Acupuncture has been practiced in China and other parts of the world for at least 3,000 years.
Acupuncture is a holistic, non-invasive healing modality that uses small, thin, sterile pins to regulate and harmonize the flow of electromagnetic energy in the body to facilitate the natural healing propensities of the body and to promote optimal health.
This energy called “Qi” (pronounced CHEE) is our life force. It flows through our bodies through pathways, which are like energy rivers. When there is a disturbance in the flow of energy in the body there is dis-ease. Acupuncture helps to remove blockages, increase energy, in order to help the body to heal itself.
What is TCM?
Acupuncture is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), one of the oldest continually practiced forms of healing in the world. TCM also includes: herbal medicine, food therapy, therapeutic massage and acupressure, moxibustion, and therapeutic breath and movement exercises.
What can acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture is recognized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to be effective in the treatment of a wide variety of medical conditions. The following are some of the more common conditions treated with acupuncture and TCM.
Musculoskeletal and Neurological Disorders
- Back Pain
- Bell’s Palsy
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Frozen Shoulder
- Headaches and Migraines
- Knee Pain
- Neck Pain
- Plantar fasciitis
- Shin Splints
- Sports & Martial Arts Injuries
- Tennis Elbow
Respiratory Disorders – Ear/Nose/Throat Disorders
- Hay Fever
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Sore Throat
- Chronic Fatigue
- Epstein Barr Virus
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Abdominal Bloating
- Crohn’s Disease
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Gynecological and Urogenital Disorders
- Chronic Bladder & Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
- Irregular, Heavy, and/or Painful Menstruation
- Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Emotional and Psychological Disorders
- Drug addiction
- Smoking Cessation
- Chemotherapy/Radiation Side Effects
- Weight Loss/Weight Control
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture achieves results by stimulating specific points near or on the surface of the skin, called acupuncture points. These points have the ability to alter biochemical and physiological conditions in the body. The ancient premise of Oriental Medicine is that health is dependent on the body’s life energy, “qi”, flowing in a smooth and balanced way through the networks of meridians (channels) connecting all major organs. Qi consists of equal and opposite qualities, known as yin and yang. When qi is disturbed, these become unbalanced, resulting in illness. The acupuncturist restores the qi’s balance by inserting fine, sterilized needles into the channels of energy (meridians), stimulating the body’s own natural healing mechanisms.
A WESTERN PERSPECTIVE:
As acupuncture has grown in popularity in the West, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) have performed clinical studies on the effects of acupuncture and have developed the following five theories on how acupuncture works according to modern science. These five theories are based on studies performed before and after acupuncture treatments by using blood draws to measure biomedical changes in the body.
The Gate Control Theory – Acupuncture interrupts the transmission of pain by overloading certain “nerve gates” in the central nervous system with stimulation, thus preventing the transmission of the pain signal.
Augmentation of Immunity – Acupuncture has been shown to raise blood levels of white blood cells (WBCs), prostaglandins, gamma globulins, hormones, and overall antibody levels. Raising WBCs can help every patient; more and more diseases are being linked with a weak immune system. Whether or not you are immune-compromised, you will want your immune system to be as strong as possible; this is a positive result of every acupuncture treatment!
Releases Endorphins – Endorphins are the body’s natural pain killers and acupuncture stimulates their release. Endorphins are ten times stronger than morphine, the strongest pharmaceutical pain killer available; it is easy to see why acupuncture is so effective in pain management.
Increases Neurotransmitters – Acupuncture affects certain neurotransmitter levels such as serotonin. Serotonin is a well-known contributor to the feeling of well-being. Low levels of serotonin are associated with insomnia, addictions, depression, sugar cravings, obesity, and obsessive compulsive disorder. Acupuncture raises serotonin levels and can be an effective treatment for these conditions. This helps to explain why people feel so good after an acupuncture treatment.
Increases Circulation – Acupuncture has been shown to increase circulation in the body, especially to areas adjacent to the points being needled. Histamine and other vasodilators are released by the body in response to acupuncture; this is useful in healing injuries and minimizing scar tissue.
Does acupuncture hurt?
The pins that we use in acupuncture are much different from the needles used at the doctor’s office. Acu pins are about the thickness of a hair, and 25-50 times thinner than hypodermic needles. Often people don’t even feel the pins entering the skin. The pins are left in for 20-30 minutes. Most people find the experience very relaxing and often fall asleep during the treatment.
Are the needles sterile?
Yes. Licensed acupuncturists in the state of Florida are required by law to only use sterile, disposable needles. Needles are used once and disposed of properly after removal.
What kind of training do acupuncturists have?
Acupuncture training consists of a 3000 hour, 4-year Master’s Degree program usually completed in 3 years. The training encompasses all aspects of Chinese Medicine and many aspects of Western Medicine. At the end of the training the practitioner receives a Master’s of Science Degree. Acupuncturists must also pass national boards to become licensed and complete continuing education courses to remain licensed.
How many treatments will I need?
This is unique to each individual. For most conditions, 5-7 treatments on a weekly basis tends to offer the best outcome. Some people notice an immediate improvement in their health, while for others, acupuncture tends to have a cumulative effect over several visits.
How do I prepare for my first visit?
For the first appointment bring a list of prescription and over-the-counter medications, also note any herbs and supplements you take. Wear comfortable clothing that can easily be rolled up past elbows and knees, please don’t wear heavily scented products. Between appointments, note any changes in your symptoms, energy level, sleep, thoughts, emotions, and well-being.
What is the first visit like?
For the first visit we ask you to arrive a few minutes early to fill out some initial paperwork. The primary focus of the first visit is to get to know you, gather information about your health history, and understand what your goals and concerns are for treatment. We may ask questions that seem unrelated to your main issue; this is because we treat holistically and understanding what is going on in the whole person is very helpful to identifying the root of your main issue.
We will do a health history and physical exam in which we will listen to your pulses, do some palpation of your neck and shoulders and examine your tongue.
Once we determine how we will treat you we will begin by working on your back. We may do some rolling massage, cupping, or moxibustion before the acupuncture. Then we will let you rest with the acupuncture needles retained for 15-20 minutes. Then we will take the needles out and have you turn onto your back and do a treatment on the front. Most people report feeling very calm, tranquil and relaxed during the treatment.
The first visit is usually about 90-105 minutes. Follow up treatments are usually 60-75 minutes.
What will I feel after my first treatment?
Patients normally feel relaxed and calm. You may feel tired or drowsy for a few hours if the experience is particularly strong. You may also experience a short-term flare up of symptoms in the healing process. After a session, it is a good idea to sit quietly and relax. A gentle walk or very mild exercise can also be helpful. Avoid big meals, vigorous exercise, alcohol, and stressful situations.
What is community acupuncture?
Community acupuncture is an individualized treatment given in a group setting. It is a way to make the benefits of acupuncture more affordable and accessible. Points are used primarily below the elbows and knees.
What is the difference between community and private room treatments?
Community treatments are given in a group setting and only the front of the body is treated. Other services like cupping are offered at an additional charge.
Private room acupuncture includes back treatments and cupping as needed.