What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a system of energy medicine that has been in use for thousands of years. Our body is comprised of channels where qi and oxygen flow, feeding and nourishing us. Acupuncturists insert very thin, sterile needles into specific points on the body, activating these channels and initiating pain relief, healing, overall balance and health. The use of acupuncture in the U.S. has increased significantly in the last few decades. It has been endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) as a safe and effective treatment for a number of physical and emotional conditions.
Is it safe? Do you use sterilized needles?
Yes. The needles are sterile, used only once, and properly disposed. They are FDA-approved, single-use needles that have been sterilized by the manufacturer prior to packaging. After your treatment, the needles are disposed of in a medical waste disposal container. Acupuncturists should be nationally certified in Clean Needle Technique by the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM). Clean Needle Technique is the standard way in which acupuncture is practiced in order to keep patients and practitioners safe.
What conditions does it treat?
Some people come to acupuncture to strengthen their immune system, because they simply don't feel quite 'right', or for specific issues and symptoms. As your condition improves, the goal is for you to use acupuncture not only as corrective medicine but as preventative medicine. You do not necessarily have to have a reason for treatment other than to stay healthy. Acupuncturists treat for various conditions including, but not limited to: acute and chronic pain and injuries, TMJ, Bell's Palsy, headaches, mood disorders, sleep disorders, hormonal imbalance, gynecological issues, addictions, allergies, the common cold, and digestive and GI disorders. Acupuncturists also provide support for symptoms of chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Lastly, acupuncturists provide support pre/post-surgery for accelerated healing.
Does it hurt?
Acupuncture DOES NOT tend to hurt. The needles are about the width of a human hair. However, it is not uncommon to feel a dull ache around the needles when they are inserted. This is from the movement of energy. Typically, once the needles are in place, people feel deeply relaxed and even fall asleep.
What type of training is involved in becoming an acupuncturist?
Individual requirements vary according to individual state laws. Most states require an acupuncturist to hold a four-year undergraduate degree and to attend a four-year post-graduate degree program in acupuncture, at a school accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). Multiple national board exams administered by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) must be passed in order to become a licensed acupuncturist. A course and exam in Clean Needle Technique given by CCAOM must also be passed. In addition, each state has their own applications and procedures in order to become a licensed and registered acupuncturist.