National Acupuncture and 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 is part of an effort designed to increase public awareness of the progress, promise and benefits of acupuncture and Oriental medicine.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture, a single modality in the complete medical model of Oriental Medicine is 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 treatments to chemo and radiation therapies. This list only represents some of the disorders that can 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 and keeps its systems and organs functioning properly. Qi must be in ample supply to flow smoothly without obstruction through the meridians. Meridians are pathways that the qi flows through. Each meridian is connected to an organ and has several branches throughout the body.
Imagine these meridians were streams off a larger river and that water flowing through the streams is the qi flowing through the meridian pathways. Imagine trees lining the banks of the streams fell and blocked the flow of 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 system dysfunction.
Acupuncture and herbs can help manipulate the flow of qi in the body, relieving pain and restoring organ system dysfunction. For example, if you have an injury to your neck in a car accident which results in pain, then theoretically, the qi in your neck is blocked, and an acupuncture treatment should help to relieve the pain to restore 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 several reviewed studies that support acupuncture’s efficacy in the treatment of low back pain, opioid addiction and chemotherapy induced neuropathy.
In fact, Acupuncture works so effectively that Physical Therapists are trying to include it in their practices. This is called dry needling (which resembles acupuncture), and the current training consists of a weekend course. If you are concerned about the public safety of this acupuncture offshoot, please write or call your state legislator’s office to express concern.
What are the Credentials of Acupuncture Physicians?
In the state of Florida, Acupuncture physicians are required to complete a five-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 regarding 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 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 “extremely” or “very” satisfied with their treatments.
What causes this dissatisfaction?
The truth is that you miss all the shots you do not attempt to make. So why not give Acupuncture an attempt, considering you have nothing to lose? Seek out qualified licensed practitioners in complementary medicine. 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. 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. Family Healing Center is located at 2650 Bahia Vista St., Suite 101, Sarasota. For more information, call 941-951-1119 or email Dr_Captain@FamilyHealingCenter.com.
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