Acupuncture is a 3,000-year-old healing technique of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In 1997, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) documented and publicized acupuncture’s safety and efficacy for treating a wide range of conditions. Acupuncture is now covered by many insurance policies and is used most broadly to relieve pain.
Acupuncture improves the body’s functions and promotes the natural self-healing process by stimulating specific anatomic sites–commonly referred to as acupuncture points, or acupoints. The most common method used to stimulate acupoints is the insertion of fine, sterile needles into the skin. Pressure, heat or electrical stimulation may further enhance the effects. Other acupoint stimulation techniques include: soft tissue treatment, moxibustion or heat therapy, cupping, and the application of topical herbal medicines and liniments/oils.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on an ancient philosophy that describes the universe and the body in terms of two opposing forces: yin and yang. When these forces are in balance, the body is healthy. Energy, called “qi” (pronounced “chee”) flows along specific pathways, called meridians, throughout the body. This constant flow of energy keeps the yin and yang forces balanced. However, if the flow of energy gets blocked, like water getting stuck behind a dam, the disruption can lead to pain, lack of function, or illness. Acupuncture therapy can release blocked qi in the body and stimulate function, evoking the body’s natural healing response through various physiological systems. Modern research has demonstrated acupuncture’s effects on the nervous system, endocrine and immune systems, cardiovascular system, and digestive system. By stimulating the body’s various systems, acupuncture can help to resolve pain, and improve sleep, digestive function, and sense of well-being.
Many couples trying to get pregnant find themselves turning to an age-old treatment for help, acupuncture. Today’s high-tech reproductive specialists are looking to the somewhat mysterious world of Chinese medicine to help those fertility patients for whom western science alone is not quite enough. Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicine treatment that relies on the painless but strategic placement of tiny needles into a “grid-like” pattern that spans the body, from head to toe. The needles are used to stimulate certain key “energy points” believed to regulate spiritual, mental, emotional and physical balance. And, for many women, it’s often just what the doctor ordered. “It can allow you to cross the line from infertile to fertile by helping your body function more efficiently, which in turn allows other, more modern reproductive treatments, like IVF, to also work more efficiently,” says James Dillard, MD, assistant clinical professor, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and clinical adviser to Columbia’s Rosenthal Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. But increasing the odds of IVF is not the only way acupuncture can help. It can also work to stimulate egg production in women who can’t — or don’t want to — use fertility medications to help them get pregnant.
Acupuncture For Hot Flashes and other Menopausal Symptoms
Hormones are very powerful, as any woman going through menopause can tell you. Declining estrogen levels can cause a multitude of unpleasant symptoms – hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, mood swings, bone loss and depression to name a few. Often women will go on medications to deal with such symptoms if they are severe enough. From a Chinese medicine perspective we view menopause as a natural transition that can be made easier by using a combination of herbs and acupuncture. Acupuncture is a very balancing modality which meets people wherever they are and guides them to a better place, so it’s perfectly suited to menopause, which is experienced differently for every woman. Several studies have demonstrated that acupuncture does reduce hot flashes: http://www.everydayhealth.com/health-report/guide-to-managing-menopause/sanjay-gupta/acupuncture-hot-flashes-3904.aspx Even though these studies were specifically looking at hot flashes, acupuncture by its nature is holistic and treats the whole person, not just one symptom. Any transition is a challenge, almost by definition. But transition can be made easier.
Our Acupuncture Staff:
Walter Scott MA, L.Ac completed his acupuncture studies at Tai Sophia Institute in December 2008. Prior to that he earned a MA in Clinical Psychology and has worked in the mental health field as a counselor, behavior specialist and a hospital admissions coordinator. He has nearly a decade of experience combining these unique skills to successfully treat individuals with a wide variety of conditions. Walter is a husband and father to 3 sons. He enjoys spending time outdoors in a variety of activities, and is active in the Boy Scouts of America.