If you are looking for an alternative treatment to treat a range of your health concerns, then you should consider Acupuncture. With a history that spans over 2000 years, it is one of the oldest forms of Chinese medicine. After spreading to Japanese and Korean cultures, Acupuncture was soon introduced into Western culture. But it was not until the 1970s, where Acupuncture gained long-term popularity and interest in America. It is used today by millions of people, as well as medical professionals, across the country.
Acupuncture is a lot more than just sticking needles into people—after all, Acupuncture patients are not voo-doo dolls. Instead, it involves an intricate process that involves anywhere from 3 to 20 needles being inserted along the channel pathways of the body. Also known as “energy highways,” there are about twelve to fourteen main channel points that run along the body, and connect with your central internal organs. According to the CEO and President of the Academy of Oriental Medicine at Austin, William Morris, there are two different methods on needle placement. If you were suffering from acute pain, like a muscle spasm, you would be treated with the local treatment. But if you were having more chronic pain, then you would typically be treated with the distance method. Releasing what is scientifically known as “endorphins,” this therapeutic process is meant to spark natural painkillers within your body to control pain. But if you are still terrified at the thought of needles, you should keep in mind that they aren’t stiff, and thick like the ones you are probably imagining from the last time you gave blood. Since Acupuncture needles are very fine and flexible, they cause minimal discomfort.
So what can Acupuncture do for you? The natural painkillers that are released have been known to treat everything from asthma, and arthritis to stress and chronic fatigue. But as William Morris points out, “one of the biggest misconceptions about Acupuncture is that its application is used primarily for pain.” In fact, the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine has proven that Acupuncture is extremely effective in treating women’s health concerns—such as menstrual cramps or fertility. It has even been known to help women age more gracefully by helping to tackle the wrinkles caused by prolonged muscle tension. As opposed to spending all your money on the short-term effects of Botox, Acupuncture is certainly an affordable alternative. Unlike the focus of Western Medicine, this form of Eastern treatment seeks to also prevent illness and pain. Though Acupuncture has been twisted in many different forms, the original purpose of Acupuncture sought to balance the opposing forces in your body—what is known as your “Ying and Yang.” Placing these needles along the channel pathways helps to fix these imbalances caused by disease or illness, and allows for a better circulation throughout the body.
Despite being a centuries-old practice, there have been skeptics around just as long. Many Western doctors dismiss it as merely some kind of mystic “folk medicine.” This is hard to conceive as many Western medical practices have been adapted by the Asian medicine. Nevertheless, this does shed light on the importance of consulting a licensed professional when deciding if Acupuncture is right for you. As in a lot of different forms of medicine, there are a ton of crack doctors looking to make a buck at the expense of your health. But Acupuncture licensed professionals must first be approved by the Accreditation commission for Acupuncture, and Oriental Medicine. Part of the certification also includes eight hundred hours of practicing acupuncture under the supervision of an experience Acupuncturist. So, take your time to find a licensed professional near you by going on sites like the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture—or www.medicalacupuncture.org.
As third-party insurance reimbursement, and managed care coverage are increasing, it is now more accessible than ever to get your acupuncture treatment covered. Since it is also classified as one of the types Complimentative and Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapies, common insurances like BlueCross, BlueShield and United Healthcare even offer assistance. But before seeing your doctor, you should make sure you get in touch with you insurance to see how many visits they will cover, and whether or not there is a preauthorization process.