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Dr. Safayan offers medical acupuncture — one of the oldest and most effective healing practices in the world updated with modern, medical and integrative perspectives. Acupuncture is especially helpful for allergies, pain relief, immune support, and balancing mind, body and spirit, whether in daily life, seasonally, or in times of special need.

How does acupuncture work?

The classical Chinese explanation is that channels of energy run in regular patterns through the body and over its surface. These energy channels, called meridians, are like rivers flowing through the body to nourish the tissues and organs. An obstruction in these energy rivers is like a dam that backs up the flow in one part of the body and restricts it in others.

Acupuncture needles inserted at the correct meridian points unblock the obstructions and reestablish a healthy flow to tissues and organs, potentially correcting digestion, absorption, and energy production in the body.

The modern scientific explanation is that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body’s own internal regulating system.

What is “medical acupuncture”?

“Medical acupuncture” is the term used to describe acupuncture performed by a Western medical doctor who has had thorough training in acupuncture as a specialty practice. 

What conditions can it treat?

While acupuncture is often associated with pain control, in the hands of a well-trained practitioner it has much broader applications, Either on its own or in combination with other treatments, it can promote health and well-being, prevent illness, and treat a variety of medical conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognized the use of acupuncture in treating disorders including digestive, respiratory, neurological and muscular.

Acupuncture has been found to be particularly useful in resolving physical problems related to tension, stress and emotional conditions.

How many treatments will I need?

The number of treatments needed differs from person to person. For complex or long-standing conditions, 1 to 2 treatments per week for several months may suffice. For acute problems, fewer visits are typically required. RH recommends seasonal visits for optimal health and wellness.

Are there side effects?

Usually, no. As energy is redirected in the body, internal chemicals and hormones are stimulated and healing begins to take place.

Occasionally the original symptoms worsen for a few days or general changes in appetite, sleep, emotions, bowel or urination patterns may occur. These should not be cause for concern, as they are indications that the acupuncture is assisting the body in starting to heal.

Do the needles hurt?

People experience acupuncture needling differently. Most patients feel only minimal pain as the needles are inserted, or none at all, and there is no pain once the needles are inserted. Acupuncture needles are hair thin, solid, and made from stainless steel with a smooth point; insertion through the skin is not as painful as injections, which have hollow needles with a cutting edge. The the risk of bruising and skin irritation is less, and the needles are disposable, so there is no risk of infection from the treatments.

Source of information: The American Academy of Medical Acupuncture

Note: Dr. Safayan is one of the leading medical acupuncturists in the United States. He is a senior faculty member and the Preceptor in charge of the Helms Medical Institute, which provides medical acupuncture training for both civilian and military physicians in the use of acupuncture for common medical conditions as well as PTSD and TBI.

To learn more about acupuncture, read Dr. Safayan’s blog post, “Modern Benefits of an Ancient Healing Art“.