These four short articles about acupuncture written by Stephen Schachter, AP are used in the office as handouts. They have not been published anywhere else. Scroll down the page for all of them.
HOW ACUPUNCTURE IS USED
Acupuncture has two major uses. The first is for treatment of suffering and diseases. Acupuncture treatments stimulate the body to heal itself. As the body heals, symptoms of disease or pain start to ease up, and for many people reduce significantly. The majority of acupuncture practiced in the world fits in this category.
Acupuncture helps heal many different diseases because of how it works. Each acu-point “commands” the brain, via the nervous system, to function differently. As the brain changes, new messages go out through the nerves, glands and circulatory systems, restarting or reinvigorating the healing process. Since each body part and body system is connected to the brain, and the brain controls the body, all kinds of diseases and symptoms are treatable. The disease is not being “attacked” or medically suppressed, the body is being supported and promoted to function more normally.
The second major use for acupuncture is in preventative medicine and health maintenance. Because acupuncture acts to restore internal chemical, neural and circulatory balance, the body naturally becomes more resistant to disease. The immune system is more effective at coping with germs, viruses, internal and external toxins and allergens. The body actually becomes stronger and functions more optimally.
Patients are encouraged to come in for regular treatments during the seasonal changes (four times per year) and whenever going through periods of great stress.. Coming in for a session or two will allow the Acupuncturist to diagnose slight changes in system functions, organ functions and overall health. These minor and short term imbalances can easily be corrected before they become serious. Sessions typically include appropriate dietary advice and lifestyle suggestions that promote better health. This health monitoring ability is a unique function of Chinese Medicine, making it a true preventative medical approach for young and old.
WHEN TO REFER TO ACUPUNCTURE
CHRONIC PAIN: Pain from any disease is a tremendous problem that modern medicine cannot help without the use of powerful drugs. Acupuncture is terrific for pain from any source: headache, backache, arthritis, traumas, post-operative, menstrual, etc.
SOFT TISSUE DISORDERS: Acupuncture speeds healing more effectively than other modalities.
PSYCHO-SOMATIC/ SUB-CLINICAL: Many people do feel bad, are suffering and are seeing many doctors, but nothing can be found. Acupuncture is an energetic and functional modality that can assess and address these problems directly.
CHRONIC DISEASES: Acupuncture stimulates the body to heal itself. This increase in function will result in the reduction of symptoms and improvement of the overall condition.
NEUROLOGICAL DISORDERS: Most of these types of problems respond very favorably to Acupuncture.
WORKERS COMPENSATION & AUTO ACCIDENTS: Many of these problems are repetitive motion traumas, back injuries, stress related or are chronic problems. Acupuncture is a good method for healing and managing these problems.
ACUPUNCTURE: A Clinical Reference
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture refers to the stimulation of special points on the body by the use of pressure, heat, needles or electricity. These points are selected and treated according to the science of Chinese Medicine, the second largest medical system in the world. An Acupuncture Physician is a state certified, primary health-care provider skilled in Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture.
Where did it come from?
Acupuncture originated in China over 3000 years ago. The first comprehensive textbook dates back to 200 B.C.E. Over the centuries, the practice of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine have gone through intensive refinement and improvement. Every technique has been clinically tested on millions of people. That is why Acupuncture is so effective for many different problems.
While Europeans benefited from Acupuncture as far back as the late 17th century, Americans have only recently been exposed to it. Since the early 1970’s, the growth of acupuncture has been rapid, with numerous Acupuncture colleges opening their doors. In addition, many states have separate boards to certify practitioners.
What kind of training is necessary?
There are two qualifications to look for in an Acupuncturist. The first is certification and the second is traditional training. To be certified, a candidate must pass a rigorous examination given by the Florida Board of Acupuncture. This leads to licensure as an Acupuncture Physician (A.P.).
Traditional training from a licensed school or through apprenticeship is essential for professional results. An Acupuncture Physician has technical competence and skill in the finer aspects of Chinese Medicine. This includes massage, herbal medicine, dietetics and health counseling. There is also expertise in diagnosing and treating emotional and psycho-somatic illnesses.
Stephen B. Schachter, A.P., studied traditional Chinese Medicine in an apprenticeship program with Dr. Yun Won Suh, O.M.D., a fifth generation Oriental Medical Doctor. In 1982, he passed the Florida State Boards and has been in private practice since then.
How does Acupuncture work?
Through thousands of years of research, the correlations between internal organ functions and specialized acu-points on the body surface were mapped out. Each point has a known location on one of 20 channels or circuits or bio-electricity that unify the body with the mind. These points act as “on/off switches” and “control valves” to the myriad of internal body functions. As the acu-points are treated, the functioning of one or more body systems is altered. This happens by way of the brain and nervous system, the circulatory, glandular and channel systems. The body and mind is stimulated to heal itself from within, via improved balance and cellular functioning.
At each treatment, the Acupuncturist diagnoses which points and circuits need to be stimulated to balance and harmonize specific symptoms and overall body functioning. Because Acupuncture works with the body’s natural healing powers, many different diseases can be helped by it. As the body begins to heal, there is an increase of energy flow and a normalization of internal chemistry. This results in a gradual reduction of symptoms and the restoration of health.
What problems can Acupuncture help?
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine are utilized for acute and chronic diseases. From sprains and flu virus’ to arthritis and colitis, Acupuncture Physicians have been successfully treating disease for centuries. Common problems that respond well are backaches, headaches, menstrual difficulties and allergies.
What are the benefits of Acupuncture?
There are a number of benefits. First, every procedure is completely safe and time proven. There are no negative side effects and the treatment itself is painless and relaxing. This results in a high success rate: a 60-75% significant improvement is typically noted. Secondly, Acupuncture works well with all other therapies. This allows it to be used as part of a multi-disciplinary approach to health care. Lastly, because Acupuncture affects brain chemistry, it can treat the mental and emotional aspects of disease at the same time as the physical symptoms. In this way, the whole person is helped, not just a part.
THE PATH OF HEALING
NATURAL VERSUS DRUG THERAPY
Sickness and disease rarely appear at once. There is usually a history of symptoms arising at different times and with varying intensity levels. Likewise, the path to health has peaks, valleys, and plateaus. For many people the widespread use of drugs has obscured the operation of this natural up and down cycle. This is because drug therapy works by suppressing disease symptoms and the corresponding manifestations of healing.
Overriding the normal and natural workings of the body-mind is not the same as healing it. Suppressing these processes usually creates other problems. Healing happens when cells, tissues and organs are allowed to achieve balance through the detoxification of waste products and regeneration of diseased parts. This balance is called homeostasis and is the foundation of health.
The goal of natural health care is to strengthen the body’s ability to stay in homeostasis. This is done by helping it to detoxify and regenerate at its own rate. The path of healing is the course the body-mind takes as it heals from within. While many times this path is smooth and straight, it can also be rocky and slow.
As the body detoxifies, stored waste products that are suddenly released can cause biochemical reactions upsetting homeostasis. This can result in discomfort and temporary worsening of the problem. If too many toxins are released, past symptoms may be re-experienced. Before the body regenerates, it normally tries to cleanse itself of unnecessary waste products.
In clinical experience about 90% of all patients ‘travel’ a smooth path to health. The remaining 10% experience a temporary increase in their symptom levels as the body detoxifies. This healing reaction usually lasts for the first few sessions, then the body starts the regeneration phase. Even though the healing reaction is uncomfortabe, it is a very positive sign: the body is finally healthy enough to handle detoxification and is moving at top speed towards balanced health.
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©2009 STEPHEN B. SCHACHTER