What You Should Know Before Enrolling In an Acupuncture Program: 5 Points

The practice of acupuncture was legalized in the US only in the 1970s. However, in seriously any time, it has become a respected and reliable field in health science. Every year new laws are passed about the practice of acupuncture showing that it is still in the process of changing and evolving. Thus, if you want to build a career in acupuncture, the first thing to do would be to study the state and national laws on this subject.

It is no longer a secret that acupuncture procedures are very beneficial. In recent years acupuncture has gained more popularity than ever before as even the medical profession has realized its advantages. This subject is not only interesting for potential patients for treatment but also for students as a career option.

If you really would like to venture into the field of acupuncture, here are some points you should know about.

1. The first step is to choose a good acupuncture program. Almost all the cities in the country have colleges that offer this course; since it is not difficult to find one. It is very essential that you choose an institution that is accredited and reputed. If you do an online search your will find a list of all the reputable institutions offering a course in acupuncture. Use this list to narrow down your search and choose a program that is in your locality.

2. Different institutions have different requirements to get into the program. Some places need applicants to have a college degree. However, most colleges do not need this. The general requirement is that you have studied subjects such as physiology, science, and psychology.

3. The course duration may also vary with different institutions. Sometimes courses can last for as long as six years. Such courses are not very intense and are usually part-time. Other courses that last only 3 years are more intense and are most likely to be full-time. If you are a working professional, but still want to study acupuncture, you can look for an institution that offers evening classes.

4. There is no age-bar to enroll in an acupuncture program. You can pursue this career right after school or even later when you decide it's time for a change of jobs. You can apply for a seat at anytime you want to.

5. Courses are also available online. Most of the theoretic ones are taught via the internet. For hands-on practical experience you can find centers where you can practice your skills. Online courses are very convenient and can be done in your own time from the comforts of your homes.

Acupuncture is not a new field. It has been present for decades. However, it is only now being recognized as an important science. With the introduction of the acupuncture programs it has now become easy for more and more people to learn all about it.

These are the important points that will help you in your search to find the best institution and best acupuncture program so you can pursue a career in this growing field.

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Acupuncture – Healing With Needles

When we hear 'acupuncture' the image of bare skin tingling with needles comes to mind. Originating in China, this alternative branch of medicine employs a set of techniques, including puncturing of the skin with needles, to cure diseases. It is one of the oldest healing practices of the world with a history that can be traced back to the Stone Age. And it is still practiced globally, including Europe and America.

Qi and Meridians

A branch of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture believes in Qi, an energy that flows in specified channels called meridians through our body. Although the existence of neither Qi nor meridians has been conclusively proved by medical research, acupuncturists claim that all diseases are caused by a disruption in the smooth flow of Qi. To correct irregularities in the flow, an acupuncture practitioner will pilot locations benefit the skin called acupoints using different techniques. A widely used method is piercing the skin with stainless steel or copper needles, which are then stimulated manually or electrically. Acupoints in general are located at specific points along the meridians or outside them, while 'A-shi' are non-specific acupuncture points observed during illness.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The practice of acupuncture is individualized, the practitioner increasing a lot on philosophy and intuition. On a visit to an acupuncturist, our tongue and pulse will be examined. While the shape, size, color, coating, presence or absence of teeth-marks, and tension of the tongue are carefully noted, the acupuncturist will also feel the radial artery for our pulse. The rhythm, volume and strength of the pulse at different points along the artery are thoroughly examined. Based on the observations a diagnosis is reached. This is followed by ten to sixty minute sessions to cure the condition.


Opinions vary and research studies have come up with conflicting results. But it is widely accepted that acupuncture is effective in treating nausea and pain. It is especially beneficial in relieving neck pain and chronic lower back pain. In the case of post-operative nausea, and vomiting following chemotherapy, acupuncture injuries patients relief. On some occasions it has been found to be more effective than anti-nausea drugs. Other likely cures are those for knee arthritis, migraines, infertility, neurological problems etc. However, research indicates that the effects are short-term – seen immediately after the session and lasting only till the next immediate follow-up.


When administrated by a skilled practitioner it is safe, adverse effects being very rare. The needles are required by US law to be disposable. In countries where they are allowed to be reused, needles are first sterilized before being used again. Unsterilized needles pose the threat of blood-borne and bacterial infections. The pain felt by the patient during acupuncture variations with the skill of the practitioner, and at the hands of a very good acupuncturist we might not feel any pain at all.

For chronic pains of the neck and back, if no other treatment brings us relief, acupuncture is worth a try. Since it has severely any side effects, acupuncture can be safely used in conjuction with other treatment routines. But it is ethically important that a patient who arrives at the acupuncturist's office will be referred to the appropriate specialist when needed, so that he / she is not denied correct diagnosis and timely treatment.

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Case Study: Acupuncture for Weight Loss

A 53-year-old woman complained of being overweight. She had always had poor eating habits, craving sweets most of her life, and claimed to have been overweight since her late 20's. When she first started coming for treatment, she said she was approximately 50 pounds overweight. Although the excess weight occasionally caused her some knee pain in her right knee, she said that in general she had few concerns otherwise. She said that she wanted to lose weight to avoid future joint pain and / or the onset of diabetes.

It was explained to her that despite acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine could help, that it would still take effort on her part to follow a healthy diet plan and exercise at least 3 times per week. She said that she was seeking the help of a holistic nutritionist, and that she was also starting to do some yoga.

The patient also complained of some general abdominal discomfort, which she claimed was due to poor eating habits. She generally felt heavy and fatigued, although her mood was usually fine and overall she was happy with her life.

The patient's tongue was swollen and pale, with teeth marks on the sides and a thick white coat at the root. Her pulse was soft and slippery.

Diagnosis: Dampness due to Spleen Qi deficiency. The patient's spleen was most likely damaged at a young age, due to a propensity for sweet foods and a habit of eating too much at meal times. The Dampness and Spleen Qi deficiency diagnosis explained her weight gain as well as her fatigue and general feeling of heaviness. This was also evident in her tongue and pulse.

Treatment Principle: Boost the patient's Spleen Qi and resolve Dampness, to assist in relieving the patient's abdominal discomfort and helping to shed some extra weight.

Acupuncture Points Used: BL 20, BL 21, BL 23, SP 9, SP 6, ST 36, KD 2, KD 3, KD 9. Ear Seeds: Hunger, Mouth, Shenmen, Small Intestine, Stomach. The patient was instructed to press on the ear seeds 3 to 4 times per day, until the bandage holding them on fell off naturally.

After treatment 1 time per week for 6 months, the patient felt she had more energy and had lost approximately 25 pounds. Her eating habits had improved tremendously, and she no longer felt much abdominal discomfort unless she ate too much. Although she was only halfway to her goal, she felt much better, and decided that she would try to simply maintain the weight she had lost, and return for acupuncture at a later date if she decided then to lose the rest.

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Kinesiology Tapping to Kill Your Injury

Taping is done with the help of various kinds of tapes. There are many types of Kinesiology tapes, which are used in various purposes. As for example, ticker, friction, adhesive, and magnetic tapes are mostly common in use. Rock tape helps people in many ways.

Taping may be done with the help of using a kind of band or strip or strap attached to the skin. It usually mitigates pain and helps to recover from various illnesses. It also helps in supporting the ligaments and capsules of unsteady joints. Beside taping, other wraps or braces can be applied to strengthening the injured area. Braces can change the muscular functions, but it may not help in this case.

The sportsmen and sportswomen generally use athletic tape to help them recover from sensitive joints and when they remain busy in their physical activities.

Various types of taping work in varied ways. As for example, neck tape supports the trapezious muscles. The black “Y” strap is needed in case of this taping. Again, arm it relieves from the syndrome of carpel tunnel where one needs the “X” and “I” tape. The athletes who lift weight may need shoulder taping for stabilizing their shoulder muscles. In this case, the athletes may require the “Y” and “I” strips.

Some taping methods are now used in changing muscle tone, moving lymphatic fluids, and curing and improving posture. The McConnell taping method is a good idea that helps in improving the biochemical progress of one's body. This kinds of tape is used for only less than 18 hours of time because they are very stiff and extremely adhesive.

It is said that it is of great benefits for the patients also. In some medical hospitals, the Kinesiology tape was applied and the doctors found out that it helped in relieving pain and anxiety of the patients to a great extent. In addition, Athletes tape may help in decreasing pain, relieving soreness, and muscle relaxing. In some cases, the skin of the body gets aroused. The unnatural feeling on the skin and muscles are relieved while using the tapes on the body properly. The facial functions are improved because of returning homeostasis to the matrix of the fascia. The weak and rigid muscles are greatly helped because the elasticity of the it reproduces and develops the utilities of the fibers and tendons of the muscles.

But despite all of the above descriptions, some critiques comment that there are no scientific or logical or medical proofs to authenticate the usefulness of this. Some specialists discovered that the taping tape was really effective in the muscular movements or activities, but other specialists could not confirm that Rock tape was really helpful.

Some experts are still doubful about how the tape works for the benefits of the athletes or other users. It may happen that the athletes' own positive thinking about the benefits of the taping tapes might help them (the athletes) boost up their confidence in athletic activities. However, some athletes cursorily say that it really work for them.

Kinesiology tape, the human kinetics, is the principal field of study for the utilization of various kinds of taping tapes on the skins of human beings. So, first of all, this technology should have developed for the betterment of mankind.

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Acupuncture for Upper Back Pain

Your upper back is considered by most to be your thoracic spine, which runs from your neckline (where it attaches to your cervical spine) to the lower portion of your mid-back (where it attaches to your lumbar spine). Since your thoracic spine provides you with a lot of stability and protection (ie protecting your heart and lungs), it has a special place on your back. But despite its strength, you can still feel pain in your upper back, often due to one or more of the following reasons:

  • muscle strain
  • poor posture
  • overuse
  • injury or trauma
  • joint dysfunction
  • pressure from spinal nerves
  • osteoarthritis
  • myofascial pain

Please note: if you experience upper back pain along with any of the following symptoms, you should consider the pain a serious issue and should seek a doctor's advice immediately:

  • weakness in your arms or legs
  • numbness or tingling in your torso or arms
  • loss of bladder or bowel control

More often than not, your doctor will not be able to find much if anything wrong, although it never hurts to have some tests done just in case. When nothing can be found as a source of your pain, more than likely it's time to seek the help of natural medicine, such as acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Acupuncture (a modality of TCM) does not need a conventional medical diagnosis to help ease your pain – you simply describe where the pain is coming from, and the practitioner will ask you some other questions and feel your pulse. Once they've achieved a TCM diagnosis in this manner, they will more than likely choose some acupuncture points in your upper back where you're feeling pain, and possibly also in other areas of your body to help reinforce the treatment so that you remain pain-free for longer. Some of these other points include ones on the top of your head, your wrist or hand, and your lower legs.

You may now be wondering how these other points on your body are chosen. Essentially, TCM diagnosis of upper back pain tendencies to focus on whether your underlying energy pattern is one of excess or deficiency. Since TCM is a natural medicine and believes that everything which exists in the universe also exists within us, excess patterns can include blockage created from Cold, from Dampness, or from Qi (energy) and Blood stagnation (please note that some words are capitalized here to differentiate from the scientific definitions). Deficiency patterns generally evolve from Qi and / or Blood deficiencies. So the acupuncture points chosen on your body, aside from the points in your upper back, are chosen to help either remove excess from your body in general, or to generally boost your energy and / or nourish your Blood.

More than likely, after an acupuncture treatment your TCM practitioner will also want to perform some Tui Na (Chinese Massage), as an adjunct to the acupuncture. A massage of this type after an acupuncture session helps to further move blockage in the local area. You will probably note that Tui Na is a little different from a Swedish massage: its principle are based on the same as those which define acupuncture and the rest of TCM.

Next, if your pain is enough enough, your TCM practitioner may suggest some cupping, which involves the placement of (usually) glass or plastic cups in the local area. The cups will also help to remove blockage, and will help rid your body of toxins as well. Other modalities, such as herbs, may be suggested but are not always necessary. Each of us is unique, and so each treatment by a qualified R.TCMP (Registered TCM Practitioner) is unique to an individual's situation.

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Case Study: Acupuncture for Neck Pain and Headaches

A 45-year-old woman presented with neck pain that she had been experiencing for 25 years, since being in a car accident. In the accident she had experienced some whiplash, where her car had been rear-ended and her neck was hyperflexed and hyperextended. After the accident she received treatment from both a chiropractor and a physiotherapist, which helped but did not cure her.

She was left with residual pain mostly in the right side of her neck, which when quite severe would radiate into the right side of her head and cause a headache. The headaches would go as far as behind her right eye, and sometimes into both eyes. The neck pain was often dull and achy, and could sometimes be sharp. The headaches she experienced were approximately the same type of pain. Her doctor had diagnosed her with osteoarthritis in her neck, probably around the 3rd and 4th cervical vertebrae, and said that the headaches could have related but may also be considered tension-type headaches.

The patient also complained of some chronic discomfort in her right hypochondriac region, ie just below the right side of her rib cage. She claimed to have been experiencing some general distension (ie bloating) here for at least 20 years. It usually accompanies a lack of appetite, and some belching as well. The hypochondriac discomfort tended to be worse when she was having her period, at which time she would also tend to experience some mild depression.

Her tongue was fairly pale looking, with some slight redness towards the tip. Her pulse was choppy, especially on the left side.

Diagnosis: Initially a sprain to the patient's neck, which was not treated properly. The patient also exhibited some Liver Blood deficiency, which was probably constitutional in nature, and helped to consequently cause some Qi stagnation in her neck. The sharpness of pain also indicated some occasional Blood stagnation. The headaches were a sign of these same types of stagnation, which appeared to concentrate themselves along the Gall Bladder meridian.

The Liver Blood deficiency could be seen in the patient's hypochondriac pain, as well as her lack of appetite and belching. The Liver Blood deficiency was also apparent in regards to the relationship between the hypochondriac discomfort and her periods, and the accompanying depression. Her tongue and pulse also indicated Liver Blood deficiency.

Treatment Principle: Nourish Blood, soothe the Liver, and move Qi, especially in the patient's neck on the right side.

Acupuncture Points Used: SP 6, ST 36, LR 14, RN 4, LR 8, PC 6, GB 1, GB 8, GB 20

Acupuncture treatments were followed by Tui Na, mostly on the patient's right neck and shoulder. After 2 treatments per week for 3 weeks, she felt free of her headaches, and said that most of the pain in her neck was gone. The hypochondriac discomfort seemed to be gone as well, although she did seem to still be belching. She then continued once a month for treatment, and claimed that her periods were now much easier and she no longer experienced depression with them.

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Acupuncture for Neck Pain

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in general terms, is formed by the practice of acupuncture, herbs, and Tui Na (Chinese massage). When it comes to neck pain, there are a few herbs that can be used, both topically and internally (eg notopterygium root), but it is the acupuncture and Tui Na that are most effective in treating this type of pain.

Pain in the neck area is a very common type of pain, as you tend to hold a lot of your stress here, especially where your neck meets your shoulders. In our society, stress is a common contributor to neck ache, as is posture, which tends to be forgotten as we rush from place to place and sit at a desk for a large portion of our workdays. The symptoms of neck pain usually involve stiffness, along with varying degrees of pain, which may spread into your shoulder, upper back, or arms. Along with the neck pain you may also experience headaches, a lack of ability to properly move your neck, and even some numbness, tingling, or weakness in one or both of your arms. Long-term (chronic) neck pain can also lead to fatigue, depression, or anxiety.

In scientific terms, neck ache is usually caused by stress and / or poor posture, and can also be caused by poor sleeping position or injury (especially in sports). Less commonly, this type of pain is caused by infection, cervical spinal stenosis, or rheumatoid arthritis. In TCM terms however, neck pain is diagnosed in terms of a completely different paradigm. In Chinese medicine, a fundamental belief is that everything that exists in the universe can also exist within us. Thus, we can be affected by Wind, Cold, Heat, Dampness, and more (note: these terms are capitalized to differentiate from the scientific definitions).

In TCM, your neck can be affected in the short term (ie acutely) by Wind-Cold invasion, or by a simple sprain. The symptoms are the same, ie neck pain with sudden sunset, stiffness and a limitation of movement. Sometimes a preexisting condition of Liver deficiency or excess can encourage this type of neck pain (your Liver is sensitive to Wind). Chronic neck pain can come about because of repeated acute attacks that are not properly rated, and there is almost always an underlining Liver pattern present. Thus, acute flare-ups of chronic neck pain are almost always caused by Wind invasion. Plus, if you have a tendency towards Qi (energy) stagnation, Dampness accumulation, or another condition that may encourage blockage, this will also need to be addressed.

Since much of the information related to TCM is fairly esoteric in nature, and since acupuncture is usually very successful at treating this type of pain, it is best to have your acupuncture performed by someone who is trained as a TCM practitioner. Other types of professions practicing acupuncture will likely not be very well versed in TCM diagnosis, and so their acupuncture will be limited in scope. In addition, if herbal consultation is called for, it is certainly only a TCM practitioner who should be thought out.

If Tui Na is performed to treat your neck pain, your practitioner will likely focus on treating your neck in a fashion that is dictated by their knowledge of meridians (pathways of energy and nutrient-flow through your body). This means that your TCM practitioner, if massage is part of their treatment, will work on a certain meridian looking for sore points. For example, your Gall Bladder meridian runs along the side of your head, down your neck, through your shoulders, and down the side of your body. This meridian is often a great focus for massage in terms of neck pain, as you may have more than one point that is tender, or experiences some kind of discomfort.

One of the great advantages of seeking treatment with TCM is that it treats your whole body, and not one part at a time. So, if you're suffering from something else, eg depression or fatigue, your TCM treatment can have a substantial effect on that symptom as well as your neck pain.

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Learn More About Acupuncture

Are you suffering from chronic pain, yet is suspicious in taking any kind of medication to treat it? If so, acupuncture maybe the right option for you! Acupuncture targets certain pressure points in your body to remove discomfort, stress and pain. This clinical technique is practiced anywhere and is a good option than prescribed medicines.

Do not allow acupuncture to scare you. A bunch of people hesitate trying acupuncture since this option involves problems. Remember that acupuncture needles are really thin and you will not feel them. You will only feel their soothing effects on your nerve endings as your acupuncturist executes the therapy.

Rests as long as possible after you complete your therapy. Acupuncture is expected to recover you mentally and physically, but it can not work if your body does not get the necessary rest it needs. Attempt to rest for a minimum of eight hours after completing a session.

Create a list of all medicines and clinical disorders you have, and bring them with you to your first acupuncture session. This will offer them a much better suggestion of how to individualize your treatment to fulfill each of your certain demands.

Once visit an Acupuncturist, they will do a thorough assessment of your condition, then set up an intervention which is designed to promote healing or relief to your condition. Most often than not, these interventions involves more than one therapy sessions that you need to religiously attend to.

Learn if the acupuncturist you choose has a license from the wellness department in your state. Some acupuncturists could get a license after taking training training. An acupuncturist with a level and heaps of experience is most effectively. Most acupuncturist are licensed Chiropractors too, and these practitioners are certified.

Does your practiceer take insurance coverage? A lot of health insurance policies will cover any alternative medicine procedures. This will surely save a bunch of cash through your therapies. Otherwise, you will have to pay every fee out-of-pocket, which can be quite pricey.

Chiropractic Specialist
If you're not sure about consulting a chiropractor or acupuncturist, then take time browsing and learning more about what they do. Doing so will definitely help you come up with a decision if chiropractic therapy or acupuncture is the best option for you.

Clinically, it is more ideal to consult an acupuncturist who is already a chiropractic doctor. They are more experienced; and can apply other interventions which can be in conjunction with your acupuncture treatments.

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Case Study: Acupuncture for Insomnia and Depression

A 38 year old male patient presented with insomnia. He said he had been having trouble sleeping since his divorce 2 years ago. He was having trouble falling asleep and was also waking up frequently during the night – approximately 3 or 4 times, and was not feeling rested. He also claimed to have been very depressed and sad since his divorce. He did not have any children with his wife, and had not been the one that chose to pursue divorce. He said that he was depressed and sad about his inability to repair the relationship with his estranged wife.

He also complained of frequently having dry eyes, and felt that his memory was poorer in the previous 2 years than it had been before his divorce. He also claimed to be in the beginning stages of feeling rather anxious and unsettled, especially in the latter part of the day around dinner time.

Although his concern was mainly for the insomnia, it was believed that acupuncture could help with the depression as well. Nonetheless, it was recommended to him that he also seek the professional help of someone what he could talk about about his emotional state. He agreed that we would do so.

His tongue was red and dry, with a fairly thin coating. His pulse was quite weak, and was slightly wiry on the left side.

Diagnosis: Insomnia due to Liver Yin and Heart Yin deficiencies. The Liver Yin deficiency could have seen in his depression, as well as the patient's dry eyes. The Heart Yin deficiency was evident in the patient's trouble falling asleep and frequent waking in the night, as well as his poor memory. The anxiety starting may have been indicative of empty heat beginning to form due to the lack of Yin in his heart system.

Treatment Principle: Tonify the patient's Liver and Heart Yin, and calm his Mind.

Acupuncture Points Used: SP 6, ST 36, HT 7, LR 8, Yintang, Sishenchong, SP 10, PC 6

After 4 treatments performed once per week, the patient was able to fall asleep, but continued to wake up a few times during the night. His depression and anxiety seemed to be lifting as well, and after this first month had passed he began seeing a psychotherapist about his feelings surrounding his divorce. With a treatment every 2 weeks, in 3 more months he was able to sleep through the night, and seemed much happier.

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Kinesiology Tape: The Way to a Faster Recovery

Muscle strain, pulls, and sprains are common in an athlete, that is why certain taping tapes are applicable to prevent injuries and stabilize the affected joints and ligaments. Elastic, rigid, and kinesiology tapes are some of the products widely used. But in order for them to provide the needed result, they should be applied properly. They should be applied by therapists or trained individuals. In sports, players can also apply them on their own as manuals and video instructions are widely available in the market today.

Some taping tape needs a pre-wrap before the tape itself can be applied. Pre-wrap pregnancies irritation of the skin due to the adhesive from the tape. It also prevails skin injuries when the tape is removed. They are purchased separately from the athletic tape itself. However other tapes like the kinesiology no longer need pre-wrap as they can be applied directly to the skin and will not cause irritation whatever. It is also wise to choose tape that is made from hypoallergenic material such as cotton because it will not cause irritation and will allow the skin to breathe normally.

Another characteristic of a good taping tape is its adhesiveness. Some products need constant reapplication several times a day especially when they come in contact with sweat or water. However there are other types that can remain in place for several days without the need for a single reapplication. There are also types that are water resistant which are perfect to be worn by swimmers.

In applying taping tape, circulation should always be checked regularly. It should be applied snugly; not too tight because it will restrict the blood flow and will bring more harm to the affected muscles, joints, and ligaments. Regular inspection of the site is also necessary to check for numbness, tingling, and bluish discoloration of the skin. If any of these happens, it signifies that the area is not receiving an amount amount of oxygen. The tape should immediately be loosened or removed. Proper technique should always be observed because when the tape is applied loosely, it will not provide the needed support and trafficking. However, if applied too tight, then it will cut off the blood supply and can cause significant injuries to that area.

Taping tape also follow several application methods. They are scientifically studied and researched by professionals to provide maximum support to the needed areas. The methods are conceptualized according to the normal anatomical structure so texts should not just be simply applied without basic knowledge in the technique. An example is the “Figure of 6” method; it is used to support and reinforce one side of the ankle. On the other hand, the “Figure of 8” method provides support to the ankle but still allows range of motion. There are other methods used depending on the affected area of ​​the body. It should be strictly followed to allow optimum support and faster recovery from injuries.get more Information from


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Staying Healthy: Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture

There are schools of herbal medicine & acupuncture which seeks to bring the ancient practice of acupuncture together with the philosophy of herbal medicine. There are distinct ideals in acupuncture school founded on the principles of strength, determination, immortality, hope and idealism. Acupuncture and herbal medicine theories believe that the concepts in Oriental medicine and healing are life giving.

One of the fastest growing professions in the alternative medicine field includes acupuncture and herbal medicine. After certification, there is the possibility of running an independent private practice or sharing facility with traditional health care provided. Many acupuncture and herbal medicine clinics are located in hospitals and spas with recognition in the skills of emotional lifestyle counseling, Chinese herbal therapy and treating patients with acupuncture, moxabustion and bodywork. Having knowledge in herbal medicine also provides familiarity with nutritional recommendations and guidance and the ability to train in qi gong and tai qi.

Understanding the cycles of life and nature does brings about outstanding health and balance as well as spiritual and body wholeness. Values ​​in acupuncture and herbal medicine schools emphasize that students maintain and practice superior values ​​of competency an excellence in Oriental medicine.


Stimulating points on the body in order to heal by using very fine needles that penetrate the skin is the basis of acupuncture. Needles are manipulated by electrical stimulation or manually, and are the key components of Chinese medicine. Acupuncture is a very old healing practice and by stimulating specific points on the body will correct imbalances in the flow of qi though meridian channels.

Current studies suggest that acupuncture is very effective in the relief of postoperative nausea and pain. Acupuncture is also promoting in the treatment of anxiety, sleep disorders, depression and certain types of pain. Acupuncture is reliably safe when administered by qualified practitioners who use sterile needles and a high degree of professionalism and knowledge.

Herbal Medicines

Chinese herbology is the theory of using herbs and combinations to treat diseases, pain and injuries. Herbology uses animal, human, and mineral plus plant products in healing. Chinese herbs or medicinal herbs are standardized formulas. Solutions are formed by combining herbs and other ingredients with binders and formed into small black pills. In years passed, the binder in herbal preparations was honey. Today alcohol infused waters are used to form dough with the powdered ingredients. This dough is cut into small pieces, colored and formed into the small black pills that are used by Chinese herbalists.

Chinese herbal medicines and acupuncture used in conjuction form a complete theory of healing and body balance. Rest assured that your quality Chinese healer or acupuncture professional uses Chinese healing plus knowable acupuncture techniques. Herbal medicines are manufactured in accordance with the international PRC Pharmacopoeia. This Pharmacopoeia is mandated by law to protect patients from harmful or dangerous herbal combinations. You may, however, find variations in the amounts of herbs and binders used in prescribed pills. Use the knowledge and reputation of your acupuncture practiceer to ensure that you are being treated with care and safety.

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Case Study: Acupuncture for Insomnia

A 55 year-old woman had been suffering from insomnia for 4 years. She was falling asleep easily, but would wake up at least 3 or 4 times during the night. After waking, she would be reliably able to fall sleep again. She also lacked an appetite, and would eat only because she knew that she needed the nutrition. When she did eat, it was usually small meals, and she did not like eating dairy products. She had recently not noticed that her memory was not very good, and was drinking water a great deal, although not urinating especially frequently. She did not always need to urinate when waking in the middle of the night.

She had already been through menopause, but was able to describe how her periods had been. Her menses had always been quite thin and light, and usually lasted only 3 days. Her periods had been regular every month, at approximately a 30 day cycle. She had not experienced any cramps or abnormal discharge.

The patient complained of having always felt tired, especially at the end of the day. The tiredness preceded the insomnia by many years (ie her whole life), and had been present even before her sleep issues. She recently also often felt dizzy and would have to sit down.

Her tongue was pale, with a thin white coating, and her pulse was slightly weak and soft. It was weaker on the left side.

Diagnosis: Insomnia due to deficiency of the Heart and of the Spleen, with deficiency of both Qi and Blood. The Qi deficiency was evident in her tiredness, dizziness, lack of appetite, and her weak pulse. The Blood deficiency was evident in her insomnia, poor memory, and light menses. The excessive drinking of water and pulse may have been related to some Kidney Yin deficiency.

Treatment Principle: Tonify the Spleen generate more Qi and Blood, and thus the Heart as well. In addition, help to sedate the Mind, and also nourish the Kidney Yin to assist the Spleen and Heart and treat the patient of her excessive thirst.

Acupuncture Points Used: Sishenchong, HT 7, SP 6, ST 36, KD 3, KD 9, RN 6, SP 10

After 5 weekly treatments, the patient was able to sleep better and felt like she had more energy. She appeared to be drinking less water, but was not entirely sure how much less. Her mind also appeared a bit sharper. Treatments were continued once a month for several months to consolidate the effect.

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Acupuncture for Insomnia and Other Sleep Issues

Sleep issues can wreak havoc on your body: not getting a decent night's sleep can have a variety of detrimental effects on your health, including the following:

  • shortened life span
  • headaches
  • obesity
  • heart disease
  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • depression
  • lowered immune system

Obviously the risks around not getting enough sleep are serious, and so getting the right health care treatment is essential. Luckily, acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have been treating sleep issues for thousands of years. Sleep concerns that are often treated with TCM include (note that the term 'insomnia' could relate to a number of the following symptoms):

  • difficulty falling asleep
  • frequently waking up
  • sleeping restlessly
  • dream-disturbed sleep
  • grinding your teeth while sleeping
  • difficulty with waking in the morning
  • shallow breathing while sleeping
  • excessive daytime sleepiness
  • restless leg syndrome
  • sleep apnea

In TCM, it is your Spirit (capitalized here to differentiate from other definitions), also known as your Mind, or in Mandarin, your 'Shen', which your quality of sleep depends upon (note that this is a simplification: other sources may distinguishing between the Spirit and the Mind as two separate entities). The organ system responsible for nourishing your Spirit is your Heart, and specifically the Yin portion (each of your 5 major organs in TCM have both a Yin and a Yang side to them). If your heart Yin has been nourished properly your sleep will be okay, but if it is deficient or agitated, you will suffer from sleep concerns.

Deficiencies in your Heart organ system generally come from genetic predisposition, poor diet, childbirth, and the after-effects of external pathogens. Agitating factors typically involve emotional disorders such as stress, anger or depression, but may also involve natural TCM elemental disorders, such as Fire or Wind. Essentially, emotional issues as well as Fire and Wind are often related to your Liver, and so Liver Yin deficiency can also affect your sleep.

Dream-disturbed sleep (ie dreams that are so intestinal or disturbing that your sleep is affected), while usually indicative of a deficiency, may sometimes be the cause of an excess as well. For example, it is said in ancient TCM texts that dreaming about flying while seeing strange objects made of gold or iron indicating a Lung deficiency (your Lungs govern your breathing and immune system). Dreaming about crying however, can mean an excess in your Lung organ system (the emotion associated with your Lungs is sadness or grief). Incidentally, it is also believed that your sleeping position, ie if you prefer to sleep on your stomach, your back or one side, this may indicate a certain deficiency or excess pattern. Snoring affecting your sleep is often correlated to an excess pattern.

When pursuing acupuncture as a treatment for sleep issues, it is important to seek the help of someone who is a qualified TCM practitioner, as a proper diagnosis is essential to getting adequate results. Proper diagnosis of your sleep issue will first determine whether your condition is one of deficiency or excess, and furthermore what type thereof. For example, difficulty in falling asleep usually indicates one type of deficiency, whereas falling asleep easily but waking up repeatedly through the night may indicate a different type of deficiency altogether. By asking a number of questions, taking your pulse and possibly even looking at your tongue, a TCM practitioner can diagnose you quite accurately, and therefore choose the appropriate course of treatment specific to your needs.

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Case Study: Acupuncture for Chronic Low Back Pain

A 53 year-old woman had been experiencing low back pain for most of her life, especially on her left side, but sometimes also on the right. She believed that it started after she had had a serious bout of pneumonia, and had been hospitalized for seven days at the age of 8. She felt that the hospital stay at a young age had somehow affected her back, or that somehow the virus had in some way caused the injury. During her stay, she had overcrowdedly overcrowded, and believed that she may have injured herself by coughing so vigorously. Since that time, she often felt back pain when sick with a cough. The pneumonia never reappeared.

She also frequently felt that her right knee was weak, such that it could collapse at any moment, and she would have to stop walking and / or sit immediately. Medical tests revealed no abnormalities in either her back or her knee.

The patient also complained of frequent urination, and had to get up at least twice per night. Usually she was quite fatigued, depressed, and had some low-pitched tinnitus in both ears. The fatigue and depression she had experienced since childhood, but the tinnitus was only approximately 2 years in duration.

Her tongue was pale and slightly swollen, and her pulse was deep, and quite weak, especially on the Kidney positions.

Diagnosis: Her back ache easily stemmed from Kidney Yang deficiency. This deficiency probably came about because of a hospitalization at a young age, which either depleted her Yang essence from the virus, or poor physical position in the hospital bed caused Qi and Blood stagnation which eventually led to Kidney deficiency.

Treatment Principle: Tonify the Kidney Yang in an effort to treat the patient of her pain, and hopefully to also strengthen her knee, plus resolve the tinnitus which had not yet had much time to develop.

Acupuncture Points: BL 23, BL 25, BL 26, BL 60, SP 6, ST 36, KD 3, KD 6, KD 9

The patient's back ache was relieved after only a few sessions (once per week for four weeks). She reported that the tinnitus also appeared to dissipate, but did not go away completely. She said that her energy level seemed to be much better, and her knee did not feel as weak. Because her back pain was gone, she discontinued treatment before the tinnitus and knee weakness could have been completely resolved.

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Case Study: Acupuncture for Acute Low Back Pain

A 35 year old man presented with low-back pain that he had been experiencing for only two days. He claimed that the pain came from lifting a heavy object, and that he had achieved the same type of injury a few other instances in the past 10 years. His pain was quite severe, and he was having a great deal of trouble moving. He had some trouble breathing deeply, and needed some help onto the treatment table on the first visit. The pain was worse on his left side, and seemed to radiate into his left hip, but not down his leg. He had not had an MRI, but had had x-rays after his last injury two years ago and his doctor had said it looked like there was some disc herniation around L4 or L5. He was advised to seek out an MRI and agreed that he would ask his doctor for the test to be performed.

His other symptoms included general fatigue, with some weight gain in the last few years. The weight gain had primarily occurred around his abdomen. He also tend to have some low-back pain after sexual activity. After some light palpation, it was discovered that he felt most of his pain around the sacro-iliac area on his left side.

His tongue was pale, with some swelling and a few teethmarks on the sides. His pulse was slightly weak and soft, and was especially weak in the Kidney positions.

Diagnosis: An acute sprain of the lower back resulting in Qi and Blood stagnation, with an undercoming deficiency in the Kidney and Spleen organ systems.

Treatment Principle: Resolve the Qi and Blood stagnation in the local area with acupuncture and some Qi Gong energy work to heal pain in the sacro-iliac area, and Tui Na massage the erector muscles (both sides), and the hip muscles on the left side. In addition, nourishing of the Kidneys and Spleen to help prevent recurrence was intended.

Acupuncture Points Used: BL 40, SP 6, ST 36, KD 3, KD 4, BL 23, BL 20, BL17, BL 31, BL 32, BL 33, BL 34

3 treatments in the first week relieved most of his pain, and the patient was able to resume normal daily activity. Two more treatments the following week helped him fully recover. It was recommended that he do some exercises to strengthen his abdominal muscles and return for regular visits to strengthen his Kidneys. He did not, however, return for further visits to nourish his Kidneys, but did report that he had been exercising.

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