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Acupuncture at Duke Integrative Medicine

Simone Lemieux

"At the appointment, my Acupuncturist read every response and knew my entire medical history."

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What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture has been practiced for several thousand years in Asia; it is now an increasingly common treatment choice for patients on all continents. Acupuncture is the stimulation of points on the body with fine, flexible, sterile needles. Vital energy, or qi (“chee”), flows through intricate systems of energy pathways in each body.   With injury or stress, energy pathways and regions can become obstructed, sluggish or over-active.  Regulating flow restores optimal function and comfort.  These areas are needled, heated or massaged to improve our comfort and health. Acupuncturists examine and check that circulation of blood and energy are reaching each area and system in a patient’s body.   Adjustments in flow and balance support efficient function and well-being.

A course or series of acupuncture treatment is customized to each person and her/his desired result. In each treatment, the choice of acupuncture points reflects a person’s basic constitution/body type (hot-tempered or cool and calm), their daily environment (it might be hot, damp, drafty) as well as the nature or pattern of the symptoms (such as shoulder discomfort or cloudy weather headaches) that had them seek treatment.

When should I make an appointment for acupuncture?

Acupuncture is recommended for a wide variety of conditions such as acid reflux, insomnia and fibromyalgia. Research in the US shows strong results in easing conditions such as osteoarthritis, fertility and chemotherapy-related nausea, among others. It is a common choice for patients recovering from accidents or injuries. Dozens of medical centers are adding acupuncture into programs to enhance surgical recovery, physical therapy and stroke rehabilitation outcomes.

In an official report, Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials, the WHO (WHO) has listed the following symptoms, diseases and conditions that have been shown through controlled trials to be treated effectively by acupuncture:

  • low back pain
  • neck pain
  • sciatica
  • tennis elbow
  • knee pain
  • periarthritis of the shoulder
  • sprains
  • facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
  • headache
  • dental pain
  • tempromandibular (TMJ) dysfunction
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • induction of labor
  • correction of malposition of fetus (breech presentation)
  • morning sickness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • postoperative pain
  • stroke
  • essential hypertension
  • primary hypotension
  • renal colic
  • leucopenia
  • adverse reactions to radiation or chemotherapy
  • allergic rhinitis, including hay fever
  • biliary colic
  • depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
  • acute bacillary dysentery
  • primary dysmenorrhea
  • acute epigastralgia
  • peptic ulcer
  • acute and chronic gastritis

(Thanks to John Amaro, LAc, DC, Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM), Dipl. Med.Ac.(IAMA) and Acupuncunture Today October 2004)

In the US, acupuncture is practiced by these providers:

  • Licensed Acupuncturists (LAc is the usual abbreviation for this licensing.  Also AP for Acupuncture Physicians in Florida.)
  • The typical training is a master’s level program with 3000 hours and supervised practice.  Board exams are given in point location, medical theory, body work and clean needle technique.
  • Physicians (MD or DO) and Chiropractors (DC) with 200-300 hours of additional training in acupuncture techniques and medical theory.


  • Taran Rosenthal, LAc

    Licensed Acupuncturist

    A graduate of Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine, Taran had the privilege of being in one of the last classes to learn from the late legendary founder, Dr. … Read More

  • Janet Shaffer, LAc

    Licensed Acupuncturist

    Janet Shaffer has been in private practice since 1999 and is certified in Acupuncture, Chinese Herbology and Oriental Medicine from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She … Read More

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