About Medical Acupuncture:
What is it and how does it differ from other forms of acupuncture?
Medical acupuncture is an integrated form of acupuncture, generally practiced by physicians, that combines a neuroanatomical approach to treatment with more traditional forms of acupuncture. This means that patients are evaluated, and their treatment implemented, based on a deep understanding of the anatomy and function of the nerves, muscles and other tissues involved. Rather than relying exclusively on one paradigm, the doctor combines valuable elements from Western, Asian and physical medicine to create the most effective treatment possible for each individual.
In medical acupuncture, treatments sometimes follow a format familiar from Traditional Chinese Acupuncture practice, in which fine needles are inserted at well-described points (body, ear or scalp,) and left in place while the patient rests quietly. Often, however, additional modalities, or acupuncture related techniques, are used as well, alone or in combination with the above.
What are acupuncture related techniques?
These can include fine needle trigger point deactivation (aka dry needling), in which needles are inserted directly into tight or dysfunctional muscles and fascia, as well as techniques that target nerve pathways carrying and maintaining pain. Certain traditional Asian physical medicine treatments like cupping and gua sha are very useful components of treatment that address fascial restriction and help maintain improvements in structure and function that have been obtained. Injection of scars and trigger points are also part of the medical acupuncture toolbox.
What about TCM?
Lastly, I use the term Medical Acupuncture to distinguish my work from that of LAc’s (licensed acupuncturists) and OMDs (Doctors of Oriental Medicine), out of respect for their expertise in Asian Medicine theory, diagnosis and treatment and their extensive training in herbal medicine. Theirs in an extraordinary and invaluable specialty, and I am happy to refer my patients to excellent TCM providers when appropriate.