Acupuncture is the use of very thin needles that are inserted into the body at strategic points in order to re-balance energy and reduce the prevalence of certain medical conditions. Acupuncture is usually used in conjunction with other forms of Chinese medicine like herbal supplements and massage.
Acupuncture is considered to be Traditional Chinese Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine is known as a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). There are many debates surrounding acupuncture and whether or not it is an effective treatment method. As studies have been done that show the serious side effects of pharmaceutical drugs, more Americans have turned to alternative forms of medicine rather than take their chances with prescription drugs.
How many people use acupuncture in the United States?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention found in 2007 that thirty percent of Americans are actively using Traditional Chinese Medical therapies, which includes acupuncture. Health practitioners believe that this number has increased exponentially since then.
Surveys have shown that about seven percent of Americans are avid users of acupuncture therapy in 2007 and the numbers have doubled since then. Of those seven percent, twenty two percent had seen an acupuncturist in the last twelve months.
Who is using acupuncture?
Some nursing homes and hospice care workers have started to practice alternative medicine on their ailing patients to help with pain management for those that are experiencing chronic pain. Most of their patients have claimed that their pain is decreased and their quality of life has improved drastically.
The main reasons for why Americans are seeing an acupuncturist are:
- Chronic pain
Usually, acupuncture therapy needs to be a long term process in order to get the most from the treatment. Regular visits to an experienced practitioner have been found to relieve many chronic pain conditions and lessen symptoms of other medical therapies like chemotherapy.
Many sufferers of chronic low back pain have stated that they continue to use a practitioner of acupuncture because they have experienced significant reduction in pain after using acupuncture long term.
The belief behind the reason for the increased use of acupuncture is the American culture shift to more open minded thinking. Society as a whole has started to view the world differently in all aspects from religion, to politics, to marriage and relationships. So, thinking about healthcare open mindedly is just par for the course.
Paying for treatment
Unfortunately, many insurance companies in the United States do not cover acupuncture treatments yet because insurance companies do not consider this treatment to be qualifying for coverage. This is because the Food and Drug Administration has not set regulations for this treatment and scientific studies are still pursuing whether or not this is a viable option for pain management. We anticipate that it is just a matter of time before this treatment is covered by insurance companies.
So, treatment payments fall to the patient but many say that they are more than willing to pay the affordable fees because of the benefit that is brought to them.