National Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine Day
by Christina Captain, DAOM, MSAOM, MSHN, MA
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day is observed annually on October 24, since its initial commemoration on October 24, 2002. This observance is part of an effort designed to increase public awareness of the progress, promise, and benefits of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine as a whole.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture, a single modality in the complete medical model of Oriental Medicine, is considered to be between 4,000 and 6,000 years old. The World Health Organization recognizes over 43 common disorders that Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine can effectively treat.
These include respiratory disorders such as asthma and allergies, musculoskeletal disorders such as joint pain and arthritis, gastrointestinal disorders such as acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome, gynecological disorders such as painful menstruation and menopausal symptoms, infertility, urinary disorders such as incontinence and sexual dysfunction, psychological disorders such as depression, skin disorders, endocrine disorders, and complimentary treatment to chemo and radiation therapies. This list only represents some of the disorders that can be effectively addressed with Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
One aspect of Traditional Chinese Medical theory, on which acupuncture is based, is the theory of Qi (chi) and meridians. Qi is the vital substance that animates the human body to keep all of its systems and organs functioning properly. Qi must be in ample supply and must flow smoothly without obstruction through the meridians.
Meridians are pathways that Qi flows through. Each meridian is connected to an organ and has several branches throughout the body. Imagine these meridians as streams off of a larger river, and that water flowing through the streams is actually the Qi flowing through the meridian pathways. Imagine that trees lining the banks of the streams fell and blocked the flow of the water through the stream. If we think of this image as the Qi being blocked, then we have a stagnation or stoppage of the flow of Qi. This stagnation of Qi translates into pain or organ system dysfunction.
Acupuncture and herbs allow us to manipulate the flow of Qi in the body, thus relieving pain and restoring organ system dysfunction. For example, if you have an injury to your neck from a car accident, and it results in pain, then theoretically the Qi in your neck is blocked, and an acupuncture treatment should help to relieve the pain by restoring the smooth flow of Qi.
A more scientific theory on acupuncture’s mechanism of action is based on a series of responses by the nervous, hormonal and vascular systems of the body. Common acupuncture effects include the secretion and regulation of neuro-hormones such as serotonin, dopamine, enkephalin and endorphins. The production of these substances creates a balance at the biochemical level of the body, and can imbue a feeling of peace and wellness.
There are now several well-reviewed studies that support acupuncture’s efficacy in the treatment of low backpain, opioid addiction and chemotherapy induced neuropathy. In fact, Acupuncture works so well that Physical Therapists are trying to include it in their practices. It’s called dry needling (except it looks much like Acupuncture), and the current training consists of a weekend course. If you are concerned about the public safety of this, please write, call or visit your state legislator’s office to express your concern.
What Are the Credentials of Acupuncture Physicians?
In the state of Florida, Acupuncture physicians are required to complete a five academic year course of study after meeting the mandatory prerequisites for acceptance, resulting in a Master’s degree. After completing the required didactic and clinical coursework, four National Board examination tests must be passed and malpractice insurance obtained before a license will be issued.
Chapter 457 of the Florida code describes Acupuncture physicians as primary care practitioners who are able to order and utilize laboratory testing. Acupuncture physicians are regulated under the same federal laws and rules in regard to the healthcare privacy act. Specialization in the form of a Doctoral degree is now the terminal degree in the field. Individuals with a Doctoral degree utilize the initials DAOM.
Who has Received Acupuncture?
Nearly one in 10 adults (approximately 20 million people) in the United States has received Acupuncture, and 60% indicate they would readily consider Acupuncture as a treatment option according to the findings of a national survey by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Nearly half (48%) of the individuals surveyed, who had received Acupuncture, reported they were either “extremely satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their treatment.
The truth is that you miss all the shots you do not attempt to make. So, why not give Acupuncture a try? You have nothing to lose. Seek out qualified licensed practitioners and make complementary medicine part of your health maintenance regimen. NCCAOM.org is the national accrediting body for Acupuncture Physicians. Log onto their website to find a board-certified practitioner in your area.
Dr. Christina Captain is nationally board-certified by the National Commission for Certification in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). She is the lead practitioner at the Family Healing Center which she founded in 2000. She earned her Masters degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the Academy of Chinese Healing Arts, Sarasota. In 2014, she earned a Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport, CT, and holds a Doctorate in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine with focus in integrative medicine and pain management from AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, Austin, TX.
Prior to becoming a practitioner of Oriental Medicine, Dr. Captain earned a Master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology and Communication Disorders from the University of Central Florida. She remains an actively licensed speech pathologist in the state of Florida. Dr. Captain is also an expert Feng Shui practitioner and teacher who studied under Nancilee Wydra of the Feng Shui Institute of America, before originating her own style, Essential Balance Feng Shui. Since this discipline is a branch of Oriental Medicine, she often blends Feng Shui principles into her treatment plans.
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