So what really is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one branch of a holistic healing modality called Traditional Chinese Medicine.  TCM is one of the oldest systems of medicine in the world, dating back more than 3000 years. The basic principles of acupuncture are as follows:  There are fourteen major energy channels called meridians that course throughout the human body.  A subtle energy called Qi (pronounced chee) circulates via the meridians to all parts of the body.  This subtle energy is similar to the electrical impulses measured by an EKG, (electrocardiogram).   Qi is our life force, its balanced unimpeded flow is critical to sound health. Any misdirection, blockage, or imbalance in the amount or flow of Qi may result in pain, dysfunction and ill health.  Using fine, sterile, and disposable needles the acupuncturist stimulates certain points along the course of the meridians.  This stimulation helps restore the normal balance and flow of Qi so organs and bodily systems can work together in harmony as intended.  This allows the body to repair itself and maintain its own health. The other branches of TCM are herbal medicine, massage, nutrition, and tai qi/qi gong.   Acupuncture being the most practiced part here in the U.S.


The use of TCM first came to the U.S. with the immigration of the people from China. It wasn’t until the early 1970’s when President Nixon opened communication with China that the awareness of acupuncture really began.  In 1971 Secretary of State Henry Kissinger went to China with a journalist from the New York Times named James Reston.  While in China, Reston had an emergency appendectomy with acupuncture used as an anesthetic.  It was also used to relieve his postoperative pain and discomfort with great success.  This brought great notoriety to acupuncture and inspired public interest in this form of treatment.


How does one become a practitioner of TCM?  Aside from having a great desire to see patients happy with their health care, one needs about 3 years of undergraduate work and four years of graduate work in the study of TCM.  Upon completion of your course work you must then apply for, take and pass a state licensing exam.  California is currently the only state with its own exam.


By now you’re probably asking yourself, what can acupuncture and TCM do for me?  If you are someone who has unresolved health issues or want to maintain your current health and prevent disease before is occurs, TMC can help by enhancing recuperative power and immunity, support physical and emotional health and improve overall function and well-being.  Acupuncture is a safe, effective and drug-free medicine that can treat a wide variety of common ailments.


For the many people out there who say to me,  “I don’t believe in acupuncture”, just remember you don’t have to.  It’s not a religion or belief system.  It is a medicine that’s meant to prevent and treat illness as well as support overall health.  It can also compliment western medicine by increasing the efficacy of prescription medication as well as reduce their side effects.

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