Acupuncture is an ancient medical treatment based on regulating
the body's Qi (pronounced "chee"), or "life energy,"
which flows in the body along pathways called meridians. Hundreds
of acupuncture points can be opened like gates to balance and
harmonize the flow of Qi, relieving pain and many other symptoms
one can say from extensive research in both China and the West
is that acupuncture has measurable effects on the autonomic nervous
system and therefore on vascular and endocrine physiology, on
brain chemistry including a variety of neurotransmitters, and
specifically on the production of endorphins, which is why it
is used so extensively in the treatment of many types of pain.
What does acupuncture feel like?
Most patients look forward to acupuncture and discover that subtle
changes they experience during treatments have long-term and profound
results. A tiny pinch may be the only sensation you have as a
needle is inserted. Then sometimes a slight ache, tingling or
warm feeling may occur. The feeling is Qi moving because of the
treatment. Generally, people describe acupuncture as relaxing,
providing an overall sense of well being. Depending on which treatment
you receive, you will feel calmer, more relaxed and feel less
many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments required depends on the patient's condition.
For a cold or flu, one or two treatments can be very helpful.
Some illnesses, like a head cold, or migraine, can be addressed
with just one or two treatments while chronic health conditions
of many years require a longer course of treatment. Within the
first few sessions, the effectiveness of the treatment should
be evident and clear treatment goals can then be established.
my health insurance cover acupuncture treatment?
Insurance companies are beginning to recognize the cost effective
benefits of including acupuncture in the plans they offer. Some
do not cover acupuncture yet. However, Blue Cross/Blue/Shield,
Aetna and Cigna are among the companies that do currently include
acupuncture in their policies. It is always best to check with
your insurance company. (Please note, if you are not covered,
be sure to let them know you receive acupuncture treatment. As
the insurance companies quantify the vast numbers of their policy
holders receiving acupuncture they adjust their policies accordingly).
should I select an acupuncture physician?
There are many health care options available to a patient today.
Before selecting an acupuncture physician, be certain that the
physician has graduated from a nationally accredited school that
offers not only Traditional Chinese Medicine but also Western
medical courses in a 3-4 year program. In the best interest of
the patient, a combination of treatment principles can be highly
The A.P. you
select must be licensed to practice in your state and preferably
will be certified by the National Commission for the Certification
of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, (NCCAOM), a national organization
established to regulate the practice of acupuncture. This ensures
that your Acupuncture Physician has passed a rigorous battery
of national examinations and is recognized as a professional by
his or her peers.
Some western medical doctors offer treatment known as medical
acupuncture, a kind of mini acupuncture based on a much shorter
course of study. While an accredited masters level program in
acupuncture includes over 2700 of study and clinic, some of the
programs for physicians only offer about 200 hours. Acupuncturists
who graduate from accredited programs have completed an extensive
course of study of Oriental Medicine as well as of Western biomedical
approaches to illness. Just as you might consider seeing a specialist
for a specific issue, patients are frequently referred to acupuncturists
who are capable of bringing the most effective aspects of Oriental
Medicine into the conventional medical setting.