Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How To Know If You Need An Acupuncturist

by Kathleen T. Poole, M.S., L.Ac, Mystic River Acupuncture

Of course, everyone needs an acupuncturist! Seriously, though, acupuncture may balance your energy nicely, but how can you know when to try it for real health problems? Here are some tips.

1. First of all, make sure your condition is not serious. You must consult a physician or naturopathic doctor for serious or on-going medical problems. Your acupuncturist will be happy that you have done this, and nowadays many physicians routinely work with acupuncturists. I have a number of area physicians who refer to me. If your problem is an injury, you might also consider consulting a chiropractor.

2. Acupuncture can provide relief in acute situations (such as a common cold, allergies, sprains, tendinitis, stomachache, tension headache, etc.) I often treat patients to reduce their pain while they wait for a doctor’s appointment or surgery, and I also treat them while they are waiting for their prescribed medicine to “kick in”. Acupuncture is easily combined with conventional types of medical care.

3. If you are reasonably healthy and “catch” a virus or become run down and get sick, acupuncture will help you recover quickly. A treatment or two is often enough to get you back to feeling well again. If you know you are getting run down, you can even schedule a session to boost your immune system before you get sick.

4. Acupuncture is the best therapy for anything that is stress-aggravated or stress-induced. Immune disorders that worsen with stress, tension headaches, muscular knots, performance anxiety, asthma, digestive problems, the list goes on and on. It also relieves emotional strain when going through difficult periods of worry or transition. If stress is a factor, acupuncture can help.

5. Acupuncture is good for seasonal problems. I treat people for a wide variety of ailments that act up at certain times of year. Seasonal allergies, chill or back sprain from shoveling snow, aches and pains from spring yard work or getting back to an exercise routine are common reasons to seek acupuncture. A back-to-school tune-up is always recommended for boosting the immune system, and acupuncture will see travelers through their journeys in less pain and in better health.

6. Acupuncture may be the only thing that works well and safely for menstrual pain or PMS. Within a few cycles you’ll feel much better. It’s also good for menopausal issues, and in my practice I treat moms-to-be through all stages of pregnancy, including birthing and postpartum.

7. If you can’t or refuse to take medicine for some reason, acupuncture may be just the ticket. Acupuncture can almost always alleviate side effects from medication, including chemotherapy. Some people have severe allergic reactions to certain drugs. Pregnant women may be afraid of how medicines will affect the fetus. People who can’t have certain medical intervention for religious reasons often choose acupuncture. Some prefer natural remedies or have concerns about pharmaceuticals. Many parents prefer using alternative methods first with their children. In these situations, acupuncture may reduce the necessary dosage or eliminate the need for medication.

8. Many people use acupuncture to maintain their health. It’s not uncommon to get acupuncture every four to six weeks to maintain your sense of well-being. Some people come for a balancing/wellness treatment at the change of seasons. People with chronic conditions, such as arthritis or migraine, find that regular acupuncture sessions will reduce their overall level of discomfort, and many find it to be good for immune support.

9. Acupuncture treats a wide variety of illnesses. Among the things acupuncture treats are respiratory and digestive problems, all sorts of pain conditions, anxiety and post-traumatic stress, male and female fertility issues, fatigue, insomnia, chronic pain, and immune disorders. While acupuncture may not cure all of these conditions, it can reduce the frequency and intensity of flare-ups. Visit the World Health Organization’s website for a list of problems acupuncture can help: http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/en/d/Js4926e/5.html.

10. Choose a qualified acupuncturist. Now that you know whether you need an acupuncturist, be sure to choose a qualified one. This means a “Licensed Acupuncturist” or L.Ac. in Connecticut and a “Doctor of Acupuncture” or D.Ac. in Rhode Island. (I hold both licenses.) Laws differ from state to state. For more information about qualifications, visit http://www.mysticriveracupuncture.com/faq/qualifications-faq.

About the Author:

Kathleen T. Poole, L.Ac., D.Ac. practices acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in Groton, CT and is the owner of Mystic River Acupuncture. Her clinic offers both private and community-style acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and therapeutic massage, and has a traditional Asian pharmacy on the premises. Ms. Poole (or Dr. Poole in Rhode Island) has been in practice for over twenty years and has extensive experience teaching in her field. Visit www.mysticriveracupuncture.com for more information about her practice and background. You may contact her at mra89@99main.com.

Ms. Poole is available for workshops and lectures.