logo for integrative cardiologist Dr. Cynthia Thaik

Acupuncture Treatment for Los Angeles Patients

acupuncture los angeles

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is defined as the insertion of thin, solid, metallic needles into the skin at specific locations. The needles are then activated via gentle, specific movements of the practitioner’s hands. In some cases, alternative forms of stimulation are employed at acupuncture points. Heat, pressure, friction, electromagnetic impulse, and suction are all used instead of piercing the skin. Evidence suggests that these acupuncture points are the location of bundles of nerve fibers responsible for communicating with the peripheral nervous system. There is newer emerging evidence that acupuncture communicates with the body via its network of connective tissue. Acupuncture is performed by both doctors and licensed acupuncturists. Acupuncture can treat many medical disorders, ranging from joint pain to infertility to GI disorders.

What Are the Benefits of Acupuncture?

While more research is being done by groups such as the World Health Organization, there are several currently known methods by which acupuncture can help the body regain its health.

  • Acupuncture promotes blood flow and releases natural painkillers. Blood contains everything the body needs for healing: oxygen, enkephalin, norepinephrine (natural painkillers), anti-inflammatory hormones, and beneficial nutrients. Conversely, the cut off of blood supply to an injured area delays the healing process and can prolong pain, even leading to chronic pain.
  • Acupuncture is a verified method of relieving stress. In studies, researchers found that acupuncture is beneficial in reducing the body’s reaction to stressful stimuli. Notably, only acupuncture to specific points practiced by legitimate acupuncturists was effective: sham acupuncture at points not attributed to stress relief had no effect. Other research has indicated that acupuncture stimulates the release of oxytocin, a hormone that regulates part of the nervous system.
  • Acupuncture stimulates the body’s healing mechanisms. The minute traumas caused by penetrating the skin activate the body’s ability to heal injuries to damaged tissue. Once the body is healing these traumas, it will also work on any tissue damage in the area caused by old injuries.

What Can Be Treated By Acupuncturists in Los Angeles, CA?

The use of acupuncture improves blood flow, releases the body’s natural painkillers, moderates inflammation, and reduces pain. When practiced by professionals, acupuncture is a safe, effective modality which can address a broad range of disorders for people at all stages of their lives. The practice of acupuncture can be involved in treatment of conditions like:

  • Chemotherapy-induced or postoperative nausea and vomiting
  • Dental pain
  • Headaches (including tension headaches and migraines)
  • Labor pain
  • Low back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Joint pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Respiratory disorders (including allergic rhinitis)
  • Hypertension
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Anxiety
  • Depressive disorders
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Acute and chronic pain
  • Chronic stress
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Gynecological disorders
  • Orthopedic issues
  • Obesity

Is Acupuncture Alternative Medicine?

Acupuncture is a form of complementary and alternative medicine that has been practiced for thousands of years. It is a drug free traditional Chinese medicine technique, also historically used in other Asian countries. In the United States, the National Institutes of Health recognizes that acupuncture is effective in the treatment of pain conditions such as headaches, osteoarthritis, back pain, and knee pain. According to traditional Chinese teachings, there are more than 2,000 acupuncture points connected by pathways (also called meridians). These paths enable the flow of a generally imperceptible energy (qi) throughout the body. Qi is considered to be responsible for an individual’s general health, and acupuncture to improve the flow of qi, and therefore the level of health. The existence of meridians and qi has not yet been conclusively established or disproven by Western medicine, but many of the claimed beneficial effects of acupuncture have been scientifically observed and documented in studies.

Side Effects and Risks of Acupuncture

As with any treatment, there are risks to acupuncture, though many of these can be offset by working with an experienced acupuncturist.  Common issues involve bruising, bleeding, and pain from the insertion of acupuncture needles. However, other side effects that can occur include nausea, dizziness, fainting, pneumothorax (a collapsed lung; exceptionally rare when working with a trained healthcare professional), and infections. Of course, much like you wouldn’t trust an unlicensed charlatan to prescribe you medication, you should only trust a skilled, trained healthcare professional to perform acupuncture on you. This will go a long way towards minimizing risk. Many states have strict requirements about who is allowed to practice acupuncture. The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine is the body with the most widely accepted standard: many states require that board exams and/or certification by this body are taken in order to practice acupuncture there. California is unusual in that it does not recognize credentials from out of state. Fully one third of the total US acupuncture workforce hold California licenses (approximately 6,300 out of more than 14,000). Licenses are issued by the California Board of Acupuncture. Most acupuncturists are concentrated in Orange County, Los Angeles County, and the Bay Area (especially Santa Cruz, Marin, and San Francisco Counties).

What to expect at your first appointment

When you arrive for your first Acupuncture appointment your provider will go over your symptoms in depth addressing your main health concerns. Your practitioner will also design a treatment plan and provide a minimum number of treatments needed to potentially find relief from your symptoms. You’ll typically remain fully clothed during the treatment, so wear comfortable loose clothing to your appointment that will give your practitioner access to your lower legs, arms and possibly abdomen. Your session will last about 45 minutes. Your practitioner will communicate with you throughout your entire session about each step of your treatment. There are several reported sensations you may experience during your treatment which may include:

  • Tingling

  • Falling asleep

  • Deep relaxation

  • Hot or Cold sensations ( a heated table and infrared lamp may be used to keep warm and reduce inflammation)

  • Muscle twitching

  • Emotional Responses

Please feel free to communicate with your practitioner about these sensations throughout your treatment.

Los Angeles Acupuncture Cost

Many PPO insurance plans cover the cost of  acupuncture treatments. Please check with our staff to verify your acupuncture benefits. If you do not have acupuncture benefits we do offer fair rates and packages to make acupuncture and Chinese Medicine accessible. Please inquire with our knowledgeable staff on the best options for you.

The Best Acupuncture in Los Angeles County

When you arrive for your first acupuncture appointment at the Burbank Holistic Medical Center, your provider will discuss your symptoms with you in depth, in order to identify and address your principal health concerns. Your practitioner will also design a treatment plan and provide an estimate for a minimum number of treatments required to find relief from your symptoms. It is important to wear comfortable but loose fitting clothing to your appointment, as the acupuncturist will require easy access to your lower legs, arms, and possibly your abdomen. The session should last between 30 minutes and 45 minutes. Your practitioner will communicate with you throughout about each step of the treatment.

Resource Links