Lisa Tongel
Licensed Acupuncturist

About Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine



Acupuncture is one important element of a 3000-year old system of medicine known as Traditional Chinese Medicine, which also includes Chinese Herbal Medicine, dietary therapies, massage techniques, and Oriental exercise methods (Qigong/Tai Chi).  According to the Chinese medical model, vital energy, or “Qi,” flows in predictable patterns throughout the body.  When this flow becomes disrupted, illness or dysfunction results.  Acupuncture restores health by naturally promoting the body’s self-healing abilities, so that both symptoms and their underlying causes are effectively addressed.


Both the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health have recognized acupuncture as an effective treatment for many health conditions including infertility, irregular or painful periods, PMS, endometriosis, digestive disturbances, post-operative pain, nausea, insomnia, depression, anxiety, sinusitis, arthritis, and headaches.  In addition, several recent studies have demonstrated the benefits of acupuncture when combined with conventional Western fertility treatments.


Acupuncture treatments involve the insertion of fine, sterile, single-use needles about the size of a human hair into one or more points throughout the body.  Depending on individual circumstances, a typical session may involve the placement of 8-12 needles at various areas of the body, with a 15-45 minute retention period.  Acupuncture is generally painless, and most people find the treatments to be very relaxing.  


Traditional Chinese Herbs


Traditional Chinese Herbs have been used for centuries to improve health and prevent illness.  Western research is confirming that certain Chinese herbs can decrease inflammation, increase circulation, and balance hormones.  There are several Chinese herbal substances that have a rich history of successful clinical use for infertility and other women’s health conditions.  Lisa Tongel, L.Ac will help you determine if Chinese herbs are a good compliment to your acupuncture treatments. 


Chinese herbs are typically not as strong as pharmaceuticals, but rather assist overall body systems to function more optimally.  Depending on your circumstances, Chinese herbs may be used safely while you are taking medications or other supplements.  Please let Lisa Tongel, L.Ac. know if you are taking any medications or supplements before she prescribes Chinese herbs, so that she may prescribe appropriately for your situation. 


Dietary Therapies


In Traditional Chinese Medicine, foods are also used for their medicinal and therapeutic properties to create a basis for your optimal health.  During the course of your treatments, the nutritive quality of your food intake will be one of the areas Lisa Tongel, L.Ac. will help you evaluate.  In Chinese Medicine, the ‘ideal diet’ greatly depends on each individual situation, thus our dietary recommendations will be made on the basis of each person’s unique needs.  When dietary adjustments are made in accordance with your body’s constitution, significant signs of improvement in overall health can be clearly observed.  When the body is well and appropriately nourished, the likelihood of becoming pregnant increases, and pregnancy health improves.


While there is no simple ‘fertility diet,’ there is growing evidence that some dietary changes can be pivotal in enhancing fertility.  Likewise, there are particular dietary recommendations given during pregnancy which can support the health of both mother and baby.  During your sessions, Lisa will discuss with you the dietary recommendations that may be helpful for your particular concerns.


Massage and Bodywork Techniques


Oriental Medicine has its own traditions of therapeutic bodywork that are used in conjunction with acupuncture treatments.  These massage techniques work with your body to relax, stretch, and increase muscle range of motion to restore balance to the body.  Shiatsu, a Japanese form of bodywork, consists of pressure point massage along the various acupuncture meridians and points to promote harmony in the body.  Tuina, a Chinese form of massage whose name literally means pushing and grasping, can be very effective for relieving pain due to musculo-skeletal problems. Lisa Tongel, L.Ac. is trained in Shiatsu and Tuina, and she regularly incorporates massage into your treatment sessions to support the effects of the acupuncture.


The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Massage


Maya Abdominal Massage is a non-invasive external massage technique.  It gently guides internal abdominal organs into their proper position for optimum health and well-being.  Maya massage improves organ function by releasing physical and emotional congestion from the abdomen.  The massage techniques are very relaxing and address many common complaints such as painful or irregular periods, PMS, infertility, poor digestion, low back pain, painful intercourse, and concerns of pregnancy.  The massage is effective for both women and men.  These techniques were developed by Dr Rosita Arvigo, DN after many years of apprenticeship with Traditional Central American healers (see  Lisa Tongel, L.Ac. has studied these techniques in Belize with Dr. Arvigo, and is currently an apprentice of Dr. Arvigo in the Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Massage ™. 


In the clinic setting, Lisa finds these massage techniques to be very beneficial; they are an excellent complement to her work with Chinese Medicine and women’s health.  Maya Abdominal Massage is highly effective for many patients’ health concerns, including infertility, painful periods, digestive concerns, and pain during pregnancy.  Receiving the massage is also a very nurturing experience, often having a positive effect on a woman’s connection with her body. 




Qigong (“Chee Gong”) consists of slow, meditative movements and breathing exercises for the cultivation of Qi, or life-force energy.  Qigong exercises are an excellent support for all aspects of life and health, and are particularly useful for decreasing stress and calming the nervous system.  Qigong vitalizes and supports the mind-body-spirit connection.  Specific forms of Qigong are used for such diverse purposes as cleansing the body of toxins, enhancing fertility, revitalizing energy, and balancing emotions.  These simple exercises are easy to learn, and can be done both during your treatment sessions, and at home to support your acupuncture treatments.