Acupuncture originated in China thousands of years ago and is now used throughout the world. According to Chinese medical theory, acupuncture works by promoting the flow of chi, or energy, throughout the body and by balancing yin and yang.
From a Western medical perspective, acupuncture has known effects at many levels – from the local effects of increasing blood flow and relaxing muscles, to complicated changes in neurotransmitters and neural pathways in the spinal cord and brain.
Numerous clinical studies have shown benefits with the most evidence for migraine prevention, and chronic neck and back pain. It works well for many types of pain including myofascial and neuropathic pain, as well as headaches, fatigue, nausea, anxiety, menstrual cramps and many other problems.
Acupuncture may be covered by Network Health Plan insurance, especially for diagnoses related to back pain, neck pain, headaches and chemotherapy-associated nausea. Medicare and Medicare supplements never cover acupuncture. Other insurance varies so the patient will need to check their policies. Acupuncture usually costs $60-$120.
The National Institutes of Health has a new website with links to clinical practice guidelines and other information related to acupuncture.
Acupuncture is available at Affinity at the Mary Kimball Anhaltzer Center for Integrative Medicine located on Koeller Street in Oshkosh, in the Greenville family practice clinic and at Mercy in the orthopedics clinic. See Affinity’s website for further information.
Dr. Jennifer Norden, provides integrative medicine services, including medical acupuncture and guidance on nutrition and lifestyle. She is board-certified in internal medicine.