Acupuncture is among the oldest healing practices in the world. Acupuncture is one of a number of techniques that comprise a whole medical system called traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Traditional Chinese Medicine considers the health and balance of the entire system: body, mind, spirit, emotions and environment. The body is understood to be a balance of two opposing and inseparable forces: yin and yang. According to TCM, health is achieved by maintaining the body in a “balanced state” of these two forces. In acupuncture the stimulation of specific points on the body by a variety of techniques, including the insertion of thin metal needles though the skin helps the body maintain or regain it’s balance. According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, which included a comprehensive survey of CAM use by Americans, an estimated 3.1 million U.S. adults and 150,000 children had used acupuncture in the previous year. Relatively few complications from the use of acupuncture have been reported to the FDA, in light of the millions of people treated each year and the number of acupuncture needles used.
In 2007 we published a paper describing the establishment of free-care acupuncture clinics within Boston Medical Center with an underserved minority adolescent population. During 2004-2006 the acupuncture clinic had 544 visits for a wide range of conditions, including headaches, a wide variety of pain syndromes, gynecological issues, and gastro-intestinal problems. Visits increased 65 % from the first to the third year of operation.
In 2008-2009 we surveyed adult users of two free-care acupuncture clinics at Boston Medical Center. This pilot study surveyed patients satisfaction and perceived helpfulness of acupuncture. Over 24 months, a total of 720 acupuncture treatments were administered, consisting of 144 new patient visits and 576 follow-up visits. Overall satisfaction with acupuncture was reported as either “Very Good” or “Good” in 95% of all surveys. Only 1% of respondents reported that they would not use acupuncture again and 93% stated they would recommend acupuncture to friends or family.
- Highfield ES, Lama P, Grodin MA, Kaptchuk TJ, Crosby SS. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine for Survivors of Torture and Refugee Trauma: A Descriptive Report. J Immigr Minor Health. 2011 Oct. 18.
- Highfield ES, Laufer MR, Schnyer RN, Kerr CE , Thomas P, Wayne PM. Adolescent Endometriosis-related Pelvic Pain Treated with Acupuncture: Two Case Reports. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. J Altern Complement Med. 2006 Apr;12(3):317-22.
- Highfield ES, Barnes LL, Spellman L, Saper R. If You Build It, Will They Come? A free-care acupuncture clinic for minority adolescents in an urban hospital. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine July 2008, 14(6): 629-636.
- Wayne PM, Kerr CE, Schnyer RN, Legedza A, German JS, ShieldsMH, Davis RB, Buring JE, Conboy LA, Highfield E, Parton B, Thomas P, Laufer MR. Japanese-Style Acupuncture for Endometriosis-Related Pelvic Pain in Adolescents and Young Women: Results of a Randomized Sham-Controlled Trial. Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology. 2008 Oct;21(5):247-57.