WHAT IS TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE?
Traditional Chinese Medicine is one of the oldest continuous systems of medicine in history, with recorded instances dating back two thousand years. Chinese medicine does not focus on the symptom, but rather the individual as a whole with all parts being interconnected. Health is defined as the free unimpeded flow of vital energy or qi (pronounced chee) in the body. Qi circulates through channels in the body, which act like rivers, carrying this nourishing life energy to tissues throughout the entire body. When a river or channel gets blocked, qi can no longer flow freely, creating an imbalance in the body. This results in illness of physical body or of the mind and spirit. Acupuncture is performed by inserting fine needles at specific points on the channel, regulating the flow of qi to restore balance and promote self healing in the body.
Along with acupuncture, most Traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncturists are trained in Chinese herbs, diet counseling, exercises and relaxation techniques.
*The acupuncturist should be certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), the gold standard for competency. This means the acupuncturist obtained a four year Master’s Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and successfully completed competency board exams.
WHAT CONDITIONS DOES ACUPUNCTURE HELP?
Acupuncture can be used to promote general health and well-being as well as help with specific conditions:
- Digestive disorders: indigestion, reflux, nausea, gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, diarrhea, colitis
- Ear, nose, mouth and throat disorders: toothaches, laryngitis, canker sores, ringing in the ears, sore throat, TMJ
- Respiratory disorders: sinusitis, bronchitis, asthma, emphysema, skin rashes, allergies
- Circulation disorders: leg swelling, cold extremities
- Urinary and gynecological disorders: urinary incontinence, PMS, infertility, symptoms of menopause, irregular periods, painful periods, heavy bleeding, endometriosis, fibroids
- Muscular disorders: neck pain, back pain, knee pain, sciatica, frozen shoulder, bursitis and tendonitis, arthritis, sprains, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, tennis elbow; can also aid with rehabilitation for healing fractures, joint injuries and chronic pain
- Neurological disorders: headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, trigeminal neuralgia, vertigo, pain from shingles, peripheral neuropathy
- Psycho-emotional disorders: stress and tension, anxiety, depression, insomnia
- Relief of symptoms related to cancer treatments: including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy
- Autoimmune Conditions: MS, Hashimoto’s disease, thyroid issues, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus
- Fertility Support: natural fertility care, support to IUI/IVF, chronic miscarriage, impotence, low sperm count, low motility
- Substance abuse and addictions: smoking cessation, alcohol & drug addiction
- And many more conditions…
Acupuncture can also be used with regular medical treatments to alleviate symptoms of many other conditions.
WHAT TYPE OF TRAINING DO YOU HAVE?
Emily Liburdi Dipl. OM, MSTOM, R. Ac. has a four year Bachelor of Science Degree from Wayne State and an additional four year Master’s Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine. She graduated from the highly accredited program at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. After thousands of hours of extensive training and internship and successfully passing national competency board exams, she received a Master’s Degree in both Chinese Medicine and Herbal Medicine. Most people are surprised to learn that to be NCCAOM Board Certified and a Registered Acupuncturist one must undergo several years of schooling, similarly to the amount of schooling a western doctor has undergone. Acupuncture is not only an art but theory of medicine. This theory is different than western medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine does not focus on the symptom, but rather the individual as a whole with all parts being interconnected. It takes education along with years of experience to hone the skill. Emily has provided thousands of treatments to patients in all areas of health. Unfortunately, Michigan is behind in holistic and acupuncture progression and protection. This means many can take a weekend course and perform needling. It is in the patient’s best interest to be sure your acupuncturist has undergone extensive education and training and is certified through the NCCAOM, the gold standard of strict educational requirements.
ACUPUNCTURE VS DRY NEEDLING
What is the difference? The short answer is none. Acupuncture is dry needling, but dry needling is not acupuncture. This means that dry needling is part of the many tools that acupuncturists are skilled in.
The primary difference lies in education. Acupuncturists undergo extensive training over 8 years, obtaining a graduate Master’s Degree. Whereas those that perform dry needling may do so after completing a few weekend courses. Acupuncturists must continue their education by meeting a minimum of 60 credits of continuing education, the equivalent of an Associate’s Degree, every 4 years for the lifetime of their personal profession.
Another key difference is Traditional Chinese Medicine is one of the oldest continuous systems of medicine dating back thousands of years. Chinese Medicine does not focus on the symptom, but rather the individual as a whole. This theory explains the body being interconnected, supporting and working together.
There will always be services or goods marketed in the guise of different name. It’s important the public does their research prior. For best results, seek an Acupuncturist that is NCCAOM Board Certified. This means they have undergone a set of standards along with extensive Board exams. To find an acupuncturist that has met these strict educational requirements visit the NCCAOM website at https://www.nccaom.org/
HOW MANY TREATMENTS WILL I NEED?
The number of treatments varies with each person. Depending on your condition, it could be as few as one treatment a week for 4-6 visits, or could be a weekly or monthly treatment for 10 to 12 treatments. Acute conditions respond quickly to treatment, whereas chronic conditions may require a longer period of time to treat.
DOES IT HURT?
Some people experience minor discomfort and others don’t feel any pain at all. Acupuncture needles are very thin and made of stainless steel. Once the needles are retained you may feel a dull ache, heaviness or itching at the site known as “de qi”. These are normal sensations that indicate positive therapeutic treatment effects. Many people report feeling very relaxed during the treatment.
DO YOU REUSE THE NEEDLES?
No. The needles are for one time use only. Acupuncture needles are sterile and disposable, reducing the risk of any of any infection.
HOW LONG DO THE NEEDLES STAY IN?
Needles are typically retained for 15 to 40 minutes depending on the condition.
DOES INSURANCE COVER IT?
Most health insurances in Michigan do not cover acupuncture. All services are self pay prior to treatment. Please contact your health insurance carrier directly to see if you have reimbursement coverage. Many flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts have acupuncture reimbursement coverage. We are happy to provide you with a receipt for our services.
WHAT IS YOUR CANCELLATION POLICY?
If you need to cancel an appointment, we require 48 hours advance notice. You may leave a message on our after-hours voicemail. Many times the practitioner has a waitlist of patients. Advance notification allows us to offer an appointment to a patient on their waitlist. Missed appointments are subject to the full appointment fee, 75.00. Cancellations or reschedules less than 48 hours in advance are also subject to the same fees.
Michigan TCM Wellness Center – Acupuncture in Michigan