While some of you are very familiar with acupuncture treatments and Chinese medicine, and even have regular treatments, others of you may be unfamiliar with why and when acupuncture and/or Chinese herbs are indicated.
My first response for when acupuncture is recommended would be in any and all pain conditions. This would include acute (sudden onset) and chronic pain, and pre- and post-op. Some more commonly seen conditions here in the clinic are headaches, all musculoskeletal conditions, including neck, knee, shoulder, low back, tendonitis, bursitis, abdominal pain, and menstrual pain.
Acupuncture can be particularly effective in nausea and vomiting, and especially hyper emesis in pregnancy. And in stroke patients, the sooner the acupuncture the initial event, the better their prognosis.
As spring approaches, allergies and sinus symptoms are very often relieved with acupuncture. And a few favorites of mine include insomnia, stress and a lowered immune system.
Chinese medicine refers to the herbs that may be prescribed for the condition. These herbs are usually a Chinese herbal formula. In many cases, herbs may be prescribed concurrently with the acupuncture.
It has been my experience that Chinese herbs and acupuncture are most people’s LAST resort of treatment. Yet, from clinical experience, patients who have acupuncture and Chinese herbs as a first line of treatment, or even regularly, as prevention, may often save themselves from prolonged discomfort and many unnecessary invasive medical procedures.
The theory of how acupuncture works is based on the theory of yin and yang, the balance of energy. From a practical matter, an explanation I use often is that by choosing specific points in the body, and inserting a very fine hair-like needle in these points, a specific response is elicited. For example in pain cases, specific points may help the body produce its own endorphins, others decrease inflammation, and others may relax the muscles etc. It is the clinical expertise of the acupuncturist that determines the combination of points and length of time that are used for a specific patient. Not all acupuncturists’ clinical expertise is equal and results may vary between practitioners.
For those who have tried acupuncture for one symptom and it didn’t work, don’t rule it out as a possible treatment of something else. The body is complex and ever changing. Acupuncture is a most dynamic in the moment type of treatment and has been shown to be very effective in some people for a vast number of disorders. Why not consider acupuncture today for that nagging shoulder, knee, elbow, or low back pain before the golf, hiking, or biking season? They do say “Prevention is a pound of Cure”.