What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a form of medicine which dates back thousands of years, but is still evolving till this very day. The capacity for your body/mind heal itself is greater than anyone has ever told you. Tiny acupuncture needles, placed gently in very precise spots on your body, simply signal the body to heal itself to its own utmost ability. A needle on your wrist may signal the body to heal a stiff shoulder. A needle in your leg may signal your body to move chronic constipation. Usually a combination of several needles is used. You can read more from the National Institute of Health.
What needles do you use? Do they hurt?
Needles used in acupuncture are tiny. I also use a very light and shallow Japanese needling technique. Often, the patient may feel ‘De Qi’ (duh-chee), a distending sensation, which often means that the body has responded affirmatively to the needle, and the healing process is occurring. In trigger point therapy (sometimes known as ‘dry needling’, the most elementary form of acupuncture), I may use a longer needle to strategically stimulate trigger points or motor points in a muscle. In some cases, I may also apply gentle electrical (9-volt battery) stimulation to a pair of needles. Of course, needles come in sterile packaging, used once only, and then destroyed.
Chinese herbal medicine is the oldest recorded system of herbology in the world. Some medical herbs are familiar to us, such as ginger and licorice. Other herbs are only found and harvested in very specific regions and climates in Asia. Minerals are also used in Chinese herbal medicine. Chinese herbal formulas are designed to gently bring the body/mind back to its own capacity of self-healing. Our training in the use of medical herbs is comprehensive; for example, we take into consideration the western pharmaceuticals the patient may be taking and adjust the herbs in our formulas accordingly, or choose not to use them at all.
Although licensure laws vary from state to state, only Licensed Acupuncturists (L.Ac.) are qualified to make an accurate diagnosis and safely insert needles into a patient, and prescribe Chinese herbs. To become licensed, a practitioner must complete a 3000+ hour Masters program at an accredited college of acupuncture/oriental medicine, such as Southwest Acupuncture College, earn accreditation from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine after passing four national board exams, as well as earn a certification in Clean Needle Technique from the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. In short, the practitioner should have a Masters in Oriental Medicine, NCCAOM accreditation, and state licensure with the title ‘L.Ac.’ It is neither safe nor wise to accept acupuncture treatment from anyone without these qualifications, and you do so at your own risk.
Read more about who is and who is not qualified to perform acupuncture and dry needling.
What can you do without needles or herbs?
Plenty. I have extensive training in many forms of oriental physical therapy, such as tui-na, which aligns and adjusts joints and the spine in a gentle, harmless, holistic way. No force is used, and it is virtually risk-free. I am also trained in Shiatsu, Thai, and Burmese physical therapy. I usually integrate these into diagnosis and treatment of any illness. I also do medical cupping, as shown in the picture. This technique has been used for centuries all over the world, including China, Germany, Greece, Russia, and South America.
No. There is no complete or perfect model of healing. If there were, there would be no sick people in the world. There is a time and place for acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, and a time and place for western medical intervention and pharmaceutical drugs. I have benefited from and have a great respect for the miracles of modern medicine, surgery, and technology, and I will be the first to refer you to a specialist outside my area of expertise, should it be to your benefit. Your well-being is my greatest concern, and there is no place in civilized society for healthcare chauvinism.
Laith Naayem L.Ac., MSOM
New Windsor / Newburgh, NY
Glen Rock / Ridgewood, NJ
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“Dry needling is indistinguishable from acupuncture.” — American Medical Association (AMA) Here are the facts you really need to know about dry needling: 1. Dry needling is acupuncture. More specifically, dry needling is acupuncture that involves inserting an acupuncture needle (a U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA]-regulated medical device) through the skin and into an acupuncture point (a circumscribed area of muscle or connective tissue) Read more...read more
Cupping by Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Traditional Medicine, Portland, Oregon Cupping refers to an ancient Chinese practice in which a cup is applied to the skin and the pressure in the cup is reduced (by using change in heat or by suctioning out air), so that the skin and superficial muscle layer is drawn into and held in the cup. In some cases, the cup may be moved while the suction of skin is active, causing a regional pulling of the skin and muscle (the Read more...read more
Acupuncture relieves menstrual pain and cramping. Researchers from the Xianning Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine investigated the efficacy of triple acupuncture with moxibustion for the treatment of dysmenorrhea. The research team concludes that triple acupuncture is significantly more effective than conventional acupuncture for the relief of menstrual pain and cramping. Triple acupuncture achieved a 96.7% total effective rate. Conventional acupuncture achieved a 90% total effective Read more...read more
Acupuncture as an adjunct to anesthesia. Interesting video. Read more [...]read more
Acupuncture relieves neck pain and improves range of motion. Chen et al. find acupuncture effective in alleviating cervical spondylosis, a painful disorder caused by intervertebral disc degeneration. Zeng et al. conclude that acupuncture alleviates cervical spondylosis and radiculopathy. The data demonstrates that acupuncture is more effective than NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Zhou et al. find acupuncture effective for the alleviation of pain after surgery to the cervical spine. Read more...read more
Acupuncture combined with herbal medicine outperforms acyclovir for the treatment of shingles (herpes zoster). Acupuncture plus herbs has a significantly higher total effective rate for the treatment of shingles than acyclovir, an antiviral medication. Researchers document that acupuncture plus herbs is both safe and effective for relieving pain, reducing overall symptomatic presentations, and for the resolution of shingles. Researchers from Hubei Medicine College determined that acupuncture Read more...read more
Researchers confirm that acupuncture and other Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) procedures are effective Parkinson’s disease treatment modalities. Specialized TCM procedures demonstrating efficaciousness include scalp acupuncture, moxibustion, and acupotomy. The researchers conducted a meta-analysis and concluded that acupuncture significantly improves the overall condition of Parkinson’s disease patients. Parkinson’s disease is a nervous system disorder characterized by tremors, Read more...read more
Acupuncture combined with Chinese herbal medicine cures pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This disorder is an infection of the female reproductive organs and may present as an acute emergency or a chronic illness. PID commonly involves infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries. In many cases, bacteria from the vagina or cervix transmits to these regions leading to PID. Gonorrhea and chlamydia are major causes of this disorder but there are many other causes including infections following Read more...read more
Acupuncture and herbs restore motility for patients with motor impairments due to sports injuries. Researchers from the Physical Education Institute at Zhengzhou University investigated the effects of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) style acupuncture and herbs on amateur and professional athletes suffering from motor impairments due to the demands of physical training. The researchers concluded that restoration of motility is significant as a result of applying acupuncture and herbs. However, Read more...read more
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) improves patient outcomes for patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Researchers from Zhengzhou Children’s hospital combined acupuncture, far infrared therapy, TCM tuina massage, herbal medicine, and drug therapy into a protocolized regimen of care. The combined therapy delivered significant results including reduced physical impairments and improvements in both walking and staircase climbing. In addition, significant reductions Read more...read more