What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is one of the oldest forms of healing. Developed in China over 2,000 years ago, it is one of the most important components of Chinese medicine. It promotes natural healing and improved physical and emotional well-being. Today acupuncture describes a family of procedures involving stimulation of anatomical points on the body by a variety of techniques. The acupuncture technique that has been most studied scientifically involves inserting very fine metallic needles into precise acupuncture points that are manipulated by the hands or electrical stimulation. According to Oriental medical theory, the body has meridians or energetic pathways through which energy or “Qi” flows. Excess, deficient, or obstructed Qi causes pain or dysfunction. Acupuncture balances and moves energy to effect change and allow the body to heal.
Long employed throughout many Asian countries it has gained worldwide acceptance and recognition as an effective medical treatment. In the past two decades, acupuncture has grown in popularity in the United States. The report from a Consensus Development Conference on Acupuncture held at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1997 stated that acupuncture is being "widely" practiced--by thousands of physicians, dentists, acupuncturists, and other practitioners--for relief or prevention of pain and for various other health conditions. According to the 2002 National Health Interview Survey--the largest and most comprehensive survey of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use by American adults to date--an estimated 8.2 million U.S. adults had used acupuncture in the past, and an estimated 2.1 million U.S. adults had used acupuncture in the previous year.
What can acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture is recommended in the treatment of a wide range of chronic and acute conditions. The World Health Organizations recognizes over 43 common conditions that Acupuncture has success in treating, including:
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), promising results have emerged, showing efficacy of acupuncture in adult postoperative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting as well as in postoperative dental pain. Additional situations in which the NIH recognized that acupuncture may be useful as an adjunct treatment or an acceptable alternative include addiction, stroke rehabilitation, headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low-back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and asthma. A National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)-funded study recently showed that acupuncture provides pain relief, improves function for people with osteoarthritis of the knee, and serves as an effective complement to standard care.
Further research is likely to uncover additional areas where acupuncture interventions will be useful. It is important to be an informed consumer and find out what scientific studies have been done on the effectiveness of acupuncture for your health condition.
While oriental Medicine has a great deal to offer as a health care system, it cannot replace the resources available through
medical physicians. It is recommended that you consult a physician regarding any conditions for which you are seeking
How do I know if acupuncture is right for me?
If you are not sure that acupuncture is right for you, please feel free to contact me for an initial consultation. Usually this can be done by phone or by email. In some cases a face-to-face meeting may work best. (This will require an appointment.) There is no charge for this service, which should be approximately 15 minutes or less.
Is acupuncture safe?
It is important to inform your health care providers about any treatment that you are using or considering, including acupuncture.
Acupuncture is a safe method of treatment though there are risks involved. Some possible side effects include bruising, numbness or tingling near the needling sites. More serious risks include dizziness, fainting or organ puncture. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports relatively few complications from acupuncture to the millions of people treated each year.
In order to protect patients, in 1996 the FDA approved the use of acupuncture needles for licensed practitioners only. In addition FDA required that all acupuncture needles be sterile, non-toxic, and for single use only.
Your safety is assured in the hands of a comprehensively trained, licensed and board certified acupuncturist. I have obtained a Masters degree in Acupuncture after having completed a 3 year graduate program that was comprised of didactic and clinical skills as well as training totaling over 3000 hours of study. This significantly differs from the 300 hours physician acupuncture certification courses require medial doctors.
What does acupuncture feel like?
People experience acupuncture differently. When the needles are inserted patients may experience a heavy, achy, or tingling sensation near the needle site or along the associated meridian pathway. In Oriental medicine, such sensations are known as “De Qi” and are an indication that the body’s healing powers have been stimulated. Some people feel energized following a treatment, while others feel relaxed. Improper needles placement, movement of the patient while the needles are in place, or a defect in the needle can cause soreness and pain during the treatment. This is why it is important to seek treatment from a qualified acupuncturist.
What should I expect during my first treatment?
Each patient brings a unique clinical profile and receives treatments specifically tailored to his or her needs. The initial treatment generally lasts about one and a half hours during which a thorough medial history and evaluation will be preformed prior to treatment. Oriental medicine uses a holistic diagnostic model where it is necessary to not only look at the chief complaint but rather all aspects of an individuals health and lifestyle in order to develop a comprehensive treatment plan.
The acupuncture evaluation is typically based on a combination of the following:
1.Medical History Form, available by downloading, fax, email or posted by mail. It is important to fill this out as thoroughly as possible. 2.In-depth one-on-one dialog 3.Palpation of muscles, wrist pulse, abdomen, and meridians. 4.Observing the shape, color, and coating of the tongue.
Acupuncture points are selected for their specific functions and how they relate to your individual state of being and wellness. The number of needles that are used during a treatment can vary greatly from patient to patient or even session to session. Once the needles are inserted, you will be left to rest. During this time you might fall asleep, enter a deep tranquil state, or have emotions wax and wane. All or none of this is fine; your experience will be uniquely your own. After 10-15 minutes the needles will be removed.
It is the time between visits where the healing really occurs. Your nervous system will begin to adjust, integrating the treatment fully.
Other modalities that may be incorporated into the acupuncture session include:
Gua Sha: Cupping: Moxibustion: Focuing: Dietary counseling
What should I wear during my treatment?
Though not a necessity, loose clothing such as shorts and a tank top will make accessing meridian points easiest and allow you to remain most comfortable during the treatment. All treatment rooms are private and there will be time at the beginning and end of each treatment allowing you to change if necessary.