Houston Community News >> Acupuncture Grow in Popularity

9/15/2006 Houston-- Acupuncture is growing in popularity and practicality. Just this year, insurance companies expanded coverage to include licensed acupuncturists. It’s being used from use from pain management to medical research.

Houston is home to one of only three accredited schools is Texas. Nancy Ong is all smiles. You’d never guess that behind her she has four needles in her neck, connected to electrodes. Electricity going through there, low voltage,” intern John Sun said.

Ong is on her sixth visit to reduce a large growth that made her neck stiff. She said it’s better. She is one of 1,200 patients a month that use the clinic run by the American College of Acupuncture and Oriental medicine. The accredited college offers a four-year master’s degree. Students must pass state exams to become licensed acupuncturists.

The belief is that acupoints follow channels or energy pathways on the body. The college’s president talks about studies done on these “channels.” “They injected patients with dye on acupuncture points, and the flow of the dye actually followed the pathway channels rather than blood vessels or veins as people would expect,” college President John Paul Liang said.

Dr.Bing You said stimulation from the needle creates two responses to ease pain. “One is endorphin release, the other part effects the immune system,” Dr. You said. An herbal pharmacy, which is regulated by the FDA, is also on site. Prescriptions are required whether they come unprocessed or prepackaged.

More and more Americans are going under the needle. In 2002 a national survey showed 8.2 million Americans had tried acupuncture, up from 2.1 million just a year ago. Justin Landers spent a month studying at two hospitals in China. “You’ve got traditional stroke medications, acupuncture and herbs all going on at the same time for the same patient,” Landers said.

East has already met west. To read more about Acupuncture, go to www.chinatownconnection.com/acupuncture.htm.

(Contributed by Sher-Min Chow)