ACUPUNCTURE: What is it and how does it work?
Acupuncture works on an energetic, functional level to restore balance and harmony to
the mind/body system, and is a system of medicine that restores and maintains
health by the insertion of fine needles into acupuncture points just beneath the body surface. These points are very specific
locations and lie on channels or meridians of energy. Acupuncture is a complex system of diagnosis and treatment that takes
into consideration the person as a whole. Utilizing methods including acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutrition, massage and
moxibustion, acupuncturists detect dis-harmonies in the system and treat them.
Preventive Medicine is one of the
main concepts of acupuncture. Acupuncture treatment facilitates physical strengthening as it increases resistance to disease
and disharmony thus improving the body's ability to function. Stress related symptoms and illnesses are particularly amenable
to treatment by acupuncture. Tension, headaches, anxiety, depression, digestive complaints, and fatigue are symptoms of a
When the energy
of the body (QI) is blocked or not flowing smoothly, pain ensues. Acupuncture endeavors to remove these blocks to restore
the balance of energy flow within the body and eliminate the pain. Pain is the body's signal that tells us that something
unnatural is occurring. Pain is also not the only indication that something is off balance within your body. By restoring
the smooth flow of energy, acupuncture can intervene on a process that many, over time and without early treatment, create
greater dysfunction or organic changes.
What is Chinese Medicine?
Chinese Medicine is a traditional healing art and science that has
been around at least for 5000 years.
should I look for in an acupuncturist?
for an acupuncturist, make sure they are licensed, not just certified. Most MD's and chiropractors are certified, meaning
they have taken a 300 hour course in acupuncture. A licensed acupuncturist has at least three to four years of study and over
3000 hours of training, these are done concurrently. Big difference.
What does Chinese Medicine treat?
Virtually everything, from pain
management to treating the common cold . I have been at the front desk of a clinic and actually heard people call in sick…
THOSE are exactly the people we can help. It can often help with symptoms of: Stress ● Low Back Pain ● Sports
Injuries, ● Headaches
● Acne ● Chronic Fatigue, ● Digestive Issues ● Women’s and Men's Health ● Asthma, ● Cancer – not solely, but I will
work with the oncologist when dealing with the pain and side effects of the medications and treatment.
I will work with
your dentist (i.e. TMJ pain, trigeminal neuralgia)
Chinese Medicine also treats addictions using NADA (National Acupuncture
Detox Association) protocols for things like: emotional issues - PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), smoking, detoxifying
body, weight loss and addictions. Chinese Medicine also has the ability to detect sub-acute conditions; things flying just
under the wire even before western medicine can detect anything i.e. blood problems before the blood tests show anything,
liver and kidney dis-harmonies, stomach and intestinal issues, just to name a few…
How many modalities
does Chinese Medicine have and what is a modality?
Simply, a modality is the method of how you treatment a disorder.
In my practice I utilize all of these modalities,individually or in combination, depending upon your personalized prescription
Acupuncture the insertion of
fine needles into specific points on the body
Herbal Therapy which employs natural herbs for medicinal
And then we employ a few external modalities:
Na Therapy (which means push/pull) our own version of Physical Therapy.
Food Therapy ie: creating a dietary plan using food as medicine, which is very commonly used
in most asian countries today.
Cupping the use of glass cups or suction cups to pull stagnant blood out
of muscles to relieve pain
Electrical Stimulation i.e. micro current, either attached to both needles or to pads
Moxa an herb called Artesmia that is burned close to the body; it’s principle use is to energetically
warm the body & to help alleviate pain in the body.
Acupuncture is a specialized diagnostic and treatment method. It is a microcosm of the macrocosm: the ear represents the
entire body. Auricular acupuncture works by stimulating specific acupuncture points on the external ear which represents various
organs and meridians in the body. Special ear needles are inserted into the ear or tiny seeds are taped to the ear to stimulate
these auricular acupoints.
What is the difference between western medicine and Chinese Medicine?
Medicine has a different diagnosis process than western medicine. We think in pattern differentiation, but instead of compartmentalizing
it we look at the whole system. Using the individual patterns to treat each patient for the root problems and the signs and
symptoms showing at that particular time of treatment making it a completely customized prescription. Chinese Medicine is
not trying to solely treat the signs and symptoms, our focus is to treat the root of the problem or disorder.
How is Chinese Medicine practiced here in the west?
Chinese Medicine practiced here in the west is alternative,
integrative and holistic medicine.
Alternative, in that I have many patients that don’t go to western MD’s
because it’s not working for them (e.g. side effects to drugs, cost, no insurance, amount of time waiting in the office
OR lack of time spent with them)
Integrative, because it combines elements from both western and Chinese
medicine for the best treatment possible – the best of both worlds.
Holistic, because we treat the body, mind and spirit.
Now don’t get me wrong- when you need heroic
medicine - Go get it! You need it after a vehicle accident or when having a heart attack – you definitely need an EMT
or an MD not an acupuncturist. Depending on the severity of a traumatic injury, there are protocols and herbal formulas to
stop bleeding and treat the injury as well, enhancing the effectiveness of western treatments. Now your quality of life afterwards,
daily life or improving the quality of life measures, Chinese Medicine has far reaching capabilities over western medicine
reducing reliance on man-made pharmaceutical needs and long term rehabilitation.
How long does it take
to become better?
That depends, the more chronic the condition, the longer the treatment plan. and obviously
the more acute, USUALLY the shorter the treatment plan. ie: if you break your leg, it’s acute but it takes a longer
time to heal the bone properly.
How long do the needles stay in?
Again, it depends; with deficiency or chronic conditions the
treatment time might take longer and with acute conditions the time may be shorter, but typically a treatment lasts anywhere
from 30 min to 1 hour (depending upon your individual condition), according to Chinese Medicine theory, we don’t
want to drive the pathogen deeper into the body, we want to release it. The needles are sterile and single use only and then
properly disposed into a biohazard container.
How big are the needles?
Very thin, usually
between the thickness of 1 or 2 of the hairs on your head or something like the thickness of a thin cat's whisker at the
most, closer to the human hair.
How much does it cost?
Relatively speaking, far less
expensive than conventional medicine, even the president is considering adding it to his Federal healthcare reforms.
Does it hurt?
You might feel something like a mosquito bite, but usually what some one might experience is
a warm feeling , heaviness at the site of the needle, you might also feel and electric sensation know as De Qi, that goes
away directly after the needle insertion. Most people think of needles and remember the discomfort of injections. First, most
of that is caused by something being injected into your skin or muscle, which hurts. With acupuncture, nothing is being forced
into the tissues, this reduces or eliminates the discomfort. Also, the needle on a hypodermic is larger, and hollow, which
tears the skin, also unpleasant. An acupuncture needle is solid, slipping easily into the skin without doing any damage.
What are the results from a treatment?
Your relief may be immediate, delayed for a few hours or even develop after 1 to 3 days.
The relief may last for a few hours on the first visit and then last longer with each successive treatment. OR, relief may
last from the first treatment until your next visit. It is important to recognize that we are all individuals. Individual
response to treatment varies.
Side effects are rare but may include the following
symptoms: euphoria, a light-headed feeling, dizziness, sleepiness, muscle relaxation, nausea, slight bruising, residual muscle
aching. Any of these should last only a very short time. It is helpful to take a short nap after acupuncture.
On rare occasions one's original symptoms may briefly get worse or 'flare-up' after a treatment. A flare-up
typically occurs later on the day of your treatment and only for an hour or so and then improvement and relief follow. If
the flare-up lasts longer than this, please call me and let me know. In the long run, acupuncture does not make symptoms worse.
In some conditions, the body must fully expel a pathogen in order for healing to occur. For example, if you have a
cold, acupuncture will not get rid of the cold, but can help accelerate the cold cycle so your body gets healthy sooner. If
you are fatigued and starting to get a cold, acupuncture may help your body ward it off. There are also some terrific herbal
formulas that can help.
In cases of chronic pain, your original pain may improve and then unmask other less obvious
pain in the surrounding area. Please report what happened when you return so I can modify your treatment accordingly. I will
also be interested in any change in your use of pain-killer medications as a result of treatment. Please be advised that changes
in prescription medication require prior approval and strict monitoring by your family physician.