Traditional Chinese Medicine

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions, and our answers.


What is TCM and how does it work?Feng Shui destructive cycle. Five elements: water wood fire earth metal

Traditional Chinese Medicine differs from Western therapies in that Chinese Medicine looks at your health from a holistic or “whole person” point-of-view, while Western medicine tends to focus on diseases or traumas in isolation. A person’s diet, lifestyle, work, family relationships, emotions, internal and external environment, all affect one’s health and sense of well-being. In Chinese Medicine everything is interdependent and mutually interactive. As people we exist as part of an energetic universe. Chinese Medicine activates & replenishes your own body’s natural healing processes to take care of the problem.

What does a session involve?

During a session, full attention will be given to help you relax and receive the most value from the treatment. you may feel nothing, or sometimes a vague numbness, heaviness, or slight tingling—however, the treatment is effective whether these feelings are sensed or not. After the treatment, you may experience a relaxing euphoric feeling.

How should I prepare for my Session?

Do not come hungry but don’t stuff yourself right before the appointment. Wear comfortable clothing.

How long does a session take?

Your first treatment is approximately 1.5 hours and involves an initial consultation in which a diagnosis is made and we determine which TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) treatments are right for you. After the initial consultation, we generally move right into a first treatment during the same visit. Follow-up visits consist of a much shorter intake/diagnosis period before treatment, and generally last for 1 hour or less.

How do you use Traditional Chinese Medicine to diagnose my health problem?

We ask a variety of questions regarding your specific complaint and general health and use Traditional Chinese diagnostic methods, including pulse reading and tongue diagnosis. The initial consultation includes a standard health history—not unlike at a medical doctor’s office. You will be asked to fill out a few forms, or, if you wish, we can provide you with information for downloading the forms and you can fill them out at home before you come in. Whatever first treatment is appropriate will be done immediately following the initial consultation.

Can Chinese Medicine help me?

Chinese Medicine is therapeutically effective for a wide range of disorders including but not limited to: traumatic injuries, athletic injuries, allergies, circulatory problems, nerve disorders, stress and emotional difficulties, women’s health issues, infertility, energy deficiencies, and immune system disorders. It is also helpful in managing morning sickness during pregnancy and managing the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Because TCM treats the whole person, people who incorporate TCM therapies into their personal health regimen tend to be healthier, happier, and more resistant to disease.

What exactly is Qi?

the channels of energy

the channels of energy

Qi is the life force that moves within us and around us. It is what keeps nature’s cycles regular. It is an electromagnetic energy circulating in the body, regulating physiology. Within the body Qi is differentiated to perform specific functions: production of energy, the beating of the heart, breathing, movement, healing process, resistance to illness, assimilation of food and elimination of wastes, etc. Blockage in the flow of Qi causes pain as in the case of injury. Insufficient Qi causes hypo function as in chronic fatigue syndrome. Excess of Qi causes hyper function as in in gastric ulcers. The proper and harmonious flow of Qi is what maintains our sense and state of well being. 

Is there any science to this?

Yes. TCM is the most extensively documented medical practice in the world. Not only is there literally thousands of years of proven case studies, but also in modern times much clinical research has been done to show how acupuncture works to change the biochemistry of the body. In China today, both Traditional and Western medicines are used side by side in the hospitals. This is becoming more common in the Western world as well.

Is there a beginning and an end?

TCM can be used successfully to cure a particular ailment, say, to help you quit smoking, to relieve pain and promote healing after an accident or injury, to alleviate allergies, help get over the flu or boost your energy, etc. Once your specific complaint has been alleviated you may discontinue treatment or you may wish to visit your acupuncturist for preventative measures to maintain your body and mind in a state of harmony and well-being. How long treatments continue is usually proportional to how long you’ve had the problem.

chinese food therapy, traditional chinese herbal medicine

What about herbal medicine?

Herbal medicines are used alone or with acupuncture to support and regulate bodily functions from the inside out. Acupuncture works from the outside in, therefore, the two systems complement each other as Yin and Yang therapies. “Tonic” herbs nourish and enhance the body’s Qi, blood and fluids. The “clearing” herbs drain pathogenic factors like heat, cold, or toxins. There are hundreds of herbs in the Chinese pharmacy. Specific herbs are appropriately chosen and combined to form a prescription for an individual’s specific needs. Chinese medicine can be taken in the form of teas, tinctures, pills or powders.

Fire cupping cups on back of female patient in Acupuncture therapy

What is Cupping? 

Cupping is a technique that pulls blood to a region to stimulate healing. It is effective at stretching tight fascia and muscles. Cupping helps the tissue develop new blood flow and causes anti-inflammatory chemicals in the body. Cupping is generally painless and many say is more effective than massage for muscle problems. Versions of Cupping can be found in many cultures from Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

How does Cupping work?

As we age, our body begins to break down. This includes loss of muscle, adhesions in fascia and decrease in blood flow. You can see this as your muscle tone decreases, we get stiffer and wrinkles start to appear in new places. As we move less and decrease our physical activity the blood supply to tissues decrease and the fascia gets knotted and scarred up further limiting movement and becoming a vicious cycle. Putting cups over a region helps the body reverse some of these effects.

Initially it pulls blood into an area. The tissues get saturated with fresh blood while the vacuum pulls stagnant blood out of the area. You can see this in the hickey like appearance that is typically left behind. You may have a black and blue appearance that is rarely painful. As new blood is forced into the tissues around the cups the body will begin to develop new blood vessels. As the new vessels form they will have the capability to feed the tissues with nutrients and oxygen so they may heal.

What about my insurance?

We will be happy to provide your insurance provider with whatever records or documentation they require. Our goal is to make every aspect of your treatment as pleasant, painless and stress-free as is humanly possible. Even the paperwork.

Can I talk with your patients?

Absolutely. We are happy to provide you with patient references. And we’ll gladly answer any other questions you may have by phone or at the time of your initial visit.

Call (650) 344-8499 or Contact Us Online Today

  • A few years ago I was diagnosed with acute tendonitis in my wrist. After multiple cortisone injections, I was told I would need surgery in order to have the use of my wrist again. I decided to look into Chinese Medicine. To my relief, Stephanie was able to alleviate the pain in my wrist fairly quickly and with continued treatments, my wrist was good as new. Although I’ve seen Stephanie for many other aches and pains over the years, my wrist isn’t one of them… I continue to have a pain-free wrist without surgery!


    – R.S

  • I have been going to Laureen for a massage since I was pregnant with my first child 8 years ago. She is wonderful. Very accommodating, and does a great job at listening to your body and making the massage relaxing and restorative. Stephanie has treated my children for asthma 4 years, my daughter started when she was 5 and my son started when he was 4. The results have been amazing. My daughter no longer needs treatments because her lungs have healed and have become strong, I believe as a result of acupuncture.


    – Gwendolyn Holden

  • BayTree people are amazing! They know women’s bodies and how to help us heal and maintain our health. Coming into BayTree Wellness Center is always wonderful — from the warm way you are greeted upon entering to the time out of the “real” world in order to focus on yourself. I highly recommend coming here for issues related to fertility, immune system issues and over all well-being


    – Melissa Hessekiel

  • Dr. Stephanie is great. Very caring and intuitive. She creates a relaxing environment and each time I have felt better. As she gets to know me and my needs, she is able to hone in on the acupuncture points I need for healing.


    – Brien S.

  • I have been a long term “wellness patient” of BayTree Wellness Center – working a very hectic and stressful job. I believe that my preventive treatments at BayTree contribute significantly to my high energy output.


    – Derene