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What is acupuncture?
What is acupuncture like?
Is acupuncture painful?
What does acupuncture treat?
Why is acupuncture safe?
What does it mean that acupuncture is “holistic”?
What is moxibustion?
What is Gua sha?
What is cupping?
How is Japanese style acupuncture different from Chinese style?
Why should I see a licensed acupuncturist (L.Ac.) instead of an MD or a chiropractor for acupuncture?
How long does it take for acupuncture to work?
How does Bridge Acupuncture strive to reduce environmental impact?

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture has been embraced across cultures for nearly three millennia, due to its simplicity and effectiveness at healing a broad spectrum of pain and illness. Like other systems of holistic health care, it takes the entire body’s health into account, even when addressing specific symptoms. Drawing on the Daoist principle of Yin-Yang, it focuses on balancing energy pathways in the body, improving local circulation, clearing pathogens, and optimizing organ function. This makes acupuncture a very versatile medicine—it can be used successfully for a wide range of health concerns, from acute injury and chronic pain to hormonal imbalances, immunity issues, digestive problems and mental/emotional imbalances.

What is acupuncture like?

Hair-thin, sterile, disposable needles, moxibustion (herbal heat therapy), and other methods are used to stimulate points along energy pathways in order to promote energetic balance and healing. Most times, needles are left in the body for a short period of time, anywhere from 10-40 minutes; but a variety of different techniques may be used. For patients who are extremely needle-sensitive, various non-needle techniques are available. Treatments are always tailored to the unique needs of the individual patient. Generally treatments are quite relaxing—not painful. Patients leave feeling nourished and rejuvenated.

Is acupuncture painful?

Most patients find it painless, or at most feel a brief pinch, twinge, or “hurts good” sensation now and then. As a rule our needle insertion is shallow, using the smallest gauge needles. Still, everyone has a different level of sensitivity to acupuncture needles. From the beginning, we’ll use your feedback to determine a treatment plan appropriate to your level of comfort. For children and the highly needle-sensitive we employ a wide variety of non-needle techniques, such as moxibustion (herbal heat therapy), cupping, gua sha (cutaneous friction-massage), magnets, micro-electrical stimulation, percussion techniques and shiatsu.

What does it mean that acupuncture is “holistic”?

Too often our health problems are treated as isolated complaints, frequently with drugs or surgery. Acupuncture looks at your body, mind, lifestyle and environment as a whole in determining a treatment approach, recognizing your unique health story. Even while targeting the patient’s chief complaint, acupuncture works to treat underlying imbalances, which can enable a variety of symptoms to improve. Acupuncture guides patients to new knowledge about their body-mind continuum. A successful treatment will leave the patient feeling more educated about their body, and more in control of their condition.

What does acupuncture treat?

By tapping into the patient’s innate healing power, acupuncture can help address many health concerns. We have successfully treated patients with the following conditions:

• Acute and chronic pain (mild to severe arthritis, headaches and migraines, spinal pathologies, poorly healed injuries, chronic muscle tension, muscular trigger points, fibromyalgia)
• Injuries and accidents (broken bones, whiplash, sprains and strains, herniated discs, contusions, burns)
• Tendonitis, bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome, and repetitive strain injuries
• Sciatica, radiculopathy, neuropathy, and post-stroke recovery
• Insomnia
• Cancer support (chemotherapy and radiation symptoms, surgery symptoms, fatigue, suppressed immunity, weight loss, nausea, stress)
• Mental health (depression, anxiety, panic attacks, ADHD, etc.)
• Women’s health (menstrual irregularities, PMS, cramps, fibroids, ovarian cysts, peri-menopausal symptoms, migraines, C-section scars, etc.)
• Pregnancy-related conditions (swollen feet, back pain, difficulty breathing, breech position, preparation for labor, recovery from labor, lactation difficulties)
• Hormonal imbalances (diabetes, hypothyroid, hyperthyroid, adrenal exhaustion, pituitary imbalances, etc.)
• Digestive problems (IBS, food poisoning, constipation, loose stool, gall stones, gastritis, acid reflux, colitis, Crohn’s disease, etc.)
• Allergies, rhinitis, sinusitis, ear and throat infections
• Skin and hair issues (acne, eczema, scars, spider veins, alopecia, etc.)
• Low immunity; chronic inflammation; autoimmune disorders; frequent colds and flu
• Asthma, bronchitis, acute cough and other respiratory issues
• Fatigue and low energy
• Poor concentration, memory loss
• Poor circulation, Reynaud’s disease and other vascular problems
• Sensory disorders (visual, auditory, etc.)
• Fertility and reproductive health for men and women
• Weight problems; sugar and food addictions
• Tobacco, alcohol, and drug addiction
• General detoxification
• Side effects of surgery or pharmaceuticals
• Health maintenance, preventative medicine

As needed, dietary and lifestyle counseling are also provided as part of the treatment.

Why is acupuncture safe?

We use only sterile, one-use disposable needles and take precautions to maintain a safe and hygienic environment. With the use of such precautions, infection from acupuncture needles is virtually unheard of. Since we use extremely thin needles and only shallow needling techniques, injury from deep puncture is also extremely unlikely. At most patients may experience slight bruising at a needle site, but even this is unusual. Acupuncture doesn’t add anything to the body, it just works with your body’s own energy and healing potential. Therefore, when practiced safely it is free of harmful side effects.

Acupuncture is regulated by state and national licensing and accreditation boards to maintain quality among licensed professionals. See a licensed acupuncturist to assure you are receiving the highest degree of safety and quality. Practitioners with the credential of licensed acupuncturist (L.Ac.) have the most extensive training in acupuncture, much more training than chiropractors (D.C’s), medical doctors (M.D.’s), and other health care professionals who are not also a L.Ac..

What is moxibustion?

Moxibustion is a technique used to stimulate acupoints or symptomatic areas with heat. The leaf of the mugwort plant (Artemisia vulgaris) is dried and refined into various forms of “moxa.” We typically use moxa along with needles in one of three ways: rolled by hand into rice grain-sized pieces and burned on top of a cream on the acupoint; rolled into a ball and placed on the handle of the needle, to heat the needle; or in a cigar-like pole, held above the point. Precautions are always taken to prevent burns and to keep the feeling of heat mild and comfortable.

What is Gua sha?

Gua sha is the Chinese term for a form of cutaneous friction common as folk medicine throughout the Far East. Also known as “coining” or “spooning,” gua sha uses a blunt tool (like a coin, a spoon, a piece of polished horn, or a jar lid) to manipulate the surface of the body in a characteristic, sliding way. A lubricant salve is used so the treatment doesn’t “scrape” the skin—it feels more like a deep tissue massage. The effect of Gua sha is to bring “stuck blood” (the “sha”) up to the surface, where it can be cleared out and replaced by newer circulation. The “sha” usually appears in the form of red marks (petichia) on the skin, which are cleared away in a couple of days. Gua sha clears heat, removes toxins and improves circulation, and helps with conditions ranging from muscle tension, spasms and whiplash to cough, allergies, fever and digestive problems.

What is cupping?

Cupping is an age-old form of folk medicine that uses a vacuum effect to pull flesh slightly up inside of the cup. We do traditional Chinese “fire cupping,” which uses fire to create a vacuum inside of glass cups, which are immediately placed on the body. Usually the cups are left on from 10-20 minutes. Cupping can remove deep-level stagnation in the tissues, reduce swelling, and greatly relieve tension in muscles and connective tissue (a little like a massage-in-reverse). Cups may seem a little weird at first, but they feel great. Cups may leave a mark on the skin, which fades away within a few days.

How is Japanese style acupuncture different from Chinese style?

During the past 3,000 years, as acupuncture migrated from China across various regions, it has evolved and taken on the influence of a number of different cultures. There are innumerable different theoretical schools, diagnostic styles and techniques in acupuncture, but the foundation of all systems of traditional acupuncture lies in the classical Chinese texts.

In Japan, from as early as the Edo period (1602-1868), acupuncture had the peculiar history of being a profession primarily of the blind. As a direct result, Japanese acupuncture relies to a great extent on palpation (the ability to gain information through touch), refined forms of pulse taking, and subtle, sensitive needling techniques.

By comparison, Chinese acupuncture typically uses longer, thicker gauge needles, deeper insertion, and stronger needling stimulation and often incorporates the use of AC electrical stimulation of needles. The form of Chinese acupuncture most common in the United States, “Traditional Chinese Medicine” (TCM), is typically blended with Chinese herbal medicine.

We believe that diversity in styles of acupuncture allows patients to find the best fit for their needs and preferences, and allows for a great deal of discovery and innovation. Personally, we get the best results treating my patients with Japanese style acupuncture in most cases. It’s important to find a style of acupuncture that you like, but also to find a qualified practitioner—ideally a licensed acupuncturist (L.Ac.).

Why should I see a licensed acupuncturist (L.Ac.) instead of an MD or a chiropractor for acupuncture?

Acupuncture takes many years to master, and was traditionally practiced as a stand-alone healing art. Still, many American practitioners combine acupuncture with other healing arts (most commonly Chinese herbal medicine); furthermore, physicians, chiropractors, podiatrists—e.g. “Western” medical practitioners— are permitted by some state laws to practice acupuncture after receiving only a tiny fraction of the training needed to become a licensed acupuncturist (L.Ac.). A licensed acupuncturist has gone through a rigorous, 3 or 4-year master’s degree program, has spent hundreds of hours in clinical internship, and has passed stringent national board examinations.

Someone who spends the majority of their time treating patients with acupuncture alone will be more likely to offer the skill, safety and experience you need. If you don’t get results with acupuncture, it may not be acupuncture’s fault--it may be due to the limited competence of the practitioner. After all, acupuncture is merely a way to prod your own healing potential into action. The healing potential is always there; you just need to find the right person to help you tap into it.

How long does it take for acupuncture to work?

Acupuncture is most effective with a series of treatments. Some patients see changes after 1 or 2 sessions, but these are usually very acute cases. Chronic conditions are likely to see improvement within 3-5 sessions, after which it is usually fine to space out the frequency of maintenance treatments (if needed). Complex cases may require more extended or long-term treatment. Many patients choose to receive acupuncture on some kind of continuing basis (whether weekly, monthly, or seasonally) for relaxation, stress reduction, health maintenance and preventative care.

How does Bridge Acupuncture strive to reduce environmental impact?

As natural health care providers we believe that our actions should nurture a safe and sustainable environment in the treatment room and beyond. Practices that better care for our health and better care for the environment are often one and the same. Whenever possible we use recycled and organic materials, eco-friendly detergents, bulk packaging, biodegradable products, and non-toxic, eco-friendly cleaning products. Bridge Acupuncture also donates annually to the Organic Consumers Association and the Pesticide Action Network of North America.

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Buckingham, Solebury, Montgomeryville, Furlong, Jamison, Quakertown, Perkasie, Sellersville, Pipersville, Newtown, Lansdale, and more. - 215-348-8058