Acupuncture

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of the oldest, most commonly used medical procedures in the world. The acupuncture technique that has been most studied scientifically involves penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic needles that are manipulated by the hands or by electrical stimulation. Acupuncture is part of a larger paradigm of medicine found throughout Asia known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

How does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture is one of the key components of the system of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). In the TCM system of medicine, the body is seen as a delicate balance of two opposing and inseparable forces: yin and yang. Yin represents the cold, slow, or passive principle, while yang represents the hot, excited, or active principle. Among the major assumptions in TCM are that health is achieved by maintaining the body in a “balanced state” and that disease is due to an internal imbalance of yin and yang. This imbalance leads to blockage in the flow of qi (vital energy) along pathways known as meridians.

It is proposed that acupuncture produces its effects through regulating the nervous system, thus aiding the activity of pain-killing biochemicals such as endorphins and immune system cells at specific sites in the body. In addition, studies have shown that acupuncture may alter brain chemistry by changing the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones and, thus, affecting the parts of the central nervous system related to sensation and involuntary body functions, such as immune reactions and processes that regulate a person’s blood pressure, blood flow, and body temperature.

What does Acupuncture treat?

When we ask such a question, we tend to be thinking about specific clinical conditions like ‘asthma’ or ‘colitis’. Acupuncture, within the framework of Traditional Oriental Medicine, focuses primarily on the person, and secondarily on the illness.

To fully understand this, you have to turn your thinking on its head a bit. The Classical Acupuncturist usually views your symptoms (the reason you are coming for treatment) as a ‘branch’ expression of an underlying or ‘root’ imbalance.

Your practitioner uses the diagnostic principles and systems of Chinese Medicine to evaluate your root imbalance. A treatment program is then tailored to address the two aspects of your circumstance, the root and the branch. There are situations where the symptoms are so extreme, they must be the exclusive focus of the treatment but it is more common to receive root and branch treatment in the same session.

In many cases, root imbalance diagnosis enables your practitioner to offer appropriate and meaningful lifestyle suggestions in addition to an acupuncture treatment.

Because Acupuncture treats the whole person, it has something to offer almost every condition. In many cases, acupuncture can bring about a complete cure; in others, it is an effective management strategy. Classical Acupuncture can often resolve the pain (rather than merely manage it), however, Classical Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine have a range of application that is far broader than pain conditions.

The World Health Organization recognizes the use of acupuncture in the treatment of a wide range of medical problems, including:

What can I expect and how long does it take?

Initial Consultation and Treatment (90 minutes)
Before acupuncture treatments can be administered, an initial consultation is required. These consultations are diagnostic, highly educational and practical sessions. The practitioner must assess the cause and pathology of the situation. The first visit includes both assessment and first treatment.

Returning Treatment (60 minutes)
Follow-up visits start with a "check-in" to see how the patient is doing and assess how they felt after the previous treatment. This is followed by a treatment.

Acupuncture is an ongoing process, and treatments build on each other. Frequency of treatments depend of the severity of conditions and/or symptoms and how long the patient has been experiencing them. Every body is different, and your acupuncturist will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan.

Herbology

Herbology is an important medical modality utilized in traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Each herbal medicine prescription is a cocktail of many herbs tailored to the individual patient. The principles of Chinese medicine were formed by observation and understanding the natural world. It is said that health, balance, and disease are subject to these principles of the natural order. The practitioner designs a formula using one or two main ingredients that target the illness. Then the practitioner adds many other ingredients to adjust the formula to the patient’s conditions, balancing yin, yang, qi, and blood. Unlike western pharmaceuticals, the balance and interaction of all the ingredients are considered more important than the effect of individual ingredients.

Does BCA accept health insurance?

We accept insurance and will gladly file your insurance claim with your insurance carrier(s). Because there are so many insurance plans out there, and because coverage for Acupuncture and massage therapy varies widely, please call us to find out if your plan covers care in our office. Before you start treatment, our staff would be happy to verify your benefits and explain them to you at no charge.

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