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Should You Get Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is gaining great popularity, and is likely the most common complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapy that is recommended by conventional physicians today. It is now even covered by many medical insurance plans. What is it, how does it work, and should you consider it?

By
Sanaz Majd, MD,
Episode #208

What Medical Conditions Does Acupuncture Treat?

There are more studies on acupuncture than we can currently count. However, some of the better quality trials currently support a potential benefit in the treatment of the following conditions only:

·         Chronic and acute pain

·         Headaches, especially migraine headaches

·         Hot flashes due to menopause

·         Nausea and vomiting

·         High blood pressure

·         Seasonal allergies

·         Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Selecting an Acupuncturist

When selecting an acupuncturist, make certain that:

·         You are referred to a practitioner within your medical insurance network if you have any acupuncture coverage.

·         They are licensed and certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) or the American Board of Medical Acupuncture (ABMA)

·         The practitioner is willing to work alongside your medical professionals, not as a separate entity.

·         They use sterile technique and needles.

Here’s my take on acupuncture with what we know about it at this time:

Given that acupuncture risks are minimal (as long as both proper and sterile techniques are being used by a well-trained and experienced practitioner), there's not much to lose in trying it for those medical conditions that have shown potential benefit from it. 

However, I would only recommend it as an aid to traditional therapies; it should work alongside your physician and Western medicine, not replace it. 

And even if it may be placebo, does it matter as long as it is effective? 

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Please note that all content here is strictly for informational purposes only.  This content does not substitute any medical advice, and does not replace any medical judgment or reasoning by your own personal health provider.  Please always seek a licensed physician in your area regarding all health related questions and issues.

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