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Acupuncture

Acupuncture was developed by the Chinese more than two thousand years ago. Very fine needles are used to activate, unblock and strengthen the energy pathways that flow through your body. Electrical stimulation, a heat lamp or a burning herb called moxa are used for additional stimulation.

Doctor Stempel offers acupuncture services to our Phoenix community integrating western medical knowledge with eastern medical philosophy to provide you with a balanced spectrum of care. Musculo-skeletal pain, both acute and chronic, often responds dramatically to acupuncture. For this reason in the US acupuncture is best known for its effects on pain relief than for any other indication. However, there are many other indications for the use of acupuncture.

For example, acupuncture can be an excellent complement to the treatment of seasonal allergy symptoms, often minimizing and sometimes eliminating the need for medications. Asthma and chronic bronchospasm are other examples where a good response to acupuncture can reduce the dosage of medication needed.

Acupuncture is effective in treating tinnitus(ringing in the ears) and vertigo(dizziness), which are symptoms of Meniere's disease.  It is also very effective in treating tension due to stress, anxiety, panic attacks and depression.  With more serious conditions, acupuncture therapy should be utilized in conjunction with primary medical care. No medications should be stopped without first consulting your prescribing physician.

What is Acupuncture?
What conditions will it help?
How Can Acupuncture Help Me?
How quickly will I see results?
Are there any side effects?
What are the needles like?
Will it work if I don't believe in it?
Will my insurance cover the treatments?
What are the do's and dont's?


What Is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture encourages natural healing and improved function through the utilization of very fine needles which are used to activate, unblock and strengthen the energetic pathways that flow through the body. Sometimes heat or electrical stimulation is used to increase the energetic effect of the needles.

The Chinese believed that energy (chi) flows through the body and over its surface in energetic pathways. These pathways (meridians) are similar to streams which irrigate and nourish the tissues, as they flow through the body. The energetic pathways of the meridians are interconnected, and any obstruction to the flow of the chi in one meridian has a ripple effect in the others. Energy flow is also affected by too much (excess) or too little (deficient) energy. Inserting a needle in an acupuncture point (picuring) can help to release excess energy, build up deficient energy or relieve an obstruction.

Each meridian is related to the energy of a specific organ, and specific body tissues. When there is an imbalance in an energetic pathway, there are often subtle signs of change before pathologic changes occur in the main organ involved with that meridian. Acupuncture can help to resolve an imbalance before it becomes a major problem

The current scientific understanding is that stimulation of an acupuncture point causes the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain, which either change the experience of pain, or trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body's healing processes. The improved energy flow and realignment produced by acupuncture encourages the body's natural healing abilities, and promotes physical and emotional well-being.

Acupuncture is a very old medical art, with many variations developed from its use in China, Korea, Japan and Europe. This explains the many approaches to learning and practicing it. Medical acupuncture is the term used to describe acupuncture performed by a doctor trained and licensed in Western medicine, who has also had thorough training in acupuncture as a specialty practice. Such a doctor is able to integrate Western knowledge with Eastern wisdom to determine the most effective approach to an illness or problem.

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How Can Acupuncture Help Me?

Acupuncture can influence your health in three ways:

  • It assists in the maintenance of health and wellness
  • It aides in the prevention of illness
  • It can be an effective treatment of acute and chronic medical conditions

Although acupuncture in the United States has been primarily associated with pain control, it has much broader applications. Acupuncture can be effective as the only treatment used, or as the support or adjunct for many medical and surgical problems. It is also of benefit in addressing problems related to tension and stress and emotional conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes the use of acupuncture in the treatment of a wide range of medical problems. (see WHO list)

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How Quickly Will I See Results?

The number of treatments required is different for each person. Acute problems usually require only a few visits. For difficult, long-standing conditions, one or two treatments a week for several months may be necessary. With long standing pain or health problems it is necessary to rebuild depleted energy before changes begin to occur.

No form of therapy "cures" every ailment.  While most people derive a benefit or resolution from acupuncture, some people do not.  There is no way to determine who responds well without trying.

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Are There Any Side Effects?

Side effects are unusual. Restoring your overall chi stimulates chemicals and hormones, which allow healing to begin. Occasionally the original symptoms may worsen for a few days. This is transitory and is a sign that the treatment has caused a change.   Any change in symptoms is an indication that the treatment is having an effect.

You may also notice changes in appetite, sleep, bowel or urination patterns, or emotional states. These changes are not cause for concern. They are simply an indication that the acupuncture treatments are having an effect on your body.

It is quite common to experience a sensation of deep relaxation or even mild disorientation, feeling high, immediately following your treatment. This is caused by a release of endorphins, your brain’s natural tranquilizers. It will pass within a short period of time, and may require waiting a few minutes before leaving until it resolves. If you are feeling this way, sit down, relax and drink some water.

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What are the Needles Like?

Because acupuncture needles are very thin, their insertion is not as painful as injections or blood tests. A small bruise may occasionally occur at the insertion site. Bleeding after removal is unusual. If it does occur, it is related to excess chi and is usually a drop of blood.

Each person experiences needle insertion differently. Most patients feel only minimal pain as the needles are inserted; some feel no pain at all. When the needle encounters the chi, you will experience de chi. This sensation is different for every person and is different with each acupuncture point. It can be different at the same point from one week to the next. It is an initial feeling which then disappears. Once the needles are in place, you usually feel no pain.

Needles are sterile and disposable. There is virtually no risk of infection from the treatments. Skin preparation has been found to be unnecessary and because of the low rates of infection and bleeding, gloves have also been found to be unnecessary.

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Will Acupuncture Work If I Don’t Believe In It?

Yes. Acupuncture is even used on cats, dogs and horses. A positive attitude is always best. It reinforces the effects of any therapy you receive, just as much as a negative attitude can hinder the results.

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Will My Insurance Cover My Treatments?

You will need to discuss coverage with your insurance company. Our office does not bill insurance. If your insurance plan provides coverage, we will provide you with a receipt for services and payment, which you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.

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What Are The "Do’s And Don’ts" Related To Treatment?

Following these recommendations will enhance your response to treatment:

  • Give your body twenty-four hours to respond to any treatment. Be moderate in both the expenditure and intake of mental, physical and emotional activity.
  • Eat in moderation. Avoid any meals which are unusually large, rich or spicy before or after your treatment.
  • Exercise in moderation. Avoid excessive exercise for 6 hours before or after your treatment.
  • Avoid sexual activity 6 hours before or after the treatment.
  • Avoid alcohol for 6 hours before or after the treatment. Substance abuse (drugs or alcohol) seriously interferes with the effectiveness of acupuncture treatments.
  • If possible, plan to rest after your treatment. If possible, avoid working at top performance. This is especially important for the first few visits.
  • Continue to take all prescription medicines as directed by your regular doctor.
  • Keep good mental or written notes of your response to the treatment. Your doctor will adjust the treatment plan based on what you experience.
  • Enjoy the changes that successful acupuncture offers.

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The World Health Organization in 1979 listed the following conditions appropriate for acupuncture therapy.




Conditions Appropriate for Acupuncture Therapy


Abdominal pain
Constipation
Diarrhea
Hyperacidity
Indigestion
Emotional
Anxiety
Depression
Insomnia
Nervousness
Neurosis
Cataracts
Gingivitis
Poor vision
Tinnitus
Toothache
Gynecological pain
Infertility
Menopausal symptoms
Premenstrual syndrome
Addiction control
Athletic performance
Blood pressure regulation
Chronic fatigue
Immune system tonification
Stress reduction
Musculoskeletal pain
Arthritis
Back pain
Muscle cramping
Muscle pain/weakness
Neck pain
Sciatica
Headaches
Migraines
Neurogenic disease
Bladder dysfunction
Parkinson's disease
Postoperative pain
Stroke
Respiratory
Asthma
Bronchitis
Common cold
Sinusitis
Smoking cessation
Tonsillitis
 


Source Document: "Viewpoint on Acupuncture" World Health Organization, United Nations, 1979

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