Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine: Frequently asked questions

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture works primarily in three ways:

  1. It relieves pain.
  2. It reduces inflammation
  3. It restores homeostasis (returns your body to its metabolic equilibrium)
It does this by optimizing blood flow to injured/painful/dysfunctional areas so that they can begin to heal. Acupuncture points are points of heightened neurovascular sensitivity that cause a cascade of events (neurologic, vascular, immunologic, and endocrinologic) to occur, both locally and distally, when needled. The needles used in an acupuncture treatment are sterile, disposable, and flexible. They are approximately the width of a human hair, and most people don’t even feel them being inserted.

​What conditions does acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture can be used to help with a huge variety of conditions. Pain is the main thing people seek acupuncture for, but we also see people for numerous other conditions, including neurological conditions; digestive conditions; menstrual disorders; stress-related conditions; macular degeneration; dry eyes; and more. To read more about conditions acupuncture can help with, visit our Testimonials page.

What is distal needing acupuncture?

Clare primarily uses a type of acupuncture called Distal Needling Acupuncture (DNA), based on the Balance Method by the late Dr. Richard Teh-Fu Tan and the work of Dr. Robert Doane. This method is highly effective for the treatment of pain as well as most other conditions treatable with acupuncture. With this method, needles are placed primarily in the arms, legs, and outer portions of the ears, away from the area of pain. The advantages to this type of needling include not only its efficacy but also ease of movement for the patient and the lack of need for any disrobing. It also minimizes any risk of further injury to a traumatized area.

Who can practice acupunture?

  • Licensed Acupuncturists
Licensed acupuncturists have completed three to four years of study and are board certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Their course of study includes not only Oriental Medicine/Acupuncture but also Western (conventional) Medicine. As part of the licensing and certification process, acupuncturists must be up-to-date on clean needle technique and in compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Licensed acupuncturists here in Mississippi are licensed and governed by the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure, the same board that licenses medical doctors.
  • Medical Doctors
Medical doctors in Mississippi can practice medical acupuncture upon completion of a 200-hour course of study. Medical acupuncture is more Western in its approach than the traditional acupuncture that is practiced by a licensed acupuncturist. In other words, medical acupuncture bases its point selection more on Western anatomical and physiological training than on an Eastern understanding of the body. Medical Acupuncturists, being medical doctors, are also governed by the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure.
  • Physical Therapists practice Dry Needling (not acupuncture)
Physical therapists in Mississippi can practice a technique known as dry needling upon completion of a 50-hour course of study. Dry needling is based on Western muscular and trigger point patterns. It can be very effective for musculoskeletal conditions, but it is important to note that it is not acupuncture. Furthermore, it is important to note that physical therapists in MS are not required to complete any clinical training in dry needling prior to certification; if you pursue dry needling with a physical therapist, therefore, make sure they have some experience behind them. Physical therapists are not governed by the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure.