What Is Acupuncture?
Sep 30, 2016 12:13PM
by Christina Captain, DAOM (c), MSAOM, MSHN, MA
Acupuncture, a single modality in the complete medical model of Oriental Medicine, is considered 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 (e.g. asthma and allergies), musculoskeletal disorders (e.g. joint pain and arthritis), gastrointestinal disorders (e.g. acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome), gynecological disorders (e.g. painful menstruation, menopausal symptoms and infertility), urinary disorders (e.g. incontinence and sexual dysfunction), psychological disorders (e.g. depression), skin disorders, endocrine disorders and complimentary treatments to chemo and radiation therapies. This list only represents some disorders that can effectively be 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, keeping its systems and organs functioning properly. Qi must be in ample supply and 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 meridians as streams of a larger river, and the water flowing through these streams is actually the qi flowing through the meridian pathways. Then, imagine the trees lining the banks of each stream are blocking the water’s flow. This is similar to how qi becomes blocked, causing a stagnation or stoppage of its flow. This stagnation of qi translates into pain or organ system dysfunction.
Acupuncture and herbs allow us to manipulate the qi flow in our bodies, relieving pain and restoring organ system dysfunction. For example, if your neck becomes injured from a car accident and results in pain, then theoretically, the qi in your neck is blocked, and an Acupuncture treatment should help to relieve the pain by restoring a smooth qi flow.
A more scientific theory on Acupuncture’s mechanism of action is its basis on a series of responses by the nervous, hormonal and vascular systems. 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 body’s biochemical level, and can imbue a feeling of peace and wellness.
In fact, Acupuncture works so well that even Physical Therapists have begun including the modality in their own practices. They call it “dry needling,” and the current training consists of a weekend course. However, if you are skeptical about this, please write, call or visit your 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 can order and utilize laboratory testing. Acupuncture physicians are regulated under the same federal laws and rules in regard to the Healthcare Privacy Act. Moreover, specialization in the form of a Doctoral degree is now the terminal degree in this 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 survey findings from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Nearly half (48%) of these individuals surveyed who had received Acupuncture reported they were either “extremely” or “very” satisfied satisfied with their treatments.
Why Not Try Acupuncture for Yourself?
The truth is you miss all the shots which you don’t attempt to make. So, why not give Acupuncture a try? You have nothing to lose. Seek out qualified licensed practitioners and utilize this complementary medicine modality. NCCAOM.org is the national accrediting body for Acupuncture Physicians. Log onto their website to find a board-certified practitioner in your area.
Christina Captain is a nationally board-certified and Florida-licensed acupuncture physician and the lead practitioner at the Family Healing Center which she founded in 2000. In 2014, she earned a Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport, Connecticut, and is currently a candidate for the Doctorate in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine with a focus in integrative medicine from AOMA––Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, Austin, Texas. (2016). Captain’s knowledge and enthusiasm for health and wellness has earned her a reputation as a qualified lecturer, keynote speaker and experienced teacher throughout the United States. To meet Dr. Captain, call 941-951-1119 and schedule your free meet-and-greet.