As recently as a couple of decades ago, if you told a friend or family member that you were going to an acupuncturist, they might have thought that you needed to have a mental health checkup. The tide has turned, however, and in the five years between 2002 and 2007, the use of acupuncture in the United States has mushroomed. In 2007, the most recent year for which statistics exist, 3.1 million Americans used acupuncture, up 50 percent from the previous five years.
There are a number of reasons why more and more consumers are choosing acupuncture. From informal conversations with my patients and other acupuncturists, some of the reasons include:
-It’s effective. Frequently people turn to acupuncture and Chinese medicine after they have exhausted every other avenue of health care trying to find relief from their condition. Acupuncture tends to be effective for chronic conditions, like pain, depression, and digestive issues, which are frequently not cured by Western medicine.
-It’s safe. Compared to most prescription medications and/or surgery, the side effects from acupuncture are close to nil when performed by a licensed acupuncturist. Many of the patients that I see are taking several different prescription drugs to manage their health problems. Most would prefer to reduce the amount of drugs they’re taking or not to have started taking them in the first place.
-It’s natural. See above–no drugs, no surgery.
-Acupuncture is affordable. In today’s economy, this fact alone has become a driving force for a number of people to choose acupuncture. My previous two blog posts deal with the affordability of acupuncture compared to expensive tests and prescriptions that may only be partially covered by your health insurance. In addition, you begin getting treatment for your health condition on your first acupuncture visit, without waiting for lab results, tests, or X-Rays.
-Many people are frustrated with Western managed care. They are sick and tired of being shuffled from specialist to specialist, having tests and more tests, not getting clear answers or relief, and having several doctors prescribe drugs without much coordination of care.
-Acupuncture treats the whole person. This may sound like new age babble, however, it is one of the most important aspects of Chinese medicine. Treating the whole person means that your acupuncturist will determine the underlying cause of your health condition–why it’s happening–and treat your problem at its source–not just symptom relief.