The ancient practice of acupuncture has become more widely accepted by Western medicine.

For people with chronic pain from arthritis and other conditions that affect joints, no magic bullet will take away pain. Getting relief from pain, and improving your ability to function, depends on a multipronged approach that many include physical therapy, weight loss, bracing, pain medications, supplements, and assistive devices and, increasingly, acupuncture.
Acupuncture and integral part of traditional Eastern medicine for centuries, is becoming more accepted in Western medical practice. “Many doctors refer patients for acupuncture, or even practice it themselves, because of the mounting evidence for its effectiveness and cost-effectiveness,” says Jamie Starkey, Traditional Chinese Medicine Program Manager and Lead Acupuncturist in Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative Medicine.
A study published in Archives of International Medicine (September 2012) combined results from 29 studies that included nearly 18,000 people with back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, chronic headaches or shoulder pain. When compared with no acupuncture or a simulated procedure (in which needles touch but don’t pierce the skin), acupuncture provided the greatest pain relief. The differences between real and stimulated acupuncture suggest the improvement was more than just a placebo effect.

Chinese Medicine
Acupuncture is one modality that fall under the large umbrella of traditional Chinese medicine, which also includes Chinese herbal medicine. “What we do in Chinese medicine is try to get to the root cause of the problem by assessing the whole person,” says Starkey.
An acupuncturist will start by making a diagnosis made by a physician but will include other assessments. Chinese medicine practitioners consider physical symptoms, like pain, but also emotional, mental and spiritual aspects.
The goal is to treat not only the main complaint but the entire person. Based on the diagnosis, the acupuncturist will chose a combination of acupoints to insert the needles. The needles are very fine (about the diameter of a strand of hair) and rigid.
For most people, acupuncture does not have any side effects. There is a possible bruising where the needles were placed. Before beginning treatment, Starkey always discusses goals and expectations with patients. Some people turn to acupuncture to cut back on pain medications or to eliminate them altogether. While you can see an acupuncturist without a physicians referral, it is best to let your doctor know you’re having acupuncture. Even better, the physician and acupuncturist should consult with one another as part of a team approach to your care, especially if you are aiming to lower a medication dose. You and the acupuncturist must work with your physician to make sure of any dose adjustment is done safely.

How Effective Is It?
The effectiveness of acupuncture is measured subjectively (decrease in pain intensity, duration, and frequency) and objectively (ability to reduce medication use and engage in physical activity without pain). Responses vary from person to person. For some people, one course of acupuncture is all that’s needed. “Best case scenario is I never see them again”, says Starkey. “But many people with chronic pain must come in periodically on a maintenance schedule.”
Many people find that acupuncture has added benefits beyond its effects on pain, some secondary benefits may include improved sleep, improved mood, and for postmenopausal women, reduced hot flashes.

How does it Work?
How acupuncture works to relieve pain has been the subject of scientific investigation. Several possible mechanisms have emerged. For example, the insertion of needles may cause the brain to release endorphins, the body’s natural painkilling chemicals. Studies have found that acupuncture may also have an effect on certain chemicals in the brain that are involved in pain pathways.
An anti-inflammatory effect may also be at work. Some studies have found that acupuncture may counteract the effects of cells in the body that produce inflammation (called cytokines). Inflammation is a component of many arthritic pain conditions.
“Acupuncture is not taboo anymore,” says Starkey. “Don’t be shy about asking your physician whether it would be appropriate for you.” Of you decide to try it, be sure to see a licensed practitioner. You can find one on the web site of the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (

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Commonly called hay fever or allergic rhinitis, a seasonal allergy is an allergic reaction to a trigger that is typically only present for part of the year, such as spring or fall. Pollens that are spread by the wind are usually the main cause of seasonal allergies. People who are allergic to pollen are also often sensitive to mold, ragweed, dust mites, and animal dander. About 26 million Americans endure chronic seasonal allergies, while the number of people with milder symptoms may be as high as 40 million, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Sensitive persons may develop seasonal allergies at any stage of their lives but they typically develop in the preteen years. Statistical studies indicate that seasonal allergies are equally present in males and females and that no culture or ethnicity is more prone than any other.  However, seasonal allergies tend to run in families and therefore have a strong genetic factor.

Most symptoms become apparent within 5 or 10 minutes of exposure to the allergens and typically include sneezing, dry and unproductive coughing, wheezing, itchy sensations on the roof of the mouth or at the back of the throat, swollen sinuses leading to a stuffy nose and headaches, a runny nose, itching, watery and reddened eyes due to a secondary condition called allergic conjunctivitis, reduced sense of smell and taste, and disturbed sleep.

While there are many Western medications to treat the symptoms of seasonal allergies, these treatments can cause unwanted side effects, such as drowsiness and immune system suppression as well as an over-reliance on medications. These side effects have drawn many people to search for an alternative approach, such as acupuncture and Oriental medicine to manage their allergies. One study recently published in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed that acupuncture can significantly relieve allergic rhinitis symptoms.

Acupuncture focuses on restoring balance to the body, improving immune system functioning, helping to relieve pain, reducing stress, enhancing blood circulation, and promoting overall health and well being in adults and children. It is a natural therapy that does not requires any drug and is highly effective when performed by an experienced practitioner.

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Acupuncture relieves gastritis and is more effective than the drug ranitidine, an antihistamine. Researchers from Chenzhou First People’s Hospital investigated the efficacy of acupuncture and ranitidine for the treatment of chronic gastritis, a digestive disorder characterized by inflammation of the stomach lining. Gastritis causes indigestion with burning pain of the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, bloating, hiccups, or tarry stools. The results of the investigation reveal that acupuncture produces significantly greater positive patient outcomes than the antihistamine medication.

Acupuncture is more effective than ranitidine for reducing or eliminating gastric mucosal lesions and inflammation for patients with chronic gastritis. Gastroscopy confirms that acupuncture produced a 96.4% total effective rate and ranitidine produced a 69.9% total effective rate. Let’s take a look at the drug and acupuncture therapies tested in the clinical trial and its relationship to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory and acupuncture continuing education.

The researchers compared two groups of patients with gastritis in a clinical investigation. Group one received oral ranitidine (150 mg) two times per day. Ranitidine is a histamine-2 blocker that reduces stomach acid production. It is indicated for the treatment and prevention of ulcers in the stomach and intestines. It is also listed for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Ranitidine may increase the risk of pneumonia, crosses the placenta, and may be transferred to babies through breast milk.

Based on the evidence, the researchers conclude that acupuncture combined with moxibustion is effective for the alleviation of gastritis. TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) has a continuing education history for both acupuncture and herbal medicine for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders. The theoretical basis for treatment principles varies from those of conventional biomedical approaches to patient care.

The current view within the biomedical field is that gastritis has many causes including excess alcohol intake, stress, adverse reactions to medications, bile reflux, anemia, Helicobacter pylori infections, and other bacterial or viral infections. This is consistent with Traditional Chinese Medicine. However, the researchers note that TCM also uses differential diagnostics to determine the health of the liver, stomach, and spleen and their relationship to gastritis. The researchers note that gastritis involves several patterns including:

  • Disharmony of the liver, spleen, and stomach
  • Spleen and stomach qi deficiency
  • Yin deficiency
  • Heat toxins

They add that several TCM principles apply to the application of therapeutic modalities including acupuncture and herbs: nourish yin and blood, tonify spleen and stomach qi, dredge the meridians, expel excess dampness, clear heat toxins, release the surface to expel toxins through hydrosis. The researchers note that the work of Zhong et al. supports their use of moxibustion in their clinical trial’s treatment protocol. Zhong et al. conclude that burning moxa four inches above CV12 benefits the stomach.

Many of the theories discussed in the research are present in the acupuncture continuing education online course entitled Colitis, Crohn’s Disease, Chronic Appendicitis. This course explores the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders and shares many of the treatment principles included in the gastritis research. Take a look at a sample of the online course to learn more.


Du KT & Xie H. (2015). Clinical Study on Acupuncture plus Moxibustion for Chronic Superficial Gastritis. Shanghai Journal of Acupuncture and Moxibustion. 34(10).

Zhong MS. (2009). Jian Pi Yi Wei Shun Gan Decoction combined with Acupoints Suspended Moxibustion in treating Chronic Superficial Gastritis: 42 cases. China Journal of Health and Nutrition, Clinical Medical Journal. 18(3): 11.


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Acupuncture, a form of alternative medicine and core component of traditional Chinese medicine, is a welcome antidote to the prescription meds and quick-fix interventions typical of Western medical culture. By inserting thin needles into specific pressure points, it’s thought to help relieve the symptoms of a wide variety of conditions by shifting your body from attack mode to a more balanced, restful state. As unscientific as it may sound, it’s becoming an increasingly accepted practice. Even the National Institute of Health is getting on board by saying that promising results have emerged illustrating the efficacy of acupuncture for certain ailments. Read on for nine truly surprising things that just might convince you to give this ancient practice a try. 

Soothe Sore Throats
It’s best if you catch it early, but a combination of acupuncture, cupping (suction that mobilizes blood flow), gua sha (scraping using oils and the side of a Chinese soup spoon), and herbs can help kick things like sore throat, according to licensed acupuncturist Cat Calhoun of Whole Human in Austin, Texas. In Eastern medicine, colds and flu are known as wind invasions or external pathogenic factors and can either take the form of wind heat (inflammation) or wind cold (an unshakable cold feeling). A combo of these treatments is thought to draw out the invaders and helps relieve your symptoms.

Help With That Time Of The Month
“Acupuncture is incredibly effective in dealing with hormonal issues like PMS, mood swings, and cramps,” says nationally board-certified acupuncturist Paige Bourassa. Plus, it can help to regulate periods. Coupled with a regimen of Chinese herbs, it can nourish, balance, and strengthen your internal organs, so the monthly monster isn’t so disruptive.

Slow Signs Of Aging
Bourassa notes that there’s a specialty called facial rejuvenation acupuncture that can help build collagen, lift drooping eyelids, reduce under-eye bags, and tighten double chins without the use of creams, serums, and Botox. Give it about 12 treatments, says Bourassa, and you should notice more youthful, smoother, and more glowing skin.

Give You A Flatter Stomach
The spleen and stomach are the main organs associated with digestion, and by keeping them in balance, you can treat a number of disorders associated with the digestive tract, notes Sara Calabro, licensed acupuncturist and founder of acupuncture publication AcuTake. Regular treatment can help reduce bloating, treat acid reflux, soothe heartburn by regulating acid secretion and speeding digestion, and even help you lose weight.

Make Things Better In The Bedroom
Acupuncturists, unlike MDs, take a holistic approach to your health, so they try to make the physical, mental, and emotional connections that may be preventing you from having a fulfilling sex life. “By calming the nervous system, acupuncture treatments can help alleviate the stress and tension that can get in the way of good sex,” Calabro says. When emotional energy gets stuck, the body tightens and constricts, but acupuncturists can use needles to help break up this stagnation and allow for smoother flow to sexual organs. Also, if you are polycystic, it’s thought to help relieve physical pain to make sex more enjoyable.

Have A Happy Baby
According to acupuncturists Dawn Balusik and Ayesha Atique, one popular point used during pregnancy is known as the happy baby point. Located on the inner part of the lower leg, it will supposedly help guarantee that your baby will be born happy. Traditionally, this point is needled every trimester to ensure the full benefit.

Relieve Carpal Tunnel Pain
Acupuncture helps unblock and loosen the blood and chi that is stagnating and causing pain in the wrist’s tightened fascia. The National Institute of Health states that it may be useful as part of a comprehensive pain-management program.

Ease Asthma Symptoms
Acupuncturists says the practice helps lubricate the lungs and opens up air passages so people can rely less on their inhalers. According to the National Institute of Health, acupuncture may be useful as an adjunct treatment. (Note: It’s never a substitute for an inhaler. Always talk to your primary doctor before you even think of abandoning it.)

Get You High
By working on a meridian matrix that affects the central nervous system, acupuncture initiates the release of endorphins that put you in a state of calm, according to Bourassa. People who get acupuncture regularly refer to this (naturally and legally) euphoric state as acu-land, a magical place where you’re totally blissed out.

*For informational purposes. Not all of these services above are performed by this office. Please check our SERVICES tab .

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Magneticbrainmrishowsacuf resonance imaging (MRI) reveals that acupuncture prevents and relieves migraines by restoring normal brain functions. MRI results demonstrate that acupuncture decreases the frequency and duration of migraine attacks by increasing functional connectivity in the brain’s frontal and temporal lobes. Woman in an MRI machine with a radiologic technician helping. The researchers add that the MRI data reveals the “neural mechanisms of acupuncture treatment for migraine.”

Brain regions of the frontal and temporal lobes have “decreased functional connectivity” in migraine sufferers. The MRI results demonstrate that acupuncture restores functional connectivity in the affected regions. After a four week course of acupuncture treatment, migraine sufferers “showed significantly increased functional connectivity in the bilateral superior frontal gyrus, medial frontal gyrus, precuneus, inferior parietal lobule, posterior cingulate cortex, cingulate gyrus, superior temporal gyrus, middle temporal gyrus, and supramarginal gyrus as compared with before acupuncture treatment.” In addition, the researchers conclude that acupuncture decreases the frequency and duration of migraine attacks after a four week course of acupuncture therapy.

The researchers nmigraineote that a large body of clinical research concludes that “acupuncture is able to alleviate headache degree and/or improve the quality of life and it is safe and at least as effective, if not more effective than prophylactic drug treatment.” The purpose of their investigation was to measure how acupuncture accomplishes pain relief. The researchers note, “The current results indicated that the neural mechanisms of acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis might be interpreted as that acupuncture treatment could increase the decreased resting-state functional connectivity in certain brain regions within the frontal and temporal lobe of MWoA (migraine without aura) patients.”

They add that studies show that the “frontoparietal network plays an important role in endogenous pain modulation.” As a result, the researchers posit “that acupuncture treatment could enhance the pain related modulatory effects of the frontoparietal network by increasing its functional connectivity in migraine patients.” They also note that the results indicate that acupuncture relieves pain by enhancing the “functional connectivity of the default mode network and other brain networks.”

Worldwide, there are millions of migraine sufferers. Scalp acupuncture doll. The researchers note that “the clinical therapeutic effect of acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis has been widely recognized” but the underlying effective mechanisms had not been fully elucidated. Using a 3.0 T Siemens MRI scanner with a total of 32 axial slices per patient, the researchers discovered acupuncture’s ability to relieve migraines by enhancing functional brain connectivity.

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Acupuncture alleviates dementia and cognitive impairment. Researchers from the Anhui University of Chinese Medicine demonstrate that acupuncture has a 90% total effective rate for the treatment of vascular dementia. Researchers from the Heilongjiang University of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) demonstrate that acupuncture improves cognitive abilities for patients with non-dementia related vascular cognitive impairment. In addition, researchers from the Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine demonstrate that acupuncture has an 88% total effective rate for the treatment of chronic cerebral circulatory insufficiency (CCCI).

The studies demonstrate that acupuncture benefits patients with disorders linked to impairment of blood flow to the brain. Vascular dementia involves difficulty with reasoning, memory, and thinking. Vascular cognitive impairment with no dementia (VCIND) is prodromal dementia characterized by mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Chronic cerebral circulatory insufficiency is cerebral vascular insufficiency often caused by atherosclerosis or a stroke. Dizziness, tinnitus, blurry vision, depression, confusion, memory loss, and general senility are common characteristics of this disorder.

The Anhui University of Chinese Medicine researchers randomly divided sixty vascular dementia patients into two groups. Group one received scalp acupuncture with a long needle retention time. Group two received thirty minute acupuncture sessions. The group with the long scalp acupoint needle retention times demonstrated a 90% total effective rate. The group receiving acupuncture with thirty minute needle retention times achieved a 66.7% total effective rate.



Wang Y, Zhu CQ & Chen SF. (2014). Clinical Effect of Long-Term Scalp Acupuncture in Treatment of Vascular Dementia:A Report of 30 Cases. Journal of Anhui Traditional Chinese Medical College. 33(2).

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Acupuncture for Stress and Anxiety

At one time or another, all of us experience stress.  These feelings are a healthy response to events in our lives that may feel beyond our control.  When we are healthy and the stress is short-lived, we are usually able to recover without too much wear and tear to our overall health.  However, when the stress is extreme, or if it lasts a long time, our emotional health and ultimately, our physical health begin to suffer.

Our bodies are hardwired to help us react to stressful events.  At the first sign of a threat, whether real or perceived, our sympathetic nervous system kicks in and facilitates what is called the “fight or flight” response.  Our heart rate increases, our pupils dilate, and our digestion temporarily shuts down, directing blood to our extremities, so that if need be, we can either fight what is threatening us, or turn and run if the threat is too formidable.

Unfortunately, the “fight or flight” response, which worked well in caveman days, does not serve us as well if the “threat” is a demanding boss, nasty co-worker or even a worrisome situation that is not being resolved.  More often than not, the stress in our lives is long-term, and as a result, we find ourselves in a constant state of “fight or flight”, or stress.  Over time, the constant state of stress takes its toll.  Cortisol, the body’s stress hormone elevates, blood pressure increases, and our immune function is suppressed.  Over time, these symptoms become worse and can develop into anxiety, depression, fatigue, digestive problems, and tension headaches.

Emotions from a Chinese Medical Perspective

In Chinese medicine, stress, anxiety, depression or any strong emotion interrupts the smooth flow of energy throughout the body.  According to Chinese medical theory, energy flows through our body through a network of “roads”, almost like a highway system.  Stress, anger, or any intense emotion acts like a traffic jam, blocking the free flow of energy in the body.  For example, many people who are very stressed out complain of upper back, shoulder and neck pain.  This is because stress is causing tension in those areas, blocking the free flow of energy, causing pain, tightness, and often leading to headaches.

In a highway system, when there is road construction or an accident, traffic may be also backed up on other secondary roads that feed into or out of the affected area.  This is true in the body, too.  Stress may affect many other parts of the body, most notably digestion, the ability to sleep, pain conditions, and blood pressure. Stress can also aggravate an already troublesome health condition.

Through acupuncture, theses energy blockages can be addressed. Acupuncture points serve as the on and off ramps to the energy highway, and can help energy flow smoothly, and alleviate not only the symptoms of stress and anxiety, but the stress and anxiety itself.

From a Western viewpoint, acupuncture works to alleviate stress by releasing natural pain-killing chemicals in the brain, called endorphins.  In addition, acupuncture improves circulation of blood throughout the body, which oxygenates the tissues and cycles out cortisol and other waste chemicals.  The calming nature of acupuncture also decreases heart rate, lowers blood pressure and relaxes the muscles.

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When a woman experiences hot flashes, it is generally held by conventional medical practitioners that she is suffering from an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone in the body. Chinese medicine believes that in order to have harmony in the body, there must be balance of chemicals. Acupuncturists stimulate the production of estrogen or progesterone through strategically placed points on the body. The trigger spots are very patient specific and an acupuncturist will take into account the type of lifestyle and diet a patient has.

Acupuncture has been shown to alleviate menopause symptoms in women taking oral hormone therapy as part of breast cancer treatment. As oral hormone therapy result in side effects like hot flashes, acupuncture is used as a “safe, effective, and durable treatment”, for hot flashes in women with breast cancer.

One of the biggest draws for attempting acupuncture is the absence of consequences. It is not dangerous and there are no side effects. For some, there is still not much proof in support of alternative treatments, though acupuncture is among the most trusted. Talk with your doctor about what her opinions of acupuncture for treatment of hot flashes are.


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See! Nothing to be worried about! Have you been holding back on trying acupuncture because you’re afraid of needles?

Acupuncture needles are approx. 28x thinner than a regular injection needle & they hold no painful medicine to be injected in your skin.

The best thing to compare the width of an acupuncture needle to . . . is a single strand of your hair!

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