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What Is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine needles on the body’s surface in order to influence the functioning of the body. It is one of the two major components of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a comprehensive medicine system with a continuous history of over 3000 years. The other major component is herbal medicine.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

The basic model in TCM is based on the concept of Yin/Yang, Zang/Fu organs and meridians. Yin and Yang are universal laws of the natural world. They hold that all things have two opposite aspects. The Zang and Fu organs are the internal organs of the body. Meridians are special pathways on the body and are associated with the Zang and Fu organs.

It is theorized that the body has an energy force running through the meridians. This energy force is known as Qi. Qi consists of all essential life activities which include the spiritual, emotional, mental and physical aspects of life.

According to TCM, a person’s health is influenced by the flow of Qi in the body. If the flow of Qi is insufficient, interrupted, excessive or unbalanced, Yin/Yang and the Zang/Fu organs become unbalanced which may result in disorders or diseases. Special locations with specific functions along the meridians are called acupuncture points. Insertion of needles at a certain set of acupuncture points using different skills has an influence of the flow of Qi, and also on the internal organs. This procedure may maintain or restore the balance of Qi, and aid in the prevention or cure of diseases.

How Does An Acupuncturist Make A Diagnosis?

The principle of diagnosis in TCM is to determine the cause of the imbalance of Yin/Yang and the Zang/Fu organs by asking the medical history, checking the wrist pulse, and observing the tongue and other signs and symptoms of the patient. A treatment plan is then formulated to induce a more balanced state of heath.

What Diseases May Be Treated With Acupuncture?
(By No Means A Complete List)

  • Painful Disorders: Headache, Migraine, Trigeminal neuralgia, Cervical spondylosis, Frozen shoulder, Tennis elbow, Carpel tunnel syndrome, Intercostals neuralgia, Low back pain, Sciatica, Muscle spasms, Various forms of tendonitis, Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, Dysmenorrhea.
  • Somatic Disorders: Gastritis, Peptic ulcers, Constipation, Irritable bowel syndrome, Diabetes, Common cold, Sore throat, Sinusitis, Bronchial asthma, Enuresis, Urinary tract infection, Menstrual problems, Bell's palsy, Stroke rehabilitation, Smoking cessation, Acne, Shingles, Allergic reactions.
  • Psychosomatic disorders: Insomnia, Fatigue, Anxiety disorders, Depression.

Is There A Possibility Of Infection Or Any Pain Involved In Acupuncture?

The needles for acupuncture are made from stainless steel which are sterile and disposable. They can not be the cause of infection. They are very thin and solid. Most patients feel no pain and some feel only minimal pain.

Is Acupuncture Covered By Insurance?

Increasingly, insurance companies are starting to cover acupuncture cost such as the BlueCrossBlueShield Federal Employee Program and the Mail Handlers Benefit Plan. You may want to check with your insurance company for your policy regarding the acupuncture coverage.