WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE?
Acupuncture is one of the oldest, most commonly used medical procedures in the world. Originating in China more than 2,000 years ago, acupuncture began to become better
known in the United States in 1971, when New York Times reporter James Reston wrote about how doctors in China used needles to ease his pain after surgery. Acupuncture is a method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and to improve functioning. This is done by inserting needles and applying heat or electrical stimulation at very precise acupuncture points.
HOW DOES ACUPUNCTURE WORK?
The ancient Chinese believed that there is a universal life energy called Chi or Qi present in every living creature. This energy is said to circulate throughout the body along specific pathways that are called meridians. As long as this energy flows freely throughout the meridians, health is maintained, but once the flow of energy is blocked, the system is disrupted and pain and illness occur. Imagine rivers that flood and cause disasters or an electrical grid short-circuiting that causes blackouts. Acupuncture works to “re-program” and restore normal functions by stimulating certain points on the meridians in order to free up the Chi energy.
IS ACUPUNCTURE SAFE?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved acupuncture needles for use by licensed practitioners in 1996. The FDA requires that sterile, nontoxic needles be used and that they be labeled for single use by qualified practitioners only.
Relatively few complications from the use of acupuncture have been reported to the FDA in light of the millions of people treated each year and the number of acupuncture needles used. Still, complications have resulted from inadequate sterilization of needles and from improper delivery of treatments. We use a new set of disposable needles taken from a sealed package for each patient and should swab treatment sites with alcohol or another disinfectant before inserting needles.
IS ACUPUNCTURE COVERED BY HEALTH INSURANCE?
Many insurance companies now offer policies that cover acupuncture and related services performed by an acupuncturist. Check with your insurance company to find out.
WHAT IS CHINESE HERBAL MEDICINE?
Chinese herbal medicine is based on an individualized pattern diagnosis as well as a disease diagnoses. Your pattern is made up of your signs and symptoms, your emotional temperament and the overall composition of your body. The patient receives a custom written herbal prescription designed to treat their individual pattern as well as the symptom or disease. Each herb has a specific interaction with the body. In conjunction with acupuncture, herbs are combined to blend their actions to cause long-lasting changes in natural processes that promote well-being.