5 Interesting Facts About the History of Acupuncture

Reprinted from © 2018 Think Acupuncture

(https://www.thinkacupuncture.com/5-interesting-facts-about-the-history-of-acupuncture.html)

Over the last few years, alternative and holistic medicine has become widely popular. More and more people are searching for other ways to combat illness, relieve pain and heal themselves without drugs and medications. Acupuncture is widely recognized for treating a multitude of physical as well as mental ailments. The ancient Chinese healing technique uses fine needles that are strategically placed throughout the body on specific points. The backstory of acupuncture is quite fascinating, so we have gathered five interesting facts about its history.

Acupuncture is one of the oldest forms of medicine
Acupuncture medicine is about 5,000 years old and originates in China. One of the first uncovered documents that described this healing technique showed diagnoses and treatments. This document is known as The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicinedating back to about 100BC. It is written in the form of a question by the emperor and presumably answered by his minister. Part of the text includes mention of anatomical locations of acupuncture points on the body that is still relevant to the procedure today.

Acupuncture needles weren’t always stainless steel
In ancient China, Gold, silver, bamboo, stone and bones are just some of the objects that were found to be used in the practice of acupuncture. It is imaginable that the needles made from these materials were not painless let alone sanitary. Today, acupuncture needles are made from disposable stainless steel which makes the procedure pain-free and safe.

Acupuncture and the five elements theory
Ancient Chinese theory believes that the world and the body are made up of five elements; wood, fire earth, metal, and water. The theory states that all of these elements are connected, and each element has a relationship to the other. For example, earth generates metal and water influences fire. The five elements theory may be a basis for many acupuncture treatments. For instance, the kidney is related to water and the heart with fire. If there is a kidney problem, then there may also be a problem with the heart so an acupuncture treatment may be made to target both areas. Although it may sound like “quackery,” many studies have been done to support this theory in the healing process through acupuncture.

Acupuncture gained US popularity in 1972
After President Nixon’s visit to China in 1972, an attending reporter had undergone an emergency appendectomy. After experiencing great pain relief through an acupuncture procedure post-surgery, he wrote about his encounter with acupuncture when he returned to the US. His personal story gave notoriety to the ancient healing practice.

Acupuncture originally was used as a preventative 
Acupuncture was originally used to prevent medical conditions. However, the World Health Organization has recognized acupuncture as an effective way to treat over 15 medical conditions. Insurance companies have become more open to cover acupuncture procedures for many ailments such as knee pain, headaches, neck pain, back pain and many more painful conditions.

Back Pain

Based on 2018 statistics, 31% of men and 20% of women in America suffered with back pain so debilitating it affected their ability to work.  Eighty percent of Americans and people worldwide will experience back problems at some point in their lives. A minimum of $50 billion annually is spent on treating back pain in America and many of the treatment protocols include seriously concerning side-effects.  

These are staggering statistics!  It’s incredible to consider the daily impact on lifestyle and wellbeing back pain causes for so many people.  

The attached article describes most of the most common medical causes of back pain as well as traditional Chinese Medicine definitions (Acupuncture is a modality within Traditional Chinese Medicine).  Over the past few decades scientific studies have proven acupuncture to be an amazing treatment for back pain, without producing harmful side-effects.

Stress is reported by many people to be the cause of back pain.  Although not mentioned in this particular article, the medical reason for stress related back pain has to do with breathing patterns that change and cause strain and tension in the neck, mid and lower back and the release of stress hormones which cause muscles to contract to make the body more resilient to attack.  The results of using acupuncture to reduce and relieve stress are impressive. Making acupuncture a drug-free treatment of choice for stress related back pain as well.

So, no matter the cause of your back pain, consider making acupuncture your treatment of choice.

June 2019 Aimee Brown, LAc, MSOM.  Reach out or schedule appointments with Aimee by calling Ommani at 262.695.5311.

How to Promote Winter Health With Traditional Chinese Medicine

Here we are right in the thick of cold and flu season, the perfect time to check out the linked article from Organic Authority, a subscription-only website, on building immunity using traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).  

You will also find simple tips that will help to mitigate and resolve symptoms that show up when you’re starting to feel the signs of illness. There’s quite a bit of helpful information on how to deal with the common cold using simple, easy-to-prepare home remedies, including a recipe for a “Warming Winter Health Brew” that’s magic for supporting the immune system.  The recipe includes Asian pear. The Asian pear is an apple-shaped fruit native to Japan and China but cultivated in Australia. It’s high in vitamin C, copper, and vitamin K.

Don’t forget, acupuncture is also extremely beneficial to help support and enhance the immune system; it can also help manage cold and flu symptoms.

Here’s a link to the Organic Authority article > https://www.organicauthority.com/energetic-health/traditional-chinese-cold-remedies

Feb 2019 Aimee Brown, LAc, MSOM.  Reach out or schedule appointments with Aimee by calling Ommani at 262.695.5311.

 

Local Hospital Using Acupuncture

West Allis Hospital has added acupuncture services to their ER! This is exciting news for our area, as many hospitals in other parts of the country have been using acupuncture for quite some time.  This is yet more proof that the benefits of acupuncture can be limitless, regardless of the situation. Some VA hospitals are hiring acupuncturists to be on staff as well, and you may even find that your local veterinarian has started using acupuncture in the treatment of animals in pain.  Enjoy this December 2018 article, “Easing the Agony” about acupuncture being used in West Allis.

Mummy’s Healthcare

It’s said acupuncture is an ancient art.  Have you ever wondered about how far back the evidence of acupuncture goes?  I’ve recently read about proof of acupuncture care more than several thousand years ago!   I’ve reproduced an article from Cool Science News, by Shayla Love, I think you’ll find amazing. The article does not say what tools might have been used to perform the acupuncture, but over history, there has been evidence of rocks, crystals, tattoos and needles having been used.

Sep 14 2018, 9:17am

Cool Science News You Don’t Want To Miss

By Shayla Love

A 3,300 year-old mummy’s healthcare, a blood test that can read your body’s internal clock and predicting who will respond to sugar pills for pain

A man who lived 3,300 years ago may have gotten acupuncture. The Tyrolean Iceman—sometimes called Ötzi (1)—is a preserved glacier mummy who was found in 1991 in the Central Eastern Alps. He lived around 3,300 years ago in the Copper Age, and was killed by an arrow to the shoulder. Ötzi had some other health issues too: His body revealed that he had degenerative diseases of his back, hip, knees and ankles, intestinal parasites, broken ribs and atherosclerosis. He also had 61 tattoos and was carrying some plants with him. The presence of those tattoos and plants led Albert Zink, the director of the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman in Bolzano, Italy, and his colleagues to re-evaluate what was found with the Iceman, and ask to what extent he had used or received medical treatment or care.

In a recent study (2) in the International Journal of Paleopathology, Zink and others report that the Iceman’s tattoos were all in forms of stripes and grouped together, and in two areas they form a cross. The tattoos are all close to areas of the body where the Iceman probably experienced pain. Since the tattoos don’t seem to depict any symbols or figures, it “indicates that they were used as a kind of treatment, maybe as an early form of acupuncture,” Zink tells me.

Alongside the Iceman’s other tools they found birch polypore fungus, a fungus that has anti-inflammatory properties and can potentially reduce fevers. A fern called bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) was found in the Iceman’s stomach, which “is a basically toxic plant that can, however, be used for the treatment of intestinal parasites,” Zink says.

The researchers conclude that even 3,300 years ago, there was already knowledge about treatments like acupuncture and medicinal plant use. “This definitely requires a certain knowledge of the human anatomy, as well as how diseases arise and develop,” Zink says. “I think we just got a small insight into this knowledge, and I hope that in future studies we will be able to trace more evidence of the usage of medical substances.”

Oct 2018 Aimee Brown, LAc, MSOM.  Reach out or schedule appointments with Aimee by calling Ommani at 262.695.5311.

Links:

(1)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%96tzi

(2)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1879981718300883?via%3Dihub#!

Acupuncture Antidote for Allergies

It’s that time of year again where allergy sufferers have to start thinking about how to combat their seasonal symptoms. For thousands of years, acupuncture has proven effective for the treatment of allergy and sinus symptoms; whether seasonal, food or environmental.  You will find two links below: (1) A National Institute of Health link that describes the history and general action, efficacy and safety of acupuncture; and (2) a Time.com link about a study performed for allergy care on three groups – one treated with real acupuncture, one treated with so-called “sham acupuncture,” and the third with prescription or OTC medication.  

Before reading and watching the links, I want to say a little something about this so-called “sham acupuncture.” Researchers like to use this term for research studies in which they are trying to de-bunk acupuncture as the placebo effect.  There’s a problem with that thinking. Any time you break the skin with a needle, the body’s physiological response to the needle invasion is elicited.  This response, no matter where you place the needles, is going to have some therapeutic value due to the natural and automatic release of endorphins and other feel-good chemicals.  This is why “sham acupuncture” patients show short-term benefit. The lasting results are found when needles are strategically placed according to what the patient’s diagnosis deems necessary.  Remember, there is an exact science behind acupuncture which allows lasting results to occur with many ailments. Results are not just limited to allergies.

  1. NIH article about acupuncture therapy action, efficacy & safety:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3996195/

  1. Time.com article about allergies/sham treatments:

https://www.cnn.com/2013/02/19/health/acpuncture-allergies/index.html

Sept 2018 Aimee Brown, LAc, MSOM.  Reach out or schedule appointments with Aimee by calling Ommani at 262.695.5311.

Acupuncture-Frequently Asked Questions

In my practice, I find that many people are curious about acupuncture, but are hesitant to give it a try.  Many say they are “afraid of needles” or “worried that it will be painful” – or there are those who have no clue about the health benefits of acupuncture.  To address these queries and worries, I have put together a list of responses to most commonly asked questions.

The first is always does it hurt?”  Some people feel nothing at all upon insertion of the needle (referred to as a needle, but is really more like a fine wire).  Some people feel a mild sensation that they might liken to a mosquito bite or having one hair plucked.  Occasionally and rarely we get into bee-sting territory, but really the bee sting itself is usually not experienced as very painful, it’s the aftermath (your body’s immune reaction to the sting) which is not present with an acupuncture needle insertion?  The majority of people do just fine with receiving acupuncture! I even treat young children, and they don’t seem to mind much either, other than being forced to sit still!

When will I feel better?”  This varies body to body. Some people feel immediate change while they rest on the table or soon after they arise from it. Others may feel it later in the day or even the next day. Years ago, I had one client who always felt the change three days later, like clock-work! That’s just how their body needed to process the work we were doing.

How many times do I have to come in?”  This is an entirely “grey area.”  Some people improve with great, steady strides forward. These clients will most likely require fewer treatments, maybe 4-8 visits.  Some people improve with baby steps. For others, it can be a two-steps forward, one-step back type of situation.  Some problems are more stubborn than others and require more frequent visits over a longer period of time. At the beginning of your treatment plan, you will come more frequently and when we see lasting results, the treatments can be spaced further apart. We treat acute problems or mild injury needing fewer treatments, while chronic, longstanding issues may require 10-14 visits. Those with severe health issues, permanent damage or deformity find they want to come in as often as their body needs in order to maintain optimal function and comfort.  Keep in mind, you can NEVER have too much acupuncture, but you can have too little.

Is this something where I need to come forever?” Not necessarily, although many people choose to.  For many, they want to prevent the issue from reoccurring, so they choose to be on a maintenance plan.  This depends on the person and their body. Some do every other week, some do monthly. There are those where a month is too long in between and two weeks is too short, so they choose a three week rotation. 

Does acupuncture work for _________ condition?”  More often than not, the answer is yes.  There is almost no limit to what acupuncture can do!  However, we never want to be so bold as to say that acupuncture can help everything for everyone.

What are the side effects?”  Most commonly people feel very relaxed and stress-free after a treatment. This is due to the release of all of your feel-good chemicals when receiving acupuncture. Second most common is a bruise.  We are breaking the skin and if a small vein or vessel cannot be seen, it may occasionally be contacted with the needle insertion, resulting in a bruise. No big deal, it goes away just like every other bruise you have had.  Rarely, people might feel a bit dizzy, especially after work on the neck. This occurs because of the increased blood flow to the head and is usually very short lived-usually just a momentary spin. Again, this is rare.  All in all, it is HARD to hurt someone with acupuncture.

What happens during the acupuncture visit?  You should arrive wearing loose fitting clothing that can be rolled up or moved. There are acupuncture points all over the body, loose clothing allows the acupuncturist to expose points without the necessity of disrobing.  Women should not wear one-piece dresses. If needed, a gown will be provided. After discussing your symptoms you will lie down on a massage table and the acupuncturist will insert the needles. You will then be permitted to rest on the table for a period of time, determined by the acupuncturist, usually in dim lighting with soft, relaxing music playing. The provider leaves the room. (Many people feel so relaxed during the rest period, they fall asleep.)  The provider checks on you periodically to confirm your comfort and after a period of time he/she will turn up the lighting, remove the needles, answer any questions you have, discuss future appointments, and gently send you on your way.

Finally, people ask how much does it cost and does insurance cover it?”   My fees for the initial visit, which includes a medical history and first treatment is $90. Follow-up visits are $65.  More and more insurance plans are offering coverage. It is best to call your plan directly and ask if acupuncture benefits are included, what providers are covered, for what conditions and how many visits, as this varies with each provider.  If there is no coverage, many people are happy to learn they can use Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending.  I always recommend you check. Here at Ommani we do not bill insurance carriers for acupuncture care, you must pay for care on the day of service (you are always free to submit the receipts for care to insurance yourself).

If there are other questions you would like answered, please feel free to contact the Ommani Center and ask to speak with me. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

 

May 2018 Aimee Brown, LAc, MSOM.  Reach out or schedule appointments with Aimee by calling Ommani at 262.695.5311.

 

Acupuncture & The Immune System

It seems as though many people have been taken down by this year’s cold and flu, sometimes more than once!  Did you know Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help one recover and even prevent contracting these illnesses to begin with?   Acupuncture and Herbs are helpful because of how they boost the energetic balance in the body, thus strengthening the immune system.  People who receive Acupuncture treatment on a regular basis, regardless of what they are being treated for, become sick much less frequently because of the natural immune boosting benefits that occur during any type of acupuncture treatment.  There are specific points to boost the immune system, but many acupuncture points have multiple functions which is why your immune system can benefit from a sprained ankle session.  Likewise, there are points on the body that can help a sore throat, fever, cough, nasal and sinus congestion, headache and so on.  

Chinese herbal remedies are available and should be used prior to cold and flu season to start bolstering your immune system.  It is best to get a jump start on these in mid to late fall, before the big weather changes begin. Many of these will include herbs such as Astragalus root, Eleuthero root, Atractylodes and Schisandra fruit, many of which are available in health food stores. In addition, there are many more formulas to treat specific cold and flu symptoms, depending on which you are suffering from.

Don’t forget allergies.  Allergy season is right around the corner. If you are a seasonal allergy sufferer, best to start seeking treatment in mid-to-late March.  

Acupuncture, in any form, serves to stimulate the immune system. Don’t hesitate to consider this important modality as you work your way through the cold/flu and allergy seasons.  It’s never too late to benefit.

Feb 2018 Aimee Brown, LAc, MSOM.  Schedule appointments with Aimee by calling 262.695.5311.

USA Declares Opioid Crisis

With the recent declaration of the United States having an opioid epidemic, physicians are being urged to start recommending alternative therapies such as chiropractic, massage and acupuncture for the treatment of pain. These therapies are proving as effective as opioid use with none of the side effects. This week, in the Baltimore Sun, a report from February, 2017 became available.  The American College of Physicians announced new guidelines for treating lower back pain (1)— one of the most common reasons for doctor visits — with therapies such as massage, spinal manipulation or acupuncture rather than drugs. “With the new “enhanced recovery” protocols being used, if drugs are needed they should be anti-inflammatory drugs or muscle relaxants, the group said.”

 

Acupuncture has been utilized and proven effective for the treatment of chronic pain for thousands of years.  So much so, that the Surgeon General is even on board for using acupuncture therapy for the treatment of soldiers in the field. Likewise, the Veterans Administration provides acupuncture (2) treatment coverage as part of the benefit for veterans.

 

The fact that the American College of Physicians and the Veterans Administration is now recommending acupuncture as a frontline remedy in place of opioid and other addictive pain relievers is something that should make us all sit up and take notice.  Acupuncture has a long history of efficacy when it comes to pain relief (among so many other benefits). Start your journey and learn the specific benefits of using this gentle and valued complementary care.  

 

December 2017 Call The Ommani Center today (262.695.5311) to schedule an appointment with our acupuncturist, Aimee Brown, LAc, MSOM.

Links:

(1)http://www.baltimoresun.com/g00/health/bs-hs-alternative-pain-treatment-20170218-story.html?i10c.encReferrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmRlLw%3D%3D

 

(2)http://www.airforcemedicine.af.mil/MTF/Joint-Base-Anacostia-Bolling/News-Events/Article/769338/air-force-surgeon-general-attends-battlefield-acupuncture-training/

Acupuncture and Pain Management

The Food and Drug Administration has finally recommended that traditional medical providers consider acupuncture and chiropractic care as therapies to help their patients avoid prescription opioids.  This is not new to us here at Ommani, but the news is very welcome.  Read the attached link and see what the FDA has to say.  Do you or someone you know suffer from chronic pain? – Call our office at 262.695.5311 and schedule a series of acupuncture appointments.

 https://www.statnews.com/2017/05/10/pain-acupuncture-chiropractic-fda/