What is Acupuncture

According to the World Health Organization, acupuncture has been applied as a therapeutic medical technique in China for more than 2500 years although its development goes back further than that. In the 2nd and 3rd century BC, the systematical theory of acupuncture was already well developed as shown in the Huang Di Nei Jing (The Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic). Acupuncture, as an apparently simple and effective clinical procedure, was introduced to China’s neighbouring countries, Korea, Japan and Viet Nam, in the 6th century. In the early 16th century, acupuncture came to Europe.

During the last two decades, acupuncture has spread worldwide. There has been growing interest in the therapeutic applications of acupuncture, and a desire to explain its modes of action in terms of modem scientific knowledge. WHO has been aware of the potential value of acupuncture and its possible contribution to WHO’S goal of health for all. In 1985, the Regional Committee for the Western Pacific adopted a resolution on traditional medicine which recognized that traditional medicine practices, particularly those of herbal medicine and acupuncture, constitute appropriate technologies which could be integrated into the national health strategies, and urged Member States to initiate programmes of research, training and information. Two years later, in 1987, another resolution was adopted by the Regional Committee, reiterating the value of herbal medicine and acupuncture and urging Member States to establish or further develop programmes on traditional medicine, particularly herbal and acupuncture, in the light of their specific needs and circumstances.

How does acupuncture work?

Traditional Chinese Medicine believes in Qi (pronounced Chi), an energy that flows in channels or meridians throughout the body. Qi sustains and nurtures the body, its tissues and organs. Acupuncture points are nodes along the meridians where the flow of Qi can be adjusted. Health problems occur when meridians become obstructed or when Qi flows in an unbalanced manner. Acupuncture restores the natural flow of Qi by inserting needles at the troubled points to make adjustments. In Western medicine parlance, the needles activate the body's immune response and unleashes the body's own healing capacity to cure ailments.

What are the acupuncture techniques?

Treatment is performed by inserting hair-thin, disposable needles at very specific points on the surface of the body to correct and balance the flow of Qi. Following insertion, the needles may be stimulated by twirling with fingers or by mild electrical current (there is no risk of electrical shock) for 20-30 minutes. Other acupuncture techniques include:

  • Moxibustion: This is done by burning some special herbs directly or indirectly above the skin to apply heat to an acupuncture point.
  • Cupping: Use of glass cups or a bamboo jar to create a vacuum action on the skin for the release of pathogens.
  • Tui-na: This is the traditional Chinese style physical therapy or massage. It is used in conjunction with acupuncture to enhance treatment in a variety of muscular-skeletal conditions.
  • Herbs: is a comprehensive form of medicine that can effectively address a wide variety of conditions.

Is Acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture is a very safe medical procedure when administered by a qualified practitioner (certified by national board, complete with strict regulations for proper needle sterilization). Practitioners use needles that are individually packaged, sterile and disposable so there is no risk of infection from the treatment.

Does acupuncture hurt?

Acupuncture needles are hair thin, and many patients don’t feel the insertion. However, patients respond differently. In some instance warmth, tingling, heaviness, or a feeling of the Qi moving up and down the channels may occur (these sensations are normal and signify the treatment is working). Many people find acupuncture extremely relaxing and sometimes fall asleep during treatment.

How many sessions will I need?

An acupuncture treatment session usually takes half an hour. Treatments are scheduled as often as three times a week or as little as twice a month. Total number of sessions may differ due to the duration, severity and nature of your illness. For simple or acute conditions, you may only need a few visits, for complex or chronic conditions, multiple sessions a week for several months may be required.

Is Acupuncture for you?

Acupuncture is extremely useful for pain management and a wide range of ailments. The US National Institute of Health recognizes acupuncture to be as effective as many conventional Western medical therapies. Therefore more than 1 million Americans receive acupuncture each year.

What to do the day of a session?

DO use the restroom before your treatment.

DO continue taking any prescription medicines as directed by your regular doctor.

DO give your acupuncturist prompt feed back to your treatment so follow-up treatment can be designed to best help you and your condition.

Is acupuncture covered by health insurance?

Acupuncture treatment is covered by many health insurance policies. However, some policies are not yet on board. Call your carrier to determine your coverage.