The ancient Chinese art of acupuncture has taken root in the West, and is spreading like a hearty, flourishing vine.
Since acupuncture techniques for anesthesia during surgery have been so dramatic as to make headlines in the American press, it surprises many people to learn that traditional acupuncture is not a method of anesthesia or pain relief. Developed 5000 years ago in China, traditional acupuncture is a method of analyzing a person's energetic balance, and correcting imbalances where they exist. The basic premise is that illness springs from such imbalances. Symptoms are understood to be valuable messages communicating our need for healing. Therefore, just as none of us would deal with a flashing oil light in our automobile by disconnecting the bulb, the traditional acupuncturist does not direct his/her focus to erasing any particular symptom. Acupuncturists are trained to look beyond the symptom to the broader pattern, of which the symptom is but a part. We take note of the symptoms, but do not employ standardized formula treatments for named conditions. That is, seven people with shoulder bursitis would most likely receive seven different treatments from traditional acupuncturists, based not upon the pain in the shoulder, but the overall energetic pattern. The Chinese explain these energetic patterns through poetic but very specific categories. The world is perceived to have five basic elements: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Each element manifests in many ways. For example, the wood element relates to the emotion of anger, the season of spring, the craving for or distaste of sour foods, difficulty in making decisions, the function of the eyes, the color green, the time between 11:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m., one-sided symptoms, the liver and the gall bladder. Energy, or Ch'i, flows through the body along clearly mapped pathways called meridians, each of which has a series of points at which the acupuncturist has access to the energy, and can alter or redirect its flow according to the needs of the patient. Wherever there is a blockage, it is as if a gate is rusted shut or stuck open. When the blockage has been removed, the energy can circulate freely, thus allowing the restoration of balance and harmony. This harmony is not solely on a physical level. Traditional acupuncture views each person as a unified whole-body, mind and spirit. The acupuncturist seeks to determine which of the five elements was originally knocked off balance. The diagnosis involves an analysis of the dynamic interaction of the five elements within the individual. This is done by a specialized method of pulse diagnosis, and by observing the patient's color (near the sides of the eyes and around the mouth,) the sound of the voice, the odor, and the most prominent emotion. Before I became an acupuncturist, I had a private practice in psychotherapy. I had a few patients who were what I would call "stuck." They had an understanding of their problems, but were unable to achieve an emotional breakthrough. After having acupuncture treatments, some of them were able to break through. The changes were in some cases so clear and dramatic that I decided to become an acupuncturist myself. I have not regretted it for a moment. Because traditional acupuncture treats the whole person rather than the specific symptom, many acupuncture patients find to their surprise that they are experiencing positive changes in areas other than the ones which originally brought them to the acupuncturist's office. One of my patients came for treatment of neck pain and numbness in the arm and hand. Not only did these symptoms disappear, but he also had a major improvement in his hearing, so that he could listen to music for the first time in many years. He celebrated by purchasing a stereo. Another patient hobbled in to his first appointment, bent over and using a cane. He had had open heart surgery, and had experienced severe and constant pain in his lower back, hip and leg since shortly after the operation. His other doctors didn't know what to do to help. After two visits, he no longer used the cane. After a few more visits, he was able to return to full-time work, which involved a great deal of standing. Within a few more weeks, he was shoveling the snow left by last winter's storms. But if you asked him what was the most important benefit he received from the acupuncture, he would tell you that it emotionally brought him back to life. I am still amazed at a system which allows me to place a needle in someone's arm, and clears up their knee pain, or can restore full hearing by needling a point on their chest. I am in awe of this system, and I hope I never lose this sense of wonder. -Amber Rose

Dr. Stefan is specially trained and licensed in Facial Rejuvenation acupuncture. She was voted one of the Washington, DC metropolitan area’s best alternative healthcare providers by Washingtonian magazine. Facial Rejuvenation treatment including acupuncture, micro-current therapy and facial muscle toning procedures. Call 301-881-2898 today to schedule a free consultation and discover for yourself what Dr. Stefan can do for you. Dr. Helena Stefan Facial Rejuvenation Clinic 11140 Rockville Pike, Suite #530 Rockville, MD 20852 -,

We help patients of all ages facing all kinds of health and life challenges, including: anxiety, migraine, insomnia, TMJD, neck and back pain, shoulder pain, cancer and cancer treatment, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, MS and IBS.  Use your FEP, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, United Healthcare, Cygnus, or Aetna acupuncture benefits to live a fuller, healthier life.

Offers high quality wellness services to nurture body, mind and spirit. Services include Yoga, including teacher training and advanced study workshops; Traditional Acupuncture; Therapeutic Massage; Natural Skin Care Therapy, and Health Coaching. Other offerings include Pilates, Meditation, and Kettlebells.

BLUEBERRY GARDENS  Center for yoga, growth and healing offers classes in Yoga, T'ai Chi, Qi Gong, Biodanza and Meditation. In addition we offer Acupuncuture, Nutrition Counseling, Physical Therapy, Reiki, private Yoga Therapy, Therapeutic Massage, space for your workshops and organic produce and organic U-Pick Blueberries.www.blueberrygardens.org301-570-5468

CENTER FOR HEALTH AND WELLNESS Services include Traditional Chinese Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine, Clinical Nutrition, Ayurvedic Medicine, & Meditation. Acupuncture treats pain, women's disorders, IVF, stress and much more. Bethesda, Md. 301-654-9369 or 301-807-5770 in Columbia, Maryland. Both Paulette and Don are Nationally Board Certified in Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, and Oriental Medicine. Website: Don Diggs, L.Ac., Dipl. Ac., Dipl. C.H., Dipl. O.M. Paulette McMillan, L.Ac., Dipl. Ac., Dipl. C.H., Dipl. O.M., L. Nutr., CCN

Belinda Yao is a National Board Certified Acupuncturist. Specializing in acute & chronic pain, gynecological problems, emotional disorder, digestions, detox or obesity, work injury/car accident. Use disposable needles only. By appointment only. 4829 West Lane, Bethesda, MD. 20814 301-656-2434

Bethesda and Columbia Offices in Maryland-301-654-9369.  Nationally Board Certified in Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, and Oriental Medicine by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).  Don practices Traditional Chinese Medicine including Acupuncture combined with Cupping Techniques, Electrical Stimulation and Chinese Herbal Medicine. He treats a wide variety of conditions which can be referenced in the Acupuncture section of this website

We offer top quality holistic and integrative compassionate veterinary specialty care. We view your animal as a whole focusing on the root cause of dis-harmony for long term healing. Our doctors have decades of experience within the healing field. 240-715-6570.

‘As a practitioner of Chinese Medicine I see my job as a partnership, aiding you in your healing journey to feel better.’ Betsy Golem is board certified nationally by the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) as a Diplomate in Acupuncture, and has been practicing since 1999. 450 W. Broad St. Suite 319, Falls Church, VA 22046. 703-209-5969, or, visit:

National Integrated Health Associates, NIHA, a patient-centered holistic and integrative medical and dental clinic located in Washington, D.C. with 5 MDs, 2 Naturopaths, 4 Biological Dentists and other Health Practitioners who combine the best of traditional and complementary/alternative medicine and therapies.

4820 Moorland Ln. Bethesda, MD. Exceptional holistic care for animals, specializing in holistic modalities to keep your companions healthy the natural way. Visit:, call 301-656-2882.

Maryland Acupuncture Society,
Maryland University of Integrative Health
Spectrum Center for Nat. medicine, Silver Spring,