New patients to my Austin Acupuncture practice are often surprised to learn that I can treat more than just pain with Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Even now, some 40 years after the introduction of Acupuncture to the US, most people still think of Acupuncture as a treatment for pain. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, folks…
Although the principles of TCM may be difficult for some to wrap their brains around, there is little doubt of the efficacy of the medicine.
By 1997, the National Institute of Health finally jumped on board, declaring that,
“There is sufficient evidence now of Acupuncture’s value to expand it’s use into conventional medicine.”
They followed by stating that,
“One of the advantages of Acupuncture is that the incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than that of many drugs or other accepted medical procedures used for the same conditions…such as anti-inflammatory medications and steriod injections [for pain], and the evidence supporting these conventional therapies is no better than that for Acupuncture.”
Even the NIH and the World Health Organization (WHO), have recognized Acupuncture and TCM to be effective in treating over 56 different conditions, with a far greater therapeutic reach than just treating for pain relief.
According to a study published by the Archives of Internal Medicine, as many as 51% of medical doctors are finally recognizing the efficacy and value that TCM has to offer patients, and they refer patients to see qualified Acupuncturists more than any other alternative care provider.
Interestingly, thousands of physicians, dentists, and other conventional health care practitioners regularly use Acupuncture for relief of a variety of ailments.
More Americans are also using Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine and other components of Traditional Chinese Medicine than ever before. Currently more than 10 million adults in the U.S. have used acupuncture at some time in the past, or are using it currently. A pretty phenomenal number when you consider that Acupuncure didn’t exist in the US until Nixon first brought it back from China in the early 1970’s.
The reasons for the recent increasing interest in, and use of Acupuncture and TCM is mostly due to word-of-mouth of its extraordinary effectiveness, affordability and lack of adverse side-effects compared to Western medicine.
So how does it work? Chinese Medicine is based on a very simple principle: that is that the mind and various body systems are not viewed as separate parts and pieces, but as part of an energetic, interconnected system. That holistic philosophy is always present in the mind of a TCM practitioner and is reflected continuously throughout the entire theory and practice of the medicine.
After gathering a thorough health history, observing your symptoms and signs, and taking into account your absolute uniqueness as an individual, Acupuncturists are able to determine the underlying imbalance(s) that you and your body are experiencing. Seemingly unrelated symptoms and conditions, when looked at holistically, point to an underlying “root conditions,” the correction of which will ultimately be the target of your Acupuncture treatments.
Currently, there are a number of modern medical theories as to how exactly acupuncture works. It was once thought that inserting needles into specific parts of the body affected nerves and could inhibit their signal transmission. This was thought to explain why acupuncture could treat pain so well. But when doctors mapped the acupuncture points over the known nerve network they found that there was some correlation, but not nearly enough to explain most of its effects. Another theory stated that acupuncture stimulates the release of opioids and endorphins in the central nervous system. Although this could explain certain analgesic effects, it could not explain many others. The most current theory speculates that acupuncture points are actually strategic conductors of electromagnetic signals throughout the body. Stimulating points along the meridian pathways influences neurotransmitter rates and resets the polarity of different parts of the body. This latest theory is by far the most comprehensive and most promising explanation for why acupuncture works in Western medical terminology.
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine work as an effective alternative and adjunct treatment modality to conventional techniques and medications. It is extremely safe, highly effective and a completely natural approach to regaining and maintaining health and well-being, both mentally, physically and emotionally.
This information brought to you by your friendly neighborhood Austin Acupuncturist, Melanie Irvine, L.Ac., MAOM, owner Turning Point Wellness. For more info about how Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine, and natural nutrition can help you achieve vibrant health and well-being. Feel free to visit my website, www.TurningPointAcupuncture.net for more details and direct contact information.