Magic Needles: Feel Younger and Live Longer with Acupuncture
A new book, Magic Needles: Feel Younger and Live Longer with Acupuncture, brings both ancient Chinese medicine and Western medicine together and shows how acupuncture can be utilized to help treat dozens of conditions, pain, and illnesses.
Author Jun Xu, M.D., LAc, is perfectly positioned to introduce Americans to the benefits of acupuncture and Chinese herbs.
Dr. Xu, who left China in 1988, has unique credentials. As president of the American Traditional Chinese Medicine Society, he is the only physician in the state of Connecticut with three such medical certificates – and perhaps only one of 10 in the nation. He’s a licensed M.D. physician, a board certified rehabilitation medicine doctor, a board certified acupuncturist, and a board certified Chinese herbologist. He has integrated the best of both traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine since opening his own clinic, Rehabilitation Medicine and Acupuncture Center, in Greenwich, CT, in 2000. He’s been practicing Chinese medicine since 1984.
“Much of what were once perceived as alternative therapies are now regarded by mainstream medicine as adjuncts to traditional Western medicine,” says Dr. Xu. “For example, patient-oriented care seeks to enhance the patient’s own attitudes and emotional resources to promote healing. The reason for the spark in interest for such modalities as acupuncture is that many who are ill have needs that go beyond medicine’s current technology.”
Acupuncture releases a natural energy that can alleviate even long-standing health conditions. Pain-free acupuncture is, therefore, an ideal treatment for asthma, bronchitis, depression, drug and alcohol addiction, headaches, smoking cessation, women’s health issues, and dozens of other conditions.
“In the past three decades,” notes Dr. Xu, “acupuncture has begun to be integrated into Western medical applications. Relief from pain without anesthetics is the best known and most frequently used application of acupuncture.”
“One main reason for the increasing popularity of alternative medicine, including acupuncture, is that it is being sought out by physicians who are frustrated with the system they are being taught, and there is a huge patient interest in it. For at least one-fourth of the world’s population, acupuncture is more commonly used than aspirin.”
“I received eight years of training in China for Chinese medicine and four years of training in the U.S. in Western medicine,” say Dr. Xu. “I see the benefits of both practices and when we can treat a patient utilizing the best of both approaches, the patient comes out ahead.”
In his new book, Magic Needles, he shares the following:
- An overview of how acupuncture helps treat others.
- How to select a qualified acupuncturist.
- Theories of traditional Chinese medicine, including the “Ying and Yang Theory”, “Five Elements Theory,” and “Meridian Theory” and “Energy Theory,” etc.
- Case histories and successful examples of patients treated for various conditions, from the common cold to diabetes, as well as insomnia, hearing loss, asthma, gastritis, chemotherapy symptoms, etc.
Acupuncture can also make a person feel and look younger. In his clinic, Dr. Xu and his staff have performed many “facelifts.” But they don’t involve surgery or Botox. Instead, they use acupuncture and Chinese herbs to rejuvenate one’s face to help decrease or remove bags under eyes, wrinkles, double chins, and sagging skin. He reports that patients show evidence of the “facelift” by six or seven safe and inexpensive treatments, sometimes even after just three treatments. “If you can’t afford or don’t want the risks of surgery or Botox, using acupuncture to rejuvenate your face is a great alternative,” says Dr. Xu.
Another underutilized but advantageous use of acupuncture is for weight control. “Many people seek medical advice for weight loss,” says Dr. Xu. “In mainstream Western medicine, the patient is sometimes prescribed anti-obesity medications to try and help with weight loss. One can also pursue gastric bypass surgery or banded gastroplasty. Surgery could yield significant weight loss but doesn’t address poor nutrition balance. Diet is the most important but difficult part of a weight-loss program. One must exercise at least 45 minutes per day, six days a week. I use both body and ear acupuncture treatments to suppress patients’ appetite and make people not feel hungry. In addition to acupuncture, I usually prescribe herbs to improve the patient’s bowel movements and loosen the bowels. This hastens the food through the system faster than usual and diminishes the time it is there to be absorbed as fat.”
As more people utilize acupuncture and more studies are funded to examine the full benefits of such treatments, Dr. Xu is convinced we’ll see a major shift by the medical community, health insurers, and patient behavior. “Over one and a half billion people – 1 in 4 of the world’s citizens – have experienced the benefits of acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine,” concludes Dr. Xu. “I look forward to the day that the majority of Americans embrace it as well.”
Jun Xu, MD, L.Ac.
Jun Xu, M.D., L.Ac. has integrated the best of both traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine since opening his own clinic in 2000, Rehabilitation Medicine and Acupuncture Center in Greenwich, CT.
Practicing Chinese medicine since 1984, Dr. Xu is the only physician in the state of Connecticut with three certificates: a licensed M.D. physician with board certified rehabilitation medicine, board certified acupuncturist, and board certified Chinese herbologist. A member of the American Medical Association, The Association of Chinese American Physicians, and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, he is also the president of American Traditional Chinese Medicine Society, where he served as vice president previously..
He is the author of a new book, Magic Needles: Feel Younger and Live Longer with Acupuncture (Basic Health Publications, June 2011).
Dr. Xu is a medical doctor practicing in Greenwich, Connecticut, specializing in rehabilitative medicine and acupuncture in his private practice. He is also an attending physician and acupuncturist at Stamford Hospital, Connecticut. He works with patients to administer acupuncture treatments pre- and post-thoracic surgery, and also treats patients as a rehabilitation medicine physician in the hospital.
Dr. Xu studied at two traditional Chinese medical schools, Jiangxi College of Chinese Medicine and Guangzhou College of Chinese Medicine. He did his postgraduate study in Western medicine at both Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and the University of Georgia. He then graduated from New York Medical College in Valhalla, NY, with residency training in physical and rehabilitation medicine.
He is certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He is a Diplomat in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology, certified by NCCAOM, the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and has acupuncture and medical licenses in several states.
He has appeared on Good Morning America (ABC-TV) and was featured in the Greenwich Times. News 12 Connecticut also interviewed him. He has delivered lectures and been published in many medical journals. He was voted the best acupuncturist in Fairfield County by Fairfield County Weekly.
His wife, Hong Su, L.A.C., is a licensed acupuncturist who trained with him in traditional Chinese medicine in China. They work together in Greenwich, CT at Rehabilitation Medicine and Acupuncture Center. They have two children and reside in Scarsdale, NY.
- With your new book, Magic Needles, how do you reveal people can feel younger and live longer with acupuncture? Acupuncture is not only a technique but also an art and philosophy. Western medicine is a technique, it is not an art. Western physicians are thinking about evidence-based medicine; they only think about their own field, such as internal medicine, neurology, GI, etc. Not many physicians put all the symptoms together and think of their patient as a whole person. For example, let’s say a woman has a fight with her husband. She might be very angry, depressed and lack sleep. In the mean time, she might also have a poor appetite, be constipated, feel achy and numbness and tingling sensation all over her body, headaches, joint pain, and her primary care physician might send her to see the following doctors: Psychiatrist for her depression, and other emotion issues; GI doctor to address her poor appetite and constipation; Neurologist to see her headache, numbness and tingling sensation; Pain management doctor to see her pain symptoms. All the above physicians only think about each individual field. There is no physician who would put all the above together and treat their patient as a whole person. However, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) thinks of the patient as a whole person. An acupuncturist will treat the above patient with stress reduction, and, if it was in China, the physician might call the husband or her family to ask for help. If we could solve the original problem, the rest of the symptoms will be easily treated. Our body has the ability to heal itself. We do not need to put so many chemicals in our body.
- How does acupuncture work? There are about 400 acupuncture points and 14 meridians in the human body. The energy (Qi) circulates in the meridians. If anything happens, the energy will be blocked in certain points of the meridians. Acupuncture needles will be put into the points to try to unblock the blockage and make the energy circulate.
- What type of illnesses or chronic conditions can acupuncture help heal? Acupuncture can treat many internal illnesses, such as coughing, allergies, bronchitis, headaches, and many forms of pain, such as osteoarthritis, neck, lower back, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, ankle, feet pain, etc.
- How should one go about selecting an acupuncturist? The person must be board certified, i.e. NCCAOM certified. It is better to have training in China. The standard training in China is for five years after high school, then post graduate school training is optional. I had five year basic training and three years advanced training, total eight years of training in China. However, in the US, people only have three years of training after having graduated from college. Plus there is a language barrier: US students only learn in English, but the Chinese medical literature is written in the old Chinese language. It is hard to understand even if you are a Chinese-speaking native.
- Which type of medicine should we utilize – Chinese or Western? Or a little of both? Chinese medicine is a philosophy and art, however, Western medicine is a practical tool. We need a philosophy and art to guide the treatment. We cannot miss the tool. We need our own energy to heal, however, we also need some chemicals to help heal us.
- How does acupuncture help with weight control?There are four ways to help weight control:
- Use acupuncture to control appetite.
- Diet control: Chinese medicine has a unique way to control diet.
- Chinese herbs: we also use herbs to increase metabolism and bowel movement.
- Exercise: Chinese medicine will teach and encourage all patients to exercise.
- Is acupuncture becoming more popular in the U.S.? What will it take for the country to adopt it on a wide scale? Yes, about one in eight Americans have had experience with Chinese medicine, according to many studies. As people seek cost-effective ways to prevent or treat various conditions, pain or disease, they will eventually seek acupuncture. I hope more physicians recommend it and that more insurance companies make it available for both prevention and treatment.
- You are only one of perhaps a dozen people in the United Sates who is a licensed acupuncturist, who also holds an acupuncture certificate from training in China, and who is a licensed physician that is American Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Why are there so few such practitioners? I was trained in China for eight years of Chinese medicine and four years training in the US for physical medicine and rehabilitation. In the US, if you had training in China for eight years with Chinese medicine, it usually means you may not have enough training in Western medicine. You will have difficulty passing the US Medical Licensure Examination. That is why most of graduates from Chinese medicine colleges could not pass the USMLE. Only a few graduates from China passed the examination in the US, and in the meantime were accepted into US hospitals to receive residency training. The passing rate for foreign medical school graduates is very low and the acceptance rate to be residents in US hospitals is very low, about 1 to 500 or 600 ratio. That is why there are so few physicians like me in US.
- How is acupuncture used for pain management? The most common use in the US for acupuncture is for pain management. Based on many studies from Harvard Medical School, UMDNJ, etc. acupuncture can increase endorphin secretion from the brain, therefore, makes patients feel less pain. Acupuncture also can increase local area blood supply and circulation to wash away local inflammation, such as shoulder, or elbow inflammation.
- Can acupuncture be used as a preventative treatment and not just as a cure or pain-reliever? Yes, like I mentioned before, acupuncture may be used for a tune-up, i.e. to adjust the harmony of the entire body to prevent many illnesses from developing.
- Who is the best or worst candidate for using acupuncture? Why? Most people are good candidates, because acupuncture can help or cure many diseases. Acupuncture, though, has its limitation, such as, acupuncture cannot treat cancer. However, acupuncture can help relieve the side effects of chemo/radiation therapy for cancer patients.
- Why don’t more insurance companies make acupuncture treatment available to its client base? They claim that there is not enough research evidence to support the payment for the treatment. This is because our government does not give out enough money to support the research. For example, they only give out $5 million per year for all US research facilities. No money, no research evidence. NIH and FDA will not endorse acupuncture as an effective medical treatment. That is why insurance firms won’t pay. For Americans who do not like to take chemicals for their side effects and do not want surgery, they prefer acupuncture treatment, because it has no side effects and it is very safe.
- What are the common concerns, or fears that people have about acupuncture and how do you address them? Most people fear the pain that they think acupuncture will create. Actually, acupuncture usually causes minimal pain. Usually the pain is equivalent to being less than a mosquito bite. After I explain this to patients, they all agree to try it, and after they tried it, most of them will tell their friends or family members there is no pain from acupuncture.
- As the president of the American Traditional Chinese Medicine Society, what do you feel can be done to better inform people of the benefits of acupuncture? We have many seminars to educate our members. But it is not enough. We will have more work to do, such as legislation, education, etc. to let Americans know about acupuncture.
- You say that acupuncture can help stroke victims, infertile couples, and diabetics. How so?
- Stroke: As we all know, Western rehabilitation medicine rehabilitates the patient’s limb. However, the problem is in the brain. So far, American medicine does not know how to rehab the brain. However, acupuncture can help by inserting the needles to stimulate the skull and the limbs. Combined with traditional American rehabilitation medicine, the patient will recover faster. The above is common sense, however, most of American rehab physicians do not realize it.
- Infertility: Acupuncture can improve people’s hormone harmony, and make people relax. If the patient does not have any organic diseases, acupuncture will increase the fertility rate from 29% to 49%. Now it is a gold standard practiced in the US for all the infertile patients, who do not have organic disease, to use acupuncture.
- Diabetes: Acupuncture can improve beta cell secretion of insulin.
- How do you help athletes heal faster from surgery or sports injuries? Acupuncture can decrease swelling, improve blood supply, and facilitate energy movement. Therefore, acupuncture can speed up the athletes’ recovery.
- You practice “facial rejuvenation” acupuncture. What’s that? Acupuncture can increase the synthesis of collagen, which will refill the wrinkles in the face naturally. Therefore, the face will rejuvenate.
- What roles do Chinese herbs play in one’s approach to good health? Chinese herbs are used to treat different diseases. Many Chinese herbs are confirmed to be very useful by recent research. Like acupuncture, Chinese herbs have been used in China for thousands of years. Based on Ying and Yang theory, Chinese herbs can be classified as two basic categories, Ying herbs and Yang herbs. There are thousands of herb formulas, i.e. put some herbs together to treat a specific illness. All the herbs can be used to adjust and guide the harmony of human being’s energy, prevent and treat many diseases. In China, the main stream of traditional Chinese medicine is actually Chinese herbs. Acupuncture is only one of the many branches in traditional Chinese medicine.
- There are so many herbs to choose from. How does one know which ones to take? By looking, smelling, inquiring and feeling the pulse, based on Chinese medicine theory, a TCM doctor can choose the herbs to use. As I mentioned above, there are thousands of formulas in the text book of traditional Chinese medicine, you may choose according to the indications and patient’s illness.
- How is acupuncture used to relieve mental stress? It relaxes the patients and increases endorphin secretion. It adjusts the hormone harmony. to relieve mental stress.
Acupuncture Can Help Heal Scores of Ailments
“According to traditional Chinese medicine,” says Jun Xu, M.D. and licensed acupuncturist, “the body’s internal organs and meridians control all human activities. Clinically, pathological phenomena are reflections of the pathology of the internal organs and meridians. By identifying the diseases that belong to any internal organs or meridians, acupuncturists can select the correct meridians, internal organs and acupuncture points. The disease can then be treated and most likely cured through acupuncture.”
Dr. Xu, the author of a new acupuncture-championing book Magic Needles: Feel Younger and Live Longer with Acupuncture, believes that acupuncture can play a major role in treating or preventing dozens of diseases, chronic conditions, and pain, including the following:
Abdominal and stomach pain Asthma
Common cold Constipation
Chronic or acute cough Diarrhea
Swelling Heart palpitations
Jaundice Lung disease
Malaria Stomach ache
Cerebral Palsy Fetal breech
Urinary incontinence Uterine bleeding
Eye pain Nearsightedness
Sinusitis Sore throat
Tinnitus and deafness Toothache
Osteoarthritis Achilles tendon sprain
Tendonitis Plantar fascititis
Bursitis Runner’s knee
Shin splints Shoulder tears
Joint sprain Rotator cuff tear
Trigger finger Dupuy tren’s contracture
Carpal tunnel syndrome Compressed nerve in the spine
Facial paralysis Hypertension
Parkinson’s disease Strokes
Rheumatoid arthritis Psoriatic arthritis
Gout Ankylosing spondylitis
Dysmnenorhea Crohn’s disease/ulcerative colitis-induced arthritis/
How Acupuncture Works
by Dr. Jun Xu
Acupuncture is a method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing, by inserting needles into very precise points within meridians (energy channels in the body). The acupuncture needles can trigger the release of chemicals and hormones, leading to improved immune and energy function.
Some studies suggest a release of endorphins occur and this makes the patient feel better, as a result of acupuncture. Inserting needles can trigger another immune response, which may alter the balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
Acupuncture needles are very thin. The point is smooth (not hollow with cutting edges like hypodermic needles). Most patients feel minimal pain as the needles are inserted; some feel no pain at all.
I have treated many ailments with acupuncture, including: acute and chronic pain, fibromyalgia, athletic injuries, arthritis, neck and low-back pain, bursitis, tendonitis, pinched nerves, sciatica, sinusitis, allergies, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, stroke, stress, obesity, fatigue, IBS, PMS, and many others.
Acupuncture is performed on various parts of the body including the back, ear, and skull. Electrical acupuncture, cupping, acupressure, and other techniques are used for a number of different reasons, including but not limited to, detoxification and amelioration and treatment of symptoms.
There are about 400 acupuncture points found along 14 major meridians within the body. The needles act upon Qi, the vital energy that circulates through these major meridians and numerous other tiny meridians in the body.
Acupuncture is one of the most important therapeutic tools in traditional Chinese medicine. There is a system of balance between our universal and human bodies, called yin and yang balance. Yin represents the feminine, night, winter, weak, dark – and yang represents the masculine, day, summer, strong, light, etc.
Our bodies adjust this balance according to the changes in nature. For instance, when the sun rises in the morning, the yang in the body increases in order to provide essential energy needed to perform daily activities, and when evening comes, the body’s yin increases to accommodate that time of day.
Acupuncture works well on its own and in conjunction with Western medicine it can help heal many, many conditions.
Statistics and Facts
- The Journal of the American Medical Association reported, based on a 1998 Survey of American adults, about 12% take Chinese herbs.
- The World Health Organization, in 2002, stated acupuncture was confirmed to be effective for treating 28 diseases. Further, acupuncture was shown to be effective in treating 63 other diseases but more research was required.
- According to National Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), a survey estimated over 30 million Americans have tried acupuncture.
- There are about 15,000 licensed acupuncturists in the United States.
- The therapeutic tools of Traditional Chinese Medicine include acupuncture, herbs, massage, moxa (a method for burning moxa to transfer energy from the burning herb to human body), qi gong (an energy/breathing exercise), and many others. Acupuncture needles can be inserted into any of the 400 specific points in the body to open the blockage and help the body balance its yin and yang, thereby treating and healing the illness.
- According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, which included a comprehensive survey of complementary and alternative medicine use by Americans, “An estimated 3.1 million adults and 150,000 children had used acupuncture in the previous year. Between the 2002 and 2007 NHIS, acupuncture use among adults had increased by approximately one million people.”
- The American Academy of Medical Acupuncture was founded in 1987 by a group of physicians who graduated from the Medical Acupuncture for Physicians training program sponsored by the School of Medicine at UCLA. The AAMA is the sole physician-only, professional acupuncture society in North America.
- The National Institutes of Health held its first meeting on acupuncture only 13 years ago. The panel concluded the following in a statement: “Acupuncture as a therapeutic intervention is widely practiced in the United States. While there have been many studies of its potential usefulness, many of these studies provide equivocal results because of design sample size, and other factors. The issue is further complicated by inherent difficulties in the use of appropriate controls, such as placebos, and sham acupuncture groups. However, promising results have emerged, for example, showing efficacy of acupuncture in adult postoperative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting and in post operative dental pain. There are other situations, such as addiction, asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, headaches, low back pain, menstrual cramps, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, stroke rehabilitation, and tennis elbow, in which acupuncture may be useful as an adjunct treatment, or an acceptable alternative, or be included in a comprehensive management program. Further research is likely to uncover additional areas where acupuncture interventions will be useful.”
A Surgery-Free Facelift?
Can’t afford the expensive cost of a facelift? Don’t want t to go through a surgical procedure? Looking to avoid Botox injections?
How about undergoing Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture, a holistic approach to health and beauty that focuses on both the internal and external self?
Dr. Jun Xu, a licensed medical doctor and Chinese acupuncturist, says Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture helps to improve muscle tone, dermal contraction and collagen production. It also minimizes double chins, reduces facial sagging, reduces or eliminates bags under the eyes, puffiness, and fine lines of the face, and reduces large wrinkles.
“Acupuncture is not a replacement for surgical facelift or Botox injection, and will not provide an overnight solution, as the improvement is subtle and occurs over time,” says Dr. Xu, the author of a new book, Magic Needles: Feel Younger and Live longer with Acupuncture.
“Still, acupuncture facelifts can be an excellent holistic alternative to traditional surgical facelifts. With acupuncture, the underlying causes of aging are addressed, rather than masking the symptoms with a surgical facelift and allowing further decay and dysfunction to continue within the body.”
Depending on numerous factors, including the patient’s age, lifestyle, health, and extent of skin damage, results can be seen after two to three treatments and visible, lasting results may be seen after six or seven treatments.
Dr. Xu believes the change is not solely external, that the body is healed within and creates a glowing exterior that allows the patient to be relaxed and stress-free.
“Treatment with herbs and acupuncture is not only substantially less expensive than a traditional surgical facelift, but far safer,” asserts Dr. Xu. “The treatment is risk-free from potential dangerous side effects such as numbness, scarring, swelling, discoloration, and even disfigurement.”
So just how does it work? The goals of regenerative acupuncture are: improvement of lymph and fluid flow, reduction of swelling, improved metabolism, and the addition of elasticity to facial skin and muscles.
Sterilized and disposable hair-thin needles are inserted into the meridians of the face and distinct extremity points, such as the hands and legs. The needles may or may not be connected to an electrical stimulation machine. The selection of acupuncture points and electrical stimulation depends on one’s composition, body type, color of tongue, and pulse rate.
“The procedure brings about an amazing change in the person,” concludes Dr. Xu.
Medical & Patient Testimonials
“I first met Dr. Jun Xu in 1996, more than 15 years ago when we were both training as interns in Pittsburgh, PA… Magic Needles is not only a highly useful source for people who seek alternative medicine, but it is also a practical guide for medical practitioners. Dr. Xu introduces, in layman’s terms, a basic knowledge of Chinese traditional medicine (TCM) and the details of acupuncture, which can help readers easily obtain a fundamental knowledge of TCM and acupuncture, including its history, theories, mechanisms, and current scientific evidence. By presenting this information in clear, simple language, general readers will understand why acupuncture works, which will give them the confidence to choose acupuncture as an effective alternate approach to their health.”
–Xin-Nong Li, MD, (ACP, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis.
“How may you optimize your quality of life and enhance your sense of well-being? For answers to this question, Dr. Xuu’s Magic Needles is a must-read…In this book, Dr. Xu draws from his expertise in multiple medical disciplines to explain the diagnosis and treatment of common health conditions from both conventional medicine and Chinese medicine perspectives…Dr. Xu’s Magic Needles, along with standard medical care and self-care will empower you to be your own number one advocate for health and wellness.”
–Marc Brodsky, MD, MBA, MPH, Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, Columbia University Medical Director of Center for Integrative Medicine and Wellness at Stamford Hospital
“I’m so much more comfortable seeing Dr. Xu, knowing that he is a medical doctor as well as an acupuncturist.”
–L.A.S., Norwalk, CT
“Not wanting to take drugs long term for my pain brought me to Dr. Xu. Acupuncture, electric stim, ultra sound, and massage therapy did the trick. I’m blessedly drug and pain free for the first time in years!”
–C.S.K., Stamford, CT
“Dr. Xu is a very caring person, who brings his life experience and compassion to his patients.”
–C.W., New Canaan, CT
“Because of his background, I’m very confident in the direction of my treatment.”
–P.M., Rye, NY
“I got so much relief! I feel like a new person.”
–T.K., Greenwich, CT
Publication Data: Magic Needles: Feel Younger and Live Longer with Acupuncture by Jun Xu, MD, L. Ac; Basic Health Publications; June 2011; Trade Paperback; $19.95; 336 pages; ISBN: 978-1-59120-222-6
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