Peter Jones Acupuncture
What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient healing system that originated in China and has been used throughout Asia for over 3000 years. The term "acupuncture" describes a series of procedures that are designed to stimulate key areas of the body, using a variety of techniques. The most common technique involves the insertion of very fine needles into specific points, in order to alleviate many ailments and conditions that we face in our day to day lives.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) consider acupuncture to be a viable treatment option for over 73 conditions. Many of these conditions are called "functional disorders", because they have a "functional" basis and lack a known cause.
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
Acupuncture needles are typically not much thicker than a human hair, and their insertion is practically painless. Acupuncture feels nothing like receiving an ordinary injection from a hypodermic needle. A hypodermic needle is a rigid hollow tube that damages tissue and causes the burning pain, typically associated with injections. In contrast, acupuncture needles are exceedingly thin pieces of flexible wire that avoids tissue damage and pain.
In some cases, you won't even know the needles are in place. In others, there may be warmth, tingling, heaviness, or a feeling of "energy" moving up and down the channel. Most people find acupuncture extremely relaxing and will fall asleep during treatment.
What To Expect During and After Treatment
To receive maximum benefit from acupuncture, it's recommended that you postpone treatment if you're excessively fatigued, hungry, or overly full. You should relax and tell your practitioner if you experience anything unusual. It's important that you be comfortable throughout the entire treatment and you tell your practitioner if you are not. Please do not change your position or move suddenly.
Patients can often experience dramatic results after the first treatment. Some patients experience an immediate total or partial relief of their symptoms, which may last or the symptoms may return at a later time. In some cases, there may be no immediate change, only to notice diminishing of symptoms over the next couple days. On rare occasions, you may notice an exacerbation of your symptoms. Although this is often a good sign, it does indicate that things are changing and you should inform your practitioner as soon as possible. Generally, you should expect to feel better.
Side Effects and Risks
Since acupuncture involves the insertion of needles into the skin, people sometimes worry about infection. My office uses only sterile, single use, disposable needles, in compliance with FDA standards.
Relatively few complications from the use of acupuncture have been reported to the FDA, in light of the millions of people treated each year and the number of acupuncture needles used.
How Popular Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncturists (L.Ac), Doctors of Oriental Medicine (DOM) and Acupuncture Physicians (AP) are fully licensed health care practitioners. Their educational curriculum includes extensive training to improve physical and psychological health through acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutritional medicine and hands-on therapy. Today, over 20,000 acupuncturists offer the American public a unique alternative to conventional medical care. Acupuncturists typically attend college for 6-8 years. During their four years of acupuncture education, they study basic science and receive two years of clinical training in school clinics, out-patient offices and certain hospitals. They also complete one or more years of clinical internship at an approved facility.
Their training covers Pediatrics, Gynecology, Psychiatry, Neurology, Orthopedics, Emergency Medicine, and all aspects of Internal Medicine. Board Certification may be taken in Acupuncture and or Herbal Medicine.
Finding A Qualified Practitioner
Most states require a license to practice acupuncture. However, education, training standards and requirements for obtaining a license vary from state to state. Although a license does not ensure quality of care, it does indicate that a practitioner meets certain standards regarding their knowledge and use of acupuncture.
It is important to find an NCCAOM board certified practitioner. The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine(NCCAOM) establishes, assesses, and promotes recognized standards of competence and safety in acupuncture and Oriental medicine for the protection and benefit of the public.
Additionally, most physicians, chiropractors and physical therapists who use acupuncture are not board certified. These practitioners complete a simplified 130 hour training program that is very different than the 2500 hours that board certification requires. Non-board certified acupuncturists typically denote their credentials as C.Ac.
Possible Reasons Why Acupuncture Doesn't Help
Although most people are familiar with the notion of acupuncture, there are actually many different styles of acupuncture and not every style is equally effective for every medical condition. This explains a lot of the discrepancy among those who've benefited from acupuncture and those for whom it did nothing.
Another reason why acupuncture may not be helpful for a particular problem, is that many conditions aren't amenable to acupuncture as an isolated treatment approach - sometimes it works but equally often, it doesn't.
The Difference In My Approach
My philosophy and approach to acupuncture are considerably different than other practitioners. I use the same points and needling techniques, but my extensive use of hands-on and mind-body integration therapies make my sessions quite different and in my opinion, much more effective than using acupuncture as a stand-alone modality.
For more information about what makes my approach different, please read the section on Somatic Integration.