The medical use of acupuncture originated in China over 2500 years ago. In the course of its history and its spread throughout East and West, acupuncture has evolved into a diversity of styles, all of which share two commonalities: A system of channels, or pathways, which can be accessed via small openings to the skin’s surface, and the use of very fine metallic needles that are inserted into a careful selection of points per diagnosis. Acupuncture works because the channels are closely intertwined with our connective tissue system. This connective system functions as a fundamentally unified structure that permeates the entire body down to the cellular level, and the channels are like rivers of energy and fluid that flow through tissues to connect every part of our body. Through the use of acupuncture, that which is stuck, knotted, and stagnant, that which causes pain, distress, and disease, can be touched and released. Acupuncture has the ability to stimulate our nervous, endocrine, immune, and autonomic nervous system, releasing a flow of electrical and chemical messages that catalyze the body’s healing process.
What conditions are best treated by acupuncture?
I recommend acupuncture for anxiety, feelings of stress, pain, chronic or acute muscle injury, insomnia, tinnitus, arthritis, rheumatism, edema, digestive and intestinal complaints, fatigue, allergies and nervous system disharmony.
It’s been said that acupuncture can treat hundreds of diseases. The U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) has a list of conditions for which acupuncture has been researched and proven to be effective.
Can acupuncture help me?
Yes! Acupuncture can always help you! It moves blood and gently stimulates the connective and nervous system to positive effect. In some situations, acupuncture can help so well and efficiently, it’s astonishing, and in other cases, it’s the only intervention that works at all. Acupuncture is not contraindicated for any medication and for almost all conditions. Listed below are some of the conditions acupuncture benefits.
Conditions Appropriate for Acupuncture Therapy:
- Abdominal pain
- Poor vision
- Menopausal symptoms
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Addiction control
- Athletic performance
- Blood pressure regulation
- Chronic fatigue
- Immune system tonification
- Stress reduction
- Back pain
- Muscle cramping
- Muscle pain/weakness
- Neck pain
- Bladder dysfunction
- Parkinson’s disease
- Postoperative pain
- Common cold
- Smoking cessation
Source: World Health Organization United Nations. “Viewpoint on Acupuncture.” 19 (revised).
How many acupuncture treatments will I need?
One treatment may be all that’s needed for an acute muscle sprain or onset of a cold. Pain due to repetitive stress, such as plantar fasciitis, TMJ pain, or carpal tunnel syndrome, usually requires 5 to 7 acupuncture treatments. Chronic back pain and sciatica type pain due to disk impingement can be successfully managed with an initial course of acupuncture, followed by a schedule of reduced monthly or quarterly treatments as needed. For stubborn digestive disorders, nervous system disharmony, edema, insomnia, tinnitus, headaches, and chronic conditions, you may need 7-13 treatments to resolve the condition. Wellness treatments are scheduled quarterly or monthly, for support with stress, allergies, seasonal changes, and general health.
Is acupuncture safe?
Yes, very safe, if done by a qualified professional who has been educated and trained according to state standards. All New York acupuncturists are educated in clean needle technique, and per state law, Rivertown Acupuncture uses prepackaged sterilized needles that are discarded after one time use.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Acupuncture needles are very fine, quite unlike the hypodermic needles we experience in the doctor’s office. Overall you should not experience pain. Sometimes needles will feel like a little pinch going in. Sometimes you may experience a “da qi” experience, where the point feels slightly achy and then you feel energy moving from it. If you are especially sensitive or worried about the needles, let me know, as I can apply magnets, acupressure, and other tools to points in addition to needles.
What is the difference between dry needling and trigger point needling?
Trigger Point Needling evolved as a very effective way to treat muscle pain. Dry needling was coined as a term to distinguish it from hypodermic needles, but it’s essentially the same concept and uses the same acupuncture needles as the trigger point therapy practiced by acupuncturists. The primary difference between dry needling and trigger point is that acupuncturists, aside from 200 hours of bioscience with anatomy and physiology, complete at least 600 hours acupuncture education with a minimum of 650 supervised clinical hours, as opposed to what is often a weekend course for physical therapists. Trigger point therapy is a very skilled approach to muscle work, requiring a deft hands, and a clear understanding of underlying organs and musculature, Dry needling for physical therapists has not been approved in New York.
Trigger point needling is different from traditional acupuncture in that the practitioner inserts needle into fascia or muscle rather than acupuncture point. Trigger point needling can sometimes hurt – you may experience your muscles jump or other such sensations, as they fasciculate in response to the needles – but almost always there is relief and greater ROM. Sometimes, you may feel worse after the treatment, but drink water to cleanse lactic acid from your body, and if possible, take a warm bath with Epsom salts. Any discomfort should resolve within 24 hours.
What training is required to practice acupuncture?
In New York, you must successfully complete a three year masters degree program in science with a year of clinical internship, After passing the NCCAOM national board examinations, you are then eligible to apply for New York State licensure.