There are two kinds of physicians that can be given the label of acupuncture doctors: practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine and medical doctors trained in both modern medicine and medical acupuncture.
Medical acupuncture is the application of acupuncture in a modern medical setting such as a hospital or a medical clinic. In such environments, acupuncture is often used to treat the symptoms of a problem while modern medicine is used to treat the problem itself. An example of this would be to use chemotherapy or radiation to treat cancer but using acupuncture to treat the pain from the cancer and the therapy.
In many cases trained medical professionals including doctors with training in acupuncture apply these treatments. Many doctors are increasingly turning to non traditional methods such as acupuncture to treat pain because of the side effects and addictive nature of many painkillers.
The difference between medical acupuncture and traditional Chinese acupuncture is the cause of problems in the body is believed to be the flow of energy or Qi. Acupuncture needles are used to regulate this process by pressing on specific points in the body.
In medical acupuncture stimulating points on the body is believed to cause the release of chemicals that affect the nervous system. These chemicals are believed to cause or prevent sensations such as pain.
This is why acupuncture doctors are often called in for pain relief. In some cases acupuncture doctors are used to treat other conditions such as addictions. Addiction is often caused by the overuse or misuse of pain killers many of which are morphine based and highly addictive.
Traditional Acupuncture Doctors
Acupuncture and acupressure are widely used in traditional Chinese medicine. Historically acupuncture doctors treated a wide variety of problems in tradition in China including respiratory problems.
Today many people outside of China particularly in the United States turn to acupuncture doctors for the treatment of a wide variety of problems including pain and addiction. Many people go to acupuncturists for relief from backaches, headaches, arthritis and other problems because they do not want to take drugs for those problems.
Increasingly many of these people are seeking out acupuncture doctors who are trained in both modern medicine and traditional Chinese medicine. These experts increasingly practice in modern medical clinics and at hospitals.
In many cases the phrase acupuncture doctor is also used to describe traditional Chinese doctors who practice a variety of treatments including acupuncture, acupressure and herbal medicine. It is not uncommon for such doctors to combine herbal medicine and acupuncture.
Another trend is for homeopaths, physicians who practice a German science of herbal and natural treatment; to add acupuncture to their practices. Homeopathy has some beliefs that are very similar to acupuncture. Homeopaths believe that disease can be treated by stimulating the body with small doses of chemicals which are often sprayed under the tongue.
In many cases acupuncture doctors are adding homeopathy to their practice and homeopaths are adding acupuncture and acupressure to their practices. This effort is producing a hybrid alternative medical tradition that is combining European, American and Chinese practices and beliefs. This combined tradition is going to be the future of alternative medicine.
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