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Oprah Gets to the Point with Acupuncture

Oprah Dr. Oz - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark In the February 13, 2007 episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show", the program's popular host took the plunge and received her first acupuncture treatment live in front of her studio audience.

Just a few years ago, many Western doctors would have written off acupuncture and other "alternative" medicines. Now, Dr. Mehmet Oz, perhaps the most accomplished and respected cardiothoracic surgeon in the U.S., says acupuncture could make sense for those people suffering from pain. "Here's the irony, acupuncture has been around for 2,500 years in China. There are a billion people in another part of the world who use these therapies", Oz said.

According to Dr. Oz, Western medicine attributes acupuncture's effectiveness to the needles' stimulation of endorphins and serotonin in the brain - natural chemicals that regulate pleasure and mood. "The reason I'm so excited and passionate about alternative medicine is [because it is] the globalization of medicine," Oz said. Alternative medicines, Dr. Oz noted, deal with the body's energy, something that traditional Western medicine generally does not recognize. "We're beginning now to understand things that we know in our hearts are true but we could never measure. As we get better at understanding how little we know about the body, we begin to realize that the next big frontier in medicine is energy medicine. It's not the mechanistic part of the joints moving. It's not the chemistry of our body. It's understanding for the first time how energy influences how we feel", Oz said.

During the show Dr. Oz introduced Winfrey and Angela, a guest suffering from chronic shoulder pain, to Licensed Acupuncturist Daniel Hsu. Dr. Hsu took Angela backstage for a full acupuncture treatment on her pained shoulder, and later returned to treat Oprah live on stage.

Angela had been a long time sufferer of shoulder pain; visits to doctors, multiple X-rays, and even massage therapy had proven unsuccessful for her. After a dozen needles were put in targeted places, Angela reported, "I'm on cloud nine. I feel rejuvenated. The pain that I had was a constant radiating pain, and I don't feel it. Literally, I don't feel it. I feel wonderful." After her session with Dr. Hsu, Angela said she was ready for more acupuncture treatments in her future.

"Acupuncture treats any condition from allergies to pain to gastrointestinal issues - a wide range of chronic diseases," Hsu said. Because Oprah didn't suffer from any of those particular ailments, Hsu recommended a wellness acupuncture treatment to help boost her immune system. According to Hsu, this normally requires about 10 needles, and the positive effects will be felt anywhere from 20 minutes to days afterwards. "It's really not bad," Oprah said smiling and in good spirits. "It's not as bad as getting your ears pierced, I'll tell you that."

If Oprah's track record can be used as a guide, the field of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine may just become more popular than ever before in the U.S. due to Oprah's recent exposure.

Ms. Winfrey's ability to create best-selling books with an endorsement on Oprah's Book Club is well known. Much less recognized is her Midas touch in the health and beauty industry. With an average of about nine million viewers daily, the "Oprah" show drives enormous traffic to cosmetics counters, spas and doctors' offices when she endorses a product or a treatment, according to health and beauty industry executives.

"Getting on Oprah is like winning the lottery," said Marianne Diorio, senior vice president of global communications for Estée Lauder. "Because her audience really trusts her, if Oprah or her producers sincerely fall in love with some product or person, the results can be spectacular," Ms. Diorio said.

Acupuncture has been cited by the World Health Organization to treat over 43 conditions. It has been shown to increase the circulation of blood and lymphatic fluids, reduce muscular tension and stress, relieve pain, boost the immune system, reduce addiction cravings and nausea, release endorphins, and enhances recovery from disease. Because of its many health benefits and low occurrence of side effects, more Americans are using acupuncture and Chinese medicine for healthcare than ever before. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, approximately 42 percent of all Americans are using complimentary therapies like Chinese medicine, spending more than $34 billion annually. The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine estimates that nearly one out of every 10 adults in the United States has tried acupuncture.

American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, a non-profit institution, has provided affordable, quality health care to the public and trained professionals in acupuncture and Chinese medicine since 1980. ACTCM has been the recipient of many awards for its curriculum, faculty and clinic, and has been voted "Best of the Bay" by both the San Francisco Weekly and the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

For more information on how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help treat pain and other health conditions, please call (415) 355-1601 x12.

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