ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How does Acupuncture Practiced in the US compare to China?

Updated on August 30, 2013
acupuncturela profile image

Eric Schmidt, L.Ac is the owner of Meridian Health Clinic in Santa Monica, CA. He practices both TCM Acupuncture and Dry Needling.

TCM Hospital in China

TCM Hospital in China
TCM Hospital in China

How the Practice of Acupuncture in the US Compares to China

As a licensed acupuncturist, people often ask me questions about how acupuncture is done in China. There is seems to be a general curiosity about how the practice of acupuncture outside of China (especially by non-Chinese practitioners) differs from the practice inside Chinese borders. Most people are concerned that they may not get "real" acupuncture in the US. In addition, people often have the bias to select a Chinese-born acupuncturist so that they will get the most "genuine" experience. Having traveled extensively in China and Southeast Asia, I would like to share my thoughts on the topic.

At its core, the acupuncture practiced in the US (and Europe) comes directly from the traditional teachings and texts from Asia. As with any practice, there are many schools of acupuncture that exist - they all share the same underlying principles, but have very different treatment techniques.

Having spent months working in Chinese TCM hospitals, first-hand experience revealed that most of the treatments given in China are given a busy community setting. In this setting, large hospital rooms are lined with many treatment tables and a constant in-and-out flow of patients. In China, a country of over 1 billion people, the Chinese tend to focus on efficiency and utility. Treatments must be able to treat large numbers of people quickly, and as such it becomes less important to give special care for each person. The crowded treatments rooms in Chinese hospitals can be busy, noisy, and smokey - not an ideal setting for healing the body by American standars. Most treatment rooms have 6-20 tables separated by cloth curtains (if you are lucky). Patients of all ages, genders and backgrounds lie patiently as 1 or more acupuncturists scurry about inserting needles, stimulating needles, and removing needles. Individual care is limited, but for the masses, this style of treatment works quite well.

In contrast, I have found that practitioners in the US take more time with patients and give the treatment in a private closed-door setting. All personal details are allowed to stay confidential, unlike the conditions in China where patients essentially share their problems with everyone else in the treatment room. In America, where everyone is valued as an individual, one-on-one-time is an important part of the treatment and this focused attention can even be part of the greater healing process. In this regard, sometimes acupuncturists in the Western world take on the role of therapist, confidant, and more.

Doctors Practicing in China

Doctors Practicing in China
Doctors Practicing in China

Acupuncture Outcomes

For all acupuncture treatments, the goal is simple: good results and people living happy, pain-free lives. In this regard, increased time with each patient can lead to faster improvement, but not always. This intimate approach to treatment is important in America, but may actually not be welcome in China.

Regardless of the setting, there is a big advantage to seeing a acupuncturist who's first language is the same as yours. If you speak English, a native English speaker will be better able to explain both the treatment rationale, and give useful advice for the patient to resolve a condition. In the acupuncture world, useful advice may include topics such as:

  • stretching & strengthening
  • dietary considerations
  • supplements

These layers of additional information can be valuable to the patient receiving acupuncture in their path to full recovery. In both China and the US, acupuncture is typically only one piece of the healing process.

Acupuncture can effectively treat a variety of health conditions. Appropriate conditions range from insomnia to shoulder pain to chronic headaches. People generally find acupuncture to be an very relaxing and pleasant experience. This is the case even for those who people have some initial hesitation about needles. In general each visit begins with a bit of discussion, as the practitioner gathers information to clearly understand and diagnose a problem. Much of this diagnosis is done from both a Western and Oriental medicine viewpoint. The acupuncture itself takes about 30 minutes and simply involves relaxing while the needles do the work.


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)