An article by Lesley Alderman in the New York Times (May 8, 2010) under the heading of Patient Money, concerned the practice of acupuncture. It tells the story of a patient who went to an acupuncturist to help with getting pregnant. She did conceive her child but it was unclear as to whether it was the acupuncture that helped or just the urgings of her gynecologist to keep on trying. The article went on to say that there are great numbers of people turning to acupuncture for help with all kinds of conditions ranging from infertility, chronic pain, depression to symptoms of menopause and helping with anxiety before surgery.

The website of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine urges that people first consult a medical doctor and not an acupuncturist to obtain a diagnosis. Though acupuncture can have a positive effect on the body, serious conditions require Western Medicine’s evaluation first. Sometimes antibiotics are necessary for a cure, sometimes a serious condition can require surgery.

Acupuncture still can be a beneficial adjunct to traditional Western medicine. Conditions like chronic pain, arthritis, musculo/skeletal problems and others can respond well to acupuncture. Sometimes doctors even refer their patients for acupuncture. The problem has been that it usually is an out of pocket expense. To receive a license to practice acupuncture in New York State, over 4000 hours of course work must be completed, then over 600 hours of clinical training and work on over 200 patients. And then of course, national certification examinations are required. However, most insurance companies still do not pay for acupuncture sessions.

I have used acupuncture in my practice for many years. For me, personally, the practice of acupuncture has evolved into ‘physio-puncture’ which I find more beneficial to the way I work with patients. It is using the same points that acupuncture uses, without the needles, and it works exceedingly well. That said, Dr. Valery Kovalenko, a member of our staff, uses traditional acupuncture with his clients.

If you wish to find out how you can receive acupuncture as part of your care in our practice, please call our office for more information.