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Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture education

The practice of acupuncture dates back to the 2nd century BC.

It is a system of healing that reflects the ancient Chinese understanding of the duality of nature represented by two opposing, yet complementary forces, Yin and Yang.

In humans, the Yin and Yang are represented by blood (yin) and Chi (yang), with Chi (sometimes spelled Qi) flowing along energetic pathways called meridians. These meridians can be accessed at specific anatomical locations, referred to as acupuncture points. During a treatment, the practitioner inserts ultra-fine, sterile needles into acupuncture points to modulate Chi according to specific diagnostic and therapeutic patterns. In Traditional Chinese Medicine herbal teas and other formulas complement acupuncture treatments.

Though widely practiced in Asia for centuries, mainstream media introduced acupuncture to the West thanks to James Reston. Mr. Reston, then a reporter for the New York Times, fell ill with appendicitis, while covering President Richard Nixon’s historic visit to China. The world took note when physicians treated his post-operative pain with three acupuncture needles. It is no surprise then, that acupuncture has become widely associated with the treatment of pain.

Over the past four decades, researchers have conducted studies, including randomized clinical trials (RCTs), and investigations into the acupuncture’s mechanism of action. The largest study, a meta-analysis of high-quality RCTs of acupuncture in the treatment of pain (from arthritis, chronic headache, and back, neck and shoulder pain), analyzed more than 17,900 patients. The study concluded that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain.

Naturopathic medicine in Arizona includes acupuncture within its scope of practice. Consequently, our curriculum includes 220 hours of acupuncture classroom education and many opportunities for clinical training at the SCNM Medical Center and affiliated clinical sites. Naturopathic medicine integrates acupuncture into the Naturopathic Therapeutic Order as an energetic therapy, one that stimulates and supports the patient’s Vis Medicatrix Naturae, the healing power of nature.