What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is one of the oldest types of medical treatment known to mankind. The Chinese began using acupuncture over 2,000 years ago, and it has been the subject of continuous study and clinical experience since that time. It’s finally gaining widespread acceptance in the U.S. as a method and system of health care. Many insurance policies now cover acupuncture, and nationally, each year new scientific studies are published validating the effectiveness of acupuncture. Informed by modern research, but also grounded in the wisdom of traditional Oriental Medicine, acupuncture provides, safe effective, comprehensive and personalized treatment for many common ailments.

Chinese Medicine is holistic: it treats the whole person rather than symptoms. Acupuncture is a comprehensive system of examination, diagnosis and treatment. It seeks to alleviate symptoms and pain by assisting individuals to find balance in their lives. Preventative maintenance is central to the philosophy of Chinese Medicine and this extends to what we generally consider our mental health as well.

What is Oriental Medicine?
The term “Oriental Medicine” refers to the entire body of therapies, including acupuncture, that are based on traditional Chinese concepts of health and energetics. Applying these principles, Chinese herbal medicine uses time tested herbal formulations to safely remedy illness. Acupressure and massage are techniques for opening the energetic channels without using needles. Oriental Medicine includes a system of dietary remedies, employing the healing properties of common foods and lifestyle advice, since how we live is the deepest factor in determining our health. An acupuncturist will generally use needle therapy in conjunction with some or all of the above described modalities.

What are the principles behind Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is based on a naturalist, holistic philosophy. The sages of ancient China sought to understand human health in terms of the patterns that occur in nature. Over many years, using close observation they traced the various interconnections among the organs, emotional states and physiological processes of the human body. They discovered specific energetic “channels” throughout the body that are the basis of this interconnection and specific anatomical “points” which can be used to access and influence the information traveling through these channels. Today, acupuncturists draw on this traditional knowledge base along with modern research in order to provide the best possible care for their patients.

What does Acupuncture feel like?
The needles used in acupuncture are sterilized, disposable, stainless steel and thinner than a shaft of hair. Often there is a “pinching” feeling as a needle is inserted, which fades quickly and may be replaced by various sensations around the needle, including; pressure, lightness, warmth, or coolness. While the needles are left in the body (usually about 20 minutes), one may experience a state of general relaxation or a heightened awareness of the connections within one’s body.

How does Acupuncture work?
Explaining acupuncture scientifically is challenging because it is based on a set of premises that is very different from bio-medical science. In order to explain the therapeutic effects of acupuncture. Comprehensively, it is likely that you will discover new principles of physiology.

One promising area for research is in the bio-electrical communication among cells and tissue that are not part of the nervous system. The combined work of several investigators suggests the possibility that information involved in controlling basic physiological processes maybe represented in the interacting electromagnetic fields of cells and tissue throughout the body. Some evidence suggests that the insertion of acupuncture needles in appropriate locations might influence these bio-electric fields, thereby aiding the body in its natural healing process.

How can inserting needles into someone relieve pain?
You must leave behind traditional ideas about medicine and be willing to accept, or at least, recognize that acupuncture effectiveness has survived the test of time. Ancient Chinese philosophers developed a philosophy in which the body was a harmonious balance of two opposing forces, Yin, or the negative force, and Yang, or the positive force. When the Yin and yang are well balanced, a vital energy flows through the body along a certain track, called the meridian. On the meridian there are many points called acupuncture points. When the Yin-Yang balance is broken, the vital energy flow is stagnated or blocked and a disease or pain develops. Applying the acupuncture needle to the appropriate point balances Yin and Yang and the energy flow is once again restored.

How is Acupuncture done?
The acupuncture treatment involves the use of very fine needles which are inserted into the meridians to open the passages of the energy flow. It is a painless treatment that will; relieve your pain, help you function better and allow your body to fight diseases without the use of any pharmaceutical drugs or surgery.

For what diseases is it effective?
The World health Organization lists 40 diseases that respond favorably to acupuncture treatment, including; acute bronchitis, bronchial asthma, cataracts, acute and chronic gastritis and colitis, migraine headache, neuralgia, low back pain and others.

Is it safe?
Acupuncture has no serious side effects. The possibility of infection from the needles is practically nil, since factory sterilized, disposable needles are used.

How often are the treatments needed?
Depending on your condition and the severity of the problem, most patients are typically seen once or twice per week for six to eight weeks. When acupuncture works well, the patient may notice a difference even after the first treatment.

What can I expect when visiting an Acupuncturist?
There are many different styles of acupuncture. Regardless of the style practiced, the first visit helps the acupuncturist understand your reasons for seeking acupuncture treatment and assess the underlying imbalances leading to your symptoms. This session begins with an interview which includes both your medical and personal history and continues with a physical examination and consultation. If acupuncture can help you, a treatment plan and the cost will be explained before the first treatment.

The length and frequency of subsequent visits will vary depending on your response to treatment. The treatments will generally not involve more than 6 to 12 needles, and may also include other related techniques. You will be reevaluated periodically so that you and the acupuncturist can closely follow your response to treatment.’

Will my insurance cover Acupuncture?
Until recently, the North American insurance industry has been a weak link in the evolution of complementary alternative medicine, that appears to be changing rapidly.

A recent study found that Americans made an estimated 425 million visits to providers of complementary alternative medicine. In contrast, only 338 million visits to U.S. primary care providers (M.D.’s) were made during the same period.

Widely recognized coverage is being provided by leading companies and more and more are being added regularly. For example, Oxford Health Plans, Inc., became the first major U.S. health provider to offer comprehensive coverage for a range of alternative health care, including acupuncture and chiropractic. Unlike other health care companies which cover some forms of alternative healing, Oxford’s plan does not require a referral by the primary care physician.

You are invited to call our office for a complete list of providers who cover acupuncture or to find out if your plan provides coverage.

What is the relationship between Acupuncture and conventional medical care? Despite the differences in the world views of Oriental and conventional medicine, many physicians frequently refer their patients for acupuncture. Controlled clinical studies that validate acupuncture have been published in various mainstream medical journals, including: Lancet, Obstetrics & Gynecology and the Journal of Internal Medicine.

While acupuncture is concerned with the whole person and addresses itself to many levels of functioning, it is also a particular form of treatment with its own limitations. It needs to be used in conjunction with health-promoting attitudes and behaviors. Our office cooperates with other health care professionals and does not recommend altering medications or other therapies without consulting your personal physician or provider.

Is the Acupuncturist certified?
A certificate of course completion from an accredited institution should be posted in the practitioner’s office. In addition, in the state of Virginia, acupuncturists are licensed by the state to practice acupuncture.

How much time is needed for treatment assessment?
There should be extended conversation before the acupuncturist begins treating you. You should be made to feel comfortable in asking questions also. Your health is too important to rush.


WHO list of diseases treated with acupuncture
 
The WHO list.

According to the World Health Organization of the United Nations, Acupuncture is appropriate for a wide range of ailments, including:

Dermatological:
Acne, Eczema, Herpes

Eyes-Ears-Nose-Throat:
Deafness, Dizziness, Earaches, Eyesight problems, Sinus infections, Sore Throat, Tinnitus

Genito-Urinary and Reproductive:
Impotence, Infertility, Menstrual problems, Morning sickness, PMS, Pelvic inflammatory disease, Vaginitis

Infections:
Bronchitis, Colds, Diabetes, Flu, Hepatitis

Internal:
Asthma, Colitis, Constipation, Diabetes, Diarrhea, Hemorrhoids, High blood Pressure, Hyoglycemia, Indigestion, Ulcers

Mental-Emotional:
Anxiety, Depression, Insomnia, Stress

Musculo-Skeletal and Neurological:
Arthritis, Back pain, Bell’s Palsy, Bursitis, Cerebral palsy, Headache, Neuralgia, Polio, sciatica, Sprains, Stiff neck, Stroke, Tendonitis, Trigeminal Neuralgia