What We Do

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a branch of Chinese medicine that is over 3000 years old. It involves placing very thin needles in precise acupuncture points to help the body return to a state of harmony, equilibrium, and health.

These goals for healing are echoed in Western medicine. As an osteopathic physician, I was taught that the patient is a triune being — body, mind and spirit—and that the body has an inherent, self-regulating mechanism designed to restore balance. My study of acupuncture has convinced me that it is remarkably effective in promoting the body’s own healing action. It is one of the oldest forms of natural medicine practiced worldwide.

How Acupuncture Works in Chinese Medical Terms

Chinese medical practitioners believe that imbalances occur when the flow of qi (pronounced chee) is interrupted. Qi is the vital essence of all natural phenomena. When there is a block or uneven flow, imbalances occur which can lead to illness. From the Chinese perspective, the practitioner locates the acupuncture points that should be treated in order to restore the correct flow of qi. It is one of the original holistic health or holistic medicine concepts that truly works to promote healing.

How Acupuncture Works in Western Medical Term

Research conducted in the West indicates that the needles create stimuli to the nervous system, initiating cascades of neuro-endocrine reactions. Chemicals are then released that help restore a biochemical balance. All the systems of the body, including the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, the central nervous system, the immune system, and the endocrine system, are affected during acupuncture treatment, bringing about a decrease in pain, relief of symptoms, or resolution of the illness.

Medical Acupuncture

Medical Acupuncture is acupuncture given by a physician acupuncturist. The physician is well trained in both Western Medicine and Acupuncture. It is truly a holistic integrative medicine. The physician has the wealth of medical knowledge from both systems of care – the Western medical model and Chinese acupuncture model that gives a much greater depth of knowledge in caring for her patients. Many conditions or symptoms that don’t have a clear Western explanation are often addressed in the Chinese Medical system thus giving the doctor a broader range of options in helping her patients. It is one of the integrative or alternative medicine approaches to aiding patients. It is an approach that promotes natural health.

The Acupuncture Exam

My initial examination of a patient involves looking at the whole person—body, mind, emotions, and spirit—as well as environmental factors, such as the weather, lifestyle, friends, and social support. This exam assesses where the imbalance manifests and results in illness, the original cause, and the overall strength of the individual. The information is assessed using both my Western medical and Chinese medical knowledge base.

How Many Treatments?

The number of treatments needed depends on the nature of the problem, the individual’s underlying health, and the chronicity of the disease. One or two treatments may be sufficient for a mild injury or an acute problem. In some instances, it could take several series of 10 -12 treatments over a period of months. Usually, change will occur after just a few treatments, indicating whether or not acupuncture is helping. Other techniques may also be employ during treatment such as cupping, or moxibustion-warming the point with herbs.<

How Will I Feel After a Treatment?

The immediate response to treatment may vary from a feeling of relaxation to a slight increase in symptoms for one or two days, which, if it does occur, is usually mild and short-lived before improvement begins.

Some patients might hesitate to seek acupuncture treatment because they feel uncomfortable about the use of needles. It is important to understand that acupuncture treatment is not like getting a shot. The needles are so thin that, if the patient senses them at all, they feel more like the sting of a mosquito or the plucking of an eyebrow. There may be a slight ache or feeling of heaviness at the point if needles are stimulated during