What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the stimulation of certain acupuncture “points” located throughout the body. Stimulation is often by the insertion of fine metallic needles into the skin and deeper tissues at these points. Acupuncture points can also be stimulated by hand, often called acupressure, laser light, and heat.
Acupuncture is widely practiced in the US with an estimated 3.1 million Americans receiving treatments from acupuncture providers.
Prerequisites for admission to an acupuncture program include three years of college credits with special emphasis on biology, chemistry, and psychology. Most entrants have a bachelor’s or higher degree. The educational program is four academic years. Course work is a combination of traditional acupuncture theory and practice in which the philosophical and energetic concepts of acupuncture along with coursework in biomedicine as conceptualized and taught in most medical schools. The blending of traditions thousands of years old with contemporary understanding of anatomy, physiology, health, diet and nutrition provides unique training in a set of tools to enhance human health.
In addition to national certifications, a practitioner must obtain and maintain a license in the jurisdiction where they practice. State laws generally govern the licensing of acupuncture providers. The profession is overseen by a board comprised of providers and public members. In some states the profession is licensed by the state medical board. Currently, 43 states plus the District of Columbia require the passage of the NCCAOM examinations or NCCAOM certification as a prerequisite for licensure. All but four states require licensure in order to practice legally. State licensure is a baseline assurance of quality and safety of the practitioner.
Once they have formulated a treatment plan for you, the acupuncturist will place extremely fine, flexible, sterile, single-use needles at specific acupuncture points on your body. When the needles are inserted, you may experience a sensation of tingling or warmth.
There is little sensitivity to the insertion of acupuncture needles. Skilled acupuncturists cause virtually no pain. The acupuncturist may twirl the needles or apply heat or a weak electrical current to enhance the effects of the therapy. Sensations of pressure or tingling are common. In general the sensation of an acupuncture treatment is quite pleasant as endorphins are released and circulate throughout the body during a treatment session.
Providers usually ask their patients about unexpected pain with needling. It is of course important for an acupuncture patients to let their acupuncturist know of any unusual pain or discomfort so that the practitioner can adjust or remove any painful needle application.
- TMJ Pain/Disorder
- Back Pain
- Musculoskeletal Problems
- Chronic Fatigue
- Post-operative Recovery
- Men’s Health
- Women’s Health
Discuss any current healthcare concerns with your provider before beginning treatment.