What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is one of the oldest, most commonly used medical procedures in the world.
Originating in China more than 3,000 years ago, the term acupuncture describes a family of procedures involving stimulation of anatomical points on the body by a variety of techniques. American practices of acupuncture incorporate medical traditions from China, Japan, Korea, and other countries. The acupuncture technique that has been most studied scientifically involves penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic needles that are manipulated by hand, or by electrical stimulation.
How widely is acupuncture used in the United States?
In the past two decades, acupuncture has grown in popularity in the United States. The report from a Consensus Development Conference on Acupuncture held at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1997 stated that acupuncture is being “widely” practiced–by thousands of physicians, dentists, acupuncturists, and other practitioners–for relief or prevention of pain and for various other health conditions. According to the 2002 National Health Interview Survey–the largest and most comprehensive survey of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use by American adults to date–an estimated 8.2 million U.S. adults had ever used acupuncture, and an estimated 2.1 million U.S. adults had used acupuncture in the previous year.
How does acupuncture affect my health?
Scientific research has discovered that acupuncture points show a variety of unique bioelectric properties. Stimulation of acupuncture points cause definite physiological reactions affecting brain activity, such as releasing pain killing endorphins, influencing blood pressure, enhancing the immune system, balancing the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and enhancing the endocrine system. Most of all, acupuncture stimulates the body’s natural ability to heal itself and regain homeostasis.
Because Nubby was trained in the Japanese style, when a needle is inserted, usually nothing is felt, although sometimes an instant of soreness or slight pain is felt—akin to a mosquito bite. Common sensations around the needles include: tingling, electrical sensations–which may travel above or below the needle, or a sense of swelling or heaviness at the insertion site. While Nubby usually does not stimulate needles once they are inserted (“even” needling technique), stimulation of needles can be done manually, or by attaching electrodes that transmit a weak current when there is an energy block sufficient to merit such stimulation.
Some people are energized by treatment, while others feel relaxed, and yet others are fatiqued. If you experience discomfort during or after the treatment, it is usually mild and short term, and part of a “healing reaction”. Depending upon the patient and what is being treated, Nubby prefers to avoid the “no gain without pain” approach to acupuncture. If there is a treatment option to choose between a slow and gradual, or a fast and intense outcome, Nubby will let you know, and make your own choice.
Because the purpose of acupuncture is to balance your body, there are no long term negative side effects. On the contrary, relaxation and a sense of wellbeing are usual both during and after treatment. Often patients become so relaxed that they fall asleep on the table.
Nubby often jokes with his patients when they ask this question, by answering that “If you want me to cause you pain I’ll have to charge you extra.”
What is the length of an acupuncture treatment?
Individual treatments vary in length, but are usually forty five minutes to one hour, including initial intake and treatment.
Are the needles sterile?
All the needles used are pre-sterilized, non-toxic and disposable. Communication of disease through acupuncture has not been an issue in the U.S., a record few other health care professions can claim.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved acupuncture needles for use by licensed practitioners in 1996. The FDA requires manufacturers of acupuncture needles to label them for single use only. Relatively few complication from the use of acupuncture have been reported to the FDA when considering the millions of people treated each year and the number of acupuncture needles used.
Will it be covered by my insurance?
Acupuncture is one of the CAM therapies that are more commonly covered by insurance. However, you should check with your insurer before you start treatment to see whether acupuncture will be covered for your condition and, if so, to what extent. Some insurance plans require preauthorization for acupuncture. Companies covering acupuncture include United Health, CIGNA, AETNA, Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
The clinic will provide you with an Itemized Medical Receipt (a “Superbill”) for individual treatments. If you require a series of treatments we can discuss billing your insurance company directly.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture treatment is given based on a TOM medical diagnosis that includes an assessment of pulse quality, shape and color of the tongue, medical history and whole body evaluation. Following the diagnosis, acupuncture points are chosen on the body along acupuncture meridians, or pathways. Needle stimulation of these points increases the body’s healing energy. The body has approximately one thousand acupuncture points.
Qi (pronounced “chee”) is based on the on the ancient Chinese theory of the flow of energy. Qi and blood flow through distinct meridians or pathways that cover and fill the body, somewhat like the nerves and blood vessels. Open meridians are essential for optimal health.
Qi circulates throughout the body within the meridians, which also are related to the internal organs. Qi surfaces to the skin level at specific points. Good health depends on the smooth flow of qi. When the flow of qi is blocked due to trauma, poor diet, stress, hereditary conditions, environmental factors or excessive emotional issues, the system is disrupted. Illness is then generated. In accordance with ancient theory, acupuncture allows qi to flow to areas where it is defiecient and away from areas where it is in excess. In this way, acupuncture regulates and restores a harmonious energetic balance in the body. There is a Chinese saying, “There is no pain if there is free flow; if there is pain, there is no free flow.”
What is Nogier Auriculomedicine?
Nogier Auriculomedicine is a special style of Acupuncture practiced almost exclusively by Medical Doctors. Developed by a French Neurologist, Dr. Paul Nogier in the 1950’s and ‘60’s, it is practiced by over 6,000 doctors in Germany alone, and involves placement of needles only in the lobe of the ear. Dr. Nolan Cordon, one of the first Medical Acupuncturists in the United States, and its seniormost Nogier practitioner, personally trained Nubby in this specialty in 2001. The Nogier method is superior to conventional body acupuncture for treating many illnesses; or it may be combined with conventional acupuncture for reinforcement. Nubby is one of only a few non-physician Nogier practitioners in the United States.