Is Acupuncture considered alternative medicine?
Contemporary medicine relies heavily on prescription drugs and invasive techniques to resolve maladies of the human body. Many people turn to Acupuncture as an option when they experience adverse reactions to medications, and/or when they reach a point that they no longer wish to use drugs as an alternative to pain.
Additionally, acupuncture may hasten functional recovery from surgery by complementing physical rehabilitation.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a complementary medical practice that entails stimulating certain points on the body, most often with a needle penetrating the skin, to alleviate pain or to help treat various health conditions. One of the largest studies to date on acupuncture and chronic pain — a meta-analysis of 29 well-conducted studies involving nearly 18,000 patients and published in October 2012 in the Archives of Internal Medicine — found that acupuncture is effective for treating chronic pain and therefore is a reasonable referral option. Needles may be inserted, manipulated, and retained for a period of time. Acupuncture can be used to reduce pain, reduce inflammation, increase blood flow, increase range of motion, decrease the side effect of medication-induced nausea, promote relaxation in an anxious patient, and reduce muscle spasm. (The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine’s Occupational Medicine Practice Guidelines http://www.acoem.org)
How does Acupuncture work?
The Chinese believe that health is a manifestation of balance, both within the body itself and between the body and the external environment. When the body is internally balanced and in harmony with the external environment, Qi flows smoothly through the meridians to nourish the organs and tissues. If an obstruction occurs in one of the meridians, the Qi is disrupted and cannot flow properly. When the Qi cannot flow smoothly or is forced to flow in the opposite direction, the body’s innate balance is disrupted and illness results.
Acupuncture points are the specific points on the meridians where the Qi is both concentrated and accessible. Acupuncture engages the Qi by inserting needles at these specific points, to restore the proper flow of Qi. As the body regains its natural balance, well-being returns.
What kind of conditions does Acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture is recognized by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to be effective in the treatment of a wide variety of medical problems. The following is a partial list of health concerns in which acupuncture has been effective in treatment.
Cardiovascular Conditions Treated with Acupuncture – Heart Disease | High Cholesterol | High Blood Pressure | Palpitation | Stroke Recovery
Digestive Conditions Treated with Acupuncture – Acid Reflux | Colitis | Constipation | Diarrhea | Hiccough | Indigestion | Irritable Bowel Syndrome | Nausea and Vomiting | Gas/Bloating
Emotional Conditions Treated with Acupuncture – Anger/Irritability | Anxiety | Chronic Fatigue Syndrome | Depression | Epilepsy | Fatigue | Insomnia | Panic Attacks | Sleep disturbances | Stress
Eyes, Ears, Nose And Throat Conditions – Deafness and Tinnitus | Congestion, Swelling and Pain of the Eye | Epistaxis | Toothache | Sore Throat | Optic Atrophy
Gynecological Conditions Treated with Acupuncture – Irregular Menstruation |Insufficient Lactation | Dysmenorrhea |Fertility| Hormonal Imbalances | Leucorrhea | Malposition of Fetus | Mastitis | Menopause | Morning Sickness | PMS | Prolapse of Uterus| Urinary tract infections | Uterine Bleeding
Men’s Conditions Treated with Acupuncture – Erectile dysfunction | Incontinence | Impotence
Neurological Conditions Treated with Acupuncture – Bell’s Palsy | Dizziness | Shingles Pain | Motor impairment | Multiple Sclerosis | Neuropathy | Numbness of Fingers and Feet| Migraine Headache | Trigeminal Neuralgia
Treating Generalized Acute Pain with Acupuncture – Arthritis | Back Pain | Cancer Related Pain | Carpal Tunnel Syndrome | Dental pain | Foot Pain | Fibromyalgia| Joint pain | Headaches | Heel Pain | Knee Pain | Neck Pain | Post Surgical Pain | Rheumatoid Arthritis | Shoulder Pain | Tendonitis Pain | Tennis Elbow | Sciatica | Sports Injuries | Wrist Pain
Pediatric Conditions Treated with Acupuncture – Asthma | Digestive Challenges | ADD and ADHD | Bedwetting | Ear Infections |Eye Problem | Recurrent Colds and Flu | Walking Problem
Addiction Recovery & Physical Therapy – Alcohol Addiction | Drug Addiction | Surgery Recovery | Smoking Cessation
Respiratory Conditions Treated with Acupuncture – Allergies | Asthma | Bronchitis | Common cold | Rhinitis | Sore throat | Sinusitis
Skin Conditions Treated with Acupuncture – Acne | Boil |Eczema | Hives | Herpes Zoster
What is the scientific/medical basis of acupuncture?
To the human body, acupuncture needles are a physical stimulus. In Western science, a stimulus is defined as a detectable change in either the external environment or within the body itself. When the body detects change, it produces a response. Although acupuncture is not yet fully understood by Western science, with modern technology scientists can now actually begin to “see” the body’s response to acupuncture. For example, using an MRI (a very sophisticated x-ray), researchers have shown that when a needle is inserted at specific acupuncture points on the body, corresponding changes occur in the brain.
In the West, acupuncture is most well-known for its ability to relieve pain so the majority of research thus far has been done in this area. Acupuncture points are now believed to stimulate the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) to release pain-relieving chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord and brain. Acupuncture may also stimulate other chemicals to be released by the brain, including hormones that influence the self-regulating system of the body.
Can most illnesses by helped by acupuncture or TCM?
Believe it or not, most illnesses can to be alleviated by acupuncture and/or herbal medicine. For the list of illnesses which can be helped by acupuncture, please refer to the Conditions Treated.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Unlike a regular injection needle, acupuncture needles are tiny and fine, just a little thicker than a human hair. The sensation caused by an acupuncture needle varies. Some people feel a little pain as the needles are inserted and disappear very quickly. Many people often compare the insertion to a mosquito bite. Once the needles are inserted, people will often describe their sensations as warming, heavy, numbing or tingling. After treatment, patients commonly feel a tremendous sense of relaxation and calm.
Is acupuncture safe?
Yes. Only sterile, disposable needles are used. There is no risk of infection. Complications are extremely rare.
How often should I be treated?
Since every patient’s health condition and constitution is unique, the amount and frequency of treatments varies. In general, acute conditions require fewer treatments and chronic conditions often require a longer commitment to regular treatment. Typically, the recommendation is 1-2 treatments per week for at least the first month.
If acupuncture is working for me, should I feel better every day?
Health development like anything else goes in cycles. This means you will see a great improvement for a while, then plateau, and start noticing the declining, and then you feel better again. In medicine and health, sometimes you have to go down before you can go up again. We call this the healing crisis or darkness before dawn. Over the long-term, however, you will feel a great improvement with lasting results.
Why will an acupuncturists suggest taking Chinese medicine?
Chinese herbal medicine is a powerful healing factor in oriental medicine. We use herbs to support the treatment and give internal support between visits. The combination of herbs and acupuncture are mutually supportive.
How is Chinese herbal medicine different from Western medicine?
Chinese herbal formulas tend to be much gentler than western medicine. They work to not only help relieve symptoms, but to help return the body to balance and equilibrium, so that herbs will not be needed further. As one’s body starts to shift towards a state of balance, herbs are modified accordingly.
Are Chinese herbs compatible with my medication?
It depends on the medications you are taking. This must be evaluated on a case by case basis.
How soon can I expect to feel better?
In general, patients should start to feel the benefits of treatment within 2-3 sessions. If the problem is acute, sometimes improvement is felt after a single treatment, and will only require 3-5 treatments to resolve the problem. If the problem is chronic and long term, it may require additional treatments to generate improvement.
Why is it that studies do not always show acupuncture as an effective treatments?
The problem is that most of the studies are conducted utilizing a Western medical modality, which means that certain conditions are treated by the same group of points and/or herbs repeatedly for a set length of time. This does not correspond well with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). In TCM the same illness or symptoms can have varying root causes, which require different treatment approaches. This is why only a small percentage of a large group will get positive results. The beauty about Chinese medicine and what sets it apart from Western medicine is its unique diagnostic and treatment method that is specified and catered to the individual. The TCM practitioner does not see 50 patients who all have a bacterial infection and give them the same points and herbal prescription. Even the smallest of symptoms such as headache or no headache, chills or no chills, sweating or no sweating, body aches or no body aches, fever or no fever, can have an enormous impact on the treatment protocol.
In addition to the varying root causes of the illnesses that need to be addressed, we also must take into consideration the individual’s lifestyle, dietary intake, constitution (genetic background), and other elements that are unique to that person. These factors will also play an enormous role in the diagnosis and treatment protocol.
Does my insurance cover acupuncture?
Because acupuncture coverage has significant differences between each plan, we advise you to call your insurance company first before coming to the clinic. If you have coverage for acupuncture treatment, we will bill your insurance directly, and you will be responsible for the deductible and co-payment.
How Much Do Your Services Cost Without Insurance?
New Patient Initial Consultation and Treatment 1 Hour: $100
Return and Follow up Treatment One Hour: $80
Wellness Treatment 1/2 Hour: $50