Does acupuncture hurt?
The insertion of acupuncture needles is fairly painless. You may feel a small pinch with insertion that lasts about a second and then subsides. As the needle is manipulated, you may feel numbness, tingling, heaviness or soreness at the site of insertion for a few seconds. These sensations are considered a favorable part of the treatment and indicate that the needle has promoted a healing reaction in the body. Shortly after insertion and manipulation, most people feel extremely relaxed and may even fall asleep. Needles are usually retained anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes giving you the time to relax, unwind and de-stress. Healing occurs when the body and mind are peaceful.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the insertion of very thin, flexible needles into specific points on the body to promote healing. There are over three hundred identified acupuncture points, each having its own therapeutic action. Acupuncture works by assisting the body's innate intelligence to heal itself by promoting blood circulation. Further, it has been found that needling acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals can change the experience of pain as well as trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body's own internal regulating system, thus bringing the body back into balance. This improved chemical balance produced by acupuncture leads to the promotion of both physical and emotional health.
How many needles are used?
As few as two or as many as twelve or more needles may be inserted into various points along the body. The needles, which vary in length, are hair-thin, flexible and made of stainless steel. The type of needle chosen is determined by the location of the acupuncture point and the desired effect.
Is acupuncture safe?
When performed by a trained, licensed practitioner, acupuncture is very safe and has virtually no side effects. On occasion there may be some bruising at the needle site or minor bleeding when the needle is removed. In addition, all needles used are pre-packaged, sterilized, for one time use only. Anna Palucci Young, L.Ac., is a trained, licensed practitioner of Eastern medicine. She is board certified in Acupuncture and has successfully completed Clean Needle Technique training.
What does acupuncture treat?
The World Health Organization has determined that acupuncture is an effective, natural therapy for over 200 clinical conditions, including:
Neck and shoulder pain
Repetitive stress injuries
Migraines and headaches
Alcohol, food, and tobacco addiction
Accidental injuries (promotes healing)
Nervous system disorders
In addition, acupuncture reduces stress and anxiety, and promotes a deep state of relaxation, enhancing the overall healing process.
Is it safe to receive acupuncture while I am on pharmaceutical medications?
Yes, it is safe. Acupuncture will not interfere with any medications or supplements you may be currently taking. One exception to this is if you are taking a blood thinner such as Coumadin (Warfarin). Excessive bleeding is a risk so it is important that your INR (International Normalized Ratio) is consistently at a normal range and that you provide your lab results to your acupuncturist on a regular basis.
What is Eastern Herbal Therapy?
Herbal therapy employs a number of single herbs with varying, synergistic functions to create formulas which focus on re-balancing the whole body and treating the root cause of illness. Once the root cause is addressed, symptoms subside and treatment can be discontinued.
Alone, or in conjunction with other Eastern medicine modalities, herbal therapy is an important healing tool. Herbal formulas, consisting of two to eighteen or more different types of single herbs, are effective, yet gentle treatments that provide a safe, natural alternative to pharmaceutical chemicals. These classic herbal formulas, which have been in existence for thousands of years, can be customized to address each patient's unique symptoms and imbalances.
Herbal therapy can be administered in many different forms such as capsules, teas, tinctures, patches or poultices.
What is food therapy?
In Eastern medicine, food is used therapeutically for its healing properties. In ancient China, dieticians (Shi yi) were considered the most significant healers, even above internists and surgeons. Their primary task was the prevention of disease, along with the therapeutic use of foods for both acute and chronic diseases. Myriad foods, most of which you are already familiar with, have healing properties that can assist in regulating your body's function for maximum health and wellness. Each food has a specific thermal nature and flavor which can assist in healing specific symptoms.
What is Qi Gong?
Qi gong is an ancient movement therapy which has been in existence for thousands of years. It is a very powerful self-healing discipline that is effective for many health issues. Qi gong actually means "energy work" and is effective for many conditions. Qi Gong consists of deep breathing, low-impact conditioning and stretching. It increases range of motion and stamina, builds strength and improves coordination and balance. This unique practice also has an impact on the body internally. Qi gong movements can relax the connective tissue and fascia that hold the internal organs in place which results in these organs working much more efficiently in the body.
There have been and continue to be many studies illustrating the efficacy of Qi gong in achieving and maintaining health and well-being. To learn more about these studies, I recommend the book The Way of Qi Gong by Kenneth S. Cohen. Another great resource is www.tcmworld.org/qigong.
Qi gong is an amazing tool! Once you have made this ancient therapy a part of your daily repertoire, you alone will have tremendous control over your own health and well being.
Qi Gong is one of THE most important tools you can use to achieve and maintain health!
What is Acupressure Massage?
The type of acupressure Anna practices combines specialized massage techniques (rolling, kneading, pressing, rubbing, and brushing) along with the stimulation of acupressure points to promote circulation in the body. It is generally done for patients who might find acupuncture too strong and need a more gentle modality initially. Most patients will then work their way up to acupuncture treatments or may be referred out to another type of practitioner if acupuncture is not a preferential modality. Treatment is determined based on the same diagnostic principles used with other Eastern medicine treatment modalities such as the use of the pulse and tongue diagnosis to determine which areas of the body are unbalanced.
Moxibustion provides local heat over acupuncture points promoting stimulation and healing. It is made from the dried leaves of artemisia vulgaris (mugwort) and comes in many forms.
What is Guasha?
Guasha involves the palpation and cutaneous stimulation of the skin with pressured strokes, by a round-edged instrument. The result is the appearance of small red petechiae called 'sha', that usually fades in 2 to 3 days. Guasha removes blood stagnation and promotes normal circulation and metabolic processes. Patient's usually experience immediate relief from musculoskeletal pain and stiffness. Guasha is also used in the prevention and treatment of acute, upper respiratory infections and digestive problems, and many other acute or chronic pain disorders.
What is Cupping?
Cupping is a therapy in which a cup (glass, plastic, silicone) is attached to the skin surface causing local congestion either through creating a vacuum by introducing heat in the form of an ignited material or by removing the air with a pump. Cupping has been found to affect the body up to four inches into the tissues, causing tissues to release toxins, activate the lymphatic system, clear colon blockages and help activate and clear the veins, arteries and capillaries.
What is electrical stimulation?
Electrical stimulation (E-Stim) entails the use of a small, battery operated, electrical stimulation device which has been created specifically for providing ongoing stimulation throughout the acupuncture treatment. Tiny clips are attached to specific needles (usually only 2-4 at a time), the power is turned on and the level of stimulation is slowly turned up until a slight tapping
sensation is felt at the point. This type of stimulation can be used for many types of conditions but is used most often for musculoskeletal pain and discomfort.
What are the current educational requirements to become a practitioner of Eastern medicine?
In the state of Illinois, (where Anna Palucci Young, L.Ac., was originally trained) Acupuncture is regulated by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. A 3-4 year degree from a state-approved, nationally accredited, Master's degree program is required to become a licensed Acupuncturist ( L.Ac. ). In the state of Washington, acupuncture is regulated by the Department of Health. The regulations and requirements are similar to that of Illinois.
In addition, certification by the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) www.nccaom.org is also required. Each candidate must pass a series of rigorous board exams and become certified in Clean Needle Technique. After passing these exams, candidates will receive diplomate status in Oriental Medicine ( Dipl. OM ).
Pacific College of Health and Science (PCHS) Master's Degree Program (When Anna graduated in 2006):
Master of Science (Traditional Oriental Medicine) is awarded following the completion of 11 terms of classes (3 years, 11 months) A total of 191.24 Units (approximately 3,527 hours) are required.
Some of these courses include:
Anatomy and Physiology 1-4, Biology, Biochemistry, Pathophysiology 1 & 2, Physical Exam, Pharmacology, Clinical Science 1 & 2, Western Nutrition, Clinical Counseling 1-3, Orthopedic/Neurologic Evaluation 1 & 2, Clinical Research & Design Statistics, Acupuncture Points 1-5. Needle Technique, Auricular Acupuncture, Herbology 1-10, Tui Na Massage Structural Techniques, Diagnosis and Treatment of Disease 1-7, Eastern Nutrition, Qi Gong & Tai Qi, Clinical Rounds 1-6, Clinical Internship 1-9, Medical/Legal Report Writing.
Acupuncture needles are very small
Most people's first experience with needles is with a hypodermic needle (AKA medical syringe). You know, the ones that you received an injection with or had blood drawn with? Yes, these needles hurt! They hurt because they are hollow and tear flesh! Acupuncture needles are solid and DO NOT tear the flesh! Again, they are so tiny!
In fact, you can actually fit twenty acupuncture needles into the head of one hypodermic needle!
Acupuncture needles are thin and flexible