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A Traditional Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that has been practiced for several thousands of years. The technique involves the insertion of needles at various points on the body, for the purpose of unblocking Qi (pronounced “chee”). Qi is the positive energy that flows within 14 main pathways, meridians, of the body. When Qi flows freely within the body, a person is healthy. When a person is sick, diseased, or injured, there is an obstruction of Qi along one of the meridians.

Qi is comprised of two parts, Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang are opposite forces, that when balanced, work together. Any upset in the balance results in disease. Therefore, when pathways become obstructed, deficient, excessive, or just unbalanced, Yin and Yang are thrown out of balance. Acupuncture restores that balance.

Acupuncturists can use as many as nine types of Acupuncture needles, though only six are commonly used today. These needles vary in length, width of shaft, and shape of head. At Physical Medicine & Associates, all the needles used are disposable. They are used once and discarded in accordance with medical biohazard regulations and guidelines. There are a few different precise methods by which Acupuncturists insert needles. Upon insertion of the acupuncture needle, a sensation felt by the patient is desired. This sensation is not pain. It is referred to as deqi (pronounced dah-chee).


There are a few procedures related to acupuncture treatments:

Electro-Acupuncture incorporates the use of very small electrical impulses through the acupuncture needles. This method is generally used for analgesia (pain relief or prevention). The amount of power used is only a few microamperes with frequencies varying from 5 to 2,000 Hz.

Auriculotherapy or ear acupuncture is a very commonly used treatment in the United States. The theory is that since the ear has a rich nerve and blood supply, it would have connections all over the body. For this reason, the ear has many acupuncture points that correspond to parts and organs of the body. Auriculotherapy has been successful in treating problems ranging from obesity to alcoholism to drug addiction.

Cupping is a method of stimulating acupuncture points by applying suction through a metal, wood or glass jar, in which a partial vacuum has been created. This technique produces blood congestion at the site, and therefore stimulates it.

Acupressure is a popular alternative to acupuncture. This is simply acupuncture without the use of needles. Stimulation of the acupuncture points is performed with the fingers, instrument, or laser.


What do we treat with acupuncture?

There are many diseases that can be treated successfully by acupuncture. Here is a short list, there are many more:

  • Low back pain
  • Headaches
  • Arthritic problems
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Digestive problems
  • Allergies
  • Sinus congestion
  • Asthma
  • Bladder and kidney problems
  • Colds and influenza
  • Colds and influenza
  • Fatigue
  • PMS
  • Sciatica
  • Cessation of smoking
  • Weight loss
  • Stress relief
  • Acute injuries, including muscle strains and pulls

Did You Know?

In March 1996, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classified acupuncture needles as medical devices for general use by trained professionals. The United States National Institute of Health (NIH) completed a study that concluded that acupuncture is effective in easing the pain and improving movement for people with arthritis of the knee: http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/dec2004/nccam-20.htm