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Contents

1) Acupuncture Facials

2) Infertility and Women's Problems

2.1 What types of fertility patients typically get acupuncture?

3) Pediatric Wellness

4) Pain Management

4.1 Key Points

4.2 About Pain

4.3 Use of Acupuncture for Pain

4.4 What the Science Says About Acupuncture for Pain

5) About Scientific Evidence on CAM Therapies

6) Herbal Care

Acupuncture Facials

Cosmetic acupuncture – also known as acupuncture facial rejuvenation or acupuncture facelift - is finding its way into an increasing number of full-service spas, and for good reason. This new modality can enhance not only your physical appearance but also your overall health, giving you a glow that radiates from deep within. While cosmetic acupuncture as a spa feature is a somewhat new phenomenon, there are nevertheless centuries-old records of it being used in the service of beauty. What’s more, acupuncture’s ability to improve a variety of skin conditions has now been documented in legitimate clinical studies. Its effectiveness is no longer a question of hearsay or testimonials. Before signing up for a course of facial acupuncture treatments, however, there are a few things you should consider.

Is it really a facelift? The answer is an unequivocal no. Nor is it intended to replace a facelift. Cosmetic acupuncture entails no incisions, sutures or acid peels and it will not produce sudden, drastic changes in underlying structures. In fact, the American Cosmetic Acupuncture Association discourages the use of the term, “facelift” in connection with acupuncture, as this creates unrealistic expectations and, ultimately, disappointment. Remember, it took decades of stress, sun damage and exposure to environmental toxins for your skin to reach a state of crisis, and the damage will not be instantly undone. The remedy cosmetic acupuncture may offer is the reduction or erasure of fine lines and the softening of deeper ones. Additionally, patients may experience the firming of jowls and a reduction in the size of under-eye bags. It is not unusual for clients to report enhanced skin tone, increased energy and eyes that sparkle.

But it doesn’t stop there. Since facial acupuncture is based on time-tested principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, a person’s overall health may also benefit. Insomnia may be corrected and weight gain may be controlled. Cosmetic acupuncture is, after all, a whole-body treatment. In the Traditional Chinese Medicine view, a person’s face is affected selectively by his or her internal organs. Facial features reflect organic strengths, and as internal organs are fortified, one’s face reflects the improvement. Besides addressing a patient’s condition holistically, the practitioner will probably work locally, inserting painless, ultra-fine needles into--and around--specific wrinkles, acu-points or muscle points, depending on the technique employed. Techniques can be Spartan or luxuriant, and practitioners will often incorporate herbal poultices, moisturizers, pulsed light or essential oils into a treatment. An imperceptible electrical current may also be passed among the needles.

Mei Zen acupuncture for face and neck. Alternative way to improve your face by toning up the facial muscles and boosting elasticity. Improves collagen and elastin in the face. For best results, series of 10 treatments.

Infertility and Women's Problems

Acupuncture, frequently combined with herbal medicine, has been used for centuries to treat some but not all causes of infertility. For example, acupuncture and herbs will not work to address tubal adhesions which can occur as a result of pelvic inflammatory disease or endometriosis. However, in this situation, an individual could still benefit from acupuncture and herbs because of the potential effect of improved ovarian and follicular function. Additionally, acupuncture can increase blood flow to the endometrium, helping to facilitate a thick, rich lining.

Acupuncture is similar to physical therapy in that it is a process-oriented method of medical intervention. It is better to do more than less. Patients are commonly treated for three to four months before progressing to insemination, in vitro fertilization (IVF), or donor-egg transfer. This pacing of treatment seems to have a therapeutic effect.

In a study by Stener-Victorin et al from the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology Fertility Centre, Scandinavia and University of Gothenburg, women are encouraged to receive acupuncture treatments pre and post embryo transfer. Clinical observations from the Berkley Center for Reproductive Wellness suggest that the most effective fertility treatments involve a combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine, and traditional medicine. However, conception occasionally occurs when acupuncture and herbal medicines are used without traditional medical interventions.

What types of fertility patients typically get acupuncture?

Acupuncture can be used to treat any type of fertility disorder including spasmed tubes. Spasmed tubes are often de-spasmed with acupuncture, though blocked tubes will not respond to acupuncture. Acupuncture is often combined with herbal remedies to treat elevated follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), repeated pregnancy loss, unexplained (idiopathic) infertility, luteal phase defect, hyperprolactinemia (when not caused by a prolactinoma), polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) with annovulatory cycles, and male factor including men affected with sperm-DNA-fragmentation.

Pediatric Wellness

Treatment specifically tailored for different age groups. Combination of therapies used to help certain conditions like allergies, asthma, ADHD, weight issues, eczema, headaches, hormonal issues, stomach pains, etc. Chinese herbal formulas are also child-friendly.

Pain Management

Physical pain is a common occurrence for many Americans; in fact, a national survey found that more than one-quarter of U.S. adults had recently experienced some sort of pain lasting more than a day. In addition to conventional treatments, such as over-the-counter and prescription medications, people may try acupuncture in an effort to relieve pain. This fact sheet provides basic information about pain and acupuncture, summarizes scientific research on acupuncture for specific kinds of pain, and suggests sources for additional information.

Key Points

People use acupuncture for various types of pain. Back pain is the most commonly reported use, followed by joint pain, neck pain, and headache.

Acupuncture is being studied for its efficacy in alleviating many kinds of pain. There are promising findings in some conditions, such as chronic low-back pain and osteoarthritis of the knee; but, for most other conditions, additional research is needed. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) sponsors a wide range of acupuncture research.

Acupuncture is generally considered safe when performed correctly.

In traditional Chinese medicineA whole medical system that originated in China. It is based on the concept that disease results from disruption in the flow of qi and imbalance in the forces of yin and yang. Practices such as herbs, meditation, massage, and acupuncture seek to aid healing by restoring the yin-yang balance and the flow of qi theory, acupuncture regulates the flow of qiIn traditional Chinese medicine, the vital energy or life force proposed to regulate a person's spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health and to be influenced by the opposing forces of yin and yang. (vital energy) through the body. Research to test scientific theories about how acupuncture might work to relieve pain is under way.

Tell all your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care. For tips about talking with your health care providers about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), see NCCAM's Time to Talk campaign.

About Pain

Pain is a feeling triggered in the nervous system. It may be sharp or dull, off-and-on or steady, localized (such as back pain) or all over (such as muscle aches from the flu). Sometimes, pain alerts us to injuries and illnesses that need attention. Although pain usually goes away once the underlying problem is addressed, it can last for weeks, months, or even years. Chronic pain may be due to an ongoing condition (such as arthritis) or to abnormal activity in pain-sensing regions of the brain, or the cause may not be known.

To relieve their pain, many people take over-the-counter medications—either acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, including aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen). Stronger medications, including NSAIDs in higher dosages and narcotics, are available by prescription only. People may also try non-drug approaches to help relieve their pain. Examples include physical and occupational therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, self-care techniques, and CAM therapies such as spinal manipulationPractitioners perform manipulation by using their hands or a device to apply a controlled force to a joint. The amount of force applied depends on the form of manipulation used. or acupuncture.

Use of Acupuncture for Pain

Acupuncture, among the oldest healing practices in the world, is part of traditional Chinese medicine. Acupuncture practitioners stimulate specific points on the body—most often by inserting thin needles through the skin. In traditional Chinese medicine theory, this regulates the flow of qi (vital energy) along pathways known as meridians.

According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, which included a comprehensive survey of CAM use by Americans, 1.4 percent of respondents (an estimated 3.1 million Americans) said they had used acupuncture in the past year. A special analysis of acupuncture data from an earlier NHIS found that pain or musculoskeletal complaints accounted for 7 of the top 10 conditions for which people use acupuncture. Back pain was the most common, followed by joint pain, neck pain, severe headache/migraine, and recurring pain.

What the Science Says About Acupuncture for Pain

Acupuncture has been studied for a wide range of pain conditions, such as postoperative dental pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, headache, low-back pain, menstrual cramps, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, and tennis elbow.

Overall, it can be very difficult to compare acupuncture research results from study to study and to draw conclusions from the cumulative body of evidence. This is because studies may use different acupuncture techniques (e.g., electrical vs. manual), controls (comparison groups), and outcome measures.

One particularly complex factor in acupuncture research is choosing the controls for a clinical trial. The choice depends in part on whether the researchers want to study a particular aspect of acupuncture (e.g., effects on the brain) or to determine whether acupuncture is useful compared with other forms of care. Examples of control groups include study participants who receive no acupuncture, simulated acupuncture (procedures that mimic acupuncture, sometimes also referred to as "placebo" or "sham"), or other treatments (in addition to or in place of acupuncture or simulated acupuncture).

An emerging theme in acupuncture research is the role of the placebo. For example, a 2009 systematic review of research on the pain-relieving effects of acupuncture compared with placebo (simulated) or no acupuncture was inconclusive. The reviewers found a small difference between acupuncture and placebo and a moderate difference between placebo and no acupuncture; the effect of placebo acupuncture varied considerably, and the effect of acupuncture appeared unrelated to the specific kind of placebo procedure used. All of the study participants received standard care, typically consisting of analgesic drugs and physical therapy.

The following sections summarize research on acupuncture for a variety of pain conditions, including those reported by NHIS respondents who had used acupuncture. In general, acupuncture appears to be a promising alternative for some of these pain conditions; however, further research is needed.

About Scientific Evidence on CAM Therapies

Scientific evidence on CAM therapies includes results from laboratory research as well as clinical trials (studies in people). It encompasses both "positive" findings (evidence that a therapy may work) and "negative" findings (evidence that it probably does not work or that it may be unsafe). Scientific journals publish study results, as well as review articles that evaluate the evidence as it accumulates; fact sheets from NCCAM—like this one—base information about CAM research primarily on the most rigorous review articles, known as systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

Carpal tunnel syndrome—Although a 1997 NIH consensus statement on acupuncture concluded that acupuncture was promising for carpal tunnel syndrome, additional research confirming acupuncture's efficacy for this condition is scant.

Fibromyalgia—Evidence on acupuncture for fibromyalgia is mixed. Some reviews of the scientific literature have found the evidence promising. However, another review that focused on the few rigorous randomized controlled trials on acupuncture as an adjunct therapy for fibromyalgia did not find a benefit. Additionally, a 2003 assessment by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality concluded that the evidence was insufficient and the beneficial effects of acupuncture for fibromyalgia could not be determined.

Headache/migraine—Study results on acupuncture for headache are conflicting. Some literature reviews found evidence to support the use of acupuncture for headache, but others noted that most of the studies were of poor quality. A 2008 review of randomized trials on acupuncture highlighted a few well-designed trials whose findings indicate that acupuncture reduces migraine symptoms and is as effective as headache medications. In addition, a 2009 review found that acupuncture may help relieve tension headaches. However, two large trials that looked at acupuncture for migraines found no difference between actual and simulated acupuncture, both of which were equal to conventional care or superior to no treatment.

Low-back pain—According to clinical practice guidelines issued by the American Pain Society and the American College of Physicians in 2007, acupuncture is one of several CAM therapies physicians should consider when patients with chronic low-back pain do not respond to conventional treatment. In early, small studies, combining actual acupuncture with conventional treatment was more effective than conventional treatment alone for relieving chronic low-back pain; but actual acupuncture was not more effective than simulated acupuncture or conventional treatment. However, a large, rigorously designed clinical trial reported in May 2009 found that actual acupuncture and simulated acupuncture were equally effective—and both were more effective than conventional treatment—for relieving chronic low-back pain. There is insufficient evidence to draw definite conclusions about the effectiveness of acupuncture for acute low-back pain.

Menstrual cramps—Two literature reviews have suggested that acupuncture may help with pain from menstrual cramps, but the research is limited.

Myofascial pain—The evidence for acupuncture and myofascial pain (in which pain occurs in sensitive areas, known as trigger points, in the muscles) is mixed. Some literature reviews have found the evidence promising, but another review indicated that "needling therapies" for myofascial trigger point pain were not more effective than placebo.

Neck pain—Studies of acupuncture for chronic neck pain have found that acupuncture provided better pain relief than some simulated treatments. However, the studies varied in terms of design and most had small sample sizes.

Osteoarthritis/knee pain—Acupuncture appears to be effective for osteoarthritis, particularly in the area of knee pain. Recent literature reviews have found that acupuncture provides pain relief and improves function for people with osteoarthritis of the knee. However, authors of a 2007 systematic literature review suggested that although some large, high-quality trials have shown that acupuncture may be effective for osteoarthritis of the knee, differences in the design, size, and protocol of the studies make it hard to draw any definite conclusions from the body of research. These authors concluded that it is too soon to recommend acupuncture as a routine part of care for patients with osteoarthritis.

Postoperative dental pain—Although recent data on acupuncture for postoperative dental pain are scant, literature reviews based on earlier evidence have identified acupuncture as a promising treatment for dental pain—especially pain following tooth extraction. For example, a 1999 study of 39 dental surgery patients found that acupuncture was superior to placebo (simulated acupuncture) in preventing postoperative pain. However, a 2005 study of 200 dental surgery patients found no significant analgesic effect for acupuncture compared to simulated acupuncture, although patients who believed they received acupuncture reported significantly less pain than those who believed they received a placebo.

Tennis elbow—Study results on the use of acupuncture for tennis elbow (lateral epicondyle) pain are mixed. An early review of clinical trials reported that data on acupuncture for lateral epicondyle pain were insufficient and of poor quality; however, recent reviews have found the evidence promising, noting strong evidence that acupuncture provides short-term pain relief for lateral epicondyle pain.

Acupuncture has also been studied for a variety of other pain conditions, including arm and shoulder pain, pregnancy-related pelvic and back pain, and temporomandibular joint (jaw) dysfunction. Although some studies have produced some positive results, more evidence is needed to determine the efficacy of acupuncture for any of these conditions.

There is evidence that people's attitudes about acupuncture can affect outcomes. In a 2007 study, researchers analyzed data from four clinical trials of acupuncture for various types of chronic pain. Participants had been asked whether they expected acupuncture to help their pain. In all four trials, those with positive expectations reported significantly greater pain relief.

In addition to studying acupuncture's efficacy, researchers are looking at potential biomechanisms—that is, how acupuncture might work to relieve pain. There are several theories about these biomechanisms (e.g., acupuncture activates opioid systems in the brain that respond to pain); additional research is still needed to test the theories. Researchers are using neuroimaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to look at the effects of acupuncture on various regions of the brain. In 2005, NCCAM sponsored the "Neurobiological Correlates of Acupuncture" conference to discuss research challenges and directions in acupuncture neuroimaging research.

Herbal Care

After diagnosing a pattern of disharmony and administering acupuncture treatments, a doctor of TCM often writes an herbal formula from over a thousand common herbal formulas or from more effective traditional family formulas. Herbal medicine has a long history in the Orient. The first Chinese material, the Shen-Nung Herbal Classic, was begun during the Stone Age and completed in the later part of the 5th century B.C., from which some important formulas originated.

In this herbal classic, herbs are categorized into three groups. The first group is called “food herbs” which are eaten as part of one’s diet for general fortification, prevention and maintenance. The other two groups are called “medicinal herbs” which are dispensed to each patient as an individual formula based on one’s constitution, environment and medical condition.

Medicinal herbal therapy works in concert with acupuncture by providing the nourishing support for the energetic “re-programming” and “re-balancing” efforts of acupuncture.