Attitudes about acupuncture have changed dramatically. It wasn’t that long ago when the very thought of treating a condition with acupuncture, or perhaps hypnosis, would raise an eyebrow or two within the medical mainstream. But not any more.
Consumer demand for this ancient method of healing, originating thousands of years ago in China, is growing in demand daily. Long respected in other parts of the world as a treatment for all sorts of ailments ranging from addiction to lumbago, acupuncture now stands alongside other forms of Western medicine with most US states recognizing acupuncture as a valid form of care.
“Acupuncture is a form of natural therapy,” said Dr. Andrew Kim, a Korean Master of Acupuncture. “Acupuncture treats the body holistically — it stimulates the body’s own healing processes by helping its energy balance itself and flow along the natural pathways in the body call ‘meridians.’” he said.
Dr. Kim is a skilled acupuncturist with over 40 years experience. Living and practicing for so many of those years right here in Hernando County, Dr. Kim is well respected — so much so that referrals of patients come directly from the medical community, including chiropractors and primary physicians.
Traditional acupuncture theory states that it is the body’s vital life force or ‘Qi’ (pronounced ‘Che’) that controls the working of all organs and systems. The Qi circulates from one organ to another always following a prescribed route.
“There are 12 mainstream meridians and 8 extraordinary ones in our bodies,” said Dr. Kim. “Think of it as a radio network in which the acupuncture points are transmitters and the vital organs, receivers. Those pathways feed the main organs or functions — like the heart, stomach, kidneys and lungs,” he said.
Dr. Kim explained that disease occurs when an organ or system becomes over— or under-active disrupting the perfect functioning. Acupuncture readjusts the energy flow thus restoring proper healthful balance.
Dr. Kim’s wife and assistant at the practice is Brenda Kim. She explained that proper communication between doctor and patient is a must to achieve a total understanding of a patient’s medical condition.
“Before any kind of treatment is considered, I take a detailed history of each patient and then Dr. Kim performs a thorough physical examination to assess each patient,” she said.
Brenda Kim explained that his examination of each patient is different from the conventional examinations given by physicians practicing Western medicine.
“Dr. Kim pays particular attention to the patient’s skin color, hands, feet and spine, she said. “Their evaluation is crucial in determining the cause of the symptoms.”
Treatment involves inserting fine needles at specific points on the skin’s surface depending on the ailment and each patient’s history. Accurate knowledge of the exact insertion points to treat specific ailments requires longtime experience and practice and highly specialized training.
“There are over a thousand acupuncture points on the human body,” said Dr. Kim.
Studies have shown that most frequently used points are on the lower parts of the legs, feet, forearms and hands. And although there are points located all over the human body, acupuncture needle insertion points are often located in an entirely different area of the body from the where the symptoms are.
The needles used in acupuncture are designed and constructed primarily of stainless steel although some may contain a minute amount of gold or silver. The needles are not hollow like those used for injections. They are solid and can vary in length from half an inch to three inches.
Barely thicker than a human hair, they are jointless between the shaft and the handle and designed to be exceedingly pliable so avoiding any breakage.
The number of needles to be inserted at each visit varies on the patient’s age and how long they have been experiencing the symptoms — the average being between one and 30 needles.
The depth of insertion also varies — sometimes they are instead just below the skin, sometimes to a depth of an inch or more. They may be inserted and immediately withdrawn or they may be left in place for longer depending on what method is required to treat an ailment.
Whatever procedure is used, insertion is bloodless and, while some patients report a slight sensation, there is no pain. Often, patients are totally unaware that the needle has been inserted.
An acupuncturist with worldwide credentials, Dr. Kim is a licensed practitioner of this ancient form of healing. Qualified acupuncturists endure years of rigorous training and a strictly regulated code of professional ethics and standards. Doctors of acupuncture do not prescribe drugs, nor do they set bones.
In the State of Florida, all practicing acupuncturists must adhere to strict regulations and their facilities must be approved by the state ’s Board of Acupuncture. The board licenses and monitors its licensees to ensure the fitness and competence of practitioners in providing health care services for everyone.
Needle hygiene is paramount and safe practitioners of acupuncture, like Dr. Kim, use disposable needles at all times. Brenda Kim stated that each patient gets brand new, sterile needles to be used only once and then discarded after use.
Millions of adults in the United States are estimated to use some form of holistic healing from herbs and megavitamins to yoga and including acupuncture.
Today, acupuncture is now considered the crown jewel of alternative therapy and new studies have thrown scientific weight behind its benefits, supporting its effectiveness in alleviating conditions from morning sickness to carpal tunnel syndrome, nausea, dental pain, headaches, myofascial pain, arthritis, back pain and more. In some cases, acupuncture has been found to work better than standard medications — and without side effects.
“There’s more and more demand for this treatment because so many physicians are now seriously interested in learning the theory behind acupuncture,” said Dr. Kim. “Western doctors are beginning to embrace it and sending patients to me to treat specific conditions.”
Devotees of acupuncture say that acupuncture, in addition to helping treat existing conditions, can also help keep you well. They believe regular treatments, combined with healthy eating, meditation and exercise keep them healthy and fairly balanced.
Acupuncture is not limited to humans. In a society where pets are family members, veterinarians around the country say they are also seeing a greater demand for the service. The technique is used mostly on cats and dogs suffering from arthritis.
“There’s a holistic movement out there, and if people have found something that works for them, it’s just natural they would want it for their pets too,” said Dr. Kim.
“But please make sure you find a veterinarian that is fully qualified in acupuncture. I cannot stress this enough,” he said.
Acupuncture treatment is a pleasant and helpful way to stay healthy. There is no doubt that more and more of us are turning to it even though financially it remains a largely out-of-pocket form of healthcare.
If you want to try acupuncture, remember it often has a cumulative effect.
“With some conditions, you might feel better after one session. But it might take three or more sessions, depending on your condition, before you start to notice an improvement in others,” said Dr. Kim.
IF YOU GO
Dr. Kim’s Acupuncture PLLC is located at 5330 Spring Hill Dr., Suite C., in Spring Hill FL 34606
To make an appointment, call