One of the world’s oldest forms of medicine, has been practiced for over 5000 years. Acupuncture is a vital component of the health care systems of Japan, China, Vietnam, Korea and other countries in the Orient; however, it is relatively new in the United States. The goal of both Western medicine and Acupuncture is to return the patient to a state of health; these two modalities have the same goal but differ in fundamental philosophy.
When talking about Acupuncture, people should know that there are many types of Acupuncture and it has always been different school thoughts practiced in the Far East for over 2000 years. This diversity makes it harder for the layperson to know where to go and what kind of Acupuncture to get treated by. Many types of Acupuncture are a way of helping to remove pain. For anyone suffering from pain, which sometimes gets to be quite intolerable, is a very valid type of practice, which falls on a more symptomatically type. There is also the anesthetic Acupuncture, which by just inserting a few needles into the patient, surgeries were performed while the patient was conscious and free of pain. This type of Acupuncture validates the system and it shows that is not placebo effect when a major surgical procedure can be performed on a conscious person without any pain whatsoever. The theory of Oriental Medicine holds that the energy that animates the body, mind and spirit of a human being is called Qi (‘chee’). Western medical science has yet to define the nature of Qi energy, but it now acknowledges the large body of empirical evidence that the therapies of Oriental Medicine are safe and effective.
Classical Five Element Acupuncture was brought to the West in the 1950’s by an Englishman, Professor J.R. Worsley, who was universally acknowledged as the father and master teacher of Five Element Acupuncture. Five Element Acupuncture’s goal is to achieve health through the integration of the Spirit, Mind and Body, by finding the underlying cause of the Chi (vital energy) imbalance, then restoring that balance in order to affect a complete cure and return the person to a state of good health.
Illness occurs when the Chi is out of balance and only when chi is restored to balance, nature is enabled to restore the body to health. Five elements works in harmony with nature to promote your health and it is the classical method of acupuncture handed down orally from master to student. The differing qualities of Qi expressed in the cycle of the seasons serve as a model for understanding how the five element manifest in a person.
According to Classical Five Element Acupuncture pain is nothing more than a distress signal telling you that something is going wrong. Those signals vary from person to person, from headaches, to arthritis, to migraines, to bronchitis, to depression and more. An easy way of understanding this concept is thinking about a car with a blinking light telling you is time to change the oil, that is your signal to stop and service the car. However you could take the bulb out and the car would continue running, then miles down the road the car stops and now you have a blown engine. It’s the same thing with our bodies, when we get that signal that something is going wrong so we have to stop and find out what is causing the distress. Five Element Acupuncture is the equivalent to that regular service and tune up.
The Chinese noticed over 2000 years ago that disease is just not of the body, but also of the mind and of the spirit. Five elements Acupuncturist is trained in understanding natural laws and using these to diagnose, assist the body, mind and spirit to move back into full health. The Classical Acupuncture is a simple method that explains how the Chinese first saw disease. We have 10 organs and 2 functions in our bodies and when these organs and functions are working in harmony to each other, it is impossible for a person to be sick. Every disease known is simply a result of one or more organs not functioning as they are suppose to.
Chinese medicine concept.
Acupuncture needles and a sign of health.
The five element practitioner will look for disharmony in the energy of the body through various ways. They will look for blocks between the acupuncture meridians which are suppose to flow like rivers around the body and look for which of the 5 elements is the weakest and how that effects the person as a whole. Unfortunately in the west, many people turn to Acupuncture only when their disease is long-standing and Western medical therapies have been less than successful.
The five Elements are: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood
Which one are you?
Is the element of summer and is associated with the emotion of joy. Fire people love to reach out and be in relationship with all people. They enjoy to laugh and sometimes they carry a sadness or lack of joy deeper in themselves.
Is the element of late summer and is associated with the emotion of sympathy. Earth people have the ability to nourish like a mother can nourish a child. Food and understanding is very important to them. Sometimes they feel a sense of emptiness or neediness in their own life.
Is the element of winter and is associated with the emotion fear. Water people have a persistence and determination and will often excel in situations that others find too scary. Sometimes they might hide a deep sense of being frozen or washed away by their fear.
Is the element of autumn and is associated with the emotion of grief. Metal people search for what is pure and spiritual. They set the highest standards for themselves and others and respect is very important to them. Sometimes they live a sense of what could have been.
Is the element of spring and is associated with the emotion anger. Wood people excel or have trouble in planning, decisions, and action. The future and their ability to see it can be their strength. When out of balance they may procrastinate or have a sense of no hope.
The World Organization and the National Institute of Health have declared acupuncture to be suitable for treating a wide range of health concerns.
According to a nationwide survey of Acupuncture users by Claire M. Cassidy, Ph.D.:
Improvement of symptoms after Acupuncture treatment
Said they see their MD's less
Said they use fewer prescription drugs
FAQ – DEMYSTIFYING ACUPUNCTURE
1. What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a 2000 year old ancient form of medicine and the most commonly used medical practices in the world. Acupuncture is the insertion of very thin needles in specific points of the body. The Eastern explains the Acupuncture regulates the body Qi (pronounced “chee”), or “life force”, which flows in the body along pathways called meridians. The West explains Acupuncture as being the stimulation of specific points located near or on the surface of the skin, which have the ability to alter various biochemical and physiological conditions in the body.
2. How does Acupuncture work?
There are many different answers to that question and is not a simple one. Several studies have shown that various biochemical and physiological changes happened to the body during an Acupuncture treatment. One of the explanations says that Acupuncture points are areas of designated electrical sensitivity and inserting a needle at these points stimulates various sensory receptors and in turn stimulates nerves that transmit impulses to the hypothalamic-pituitary system at the base of the brain. These glands are responsible for releasing neurotransmitters and endorphins, the body’s natural pain killing hormones. The substances released as a result of treatment relaxes the whole body and regulates serotonin in the brain which plays a role in human and animal disposition.
3. Is Acupuncture only good for pain?
No, that is a very common misconception. As explained before, Acupuncture brings on various biochemical and physiological responses in the body. For example, the Endorphins play a big role in the functioning of the hormonal system and are 200 times more potent than morphine. The release of such endorphins not only helps with pain but also PMS and infertility. Serotonin levels have been connected to depression, so the increase of those levels is how Acupuncture is a great alternative to the treatment of depression. The physiological effects observed throughout the body during an acupuncture treatment includes increased circulation, decreased inflammation, relief of pain, relief of muscle spasms, and increase of T-cell count which stimulates the immune system.
4. What can Acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture can treat an array of different ailments. The World Health Organization (WHO) – the health branch of the United Nations found Acupuncture to be effective in the treatment of over 50 common problems and well as the National Institute of Health (NIH). Some of the most common include: addiction, anxiety, asthma, arthritis, bronchitis, carpal tunnel, fatigue, constipation, dental pain, common cold, depression, digestive trouble, eye problems, diarrhea, dizziness, fibromyalgia, headaches, migraines, menopause, nausea, vomiting, sinusitis, tennis elbow, stress, sleep disturbances, sciatica, pneumonia, menstrual irregularities, indigestion, facial palsy, frozen shoulder, fertility, numbness, pain and more. The USAir Force treats everything from battlefield wounds to post-traumatic disorder (PTSD) with Acupuncture.
5. Does Acupuncture cause side effects?
Yes, the most common side effects of Acupuncture are very pleasant and include: better sleep, more energy, mental clarity, better digestion and less stress. The less pleasant is emotional release, lightheadness, occasional bruising and muscle twitching.
6. Does it hurt?
No, most people relax during treatments and find it to be restful. Some people report a mild tingling, heaviness, warmth or a dull ache at the acupuncture point, which is the sensation of Qi moving. Acupuncture needles are not hollow needles like that ones used to take blood or give injections. They are very fine. solid and as thin as a human hair. Most patients are very surprised of how relaxed and calm they feel and for some patients; it is their only chance for a “time out” from life.
7. How long is a session?
An acupuncture session can last from 15 minutes to a full hour. It depends on the patient and the illness. Every patient is different and unique and requires a customized approach to their care.
8 Can Acupuncture help me?
Acupuncture is suitable for all ages including babies, children and the elderly. It is very effective and it can be integrated with conventional medicine.
9. How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments required depends on the severity and duration of the symptoms to be addressed. For chronic health conditions of years of even life-long duration, a longer course of treatment is normally required.
10. Does my insurance cover acupuncture?
Several health insurance as well as Workman’s compensation cover for Acupuncture treatment. When calling to make your appointment, make sure to give your insurance information and have the office check on your benefits.
11. How do I find a reputable Acupuncture physician?
Acupuncture physicians in Florida are licensed and they are trained 3-4 years at an accredited graduate program after their 4 years undergraduate degree. Acupuncturists may be certified by the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, ( NCCAOM), a national organization established to regulate the practice. After passing national examinations, Acupuncturists are designated as board certified or diplomates. The NCCAOM maintains a directory of certified practitioners on their website, www.NCCAOM.org. Some physicians offer treatment known as medical acupuncture, a kind of mini acupuncture based on a much shorter course study, normally 200 to 300 hours. An accredited study program in acupuncture includes 1700 to 2500 hours of graduate study. Make sure to look for a qualified Acupuncture physician that has had the extensive study.
12. What should I expect on my first visit?
The first treatment is normally a longer session and it lasts from 45 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes. You will be asked to eat a light meal and refrain from drinking alcohol before and after treatment. Acupuncture is a great system and it treats the whole patient and the individual’s unique pattern of illness, not just their symptoms. Instead of feeling frustrated by conventional methods, I urge you to look into Acupuncture for a possible alternative. In just a few sessions you could experience relief from any one of dozens of hard to treat conditions by stimulating your own body healing abilities, something prescribed drugs cannot do. Monique Bain, L.Ac, Dpl.Ac.