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Acupuncture is a treatment based on Chinese medicine -- a system of healing that dates back thousands of years. It gained attention and began to spread rapidly in the United States in the United States after President Nixon visited China in 1972. Traveling with Nixon was New York Times reporter James Reston, who received acupuncture in China after undergoing an emergency appendectomy. Reston was so impressed with the post-operative pain relief the procedure provided that he wrote about acupuncture upon returning to the United States that year titled "Now, About My Operation in Peking"

According to a small National Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) survey in 2002, an estimated 10% of Americans have tried acupuncture, and about 80% of people satisfies with the the treatment. Those who haven't, two-thirds would consider it. This means about 30 million Americans have tried acupuncture, which is amazing, considering acupuncture is only been in the U.S. for 30 years.

Basing on a survey in 1998 of the literature published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, Western medical doctors are most likely to refer patients for acupuncture (43%) than for chiropractic (40%) or massage (21%). Many MD's are aware of at least some of the science that supports and explains acupuncture.

In 2012, during the London Olympics, acupuncture was widely acknowledged in the Olympic community as an extremely beneficial solution to guaranteeing a higher level of athletic performance. Since London, more and more Olympic athletes have been turning to the needle to and have been receiving excellent results.

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles through the patient's skin at specific points on the body - the needles are inserted to various depths.

Traditional Chinese medicine explains that health is the result of a harmonious balance of the complementary extremes of yin and yang of the life force known as Qi or chiQi is said to flow through 14 meridians (pathways) in the human body. Through 400 acupuncture points along the meridians in the body, these meridians and energy flows may be accessed. Illness is said to be the consequence of an imbalance of the forces or Qi blockages. If needles are inserted into these points with appropriate combinations it is said that the forces can be brought back into proper balance and remove the blockages of energy flow . 


Acupuncture Treatment

The meridians cannot be seen by the naked eye, but modern science has shown that their existence can be detected electrically. Most of the meridians connect to one of the major internal organs, and the Qi power enables the organ to function effectively. Acupuncture stimulates the body's internal regulatory system and nurtures a natural healing response.

A large body of evidence indicates that acupuncture leads to real physiologic changes in the body. Numerous studies have shown, for example, that inserting needles into the skin stimulates nerves in the underlying muscles. This stimulation sends impulses up the spinal cord to a relatively primitive part of the brain known as the limbic system, as well as to the midbrain and the pituitary gland. Somehow that signaling leads to the release neurotransmitters, primarily endorphins, which are the body's pain relievers, the same chemical that produces a sense of relaxation.

Studies also showed that the brain's endorphin had doubled a half hour after acupuncture treatment. The release of painkilling endorphins play a big role in the functioning of the hormonal system. This is why acupuncture works well for headache, neck pain, back pain and arthritis. Endorphin release through acupuncture not only relaxes the whole body but also regulate serotonin in the brain. This is why depression is often effectively treated with acupuncture.

In one study, researchers using brain scans discovered that acupuncture can alter blood circulation within the brain, increasing the blood flow to the thalamus, the area of the brain that relays pain and other sensory messages.

Hundreds of studies are now ongoing in the United States and elsewhere seeking to prove the usefulness of acupuncture for various ailments.

Does acupuncture hurt? / Is acupuncture safe?

Hair-thin Acupuncture Needle

Many people would like to try acupuncture but are put off because they assume it will be painful and may feel that it takes a great deal of courage to 'inflict' the needles on themselves. Actually, the acupuncture needles have no resemblance to hypodermic syringes. Acupuncture needles are solid and hair-thin. At least 20 needles can fit into one conventional hypodermic needle! Also, the acupuncture needles have a doweled end, not a cutting end like most hypodermic needles, and therefore are far less likely to cause tissue damage or bruising when inserted.

Acupuncture needles are gently placed at the specific gateways of the body. Some people feel a sting when an acupuncture needle is inserted but not real pain. It is interesting that, sometimes, patients ask, with eyes closed and teeth clenched, "When are you going to put the needles in?," and they are often surprised to learn that the needles are in place already.

Acupuncture treatment is safe. Infection through needles is prevented by using disposable needles.

What conditions can acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture for Pain
Acupuncturist places fine needles at certain points to release your body's natural painkillers - endorphins for easing headache, neck, and shoulder pain.

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a complete medical system that is capable of diagnosing and successfully treating a wide range of conditions. Acupuncture is also often used as a preventative medicine. Many people see us for routine health maintenance, which we call it as "Health Tune-up" or "Balancing" treatment. This can prevent diseases and promote health, energy and vitality.

In an official report, the WHO has listed symptoms, diseases and conditions that have been shown through controlled trials to be treated effectively by acupuncture. The table below is a list of health problems which are commonly treated.

Commonly Treated Conditions with Acupuncture
(This is NOT a complete list of what Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can treat.)
Emotional & Psycho. Ear, Eye, Nose Gynecological Gastrointestinal
Anxiety Dry Mouth Dysmenorrhea Abdominal Pain
Depression Meniere's Disease Endometriosis Chronic Diarrhea
Fatigue Myopia Infertility Constipation
Insomnia Nervous Deafness Leukorrhea IBD
Stress Ring in the Ears Menopausal Syn. IBS
  Sinusitis PMS Syndrome Gastrodynia
  Sore Throat   Hiccups
      Hyperacidity
      Indigestion
Musculoskeletal Neurological Immune Disorders Injuries
Arthritis Bell's Palsy Lupus Auto Injury
Back Pain Headache Allergies Sports Injury
Carpal Tunnel Syn. Migraine Multiple Sclerosis Work Injury
Golfer's Elbow Parkinson's Disease AIDS Others
Knee Pain Post-operation Pain Addition Acne
Neck Pain Sciatica Alcohol ADHD Syndrome
Shoulder Pain Shingles Drugs Asthma
Tendinitis Stroke Residuals Smoking Cancer
Tendonitis   Circulatory Diabetes
Tennis Elbow   Anemia Eczema
Muscle Spasms   Arteriosclerosis Overweight
    Hypertension Sexual Dysfunction
Do I need to be referred by a medical doctor?

An acupuncturist is considered a primary care provider and a referral may or may not be required for insurance purposes. For more information on insurance, please contact either your insurance company or us directly.

Will my insurance pay for acupuncture?

An increasing number of health insurance providers cover all or part of the cost of what they called "alternative medicine" therapies, which include acupuncture, massage, manual therapies, hot/cold treatment. but it may have restrictions on the types of illnesses they cover. Check with your insurance company to see what your policy offers or simply call us at (408)524-0676 for your benefit verification. Below is a list of some of the insurance companies that we work with:


your insurance may cover it

Health Insurance: Aetna, Cigna, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Landmark, United Healthcare, and many other PPO plans.

Med-Pay Car Insurance: AAA, Allstate, Ameriprise, Farmers, Geico, Mercury, State Farm, Farmer's, and many more.

Workers' Compensation: This is a state-mandated insurance program that provides compensation to employees who suffer job-related injuries, such as falls and cuts, and illnesses related to cumulative trauma, for example, carpal tunnels. As Qualified Medical Evaluators (QMEs) who are certified by the California Division of Workers' Compensation Medical Unit, we have successfully treated many injured patients since 1994.

For the private insurance, the actual covered acupuncture and acupressure benefits also depend on the health plans you selected.

General Guide - Benefits and Coverages
Plan Requires PCP Requires Referrals Pays for
out-of-network care
Acupuncture
Benefits
PPO No No Yes Yes
(most plans)
HMO Yes Yes No No
EPO No No No Maybe
(need to check)
POS Yes Yes Yes
(requires PCP referral)
Maybe
(but requires PCP referral)
 
How many treatments will I need?

The total number of treatments required to effect change in a condition varies dependent upon the disease, and it's severity, whether it's a chronic or recent condition, the frequency of the treatments and the patients general health. Each person is unique. The acupuncture treatment is based on an individualized pattern diagnosis as well as a disease diagnosis. Therefore, the treatment plan is individualized. As a rough guideline, a course of treatment, usually takes 10 sessions, more or less is needed to get the best therapeutic result.

As for the frequency, acute cases should be treated daily for a few days, then in prolonged intervals. However, chronic cases usually need two or three visits per week at beginning. Few more treatments at a week intervals followed a course treatment is recommended to prevent recurrence.