What has more pins than a porcupine?
The new Acupuncture Clinic, located at the University Physicians Group Diagnostic Pavilion at 4647 Medical Drive.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese system of healing believed to date back as far as 5,000 years. Fine needles are inserted just under the skin at specific points along meridians to stimulate, disperse and balance the flow of energy, known as chi or qi (pronounced chee), to relieve pain and treat a variety of conditions. The modern scientific explanation is that needling acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord and brain. These chemicals change the experience of pain and influence the body’s own internal regulating system.
Medical acupuncture is a term used to describe acupuncture performed by a physician. Unlike Traditional Chinese Acupuncture, points are selected on the basis of their neuroanatomical location and effect. Physicians also use medical techniques such as trigger point needling and deactivation and electrical stimulation to change the quality of pain.
“Acupuncture can be a great adjunct in the treatment of conditions that are difficult to treat with conventional treatments. Conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic pain, low back pain, headaches can be frustrating for patients and physicians alike,” said Harpreet Lotay, M.D., clinical assistant professor in the department of family and community medicine.
Acupuncture is involved in ongoing trials on its efficacy in treating diverse medical conditions. A National Institutes of Health Consensus in 1997 suggested that acupuncture could be used as an adjunct treatment for fibromyalgia, addiction, stroke rehabilitation, headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, asthma, and infertility. The World Health Organization provides an extensive list of diagnoses for which acupuncture may be considered.
Dr. Lotay became interested in acupuncture after working with many of her patients in Oregon who used acupuncture to manage pain when conventional treatments had failed. Dr. Lotay received training in medical acupuncture at The David Geffen Medical School at The University of California at Los Angeles.
“Once all medical investigations have ruled out an organic pathology, acupuncture is a good adjunct for the treatment of various functional problems such as pelvic or abdominal pain of unknown origin,” Dr. Lotay said.
The Acupuncture Clinic has been offering services since Aug. 18. Patients may be referred by any provider or they may self refer if their insurance allows. Patients may make an appointment by calling (210) 592-0150 and ask for an initial acupuncture appointment. Acupuncture is not covered by many insurance plans.
More information on acupuncture is available at www.medicalacupuncture.org.