Acupuncture Fact vs. Fiction

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Originally developed in China, acupuncture has been providing relief to patients worldwide for over 3,000 years. Today it’s becoming increasingly popular for those seeking an alternative treatment for a range of ailments including migraines, allergies, arthritis, asthma, and stress. Many people have even used it successfully to cure insomnia and help them quit smoking.

This form of alternative therapy is based on the understanding that a vibrant energy, known as Qi, circulates throughout the human body, along specific pathways. The pathways, or meridians, are believed to connect to specific organs or biological systems. When you are in good health qi flows along these pathways unhindered. When you are suffering from an illness or injury, or you are experiencing pain, this indicates that the flow of qi has been disrupted. Acupuncture aims to restore the flow energy using the body’s natural healing ability.

Acupuncture involves the placement of very fine needles of varying lengths into different regions of your skin. As few as three and as many as twenty needles may be used. An acupuncture session usually runs between 45 minutes to an hour and the length the needles remain in place will depend on the condition being treated. During the treatment, the practitioner may twirl, warm or electrically energize the needles to enhance their healing effects.


Acupuncture is an effective treatment – In a 2003 report , The World Health Organization (WHO), acknowledged that acupuncture has been shown to effectively treat a wide range of conditions including:

• back and knee pain
• headache
• sprains
• hypertension
• dental pain
• rheumatoid arthritis
• nausea and vomiting
• postoperative pain
• allergies
• adverse reactions to chemotherapy
• depression

Many insurance plans cover acupuncture – Health insurance coverage for acupuncture is increasing. Surveys show that by 2004, around 50 percent of Americans were covered for acupuncture treatments by their employer health insurance plans.  The number of hospitals and clinics offering acupuncture also continues to rise.

Acupuncture can enhance the effects of some pharmaceutical drugs - According to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine , acupuncture may help boost the effects of some prescription medications, such as antidepressants, and assist with the healing process. Reducing the dosage of certain medications and adding acupuncture may also diminish the drug’s side effects.


Acupuncture hurts - Acupuncture needles are hair-thin; much finer than the needle your doctor uses to draw a blood sample. If you feel anything at all it will be a slight pinch. Once the needle is in your skin you will not notice it is there. Many patients fall asleep during an acupuncture session.

Acupuncture is only effective if it is ongoing – Many people believe that acupuncture only works if you have the treatment for the rest of your life. This is not the case. If you are suffering from an acute ailment, such as stress, a sports injury or a sudden digestive upset, these problems are usually resolved quickly. Chronic problems will generally require more treatments. Your practitioner will
assess your condition and advise you on the appropriate length of treatment.

Acupuncturists are not licensed practitioners –Though the exact legal requirements vary from state to state, most states require that anyone practicing acupuncture holds a Master of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine degree from a college that is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM).

Here's to your wellness,


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