While not as well known yet as acupuncture in the U.S., herbal medicine is an important part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment. While herbs may take longer to work than western pharmaceuticals, they can be very powerful with much fewer side effects. Herbal formulas can be fine tuned for an individual’s current condition and their general constitution.

Herbal medicine helps maintain a person’s health by restoring a balance of energy, body, and spirit. Herbal formulas can be taken in the form of teas, powders, pills, tinctures or syrups. Chinese herbal medicine involves more than 400 different formulas of 3200 herbs and 300 minerals and animal extracts. Some commonly used herbs are ginkgo, astragalus, ginseng, eleuthero, green tea, goji berries and ginger.

TCM herbal formulas are used to prevent and treat hormone disturbances, infections, breathing disorders, and a vast number of other ailments and diseases. Herbal remedies can also ease the side effects of standard cancer treatments, control pain, strengthen the immune system, ease PMS and menopause symptoms, and improve the overall quality of life.

With hundreds of different medicinal herbs combined into formulas generally containing between four and twelve herbs, each formula can be individually tailored to each patient’s unique constitution and illness. Chinese herbal medicine works at solving the underlying problem, not just the symptoms.

To choose the best formulation of herbs for a patient, I will complete a thorough historical intake and examination. This will include questions regarding medications, past or current, as well as pulse and tongue examination.


Cupping is a technique in which a vacuum is created within glass or plastic cups that have been placed over certain parts of the body, often the back, neck and shoulders. The cups are then left in place for five to ten minutes, or moved over problem areas. This technique is in some ways the opposite of massage, rather than applying pressure to muscles, it gently lifts them upward through pressure in the cups. While cupping is painless and usually quite relaxing, it can leave circular marks for a few days.

Cupping can loosen tight muscles, sedate the nervous system, and help with blood flow. It is a beneficial treatment for asthma, cough, flu and the common cold as it can help to clear and eliminate congestion in the lungs.


Moxibustion describes the burning of the herb mugwort over acupuncture points. The patient will feel a sensation of heat from this process, although not enough to cause pain. The heat from moxibustion is very penetrating, making it effective for impaired circulation, cold and damp conditions like arthritis, and can even be used to turn a breech baby.


Gua sha is the process of scraping the skin with a small, dull instrument in order to stimulate blood flow and loosen connective tissue. Modern research shows gua sha produces an anti-inflammatory and immune protective effect.

Gua sha is effective for pain and stiffness, often in the neck and back. It is also used to treat symptoms of the common cold or flu, such as body aches, coughing, chills and fever.