WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE?
Acupuncture is a scientifically-proven Healing System that originated 2,500-5,000 years ago in China. It involves placing extremely fine (almost hair-thin) needles in the body in order to bring the body back to balance and optimum health.
The Science of Acupuncture is based upon the understanding that the body is one interconnected, whole organism that sometimes becomes ill or out-of-balance and needs re-balancing. In fact, our entire Mind-Body system and every cell in our body requires a free-flow of Energy or Qi for optimum health and well-being. According to the Oriental Medical System, illness occurs when our bodies' flow of energy or flow of Qi (pronounced 'chi') , becomes blocked or imbalanced.
Just as blood flows through our veins and arteries throughout our body, so our bodies' energy or Qi also flows through our bodies' meridians or channels. Every cell in our body is fed by nutrients from our blood as well as by energy or Qi that flows through these meridians or channels.
When our body's free-flow of energy becomes blocked, slows or is hyper-activated, illness and disease can begin to set in. Acupuncture helps the body regain this free-flow of energy (Qi ), and thus, brings back harmony within the entire system.
Acupuncture works so effectively because it activates the bodies' own internal healing power . Our bodies have the power to heal on their accord, but sometimes require some outside help. Acupuncture stimulates the body's own internal healing power in various ways so that its energy/Qi can regain balance and free-flow.
DOES ACUPUNCTURE HURT?
Because acupuncture needles are so extremely thin, it is very rare that they hurt. Many people do not even feel that the needle went in or, if they do, often report the feeling as a 'dull, painless sensation' or a 'gentle pinch'. In fact, acupuncture not only usually does not hurt (except in rare instances) but it often feels exceptionally relaxing, grounding and pleasant.
Most people leave the acupuncture room feeling wonderfully rejuvenated. It is in fact so relaxing that many people actually fall asleep once the needles are in place. I've even met many people who say that they feel far more relaxed during their acupuncture session that from massage or other types of bodywork.
ARE THERE ANY DANGERS ASSOCIATED WITH RECEIVING ACUPUNCTURE?
Acupuncture is very safe. The needles used are one-time-use-only, as required by law. Because needles are only used once, the likelihood of any cross-contamination from a needle is virtually none. Sometimes (rarely), Acupuncture can cause a minor bruise.
WHAT IS AN ACUPUNCTURIST ? WHAT IS AN HERBALIST ?
An Acupuncturist is someone who has completed a Nationally-Accredited Master of Science Degree program either in Traditional Oriental Medicine or Traditional Chinese Medicine. These programs are typically about 4 years in duration and include extensive Biomedical study in addition to Oriental Medical study. In California, these programs can sometimes last a bit longer as the licensing standard is different.
In addition to successfully graduating from a 4-year Masters of Science program, National Licensing Exams must also be passed successfully. Since California has its own licensing standard, it has its own State Board Licensing Exam.
In order to be a Licensed Chinese Herbalist (P.O.M.) in the state of Pennsylvania, one must have an M.S. degree in TCM or TOM and must have passed all 4 National Licensing Exams (Theory, Acupuncture, Biomedicine & Herbology).
Aaron Cashman, L.Ac. , P.O.M., M.S., studied Traditional Chinese Medicine for 4.5 years at Five Branches University in Santa Cruz, CA, including internships in both Taiwan and China. He passed both the California State Board Licensing Exam as well as all 4 National Licensing Exams that include Acupuncture, OM Theory, Biomedicine and Herbal Medicine.
ARE ORIENTAL MEDICINE & TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE (TCM) THE SAME THING ?
The short answer is that they are very similar. The term, Oriental Medicine, is an 'umbrella term' that refers to Traditional Medicine as practiced in China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea. Although the basic way that Oriental Medicine is practiced in these countries is often quite similar from country to country, there are some unique differences.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) refers to the style of Oriental Medicine that is practiced specifically in China. In the US, some acupuncturists will say that they practice TCM, while others will identify more with the term, Oriental Medicine.
WHAT EXACTLY IS ORIENTAL MEDICINE/TCM ANYWAY ?
Oriental Medicine is a complete Medical System that provides both primary and complementary care to its recipients. The Oriental Medical System has 5 Major Branches that, used individually, in pairs or altogether, provide maximum effect for the patient.
These 5 Branches are: Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine & Nutrition Assistance, Tuina/Shiatsu (Chinese/Japanese massage), Moxibustion & Qi Gong. Patients are also sometimes asked to consider making lifestyle/dietary adjustments if the TCM Practitioner believes it will help their condition.
WHAT ILLNESSES DO ACUPUNCTURE & ORIENTAL MEDICINE TREAT ?
Many people associate Acupuncture with Pain Relief. AlthoughAcupuncture, Herbal Medicine and the other branches of Oriental Medicine have been proven by research to greatly relieve pain, Oriental Medicine has the ability to do much much more.
According to the World Health Organization, THERE ARE OVER 100 "Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which the Therapeutic effect of Acupuncture has been shown" (Keep in mind, this statement refers only to the efficacy of Acupuncture alone. The other modalities of Oriental Medicine also treat numerous diseases and conditions as well).
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE SPECIFIC CONDITIONS THAT ORIENTAL MEDICINE TREATS ?
Oriental Medicine/TCM treats Pain in many, various forms, Anxiety, Depression, Insomnia, Allergies, Sciatica, Headaches, adverse reactions to chemotherapy/radiotherapy, Nausea/Vomit/Digestive issues, Morning Sickness, PMS symptoms of all sorts, addictions & alcohol/tobacco/drug/chemical dependency, Bell's Palsy, Female Infertility, Male Sexual Dysfunction, Fibromyalgia, Diabetes Mellitus (non-insulin-dependent), Acne, recurring Urinary Tract Infections, Osteoarthritis, Neurodermatitis, Kidney Stones, PCOS, etc.
The truth is, Oriental Medicine can benefit almost everyone- in every phase of life.
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