Q: What is acupuncture?
A: Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine needles into the body at specific points shown as effective in the treatment of specific health problems. These points have been mapped by the Chinese over a period of two thousand years. Recently, electromagnetic research has confirmed their locations.
Q: How does acupuncture work?
A: Modern Western medicine cannot explain how acupuncture works. Acupuncture is based on ancient Chinese theories of the flow of Qi (Energy) and Xue (Blood) through distinct meridians or pathways that cover the body somewhat like the nerves and blood vessels do.
According to Chinese ancient theory, acupuncture allows Qi to flow to areas where it is deficient and away from areas where it is in excess. In this way, acupuncture regulates and restores the harmonious energetic balance in the body. In Chinese there is a saying, “There is no pain if there is free flow; if there is pain there is no free flow”.
Q: What can be treated by acupuncture?
1. Pain Management
Abdominal pain, arthritis joint pain, neck.back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, migraine, hip/shoulder pain, sciatica, and post surgery pain.
2. Cardiovascular Problems
Angina, hypertension, tachycardia, palpitation, poor blood circulation, Raynaund’s disease, cholesterol problems and post-stroke rehabilitation.
3. Respiratory Disorders
Allergies, sinus infection/congestion, asthma, chronic cough, bronchitis, pneumonia.
4. Gastrointestinal Disorders
Acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, ulcers, colitis, Crohn’s disease, nausea/vomiting, gallbladder inflammation and liver problems.
5. Neurological Disorders
Bell’s Palsy, TMJ, insomnia, fibromyalgia, trigeminal neuralgia, peripheral neuropathy, essential tremor, vertigo, shingles, restless leg syndrome, extremity numbness.
6. Muscular and Join Disorders
Polymyalgia, bursitis, tendonitis, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, whiplash, local muscle spasm.
7. Gynecological Disorders
PMS, irregular & painful menstruation, menopause, hormone imbalance, hot flashes and night sweats, habitual miscarriage, infertility, post-partum depression, endometriosis, frequent vaginal yeast infection, fibrocystic breats, ovary cysts.
8. Urological Disorders
UTI, incontinence, frequent urination, chronic kidney stones, nephritis, chronic bladder infection, intersitial cystitis, enlarged prostate and ED problems.
9. Cancer Support Therapy
Chemo-therapy side-effects, radiation-therapy side effects.
10. Immune Enhancement.
Acupuncture has been used for centuries in China often to boost immunity and treat and treat many other problems, such as chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, drug addiction and most common emotional/psychological complaints.
Q: Does acupuncture hurt?
A: No. If your acupuncturist has obtained the correct stimulus of the needle, the patient should feel some cramping, heaviness, distention, tingling, or electric sensation, either around the needle or traveling up or down the affected meridian, or energy pathway. In Chinese, acupuncture is painless. Yet, some Western cultures may categorize these sensations as types of pain. Sometimes the sensations might last for a couple of hours after the acupuncture session. In any case, if you experience any discomfort, it is usually very mild.
Q: Are the needles clean and safe?
A: By law, a licensed acupuncturist in Florida today uses only sterilized, disposable needles. Acupuncture needles should not be saved and reused for later treatments. It eliminates the possibility of transmitting a communicable disease by a contaminated needle.
Q: How deep do the needles go?
A: That depends on the nature of the problem, the location of the points selected, the patient’s body size, age, and constitution, and upon the acupuncturist’s style or school. Usually, needles are inserted from 1/4 to 1 inch in depth.
Q: Are there different styles of acupuncture?
A: Yes, there are. Acupuncture originated in China, but has been spread to Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Europe, Middle East, and South and North America. In different countries different styles have developed based on differing opinions as to the theory and technique. Yet, any acupuncturist who claims his or her style is superior to others’ is simply an ego issue.
The most important thing patients should know about is their practiotioner’s education, particular training, and their practice experience related to the treatment being proposed.
Q: Do I need my family doctor’s referral to seek acupuncture treatment?
A: No, you don’t. Licensed acupuncturists are considered a primary health care provider as a legal status by Florida law. Yet, you may need to check with your adjusters or case managers if your insurance company covers acupuncture treatment and if you are required to have a MD’s prescription for your reimbursement. Currently, Medicare and its supplemental insurance do not cover acupuncture treatment.
Q: What criteria should one use in choosing an acupuncturist?
A: Patients should ask about where the acupuncturist trained, how long the training was, how long he or she has been in practice and what experience acupuncturist has had in treating the patient’s specific ailment.
An acupuncturist is a licensed and regulated health care profession in Florida. Patients should ask their acupuncturists if they are certified by NCCAOM, (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine). Acupuncturists who have passed the exam are entitled to add Dipl. Ac. (Diplomate in Acupuncture) after their names and AP. (Acupuncture Physician) or DOM (Doctor of Oriental Medicine) can be seen too.
Q: How many treatments will I need?
A: That depends upon the duration, severity and nature of your complaint. You may need just a few treatments for a simple, accurate condition. Usually a series or nine sessions or acupuncture treatment as a course for a simple, acute condition. Usually a course for a period of three – six weeks may resolve many problems. Certain chronic, degenerative and complicated conditions may require more treatments over time.
Keep in mind, acupuncture is a healing art proven to improve physical conditions and to enhance our bodies’ health. It is not just another form of pain pills for the next four hours.
Q: What should I know about the proposed treatments?
A: Your acupuncturist will explain the nature of your problem and what treatment he is recommending. Your acupuncturist will also tell you what benefits and risks there are to the proposed treatment, and what other modalities, options are available to you.
If you agree to go ahead with the treatment, your practitioner will tell you what progress to expect, what to do if you didn’t experience that progress and what to do if you feel worse.
Q: Is there anything I need to do before receiving an acupuncture treatment?
A: Yes, the following suggestions will help you get the maximum benefits from your treatment:
1. Maintain good personal hygiene to reduce the possibility of bacterial infection.
2. Avoid treatment when excessively fatigued, too hungry, full, emotionally exhausted, or shortly after vigorous exercise.
Q: Is there anything I need to do while receiving acupuncture?
1. Yes, again. Relax. There is no need to be frightened. Ask your acupuncturist any questions you have along the way so that you can get the most benefit possible from the treatment.
2. Do not change your position or move suddenly. If you are uncomfortable, tell your practitioner.
3. Very few people experience dizziness, nausea, cold sweat, shortness of breath, or faintness during treatment. This often occurs if you are extremely nervous. Inform your acupuncturist immediately so he or she can readjust or withdraw the needles.
Also, let your acupuncturist know if you feel an increasing amount of pain, or burning sensations during treatment.
4. If you find your treatment unbearable at any point, be sure to speak up so that your acupuncturist can make the proper adjustment or stop the treatment.
Q: What can I expect after the acupuncture treatment?
A: Generally, you should expect to feel better. Some patients even experience the most dramatic results in the very first treatment. This relief may last a few days. Some patients experience an immediate and total or partial relief of their cases, there may be no immediate relief, only to notice the condition improving over the next couple of days.
You might sometimes notice a tiny spot of blood at one or more of the needle sites and/or a small bruise could develop. These should not be harmful, but please talk to your acupuncturist if you are concerned.
Most patients will have more questions that this brochure can answer. Your acupuncturist is used to answering questions such as: Should I continue taking my present medication? What should I eat? Is there anything I can do for myself at home? What signs of success should I look for first, and after how long?
You should discuss all of your questions in person with your acupuncturist.