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Acupuncture was first employed almost 5000 years ago. It developed as part of a system of Chinese medicine that incorporated massage, nutrition and herbs. Over the centuries acupuncture has been practiced on millions of patients. It is now being utilized as a highly successful complement to our Western medicine, just as our technological advances are being introduced in the East.
The Chinese observed over the years that a number of points on the body could be stimulated to help patients overcome disease and discomfort. Ultimately the points were noted to lie on twelve major pathways that pass lengthwise over the surface of the body. Chinese theory states that energy flows along these pathways, and that disease results from energy blockages or imbalances. Stimulating the points brings freedom and harmony to the energy flow, with a restoration of health.
Western research has revealed a scientific basis for the effectiveness of Acupuncture. On anatomic study, the Acupuncture points overlie areas where nerves either divide into branches or dive deeply into muscles. Stimulation of these nerves results in the brain responding in at least three ways. First, chemical messengers called neurotransmitters are released to favorably alter nerve output to the area. Second, there is a hormonal response which includes the release of the body's own cortisol. Finally, natural healing chemicals such as endorphins are also released from the brain. Future research will add even more to our understanding of the effectiveness of Acupuncture.
Acupuncture can be used to treat a large number of disease conditions. Remembering that it developed before technological medicine, and has been the only form of medicine for millions of people over thousands of years, one can understand that acupuncture treatments have been tried for almost every conceivable disease condition. Although in my practice acupuncture is primarily employed in muscle and skeletal system problems (such as back pain, neck pain, arm and leg pain, headaches, joint pain and arthritis); I also use acupuncture to treat a wide variety of other disease conditions.
The American Academy of Medical Acupuncture (AAMA) offers voluntary testing in Acupuncture to applicants who wish to demonstrate their special proficiency. Dr. Teitelbaum completed this test in 1996.