How Long Does Acupuncture Take to Work?

When you’re suffering from pain or a chronic ailment, waiting to see results can be frustrating. So often, we’re asked at the center “when will I feel better?” Or, “when will this start to work?”

Often, it depends on the specific concern you’re seeking treatment for, the level of your pain (if it is pain related, of course)

Many times, patients that are seen for chronic pain feel immediate relief when specific acupoints are utilized, and then notice longer lasting relief as days pass, and sessions continue.

Here are some general guidelines in regards to frequency, and when effects can be seen.

  • For fertility patients undergoing IVF/IUI, treatments will depend on your cycle. We recommend coming while taking your medications, before retrieval, and right around implantation. We also encourage treatments at least throughout the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

  • If you’re having terrible pain (like 10/10) daily treatments are possible until improvement is noted. For middle level pain, biweekly treatments are suggested.

  • Chronic issues that are not severe, once a week for 6-8 weeks and then we will re-evaluate.

    Really long term chronic issues, once a week for ten weeks or twice a week for 5 weeks.

  • For PMS, endometriosis, and/or menstrual cycle related issues, having treatments weekly until you have a more manageable cycle is ideal. Then, biweekly to maintain the improvements.

  • For stress or anxiety, once a week works well, but twice a week is better! These sessions will work well combined with meditation, aromatherapy, and massage.

  • For injury/surgical recovery, your practitioner will work with you to devise a plan of healing. It’s important to ensure circulation is restored and qi is balanced as your tissues heal.

Generally speaking, your best bet is to come in at least once a week in the beginning and then for maintenance treatment after that. Your acupuncturist will guide you towards a personalized treatment plan that is uniquely yours.

How Acupuncture Helped Ease A Woman's Anxiety

It is well-established, with scientific backing, that acupuncture is effective at treating anxiety. Acupuncture’s ability to regulate the body’s qi often helps those who suffer from anxiety feel more relaxed, more in control of their emotions, more present and more confident. We can go on in detail about how and why acupuncture is a valuable part of a treatment regimen for those suffering from anxiety, but we love when we come across personal stories of those who are discovering acupuncture’s benefits for the first time.

So when we saw this personal, first-person account on Popsugar from author Alexandra Hubbel the other day, we couldn’t help but smile…and of course share it with you.

Alexandra tells of how she was suffering from a number of symptoms like dizziness and inflammation, stemming from what she believed was her anxiety. When a friend suggested acupuncture, Alexandra was skeptical at first but gave it a shot.

Then comes our favorite part of the story. As Alexandra writes:

The acupuncturist actually listened. She let me cry. She sympathized. She offered advice. And she didn't make me feel crazy or overdramatic or try to blame my physical symptoms on anxiety and depression alone.

This represents something important to us that doesn’t often get talked. We can’t speak for everyone, of course, but we can promise that we’re a judgment-free zone. It is important that every patient feels comfortable coming to us and describing what they are feeling—that way we can accurately treat what is ailing them. It’s understandable that many people are apprehensive about telling an acupuncturist about something like anxiety. But we are here to help with anything you may be going through and build out a personalized treatment plan that will create lasting change.

Alexandra’s acupuncturist told her “that there's a light at the end of this painful, exhausting tunnel.” We couldn’t think of a better way to describe acupuncture’s goal.

Don't Get It Twisted—What Your Tongue Says About Your Health

If you go to an acupuncture session and your acupuncturist asks to look at your tongue, don’t worry. They’re not about to plunge a needle into your mouth! The fact of the matter is that all healthcare professionals should ask their patients the same request. That’s because you can tell a lot about somebody’s health simply by looking at their tongue and knowing what to look for.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, a general map of the tongue is drawn that corresponds to different parts of the body, important organs that our health depends on. The very tip of the tongue corresponds with the heart and lung; the two side edges to the liver and gallbladder; the back (near the throat) to the kidney, bladder, and intestines; and the center corresponds to the spleen and stomach. Issues on those areas of the tongue could lead an acupuncturist to treat a specific area of the body that can be the root cause of the pain or discomfort the patient is experiencing—even if it might be different from what the patient is physically experiencing. See the image below via Village Wellness:

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In general, what practitioners would be looking for is the color and texture of the tongue. A healthy tongue is pink with a thin white coating, and should be proportionate to the person’s body. If a tongue is larger than it should be, swollen or puffy, that means there is likely a qi deficiency. A dark or blue/purplish-ish tongue may indicate stagnation as well, from heat or cold, while a reddish tongue indicates the body temperature is running high. A thick coated white tongue, as many people know, usually relates to some sort of cold/sinus/respiratory issue, and likely means there is extra fluid in the body.

While it won’t tell us everything, the tongue gives a good high level indication as to what is going on in the rest of the body. If the body’s energy isn’t regulated, it will show in the most unlikely of places. So if you can’t quite articulate what’s brought you to seek out acupuncture, your tongue can do some of the talking for you.

Got Jaw Pain? We Can Help

Ever wake up with a tight, sore jaw? Heard a clicking sound when opening and closing your mouth? Or, has your partner told you you tend to grind your teeth at night?

We can help with that.

As writer NIcole Hansalik shared in her story for MindBodyGreen, she was struggling with TMD - or, temporomandibular disorder, also known as pain in the jaw that can be felt while speaking, chewing, yawning, etc.

She said,, “TMD has proved to be difficult to treat with conventional medical treatments, but luckily, acupuncture shows a lot of promise,” and she decided to personally give acupuncture treatment a try.

Unsurprisingly, it helped.

How? While we know acupuncture helps to restore proper energy flow, or “chi”, she explains that, “ Modern research also suggests that it ‘reduces pain sensation through direct stimulation of the nerve, which changes the quality of signaling along nerve cells.’"

For Hansalik, the moment the acuneedle was inserted into the ST 7 Xiaguan acupuncture point, she said, “I can feel the relief, almost instantly.” (This goes for many other painful ailments as well.)

All it took was two appointments and she said her, “jaw pain subsided and I even stopped unconsciously clenching as intensely.” Adding, “While every individual reacts differently to acupuncture, for me it's the only thing that has relieved my jaw and neck pain.”

If you’re struggling with jaw pain or have been diagnosed with TMJ, TMD or just tend to hold some of your tension in your jaw (which is super common) don’t delay — schedule an appointment today!

(And while you’re at it, be sure to share any other struggles with your acupuncturist, too. Stress, sleeplessness, anxiety and a host of other ailments can be treated simultaneously.)


What To Expect At Your First Acupuncture Appointment

So…you’ve been dealing with discomfort and pain for too long now, tried every medication and over-the-counter pill and did all the research and reading you possibly could…but still no results. Your friends and family have been urging you to try acupuncture, and you’re finally ready to give it a shot. As human beings we understandably fear the unknown, and one of the main reasons acupuncture is still growing in the United States.

But have no fear. When you’re ready to really solve the root cause of your pain and discomfort with an acupuncture treatment, you’ll have us to thank for getting you prepared. Here’s what you can expect at your first acupuncture appointment.

After you’ve checked in and been brought to your room, your acupuncturist will ask you what brought you in the door. This is the most important step, because an acupuncturist can only reliably and effectively treat a patient if they know what’s ailing them. Be as specific as you can in terms of what type of pain and discomfort you’re experiencing, how long you’ve been experiencing it, and what illnesses and/or conditions you’re battling.

Next, your acupuncturist will determine your treatment, how many needles and where to place them. And here’s one of the most important things to remember: acupuncture needles do not hurt! A fear of needles keeps many folks away from acupuncture, but those who experience the treatment are amazed at how they can barely feel the tiny needles. Once your acupuncturist has finished placing the needles in, it’s time for you to relax!

Your acupuncturist will likely leave you alone in the room for a bit while the needles do their job, opening up your pathways and balancing the energy in the body. Most acupuncturists will put on calming music or ambient noise, and/or calming scents and lights to help you center yourself during your treatment. It’s your chance to lie down and gather your thoughts, meditate, or do whatever makes you feel calm. Put that phone away!

Most times your acupuncturist will come back to check on you and make sure everything is feeling right. Depending on your specific treatment, your acupuncturist may at this time add a warm heat lamp to a certain area of your body. They’ll then leave the room again for the remainder of the treatment.

After a period of time determined by your acupuncturist, depending on your condition, your acupuncturist will return and remove the needles. This final step is a follow up, where your acupuncturist will ask you how you’re feeling and let you know the preferred treatment regimen moving forward. It’s likely that return visits will be necessary in order for acupuncture to have a lasting effect.

But now that you know what to expect, those future sessions will be a breeze.

How Acupuncture Can Help with Your Resolutions

Happy New Year, everyone!

We hope your New Year’s Eve was fun and festive, and that 2019 is off to a great start for all.

One of the most exciting parts of flipping the calendar is setting new goals and intentions for the year ahead. So as you forge forward into 365 new blank pages, we’re here to support you regardless of the resolutions you have chosen for yourself.

Here’s how acupuncture can help aid you in the process of sticking to the four most popular New Year’s resolutions.

Weight Loss

The most popular resolution year after year, weight loss is a challenge many of us have taken at one point or another. Luckily, acupuncture can help by improving digestion, reducing inflammation, and helping to manage your appetite.

Save Money

This might sound counterintuitive, but it’s not. The cost of regular acupuncture (especially if it’s covered by your insurance) is far less than what over the counter remedies, prescriptions and specialist visits will amount to through the year. By taking preventative measures, you can take charge of your health now to prevent costly encounters later.

Stress Less

In this fast pace life where we are connected 24/7, it’s easy to get stressed. And aside from the unpleasant emotional toll stress can cause, it can wreak havoc on your physical body, too. Luckily, acupuncture can help restore the relaxation in your life. By giving you quiet time to yourself, increasing endorphins and aiding in sleep, regular treatments will leave you feeling calmer and energized instead of frazzled and weary.

Be Present

We are all too often distracted from the present moment. But at NJ Acupuncture Center, you can disconnect from everything and just relax during your session — clearing your mind, focusing n your breathing, practicing meditation — whatever helps you live in the “now”, instead of the past or the future.

8 Reasons Why Now Is The Perfect Time To Try Acupuncture

The holidays are in full swing and the end of the year is almost upon us. Which means it’s the perfect time to try acupuncture! Here are 10 reasons why:

  1. If acupuncture is covered under your insurance, and there’s a chance you’ve hit your out-of-pocket maximum at this point, why not try and sneak in your first acupuncture appointment before the calendar turns over? This is the perfect time of year to experience first hand the holistic healing benefits of acupuncture.

  2. The holidays means gifts, family…and lots of food. Did you overeat (and over drink!) a bit this season? Acupuncture is known to promote and aid in healthy weight loss.

  3. This time of year also brings about lots of traveling, which can be tiring, stressful, and take us off of our routines, often messing with our sleep. Thankfully, acupuncture is one of the best and most natural ways to help out with sleeplessness as well as the side effects that come with an interrupted sleep schedule.

  4. If you had the luxury of decorating or playing Santa this year—lugging gifts up and down stairs and in and out of cars, carrying heavy shopping bags, putting together your children’s favorite new toys—you may be experiencing some aches and pains. Acupuncture is clinically proven to help back pain and other orthopedic issues.

  5. New Year’s resolutions don’t have to begin in the new year. Why not get a jumpstart on your wellness resolution now? The more and more you put it off, the less likely you are to truly follow through. Get next year off on the right foot right away!

  6. Relatedly, acupuncture has preventative benefits as well. If you’re planning on working out more in the new year, beginning acupuncture now can help prevent much of the soreness that comes with working out and help you recover quickly so you can get back out there as soon as possible.

  7. Shopping, family, traveling…all of these put together can stress you out big time. Acupuncture is thankfully here to help, as one of the best ways you can naturally de-stress and relax your body and mind.

  8. Spending the holidays with family and friends is wonderful, but it can be a bit overwhelming at times to find yourself without any me-time. Acupuncture is a great way to reconnect with your body, mind and soul.

Acupuncture Found Effective For Helping Paraplegia Patients

Those who suffer from spinal injury-related paraplegia struggle everyday to perform many everyday self-care functions. Those of us who have full control of our limbs take for granted the ease and automatic nature of doing what we consider “routine” things. A recent study showed that acupuncture is effective at helping paraplegics improve at a number of tasks and functions, including feeding, bathing, grooming, dressing, bowel and bladder control, transfers and mobility.

Researchers at Dangyang City Chinese Medicine Hospital conducted a study on 85 patients who suffered various spinal injuries that resulted in either full or partial loss of control of their limbs. The participants were split into two groups, a control group who received usual care and another group who received usual care plus acupuncture and herbal medicine.

The great news is that both sets of patients experienced significant improvements in daily living, limb mobility and neurotrophic factors. In each case, however, the acupuncture and herbal medicine group experienced an even more significantly greater improvement. The outcome of the study showed that thirty eight percent of the acupuncture group fell under the classification of either cured, highly effective or effective after the treatment, while the control group experiences a 30% combined rate.

That acupuncture helps paraplegia patients take steps towards more control of their limbs and improved quality of life is, in some ways, not a surprise. That’s because of acupuncture’s ability to regulate the qi in the body. As HealthCMI writes: “According to TCM principles, paraplegia involves qi stagnation and blood stasis preventing proper circulation to the limbs, leading to atrophy. This may be coupled with kidney yang deficiency or depletion of yin and yang. The primary treatment principles are to warm the channels and promote circulation.”

Opening up our pathways and eliminating qi stagnation can do wonders for all sorts of ailments and associated pain. It’s great to think that those among us who suffer from life-altering injuries may be able to regain some quality of life through safe, natural and effective treatments like acupuncture.

Interested In Acupuncture? Watch These Documentaries

Though it is increasing in popularity around the country, awareness of acupuncture and its effectiveness for various pain management and treating illnesses is still a bit lacking. Spreading the word is something we’re deeply invested in, as so many people out there remain who can still discover how acupuncture can safely and lastingly better their quality of life.

Though it’s an endlessly interesting subject with a rich history, acupuncture isn’t too often the subject of much entertainment. However, there are a some documentary films that have been made about acupuncture or feature the treatment in some way that we’d like to highlight.

The brother of documentary filmmaker Doug Dearth, Devin, is a former bodybuilder whose years of competing took a toll on his body—eventually causing him to undergo a massive stroke When he was unable to find proper, lasting treatment in the United States, Devin headed to China to seek out Eastern medical cures—and Devin took his camera along to document the experience. Out of it came the film 9000 Needles; made in 2009, the documentary featured at many major film festivals.

“This is helping to improve awareness in parts of the country where acupuncture is not well known,” Doug Dearth said about his intentions in documenting his brother’s story. “I wanted to open up people's eyes a little bit.” The film can be viewed on Amazon Prime video.

In 2012, the film “Escape Fire: The Fight To Save American Healthcare” came out to very positive reviews. The film largely focuses on the American Health care system, particularly how it seems designed to get people into hospitals and medical facilities and treat them with drugs, not necessarily to cure their illnesses in the best possible ways. One of the stories featured in the film is of a military veteran suffering from PTSD and chronic pain whose conditions improve after he receives acupuncture and other holistic treatments. In his review of the film, the famous critic Roger Ebert notes “We learn that acupuncture has been tested and approved by the Air Force for more than 20 years, though few for-profit hospitals make it part of their practice.” That sad truth remains, although we are now seeing the tides shift slightly.

“Escape Fire” can also be viewed on Amazon Prime Video, and we highly recommend checking out both films to learn more about how acupuncture can effectively treat many ailments.

Vocal Issues? Let Acupuncture Clear Those Pipes

You yourself may not be a singer, actor, or have to speak publicly as part of your career, but our voices are super important to us nonetheless. And one in 10 adults will at some point be effected by some sort of voice disorder caused by overuse. Polyps, lesions and other conditions brought upon by overuse and strain on the vocal chords can be painful to deal with, and also take a toll on our public lives. You don’t realize how essential your voice is to everything until it starts being taken away.

Most voiceover can only be treated through a surgical procedure, which is costly, invasive and can lead to post-operate scarring and other side effects. Thankfully, it’s not quite true that these disorders can only be treated by surgery. That’s just what most folks think.  

A study led by the University of Hong Kong and in collaboration with McGill Univeristy and the University of Pittsburgh explored the use of acupuncture to treat voice disorders rather than the patient receiving surgery.  Specifically, the study says: “…acupuncture has short-term anti-inflammatory effects on patients with vocal nodules – a disease caused by phonotrauma, where the vocal fold is injured due to phonation.”

Unsurprisingly to us, acupuncture was deemed to be effective at treating these nodules and potentially eliminating the need for surgery. Why was this unsurprising? Vocal disorders from overuse are usually caused by inflammation in the vocal chords. Acupuncture is known to be one of the most safe, effective and long-lasting natural treatments for inflammation of all kinds. Just because the inflammation happens to be in the throat doesn’t change that fact. The same can be said for wound healing, for lesions on the vocal chords.

So don’t wait until you’re struggling through your big gig, presentation, maid of honor speech or karaoke night. If you’re struggling with voice issues, think about how acupuncture can help you return to vocal clarity.

Acupuncture Effective For IBS And Other Stomach Issues

They say when you gotta go, you gotta go, but for many people out there this is nothing to be coy about. Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is a very common disorder that affects the large intestine. Those who suffer from IBS will often feel bloating, cramping and other more intense abdominal pain that can be eased or relived with a bowl movement. But in addition, IBS can cause either diarrhea or constipation, as well as excess gas or mucus in the stool.

What makes IBS difficult to treat for many folks is that there isn’t one consensus cause for the disorder. Among the contributing factors are muscle contractions in the intestine, issues with the nervous system, inflammation and bacterial changes in the gut. Medications can be given to alleviate symptoms and attempt to solve one of these causes, but for most people medication will only be a temporary reprieve.

Thankfully acupuncture is available to treat a condition like IBS. Regardless of the cause in the patient’s body, acupuncture’s ability to regulate the qi in the body and promote self-healing will help an IBS sufferer begin to feel better in a short amount of time. Recently, an independent study concluded that acupuncture in conjunction with herbs and moxibustion has been reliably proven to provide relief from IBS. The study found that this holistic treatment improved symptoms and pain significantly. Umbilical pain, bloating and the frequency of bowel movements all dropped in those studied who received the treatment.

“Participants in the cured group showed a complete resolution of umbilical pain and bloating, and had their bowel movements reduced to once daily,” the study said, while even those who were not fully cured saw marked improvement.

Living with the unfortunately common ailment IBS can really effect quality of life. Acupuncture is uniquely suited to improving IBS symptoms naturally, safely and with lasting effects.

An Acupuncture Skeptic Gets Converted on the High Seas

Cindy Leyland was excited for her vacation. Ten days away with her husband on a cruise was just what the doctor ordered. But unfortunately for Cindy, the day leading up to her vacation were stressful and hectic, and her fibromyalgia and associated pain began to ramp up. Cindy’s heel was suffering from plantar fasciitis, and her right knee was bothering her from a recent hip operation.

Cindy made it on the flight, but she knew her vacation wasn’t going to go as planned with the amount of pain she was in. She tried her best to enjoy herself, but right away she knew her pain was going to put a damper on the proceedings. Luckily, her cruise ship had a solution, one that her husband urged her to try: acupuncture.

Cindy had tried acupuncture once before, a single session many years ago, but didn’t think that it was for her. So while she wasn’t very optimistic, she gave it a shot anyway. After inserting needles into Cindy’s knee and ankle, the acupuncturist followed up. “The doctor declared that my chi was blocked from my waist down in both legs and he put in more needles!” Cindy wrote. “He pounded a bit on the back of my left leg and put a needle in the inside of my right wrist, which he then twisted a bit. YOUCH! It felt like I had been electrocuted.”

Of course, Cindy wasn’t electrocuted, but she was indeed feeling the unblocking of her chi. While acupuncture doesn’t always work immediately and follow up sessions are always recommended, Cindy instantly felt better.

“I walked out of that spa with less pain than I had had in months, if not years. WOW!” Cindy said.  “And the next seven days were seven of the best days of my life.”

Fibromyalgia is one of the most common disorders ailing adult women, and Cindy’s resulting pain is too often treated with painkillers and other medications. These temporary fixes merely mask pain, wile acupuncture creates lasting relief because of its ability to balance the body’s energy. Cindy is just one of many folks who can benefit from consistent acupuncture. And her experience taking one more chance on acupuncture to save her vacation has converted her into a believer.

“I feel like my mind has been opened to an especially helpful treatment that I formerly ignored because of the cost and my own skepticism.”

Losing Weight One Of Your Resolutions? Add Acu To Your Plan

Thanksgiving is upon us, and that means the Holiday Season has officially begun. It’s a time for family, friends, parties and plenty of eating. It’s no wonder that the number one New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight.

Before you head out to the sure-to-be-packed gym on January 2nd, it’s important to know that eating well and exercise aren’t the only things you should do when hoping to shed off some extra pounds. Those are both paramount, but sometimes our getting in shape process need an extra boost.

It just so happens that acupuncture is a safe, effective supplement to eating well and exercising when it comes to losing weight. In fact, a study in China has recently shown that those who receive acupuncture treatment for weight loss in addition to a healthy eating and workout-led plan. Conducted by the First Teaching Hospital of Tianjin University, the study determined that acupuncture enhances weight loss efforts. Acupuncture “reduces body fat and adiposity, decreases serum triglycerides and total cholesterol, reduces harmful low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and raises beneficial high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels.” The study was broken into two groups, with one receiving acupuncture on top of a dietary plan and the other just receiving the dietary plan. The acupuncture group received warm needle acupuncture in 7 distinct acupuncture points. While both groups saw decreases in BMI, body fat and cholesterol, the acupuncture group saw a more significant decrease.

The acupoints are chosen carefully and help open up energy pathways associated with areas of the body that contribute to weight gain. Specifically, these points address the endocrine system and kidneys, which are related to retention and nerve and hormonal rebalance. In addition, the spleen and thyroid gland are also targeted, which will help the body rebalance sugar and hormones, leading to more efficient and rapid weight loss.

Always consult with your doctor to map out a safe exercise and diet plan. But once you do, make an appointment with us to kickstart your weight loss journey!

New Study Shows Acupuncture's Effectiveness At Easing Pain From Cancer and Cancer Treatments

As the medical world continues to research and fight for a cure for cancer, millions of patients around the world have to deal with the daily discomfort of the insidious disease. What makes dealing with cancer so difficult is that not only do the direct symptoms cause pain and discomfort, but so often many of the treatments, like chemotherapy, bring with them a whole other host of side effects.

We don’t pretend that acupuncture is a some sort of cure-all. However, we do know that acupuncture has wide-ranging benefits for all of our health and wellness needs, is non-invasive, and is effective mainly because it naturally spurs the body on to heal itself. While acupuncture will only be a part of any cancer patient’s treatment, we’re learning more and more that it should be a key complementary part of every cancer patient’s treatment, as the recently released results of a new study show.

A 2016 study conducted by researchers at the University of Texas determined that acupuncture “was associated with immediate and longitudinal significant improvement across a range of symptoms commonly experienced by individuals during cancer care.” Among the symptoms that the 375 patients reported the best improvements in after receiving acupuncture were dry mouth, nausea, and spiritual pain. But that wasn’t all — every symptom observed in the study showed some level of improvement, including hot flashes, numbness/tingling, and overall fatigue.

Whether its symptoms from cancer itself or from the direct treatments for cancer, acupuncture proved once again to be an effective way to reduce pain and discomfort. It’s imperative that we get the word out about how effective acupuncture is at helping cancer patients live as best of a life as they possibly can. The fight against cancer is a difficult one, and while acupuncture won’t be a cure all, it will definitely help.

Beat Fall Allergies with Acupuncture

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As the holiday season begins to speed along, one thing that can slow you down from decking those halls and shopping ‘til you drop is the sniffling, sneezing, itchy eyes and cough that plagues all too many people during allergy season. (And yes, it’s still allergy season.)

If the drastic change in weather hasn’t had you feeling it, your fall and early winter allergies just might. Don’t worry, though — acupuncture is here to help!

Utilizing traditional Chinese acupuncture methods as opposed to pharmaceuticals is a helpful, restorative and more natural way to have you feeling much better in no time — though it’s not the first reaction many of us have when we start combatting the sneezing season. Before grabbing for the Zyrtec or Claritin, consider acupuncture. But how will it help, exactly?

First, it’s important to better understand exactly what allergies are. The American Academy of Medical Acupuncture explains, “Western medicine views seasonal allergies as a form of immediate hypersensitivity reaction which occurs when anti-bodies produced by lymphocytes interact with airborne particles such as pollen,” and this typically results in inflammation — which acupuncture is known to help remedy.

By restoring the flow of Qi, it an . also help to alleviate congestion and any associated sinus pain and pressure, too.

But is it effective? Nearly all patients will say they have shown some improvement — and scientific evidence is beginning to support the notion, too. In fact, Healthline reports, “In a review of published trials, researchers concluded that there is some evidence to support the claim that acupuncture is beneficial and cost-effective as an additional treatment for seasonal allergic rhinitis.”

So if you’re sneezing, itching and watery eyes and overall feelings of discomfort are bothering you, head on in for a session today. You have nothing to lose - except your sniffles!

Thaw Out Your Frozen Shoulder With Acupuncture

It’s getting dark earlier, and winter and all the colder weather that follows is on its way. When things freeze over, you’ll need a little help thawing out—while acupuncture can’t help you clear your steps or driveway, it can certainly warm things up for those suffering from frozen shoulder.

What, exactly, is frozen shoulder? You may not have heard of this ailment, but it affects over 200,000 Americans each year. It’s more common in women than men, and usually affects those aged 40-60. Additionally, those who suffer from diabetes are more susceptible to it. Frozen shoulder is when the shoulder capsule becomes so thick and tight that the shoulder becomes incredibly painful and can be difficult or even impossible to move.

If not treated, frozen shoulder can heal on it’s own…but it can take a very long time. The frozen stage, where the shoulder is very limited in movement, can last anywhere from 4-12 months, while the thawing stage, the gradual return of movement and elimination of pain, can last 6 months to 2 years. That is far too long.

Thankfully, acupuncture is known as an effective holistic remedy for speeding up the thawing process and healing frozen shoulder. An study conducted in Guangdong, China, revealed that acupuncture alleviates pain and restores range of motion to the shoulder for patients with frozen shoulder. Subjects receiving the local acupuncture points had a 71.8% total effective rate, showing improved pain and better range of motion in the shoulder. Patients receiving abdominal acupuncture had a 92.4% total effective rate. 

Specifically, the study concluded, “This underscores acupuncture’s ability to provide anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and recuperative effective actions.”

So if you or someone you know is suffering from frozen shoulder, let them know that cozying up to the fire this winter won’t help them out. Acupuncture will!

Why Acupuncture Should be Offered in the ER

Chances are that, unfortunately, either you or someone you know has visited the emergency room recently. Visits to the ER have become incredibly common and are continuing to rise. A study released last year showed that in 2014, ER visits spiked to 141 million in the United States, a record-high. And the University of Maryland School of Medicine estimates that nearly half of all medical care in the country is delivered by emergency room departments. That number is even higher for women and minorities.

The stark fact is that ER visits are all too common. And there are a few things that are just about consistent across all emergency rooms—the use of NSAIDs and painkillers, and a lack of choice for patients. Slowly but surely, a welcoming change may be on the horizon.

For 4 years, Adam Reinstein, LAc, has been administering acupuncture in the ER of Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. Five days a week, Reinstein operates in the busy, hectic environment that doesn’t seem well suited for acupuncture. But Reinstein, who used to practice communcity acupuncture, has adapted by offering shorter sessions (15-20 minutes), focusing on points in the hands, arms, ears, head, feet, and lower legs, and sees patients only once. The ER can be a stressful place, and Reinstein often focuses on helping patients to feel more comfortable.

"By and large, patients get some relaxation and decrease of anxiety or discomfort. Others get some pain relief or nausea relief...What I do just fits in with everything else that is going on [in the ER],” Reinstein said. “One talks a lot about patient-centered care but usually patients have little or no choice.”

We wholeheartedly agree with Reinstein, and would love to see more emergency departments offer acupuncture to their patients. In addition from it being a better treatment for pain, anxiety, and nausea than medication, acupuncture could also help patients recover more quickly, which allows ER staffs to work more efficiently and cut down wait times.

Acupuncture in the ER? It’s a win-win.

Kick Motion Sickness to the Curb With Acupuncture

If you’re susceptible to motion sickness, you know how rough it can be. Sometimes the simple experience of riding in a car, bus, or train can trigger headaches, sweats, feelings of nausea and at worst cases, vomiting. The unpredictable nature of motion sickness can really put a damper on one’s life, when not knowing how you’ll deal with a car ride can affect whether or not you enjoy your night out.

There are medications available for folks who deal with motion sickness to take, but they often come with their own host of side effects. And like most medications, symptoms are treated and temporarily improved, while the root causes of the issue remains. In 2017, researchers in China found that the treatment those who suffer from motion sickness should seek out is none other than acupuncture.

A group of 20 men were studied, broken into three groups: one that received electroacpuncture (Group A), one that received sham acupuncture (Group B), and one group that received no therapy or treatment at all (Group C). The acupuncture group received treatment in three acupuncture points: Pericardium 6, Stomach 36 and Large Intestine 4. After the treatment, all of the subjects were put into a moving chair that is meant to bring upon many of the symptoms of motion sickness. Before and after the session, the subjects’ motion sickness symptoms were checked, and compared.

The study found that: “The volunteers in Group A mentioned less sweating or cold sweating symptoms, as well as less flashing and heat sensations in comparison to their Group C counterparts. Given that peripheral symptoms are attributed to sympathetic nervous system activation, it is possible, that acupuncture alters autonomic nervous system activity in a certain way.”

Those who suffer from motion sickness know what it’s like when things are thrown just a little bit off. We know that acupuncture helps treat root causes of pain and discomfort because it targets and regulates the body’s energy flow. If you’re fearing your next car ride, perhaps you should make a pit stop here and kick motion sickness to the curb for good!

Acu Students Training With Virtual Reality

Virtual reality used to be something you’d see only in sci-fi movies. But now, virtual reality is becoming more and more popular, being used in everything from gaming to marketing to entertainment. And in fact, one of the most effective and popular uses thus far for virtual reality is with training, particularly in the medical field. And if the U.S. follows the lead from China, acupuncturists-in-training may soon be putting on those headsets themselves.

BodyMap is a virtual reality system developed here in the US that is being used at China’s top medicine university to teach students acupuncture. The program is sort of like a Google Maps for the body, showing 3D images of a human body and specifically in the acupuncture training, the different acupoints on the body. The major “qi” pathways, where the energy flows through our body, are illustrated as well, letting students more easily learn exactly where on the body they will need to treat once they become practicing acupuncturists.

Generally, training is done on 2D images or by using real people as models, but that carries both increased costs and potential risks. The software is used for other medical training purposes as well, such as brain surgery.

“There’s a very high level of requirement for precision in acupuncture teaching,” says Cheng Kai, a professor. “For example, there’s an acupoint called jinming, which is situated very near the optic nerve. Needling this acupoint carries a certain danger [if the practitioner does not grasp the precise depth and angle for the insertion of the needle].”

The founder of BodyMap, Sam Jang, says he was inspired to create the virtual reality tool for medical purposes after he received acupuncture treatment that helped cure his chronic pain.

“I met a Chinese medicine practitioner who cured my condition with acupuncture in just over a week,” Jang said. “So I was amazed by acupuncture’s efficacy and started studying it. We are the first company in the world to combine VR and acupuncture training.”

So if your medical professional of the future has been trained in VR, you have acupuncture to thank!

Know the Different Types of Acupuncture

Acupuncture continues to grow across the world as a popular treatment for pain and symptoms of a number of diseases and conditions. Most of the time when you hear that someone has received acupuncture, you have one thing in mind. However, the term “acupuncture” has sort of become a catch-all for many different types of treatments that are available to patients. Since acupuncture is an ancient treatment, there have been updates and iterations over the years. Now, many different forms of acupuncture are out there, with their own strengths at treating different conditions. It’s always good to be informed, so we’ve put together a list for you of the most common types of treatments that often fall under the “acupuncture” umbrella.

Body Acupuncture – This is what likely comes to mind when you hear the word acupuncture. Tiny needles inserted into certain points and meridians along the body that regulate the flow of energy and promote healing.

Ear Acupuncture – Traditional Chinese Medicine says that the ear contains acupuncture points that can heal every area of the body. So, many acupuncturists will focus their acupuncture in the ear, using the same needles as in the body, whether on its own or in conjunction with body acupuncture points.

Electroacupuncture – Particularly useful for treating pain, electroacupuncture uses small clips on top of regular acupuncture needles to send an electric current in between two acupuncture needle points. The extra stimulation can improve the flow of energy between the points, helping heal pain.

Acupressure – Utilizing the knowledge of acupuncture points and meridians, acupressure pinpoints these same areas to heal pain, but uses massage and pressure instead of inserting a needle. Many acupuncturists will teach patients the proper areas, since patients can perform it themselves at home.

Moxibustion – When small amounts of herbs are placed on top body acupuncture needles and then lit, giving the area an extra boost of warmth.

Cupping – Usually done in tandem with acupuncture, cupping uses rubber or glass cups that are suctioned onto specific areas of the body. This can help when traditional body acupuncture needs a little bit of a boost when energy along a certain point has become stagnant. Cupping can leave marks on the body where the cup has suctioned on, but they are temporary.