Acupuncture is a central aspect of ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that has been practiced for thousands of years. It is understood much of the medicine evolved over time by seers, sages and Taoists who lived very closely with nature. Through there direct experiences of insight into how energy, referred to as qi (alternately spelled chi) move in the human body they developed acupuncture along with Tai Chi and Qigong as techniques to main health and harmony.
While some research traces this practice back to the Stone Age, the earliest medical document specifically describing acupuncture is the Huangdi Neijing (History of Acupuncture) created around 305-204 B.C. This practice rapidly spread through East Asia for the next 2000 years, but remained relatively unknown to western civilization until the 1970s. James Reston, a writer for The New York Times, wrote an article after undergoing an emergency appendectomy while visiting China. Acupuncture was used to treat his post-operative discomfort. In addition, President Nixon himself underwent acupuncture and recommended it as a legitimate medical treatment. Interest increased over the years, resulting in a multitude of studies on the efficacy of the treatment discovering it is indeed very effective in treating many conditions.
Acupuncture strengthens and harmonizes the flow of qi (energy) in the body by the insertion of very fine needles into specific points. Acupuncture points are located along various pathways known as meridians and when stimulated they mobilize qi, invigorate blood flow, relax muscles, calm the nervous system and more. Within an acupuncture treatment, the acupuncturist will determine which points to stimulate based on his or her diagnosis of the medical condition. This diagnosis often encompasses inquiry about present symptoms, health history intake, pulse, tongue, facial diagnosis, and palpation. Treatments are often painless and very relaxing and practitioners should let the patient know how many treatments may be necessary to bring about the desired result. Moreover acupuncture can be used preventatively to keep health conditions from arising and to promote longevity. Acupuncture is used to treat, chronic pain, sinus issues, asthma, colds, stress, anxiety, arthritis, constipation, muscle spasms, sprains, addiction, obesity, PMS, infertility, menopause and much more.
The World Health Organization confirmed in 2003 that acupuncture has been proven to treat a number of illnesses, including depression, reactions to chemotherapy, headaches, arthritis, sciatica, and even stroke, to name a few. While China is the birth place of acupuncture presently various styles in addition to traditional Chinese acupuncture are practiced around the globe. Today there are Japanese and Korean styles as well as 5 Element acupuncture, Zang Fu theory acupuncture, and Balance Method Acupuncture, to name a few. Acupuncture performed by the hands of a well educated and skillful practitioner can be very helpful.
Licensed acupuncturists undergo 3000 hours (3-4 years) of study and training received from an accredited institution, and hold a Master’s level degree in Acupuncture and/or Oriental Medicine. In many states medical doctors can practice acupuncture under there medical license with as little as 200 hours of training.
Acupuncturists can also attain higher level certification through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), the main accreditation body for acupuncture.
A Diplomate of Acupuncture is an acupuncturist who is certified by the NCCAOM. It is a considerable professional achievement to earn the designation Diplomate of Acupuncture (NCCAOM). NCCAOM certification indicates to employers, patients, and peers that one has met national standards for the safe and competent practice of acupuncture as defined by the acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM) profession. National board certification in acupuncture has been the mark of excellence in AOM since the inception of the Commission in 1982. Every certified NCCAOM Diplomate must abide by the NCCAOM® Code of Ethics.
Credentials and Regulation Bodies
Currently, forty-four states in the United States license acupuncturists while the other six do not regulate acupuncturists. These states are Alabama, Kansas, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wyoming.
The American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM) is the main professional association for acupuncture.
Acupuncture sessions can be offered in private or community sessions. An hour-long private session is on average $60-100 and a community session may vary from $30 to $50.
To learn more about acupuncture, visit the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM) or the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).