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Acupuncture is a part of traditional Chinese medicine in which thin needles are inserted at specific points of the body to balance the flow of energy and healing. According to the principle of this ancient science, stress, overwork, bad lifestyle, and diet are some of the factors that can affect your ‘Qi factor’ i.e. your life energy, and lack of ‘life energy’ can affect your health. By stimulating some specific points in your body, an acupuncture clinic near me will be able to treat a lot of diseases, especially the ones that are associated with bad lifestyle. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, acupuncture may help ease low-back pain, neck pain, knee pain, frequent headaches, migraine, and many other problems. (1) If you are suffering from any of these conditions, you should look for acupuncture near me instead of simply relying on medicines. In this blog, we will help you understand what acupuncture is, why you should try it, and how you can find the best acupuncture near me.

Acupuncture near me and its benefits


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According to traditional Chinese medicine, our health is the result of a harmonious balance of Yin and Yang energy, which is known as ‘qi’ and pronounced as ‘chi’. An imbalance between yin and yang energy can cause illness and correcting the balance is the key to treat many diseases. Qi i.e. ‘life energy’ flows through meridians across our body. These meridians are the points on which the needles are inserted. There are 350 acupuncture points in our body and inserting needles in appropriate combination is believed to correct the imbalance of energy.

Although there the meridians or acupuncture points aren’t scientifically proven to exist, numerous studies have proven that acupuncture does work. One of the largest studies conducted on acupuncture involving 18,000 patients concluded that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain including low back pain, migraine, knee pain, osteoarthritis, and neck pain. (2) Dr. Ting Bao, an integrative medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York has claimed that a lot of studies are under progress to find out if it can be used for treating depression, anxiety, and various types of cancers. (3) In 2003, the World Health Organization had listed 31 symptoms that could be treated by acupuncture. Some of those symptoms include high/low blood pressure, painful periods, digestion related problems, allergic rhinitis, morning sickness, rheumatoid arthritis, nausea and vomiting, stroke, hay fever, postoperative pain, and for induction of childbirth. (4)

Now that we have enough evidence that prove acupuncture works, let’s look at some of the benefits that it offers.

  • When performed correctly, acupuncture is a totally safe treatment option. There are no known side effects of this Chinese treatment method. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, relatively few cases of complications have been reported and most of the complications have resulted from non-sterile needles and incorrect treatment. (5) To avoid such issues, you need to find a licensed acupuncturist near me who strictly adheres to safe practice principles. Below we have listed some important points that you must consider while looking for acupuncture near me.

  • Acupuncture doesn’t intervene with your medication. Whether you are looking for fertility acupuncture near me or for acupuncture for migraines near me, you can safely combine this traditional Chinese treatment with other forms of treatments, including diet and medication. In fact, a few studies have shown that acupuncture can actually increase the effectiveness of your conventional medicine. Several articles listed between 2006 and 2014 by HealthCMI have mentioned that acupuncture can help balance out the testosterone levels and regulate ovulation, thereby increasing the chances of pregnancy. (6) This means, if you are unable to conceive, it is worth trying fertility acupuncture near me or pregnancy acupuncture near me.

  • Acupuncture is suitable for even those patients who cannot take pain medication or for cases where pain medication has stopped working. Although rare, there are a few cases where the patients are asked not to take pain medications. In such cases, acupuncture can help. It is, in fact, a reasonable option for people suffering from chronic pain. So, why not try acupuncture for migraines near me. You would definitely see improvement within a few weeks.


Other than clinical evidence, acupuncture has a rich history that states how it has been used for treating different ailments even before the invention of modern medicine. Let’s look at its history in brief before going for a session of the Chinese acupuncture near me.

History of acupuncture


The practice of acupuncture predates any recorded history, which means it is definitely one of the oldest forms of treatments used by our ancestors. During the Old Stone Age i.e. 10,000 years and beyond, long sharp bones were used for treatment and, during the New Stone Age, stones were crafted in the shape of fine needles to be used for acupuncture. There is no recorded history that states who invented acupuncture but it is believed that our ancestors used to meditate and observe the flow of energy in the universe. They believed that the energy of life flows within our body too (which is known as ‘Qi’) and this energy can be channelized to promote good health.

The oldest written document that refers to acupuncture procedures is a monumental text called the Nei Jing (The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine). (7) This book dates back to 100 BCE and is written in the form of questions made by the emperor and its answers. Although being the oldest written documentation, this book provides a detailed knowledge regarding the meridians or the conduits in which the energy flows within our body. Acupuncture continued to develop over the centuries along with other traditional Chinese treatment methods including herbs, massage, and diet. By the 18th Century, the practice of acupuncture looked much different than what is mentioned in the Nei Jing book and described in the ancient Chinese texts. However, from 17th century, people no longer took acupuncture seriously. They started considering it as irrational and superstitious. In 1822, Emperor’s decree excluded it from Imperial Medical Institute (8), though some scholars kept practicing it and kept the tradition alive. In 1929, acupuncture was outlawed in China. However, the communist government revived it and other forms of traditional medicine in 1949 and, soon the practice became available across the globe. California was the first state to legalize the practice of acupuncture in 1975. In 1998, the National Institute of Health finally approved it as a medicine (9).

Things you must know before you go to an acupuncture clinic near me


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Almost all of us would be fascinated by learning the rich history of acupuncture. But, a lot of us would still want to stay away from it assuming that it is painful and risky. This is, however, not true. According to the World Health Organization, acupuncture treatment is safe if conducted by a licensed and well-trained practitioner. (10) Below we have listed some of the important things that you must know if you are looking for an acupuncture massage near me.

Acupuncture doesn’t hurt


The thought of getting the needles pierced through your skin may sound scary but you will be surprised to know that they don’t cause any pain. Rather, they give a slight poke during insertion. The needles used by the acupuncture clinics near me are extremely thin, much thinner than the needles used for giving shots. You may feel slight pressure but you definitely won’t feel any pain, which is why it is recommended for people of all age groups. Once the needles are inserted, the acupuncturist may manipulate or move the needles around to stimulate the flow of energy. This process is also pain-free but if you experience pain, you should immediately tell this to the practitioner. The needles will remain in place for 10-20 minutes and then removed. The removal process is also pain-free.

Not all treatments are equal


Each acupuncturist has his/her own unique style of treatment. Some acupuncture doctors near me use the eastern approach, whereas some others blend the eastern and western approaches to help you get maximum benefits. Further, acupuncture doesn’t always involve needling. The clinics that offer the best acupuncture near me usually use a blend of acupuncture and pressure from their hands to stimulate the energy flow in the right direction. Some clinics offering fertility acupuncture near me use cupping strategy to create suction and increase the blood flow to a specific area/organ of your body. Before you start your session, you may ask your acupuncturist about the techniques he/she is going to use.

You may not have to remove your clothes


The images of females without clothes and having needles pierced all over their back might make you feel uncomfortable but you will be surprised to know that you don’t necessarily have to remove your clothes when you go to a clinic for acupuncture near me. Not all acupuncture treatments are done on back or chest. Many of them are done on the face, neck, legs, and hands. In such cases, you can simply wear loose clothes and roll your sleeves or pants up instead of removing them. Clinics that provide acupuncture for smoking near me or fertility acupuncture near me may have to access areas under your clothes. In that case, they will drape you properly to ensure that only a small portion of your skin is exposed. The clinics that provide the best acupuncture near me will never make you feel uncomfortable.

It takes time


Every individual reacts differently to acupuncture. Some may feel better after the first session and some may require multiple sessions to see some benefits. In a few cases, individuals may not even respond to the treatment no matter what. So, you need to be very patient while trying Chinese acupuncture near me. You need to trust your acupuncturist and go for your sessions as suggested by him/her. Keep taking the sessions and, if you don’t see any benefits, discuss this with your acupuncturist instead of stopping the treatment abruptly.

Risks associated with acupuncture massage near me


As mentioned above, the risks associated with acupuncture are pretty low if the treatment is offered by a trained and licensed acupuncturist. However, there are still some side effects that you must know before you visit an acupuncture clinic near me.

  • If you have bleeding disorder or if you are taking blood thinners, you should check with your physician before going for acupuncture near me, as chances of bleeding are high in such cases.

  • Acupuncture is quite helpful during pregnancy but, in some cases, it may stimulate labor pain and cause premature delivery. So, before going for pregnancy acupuncture near me, make sure you consult your physician to find out if it is suitable for you.

  • If you are using a pacemaker, you should tell this to your acupuncturist during your first consultation. In some cases, the acupuncturist may have to apply mild electrical pulses to the needles to make the treatment better. This can interfere with your pacemaker’s operation. The clinics providing best acupuncture near me will always ask you about these details beforehand but, in case they don’t, make sure you tell him and also find out from your physician if you can take acupuncture treatment.

  • Bleeding, bruising, and soreness are some common side effects that you may suffer.

  • In rare cases, the needle may break and damage an internal organ. This is the reason why you must always choose a licensed acupuncturist near me. They know where and how to insert and remove the needles.

  • Unsterilized needles can cause infection.


What to look for in an acupuncturist


Look for a licensed acupuncturist near me


Most states in the US require the practitioner to have a license to provide acupuncture treatment. To become a licensed acupuncturist, a person has to attend and graduate from any of the nationally accredited acupuncture colleges. This could take 3-4 years depending on the college you choose. There are 60 accredited acupuncture programs in the US and National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) requires the applicant to attend of these programs. Further, NCCAOM also recommends that the acupuncturist must complete continuing education courses to maintain their license.  The aspiring acupuncturist is then, required to pass an exam conducted by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). (11)

In addition to this exam, the acupuncturist may have to fulfill the specific licensure requirements as required by the state in which he/she is practicing. For example; California conducts its independent California Licensing Examination to grant licenses to aspiring acupuncturists. You can refer to NCCAOM’s website to find out about the local regulations of your state. (12)

If you want the best acupuncture near me, you must always choose a practitioner who holds NCCAOM license as well as local licenses. Further, make sure the acupuncture doctor near me has completed 1500-200 hours of training and has seen and treated at least 250 patients as part of their educational program.

Know the difference between certified and licensed acupuncturist near me


In addition to a licensed acupuncturist, you can get acupuncture treatment done by healthcare professionals and chiropractors who have received basic training on this ancient art of Chinese healing. They are not licensed but they are certified to provide acupuncture near me. Knowing when to see a licensed acupuncturist and when to see a certified one make a lot of difference to the quality of treatment you receive and the results you get. So, let’s look at the difference between the two:

  • To provide Chinese acupuncture near me, a licensed practitioner has to undergo 1500-2000 hours of training and treat at least 250 real patients, whereas a certified practitioner has to complete just 100-300 hours of training.

  • Certified acupuncturists are not required to pass NCCAOM exams.

  • Certified practitioners are not required to go for continuing education.

  • They often do not have much hands-on experience and they may not be able to deal with sensitive cases.


So, obviously licensed ones provide the best acupuncture near me. They should be your obvious choice when you are looking for sensitive and risky treatments such as cancer pain relief or pregnancy acupuncture near me. In such cases, you can’t take the risk of things going wrong. Only a licensed acupuncturist will be able to deal with such cases. However, if you are looking for acupuncture for smoking near me or acupuncture for migraines near me and do not want to pay a hefty fee, you can safely try the certified practitioners.

Know what your insurance covers


According to the National Institute of Health, more and more Americans want to use complementary health approaches such as acupuncture but the type of health insurance they choose affects their decisions. Insurance is a crucial thing to consider, as you probably won’t want to pay the fees on your own. Not all insurance providers cover acupuncture costs and not all acupuncturists accept insurance. So, before you set up an appointment, call up the acupuncture clinic near me and ask if they accept insurance and do the same with your insurance company. If your insurance company covers the costs of acupuncture, here are a few things that you need to find out (13):

  • How many treatments will they cover?

  • Do they need a referral from a physician?

  • What conditions do they cover? Please note that not all conditions will be covered under your insurance. Many insurance providers cover only acupuncture for pain relief. So, if you are going for fertility acupuncture near me, it is better to ask your insurance company beforehand and see if they can help you.

  • Does your insurance provider accept only networked acupuncturists? If so, then you will have to select from the list that your insurance company will provide.


Although looking for insurance coverage is important, look for practitioners who also carry malpractice insurance. Although rare, accidents and injuries can happen during an acupuncture treatment and malpractice insurance will benefit you as well as the acupuncturist.

Now that we know what to look for in an acupuncture doctor near me, let’s learn how to find out one.

How to find an acupuncturist near me


Get recommendations



  • Your physician will be able to recommend you to the right place that provides the best acupuncture near me. Physicians and complementary healthcare service practitioners usually know each other well, as they keep treating each other’s patients. Ask your physician if he can recommend you to an acupuncturist who specializes in the treatment that you require.

  • You can also get recommendations from your family, friends, neighbors, or colleagues who have undergone acupuncture treatment in the past.

  • Another easy way to find a person providing acupuncture near me is to do a Google Search. Websites such as Acufinder (14) and Acupuncture Today (15) can help you locate your nearby acupuncturists. You can also use the Better Business Bureau website (16) to locate a registered clinic providing Chinese acupuncture near me.


Verify credentials


Even if you have received recommendations, it is a good idea to verify their credentials. You could find a few practitioners who hold NCCAOM license but not the state license. To avoid such issues, you must contact your state’s acupuncture board to verify if the acupuncturist you have selected is licensed to practice in your area. You can also call up the acupuncture clinic near me and ask if they are willing to show you the proof of their certifications. Genuine ones would have displayed the licenses in their clinics and would be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding them.

Expertise


Acupuncture for cancer support requires more precision and expertise than acupuncture for smoking near me. So, while selecting a practitioner, you must ask if he or she has extensive experience in handling cases like yours. Do not hesitate to ask for patient referrals. Genuine clinics providing acupuncture near me will be happy to provide you the contact details of a patient with conditions similar to yours. Many, however, may not provide you with any such details due to privacy issues. In such cases, do not just reject the practitioner. Rather, be happy to know that he/she respects his patients’ privacy.

Look for convenience


While some conditions can be treated in a single session, most conditions do require multiple on-going sessions, which is why you must choose acupuncture clinic near me which is very convenient to reach. It should be near your home or office from where you can go for your sessions without much hassle. The practitioner should be willing to schedule your sessions as per your convenience. He/she should be very approachable and the staff should be helpful enough to accommodate your needs.

Do not compromise on hygiene


This shouldn’t be a problem with licensed acupuncturists near me. Still, you should visit the clinic to evaluate the level of hygiene they maintain. In the US, it is mandatory to use single-use sterile needles to avoid the chances of infection. Also, the practitioners are required to follow standard medical cleanliness such as clean hands, clean and hygienic rooms, proper disposal of biohazards, etc.

If you have followed the above-mentioned steps, by now you would probably have finalized an acupuncturist. When you go for your first visit or for consultation, make sure you ask how many sessions it would require to see improvements. Also, do not hesitate to ask any questions you may have. The practitioners providing best acupuncture near me will never hesitate to answer your questions. They will listen to your problems, symptoms, concerns, questions, etc. carefully and then, they will create a tailored treatment strategy for you. We hope this blog helps you understand how to select the best acupuncturist for your problems. For more such helpful information, keep reading our blog.

 

References and Citations

  1. Acupuncture: In Depth. NCCIH. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/acupuncture/introduction#hed3.

  2. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1357513.

  3. Science L. What is Acupuncture?. Live Science. https://www.livescience.com/29494-acupuncture.html.

  4. Yamini Ranchod M. Acupuncture: How it works, uses, benefits, and risks. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/156488.php.

  5. Acupuncture: In Depth. NCCIH. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/acupuncture/introduction#hed4.

  6. Lek C. Acupuncture Regulates Hormones, Boosts Fertility. Healthcmi.com. https://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1725-acupuncture-regulates-hormones-boosts-fertility.

  7. https://academic.oup.com/rheumatology/article/43/5/662/1788282.

  8. Ananya Mandal M. Acupuncture History. News-Medical.net. https://www.news-medical.net/health/Acupuncture-History.aspx.

  9. Acupuncture in the U.S. and the Hospital of the Future. HuffPost. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/phil-veneziano-ms-lac/acupuncture-_b_1572036.html.

  10. Ananya Mandal M. Acupuncture Safety. News-Medical.net. https://www.news-medical.net/health/Acupuncture-Safety.aspx.

  11. Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM): FAQs. Ccaom.org. http://www.ccaom.org/faqs.asp#12.

  12. State Licensure | NCCAOM. NCCAOM. http://www.nccaom.org/state-licensure/.

  13. Paying for Complementary and Integrative Health Approaches. NCCIH. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/financial#hed4.

  14. Find an Acupuncturists, Acupuncture School, Acupuncture Class, News, Articles and Information. Acufinder.com. https://www.acufinder.com/.

  15. Acupuncture Today - The leading provider of acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine news and research information in the world - TCM - Find an Acupuncturist. Acupuncturetoday.com. https://www.acupuncturetoday.com/mpacms/at/locator/advanced_search.php.

  16. Acupuncturist near Louisville, KY | Better Business Bureau. Start with Trust ®. Bbb.org. https://www.bbb.org/en/us/ky/louisville/category/acupuncturist.