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Prevention is the hallmark of Oriental Medicine, as noted in the ancient Chinese proverb:

The superior doctor prevents illness

The mediocre doctor treats imminent illness

The inferior doctor treats actual illness.

Acupuncture is one of the oldest and most widely used methods of medical care. Over one-third of the entire world's population receives some type of acupuncture treatment.


Acupuncture came to the United States from France in 1825. Dr. Franklin Bache, great-grandson of Benjamin Franklin, was its leading advocate and researcher. At the end of that century, it was included in the classic text, Practice of Medicine (1897) by William Osler.

Interest in acupuncture was limited mostly to physicians here until President Nixon's visit to China in 1972. His personal physician, Dr. Walter Tkach, was so impressed with the treatments he saw there that National Institutes of Health set up the Ad Hoc Committee on Acupuncture. An acupuncture research conference was held the following year and acupuncture was here to say.


It Works Like This

Traditional Oriental Medicine sees the body as a reflection of nature, reacting to the same laws that govern the entire universe. These laws keep everything in balance. If the harmonious balance is upset, illness results (just as on a global scale, dis-harmony cause's earthquakes, floods, droughts, or even war).

The traditional physician's job, therefore, is to restore harmony within the body. He does this by observing and correcting energy patterns in the body. This energy is called "qi" by the Chinese and is the concept hardest to understand by Westerners.

The body has an "electrical system", through which this "qi" flows. This bioelectrical energy is predictable in its workings. It flows through a series of circuits called "meridians" on which lie the acupuncture points. By stimulating the points with a needle, the flow of energy can be turned up, turned down, or redirected as needed. This restores harmony to the system and health to the patient.

Thus, Eastern medicine has not been based on identification of disease, as in the West. While Western medicine has concentrated on the resulting symptoms of disequilibrium in the body, Eastern medicine has specialized in correcting and preventing that disequilibrium or imbalance.


What conditions does acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture is used to treat a wide variety of medical conditions. Here is just a partial list of conditions for which acupuncture has been found to be effective: fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, headaches and migraines, lower back pain and sciatica, frozen shoulder, insomnia, arthritis, PMS, weight loss, and addiction control (smoking).


Does it hurt?
Acupuncture rarely causes any discomfort, and different people have different sensitivity levels. Some people don¡¯t feel the needle being inserted at all; those who are more sensitive to needles have described the sensation as feeling like a small mosquito bite, and only for a fraction of a second. Most people find the experience of receiving acupuncture relaxing; often people nap while the needles are in place.

Can acupuncture treat sports injuries?
Definitely yes. Acupuncture speeds the healing process and lowers the discomfort level of many sports injuries.

Can acupuncture be used with children or senior citizens?
Acupuncture is for people of all ages. Children often receive acupuncture to treat asthma and allergies, and senior citizens often for arthritis and other ailments.

Finally, can acupuncture help where other treatments have failed?
Acupuncture has often been effective where other medicines and treatments have failed, mainly because acupuncture is based on a system not bound by the assumptions of Western medicine.