Saturday, October 11, 2014

Get poked, then get well? Is that really how Acupuncture works?

History of Acupuncture

Acupuncture is one of the oldest documented medical treatments in the world and has been used in East Asian countries for at least the past 4,000 years. Acupuncture was introduced to the West in the 1700s and was popularized in the United States in 1971 after New York Times reporter James Reston wrote about his experiences receiving successful acupuncture treatments in China to control pain. Acupuncture was also introduced by President Richard Nixon after he visited China in 1972 and witnessed a patient undergoing major surgery while being fully awake under the use of acupuncture instead of anesthesia. Since 1973, the Internal Revenue Service has allowed the cost of acupuncture treatments to be deducted as medical expenses. Research on the effects of acupuncture began in the United States in 1976 and twenty years later, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Acupuncture needle as a medical device.

What is Acupuncture and how does it work?

Acupuncture promotes natural healing by inserting disposable, stainless steel needles that are slightly thicker than a human hair into the skin. The needles stimulate specific points on the body. Under Asian Medicine philosophy, the body has 12 channels of energy that run through our body like an internal electrical circuit board. The energy, or Qi (as it is called in Chinese and Korean), flows through the body to irrigate and nourish the tissues. An obstruction in the movement of these energy rivers is like a dam that backs up in others. Needling specific acupuncture points will unblock the obstructions and re-establish flow of the body's badly needed energy, kind of like recharging your internal batteries. Modern scientific explanation is that needling stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals or hormones in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain.

Does Acupuncture hurt?

Generally, Acupuncture does not hurt. Most patients feel only minimal discomfort; some feel no pain at all. The needles are very thin and solid, not hollow and thick like hypodermic needles. Needles are usually inserted about 1/2 inch to once inch in depth, depending on the nature of the problem, location of the insertion point, and patient size.

What problems can be treated by acupuncture?

The World Health Organization recognizes the use of acupuncture for treating digestive disorders; respiratory disorders; neurological and muscular disorders; urinary, menstrual, and reproductive problems; and tension, stress, and emotional conditions. The National Cancer Institute states that Acupuncture treatments are used to control pain; fatigue; nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy; weight loss; anxiety; depression; insomnia; poor appetite; dry mouth; hot flashes; nerve problems and neuropathy; and constipation and diarrhea. A recent article in the Hamilton Spectator states that acupuncture can be a stress reliever, a pain soother, a hot-flash cooler, a pound melter, and an energizer for cancer patients.

Acupuncture is corrective care and not just relief care

There are two approaches to all problems of life. One can take steps to correct a problem or seek temporary relief. Relief care is the care necessary to only relieve the symptom, not the care needed to correct the root problem. Although relief care looks like it would be less expensive, it is not. Over the course of a lifetime, and in the long run, the total cost far exceeds the cost to correct and resolve the problem because the problem is reoccurring. Corrective care gets to the root of the problem by removing the actual cause of the problem. Corrective care varies in its length and time, but is more lasting. Although it may cost more initially, it will save you money in the long run.

Is Acupuncture covered by health insurance?

Some insurance companies currently cover Acupuncture costs. Each policy is different, so each patient should inquire with their own insurance company to see if Acupuncture treatments are covered. Some policies limit the number of treatments, so make sure to check not only the co-pay amount and the co-insurance amount, but also the total number of treatments per year. If your insurance does not cover Acupuncture treatments, you may be able to pay for the treatments using your employer's Flexible Spending Account, also known as a Health Savings Account or Health Reimbursement Account. Inquire with your employer to see if such option is available.

Family Acupuncture Clinic, Inc.
3525 Lomita Blvd., Suite 101
Torrance, CA  90505

310-303-3338 Telephone

E-mail address:

Our mission is to help as many people as possible to get well naturally and to educate them about Acupuncture and Asian medicine, so they in turn can educate as many people as possible!

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