What is Acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM) ???
AOM is a complete medical system that has been effective for over 2,000 years in healing people of disease, illness, and pain. This system includes such practices as acupuncture, herbal therapy, tuina (tway-na) massage, and other methods to help people like you find relief and even cure for various afflictions.
What can It treat?
AOM is a comprehensive system of medicine, and as such can treat just about anything. While most people accept that it is useful for treating pain, many don’t realize we can also treat a full range of medical problems -- for example: allergies, headaches, fatigue, fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, pms, menopause, irregular menstruation, depression, stroke, angina, morning sickness, enlarged prostate, auto-immune disorders, neuralgia, MS, esophageal reflux, UTI, migraine, cold and flu, fever, sciatica, carpal tunnel, diarrhea & constipation, and many more. That being said, there are certain things that are inappropriate for this medicine in a private office setting (such as emergency situations), conditions that don't responds as well (tinnitus, cases where there are severe underlying physical structural issues or where the deterioration of the physical body is happening at a greater rate than that at which we can stimulate the healing process), and things that we simply don't treat in this office (obstetrics, cosmetics, ideopathic obesity, and men's sexual health).
I’m a devout Christian ---- should I be uncomfortable using acupuncture?
No. AOM is a system of medicine, not a religion. Just as a Hindu or Muslim or Buddhist etc . . . person can be comfortable receiving care from a Western Medical practitioner such as a doctor or nurse, a Christian person can rest easy about using AOM.
Do I need a physician’s approval?
In Oregon, you do not by law need a referral to use AOM. However, your insurance may require it for reimbursement (all worker's comp claims do); check your individual policy. We accept most insurance, and bill directly in most cases. We do not contract with ASHN, who is the third party payor for Healthnet, and some Providence. Currently, Medicare does not cover acupuncture.
Is it suitable for children?
Yes!! Children respond wonderfully to acupuncture -- often faster than adults. Through a combination of herbs, acupuncture, and pediatric tuina massage, children can be treated for such common disorders as colds, flus, coughs, aches, digestive disorders, constipation, diarrhea, seizures, fevers, ADD, eczema, immunization reactions, colic, epilepsy, asthma, tonsillitis, insomnia and night terrors, and more. Although you might think children are more terrified of needles than we adults, they often look forward to their treatments. Even infants may receive AOM treatments, and your practitioner may teach you simple massage techniques to carry over treatments at home.
Acupuncture - What is it and How does it work, really?
Acupuncture is performed by the insertion of hair-thin needles into various points in the body along meridians of Qi (pronounced ’chee’) flow in an attempt to help regulate and restore natural balance to the body. For many years previously, Western practitioners were baffled by and skeptical of this medicine, because no one could find these meridians in the human body on structural studies. This is because Qi is a function of a living body!!
While we still don’t know *exactly* in western terms “what qi is,“ there are several documented changes happening in the body during acupuncture:
1) In recent years, bioelectrical photography has seemed to capture images of channel/meridian activity, with the highest areas of activity clustered around well-known acupoints.
2) It stimulates your body to produce and release endorphins - your own natural painkillers. In fact, opiates only work because they fit into receptors in your body that are made for these endorphins!
3) At the same time, the acupuncture begins to inhibit your body from producing chemicals that create and perpetuate inflammation. Think how much safer it is to stimulate you to produce your own painkillers, and anti-inflammatory effects, than it is to take the pharmaceuticals.
4)On another level, MRI scans during "real acupuncture" and "fake acupuncture" actually show changes in the brain's activity taking place. More change, and more lasting change, happens with real acupuncture than the fake stuff ("sham" acupuncture in research is often the actual use of a non-indicated point) - which is why it is important to get treatment with someone who has been well-trained (not just someone who took a few hours adjunct training to his / her regular degree) and is well-practiced.
These are not the only things going on; but they are the easiest to talk about in Western medical terms.
Does it hurt?
Sometimes, yes it does.
Acupuncture needles are only the thickness of a few hairs, and are round-tipped so as to slip past the skin, nerves, veins, etc . . . to reach the meridians below - they are nothing like hypodermics. While you might feel a slight sting on insertion, & a heavy, dull ache once the acupoint is reached ( a sign of qi activity) -- there should not be any great pain. We at Jade Earth Acupuncture use only single use, presterilized, disposable needles to ensure your comfort and safety.
Why do different Practitioners
use different points?
Within the profession, there are many different styles for practitioners to choose from to help their patients. Some practitioners will use up to 60 needles in a treatment, some less than 6. Some treat one side, some treat both. Sometimes your practitioner will use one style on you for one treatment, and use a different style as things change. What is most effective for you is, obviously, what works.
Is my practitioner a doctor?
The Oregon title conferred upon an acupuncturist who studied in the US and graduated with a Master’s of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (MAcOM) at one of our many accredited colleges, is Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.). Though two schools recently began offering a doctoral program, these are for specialty studies, and in no way devalue the general practitioner. If your acupuncturist studied elsewhere, or also has another, different degree , then s/he may be also have the title of “Doctor.“
How long does it take?
Most appointments run roughly an hour -- depending on what’s going on and the style of acupuncture used on you, it may take as little as 30 minutes or as long as 2 hours.
How many Treatments, and how often?
A standard course of treatments is 8-12 sessions. In China, patients will be treated every day in the initial stages of treatment; at least 2-3 x a week is considered essential to stimulate the healing process. Some people get better in one treatment, some need the full course or even as many as 4-6 courses. Some may require a lifetime “management” regimen. Roughly, the longer a person has experienced a condition, and the more severe, the longer it takes to heal.
Does it really heal, or just manage the symptoms?
Both! AOM modalities manage the symptoms while stimulating the body to heal. One of the first things patients notice is a decrease in stress levels, which helps allow the body to heal. Acupuncture encourages blood flow in the body, increasing oxygen and nutrient availability to tissues, and carrying away wastes so they don’t stagnate in areas. It also stimulates the brain to release endorphins to manage pain short term while healing takes place.
Other Modalities of treatment
This is similar to a tens unit, leads clipped directly to the needles, & runs off of a 9volt battery - thus carrying minimal risks of shock while releasing 3 different types of endorphins into your system for maximum pain relief.
Where Acupuncture works from the outside in, herbal therapy works from the inside out. Your practitioner has been trained thoroughly in Chinese herbs, including reactions they may have with supplements and other medications. Herbs work to help build up the body’s natural healing system, and this therapy is a wonderful way to carry over the healing process between acupuncture treatments.
Moxa is compressed mugwort, burned over the skin to stimulate healing in an area & systemically. The properties of the herb itself lend benefits along with the heat, to help relieve pain and stimulate the immune system.
Cupping & Guasha
These methods are similar to each other, and help to draw stagnant blood to the surface of the skin, to stimulate the body to bring fresh blood (and with it oxygen and nutrients) to an area of pain, and to take away old toxins that may have built up in the area. Though they may leave a mark similar to a hickey, both methods are painless.
Just as Shiatsu is traditional Japanese massage, Tuina is traditional Chinese massage. Your practitioner may use several techniques as an adjunct to acupuncture treatment to help stimulate and strengthen the body’s healing abilities.