On Point for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine Day
Have you ever had an acupuncture treatment? If not, October 24 is the perfect day to experience this wonderful form of healthcare. October 24 is the national day of observance of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AOM) Day. The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) is a sponsor of AOM day. NCCAOM hopes its support will raise awareness of the benefits of acupuncture and Oriental medicine encompassed in this 3,000 year old medicine.
What makes this year’s AOM Day celebration unique? This year marks the 25 Anniversary of the founding of NCCAOM. NCCAOM is the only organization that certifies acupuncturists and practitioners of Oriental medicine in the United States. In addition to the founding of the NCCAOM, this anniversary is a special one for several other national acupuncture and Oriental medicine organizations, all of whom joined together in 1982 to establish national standards for the practice of acupuncture. The results of this collaborative effort, which occurred over twenty-five years ago, makes AOM Day a day to celebrate the profession itself and the advancements that have taken place since its beginnings in 1982.
What changes did occur during the past 25 years? Over the past 25 years, acupuncture and Oriental medicine has become increasingly popular in the United States. The phrase “Oriental medicine” is now important because it encompasses a variety of modalities, including acupuncture, Chinese herbology and Asian bodywork therapies such as acupressure, shiatsu, and Thai medical bodywork therapy. Healthcare consumers are often surprised to discover that an estimated 36% of U.S. adults use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), according to a survey by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a component of the National Institutes of Health. As evidenced by the increased number of NCCAOM certified practitioners in the U.S over just the past five years, acupuncture has become one of the most common forms of CAM.
How does acupuncture work? Acupuncture is a medical treatment that involves the stimulation of points on the body with the insertion of thin, disposable needles. It has become much more accepted in the U.S.; however, many healthcare consumers are still not aware of this relatively painless and effective treatment so useful in treating conditions such as migraines, stress, obesity, and addiction, to name but a few. Some consumers are apprehensive about acupuncture because of a fear of being “needled”. However, unlike the needles that are used to give shots or take blood, acupuncture needles are extremely thin. Most patients report that they feel no pain. In some cases, there might be a slight pricking or tingling sensation and in areas where the body has experienced pain, this pricking or tingling sensation may be more noticeable.
The absence of pain and effectiveness of this ancient medicine has helped acupuncture and Oriental medicine become more a part of mainstream healthcare. According to Bryn Clark, Dipl. O.M. (NCCAOM), former Chair of the NCCAOM Board of Commissioners who practices acupuncture in Massachusetts, several prestigious academic medical centers such as Northwestern, Georgetown, Duke, and Harvard Universities have opened up integrated medical centers in which Western medical physicians work with certified acupuncture practitioners use complementary therapies to treat patients. Every year more and more physicians are opting to combine Eastern and Western treatments for their patients’ well-being. Research from the National Institute of Health supports this movement showing that acupuncture is effective for use in pain management, osteoarthritis, postoperative or chemotherapy-related nausea, addiction, stroke rehabilitation, infertility and asthma, among others. The World Health Organization also lists acupuncture’s efficacy in relieving anxiety, panic disorders and insomnia along with forty-two other medical conditions.