Katerina Pozzi Baratta, LAc, MSOM, is a Chinese medicine practitioner, yoga instructor, author, and natural health educator based out of Portland, Oregon.
Please call the Canyon Medical Center at 503.252.8125 to set up a hands-on Chinese medicine appointment with Katerina, or contact her directly for a free consultation or to set up online appointments.
Email: Katerina [at] DellaTerraWellness.com
What is Chinese medicine?
Chinese medicine provides a holistic view of health, seeing humans and their bodies as intricately connected with the world around them.
While a biomedical doctor will look at how different parts of the body are working or not working, and prescribe treatments to try to “fix” specific malfunctions, a Chinese medicine practitioner will look at how all of the parts of a person are dynamically interacting with the other parts, as well as how they are influenced by environmental factors outside of the body.
The goal of Chinese medicine is not to try to patch up what is broken (although Chinese medicine can be surprisingly effective in both acute and chronic situations.)
Instead, Chinese medicine practitioners harness the body’s innate ability to heal, and aim to bring the person as a whole into greater harmony so that what is out of balance can come back to a more balanced and healthy state, naturally.
Acupuncture is the most famous form of Chinese medicine, but because it is a holistic approach to health, Chinese medicine treatments can actually involve a lot of other treatment modalities like herbal medicine, bodywork, cupping, moxabustion, bloodletting, qigong, nutrition & lifestyle counseling, and more.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a treatment method in which a practitioner uses tiny sterile needles to stimulate specific points throughout the body.
Acupuncture is founded on the idea that there are meridians, or energetic channels, throughout the body which act as pathways for Qi to flow. Qi (pronounced “chee”) is a word used to described the life force that flows through every living thing, and it is believed to collect in different points on the body along meridian channels.
A classic Chinese principle is that when Qi flows, there is no pain, when Qi is stuck, it causes pain.
This pain can be both physical or emotional.
Through the stimulation of specific points and channels on the body, acupuncture aims to help bring the person as a whole into greater balance by boosting deficiencies, reducing excess, and removing blockages in the channels so Qi can flow better.
What can Chinese medicine treat?
Chinese medicine practitioners interpret all signs and symptoms, from pain to pulse quality, menstrual symptoms to a person’s emotional state, and everything in between, in order to move toward an understanding of what is in and out of balance in the body.
So instead of treating a headache, for example, a Chinese medicine practitioner’s job is to try to address the imbalance that is causing that headache in the first place.
Does it hurt?
Acupuncture can cause strong and sometimes painful sensations, but because acupuncture needles are significantly thinner than hypodermic needles, any pain that is experienced passes very quickly. Most people find the effects very enjoyable and worth any brief discomfort needle insertion may cause.
Luckily for more sensitive patients, there are highly effective needling techniques that involve extremely shallow needle insertion (1-3 mm), or no insertion at all.
How frequently will I have to come in?
Chinese medicine works best cumulatively, and success rates depend on the patient’s ability to come in regularly, take herbs regularly (when applicable), and make the lifestyle changes recommended by the practitioner.
That said, every situation is different.
In some cases, especially acute conditions, it is best to come in for once or twice a week for a series of weeks, while “maintenance” visits for healthier patients might only happen about once every 4-6 weeks.
How are Katerina’s treatments different?
Katerina’s treatments are much more involved than the treatments you will get at most acupuncture clinics.
While many Chinese medicine practitioners ask a few questions, stick in a few needles, and leave the room, Katerina does an in-depth personal interview and physical assessment before treating any patient and rarely leaves the treatment room.
In placing needles, Katerina uses extremely thin, Japanese style needles that are hardly felt by most patients, and after needles are placed, Katerina stays in the room the majority of the time, working with her hands to restore structural and visceral balance to the body while the needles do their work on a more energetic level.
In fact, there are quite a few occasions when Katerina doesn’t insert needles at all, relying instead on hands-on bodywork, moxabustion, cupping, yoga sequencing, medicinal herbs, and/or nutritional & lifestyle counseling to help a person heal.
Is acupuncture safe?
Yes! All licensed acupuncturists have had years of training in how to safely administer acupuncture using sterile needles and are fluently versed in its contraindications.
Can I get acupuncture when I’m pregnant?
You can, and in fact it is encouraged!
Acupuncture can help alleviate a variety of uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness, constipation, muscle aches, insomnia, and breech presentation.
Can kids get acupuncture?
While insertive needling techniques are rarely used in people under the age of 12, infants and children are often treated with non-insertive needling techniques called Shonishin. Click here for more information.