic medicine.
 
In that regard, they will often come up with an individualized protocol for handling the particulars of your situation. These protocols may involve: acupuncture in conjunction with electrical stimulation, cupping, moxibustion, herbal, nutritional and supplemental therapy, gentle and restorative physical exercises, meditation and stress relief techniques, remedial massage, or perhaps referral to other alternative practitioners.

How Are Practitioners Trained In The U.S.?

Licensed Acupuncturists (L.Ac.) in the state of California receive 2,000 – 3,000 hours of training exclusively in this field over 3 to 4 years, and undergo an extensive clinical internship with hands-on treatment of patients.
 
Acupuncturists are licensed, Board Certified by the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and has been awarded a Diplomate in Acupuncture (Dipl. Ac.)
 
Acupuncturists are required to receive continuing education to maintain Board Certification status.
 
Most medical doctors, osteopaths and chiropractors who use acupuncture as an adjunct to their primary practice are Certified rather than Licensed. Certified acupuncturists need only about 200 hours of training in acupuncture and are not required to take the standard competency exam. Their preparation in Oriental Medical principles and diagnostic procedures is therefore minimal.
 
As a result, they typically limit themselves to using acupuncture for the treatment of pain, whereas Licensed Acupuncturists treat pain along with a broad range of health issues including chronic disease, internal medicine, rehabilitation, and prevention based on Oriental Medical theory.

What About Chinese Herbs?

Herbs are an essential part of Chinese medicine and were an extensive part of training. Often, the Optimal Health practitioners will suggest certain herbal formulas and nutritional supplements to facilitate the results of treatment and promote sustained positive results.

What Happens During An Examination And Herbal Consultation?

During an exam/consultation, the acupuncturist learns your medical history and assesses your face, body, build, shape, abdomen, back, the color and shape of your tongue, and the quality of your pulses.
 
Some acupuncturists test for weakness along the meridians and in the muscles.

How Do The Herbs Work? Are They Safe?

That is a question that volumes and volumes have been written about. But in short, the principles of Chinese medicine regarding yin and yang, excess and deficiency, blockage and flow, qi and blood also apply to Chinese herbalism.
 
There is vast and extensive data about the use of Chinese herbs that has accumulated over thousands of years. These plants have been helping sick people become well for a very long time and their uses and side effects are well-known and well-documented. Herbs are commonly prescribed in all hospitals in China in conjunction with western medicine practice.

Can I Take Chinese Herbs When I Am On Traditional Western Prescription Drugs?

It depends on the medication you are taking. Some medications have many and well-known contraindications. Most of the time there are no such complications. However, this is evaluated on a case by case basis.Always inform your prescribing physician about any herbal supplements you are recommended.

How Are Herbs Different From Western Medicine?

Chinese herbal formulas tend to be much gentler and safer than western pharmaceuticals. Herbs work to relieve symptoms and uproot the causes of ill health. As the body shifts and adjusts in response to the course of treatment, herbal protocols are modified to stay in tune with the state of the patient. When the body is brought to a deeper state of balance, the herbs will no longer be needed.