Our acupuncture mascots for the Kenton Community Health Project

…. and excuses!

if you have been looking for another way to address a health concern, or thinking about trying acupuncture for the past year (which people tell me they have!)

then click here

or read on if there are still have some concerns:

Myth: My doctor won’t recommend acupuncture

Fact: In fact many more doctors are referring their patients for acupuncture treatment, especially for people who are not seeing benefits of other treatments or medications. There are conditions that are best treated by western medicine with acupuncture as “complementary care” and others where acupuncture is the more appropriate treatment to try first. When patients come in for a first health assessment and treatment and tell me “doctors have always told me that my symptoms don’t make any sense” I often get to tell them that their symptoms make perfect sense to me, sometimes even being almost “textbook” in Chinese Medicine. I rarely hear of anyone getting negative feedback from their doctor, if you do, your doctor probably just hasn’t ever tried acupuncture!

Myth: Acupuncture is voodoo, woo-woo, is based on superstitious beliefs, or is “new age” medicine.

Fact:  I actually had a patient tell me once that one thing that was working against the acupuncture profession is the “hippie factor”. In response I’d have to say that acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is actually a challenging profession. After completing a 3000 hours of advanced clinical training  to earn a  Masters Degree, acupuncturists need to pass a national exam, take annual continuing education classes, and are licensed by the State Board of Medical Examiners. Anyone who hasn’t gone through this process, is wearing an abundance of tye dye, has a package of acupuncture needles, and seems to be under the influence of psychedelic drugs, is maybe someone you want to avoid.  Regulations and licensing vary from state to state, if you want more details click here

As far as acupuncture being voodoo or superstition (or placebo), there are a number of scientific studies about acupuncture – and while they may not have figured out exactly how acupuncture works, they have documented that it makes changes in the body and the brain.  For example, when an acupuncture needle is inserted, it stimulates your peripheral nerves (those far from your brain), which sends impulses to your brain to release endorphins.  Endorphins are chemicals that act as your body’s natural pain relievers.  Those endorphins work much like the drugs morphine and codeine, but are completely natural and more effective in reducing pain.  Endorphins can also have the effect of producing euphoric feelings, modulating appetite, and releasing sex hormones.  In addition, at the site where the needle was inserted, researchers have found that white blood cell count increases up to 40%.

Myth:  You have to belong to an Eastern religion for acupuncture to work.

Fact: Acupuncture originates from China.  And many cultural philosophies have influenced the Chinese Medicine Theory throughout the ages.

However, acupuncture works based on repeated careful observations through clinical experience, and does not require you to belong to one religious belief or another.  People with many different beliefs both practice and receive acupuncture.

Myth: Acupuncture is expensive (or has to be expensive to be effective)

Fact: Many practitioners are working hard to change this and make acupuncture a more accessible method of health care. In my clinic I offer low cost community treatments, accept insurance, and offer treatment packages. There are many factors that contribute to how effective acupuncture is, but the only way they relate to the price of each treatment is if the price is preventing patients from coming in frequently enough to get better.

Myth:  I’ll have to keep getting acupuncture treatments forever to feel better

Fact: The number of treatments that you will need really depends on what kind of health issue you are dealing with and how you want to incorporate Chinese Medicine into your health care plan. Many patients come to see me as a last resort for chronic conditions that they have suffered from for years. It’s not realistic to think that one or two acupuncture treatments will turn that around. Acupuncture helps the body with the process of healing, it doesn’t usually happen overnight – but the good news is that you can get immediate relief which really helps you stick to the diet, exercise and lifestyle that can make permanent changes in your health.

And – for some acute conditions – acupuncture actually can be a magic cure in just a couple of treatments.

Many people choose to use acupuncture and Chinese Medicine as preventative care, coming in seasonally for “tune-ups” or coming in for an immune boost if they feel themselves coming down with something.

And lots of people just really love how they feel when they get acupuncture, and so they want to keep coming in for treatments forever (or at least as much as possible!)