Current health trends emphasizing exercise, proper nutrition, stress
reduction and immune system strengthening all validate the life-styles and
methods that have always been promoted by practitioners and advocates of
Acupuncture / Oriental Medicine.
Are there side effects?
When performed by a properly trained and licensed practitioner, acupuncture
is safe and effective, free fromadverse or addictive side effects. Quite
often, a sense of relaxation and well-being occurs during and after
treatments. While undergoing therapy for one ailment, other problems may
resolve concurrently. This is a common side benefit that again demonstrates
the value of balancing the quality and quantity of "vital energy" within
the entire person.
What are the limits of Oriental Medicine and
Oriental Medicine and acupuncture are powerful healing tools, but they are
not panaceas nor the solution to every health care problem. Both Western
and Oriental Medicine have their respective strengths and weaknesses, which
is why in modern China, the two systems are used together. When
appropriately combined, the patient is well served.
Generally speaking, acute, life threatening conditions are best handled by
Western medical doctors. Routine health problems and chronic conditions,
for which drug therapy and surgery have not been effective, often benefit
from Acupuncture / Oriental Medicine.
How do I choose an acupuncturist?
For over 12 years, the Medical Board of California has been licensing
acupuncturists. At present, one is allowed to practice only after
successfully completing four years of training at an approved college of
Oriental Medicine, and passing a rigorous written and practical exam given
by the California Acupuncture Committee. The title "Licensed Acupuncturist"
or "L.Ac." means that these criteria have been met. Always look for a copy
of the license, which should be clearly displayed in the practitioner's
Organizations such as the California Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine Association can
help you locate a qualified practitioner. Call them at: (800)
477-4564 to find the name of a licensed CAA member in your area.
What should I ask the practitioner I'm
Always ask any practitioner about the extent of his or her training. Have
them explain the differences between Oriental Medicine and Western Medicine
in language that you can understand.
Oriental medicine has its limitations just as Western Medicine does. Look
for practitioners who know their limitations and have referral networks to
take care of your health in ways they cannot.
Ask them about previous experience with conditions similar to your own.
Although it is difficult to forecast response to treatments, ask about the
signs and changes that the practitioner looks for to confirm that
treatments are progressing well.
Inquire about what therapies will be used and why. Practitioners should be
able to explain any procedure they perform.
What does the examination/consultation
An exam/consultation includes what you tell the practitioner about your
medical history and what your body says: The appearance of the face and
body build, the shape and color of the tongue, the quality of the pulses,
the feel of diagnostic areas such as the abdomen and back. An acupuncturist
may test for weaknesses along the "meridians" and weaknesses in the
muscles. Sometimes devices that measure electrical activity of acupoints
may be used.