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acupuncture schoolAcupuncture has moved into the mainstream, so much so that most insurance companies now cover acupuncture services. Its benefits are extolled regularly in the media, and ongoing research is being performed to validate its effectiveness. But what is acupuncture and how does it work?Here are 5 important things you need to know about acupuncture.

1. Acupuncturists are highly-trained and licensed healthcare professionals.

Acupuncture school is lengthy and demanding. Over three to four years, students must complete 1200 hours of classroom instruction and 500 hours of supervised clinic practice, then pass a national exam and a background check before applying for a state license to practice. This rigorous process protects the public health and ensures that only highly trained and experienced acupuncturists are practicing legally.

2. Acupuncture is an integral part of Chinese Medicine.

Chinese Medicine is made up of four major components – “acupuncture, herbology, bodywork, and health benefitting exercises. It is a blend of medicine [whose elements came from:] India…with Buddhism, the Middle East via the Silk Route, and Daoism, China’s own philosophy of harmony and balance.”1

In Washington State, acupuncturists are classified as “East Asian Medicine Practitioners.” A qualified acupuncturist will do a thorough intake and, using the tools of Chinese Medicine, design a customized treatment plan for each patient. This may include acupuncture needles and one or more of the following: breathing and relaxation techniques, bodywork and massage, cupping, hot/cold therapy or Qigong, plus dietary advice and Chinese herbs to support the patient’s healing. Communication between practitioner and patient is essential to achieve the desired results from each course of treatment.

3. How does Acupuncture work?

Chinese Medicine theorizes that a person’s life force energy, qi, flows everywhere within the body. The body remains healthy and in balance when qi flows freely. Pain, illness or dysfunction indicates a blockage in the flow of qi. Since over 2000 acupuncture points are located directly along the meridian pathways, insertion of acupuncture needles clears interruptions in the flow of qi and moves the body closer to its natural state of balance.

4. These are not your mother’s needles.

Often when people hear about acupuncture, they envision the use of large syringes or hypodermic needles that were encountered in childhood. Rest assured, there’s no need to run in the other direction. The sterile needles used in acupuncture are actually very thin. When inserted into an acupuncture point, the therapeutic sensation a patient feels may range from no sensation at all to a localized or traveling achiness. The FDA, who regulates the use of acupuncture needles, rates them as “safe and effective.”

5. Acupuncture has medical benefits.

Although scientific research has its limitations when assessing body-based health care modalities such as chiropractic, physical therapy, massage and acupuncture, the research conducted to date overwhelmingly affirms the medical effectiveness of acupuncture. Research has validated the use of acupuncture for treating headaches and migraines, relieving depression, and reducing chronic pain.  For more information on acupuncture research, visit the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine,

Now that you know a little more about acupuncture, give it a try and see for yourself how effective it can be.

This is an original article from Dreamclinic, Inc. Dreamclinic is a Health and Wellness company committed to sharing information about commonly experienced health conditions and how they may be impacted through the use of bodywork and other natural approaches. Dreamclinic offers massage, acupuncture, and Reiki sessions at its Roosevelt and Queen Anne clinics, as well as onsite massage at workplaces around Puget Sound. Contact us to learn more about how Dreamclinic can help you, your family or your workplace experience greater health.

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