|What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient healing art, developed in China as early as 300 BC. They discovered that needles inserted into certain points had repeatable results. Over time, the results were carefully recorded. Now, we can get predictable results from using the same acupuncture points that the ancient Chinese people discovered. In modern times, acupuncture is considered conservative care. It is something to use before you opt for more invasive measures. For example, if you can get rid of pain with acupuncture, you don't need to take pain-relieving drugs.
|What is a Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac)?
The definition varies state-by-state but in CA, Licensed Acupuncturists spend four years working on a Masters degree, studying Chinese Medicine, Western Medicine, Acupuncture, and Herbal Formulas. This means that, in most cases, a Licensed Acupuncturist is also a Chinese herbalist. Chinese herbs were categorized in detail hundreds of years ago and the results have been routinely repeated over time. With an oriental diagnosis, the formulas can be customized to fit your needs. Plus, herbalists can determine herb/drug interactions.
|What is Acupuncture good for?
Pain (musculoskeletal/nerve pain, headache, sports injuries)
Female hormonal imbalance (dysmenorrhea, PMS, morning sickness)
Emotional problems due to stress (anxiety, depression, addiction)
Fatigue and debilitation (essential hypertension, chronic fatigue syndrome)
Digestive complaints (IBS, etc.)
Respiratory complaints (asthma, rhinitis)
|How does Acupuncture work?
||To some extent we can explain how acupuncture works, from a nerve-pathway perspective. Stimulation of the points triggers a reaction on the nerve pathway and in the brain. The acupuncture point SJ5 treats ear-related disorders. In an MRI, stimulation of this point lights up the auditory cortex, just like sound does. (1, p. 7) However, no direct nerve connection exists between this point and the auditory cortex of the brain. So, it's a bit of a mystery. For now, most acupuncturists explain the workings of acupuncture using the Qi paradigm, which has its roots in Traditional Chinese Medicine (originated 300 BC). Qi flows freely through our bodies (healthy state) and when it doesn't flow correctly, we use acupuncture to rectify a deficient or excess condition.
|Do the needles hurt?
||Unlike hypodermic needles, there is no hole in the center. The needles are super-fine and, generally, the treatments are painless. The patient will feel sensations mostly while the needles are put in the acupuncture points. Once the needles are in, the patient rests for approx. 20 minutes. It is quite relaxing and most patients fall asleep during this time. Some points are more sensitive than others. Sometimes acupuncturists want to find points that the patient can feel, because they'll be more effective in treating the condition. In this case we feel that a second or two of needle sensitivity is justified.
|How fast does it work?
||In general, the more recent the injury, the fewer acupuncture treatments are needed. For shoulder pain from a recent sports injury, one treatment can make a big difference. Even though the results can be immediate we may recommend multiple treatments--to be sure it is resolved. For problems that have become chronic, more acupuncture treatments will be necessary.
1. Neuro-Acupuncture: Scientific Evidence of Acupuncture revealed! Cho, Wong, Fallon, Qpuncture, 2001.