Editor’s note: Wellness Word is an informational column which is not meant to replace a health care professional’s diagnosis, treatment or medication.
“Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease”
Chinese Medicine is an intricate, complex – yet delicate – system of medicine. An ancient practice, early scholastic texts on the subject date back to 200 BCE, and there is evidence of acupuncture being practiced as early as 3500 years ago. This makes acupuncture one of the longest-running continuous studies in humanity’s history.
Portland is home to two accredited schools of Chinese Medicine: the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM) and the National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM). The creation of another in the next few years is anticipated. With nearly 1,000 registered acupuncturists, Oregon is leading the way in this fast-growing field of health care.
According to the World Health Organization (www.who.int), acupuncture has been clinically-proven as effective for 28 different diseases, as well as another 63 for which acupuncture has shown therapeutic benefit. These range from pain disorders to menstrual problems, fertility issues and mental-emotional imbalances.
It can naturally treat insomnia, fatigue, stroke, obesity and hypertension. Often a last resort for the treatment of unknown diseases, acupuncture can also be a healthy alternative to the costly trauma of surgery. Beneficial to everyone, acupuncture works to balance the natural systems of the body and promote the body’s own natural healing processes.
Through the application of wire-fine single-use sterilized needles into specific points along meridians in the body, your acupuncturist is working to balance the energy in your body. Just as capillaries carry blood to nourish the body’s organs, the 14 meridians carry the energy of qi (CHEE) to all the tissues of the body, invigorating the vital life force and supporting the body in its desire for wellness and harmony.
In a treatment session, your practitioner will guide you through a thorough intake, taking your pulse and looking at your tongue to aid in diagnosis. He or she will discuss with you the treatment protocol and insert a number of needles – usually 10 to 20 – into the specific points beneficial to your body’s systems. The needles operate by moving stagnant qi energy to your organs for nourishment. You will be given some time to relax, allowing the body’s nervous system to “reset”.
In receiving acupuncture, most people report the experience as very relaxing. The needles stimulate the release of neurochemicals in the brain, activating the parasympathetic system and producing a natural high. Through successive treatments, the chemistry of the body is subtly shifted, affecting the general mood and state of mind of the recipient.
As a holistic approach to health, Chinese Medicine understands that more than acupuncture is necessary to promote the greatest wellness. Integrating herbal medicine, massage, stretching, and nutrition, Chinese Medicine is able to cultivate a harmony within the body to assist in the creation a life of stability, happiness, wellness and longevity.
Portland offers a variety of options for patients to experience the health benefits of acupuncture. More and more insurance companies are covering acupuncture as both a preventative and therapeutic health care option. Check with your insurance company to find out available options. Practitioners may only accept cash or credit card payments so ask when making your appointment.
There are also many affordable community clinics around Portland, as well as discounted student intern treatments offered at the school clinics. Begin experiencing the health benefits to this ancient system of healing.
James Whitmore is a Licensed Massage Therapist and student intern at OCOM. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org