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What is Acupuncture?

The word "Acupuncture" is derived from two Latin words: "acus" which means 'needle' and "punctura" which means 'to penetrate'. Thus, the literal translation of the word "acupuncture" is: 'to penetrate with a needle'. Acupuncture originated in China over 3,000 years ago and is now practiced worldwide.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Mayo Pain Clinic currently recognize acupuncture as a viable treatment for many different conditions. The NIH has a specialized department, which provides funding for research in areas of alternative medicine.

Acupuncture Modalities

Acupuncture is the use of very fine needles, which are inserted into properly selected combinations of acupoints on the body.

  • Acupuncture: the skillful placement of fine needles in specific acupoints throughout the body. This stimulus directs the body to reduce pain and help normalize bodily functions.
  • Moxibustion: a cone or a stick made of artemisiae that is held over the skin until enough heat has been generated to stimulate an acupuncture point or affected part of the body.
  • Fire Cupping: ceramic, glass or traditional bamboo cups, which are heated with fire to reduce the air pressure and create suction. The cups are placed on the skin along the acupuncture channels where there is stagnation.
  • Moving Cups: the use of one or more cups moved along moistened skin as a form of massage for drawing toxins from the blood and helping to improve circulation.

Other modalities include acupressure, laser, sonopuncture (ultrasound) and electroacupuncture (electrical stimulation), which involves the placement of electric conducting pads and sending a low-frequency electric current through the targeted area.

Because of its acceptance in conventional medical settings, many insurance carriers, including health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and Workers' Compensation now cover acupuncture. Acupuncture may also be covered by your automobile insurance or personal injury claim. Check with your insurance carrier or attorney for more information.

Kimberly Hoover, L.Ac., M.T.O.M, D.N.C.C.A., D.N.B.A.O. is a board licensed acupuncturist in California. She is experienced in both Chinese and Japanese traditional medicine and is considered a specialist in Acupuncture Orthopedics and pulse diagnostics. Ms. Hoover is the founder of Acu-Care Health Centers, a San Diego alternative health center offering products and services such as acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicines, herbal detoxification programs, health products, Ion Spa treatment and ELR facial rejuvenation.

Maria Ny is a published author and the webmaster for Acu-Care Health Centers. She has written articles and informational material for a variety of industries on many different topics.

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