By Donna Kini-Bowen, Acupuncturist, the Day Spa at Celebration Health
Acupuncture is one of the many Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapies now integrated with conventional services in American hospitals. According to a survey conducted in September 2011 by the American Hospital Association, more than 42% of hospitals offer CAM therapies. A National Health Statistic Survey conducted in 2008 showed that more people are trying CAM therapies including Acupuncture. Acupuncture is a unique medical system that supports whole person health by restoring balance and promoting optimal health. “Living a healthy lifestyle can be easy when there are options available to maintain balance of spirit, mind and body.”
Definition of Acupuncture
Acupuncture is a form of primary health care that employs acupuncture diagnosis and treatment as well as adjunctive therapies and diagnostic techniques for the promotion, maintenance and restoration of health and the prevention of disease. Acupuncture includes the insertion of needles and application of moxibustion to the ear, hand, nose, face and scalp. Points can be stimulated by needles, moxibustion, cupping thermal methods, magnets, Gwa-sha scraping techniques, and acupatches. Points can also be manually stimulated with massage, acupressure, reflexology, shiatsu and tui-na, electric stimulation and laser.
As a part of treatment, herbal formals and nutritional guidelines are recommended to enhance acupuncture treatments. Herbs are a powerful adjunct to acupuncture care used to strengthen, build and support the body.
According to the World Health Organization, acupuncture is safe, non-toxic, with minimal side effects.
Acupuncture Therapy Focuses on the Whole Person
Acupuncture is recognized to be effective in the treatment of a wide variety of medical problems. Integrated with conventional therapies, acupuncture can reduce stress and alleviate symptoms associated with conventional treatment including pain, nausea, vomiting and lymphedema.
Pain According to the World Health Organization, Acupuncture therapy is a method of treatment for chronic pain because of the reduction of side effects with long-term use of pain medication and reduced risk of drug addiction. Controlled clinical trials have shown acupuncture to be an effective treatment of facial, knee, low back, neck, sciatica, headache, dental, tennis elbow.
Nausea and vomiting
Recent studies have shown that acupressure applied to a point on the wrist called pericardium 6 thirty minutes before anesthesia will reduce post-operative nausea and vomiting.
Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center have shown that Acupuncture treatment is safe and potentially useful for treating lymphedema. Patients received acupuncture twice a week for 4 weeks for breast cancer related lymphedema and reported a 30% improvement in arm lymphedema with no adverse effects or complications.
Acupuncture can improve overall all health by reducing stress. Animal studies at Georgetown University School of Nursing have shown that acupuncture can block biologic pathways associated with the endocrine system to alleviate stress. Electro-acupuncture applied to acupuncture point Stomach 36 on the leg can reduce levels of hormones in the blood that induce stress.
Acupuncture for Women’s Health
For gynecologic health issues, Acupuncture is gentle and effective in alleviating symptoms including pain, depression, anxiety, fatigue, breast tenderness, insomnia and gastro-intestinal concerns. Other conditions acupuncture is effective is treating are hot flashes, night sweats, endometriosis, fibroids, vaginal discharge, acne, bloating, postpartum depression and exhaustion, infertility, constipation, and poor sleep.
Researchers claim that there is robust evidence of the efficacy of acupuncture therapy today and more research is necessary to better understand the mechanism.
What to Expect
Acupuncture treatments begin with a 90 minute evaluation and treatment session. The Acupuncturist will perform a pulse and tongue diagnosis as well as a detailed health history. Gathering information enables the practitioner to effectively diagnose and detect any specific imbalances that may have contributed to a person’s health problems. The practitioner can then create a well-structured treatment plan typically prescribed for 1-2 weekly sessions for 6-12 weeks. Treatment frequency and number of treatments needed depend on the severity and duration of the problem.
Donna Kini-Bowen is a Florida State Licensed Acupuncturist and certified Diplomat of Oriental Medicine by the National Certification Commission for the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
In practice for more than eight years, Donna specializes in pain management, sports injury and prevention and women’s health.