Twig & Needle

Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine

Five PIllars
About AliceAbout_Alice.html

Hi, my name is Alice Spitzner and I am a licensed acupuncturist (L.Ac.) though to be more precise I am a Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM)  practitioner.  The difference being there is much more to TCM than just acupuncture.  TCM is about treating the whole person not just the disease.  TCM practitioners strive to help their patients target areas of imbalance in their body and/or life that may be creating illness.  Then, together, patient and practitioner formulate a treatment plan, incorporating the Five Pillars of TCM discussed below.

1.  Acupuncture & Moxibustion

Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles at specific points to help stimulate the body into balance.  Balance being a state of perfect health.  This process should not be painful, though the patient may feel an achiness or sense of distention at the insertion site.  In the sate of Iowa, licensed acupuncturists are required to use sterile, disposable needles.  Although a treatment by a TCM practitioner may not even involve needles!

Moxibustion is the process of burning moxa (mugwort) directly or indirectly on specific points of the body.  The moxa is removed before any pain or burning occurs.  Moxa warms the body, adds energy to the system, and regulates the immune system.  According to classic TCM texts moxibustion is even more powerful then needles.

2.  Nutrition & Chinese Herbal Medicine

Nutrition is of upmost importance in TCM.  Everything you put into your body effects your health for better or for worse.  TCM dietary guidelines differ slightly from current nutritional wisdom and are tailored to meet each patients needs.

Chinese herbal medicine is the TCM equivalent to Western Medicine's pharmaceuticals.  Like Western medication Chinese herbs come in different forms: raw herbs, powders, pills, capsules, syrups, plasters, lineaments.  I use primarily raw herbs which are boiled in water to make a decoction that is drunk 2-3 times a day.  This is by far the most effective method of taking Chinese herbs, it also allows the practitioner to design individualized formulas for each patient.  These formulas treat the root of the problem, not just the symptoms, and should have no side effects.

3.  Exercise & Meditation

Exercise and meditation are ways that the patient can keep their energy flowing freely and strengthen their body both physically and emotionally.  Yes, just like a Western doctor your TCM practitioner will encourage you to "eat right and exercise".

4.  Physical Manipulation

Physical manipulation or massage is an effective way to treat pain, muscle tension and induce relaxation.  Your TCM practitioner may perform this modality or refer you to another practitioner.

5.  Feng Shui (Environment)                                

Feng Shui is the art of arranging your physical environment to create harmony and free-flow of energy.  This may seem like a new fad in America, but in China this art has been practiced for centuries.  Changing one's environment can be much more than rearranging the furniture.  It could mean installing an air cleaner or dehumidifier in one's home.


The Five Pillars of

Traditional Chinese Medicine