Q: What can acupuncture treat?
A: Acupuncture is good for many types of health problems besides pain relief. Both the World Health Organization and the National Institute of Health in the U.S. have made statements regarding the conditions for which acupuncture may be useful. Here is a list of some of these:
|Conditions Helped by Acupuncture|
Mental – Emotional:
|Urinary & Reproductive Diseases:
|Muscles and Nerves:
Q: Does acupuncture heal the body or just relieve symptoms?
A: Acupuncture can do both. The most common reason people go to an acupuncturist is for pain relief. Often the pain is relieved or eliminated.
And because acupuncture works with the body rather than against it, many times a deeper kind of healing will occur. There are many cases like this in my practice. These include dramatic changes in objective findings such as x-rays and lab tests.
One woman came to me to relieve pain in her foot from a bone spur. We eliminated the pain completely in about a month. When she next went for x-rays, the bone spur was completely gone. Some would argue say other factors may have caused this. But the patient assured me that the only thing she was doing differently was receiving acupuncture.
Because acupuncture helps the body find a new point of balance, many of the underlying problems that resulted from the imbalance will go away.
Q: What is an acupuncture treatment like?
A: Usually, at the beginning of the appointment your doctor will ask questions about your progress. He or she may do an in-depth pulse analysis and gather other information.
If it is a first visit, they will go over your health history and goals. The treatment involves insertion of very fine, sterilized stainless steel needles into one or more specific points on the body. Often you will not even feel the insertion, or will feel just a very brief pinch.
When the point is activated, there will be a sensation of pressure, tingling or warmth, which may radiate to other areas of the body. This is an indication that the treatment is working.
The needles are usually left in place for anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. During this time you will usually become very relaxed, or even drift off to sleep. If you have come to the appointment with acute symptoms (pain, etc.) you should expect to leave with a noticeable degree of improvement. It will probably require a number of visits before the symptoms are permanently gone.
Q: Are there times to avoid acupuncture?
A: Yes. If you are overly tired or hungry, do not have acupuncture. You must also be very careful if you are pregnant. Make sure your practitioner knows this. The reason is there are specific points that must not be treated during pregnancy to avoid miscarriage. A trained, licensed practitioner will know these points and can advise you.
Q: Who licenses acupuncturists?
A: In most professions, licensing is a function of state agencies. This means there are wide differences in licensing laws from state to state and country to country.
Q: Where can I find a good acupuncturist?
A: There are many ways to locate a good acupuncturist.
An important criteria is how long someone has been in practice. Although newly licensed practitioners (less than 10 years) will be able to deal with many types of problems, the more experience someone has, the better. So be sure to ask, “How long have you been licensed?”
Getting a referral is also a good approach. Ask friends, co-workers and relatives if they or someone they know can recommend someone.
If there are acupuncture schools in your city, you can call them for referrals, and most also have low-cost clinics. Since, at last count 40 states in the United States license acupuncturists, many states have professional organizations you can contact. Do an web search to find these. Type in the name of your state and either “acupuncture” or “Oriental Medicine”. You may also want to type in “organization” or “association.” Unfortunately, there are no acupuncture schools in Nevada.
Look for one or more of the following when deciding who to see:
- At least 10 years experience.
- State licensure and/or national certification.
- Good reports of successful treatment from other patients
- A good feeling about the office when you call. Be sure to ask questions about their success treating people in similar situations to yours.
In Nevada, acupuncturists have OMD after their names. In most other states, have the initials, L.Ac. after their names.