Six things you need to know about Acupuncture

  • What is it good for? Absolutely Everything!

Since traditional medicines predate modern medicine, they had to treat everything.  Our modern scope includes using our modalities, “to prevent or modify the perception of pain, to normalize physiological functions, or for the treatment of diseases or dysfunctions of the body…” (Acupuncture Practice Act, 1997).  Common conditions treated include: coughs, colds, flus, indigestion, hair loss, fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, depression, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, menstrual disorders, fertility, symptoms during pregnancy or postpartum, menopausal symptoms, urinary dysfunction, sexual dysfunction, chronic conditions and so on.  Any indication of imbalance in a body system can be addressed!

For more details, see our blog “Acupuncture it’s NOT Just for Pain.”  At Herb & Tao, we prefer to treat the underlying cause of pain which especially in chronic cases is an inability to heal damage. 

  • Acupuncture is not about the needle

Treatment focuses on manipulating the life-energy or Qi (pronounced “chee”) that runs through channels in the body called meridians.  (The existence of these meridians has since been proven using many biophysical markers*).  When the Qi moves incorrectly or becomes blocked, it leads to imbalance in the body causing discomfort and disease.  Incorrect movement or blockage can be caused by many things including emotions, diet, lifestyle, trauma, etc.  At Herb & Tao, we use your signs and symptoms to figure out which of your meridians need treatment. It’s a process that requires involvement from the patient, but when something improves that they thought they had to live with, it’s so worth it!

  • Acupuncture doesn’t hurt!

Compared with most forms of medical treatment, acupuncture is minimally invasive.  Most patients are surprised the first time they receive acupuncture that oftentimes they don’t feel it at all!  This is mostly due to the tiny size of the needles which are about the width of a cat’s whisker, significantly thinner than what most people think of when they think of a needle!   

The feelings of wellness combined with progress made in treating a patient’s chief complaint far outweigh any minor discomfort experienced during treatment.  In rare instances a patient’s energy is concentrated on the surface of their body and they feel too much sensation, it is usually an indication that an underlying issues would benefit from herbal treatment.

  • Acupuncturists are Practitioners of East Asian Medicine

The “secret” to the success and efficacy of Traditional East Asian Medicine is the preservation of  4 – 5,000 year old texts that document how the body becomes diseased, the signs (such as pulse quality and tongue appearance) and symptoms that patients report to recognize the cause, and the myriad of ways it has been clinically treated.  It seems the human body hasn’t changed much in those years as we can see and treat the same signs and symptoms today.

In Illinois, currently the scope of practice of an acupuncturist includes treating not only with acupuncture needles but also by application of heat or cold, electricity, magnets, cold laser, vibration, cupping, gua sha, manual pressure, moxibustion, herbal medicinals, natural or dietary supplements, exercise, and diet.  Practitioners may choose to specialize and treat using any of these modalities in which they are trained.  It is so important in times like now where people can be nervous about leaving home that many of these methods can be continued at home! (Acupuncture Practice Act, 1997).

  • Acupuncturist is a regulated profession

In most states, the practice of acupuncture requires a state license.  In order to receive a license in Illinois, a person must attend and graduate from an accredited 3-4 year full-time master’s or doctoral program in traditional east asian medicine, pass board exams covering acupuncture, oriental medicine, western biomedicine, and *herbal medicine given by the NCCAOM (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine), and apply to the state of IL for a license.  The state requires renewal every 2 years including 30 hours of continuing education credits to maintain licensure.  Licensed acupuncturists like other health care professionals are subject to rules regarding ethics and are mandatory reporters.  Acupuncture is the only regulated traditional medicine in IL.  We have professional organizations including the Illinois Society of Acupuncturists (ILSA) and the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA).

  • Chinese Herbal Medicines are regulated, safe, and effective

Herbal medicine is regulated under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994.  All manufacturers of herbal products are required to follow Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), which are more strict than the GMPs required for food items.  This process includes positive identification of each ingredient, purity tests, source-tracking, documentation, training of personnel and hygiene. (“Legal and Regulatory”, 2020).

At Herb & Tao, we specialize in providing herbal formulas as an individualized and needle free treatment.  Currently, we outsource compounding of custom formulas to GMPs certified herbal pharmacies.

References

American Herbalist’s Guild. (2020). Legal and Regulatory FAQs. Retrieved from https://www.americanherbalistsguild.com/legal-and-regulatory-faqs

Acupuncture Practice Act. Ill. Stat., § 225 ILCS 2/10 (1997). Retrieved from http://ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=1290&ChapAct=225%C2%A0ILCS%C2%A02/&ChapterID=24&ChapterName=PROFESSIONS+AND+OCCUPATIONS&ActName=Acupuncture+Practice+Act.

Li, J., Wang, Q., Liang, H., Dong, H., Li, Y., Ng, E. H., & Wu, X. (2012). Biophysical characteristics of meridians and acupoints: a systematic review. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2012, 793841. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/793841

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