Acupuncture is an ancient medical art that treats diseases and pain through the shallow insertion and manipulation of very fine, sterile needles into specified points on the human body. It is a safe, painless procedure that has been practiced in the East for at least 2,500 years—with some references pointing to it’s existence 5,000 years ago. Today, more and more Americans are considering acupuncture as a complement to other conventional medical treatments.
What is acupuncture used to treat?
Clinical studies show that acupuncture --by itself, or in combination with conventional therapies – may be an effective treatment for nausea caused by surgical anesthesia and cancer chemotherapy, pain syndromes such as: dental and postoperative pain, headache and facial pain, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low back pain, joint pain, TMJ, carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow; primary dysmenorrhea and problems associated with pregnancy such as morning sickness, late term and possibly correction of breech position; allergic rhinitis, including hay fever; and assistance in stroke rehabilitation. Other reported benefits for acupuncture continue to be actively researched.
Depending on the situation, acupuncture can be effective enough to reduce or even eliminate the need for some medications and some surgical procedures. A patient is never advised to stop a medication or postpone surgery, however, without consulting the appropriate physician.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Most patients barely feel the initial insertion, and, after the needles are in place, patients may feel only a slight pressure sensation.
Improper placement of acupuncture needles, however, can cause pain. That is why it is important to ensure that you seek treatment from qualified acupuncture practitioners, such as the licensed acupuncturists at the Osher Center.
The acupuncturist may also use other gentle techniques during the treatment:
- Moxibustion - heating acupuncture needles with dried herb sticks to activate and warm the acupuncture point
- Acupressure - light-touch massage therapy
- Laser acupuncture - stimulation with a safe, very low level laser beam instead of a needle
How effective is acupuncture?
National Institutes of Health (NIH) clinical studies show that acupuncture - by itself, or in combination with conventional therapies - is an effective treatment for nausea caused by surgical anesthesia and cancer chemotherapy, dental pain after surgery, addiction, headaches, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and asthma, and to assist in stroke rehabilitation. Other reported benefits for acupuncture continue to be actively researched.
What is the length of an acupuncture treatment?
Sessions can take between 45 and 60 minutes, depending on the specific condition. Benefits may emerge after only one session or may take several sessions, again, depending on the problem. We can better assess this once we have met with you in person.
Who practices acupuncture at the Osher Center?
Xiao Ming Cheng, L. Ac., is a senior TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) practitioner who has worked for more than 33 years in the TCM and acupuncture field. He started his teaching life in 1980 as a director of the Acupuncture department in Zhejiang University of TCM. Since 1991, Xiao Ming has taught TCM, acupuncture and Oriental philosophy at the New England School of Acupuncture. He is also a member of the team that teaches the Acupuncture Course for Physicians through the Department of Continuing Medical Education at Harvard Medical School.
How do I get more information or set up an appointment?
Please call the Osher Center at (617) 732-9700 to get more information about our acupuncture services or to set up an appointment with Xiao Ming. The Center is located at the Brigham and Women’s Ambulatory Care Center in Chestnut Hill.