TUCKAHOE, N.Y. -- There is a sense of calm when you walk into Fiona Ma's acupuncture office, even though there are many needles waiting for you there.
"Traditional Chinese medicine tries to re-balance the body's energy using acupuncture, herbs, diet, food therapy, massage, heat therapy, or cupping. When the body is in balance, there is no illness, and there is no pain," Ma said.
Acupuncture has a 5,000 year history of practice. With roots from China, Japan and Korea, Ma said it is different than traditional western medicine in that it the goal is to bring the body into balance and harmony.
'The blood is yin and the life energy force, called chi is yang," Ma explained. "The belief is that if the flow of energy and the flow of blood is in harmony, the body can fight off disease and other ailments"
Ma said that acupuncture can be used to treat or manage pain, headaches, infertility, stress, anxiety and insomnia just to name a few conditions. "Many times, people have been trying to deal with these conditions for years, and in that case one treatment is not going to fix the problem," Ma said.
Even the process of studying acupuncture takes awhile. Completing acupuncture school takes longer than medical school. Ma, who is Chinese-American, was working aa a radiologist when she decided to study acupuncture. She attended the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in New York City, to earn a masters degree in a full time, four year course of study.
After that, Ma studied herbs and is now a certified herbalist. For those who are a little nervous about all those needles, Ma said that most times, patients don't feel anything. She also notes that she only uses disposable needles.
Ma said that her first step would be a health assessment, where she would determine where the problem areas may be. But she said that acupuncture is not just about treating that bad back or insomnia.
"In acupuncture we treat the whole body, not just the roots," Ma said. "We believe that a person will recover when harmony and balance in their body."
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