Acupuncture Experts Serving Columbia & Beyond
What is acupuncture?
The 5,000-year-old Chinese art of acupuncture involves the stimulation of specific points on the body by a variety of techniques, usually hair-thin metallic needles, to treat or prevent illness. It's relatively new to this country, but it's rapidly gaining acceptance for many ailments. In 1997, after looking at thousands of studies and interviewing leading researchers, a panel of experts convened by the National Institutes of Health concluded that acupuncture is an effective treatment for nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, surgery in adults and post-operative dental pain. Getting needled, the panel said, can also be helpful in combination with other therapies in the treatment of addictions, stroke rehabilitation, headaches, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low-back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, asthma and much more.
How safe is it?
It's very safe. Martin Herbkersman and Alison Beard use only single-use, disposable needles to prevent the spread of infection. One possible risk is bruising where the needles were inserted; the bruises are usually small and go away within a few days. It's also a good idea to let your medical doctor know what you're up to, so he or she can coordinate your acupuncture with the rest of your medical care. Your medical doctor will also want to rule out life-threatening conditions such as cancer, heart disease and acute infections.
How does it work?
Practitioners of acupuncture and Oriental medicine believe that good health depends on the proper flow of a vital energy called qi (chee) that moves through our bodies along invisible meridians, or pathways, and through all the organs of the body. Inserting needles into particular points along these meridians can move this life force back into proper balance. Western researchers have their own theories: one is that acupuncture triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers. This idea hasn't been proven, and conventional medicine still cannot explain this ancient theory, but a number of studies show that acupuncture does bring about real physiological changes, sometimes using acupuncture points that are far from the point of pain or other issue. In one study, for example, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center used advanced imaging equipment to view the brains of nine patients – four pain sufferers and five healthy people – while they underwent acupuncture. In every case, the researchers saw blood flow increase in the thalamus – a kind of relay station for pain messages in the brain – along with other changes in the brain stem and cortex
What does treatment involve?
Martin Herbkersman or Alison Beard will probably get things started by asking a lot of questions about your personal and family medical history; recent events that might have contributed to your illness; and how you're responding to various stimuli, such as heat and cold. During the treatment itself, you'll sit or lie on a padded table while they insert very fine sterile needles into your skin. You might feel a small pinprick sensation when the needle is first inserted; once it's in, you may experience numbness or a tingling sensation that goes away after a few seconds. They might also manipulate the needles, apply light electrostimulation to them, or heat them.
Depending on your response and your health problem, you might need just one session or many sessions. Keep in mind, too, that Martin Herbkersman or Alison Beard sees needle therapy as just one part of treatment; they might also suggest herbs, vitamin or mineral supplements, as well as changes in diet and exercise.
If Martin Herbkersman or Alison Beard recommends a herbal remedy, be sure to mention any other drugs or herbs you're taking to avoid rare but potentially harmful interactions. Note that Martin Herbkersman has researched the herbal and supplement industries to ensure that only the highest-quality products be taken by his patients.