What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a medical model that is well over two thousand years old. It is an alchemy
of art and science. Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles into the body at very specific points which have
been shown to be effective in the treatment of specific health issues. These points are areas where energy, qi, (pronounced
chee), pools along channels, or meridians, which have been mapped on the human body.There are more than a thousand known
acupoints. Over the past few decades electromagnetic research has confirmed the existence and location of such points.
What can be treated with acupuncture?
World Health Organization recognizes acupunctures effectiveness for over 40 common disorders such as:
Hypertension, high cholesterol,arteriosclerosis
Ear,Nose,& Throat Disorders
Tennis elbow,frozen shoulder,TMJ,sciatica,low back pain,arthritis,carpal tunnel syndrome,fibromyalgia
Psychoemotional & Neurological Disorders
Additionally acupuncture has been used for centuries throughout Asia to treat hundreds of other issues.
How does acupuncture work?
Ancient Chinese Theories Traditional Asian acupuncture is based on the theory of the flow of qi. Qi (energy) is a fine essential
substance which nourishes and constructs the body . Qi flows through distinct channels that cover the body somewhat like nerves
and blood vessels. Based on this idea, acupuncture (the placement of very fine "hair like" needles in very specific
points along these channels) adjusts the flow of qi in the body. It can lead qi to areas where it is insufficient or drain
it from areas where it is stuck or possibly over abundant. There is a Chinese saying, “Where there is pain, there is
no free flow, where there is free flow, there is no pain”. Acupuncture facilitates the free flow of qi. In this manner
acupuncture assists in restoring harmonious balance and an over all improved sense of well being to the body.
(For further reading look for “The Web That Has No Weaver”, Ted J. Kaptchuk, O.M.D., and
“Between Heaven and Earth”, Harriet Beinfield, L.Ac. & Efrem Korngold, L.Ac., O.M.D.)
Is acupuncture safe?
When performed compentently
by a trained, licensed, board certified professional, acupuncture is extremely safe. All licensed acupuncturists today use
individually packaged,sterile disposable needles. Practitioners must also be certified in “clean needle technique”,
a standard regulated by OSHA. All these standards are in place in order to minimize and/or eliminate the chance of infection
Does it hurt?
It is important to acknowledge
that every human's experience of pain or discomfort is as different as the human themselves. Having stated that, typically,
acupuncture needles are very fine and not much thicker in circumference than a human hair and insertion is usually painless.
It is not at all like receiving even the finest butterfly needle injection. In some cases one might not even know that the
needle is in place. Others might experience a tingling sensation, warmth, heaviness or a feeling of energy moving up and down
the channel. Most people find acupuncture extremely relaxing and many will fall asleep during a treatment.
How many treatments are needed?
of treatments required depends on the duration, severity and nature of the patients complaint. Only one single treatment may
be required for an acute condition. However, a series, often times 5-10 sessions, may be necessary to resolve more chronic
issues. Those conditions that are degenerative may require many more treatments over a longer period of time. In conjunction
with the acupuncture treatment your practitioner may also suggest dietary modifications, specific exercise regimines, relaxation
techniques, massage and/or Chinese herbal medicines.
Are there different styles
Acupuncture originated in China and there is a Traditional
Chinese Medicine or TCM style. However, the art and science of acupuncture has spread to other countries like: Korea,
Japan, Vietnam, Europe and America. In this process different styles have evolved based on differing ideas regarding theory
and technique. Patients should absolutely be encouraged to engage in conversation with their practitioner about their particular
style(s) or approach to the work in order to learn as much as possible about the proposed treatment.
What is moxabustion (moxa)?
Moxa or mugwort, is an herb whose
properties are warming. Loosely it can be burned directly on the skin with use of shenko cream as a barrier between the
burning herb and the patients skin. The moxa may be rolled into a compact ball wrapped in a thin sheet of paper (kyutoshin)
which is then burned on the top of a needle in order to warm the needle and ultimately warm the surface area of the needled
What is cupping?
Can also be referred
to as "fire cups". Glass cups of varying size are used with fire which sucks all oxygen out from under the glass,
thud creating a suction once the cup is placed over the body surface. Plastic cups are also used with a suction
device which are placed over the surface area of a patient's body where there may be congestion. Cupping is often used to
reduce pain, discomfort and to draw out phlegm. The patient should be made aware that often a "hickey-like" mark
can be left. This is to be expected and will fade within a day or two.
What is Gua
A technique used in Asia by practitioners of traditional medicine. A round-edged
instrument in combination with a lubricant is used to repetitively apply pressure to the skin surface. This repetitive pressure
results in creating petechiae or ecchymosis on the skin's surface. This redness should dissipate within 48 to 72
hours. This technique is brilliant for eliminating congestion and stagnation which equates to the removal
of pain and restriction.
criteria should I use in choosing an acupuncturist?
inquire about :
Where the practitioner trained and the length
and intensity of that program. (For example there are many MDs who practice acupuncture after only being required
to take a 300 hour course. Comparatively, Licensed Acupuncturists in the state of New York are required 3,428 hours of
training specifically in Acupuncture.)
How long has the practitioner
What kind of experience has the practitioner
had with treating the patients specific issue(s).
It is important to be aware
that in order for a practitioner to practice acupuncture Board Certification by the National Commission for the Certification
of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM ) is required. Acupuncture is a state licensed and regulated health care
profession in over 40 states in the US.
What should I
know about the proposed treatments?
Your practitioner will explain
the nature of your issue and the recomeneded treatment from an oriental medical perspective. They will inform you of
the benefits and risks associated with the proposed treatment. The practitioner may also inform you of other treatment options
available through this practitioner or another practitioner or physician.
Is there anything I need to
do before receiving acupuncture?
Wear or bring loose clothing. Avoid treatment if you are excessively fatigued, hungry, full, emotionally upset, or immediately
Is there anything I need to do while receiving acupuncture?
Relax. There is no need to be frightened. Ask your practitioner any questions before during or after the treatment
in order that you get the most benefit possible from the treatment.
What is to be expected after
An immediate, complete, or partial relief of pain or
symptoms. This may last for some time, or some pain may return. In some cases there may be no immediate relief only for the
patient to then notice pain or discomfort diminish over the next few days. Generally the patient should expect to feel better.