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ZENJOY Wellness Blog

Defining an Adequate Dose of Acupuncture

Recently, a paper was published discussing ‘proper dosing’ of acupuncture. As identified in the paper, similarly to medications, the dosage of acupuncture makes a big difference in the treatment outcomes. In the paper, the authors recognize there are many contributing components to achieving optimal results, of which, “the ‘core’ components of an adequate protocol seem to be attention to: the number of needles used; the needling technique; specific elicitation of a needling sensation; the number of treatment sessions; and the experience of the acupuncturist” (White et al., 2008).


Although some of these factors are outside of the patient’s control, including the number of needles used and the technique for example, patients can give feedback regarding whether they feel something when acupuncture is applied, and the patient ultimately decides if they will commit to the number of treatment sessions recommended.


When a patient establishes care with a new acupuncturist, it is not uncommon for the acupuncturist to provide the patient with a treatment plan.  A treatment plan lays out the expected course of care to achieve the goals set forth by the patient. A good example of this interaction follows: 


Patient has had chronic back pain for several years. They establish care with Dr. Tank. After reviewing their intake, Dr. Tank asks what their goals for treatment are.  The patient responds they want to reduce their daily pain from 6-7/10 (10=worst) to 3-4/10 (10=worst). Dr. Tank suggests 3 appointments per week for two weeks. After two weeks, a re-assessment is done to determine how well the patient responds to the acupuncture. If acupuncture seems to be helping to reduce the pain, a new treatment plan is established which may be 1 appointment weekly for four weeks followed by another re-assessment to determine that the pain is, in fact, being kept at bay.  If all goes according to plan, the treatment plan might be modified to once every other week or once per month. 


Often, patients decide they want to come in at their will for treatments: perhaps they have responsibilities to their family or work and are not able to break away 2-3 times per week for the first two to three weeks; perhaps their insurance only allows a total of 12 appointments per year and they want to ‘space them out,’ perhaps they are not able to prioritize their health more than simply seeking an appointment now and again. Sadly, this can result in patients feeling like the ‘acupuncture is not working’ or that ‘acupuncture works for a little while, but it can’t help me to recover.’  And sometimes, the patients forget to ‘do their homework’ such as dietary modifications, taking their Chinese herbal formulas as prescribed, breath and stretching exercises, or other lifestyle adjustments suggested by the acupuncturist. It is important to stress that as an acupuncturist, “I only see you for an hour or two a week, at best. You have to do your homework the rest of the time to maintain the treatment effects.”


Many folks are aware they must take their prescribed antibiotics on time and that they must see the full course of antibiotics to the end to rid their body of the infection for which the antibiotics were prescribed. If they do not follow through, they risk the bacteria becoming stronger as a result of being exposed to the antibiotics, but not fully killing them off, and their infection may come back much worse than it began—or in a worst-case scenario, they may develop an antibiotic resistant infection such as MRSA.  This highlights treatment plan follow-through and dose dependency. While these dire straits are not expected by going off the prescribed course of acupuncture treatment, it is not uncommon for a patient to report their pain is unremitting or worsened when they do not follow the treatment plan. If there is one thing to be learned from this review, it is that the treatment plan exists to achieve the best outcomes for the patient and that acupuncture dosage is a key factor for whether those outcomes can realistically be achieved. 


White, A., Cummings, M., Barlas, P., Cardini, F., Filshie, J., Foster, N. E., … Witt, C. (2008). Defining an adequate dose of acupuncture using a neurophysiological approach - A narrative review of the literature. Acupuncture in Medicine, 26(2), 111–120.


Article Review By Dr. Crystal Rose Tank


The Spirit of Renewal: Spring and Traditional Chinese Medicine


Schedule an appointment today for Liver Detox!

Spring: It is the long-awaited change of winter to spring. Seeds sprout, flowers bloom, and the sun warms the earth. There is a sense of renewal and new life all around.

While winter was a time to conserve energy and reduce activity, spring is a time of regeneration, new beginnings, and a renewal of spirit.

The Principle of the Five Elements 

The five elements refer to wood, fire, earth, metal, and water in Eastern philosophy. The Principle of the Five Elements (known as the Wu Hsing in Chinese) describes the flow of Qi and the balance of yin and yang. 

According to the principle, all change – in the universe and in your body – occurs in five distinct stages. Each of these stages is associated with a particular time of year, a specific element in nature, and a pair of organs in the body. Change links together the seasons of the year, aspects of nature, and your body's organs and bodily processes. A practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine uses this principle to diagnose and treat health problems, linking specific foods, herbs, and acupuncture points to the restoration of yin-yang and Qi.


Spring is the ideal time for cleansing and rejuvenation for overall health and well-being. As spring is represented by the wood element and includes the liver and its complementary organ, the gallbladder, these two organs are usually the primary targets for springtime cleansing and health regimens. 


  • Element: Wood
  • Color: Green
  • Nature: Yang
  • Organs: Liver, Gallbladder
  • Emotion: Anger

Learn more about the Liver and Liver Qi Stagnation

Put Some Spring into Your Step

Spring corresponds to the "Wood" element, which in turn is conceptually related to the liver and gallbladder organs. According to the philosophy of Chinese medicine, the liver is responsible for the smooth flowing of Qi (energy) throughout the body. When the liver functions smoothly, physical and emotional activity throughout the body also runs smoothly. So, for optimum health this spring, move your Qi!

Stretch - The liver controls the tendons. According to Chinese medicine, the liver stores blood during periods of rest and then releases it to the tendons in times of activity, maintaining tendon health and flexibility. Incorporate a morning stretch into your routine. Try yoga or tai qi.

Eye Exercises - The liver opens into the eyes. Although all the organs have some connection to the health of the eyes, the liver is connected to proper eye function. Remember to take breaks when looking at a computer monitor for extended periods of time and do eye exercises.

Eat Green - Green is the color of the liver and of springtime. Eating young plants - fresh, leafy greens, sprouts, and immature cereal grasses - can improve the liver's overall functions and aid in the movement of qi.

Taste Sour - Foods and drinks with sour tastes are thought to stimulate the liver's qi. Put lemon slices in your drinking water, use vinegar and olive oil for your salad dressing. Garnish your sandwich with a slice of dill pickle. 

Do more outdoor activities - Outside air helps liver qi flow. If you have been feeling irritable, find an outdoor activity to smooth out that liver qi stagnation. Try hiking or take up golf.

Enjoy milk thistle tea
Milk thistle helps protect liver cells from incoming toxins and encourages the liver to cleanse itself of damaging substances, such as alcohol, medications, pesticides, environmental toxins, and even heavy metals such as mercury.

By: Diane Joswick, L.Ac., MSOM


Get Acupuncture treatments- Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help improve the overall health of your liver as well as treat stress, anger and frustration, which are often associated with liver qi disharmony.

Seasonal acupuncture treatments just four times a year can serve to tonify the inner organ systems and can correct minor annoyances before they become serious problems. Schedule an appointment today to see how acupuncture can help you stay healthy this spring!

360 Degrees of Health

Toot toot! I have always been a terrific connector for helping people find what they want and what they need. When I became a medical practitioner, my philosophy for comprehensive care stayed in line with helping patients find the best care, whether or not it was with me. My mailing list has over 300 individual emails, consisting of old and current patients. The majority of you, I honestly haven't seen in my practice for quite some time. Perhaps your health conditions have been resolved, perhaps you found acupuncture and herbs were not the healing modality for you, perhaps you found that I was not the medical provider for you. Despite your reasons, you have remained in contact and I hope that my monthly newsletters find you well. It is for you that I have formed a new group on Facebook: 


The purpose of this community group is to be a free resource for giving and receiving tips, suggestions, health care recommendations, etc towards healthy living. Seattle has such a vast and wonderful community of people and healers. This platform is to help you connect to find the healthiest, happiest way of living that suits YOU. I hope you will join me, your friends and your neighbors in navigating through the local health community. 

Happy Year of the Dog!

The Year of the Yellow Yang Earth Dog 2018 is a good time for lifestyle changes and to invest in your health! Receive a $50 Credit toward ANY one Medical Consult, Exam + Treatment Therapy. 


Promo code: WOOF2018

Limit one voucher per patient. Promotion expires 4/30/2018.

Put Your Heart in the Right Hands

For February, ZENJOY is focusing on heart health!

You wouldn't trust your heart with just anyone. As in love, so in health. Make sure your health care provider takes the time to investigate any cardiovascular concerns you may have. Heart disease is the #1 leading cause of death in both men and women, according to the CDC.

Prevention is key and ZENJOY will help you maintain good heart health through improved circulation and blood flow. 

Know the key risk factors as well as early warning signs and symptoms of heart disease.
Table below taken from AHA website:

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Can't make it to a ZENJOY event but still want to learn more about how Acupuncture and Herbs can help to support your health, Book an Initial Appointment today!