What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an ancient System of medicine.  The earliest acupuncture books were written over 2000 years ago and today there are over three million practitioners worldwide.  Acupuncture began with the discovery that stimulating certain areas of the skin affected functioning of specific organs.  It evolved into a system of healing as the connection between the skin and organs was better understood and more sensitive ways of stimulation were devised.  In the West, acupuncture has been misleadingly publicized as being good only for specific conditions such as pain or weight loss.  However, it is effective for a variety of conditions due to its power to stimulate our own healing response.  This overall therapeutic effect is one of its great strengths.  This is a method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and to improve functioning.  This is done by inserting needles and applying heat or electrical stimulation at very precise acupuncture points.  The system revolves on the concept of Qi.

What is Qi (pronounced chee)?

Qi loosely defined means energy or life force, and has a profound effect on physiological function and health.  Qi is balanced when the body is in good health.  Qi courses through 12 main "meridians" or energy pathways, throughout the body, nourishing various organs and structures in its path.  Disrupting qi along any of these pathways can cause disfunction and disease.  With acupuncture, "qi blockages," are eliminated using fine needles inserted into specific sites along the meridians.   By stimulating the acupuncture points, acupuncturists seek to restore normal energy flow, and in the process, stimulate the body's ability to heal itself.  

Will it hurt?

Needles are inserted rapidly and painlessly.  Often patients remark that a deep sense of well-being follows the insertion of the acupuncture needles.

Is it safe?

In China, acupuncture needles were once made of gold and silver.  Here at the Center for Complementary Medicine, flexible steel disposable needles are used.  The needles are very thin and range from about 1/4" to 8" long.  To eliminate the risk of infections, only sterile, disposable needles are used. 

Who should perform acupuncture?

Acupuncture should only be performed by a licensed, certified practitioner.  To be licensed in Massachusetts, one must graduate a three year accredited program, which includes extensive clinical training, as well as studies in Western Medicine.  To be certified, applicants must pass a rigorous, national three day examination with a practicum on clean needle technique.  The letters L. Ac. after a practitioner's name stands for Licensed Acupuncturist and indicates the attainment of, at least, a minimum standard or training, as well as approval by a state or national licensing board.  The letters M.Ac. stands for Master of Acupuncture.

What can acupuncture treat?

Withdrawal from addictions- May be helpful for withdrawal from sugar, coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, and cocaine.

Respiratory/Ear, Nose, Throat- Colds & flu, asthma, bronchitis, sinus infections, allergies, earaches.

Musculo-Skeletal/Neurological- Back/neck pain, arthritis, sciatica, bursitis/tendonitis, neuralgia, Bell's/Cerebral Palsy, headache, dizziness, stroke, sprains/strains.

Dermatological- Acne, herpes, eczema

Genito-Urinary/Reproductive- Impotence, infertility, PMS, PID, Vaginitis, irregular menstruation, cramps, uterine bleeding, menopausal syndrome, morning sickness, difficult labor, urinary difficulties.

Internal- Hypo/hyperglycemia, hypertension, ulcers, irritable bowels/Colitis, hemorrhoids, diabetes, epigastic pain, abdominal masses.

Mental/Emotional- Anxiety, stress, depression, insomnia, palpitations.


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Lyn Swirda  M.Ac., Lic.Ac.
Amy Jao    M.Ac., Lic.Ac.
Colleen O'Neill M.Ac., Lic.Ac.
Tel: 617.566.1170
Fax: 617.566.4745