- What is "Dao'"?
- What is acupuncture?
- How does acupuncture work?
- The benefit of acupuncture
- Conditions commonly treated with acupuncture
- Do not just live with it anymore!!
- What should I expect on my first visit?
- Does it hurt?
- How many treatments will I need?
- Does my health insurance cover acupuncture?
- How do I find a qualified physician acupuncturist?
- Can acupuncture help patients suffering from Stroke Sequela (Paralysis, Hemiplegia, Paraplegia and etc.) or even coma?
What is "Dao"?
"Dao", pronounced as "Dow" by Chinese and often misspelled as "Tao", means "the way of" or "the road leading to". There are two important applications of the Chinese word "Dao". First, it is "Daoism", pronounced as "Dow Jee-Owl" in Chinese. About 2500 years ago, a great Chinese philosopher, named Lao Zi, started teaching "Daoism". Daoism emphasizes on doing everything in the way the nature intended and never against it to gain complete harmony within one's own body and with the nature, and ultimately, to achieve longevity and total wellness. Both Daoism and Confucian have greatly affected Chinese culture ever since. Second, "Dao" in Chinese is used to translate the English word "Word's" in Bible John 1:1.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), one of the oldest continuous systems of medicine dating back 5,000 years. Acupuncture encourages the body to promote natural healing and improve functioning. This is done by inserting very thin needles and applying heat or electrical stimulation at precise acupuncture points. Your health and well-being can be greatly improved through the proper administration of medical acupuncture.
In terms of healing through the neuro-hormonal systems of the body, acupuncture has been proven to be one of the most effective and safest methods by countries in both Western and Eastern hemispheres. Researchers in China, Korea, Japan, India, Germany, France, Britain, Switzerland, Canada, the United States, Russia, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Australia have reported marvelous results achieved by acupuncture. In addition, many nations support active research programs in the physiology and therapy of acupuncture. These countries are Russia, North and South Korea, and Japan. Recently, the National Institute of Health in the United States also offered funds for acupuncture research.
The World Health Organization recognizes the use of acupuncture in the treatment of a wide range of medical problems, including:
- Digestive Disorders: gastritis, hyperacidity, colitis, constipation, diarrhea.
- Respiratory Disorders: sinusitis, sore throat, bronchitis, asthma, chest infections.
- Neurological and Muscular Disorders: headaches, facial tics, neck pain, rib neuritis, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, various forms of tendinitis, lower back pain, sciatica, osteoarthritis, and nausea.
- Urinary Problems.
- Menstrual and Reproductive Problems
How does acupuncture work?
There are numerous theories about how acupuncture works. Some of them are:
- Acupuncture stimulates the release of pain-relieving endorphins
- Acupuncture influences the release of neurotransmitters, substances that transmit nerve impulses to the brain
- Acupuncture influences the autonomic nervous system
- Acupuncture stimulates circulation
- Acupuncture influences the electrical currents of the body
The Medical Chinese Classics' explanation is that channels of vital energy, called "qi", run in regular patterns through the body and over its surface. Each energy channel, known as meridian, is associated with a different organ system. These meridians are like rivers flowing through the body to irrigate and to nourish the tissues. Imbalances or obstructions in the flow of qi cause illness; correction of this flow restores the body to balance.
Acupuncturists insert needles into specific points along meridian lines to unblock the obstruction and to restore the balance, thus allowing normal flow of qi throughout the body and restoring health to the mind and body. There are over 1,000 acupuncture points on the body.
In 1997, acupuncture needles were reclassified from "experimental" to "medical device" by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The National Institutes of Health released a consensus statement in the same year endorsing acupuncture for the treatment of a variety of conditions such as post-operative pain, tennis elbow, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
The modern scientific explanation is that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body's own internal regulating system.
The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulation of the body's own natural healing abilities, and in promoting physical and emotional well-being.
The benefit of acupuncture
Medical acupuncture is a system which can benefit three areas of health care:
- promotion of health and well-being,
- prevention of illness,
- treatment of various medical conditions.
With certain health conditions, acupuncture can be effective enough to reduce or eliminate the need to take drugs to control pain or symptoms. Additional benefits of acupuncture are faster recovery from injuries, decreased symptoms of stress and improved circulation. Acupuncture can also be beneficial when used alongside conventional medicine treatments for both acute and chronic disease.
Acupuncture benefits the strengthening of the immune system function. So it can be used as a form of preventative medicine and is beneficial in preventing illness from occurring.
Multiple emotional or psychological disorders can be treated by acupuncture, which benefits addictions, phobias, obsessive behavior, eating disorders, and anxiety. Many people receive acupuncture without suffering from any particular malady or ailment. Treatment strengthens general constitution, and can correct a feeling of being unwell although there is no physical disorder, imbalance or illness in the traditional Western medicine sense.
Post-surgical nausea and vomiting can also be reduced through acupuncture. Many post-surgical patients find that acupuncture treatment is effective in increasing energy, and brings a sense of vitality. It also benefits the individual through a sense of restoring a sense of "normal self" after surgery or illness.
Conditions commonly treated with acupuncture
- Diseases of the muscles, bones and joints
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Diseases of the nervous system
- Anxiety, depression and other nervous disorders
- Nerve paralysis
- Digestive disorders
- Stomach ulcers
- Gall stones
- Nausea and vomiting
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Diseases of the respiratory system
- Diseases of the heart and blood vessels
- High blood pressure
- Drug addiction
- Obstetrics and gynecology
- Fetal malposition
- Menopause symptoms (hot flashes)
- Uterine Bleeding
Do not just live with your sickness
With acupuncture, the patient will not have to learn to live with an ailment. Many patients have been told to see a psychiatrist because no physiological disorder can be found or treated by known methods, even though the patient fervently attests that he/she is in tremendous pain or discomfort. Sometimes they are simply told to learn to live with it. But something can be done and has been done, because acupuncture has helped in cases where other methods of treatment have failed.
What should I expect on my first visit?
The first visit to an acupuncturist usually begins with the practitioner taking a detailed history. After review, the practitioner will begin diagnosing your ailment. Palpation (to explore by touch) of various acupuncture points on the body, an examination of the tongue, as well as pulse, are common diagnostic techniques in acupuncture.
Using all of the information, the practitioner will then determine the cause of your symptoms. Needles will be inserted into specific acupuncture points on the body. The acupuncturist may use moxa or electrical stimulation to enhance acupuncture's therapeutic effects. Herbal medicine may also be suggested depending on your condition.
It is recommended that one or two hours before your acupuncture treatment, you should eat something first. But please do not eat a large meal immediately before your treatment.
Does it hurt?"
People experience acupuncture needles differently. Some patients feel no pain at all when the needles are inserted, and some patients experience minimal pain. Once the needles are in place, there is no pain felt. Acupuncture needles are very thin and solid, and are made from stainless steel. The point of the needle is smooth. Since it is not hollow like hypodermic needles, it causes minimal damage to the tissue and is much less painful then regular injections or blood sampling. Once it is removed, most likely the tissue will close up immediately and will leave no trace of acupuncture needling.
How many treatments will I need?"
Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to this question. The length, number and frequency of treatments will vary from person to person depending on the conditions being treated, your age and health, and how you respond to acupuncture. Acupuncture is a natural medicine that is assisting your body to make changes. This can be a gradual process.
Generally, for more complex or long standing conditions, two or three treatments a week for several months may be recommended. For acute problems, usually fewer visits are required. For health maintenance, one treatment a month may be all that is necessary.
A positive response to acupuncture treatments is generally seen after the first to fourth treatment. If you are being treated for a menstrual problem or infertility, give the treatments three menstrual cycles for your body to respond. You will schedule your appointments further and further apart after you have achieved optimal response.
Does my health insurance cover acupuncture?
Most health plans now cover acupuncture treatments. Before your first visit, you may want to check with your health insurance company. Or you can call us and we will find out for you.
California state law, Senate Bill 2179, effective January 1985, requires health care services plans, nonprofit hospital service plans, and disability to offer acupuncture coverage. It includes every health insurance company, health care service plan, non-profit hospital service plan, and every insurer issuing group disability insurance, which covers hospital, medical, or surgical expenses. Each health policy must be reviewed to determine acupuncture benefits.
On Monday, July 21, Senate Bill 212 was signed into law. SB 212 will definitely include acupuncturists in the definition of "physician" for the purpose of treating injured employees entitled to worker's compensation medical benefits. SB 212 will ensure that patients have the freedom to choose treatment from a healthcare provider that is most appropriate to their needs. Acupuncture has proven to be a safe and effective treatment and a valuable means of getting patients back into the work force.
How do I find a qualified physician acupuncturist?
You must choose your acupuncturist carefully. Achieving good results with acupuncture requires a skillful and knowledgeable person; one who has studied extensively and has been trained thoroughly. To competently practice acupuncture, three to five years of training is required. In the state of California, the laws regarding the use of acupuncture is rigid and firm and a genuine and qualified acupuncturist has to pass a state board test to acquire a license. The California State Board of Medical Quality Assurance certifies the acupuncturist after passing both the written and practical portions of the exam with an L.Ac. You can search for your local California licensed acupuncturists at California Acupuncture Board's web site.
Since California is the only state having its own rigorous license exam, most other states, Canada included, rely on The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) certification. To become licensed in these states, candidates must first obtain certifications from the NCCAOM as either "Diplomate in Acupuncture" (Dipl. Ac.) or "Diplomate in Oriental Medicine" (Dipl. O.M.) which is equivalent to the combination of both "Diplomate in Acupuncture" (Dipl. Ac.) and "Diplomate in Chinese Herbology" (Dipl. C.H.). So if you are not in California and are interested in getting both acupuncture and herbal medicine treatments, you may want to first search for you local NCCAOM Oriental Medicine certification holders (Dipl. O.M.), or Acupuncture certification holders (Dipl. Ac.) if herbal treatments is not needed, at NCCAOM's web site before checking with your local state licensing board.
Can acupuncture help patients suffering from Stroke Sequelae (Paralysis, Hemiplegia, Paraplegia and etc.) or even coma?
Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years in China to treat both comatose patients and stroke sequelae patients. Although varying degrees of success have been claimed from acupuncture treatment of stroke sequelae patients who is suffering from different type of paralysis, its effectiveness on treating patients in coma / vegetative state varies.
In general, the earlier the patient gets the acupuncture treatment, the better result. For stroke patients, it is recommended to start the acupuncture treatment the same time he/she starts the physical therapy to regain the mobility. And for comatose patients in China, it is suggested that the acupuncture treatment can be started once a patient's condition is stabilized. For both type of patients, it may be appropriate to get acupuncture treatment once a day or once every other day.
In a nutshell, the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment depends on several factors, which include the severity of the immobility, the elapsed time since the occurrence of the disorder, the current state of both mental and physical health, and individual's response to the needling treatment.
If your loved one is immobile due to coma or stroke sequelae (hemiplegia, paraplegia and etc.), a house call service can be requested from us at your convenience.