Research on botanicals at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) has engendered controversy from NCCIH's earliest days as NCCAM.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and French styles of acupuncture which vary widely in theory and technique. The Japanese use very small (diameter) needles with shallow insertion, the Chinese use thicker needles and deeper insertion compared with the Japanese; Koreans have a hand “microsystem” but will also incorporate acupoints on the body in their treatment.”
Some of the many conditions for which acupuncture is considered appropriate are listed by the World Health Organization of the United Nations:
Cancer is not treatable by acupuncture, although it is effective in resolving the nausea associated with chemotherapy treatment. AIDS also does not respond to acupuncture, although acupuncture can be used to boost the immune system, it cannot reverse the effects of HIV.
The first treatment can take 1 1/2 to 2 hours for the intake interview and medical history. A typical treatment lasts approximately 45 minutes.
The needles used for treatment are typically 5 times the diameter of a human hair and are painless on insertion. Sometimes the patient may feel a little "pinch" like a mosquito bite and may also feel heaviness or an aching sensation at the point of insertion.
Acupuncture needles are made of stainless steel and are sterilized and pre-packaged. These needles are disposable and used once and discarded in a sharps container.”.
The exact number of treatments depends on what your specific illness is and how long you've had it. Someone with lower back pain for 5 months will typically be pain-free in 6 treatments. If that person has had back pain for 5 YEARS, they will probably require more treatments.
Acupuncture side effects are rare, but include bruising at the site of needle insertion, syncope (fainting), fatigue after treatment, and mild dizziness. There are, however, POSITIVE side-effects to acupuncture. The most common are improved quality of sleep, increased energy level, and reduction in stress levels.
In the late 1950's, the Chinese government was going to transition from "Traditional Chinese Medicine" (Acupuncture and Herbology) to Western medicine as the basis of their health care system. The academic and clinical communities worked together to run well controlled studies of the effectiveness of acupuncture on different diseases and pain syndromes. A government panel studied the results of the tests and decided to integrate Traditional Chinese Medicine with Western Medicine for their health care system. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has sponsored countless studies on the efficacy of Acupuncture in treating a variety of illnesses, and there are over 24,000 research citations relating to acupuncture in the National Library of Medicine (PubMed) database.
The World Health Organization supports the use of acupuncture for a wide variety of conditions based on Randomized Controlled Trials, the gold standard of medical research. Acupuncture is currently practiced in over 80 countries.
More health plans are adopting acupuncture therapy in their coverage as more consumers are turning to alternative medicine to improve their health. Ask your insurance representative about coverage.
Most states in the US require passing a national board examination to be licensed. Some states just require a practitioner to graduate from an accredited program. You will see either LAc (Licensed Acupuncturist), MAc (Master of Acupuncture), Dipl Ac (Diplomate of Acupuncture), or OMD (Doctor of Oriental Medicine) after a practitioner's name.
The Virginia Board of Medicine requires acupuncturists to be nationally board certified through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
Herbology is Chinese Pharmacology. Various herbs, roots, and decoctions are made for specific ailments. Chinese herbs tend to be less concentrated than western prescription medications. BEWARE -- herbs can interact with prescription and non-prescription drugs. Traditional Chinese herbal remedies are quite safe when prescribed by an acupuncturist properly trained in herbal medicine.