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ACUPUNCTURE FAQs


Q: WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE?

A: Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles into the body at specific points which have been empirically proven effective in the treatment of specific disorders. These points have been mapped by the Chinese over thousands of years. More recently the location of the acu-points has been confirmed, using sensitive apparatus which measures electrical resistance.

Q: ARE NEEDLES ALWAYS USED?

A: Modern research and ancient wisdom have come together to produce low energy lasers with a very minimal output (between 2 and 50 milli-watt which can be used to stimulate acupuncture points with similar effectiveness to needles. These lasers are completely pain free and make it possible to treat children and even babies.

Q: WHAT PROBLEMS CAN BE TREATED WITH ACUPUNCTURE?

A: Rheumatic and arthritic conditions:

These are the most common conditions for which acupuncture is used ,and include tennis elbow ,carpel tunnel syndrome, all the painful shoulder problems, Neck problems ,lumbago and other back problems, wrist pain , hip, knee and ankle problems and other painful conditions of muscles and ligaments, or soft tissue problems such as shin splits. These respond dramatically to acupuncture with needles or laser, which will often increase the healing response by 30% to 50%.

Neurological disorders

These include trigeminal neuralgia of the face, post-herpetic neuralgia (pain after shingles), headaches, and migraine.

Paralysis

Bells palsy (facial paralysis). A group of stroke patients will respond to acupuncture, but this depends on the CT scan results and the period of paralysis. Acupuncture treatment within two days period of attack has almost full recovery from disability.

Allergy Problems

Hay fever, Asthmatic conditions, Eczema, Psoriasis, various dermatitis, and Sinusitis.

Tune-ups

Many conditions will respond to a course of acupuncture treatments which improve functions and help the system to cope better under stress. This includes chronic fatigue, M.E. syndrome, low resistance to recurrent colds and influenzas.

Other conditions

There are few conditions, which fairly respond to acupuncture treatment as Herpes zoster (shingles), irritable bowel problems, mild depression, anxiety, alcoholism, addictions of smoking drugs and Overweight.

Gynecological & Obstetical Problems

Painful periods, PMT, Irregular periods, Infertility specially developed due to use of oral or injection contraceptives, Chronic infection of genital organs. The success rate in functional infertility cases is very good.

Miscellaneous problems

If your doctor has a low energy laser do ask him about the treatment of the following: Spurs, mastitis (breast pain), psoriasis, mouth ulcers, fever blisters, leg ulcers, non-healing wounds, painful scars.

Q: IS ACUPUNCTURE PAINFUL?

A: The insertion of the needle, when performed by a competent acupuncturist, should not be painful apart from the initial mild needle prick and what is referred to as “needling sensation”, which is more if a discomfort than a pain . After the needles are inserted, the patient will lie quietly for 20 to 30 minutes until the needles are removed.

Q: HOW DEEP DO THE NEEDLES GO?

A: Depending on the area, needles may be inserted to just below the skin (on the face) or up to a few centimeters (in the buttocks). The size of needles varies according to the body acupuncture points

Q: IS THERE A CHANCE OF CONTRACTING AIDS?

A: We are aware of the problems of infecting patients. Medical doctors have trained in sterilizing procedures and all have some reliable method they use for all their instruments. We are using pre- sterilized disposable needles. The needles used only once. The Ear pressed studs are used in the treatment of obesity, addiction to nicotine or drugs, and stress, are usable only once.

Q: ARE THERE ANY DANGERS INVOLVED IN ACUPUNCTURE?

A: All registered Medical Acupuncturist with basic western qualifications of M.B.Ch.B or MBBS have been trained extensively in anatomy and are fully aware of any risk attached to sticking needles into the body. I am a medical acupuncturist and have through knowledge of surface anatomy. Thus it is extremely rare to have any complications from acupuncture. I have never come across to such a problem during my nine years of experience of doing acupuncture.

Q: HOW MANY TREATMENTS ARE NECESSARY?

A: Acute conditions may be treated every day or every second day for 3 to 6 treatments.

B. Chronic conditions are usually treated twice a week for 8 to 15 treatments. As the condition improves your doctor may decide to do the treatment once a week. Booster treatments at increasingly longer intervals may also be necessary.

Normal electro-acupuncture, ear, or scalp acupuncture and along with medication are necessary together to obtain satisfactory results in chronic diseases.

Acupuncture improves function of body organs. Therefore the response is slow but permanent.

Q: ARE YOU USING WESTERN METHOD AND MEDICINES ALSO?

A: All the necessary and relevant pathological investigations and radio diagnosis procedures will be used to reach diagnosis.

Recently a study (Scientific Research) was done at Duke University Medical centre, San Francisco, USA by Dr T J Gan, an anesthetist,

"Using acupuncture both before and after surgery produced best results for patients to reduce pain and sleeplessness very effectively.

The post-operative recovery and healing is more rapidly with less complication.

The infertility clinics are sending their patients for reducing the chances of the rejection of implantation of embryo internally in the uterus. Mostly patients became pregnant after acupuncture because the body organs started function optimum and normal.

Q: HOW DOES ACUPUNCTURE WORK?

A: According to ancient theory needling the body helps to remove blocks to the flow of energy. If energy is freed then it can flow and heal the patient. A great deal of research has been carried out in recent times, which suggests that a number of mechanisms are involved. These include the release of chemical substances which can reduce pain. Research also suggests a possible electromagnetic effect on the body. .Acupuncture points have low skin resistance as measured by ant suitable ohmmeter, suggesting that they are electrical windows into the system. Whatever the underlying mechanism, the end result appears to be an improvement of the functions. Any improvement of the functions means that the system is able to work more effectively than before and can now start the process of healing.

Q: WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM ACUPUNCTURE?

A: There may, of course, be no improvement. This does not mean that acupuncture does not work and that you should not consider it again. If the indication for acupuncture is given then contract your doctor again for application of an alternative technique by choosing different acupuncture points to get full relief from the condition.

In general most people will see some benefit within one to five treatments. Occasionally there is an aggravation of symptoms which should not alarm you. Please consult your doctor if this should occur.

After an initial improvement there is sometimes a slowing down of effectiveness for a few treatments prior to any further progress. The effects of the treatment continue for some days after each treatment.

Q: ARE THE EFFECTS OF ACUPUNCTURE ONLY SYMPTOMATIC?

A: Acupuncture does not treat the symptoms but improves the functions. Depending on the underlying cause of the problem it may take a short time or longer time before the condition returns. Many conditions are permanently cured while others will need booster treatments at half-yearly of yearly intervals. The treatment is either permanent in most of case or long lasting in few cases. A booster treatment requires in few cases.

Q: CHOOSING AN ACUPUNCTURIST?

A: There are two kinds of acupuncturists practicing in South Africa today.

1. First, a couple of chiropractors and homeopaths, who are registered as the Chiropractors, Homeopaths.

2. Second, Acupuncturists, who are the modern medical doctors as MBBS or M.B.Ch.B. This group has obtained qualifications of Dr. Chinese Tradition Medicine, & Acupuncturist and they are registered with the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa

Q: FURTHER STUDIES ON ACUPUNCTURE?

A: Yes, several studies are going on different topics of the acupuncture and Chinese medicines in USA, UK and Germany. Recently two studies at different places of USA are published:

a) ACUPUNCTURE IN MENTAL HEALTH

The Acupuncture improves the mental Health creating the mental and emotional Wellness. Importance of acupuncture point ‘Yintang’, which is the entrance or passageway to the mind is recognized as highly effective treatment of anxiety and stress related disorders.

b) ACUPUNCTURE BEFORE & AFTER SURGERY: Using acupuncture both before and after surgery produced the best results for patients: Study was done by Dr T.J.Gan, M.D, Anesthesiologist and presented at the annual scientific conference of the American Society for Anesthesiology in San Francisco in October 2007.

Q: HOW YOU WILL FIND A LICENSED PRACTITIONER?

A: S A Association of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture (SAACMA) : All the doctors practicing Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture must registered with the council. The AHPCSA is responsible with the standard of Chinese medicine practice in South Africa.

SAMAS (South African Medical Acupuncture Society), which is recognized by the medical association of South Africa, teaches acupuncture to, and monitors the standards of medical doctors practicing acupuncture. Any complaints should be lodged with SAMAS. Anyone wishing to consult a medical doctor who has passed our exam and practices acupuncture is welcome to contact SAMAS or Allied HPCSA.

SAMAS was established a number of years ago to train medical doctors in the art and science of acupuncture. Doctors who have our diploma/ full degree have completed the prescribed course and passed our exam. They are fully and permanently registered with Allied Health Professional Council of South Africa, Pretoria.

The entire small institutes running by private bodies have been disqualified by Allied HPCSA and their qualifications are not registered to work in South Africa. The UWC has started a six year degree course since January 2007.