What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture and Oriental MedicineSeveral thousand years ago, East Asian practitioners discovered that the body forms disharmonies as a result of the various physical and mental stresses of life. Oriental medical theory explains these disharmonies as an imbalance of opposing forces called yin and yang. This imbalance disrupts the movement of the body's vital energy (qi) along the meridian pathways, which are channels through which the body's energy is thought to flow. Acupuncture restores the smooth flow of qi. By inserting and manipulating needles at specific points on the body, I am able to return the body to its natural balance and promote the body's ability to heal itself.

What Does Acupuncture Feel Like?

Acupuncture and Oriental MedicineMany first-time patients are concerned that acupuncture needles will feel like hypodermic injections at the doctor’s office. They won't. Acupuncture uses hair-thin, flexible needles that you will hardly feel when I insert them. When I gently stimulate the needles they may produce a unique sensation that Oriental medicine calls de qi. Patients often describe de qi as a heavy, achy pressure, or spreading, traveling feeling. You may also feel an "electrical" sensation moving down the meridian pathways, though this is less common. Most patients find these acupuncture sensations deeply satisfying and leave the treatment feeling relaxed both mentally and physically.

How Many Treatments Will I Need?

The benefits of acupuncture are cumulative, so more then one treatment is necessary. For acute conditions you can expect to have 10 to 15 treatments, but you will usually begin to feel relief after just the first few. Chronic conditions may take longer to respond, depending on the type, severity, and duration of the condition. Preventative treatments and treatments for general well-being may also be scheduled on an as-needed basis.

Is Acupuncture Safe?

Acupuncture and Oriental MedicineYes. Acupuncture is used by millions of Americans every year. Acupuncturists are required to undergo extensive education, including detailed study of human anatomy and training in Clean Needle Technique. I have passed comprehensive national board examinations administered by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and am licensed by the state. As required by law, I use pre-sterilized, disposable, single-use needles to ensure your complete safety.

Your First Visit

When you arrive for your first acupuncture appointment I will ask you to complete a comprehensive intake form. The acupuncture intake form asks questions about your current state of health, past illnesses, and family history. These questions are important because the holistic approach of Oriental medicine takes everything into account. Your current symptoms may not seem related to past health issues, but our bodies are complex landscapes and everything that happens to them leaves its mark.

Acupuncture and Oriental MedicineAfter reviewing your intake form, we will discuss your condition, and I will examine your pulse and tongue, which are two of the basic diagnostic methods of Oriental medicine. The acupuncture points I choose will depend on your condition, but you can expect approximately 20 needles. Once the needles are inserted, I will leave you to lie comfortably for 15-20 minutes with the needles in place. Many people find acupuncture treatment deeply relaxing, and it is not uncommon for patients to fall asleep during this time.

What Can Acupuncture Treat?

Acupuncture works by activating the body's own healing powers, so it can be beneficial for many health conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) has documented many symptoms, diseases, and conditions that have been shown in controlled clinical trials to be effectively treated with acupuncture. Below are some common conditions I can treat, but please feel free to contact me about your specific health condition.

Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Pain

  • Sports injuries
  • Muscle pain
  • Back, neck and shoulder pain
  • Leg, ankle and foot pain
  • Arm, wrist and hand pain
  • Knee pain
  • Hip pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Repetitive strain injuries
  • Jaw pain (TMJ)
  • Dental pain
  • Sciatica
  • Arthritis
  • Tendonitis
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Postoperative pain

Digestive Issues & Nausea

  • Heartburn, Acid Reflux
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Chronic indigestion
  • Chronic loose stools or constipation
  • Peptic ulcer
  • Acute and chronic gastritis
  • Morning sickness
  • Nausea and vomiting

Mental and Emotional Wellbeing

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Depression

Respiratory Complaints

  • Sinusitis
  • Allergies

Reproductive Issues

  • Infertility
  • Increased efficacy of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

Five Things You also Should Know about Acupuncture

  • A NYT Reporter Let the West Know About It. During a trip to China in 1971, a New York Times reporter underwent an emergency appendectomy. Afterward, doctors used acupuncture to relieve discomfort in his abdomen. He wrote about the experience upon his return to the United States. This sparked interest in the practice in the United States, and subsequently, the Western world.
  • It’s Backed by the World Health Organization. The World Health Organization endorses the use of acupuncture for over 100 symptoms and diseases, including low back pain, headaches, nausea and vomiting, allergies, depression, to relieve the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy, and for inducing labor.

    In 1997, the United States National Institutes of Health  approved acupuncture as an adjunct treatment for nausea and vomiting after surgery, pain in the mouth after dental surgery, and pregnancy related nausea.

  • Licensed Acupuncturists Have Masters Degrees. To become a licensed acupuncturist (L.Ac) one must attend a rigorous graduate-level training program for three to four years. After they are licensed, acupuncturists must maintain their licensure with continuing education.

    Education to become an acupuncturist includes training in ethics, patient safety during treatments, how to gather their medical history, and how to recognize when a patient needs to be seen by other health care professionals.

    Medical doctors can also practice acupuncture, but are required to do far less training. Those who do dry needling also often have much less training than licensed acupuncturists.

  • It’s Covered by Insurance More Than You’d Expect. There is a common misconception that insurance does not cover acupuncture, but this is not true for many plans. According to a report in Acupuncture Today, “As of 2004, nearly 50 percent of Americans who were enrolled in employer health insurance plans were covered for acupuncture treatment.”

    With some insurance, patients may be responsible for a copay, while other companies may cover a certain percentage of treatment.

  • If You’re Needle-Phobic, You Can Still Get Acupuncture. Acupuncture needles are actually less formidable than syringes. They have different widths and lengths, with some only as thick as a hair. They penetrate different depths from only the surface of the skin to about a half an inch below. The amount and type of pain experienced is different for each individual, so if you’re concerned, let your practitioner know and he or she can advise you on the right course of treatment and make sure you are as comfortable as possible during sessions.

Acupuncture -  

107 Glenbrook Road,   Stamford, CT

38C Grove Street, Suite F           Second Floor, Ridgefield, CT

Email: xin@xinzhangacupuncture.com
Phone: (646) 535-1906

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