What is Acupuncture?

Once considered an offbeat alternative treatment in the West, acupuncture has grown in popularity in over the last 40 years. A therapeutic technique rooted in traditional Chinese medicine, with clinical use for nearly 3,500 years, it is now a commonly prescribed therapy in integrative medicine.  Florida law describes acupuncture as

“. . . a form of primary healthcare based on traditional Chinese medical concepts and modern oriental medical techniques, that employs acupuncture diagnosis and treatment, as well as adjunctive therapies and diagnostic techniques, for the promotion, maintenance and restoration of health and the prevention of disease.”

During this typically painless and relaxing treatment, a hair like needle is placed into the skin to stimulate healing.  (We find many patients drift off to sleep during treatment.)  Many believe acupuncture is merely for pain relief, since that is the primary use in the West.  In reality, acupuncture has applications for many systems of the body and has been shown to have clinical effectiveness for treating all types of bodily symptoms.  Therefore, acupuncture serves as ‘medicine’.

According to Acupuncture Today,

“. . . there are as many as 2,000 acupuncture points on the human body, which are connected by 20 pathways (12 main, 8 secondary) called meridians. These meridians conduct energy, or qi (pronounced “chi”), between the surface of the body and its internal organs. Each point has a different effect on the qi that passes through it. Qi is believed to help regulate balance in the body. It is influenced by the opposing forces of yin and yang, which represent positive and negative energy and forces in the universe and human body. Acupuncture is believed to keep the balance between yin and yang, thus allowing for the normal flow of qi throughout the body and restoring health to the mind and body.”

Since the 1970s, the World Health Organization has recognized Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine as effective treatment for nearly 4 dozen ailments.  In 1997 the National Institute of Health released a consensus statement that discussed the accepted use of acupuncture as a confirmed treatment for a number of ailments.  The Veteran Affairs also recognizes acupuncture in treatment of Vets.

Is Acupuncture Safe?

Acupuncture is safe when performed by a licensed professional.  In my opinion, it is always preferred to use a practitioner that uses sterile single use needles.  There are also different types of needles that can contribute to discomfort or to a pain-less experience.  The ‘Mercedes’ of body painless needles are called ‘Seirin‘.  Dr. Skip prefers Auricular Acupuncture where the use of ASP French needles are placed in the ear.  These needles stay in the ear for 3 to 5 days, effectively giving the patient extended acupuncture and symptom relief.

There are a few rare instances where acupuncture may not be for you:

  • If you have a pacemaker you would not want to use what is termed as e-stim (electrical stimulation of acupuncture points) but would want the typical non-electrical acupuncture. (We do not currently employ e-stim in our office).
  • If you are a hemophiliac, the use of needles would also be discouraged.  Patients in this case may request ‘sonopuncture,’ the use of tuning forks on acupuncture points, which has proven to have the same healing affect.  Click here to learn more about Sonopuncture.
  • If a patient has a severe fear or anxiety of needles, even after feeling the fine nature of an acupuncture needle, we would vehemently encourage the use of the ‘sonopuncture’ technique in lieu of acupuncture.  A good physician cannot deny that stress can negate any positive effectiveness of treatment.

Acupoint Injection or “Wet Needling”

Acupoint injections place medicinal substances like herbs, anti-inflammatories, homeopathics and other ‘supplementation’ (in the form of sterile compounds) along with lidocaine, into acupuncture points by means of hypodermic needles.  An example would be the injection of B-12 in the acupuncture points for energy.  Acupoint injections are used in acute instances, to achieve more immediate effects that may otherwise take multiple standard acupuncture treatment sessions.

While our office provides acupuncture services, acupoint injections are a particular specialty of Dr. Skip’s along with other traditional Chinese medicine and naturopathic modalities.

It is important to note that many practicing acupuncturists (e.g. physical therapists, chiropractors) have completed merely a few weeks of study of the discipline, particularly if this is not their primary modality.  In contrast, those who specialize in acupuncture have had much more extensive training.  Dr. Skip holds a doctorate in Oriental Medicine and has many thousands of hours of training and experience in the clinical use of acupuncture.

Whether you are new to acupuncture or are an experienced disciple of this medicine, we would be honored to welcome you to our clinic to experience the Dr. Skip differenceVeterans please click here to learn more about our Community Care Provider Information.