Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AOM) is an ancient holistic approach to healing. Developed primarily in China over thousands of years, Acupuncture is based on the understanding that the body is composed of forms of energy, chemical and electrical. There are many outer forces in the world that affect these energies. There are also inner forces, including thought and emotion that also affect these energies. These forces cause a disharmony, which can be changed using this form of diagnosis and treatment.
Like any medicine, this attempt at rebalancing these energies does not always work. The risks, however, of using acupuncture are minimal. The effectiveness of acupuncture and herbal medicine is the subject of scientific research around the world. The continued use of this medicine over thousands of years by billions of people is a testament to its success.
AOM relies heavily on acupuncture and herbal medicine, but it also includes bodywork, Tui Na and acupressure, exercise, Qi Gong. Tai Qi, Chinese food cures and meditation. Treatment includes lifestyle choices such as food and exercise. Relaxation and sleep patterns are also included. It is important for the patient to take an active role in his/her rebalancing through these lifestyle changes.
Acupuncture corrects the energy flow imbalances the stimulation of specific acupuncture points with thin disposable needles. Biochemical and neurological research have shown that acupuncture cause the brain to release necessary substances to the area of the body that is needed.
Herbal combinations are an important aspect of AOM. Herbal prescriptions help to regulate and correct energetic imbalances. It used with acupuncture and by itself. Herbal combinations, complex yet elegant, are developed to act upon a pattern of disharmony in the body. Many of the formulas used were recorded over 2000 years ago. They are also often customized to meet a specific need. The majority of these herbs come from organic substances, mostly plants, but also minerals and animal products.
The formulas are prescribed in several different ways, most of which include four of the twelve herbs and have internal and external applications. The traditional method is to create a tea from the herbs. There are however, many formulas available in tinctures, pills, and in powders that may be taken with warm water or placed in capsules.
Each herbal formulation is customized to treat the patient’s illness and constitution at that specific time. The formulas are then adjusted as the patient’s condition improves and treatment continues until health and balance are completely restored.
These formulas are designed to alleviate symptoms by treating the underlying cause to improve the quality of life. These formulas are intended to be modified over a period of months as the imbalance is corrected. They are not meant to be taken forever.
The World Health Organization determined in 1979 that AOM proved effective in 43 different areas. These areas include Musculoskeletal, Respiratory disease, Gastrointestinal disorders, Cardiovascular, Genitourinary Dysfunction, Dermatology, Pediatrics, Neurological disorders, and Gynecological. AOM is also endorsed by the National Institutes of Health (NHI). In 1997, the NHI recognized that acupuncture had great value that should be expanded into integration into conventional medicine.
AOM was also determined to be cost effective healthcare by Health Visions 2000 in a study conducted with people visiting 6 AOM clinics in 5 states.
And patients reported that most of the time they:
Oriental Medicine is not meant to replace conventional Western Medicine. In fact, both medicines can work together to create more complete health care for the patient. The two medicines are based on two completely different paradigms, languages and physiotherapies. But they can complement each other when practitioners from both fields respect the uniqueness of each other and can communicate together about a patient’s needs for a complete and holistic health care.
Western medicine has the surgical and pharmaceutical abilities to perform life saving miracles. AOM is not a replacement for western medicine. AOM, however, can be used in the day-to-day or week-to-week treatment to rebalance the body before serious or chronic conditions that need the attention of western medicine arise. AOM can also support the body and help it go through surgeries and also mitigate the affects of needed pharmaceuticals.
In an official report (Geneva, 2003), Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials, The World Health Organization (WHO) has listed the following:
1. Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which acupuncture has been proved to be an effective treatment:
2. Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which the therapeutic effect of acupuncture has been shown but for which further proof is needed:
3. Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which there are only individual controlled trials reporting some therapeutic effects, but for which acupuncture is worth trying because treatment by conventional and other therapies is difficult:
4. Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which acupuncture may be tried provided the practitioner has special modern medical knowledge and adequate monitoring equipment:
Acupuncture works but it largely depends on the practitioner. Do the same things you would do as you choose a doctor: Ask people you trust for recommendations, check the practitioner's training and credentials, etc.
Choose a state Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.) since he/she must meet the state requirement of 3 to 5 year Master's degree in Oriental Medicine from an accredited acupuncture school and pass a written and practical state board exam.
In the states that do not require licensing, choose an acupuncturist (Dipl. Ac.) certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Its members must have a degree in Oriental Medicine from an accredited school (or have worked as an apprentice acupuncturist for at least four years) and must pass a written and practical exam.
There are many Western medical doctors who perform acupuncture. Choose a physician who is a member of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture. It requires a minimum of 200 hours of training for membership.
Acupuncture may not be safe if you have bleeding problem or if you are taking blood thinners. Common side effects of acupuncture are soreness, bleeding or bruising at the needle sites. Improperly performed acupuncture may accidental puncture of circulatory structure, nerve, or internal organ. If needles are reused, infectious diseases may be accidentally transmitted. However, injuries are rare among patients treated by trained practitioners..
Acupuncture: Base price: Between $60 - $85.
(The cost depends on simple or complicated illnesses such as different pain levels at one or more areas of the body or specialized diseases like stroke, sciatic, etc.)
Consultation fee (if you choose not to receive treatment): $10.00
(A comprehensive review of your medical history based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is essential in providing you with the safest and best care possible.)
Note: Options may be recommended as a part of your treatment plan. The option will be discussed with you before the acupuncture, and it is your decision if you want it or not. Only one option may be used in each acupuncture treatment.
Starting on January 2013, full payment is required at the time of service except below contracted insurance companies. We will give you a "Health Insurance Claim Form" which you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement if you are eligible.
Contracted Insurance Companies:
(Please call your insurer and ask whether your policy covers acupuncture. Find out about your copayment and how many sessions a year it allows and whether a doctor’s prescription and/or Insurance Pre-Approval is needed. Also, Check whether it allows coverage for only certain conditions. Some policies, for instance, might cover acupuncture only for chronic pain.)