Dafney Shufelt Lic. Ac., M.Ac.
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
Everyone experiences acupuncture differently, but most find it to be extremely calming and revitalizing. Acupuncture is nothing like receiving a shot or injection. The needles I use are less than the diameter of a human hair, resulting in very little discomfort when inserted. Many patients become very relaxed and fall into a restorative sleep during their treatment.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
Yes, when performed by a competently trained, licensed professional, acupuncture is extremely safe. All acupuncturists in Massachusetts are required to use individually packaged, sterile, single-use disposable needles so there is virtually no chance of infection. Every licensed acupuncturist also receives extensive training in a course called "Clean Needle Technique" and anatomy so they avoid inserting a needle in a place that can cause damage.
Do you have to believe in Acupuncture for it to work?
No. Chinese Medicine is a medical theory, not a belief system. Acupuncture and herbs work whether you believe in them or not. Animals respond remarkably well to acupuncture without understanding or believing any of it! Of course, having a positive attitude that you will indeed feel better is important to healing in general. When all other treatment methods have failed, this indicates a systematic imbalance - exactly what acupuncture and herbs excel at treating.
What kind of medical training do Acupuncturists receive?
In Massachusetts, Acupuncture is a four year Master of Science program with training in both Western medical sciences (anatomy, chemistry, physiology, biology, pharmacology, etc.) and Chinese Medicine including acupuncture, herbal medicine, Tai Chi, and a variety of other subjects. Most programs require 2500-3000 hours of training at specialized colleges of Oriental Medicine, which are accredited by the State of MA and the national certification organization (NCCAOM). You must also intern in hospitals and clinics for a year. To receive your license, MA acupuncturists must pass a rigorous state board exam which includes Western and Eastern diagnostics and pharmacology. They are also required to complete continuing education units every two years to maintain their MA acupuncture license and also every 3 years 60 hours for the NCCAOM.
Can I benefit from Acupuncture even when I’m not sick?
Yes. Anyone can benefit from an acupuncture treatment as part of an ongoing health maintenance program. In today’s fast-paced society, the effects of environmental stresses and toxins alone tend to build up over time. Acupuncture is an effective way to rebalance the body and reverse the effects of these stresses. Just as you would go to your general practitioner for a check up, you can come in for seasonal acupuncture treatments as a tune-up to prevent getting sick.
Will my health insurance pay for acupuncture?
Many insurance plans now include acupuncture treatments in their policies. Ask your insurer about coverage. I will provide you with a bill that you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.
What can acupuncture treat?
The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes acupuncture and Chinese Medicine's ability to treat more than 43 commonly encountered clinical disorders:
Food allergies, peptic ulcer, constipation, chronic diarrhea, indigestion, gastrointestinal weakness, anorexia, and gastritis
Prostate issues, stress incontinence, urinary tract infections and sexual dysfunction
Including irregular, heavy or painful menstruation, PMS, infertility in women and men, menopausal symptoms, childbirth and lactation support
Emphysema, sinusitis, asthma, allergies and bronchitis
Disorders of the Bones, Muscles, Joints and Nervous System
Arthritis, neuralgia, migraine headaches, insomnia, dizziness, tendonitis, tennis elbow, low back, neck and shoulder pain, sciatica, whiplash, sports injuries
Hypertension, stroke, angina pectoris, arteriosclerosis, anemia, edema
Emotional and Psychological Disorders
Depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), mania, anxiety, stress and grief
Alcohol, nicotine, and many types of drug addiction
Eye, ear, and throat disorders including cold and flu relief, immune system dysfunctions.