What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an ancient medical system, which has existed for over 3000 years in China. The theory of TCM is based on Chinese ancient knowledge of anatomy, acupuncture, physiology, herbal knowledge and clinic experience. In this system, doctors will diagnose the patient with special techniques involved with detecting the patients' symptoms, pulse, throat, tongue, color of the face, and the sound of the patient etc. After the doctor gives a diagnosis, the patient will receive treatment including herbal medicine, acupuncture or acupressure to cure the disease.
Increasing Use and Popularity
TCM has maintained its popularity in all regions of the developing world and its use is rapidly spreading in industrialized countries.
- In China, traditional herbal preparations account for 30%-50% of the total medicinal consumption.
- In Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and Zambia, the first line of treatment for 60% of children with high fever resulting from malaria is the use of herbal medicines at home.
- World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that in several African countries traditional birth attendants assist in the majority of births. In Europe, North America and other industrialized regions, over 50% of the population have used complementary or alternative medicine at least once.
- In San Francisco, London and South Africa, 75% of people living with HIV/AIDS use TM/CAM.
- 70% of the population in Canada has used complementary medicine at least once.
- In Germany, 90% of the population have used a natural remedy at some point in their lives. Between 1995 and 2000, the number of doctors who had undergone special training in natural remedy medicine almost doubled to 10 800.
- In the United States, 158 million of the adult population use complementary medicines and according to the USA Commission for Alternative and Complementary medicines, US $17 billion was spent on traditional remedies in 2000.
- In the United Kingdom, annual expenditure on alternative medicine is US$ 230 million.
- The global market for herbal medicines currently stands at over US $ 60 billion annually and is growing steadily.
What can you get from Acupuncture?
Since acupuncture promotes the body's natural healing ability, many conditions can be corrected or improved. Also, it is being recognized that acupuncture is a comprehensive system of preventive health care and health maintenance. The effectiveness of acupuncture extends far beyond the conception that it is only useful for chronic pain management or as an analgesic. It has been discovered by many athletes that acupuncture treatment helps them to reach optimum performance levels. Recently acupuncture detoxification treatments have been recognized as a valid form of therapy for chemical dependency problems such as drinking, drug and smoking. Throughout its long history, acupuncture has established a solid reputation as an excellent alternative for health care.
The greatest advantage of acupuncture is waking & restoring your natural healing power by inserting sterile, disposable needles in designated points in the body. Acupuncturists stimulate and balance the flow of Qi, which is the body's natural energy and life force. You can expect a whole new experience that unlocks your body's natural healing power. This unique treatment promotes physical and emotional well-being, consequently curing various diseases.
How does Acupuncture work?
There is no simple answer to this question. In the Orient, suffice it to say that acupuncture stimulates and regulates our energy to balance patients' Qi, Blood, Yin & Yang. Within the West we are always looking for another explanation that more easily fits into our concept of what medicine is and how medicine works. Unfortunately, no one can firmly say, acupuncture works by such and such method.... The problem is that there are many different styles and techniques of acupuncture and they do not fit any one particular model. We do have some understanding about how acupuncture works, but we do not have the complete picture.
Conventional Western medical sciences still cannot explain how acupuncture works. But some research about acupuncture conducted in China, Japan, Europe and USA, has indicated the effect of acupuncture might come from the nervous system and other systems within human body. When the needle is inserted into the patient's body, it stimulates the body's nervous system and causes some reactions, which will balance the problems inside the body. Some research found there were some chemical materials detected in the patient's body after the treatment of acupuncture. In a word, there is still a long way to go for modern sciences to completely explain about acupuncture.
Traditional Chinese acupuncture is based on ancient Chinese theories of the flow of Qi (Human Energy) and Xue (Blood) through distinct meridians or pathways that cover the body somewhat like the nerves and blood vessels do. According to ancient theory, acupuncture allows Qi to flow to areas where it is deficient and away from where it is in excess. In this way, acupuncture regulates and restores the harmonious energetic balance of the body. In Chinese there is a saying, "There is no pain if there is free flow of Qi and blood; if there is pain somewhere, that's because Qi and blood flow are blocked there." When the Qi, Blood, Yin & Yang imbalance occurs, the patient could manifest pain or other symptoms such as insomnia, headache, constipation, etc. based on where the imbalance is.
In short, there are many theories about how acupuncture works but there is no one conclusive answer. There are two kinds of explanation about how acupuncture works. I would like to give a traditional explanation. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there exist meridian systems through the human body and more than 360 acupuncture points are located at these meridians. Qi, or life force energy, flows through these meridians internally connecting the
organs named such as the Lung meridian or the Liver meridian and externally linking to specific body surfaces named acupuncture points. When the Qi is obstructed in certain meridians, or acupuncture points, the function of tissue, muscles and organs will be impaired. By inserting acupuncture needles into acupuncture points it helps the release of Qi flow and corrects imbalances at the organ level to improve your energy and internal processes.
There has been a recent study in Germany involving 40,000 patients and their experience with acupuncture. Please click on the study to see the full details of this report.
Does acupuncture really work?
"Yes" is the very simple answer! Thousands & thousands of people can testify to the very dramatic results that can often be obtained through acupuncture. In the USA most people have either experienced acupuncture or known of someone who has had acupuncture... so ask them! Based on Acupuncture Today in January 2003, nearly 1 in 10 U.S. adults has tried acupuncture. The number of people who have tried acupuncture is powerful evidence to state that acupuncture really works. Please click on http://www.acupuncturetoday
.com for details.
Does it only work for a specific age group or gender?
No, acupuncture does not target a specific group of people. Both men and women benefit from acupuncture. Acupuncturists can treat all age groups, from children to senior citizens.
Prior to their first treatment, many people do not believe that acupuncture can be painless. After the needle is inserted you may feel nothing, or you may feel some different sensations such as soreness, numbness, distending, warmth, pressure, tingling or either around the needle or traveling up or down the affected meridian, or energy pathway that may be felt, but the energetic sensation differs from pain. Any of these sensations should be considered “good sensations”, yet the treatment is effective whether something is sensed or not. People often comment that the feeling is unfamiliar but pleasant and relaxing.
Some people will tell you that acupuncture is a sublimely relaxing event such as sleeping during treatment and you don't feel the needles at all, and others will tell a totally different story. Generally speaking, acupuncture will not produce any experience that you cannot bear. All the sensations of acupuncture are subtle.
Acupuncture needles are very fine and thin, and are often described as being not much thicker than a human hair, unlike hypodermic needles that are much bigger and hollow inside. They are solid and nothing is injected through them. Over the centuries, refined needle insertion techniques have been developed which enable the skilled acupuncturist to place needles with little or no sensation. Insertion through the skin is not painful like an injection or blood sampling. The risk of bruising and skin irritation is much less than when using a hollow needle. If you have a real fear of needles, discuss it with your acupuncturist. An appropriate treatment strategy can always be agreed upon or other TCM therapeutic procedures may be used such as Chinese herbs, cupping or moxibustion, etc. Please refer to the relevant sections on the website for more information about these methods.
When do you need acupuncture?
Acupuncture may be used for maintenance and prevention. You do not have to have a specific disease or illness.
Is acupuncture just for pain relief?
It is a common misconception that acupuncture is just about pain relief. It is true that acupuncture can be used in this way, however when it is performed well, it can cause both structural and functional changes in our bodies. For example, in the treatment of back pain, acupuncture needles are inserted into problematic areas and will cause the muscles to relax. As the muscle relaxes there will be a subtle change in the spinal vertebrae since the muscle is no
longer pulling it out of alignment. As the spine moves, another area in the back may tighten up and this is treated accordingly. Thus it is possible to unravel a ‘holding pattern' that will have formed due to a combination of poor posture, stress, injuries, etc. This is an example of acupuncture's beneficial changes.
A good example of a functional disorder is dysmenorrhea (painful periods). Some women suffer from very painful periods that arise for a variety of reasons. If they are particularly severe then your doctor may prescribe The Pill. This treatment may be very successful as the symptoms subside, however the periods are being artificially regulated and this does have its inherent dangers. Acupuncture aims to restore the correct movement of menstrual blood by regulating the flow of energy in the acupuncture channels. This is an example of a functional change. It is interesting that within Traditional Chinese acupuncture there is no notion of the hormonal system, yet treating the acupuncture channels can have a very dramatic influence on the hormones.
Of course, acupuncture can treat various medical issues besides pain. Please check other topics for more answers.
What problems does acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture can be very helpful in treating a variety of acute or chronic conditions. It is also interesting to note that acupuncture can treat conditions that may not have a western diagnosis. It is not unusual for people to visit their GP for a general feeling of un-wellness but they do not have a specific diagnosis. This can be frustrating since the patient feels unwell but does not have any direction in terms of diagnosis. Acupuncture is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine and offers a different outlook to Western medicine. Chinese medicine identifies patterns of disharmony that explain what is going on from a Chinese Medical perspective. In many cases, it may be possible to identify a disharmony and correct it before it develops into something more serious that is identifiable within Western medicine. This is the essence of preventable medicine as well. The list of conditions is as follows.
Muscular-Skeletal & any Pain problems:
It is well proven that acupuncture can treat many types of painful conditions such as any pain like TMJ, Sciatica, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, neuralgia, any headaches or migraine, neck pain, tendonitis, back Pain, knee pain, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, arthritis, fibromyalgia, heel problems, trauma or sport injuries, toothache, paralysis, stroke rehabilitation, bell's palsy, etc.. Most patients felt a remarkable improvement of their conditions. Various syndromes that are difficult to treat using Western medicine, such as the various fibromyalgia syndromes, also respond significantly to acupuncture.
Such as Parkinson's disorder, Multiple Sclerosis, numbness, neuropathy, etc.
Such as common cold or flu, cough, Asthma, Bronchitis, Pneumonia, etc.
Such as Menopause, hot flush, PMS, all menstrual issues (long, short, scanty, heavy or irregular), infertility, leukorrhea, morning sickness, prolonged labor, insufficient lactation, prolapse of uterus, etc.
Such as abdominal pain, parasite problems, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), acute or chronic constipation or diarrhea, heart burn, nausea or vomiting, hemorrhoids, ulcerative colitis, digestive ulcer, gastric & intestinal bleeding, dysentery, etc.
Such as urinary stone, Urinary Track Infection (UTI), cystitis, prostate disorders, etc.
Ear, Eye, Nose & Throat disorders:
Such as hay fever, allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, sty, optic atrophy, myopia, glaucoma, cataract, upper eyelid droop, deafness or tinnitus, sore throat, tonsillitis, etc.
The Disorders of Reproductive System:
Such as low libido, impotence, genital herpes, infertility, genital itching, etc.
Such as eczema, Psoriasis, urticaria, etc.
Anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, panic attack, irritability,
Palpitation, Hypertension, coronary angina,
Insomnia, excessive sleepiness, quit smoking, weight loss, loss of hair, tumors, CFS-Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, drug addiction, high cholesterol, stroke, dizziness, etc.
Yes! Because now acupuncture is carried out with sterile and disposable needles approved by the FDA. This eliminates the possibility of transmitting some kind of communicable diseases by contaminated needles such as AIDS or Hepatitis C. Transmitting diseases by acupuncture is virtually non-existent. The needles have never been used on anyone else before. The needles are used only once and disposed of medically. Acupuncture is also a drug free treatment, so you completely avoid any side effects or dependency. At Acupuncture Associates, the use of sterile, disposable needles ensures that there is no risk of disease transmission. The needles are very thin and are much smaller than the needles used in the familiar hypodermic injections. The most common complication of treatment is a small bruise or a drop of blood when the needle is removed, but most times there is no bruise or a drop of blood at all.
Any medical technique involves some risk. Properly performed, acupuncture presents minimal hazard when compared to drug regimens or surgical techniques. Because the needles are so small and light, the sensation that occurs when the needles are placed is minimal. A heavy, distended, sore, or achy feeling is often felt around the area of effective acupuncture.
There was a recent paper in the British Medical Journal entitled, The York acupuncture safety study: prospective survey of 34 000 treatments by traditionalists. For those who are particularly interested, please click on the text to have a look at the paper
The paper looked at the type and frequency of reactions that can occur with acupuncture over a total of 34 407 treatments performed within the UK by professional acupuncturists. The most commonly reported mild transient reactions were feeling relaxed, and feeling energized, and these symptoms often indicate an encouraging response to treatment.
In addition, we follow the strict hygiene procedures set by Council of colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and only use sterile disposable needles in our clinic.
How many sessions do I need for treatment?
Since each person is unique, the number of treatments needed will vary. Among the determining factors are the type of condition, whether the condition is chronic or acute, and the vitality of the individual. When you come for the initial consultation we can give you an idea of how many treatments you will need. This will give you an indication of what commitment you will need in terms of visits to the clinic and financial outlay. This will be a guideline and is not definite. Some conditions are more predictable to treat than others.
The number of treatments needed differs from person to person. For complex or long-standing conditions, one to three treatments a week for several months may be recommended. For acute problems, usually fewer visits are required, and for health maintenance, a few sessions a year may be all that is necessary.
How many needles should be used in each treatment?
Because each patient's medical issues are different, one to ten needles are used during acupuncture treatment most times. If two or more symptoms or conditions are treated during one session, ten or more needles may be used.
How often should I have acupuncture treatment?
This is determined on a case by case basis. You may need only a single treatment for an acute condition. A series of five to fifteen treatments may resolve many chronic problems. Some degenerative conditions may require many treatments over time. For some patients seeking general health maintenance, they may need acupuncture treatment from time to time, which is something like a car tune-up.
We usually render two to three sessions a week for the first two weeks. After reviewing the progress of treatment, we render one to two sessions a week for the following weeks. However, it entirely depends on the physical condition of each individual.
The number of treatments necessary depends on the condition being treated. Recent injuries and conditions seen at an early stage will often improve immediately. Those conditions that have been present for longer periods may require more treatment, and serious derangements of structure or metabolism will require extensive therapy.
For many disorders, symptoms reflect underlying conditions that may have to be treated beyond the point at which symptoms have improved. If treatments are stopped too quickly after symptoms begin to respond, the condition may eventually return. So, in order to reach the optimum benefit for your condition, we will tell you how to maintain this condition and keep in a good shape.
A course of treatments for recent problems in a healthy person may range from 2 to 5. In a person with many health problems and a chronic disease, as many as 7 to 15 sessions may be required before an initial response is seen.
Success depends on many factors such as the general health of the patient, the severity and duration of the illness, the using of medications, and how their condition has been managed in the past. No two people are the same and it is one of the big strengths of acupuncture that we treat people individually to get better results. There is no single blanket treatment for treating diseases, the treatment is always individualized. This is something often overlooked in acupuncture research since there is a tendency for the medical establishment to treat symptoms and not the individual, and this goes against the grain of what acupuncture is all about.
How long does each session take?
Normally, each session takes 20 to 30 minutes. It depends on the sensitivity of each individual and the kind of diseases and conditions being treated.
Generally speaking, the quality of acupuncture treatment relies on the experience and skill of the acupuncturist. It is a combination of diagnosis of the symptom, accuracy of acupuncture points, timing, the depth and angle of insertion, and techniques of manipulation, etc.
Will I need to get undressed during treatment?
Most of the common acupuncture points are located between the elbow & hand, the knee & foot, the back and the abdomen area. Therefore, for a lot of conditions it is only necessary to roll up trousers & shirtsleeves - provided the clothes are loose enough!
Obviously, there are occasions when it is necessary to remove clothing down to underwear, such as when treating back pain. Although the pain may be located in the lower back, it is often necessary to treat the whole spine especially if there is a long history of back problems. For women, it is often necessary to unclip the bra when lying face down on the couch so that we can feel the muscles & acupuncture points on the back. The clip is refastened
after treatment, and we will leave the treatment room to allow the patient to redress.
We are very respectful of patients' modesty and only the necessary clothes are moved for each treatment. we will always get your verbal consent when treating more intimate areas, and we will explain what we are going to do beforehand.
How should I prepare for treatment sessions?
There isn't any specific preparation for a treatment, but there are a few suggestions. Make sure that you have eaten a snack but not full meal, 1-2 hours before arrival. If possible, avoid coffee, colorful food, drink, gum and hard candy before your treatment, so as not to stain your tongue. Most importantly, wear some comfortable or loose clothes, and relax.
The best general advice is to come in a calm state. Try to arrive ten or fifteen minutes before your appointment to allow yourself a chance to relax. Vigorous exercise or sexual activity in the hour before treatment is not recommended.
Makeup and nail polish should be minimized or eliminated.
Please also avoid the use of perfumes, colognes or strongly scented cosmetics.
Is there anything I can do before receiving acupuncture treatment?
Yes, the following suggestions will help you get the maximum benefits from your treatment.
- Maintain good personal hygiene to reduce the possibility of bacterial infection.
- To prevent loss, do not wear jewelry.
- Wear loose clothing. Women should not wear one-piece dresses. Avoid wearing tight stockings.
Is there anything I need to do while receiving acupuncture?
- Relax. there is no need to be scared. Ask your acupuncturist any questions you have along the way so that you can get the most benefit possible from the treatment.
- Do not change your position or move suddenly when the needles are in your body. If you are tired of on position or you feel uncomfortable about one position, tell your acupuncturist.
- Some people experience dizziness, nausea, cold sweat, shortness of breath, or faintness during treatment. This often occurs if you are nervous, especially when it's your first time receiving acupuncture treatment. Inform your acupuncturist immediately, so he or she can readjust or withdraw the needles. Also let your acupuncturist know if you feel an increasing amount of pain or burning sensation during the treatment.
- If you find your treatment unbearable at any point, be sure to speak up so that your acupuncturist can make the proper adjustments or stop the treatment.
What happens during the treatment?
Depending on the areas to be treated, you may be positioned on your back, your stomach, your side, or sitting. Be certain that you can remain relaxed in this position, as you may not wish to move for the duration of the treatment, usually 20 to 30 minutes.
It is best to practice a slow and relaxed abdominal breathing during treatment, and avoid trying to do any mental work. Abdominal breathing means allowing your abdomen to expand as you inhale, and to contract as you exhale.
What sensations will I experience during treatment?
Usually, there is a pleasant state of calm, which develops during the treatment and may persist for some time. You may even nearly fall asleep during the session. In areas that have been treated, a sensation of heaviness or swelling may persist for up to an hour or so after treatment.
You may find that the pain or discomfort of the condition may be reduced by 20 or 30% or even completely eliminated. Frequently, the relief will persist, though in some situations the pain will return after a few hours or days to its former level. In certain conditions, a worsening of pain is to be expected before improvement is seen.
For some disorders, no effect is noticed immediately and the condition takes a few days or a series of treatments to respond. Be sure to tell us of the response to treatment at the next appointment so that necessary changes can be made to your treatment.
What should I do after treatment?
Generally speaking, there is no strict restriction. It is often helpful to sit quietly following a treatment, and relax. A gentle walk or very mild exercise can also be helpful. Large meals, vigorous exercise, alcohol or excessive aggravation should be avoided.
What can I expect after treatment?
You may note a spot of blood at one or more of the needle sites and/or a small bruise could develop. These should not be harmful, but please talk to your acupuncturist if you are concerned.
Patients often experience the most dramatic results in the first treatment,. Some patients experience an immediate total or partial relief of their pain or other symptoms. This relief may last or some pain may return. In a few cases, there may be no immediate relief only to notice the pain diminish over the next couple of days. Generally, you should expect to feel better.
Why have acupuncture treatment?
There are many possible reasons for considering acupuncture treatment and of course everyone has their own
motivations. I will list a few of these reasons.
- Acupuncture is a safe and effective form of medicine.
- Acupuncture is holistic and aims to regulate the energetics of the body and bring it back into balance.
- Acupuncture treats both the symptoms and the root of pathological issues.
- Traditional Chinese Acupuncture can identify imbalances in the body at a very early stage.
- Acupuncture can treat signs and symptoms that may not have a clear Western medical diagnosis.
- Traditional Chinese medicine has been practiced over 3000 years, offering a well-established medical system which has developed from observation and practice.
- Acupuncture can help you come off certain prescription drugs (with your GP's consent).
- Acupuncture can be a useful alternative if you do not wish to take prescription drugs for whatever personal or medical reasons.
- Offers a unique perspective of how we view the body and therefore can often give more understanding about a disease process and how it may have developed.
- Acupuncture may be the last alternative after trying everything else! It is not uncommon for patients to come to the clinic as a 'last measure'.
- Acupuncture is a preventive medicine as well.
Do I have to believe in acupuncture?
Quite simply, no! Of course, a positive attitude and state of mind will help any healing process but it is certainly not necessary that you believe in acupuncture for the treatment to be successful. Acupuncture is also used successfully on animals such as horses and dogs.
Does everyone practice acupuncture the same?
There is a huge diversity of acupuncture practice all over the world. There are different groups of individuals practicing acupuncture such as M.Ds, physiotherapists, nurses, and professional acupuncturists, etc. The amount of training can differ considerably and the approach can be quite different between groups.
Within this group of professional acupuncturists there is also a large diversity of acupuncture practice due to personal styles, further postgraduate training that individuals may have undertaken, and personal clinical experience and influence.
Will my insurance pay for acupuncture?
You need to give them a call, or ask your acupuncturist to do so on your behalf. Most insurance policies now offer a limited sum of money for complementary medicine that has proven to be effective, such as osteopathy and acupuncture. Some insurance companies require a referral from your GP in order to qualify. If your GP is agreeable then this can be arranged. I am happy to write to your GP with your consent.
What do I expect during the first consultation?
Acupuncture is a holistic medicine and aims to discover the roots of any particular illness. We will discuss the main problem in detail and then ask other relevant questions about aspects of your health to help build up a complete picture and to put your illness into holistic context. After the discussion we will take your pulse and examine your tongue. Taking the pulse in Chinese Medicine is enormously different from Western Medicine as it is an important
pillar of diagnosis that helps give information about the state of your Qi and the status of your internal organs. A physical examination will be performed for any muscular-skeletal problems and it is common practice to palpate along acupuncture channels for a wide range of ailments.
Each treatment is tailored according to the individual's presenting condition.
The initial consultation will last approximately ½ to 1 hour. Often I spend just an hour on first visit.
So please bring all your medical records with you if you have them, which will be very helpful to make a complete picture for your diagnosis.
Do you visit people at home?
Yes. Sometimes it is not possible for patients to come to the clinic for various reasons which may include; too much pain, traveling difficulties, or reduced mobility.
Should I stop other medications?
No. You should continue to follow your current physician's instructions. Please remember that acupuncture is used to complement and supplement your physician's treatments and to make you get maximum benefits from your treatment. If you want to replace them because of side effects or something wrong, we will discuss this issue with your physician. We do have many methods to solve medical issues without medications such as Chinese herbs
(please check Chinese herbs).
Are there any side effects?
It is quite common with the first couple of treatments to have a sensation of deep relaxation or even mild disorientation immediately following the treatment. These pass within a short time, and never require anything more than a bit of rest to overcome.
Occasionally the original symptoms being treated worsen for a few days, or other general changes in appetite, sleep, bowel or urination patterns, or emotional state may be triggered. These should not cause concern, as they are simply indications that healing is occurring.
Can children receive Acupuncture?
Yes. Generally speaking children do well with acupuncture because their energy is very responsive. As a result, their course of treatment may be shorter and fewer needles required. On the other hand, the younger the child the more training the practitioner needs. If your practitioner isn't ready for a child as young as yours, please ask for a referral.
How does it work as a detoxification method?
Acupuncture is rapidly emerging as an important adjunctive therapy in the field of alcohol and drug addiction. Since 1974, a successful program involving recovering drug users and alcoholics at Lincoln Hospital Substance Abuse Program in the South Bronx, New York, has demonstrated that acupuncture has a remarkably positive effect on the recovery process. This program, directed by Dr. Michael Smith, documents the rehabilitative effects of acupuncture as well as the behavior modifications that ensue from the course of treatment he pioneered. Since then, more than 80 clinics in the U.S. and another 25-world-wide have utilized an acupuncture component based upon the Lincoln Hospital model.
Acupuncture reduces symptoms of withdrawal as well as aiding in long-term recovery. Substances that respond well to acupuncture include alcohol, heroin, crack, methamphetamine, methadone, and nicotine as well as other drugs. Acupuncture does not cure alcoholism or drug addiction. It alleviates withdrawal symptoms so that mental and physical stability are achieved as soon as possible, allowing involvement in counseling, and other support systems as necessary for maintaining sobriety. Specifically, acupuncture:
- Lessens depression, anxiety, and insomnia
- Reduces or eliminates withdrawal symptoms such as drug craving, body aches, headache, nausea, sweating, muscle cramping, etc.
- Is useful in stress reduction and relapse prevention
A licensed acupuncturist performs treatment. A few sterilized, solid and disposable needles are inserted into specific points in the ear. Each point stimulates an internal body organ or function of the central nervous system, Kidney, Liver, and Lungs that in turn assists in reducing the craving for alcohol or drugs. Needles remain in the ear for 30-45 minutes. Inserting the needles in the ear causes no to minimal discomfort. Daily treatments for the first weeks are most beneficial. The frequency of treatments can then be decreased over several months. More frequent treatment is also encouraged at any time when cravings return, when there is increased stress, or should a relapse occur. Some patients like “Tune-ups” once they have passed through the acute phase.
I have seen pictures of people with needles in their ears. What are they doing?
When acupuncture is done on the ears it is called auricular acupuncture. Recently there have been articles on its use to support people in overcoming drug addictions. Short needles are inserted shallowly at 5 specific sites and allowed to remain for thirty minutes. While it is only one part of a successful treatment program the role acupuncture plays is important. Clients treated with auricular acupuncture report a reduction in cravings, less anxiety and better sleep.
What is Moxa? Why does my acupuncturist use it?
Moxa is an herb of the mugwort family, a species of chrysanthemum. The Latin name is Artemisia Vulgaris. The leaves are used to form "moxa wool" which can be formed into cones of various sizes. The acupuncturist then places it on a point and lights it with an incense stick. The moxa smolders until the patient feels the warmth at which time it is removed and the next cone is applied. Moxibustion warms the meridians and expels cold. This is one reason it is used more often in winter. Moxibustion also promotes the smooth flow of qi, strengthens the yang energy, detoxifies, opens the blockage, etc.
What is the difference between a Chiropractor who does acupuncture and you?
Chiropractors, once established in practice, are offered a 60-100 hour course on acupuncture. Upon completion, they can then add that service to their practice and offer it to their patients. Even though they offer such, their true specialty is chiropractic medicine. Their skills and knowledge are very minimal, and as a result, they could be leaving the patient with an otherwise bad experience with acupuncture. A licensed acupuncturist completes an education program of 3-5 years in length, depending on the school and what is being offered.
In the case of Qijian Ye, he attended for 8 years, mastering in acupuncture and oriental medicine. All of his training, education and internship was in this ancient medicine and western medicine as well, and this is his specialty. While there are a few chiropractors that will actually take the time to fully educate themselves in this medicine, most do the minimum hours requirement to be able to perform acupuncture on their patients. It would be well worth the time and effort to look into the educational background of someone who you are considering for acupuncture services.
What criteria should I use to choose an acupuncturist?
Patients should ask about where the practitioner trained, how long the training was, how long the acupuncturist has been in practice, acupuncturist's academic degree, and what experience the acupuncturist has had in treating patient's specific disease.
Acupuncture is a licensed and regulated healthcare in USA. Ask your acupuncturist if he or she has a Washington acupuncture license if you receive acupuncture treatments in Washington.
Cupping is a therapy using a jar that is attached to the skin surface to cause local congestion through the negative pressure created by introducing heat in the form of an ignited material. The cupping method has the function of warming and promoting the free flow of Qi and blood in the meridians, opening the blockage, dispelling cold dampness, diminishing swellings and pains and clearing the internal heat and toxin.