Can Acupuncture Really Help?
I didn’t always think so.
I was in my fourth and final year of my Chinese medicine program. I was so inundated with meeting graduation requirements, studying for and taking board exams, and defending my thesis — on top of regularly scheduled classes and clinic shifts — that I lost touch with the reasons I’d chosen to study the medicine in the first place.
Then I caught the flu from one of my patients. I felt horrible. I reluctantly scheduled an appointment with one of my teachers. He did a simple acupuncture treatment and prescribed a simple bulk herb formula. He wrote me a doctor’s note and told me to notify my teachers and find someone to cover my clinic shifts for the remainder of the week (I had a fever of 102 degrees and was highly contagious).
As I waited for the herbs at the medicinary following the treatment, my symptoms got much worse. I don’t remember how I managed to drive myself home and actually prepare the herbs to drink that night. What I do remember, however, is feeling absolutely horrible and the incredible effort it took to sit up in bed long enough to drink at least three-quarters of those herbs.
I eventually fell into a fitful sleep.
When I awoke around 4am the next morning, I felt 90% better!
In that moment, both the gratitude for and the confidence in the medicine I’d chosen to study was surreal.
Since then, I have personally seen the medicine ameliorate a wide variety of conditions: from severe morning sickness (that even the strongest medications couldn’t touch) to an otherwise untreated meniscus tear (when he finally went in for imaging, his physical therapist couldn’t believe how his body had healed itself!) to extreme anxiety (accompanied by extreme insomnia) to the suppression of cravings during alcohol and drug recovery (including smoking cessation).
But what about non-anecdotal evidence that supports acupuncture treatment?
The World Health Organization recognizes acupuncture's effectiveness in treating over 40 common disorders:
- Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders: toothaches, earaches, sinusitis, rhinitis, laryngitis
- Respiratory Disorders: colds and flus, bronchitis, asthma, allergies, emphysema
- Gastrointestinal Disorders: food allergies, nausea, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, ulcers, colitis
- Circulatory Disorders: hypertension, high cholesterol, arteriosclerosis, angina pectoris
- Urogenital Disorders: cystitis, stress incontinence, neurogenic bladder, prostatitis, prostatic hypertrophy
- Gynecological Disorders: irregular menses, endometriosis, PMS, infertility, menopausal syndrome
- Musculoskeletal Disorders: tennis elbow, frozen shoulder, TMJ, sciatica, low back pain, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia
- Psychoemotional and Neurological Disorders: depression, anxiety, insomnia, headache, migraine, trigeminal neuralgia, intercostal neuralgia, post-stroke paralysis, dizziness, tinnitus
In addition, researchers have found evidence that supports the use of acupuncture to treat:
- Acute pain and the need for medication (such as opioids)
- Nausea and vomiting (both postoperative and cancer-related)
- Anxiety, depression, and insomnia
- Urinary retention and bowel function
- Chronic pain conditions
Ready to see how acupuncture can help you?
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For first time patients, I generally recommend weekly treatments for the first few weeks, though the number of treatments I ultimately recommend will vary depending on you: your unique constitution, experiences, and circumstances; and the condition being treated. Read more about what you can expect here.
Still need questions about acupuncture or Chinese medicine answered before moving ahead with treatment? Contact me by phone or email, or complete the abbreviated intake form below, to schedule a short, complimentary consultation.
I look forward to meeting you (and answering your questions, if you have them!) and showing you how the medicine can make a difference for you.
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