Category Archives: Acupuncture

Acupuncture sounds scary, but there’s proof it could help — a lot

If you’re new to holistic healing as a type of treatment, acupuncture can seem a bit terrifying. How could pressing needles into your skin possibly make you feel better? Doesn’t that hurt?

Well, no, it’s definitely not the overtly painful procedure you may be imagining, and considering that it’s been studied and practiced for over 2,500 years Trusted Source, it seems acupuncture enthusiasts could seriously be onto something. Some people swear by acupuncture, citing it as a “miracle” to improving their quality of life because it’s said to be able to treat everything from depression and allergies to morning sickness and cramps.

If you listen to devotees, the prickly treatment sounds almost like a wonderful cure-all — but is it? Let’s take a closer look.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicine-based approach to treating a variety of conditions by triggering specific points on the skin with needles. Paul Kempisty, licensed acupuncturist with a MS in traditional Oriental medicine, explains, “[Acupuncture is] a minimally invasive method to stimulate nerve-rich areas of the skin surface in order to influence tissues, gland, organs, and various functions of the body.”

“Each acupuncture needle produces a tiny injury at the insertion site, and although it’s slight enough to cause little to no discomfort, it’s enough of a signal to let the body know it needs to respond,” Kempisty says. “This response involves stimulation of the immune system, promoting circulation to the area, wound healing, and pain modulation.” Contemporary research on acupuncture relies mainly on this theory.

What’s the philosophy behind acupuncture?

The Chinese philosophy behind acupuncture is a bit more complicated, as the ancient practice isn’t traditionally based in science and medicine. “They believed that the human body was filled with and animated by an invisible life-giving force which they called ‘qi’ (pronounced ‘chee’) and when the qi was flowing well and going to all the right places, then a person would experience good mental and physical health. When the qi was flowing incorrectly (blocked or deficient) that would result in illness,” says Kempisty.

The concept of qi isn’t too out there — think of it as your body’s natural inner workings. Sometimes you’re more prone to illness when feeling stressed or anxious. When you’re relaxed and healthy, your body physically reflects that too. After all, your mood, mental health, and general well-being do affect your physical health. Thus, acupuncture aims to assist people in achieving balance, or qi, and, as a result, provide relief for many ailments.

What does acupuncture do?

You may be interested in acupuncture for a variety of reasons — for example, I sought treatment for my chronic headaches and sinus pressure — as there are countlessconditions and symptoms that acupuncture has been said to help with. Here are just some of the many claims:

  • allergies
  • anxiety and depressionTrusted Source
  • osteoarthritisTrusted Source
  • chronic pain often in the neck, back, knees, and head
  • hypertension
  • insomniaTrusted Source
  • menstrual cramps and PMSTrusted Source
  • migrainesTrusted Source
  • morning sickness
  • sprains
  • strokes

Some studies even suggest that acupuncture can help with cancer treatment and multiple sclerosis, however research for these conditions is limited and requires larger studies to confirm the benefits.

While there’s no evidence that acupuncture is a miracle cure-all, it does seem to have some evidence as a worth-while treatment for people who may have multiple conditions and illnesses. There’s a reason it’s been around for more than 2,500 years and as research grows, so will our knowledge of exactly what works and what does.


Acupuncture For Myopia Better Vision Results

Acupuncture is an effective measure against juvenile myopia. In one investigation, eye chart testing confirms that a combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine produces a high success rate for eyesight improvement. Another investigation confirms the results with added measurements including reductions in photophobia, eye dryness, and visual fatigue.

In one study on juvenile myopia, researchers (Changchun, China) adopted an integrated method of applying Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture, and massage therapy. The sample was comprised of 186 patients. The patients were classified into three age groups: 7-10 years (61 cases), 11-13 (59 cases), 4-17 (66 cases). The treatments lasted for a session period of 10 days. Patients’ eyesight significantly improved following treatment, with an effective rate of 95.5%. [1] Outcome measures relied on how many lines patients could read on standard eye charts. The following herbs were prescribed as part of the treatment?

  • Yuan Zhi (??), 10g
  • Chang Pu (??), 10g
  • Dang Shen (??), 9g
  • Fu Ling (??), 9g
  • Shi Hu (??), 9g

Fifteen-minute acupuncture treatments were applied on the following points:

  • ST1 (Chengqi)
  • Yiming (extra point, ??)
  • ST2 (Sibai)
  • LI15 (Jianzhongyu)
  • ST8 (Touwei)
  • MHN8 (Qiuhou)
  • BL1 (Jingming)
  • GB37 (Guangming)

The authors of the research note that, according to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) principles, juvenile myopia is primarily caused by asthenia. Specifically, congenital and spleen qi deficiency, yin deficiency due to overuse of the eyes, or an imbalanced diet. Prolonged working hours is an aggravating factor contributing to short-sightedness. From a TCM perspective, myopia is associated with qi stagnation and blood stasis; therefore, exerting certain stimulation on the specific acupoints can soothe the meridians and collaterals, activate qi and blood, regulate zang-fu organ functions, and thus improve one’s well-being. Many meridian routes converge around the eyes through the neck channels. Accordingly, treatment applied to acupoints in this area can significantly treat the qi and blood.

A similar type of research was conducted on 88 adolescents with moderate myopia in two hospitals in Jiangsu from April 2015 to January 2018. Patients were randomly divided into a control group and an observation group. Exclusion parameters for patients admitted to the study included organic lesions of the heart, liver, or kidneys, acute cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, cataracts, glaucoma, macular diseases, xerophthalmia, hereditary myopia, or a history of eye injuries or surgeries.

The control group was given 0.25% tropicamide eye drops at bedtime while the observation group received 30-minute acupuncture treatments for 6 consecutive days in a week, and the entire course lasted for 4 weeks. Clinical parameters, including visual acuity, diopter, axial length, intraocular pressure, and TCM syndrome scores were recorded. The researchers documented significant improvements across far vision, length of eye axis, intraocular pressures, blurriness, photophobia, eye dryness, and visual fatigue parameters. As a result, the researchers note, “The short-term effect of acupuncture on moderate adolescent myopia is remarkable. It is worth popularizing to reduce diopter needs, improve naked eye vision, and improve TCM [traditional Chinese medicine] syndromes.” [2] Needles were inserted to acupoints around the eyes to obtain a deqi sensation:

  • MHN6 (Yuyao)
  • BL1 (Jingming)
  • BL2 (Cuanzhu)
  • ST2 (Sibai)
  • MHN9 (Taiyang)

Additional points used were the following:

  • GV20 (baihui)
  • TB17 (Yifeng)
  • LI4 (hegu)
  • ST36 (zusanli)
  • GB37 (Guangming)
  • SP6 (Sanyinjiao)

The above research indicates that acupuncture or a combined treatment protocol with Chinese herbal medicine is an appropriate treatment modality for juvenile myopia.

[1] Gai Yonghong, Sun Yan, Clinical observation of treating 186 adolescent myopia cases with Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture and massage therapy, China Practical Medicine, May 2008, Vol.3, No.14.
[2] Zhou Qianqian, Wang Jihong, Wang Rongrong, Pan Xubin, Chu Ting 2, Shen Haicui,
Study on the Short-term Effect of Acupuncture in the treatment of Moderate Adolescent Myopia,Chinese Archives of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 20200817.



Does insurance cover acupuncture?
Some insurance does. You need to check with your insurance plan. I do not accept insurance except no-fault and workmen’s compensation, but will give you a receipt you can submit to your insurance company for reimbusement.

How old is Chinese Medicine?

Chinese medicine goes back over 3,000 years

How does it work?
Chinese medicine uses tiny needles and herbs to help nurture the body back to health by helping resolve energy imbalances.(See history of Chinese medicine for more information).

What are the needles like?
Only sterile, disposable needles are used so there is no risk of infection. We use a needle once, then dispose of it.

Acupuncture needles are small and hair-thin. They are solid, not hollow like needles used by doctors. The end of an acupuncture needle is smooth and rounded. Acupuncture needles are not designed to cut the skin. Instead, when an acupuncture needle is inserted, the round edge pushes the tissue aside without cutting it. Acupuncture needles are so thin it’s as if they can glide through the spaces between the individual cells of the body.

US FDA Regulation of Acupuncture Needles
In 1996, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) removed the experimental status tag on acupuncture needles.The FDA reclassified acupuncture needles, regulating them as it does medical devices such as surgical scalpels and hypodermic syringes. Acupuncture needles must now be manufactured according to single-use standards of sterility.

Does it hurt?
People experience needling differently. There are different styles of needling. I needle in Japanese style which says to gentle insert the needle under the skin, and the qi will rise to the needle. Acupuncture needles I insert are rarely described as painful, and can be quickly adjusted if the patients does feel discomfort. If any sensation is experienced during insertion, it is often compared to a mosquito bite and disappears very quickly. Once the needles are inserted, they may be manipulated to obtain a mild “Qi” sensation. This is how an acupuncturist engages the energy in your body in order to help balance it. Often people describe their sensations as warming, heavy, numb or tingling. I take great care to make my clients very comfortable so that they can relax while the needles are in place. The more you can relax during an acupuncture treatment, the better the results. Many people even fall asleep during treatment.

Following treatment it is common to feel a tremendous sense of relaxation and calm.

Do I have to believe in it for it to work?
No. Acupuncture works whether or not you think it will. Acupuncture is even used successfully on animals and children. They do not understand or believe in the process yet they get better anyway. A positive attitude helps with any type of therapy but it is not necessary to believe in acupuncture (or to feel it working) for it to work.

Since positive expectations and belief in a particular therapy help to increase therapeutic results, I encourage you to raise any concerns or doubts you may have about acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. I’d like to help you to better understand acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine so that you may have the most positive healing experience possible. You are invited to contact me today, and I will personally respond to any questions or comments promptly.

Do you use herbs?

Yes, although my primary training is as an acupuncturist, I have also been trained in herbal medicine, and sometimes use herbal formulas to support the acupuncture treatment.

How do herbs differ from western medicine?

Chinese herbal formulas tend to be much gentler than western medicines, and work to not only help relieve symptoms, but to help return the body to balance and equilibrium, so that herbs will not be needed further. That is why we often modify the herbs as treatment continues, since the body starts to shift towards being healthier, and therefore the herbs are modified to meet the changing needs of the body.

Can I take Chinese herbs when I am on medication?

It depends on the medications you are taking. This would have to be evaluated on a case by case basis.

How quickly can I expect to feel better?

In general, I tell my patients they should start to feel the benefits from acupuncture in 2-3 treatments. If the problem is acute, sometimes improvement is felt after 1 treatment, and may only need 3-5 treatments to resolve. If the problem is chronic and long term, it may take a many treatments to help resolve.

How often should I be treated?

Typically I treat patients once a week. If the condition is acute and painful, I may want to do treatments 2-3 times per week for the first couple of weeks. The benefits of acupuncture treatments tend to hold longer as you receive treatments, so what typically happens is that my patients start to need to see me less and less, so after a while they only come only periodically for maintenance.

Does acupuncture always help?

No, but it usually does. If you do not feel any benefit after 3-5 treatments, then acupuncture may not work for you.

What should I wear for the treatment?

Just wear loose fitting clothes that can be easily rolled up above your elbows and knees.