What Is Acupuncture & Other Links
- What is Acupuncture?
- Overview on Oriental Medicine
- What Oriental Medicine Includes
- How Does It Work?
- What Can I Expect?
- Is Acupuncture Safe?
- Is Acupuncture Painful?
- What Does Acupuncture Treat?
- How Do I Find a Qualitied Practitioner?
- How do I Find An Acupuncturist for My Pet?
- What Do Some of the Acronyms Stand For?
- How Cost Effective is Acupuncture Compared to Traditional Western Medicine?
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an essential part of traditional Oriental medicine, a comprehensive system of health care with a continuous clinical history of over 3000 years. Oriental medicine includes acupuncture, Chinese herbology and bodywork, dietary therapy and exercise based on traditional Oriental medicine principles. These therapies work with the natural vital energy inherent within all living things to promote the body's ability to heal itself. This system of health care is used extensively by one-quarter of the world's population residing in Asia and is rapidly growing in popularity in the West.
For more information on Acupuncture, read Acupuncture- Ancient Cure for Modern Ills, by Honora Lee Wolfe, Dipl.Ac., listed under Past Forum Articles.
Overview on Oriental Medicine
- System of Health Care 3000 years old
- Founded on a different paradigm of the human body (energy or "Qi" flow).
- Currently 1/4 of the world's population makes use of it.
- Modern Western and traditional Chinese medicines are the two dominant medical systems in the world today.
- Oriental medicine is based on an energetic model rather than the biochemical model of Western medicine.
- Acupuncture points are specific locations along the meridians. Each point has a predictable effect upon the vital energy passing through it.
- Many conditions may be alleviated very rapidly by acupuncture and Oriental medicine.
- In the hands of a comprehensively trained acupuncturist, acupuncture is very safe.
- Acupuncture needles are sterile and disposable. The needles are very fine and flexible, about the diameter of a human hair.
What Oriental Medicine Includes
- Chinese Herbology
- Forms of Exercise & Breathing Techniques (Tai-Chi & Qi-Gong)
- Oriental Body Work and Massage (Tui-Na, Shiatsu, Acupressure)
- Nutritional Advice
For A Variety Of Health Needs
- Immune Enhancement/Prevention
- Infectious Diseases
- Chronic, Degenerative Conditions
- Chemical Dependency
- Emotional Problems
Beneficial Effects: Patients have reported that most of the time they:
- Feel Better (76%)
- Miss Fewer Work Days (71%)
- Get Along Better With Others (69%)
- Have Less Pain (64%)
- Have More Energy (58%)
- Are More Focused (58%)
- Can Work Better (64%)
How does it work?
Oriental medicine is based on an energetic model rather than the biochemical model of Western medicine. The ancient Chinese recognized a vital energy behind all life forms and life processes. They called this energy Qi (pronounced "chee"). In developing an understanding of the prevention and cure of disease, these healing practitioners discovered that this energy flows along specific pathways called 'meridians'. Each pathway is associated with a particular physiological system and internal organ. Disease is considered to arise due to a deficiency or imbalance of energy in the meridians and their associated physiological systems. Acupuncture points are specific locations along the meridians. Each point has a predictable effect upon the vital energy passing through it. Modern science has been able to measure the electrical charge at these points, thus corroborating the locations of the meridians mapped by the ancients. Traditional Oriental medicine uses an intricate system of pulse and tongue diagnosis, palpation of points and meridians, medical history and other signs and symptoms to create a composite Oriental medical diagnosis. A treatment plan is then formulated to induce the body to a balanced state of health.
What Can I Expect?
Many conditions may be alleviated very rapidly by acupuncture and Oriental medicine. However, some conditions that have arisen over a course of years will be relieved only with slow, steady progress. As in any form of healing, the patient's attitude, diet, determination and lifestyle will affect the outcome of a course of treatment. Patients are encouraged to actively participate in their healing process. Although Oriental medicine can treat most conditions, there are circumstances that can be dealt with more effectively by Western medicine. In such cases, your acupuncturist will recommend you contact a Western medical doctor. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine should be seen as complementary to Western medicine.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
In the hands of a comprehensively trained acupuncturist, your safety is assured. Throughout their education, Licensed Acupuncturists are trained and tested in Clean Needle Technique (CNT). CNT includes sterilization of acupuncture needles and equipment, prevention of transmission blood-borne pathogens, disposal of contaminated waste, and other safety aspects of acupuncture. Acupuncture needles are sterile and are either disposable or autoclaved between treatments. If you have a preference, you should discuss the type of needles to be used with your practitioner. Also see: 1. The Safety of Acupuncture" by Charles Vincent, Professor of Psychology at www.BMJ.com 2. Safety Record of Acupuncture (Memo), by the National Acupuncture Foundation
Is Acupuncture Painful?
Acupuncture bears no resemblance to the feeling of receiving an injection, since the main source of pain from injections is the larger diameter, hollow needle and the medication being forced into the tissue by pressure. Acupuncture needles are very fine and flexible, about the diameter of a human hair. In most cases, insertion by a skilled practitioner is performed without discomfort. You may experience a sense of heaviness or electricity in the area of insertion. Most patients find the treatments very relaxing and many fall asleep during treatment. In some cases, your practitioner may also recommend herbs or dietary, exercise or lifestyle changes.
What Does Acupuncuture Treatment?
The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes acupuncture and traditional Oriental medicine's ability to treat over 43 common disorders including:
- Gastrointestinal Disorders, such as food allergies, peptic ulcer, chronic diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, gastrointestinal weakness, anorexia and gastritis
- Urogenital Disorders, including stress incontinence, urinary tract infections, and sexual dysfunction
- Gynecological Disorders, such as irregular, heavy, or painful menstruation, infertility in women and men, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Respiratory Disorders, such as emphysema, sinusitis, asthma, allergies and bronchitis
- Disorders of the Bones, Muscles, Joints and Nervous System, such as arthritis, migraine headaches, neuralgia, insomnia, dizziness and low back, neck and shoulder pain
- Circulatory Disorders, such as hypertension, angina pectoris, arteriosclerosis and anemia
- Emotional and Psychological Disorders, including depression and anxiety
- Addictions, such as alcohol, nicotine and drugs
- Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders
- Supportive therapy for other chronic and painful debilitating disorders
How Do I Find a Qualitied Practitioner?
If you need a referral to a qualified practitioner in your area, check our link -- Referral to a Qualified Practitioner. All practitioners listed are state licensed or, if practicing in an unregulated jurisdiction, are NCCAOM-certified or state licensed elsewhere.
Oriental medicine is a complex form of medicine that has been practiced in several countries around the world for hundreds of years. As a result, there are many valid schools of thought and traditions within the profession.
As a consumer, in order to obtain the best health care, you should seek a practitioner who has been comprehensively trained in the area of Oriental medicine that you are seeking.
There are two methods for choosing a qualified practitioner who has been comprehensively trained. One is through state licensure, the other is through national board certification.
Over 40 states have passed practice acts licensing fully trained acupuncturists (see Legislative Update). The laws in these states vary. For example, some jurisdictions include the practice of Chinese Herbology within the scope of practice of acupuncture, others do not. In some states acupuncturists are regulated by a state board of acupuncture, in others they are under the department of health, licensing or education, or the board of medical examiners. Practitioners may be called Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac. or Lic.Ac.), Registered Acupuncturist (R.Ac.), Certified Acupuncturist (C.A.), Acupuncturist (A.P.), or Doctor of Oriental Medicine (DOM) (see acronyms and titles below). However, in each case, state licensure means an individual has met eligibility requirements established by the state to practice acupuncture and/or Oriental medicine.
If you live in a regulated jurisdiction, you should seek a licensed acupuncturist.
If you live in an unregulated jurisdiction, you should seek a practitioner licensed in another state or national board certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). All practitioners in our referral service have met these standards.
How do I Find An Acupuncturist for My Pet?
In many states, the practice of Veterinary Acupuncture is not within the scope of practice of a Licensed Acupuncturist. In the following states, Licensed Acupuncturists may not treat animals: AR, CO, CT, FL, HI, ID, IN, IO, LA, MN, MO, MT, NJ, NY, NC, RI, TN, TX, UT, WA, WV. For other states, you may consult the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture, the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society, or call your local state Veterinary Association and ask if they have any vets that do animal acupuncture. For additional information on this subject, see the article Acupuncture in the Treatment of Animals, by Sandy River & Anne Mihalick
What Do Some of the Acronyms Stand For?
- A.B.T. (NCCAOM) = Diplomate of Asian Bodywork Therapy by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), a new certification program by the NCCAOM
- A.P. = Acupuncture Physician (a licensure title used Florida)
- C.A. = Certified Acupuncturist (a licensure title used in some states)
- D.Ac. = Doctor of Acupuncture (a licensure title used in Rhode Island)
- D.C. = Doctor of Chiropractic
- Dipl.Ac. (NCCAOM) = Diplomate in Acupuncture by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM)
- Dipl.C.H. (NCCAOM) = Diplomate in Chinese Herbology by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM)
- D.O.M. = Doctor of Oriental Medicine (a licensure title used in New Mexico and Nevada)
- L.Ac. = Licensed Acupuncturist (a licensure title used in most states)
- M.Ac. = Masters of Acupuncture (an educational degree)
- M.Ac.OM or M.O.M. = Masters of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine or Masters of Oriental Medicine (educational degrees indicating education in acupuncture and Chinese herbology )
- N.D. = Naturopathic Doctor
- O.M.D. = Oriental Medicine Doctor (indication of completion of a post-graduate program approved by the state of California in the 1970's or 80's; also used by some graduates of overseas programs. The Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) finalized guidelines for accredited doctorate programs in the U.S. in May, 2000.
- R.Ac. = Registered Acupuncturist (a licensure title used in some states)
How Cost Effective is Acupuncture Compared to Traditional Western Medicine?
Cost Effective Health Care: In a study of patients in six clinics
- 70% of those who said they had been recommended for surgery had avoided surgery.
- 84% reported seeing their M.D. less
- 58% reported seeing a Psychotherapist less
- 77% reported seeing a Physical Therapist less
- 79% reported reduced use of prescription drugs
- 77% reported they were asking for fewer reimbursements from their insurance company.
Reported by Health Visions 2000 (By Claire Cassidy)