Neti Pots: Tap Water is a No-No

Spring is almost over, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the end of allergies. Those
who suffer year-round look for relief in a number of ways—from daily doses of allergy medicine to regular sessions of acupuncture. Another popular—as well as drug-free and inexpensive—method is nasal rinsing.

A common nasal irrigation device is the neti pot—a small, teapot-like container that you fill with a saline solution to clear nasal passages. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the neti pot can flush out dust, pollen, and other debris, and also help to loosen thick mucus.

The FDA states that, when used properly, the neti pot is safe and effective in reducing allergy symptoms—as long as they are used correctly. Neti pots must only be filled with distilled, sterile, or previously boiled water. If you use tap water, you risk putting organisms in your nasal passages that can cause serious infections, or even result in death. You don’t get sick from drinking tap water because your stomach acid can kill low-level organisms.

According to the FDA, other tips for safe use of your neti pot include:

  • Making sure your hands are clean before use.
  • Checking that the device is clean and completely dry.
  • Carefully following the manufacturer’s directions for use.

Before using any nasal rinsing device, consult with your doctor to see if it’s the best solution for you. Be sure to check the license of your doctor by going to the Medical Board of California’s website,



DCA is Here to Help All Year Long

Just because National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) has ended doesn’t mean you aren’t protected. As #NCPW2017 wraps up, DCA wants to remind consumers that our resources and programs are available any time of year. This past week, we’ve shared details on many of them.

An informed consumer is a protected consumer: consider yourself empowered! Learn more at

Also, see our complete list of free publications at, subscribe to our award-winning magazine, Consumer Connection, and follow us on Facebook and on Twitter @DCAnews.

Acupuncture Board Appoints New Executive Officer

 SACRAMENTO—The California Acupuncture Board has appointed Benjamin Bodea as its new executive officer, effective October 12, 2016.

Mr. Bodea has served as the board’s acting executive officer since March, overseeing the board’s operations and managing a staff of 12. In this role, he initiated the regulatory process for an omnibus package to refine the board’s regulations, among other accomplishments.

He joined the board as an administrative assistant in 2010, working his way through the ranks in roles that allowed him to amass broad experience in stakeholder relations, enforcement, administration and more.Acupuncture

He studied cognitive science at the University of California, Berkeley, and is a certified massage practitioner.

See the full news release here.

The Acupuncture Board—part of the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA)—licenses and regulates acupuncturists in California. The board administers an examination that tests an applicant’s ability, competency, and knowledge in the practice of an acupuncturist; issues licenses to qualified practitioners; approves and monitors students in tutorial programs; approves acupuncture schools and continuing education providers and courses; and enforces the Acupuncture Licensure Act.

DCA promotes and protects the interests of California consumers. Consumers can file complaints against licensees by contacting DCA at (800) 952-5210. Consumers can also file a complaint online at


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Using an Ancient Technique at the Modern-Day Olympics


On Sunday, August 7, a spotted Michael Phelps swam his way to his 19th gold medal at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Phelps wasn’t the only swimmer sporting spots—which, by the way, are nearly the size of an Olympic medal. There are a number of swimmers—and other athletes—sporting them at the Olympics as well.

The spots are the result of cupping—an ancient Eastern technique that has gained a new popularity among some U.S. athletes, including quite a few Olympians. Cupping treats muscle pain by applying suction to the skin via heated small glass cups or bamboo jars. Once the cups have suction, they can be gently moved across the skin; the suction causes the skin and superficial muscle layer to be drawn into the cup. According to the Pacific School of Oriental Medicine (PCOM), cupping—which can be used alone or in combined with acupuncture—works like a reverse massage; instead of putting pressure on the muscle, the suction used in cupping uses gentle pressure to pull the muscles upward. Like acupuncture, cupping targets the meridian channels—the paths through which life energy flows freely throughout the body, through all tissues and organs—resulting in a smoother and more free-flowing qi, or life energy.

According to Ted Kaptchuk, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, cupping has been around in the U.S. since the 18th and 19th centuries, when it was a common part of American physician’s treatments; it fell out of practice in the 1920s when it was viewed as old-fashioned.

Does it work? PCOM states that “The suction and negative pressure provided by cupping can loosen muscles, encourage blood flow, and sedate the nervous system.” And, while there is still limited scientific evidence supporting cupping, Kaptchuk says that “what we do have, is that people feel better after it’s done.”

If you have an Olympic-sized—or not-so-Olympic sized—curiosity about acupuncture and cupping, visit the California Acupuncture Board’s website at, where you can find answers to frequently asked questions as well as verify the license of a practitioner before making an appointment.

Acupuncture: Pointing You in the Right Direction

AcupunctureIn Chinese medicine, health is believed to be from qi (pronounced “chee”), the free flow of energy in your body. Acupuncturists believe disruptions in this flow are what cause illnesses and ailments, and that the placement of needles in strategic places on the body can provide healing and relief by unblocking the energy flow.

Terri Thorfinnson, Executive Officer of the California Acupuncture Board (Board), says “The foundations of acupuncture focus on restoring balance to the patient. Acupuncture is the healing aspect of our health care system … [and] plays an essential role in health and wellness.”

According to the University of California, San Francisco, Medical Center, acupuncture can be used to treat conditions such as:

  • Side effects of cancer treatment
  • Headaches
  • Chronic neck and back pain
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Asthma
  • Sports injuries
  • Women’s reproductive health issues

Thorfinnson adds that acupuncture can also be used to treat diabetes, allergies, immune disorders, and addiction.

Acupuncturists in California are licensed and regulated by the Board. To qualify as a licensed acupuncturist, the applicant must complete specific education, training, and exam requirements.

For more information about acupuncture, read the fall 2015 Consumer Connection article on the Department of Consumer Affairs website, and visit the Board’s website,

Don’t Miss the 10th Anniversary Issue of Consumer Connection

CC_Fall_15_FLWBR7B-1Our special issue celebrates 10 years of consumer news. In line with our previous years’ Consumer Connections, this issue features articles that help consumers stay informed about the latest trends and scams.

Read about acupuncture and the health benefits it can provide, plus information and news about LASIK surgery, consumer warnings about reverse mortgages, how to get your finances in order for the coming year, 3-D printing at home, and more. This fall issue also reports on the latest news regarding the prescription drug abuse epidemic and holiday shopping scams.

Visit the DCA website to download or read the magazine. You can also pick up a printed copy in the DCA Headquarters lobby at 1625 North Market Boulevard in Sacramento. Or, to have it mailed to you at no charge, call (866) 320-8652 or send an e-mail request to Get connected!