Most often there is some relief after the first treatment. For maximum benefit it is recommended that a patient receives a course of 4-6 treatments, treating twice per week for the first couple weeks. After the first course, treatments are often reduced depending on what is most appropriate for the patient.
The World Health Organization (WHO) lists approximately 50 conditions that acupuncture can treat and this list is growing every day. The most common uses for Acupuncture in the West include: Pain Management, Asthma, Addiction, Stroke, Gastrointestinal Disorders, Gynecological and Obstetric Disorders, and Sexual Dysfunction. For more information please click here.
According to ancient texts on Chinese Medicine, wherever there is stagnation there is pain. This stagnation and pain can be obvious, like a swollen joint, but it can also be related to circulation, internal organs, or emotions. When acupuncture needles are inserted into very specific points they break up the stagnation, promote healing, and reduce pain. Western Medicine has only just begun to research how exactly Acupuncture works. So far there are 5 major Western theories that attempt to explain the therapeutic effect of Acupuncture:
- By some unknown process, Acupuncture raises levels of triglycerides, specific hormones, prostaglandins, white blood cells, gamma globulins, opsonin, and overall anti-body levels. This is called the "Augmentation of Immunity" Theory. This is why acupuncture can treat imbalance in the immune system.
- The "Endorphin" Theory states that Acupuncture stimulates the secretions of endorphins in the body (specifically Enkaphalins). Endorphins are 1000 times more powerful than morphine at killing pain.
- The "Neurotransmitter" Theory states that certain neurotransmitter levels (such as Serotonin and Noradrenaline) are affected by Acupuncture. This is why acupuncture helps to elevate the mood and alleviate depression.
- "Circulatory" Theory: this states that Acupuncture has the effect of constricting or dilating blood vessels. This may be caused by the body's release of Vasodilators (such as Histamine), in response to Acupuncture. By increasing circulation Acupuncture is able to promote healing, decrease inflammation, and reduce edema.
- One of the most popular theories is the "Gate Control" Theory. According to this theory, the perception of pain is controlled by a part of the nervous system which regulates the impulse, which will later be interpreted as pain. This part of the nervous system is called the "Gate." If the gate is hit with too many impulses, it becomes overwhelmed, and it closes. This prevents some of the impulses from getting through. These are the gates that close during Acupuncture. In the related "Motor Gate" Theory, some forms of paralysis can be overcome by Acupuncture. This is done by reopening a "stuck" gate.
To qualify for licensure in California, a practitioner must qualify for and pass the California Acupuncture Board (CAB) licensure examination. To qualify to sit for the CAB exam, a student must complete a 3000-hour master degree level program at a CAB-approved school or demonstrate equivalent training.
In addition to the minimum requirement for sitting for the California Licensing exam I spent 2 years assisting at a clinic that heavily emphasized treatment of orthopedic disorders, I also spent an additional year in the Sports Medicine Acupuncture® certification program and I did a brief stint as an intern at the Chengdu University of TCM in China.
Yes! Every acupuncture needle at San Diego Sports Acupuncture is a sterile, single-use, disposable needle. It comes out of a sterile package and goes straight into a sharps container at the end of the treatment.
It depends on exactly what we're treating, but typically my first treatment is 60-90 minutes and follow up treatments are 45-60 minutes.