What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an effective form of health care that has evolved into a complete and holistic medical system. Practitioners of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine have used this noninvasive system to diagnose and help millions of people get well and stay healthy.
Acupuncture encourages the body to improve function and promotes natural healing. This is done by inserting sterilized, stainless-steel, disposable needles into specific points located on the surface of the skin. These points have the ability to alter various biochemical and physiological conditions in order to treat a wide variety of illnesses.
Acupuncture points are areas of designated electrical sensitivity that have been shown to be effective in the treatment of specific health problems. These points have been mapped out by the Chinese over a period of thousands of years.
The basic foundation for Chinese medicine is that there is a life energy flowing through the body called Qi. This energy flows through the body in channels known as meridians that connect all of the major organs. According to Chinese medical theory, illness arises when the cyclical flow of Qi in the meridians becomes unbalanced or is blocked.
How does Acupuncture Work?
Acupuncture enhances the energetic system of the body by means of the insertion of fine, disposable, sterile needles. Each acupuncture point acts as a gateway into the body’s natural energetic system. These points are located along pathways, or meridians of the body. Stimulating a single acupuncture point or a combination of points creates a very powerful transformation that unlocks the innate healing response in the body.
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
Most people are very relieved to discover that the insertion of the needle is barely perceptible. Unlike hypodermic needles, acupuncture needles are very thin and are inserted with care only several millimeters into the skin. A commonly reported effect is a euphoric and peaceful feeling that occurs almost instantaneously as the treatment begins. Some people report a tingling sensation around the needles and a relaxed floating sensation throughout the entire body. These are all normal healing responses during treatment as the body begins to return to a state of balance.
What should one expect during a treatment?
Treatments generally take an hour. During your first session, we talk in detail about your specific situation and identify underlying patterns that may be contributing to your condition. Different treatment options will be discussed for your specific complaint and it will be explained how Acupuncture and/or Herbal Medicine can help. We will also discuss nutrition and make dietary recommendations to improve your condition. We will develop a thorough treatment plan that is practical and addresses your needs appropriately.
Once we have estabilshed a protcol, you will then experience acupuncture, cupping, guasha, or moxa, either one or the other or a combination depending on your condition.
Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the burning of mugwort, a common herb also known as Ai Ye, to facilitate healing. The purpose of moxibustion is to strengthen the blood, stimulate the flow of qi ,disperse cold and maintain general health.
Moxa can be used in a couple of different ways. Moxa sticks can be held over specific points on the body until that area is warm and red in color. Another form of moxibustion uses both acupuncture needles and moxa. A needle is inserted into an acupuncture point, then moxa is placed on the tip of the needle and ignited, generating heat to the point and the surrounding area. After the desired effect is achieved, the moxa is extinguished and the needle removed.
Moxa has also successfully been used to turn breech babies into a normal head-down position prior to childbirth. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1998 found that 75% of women suffering from breech presentations before childbirth had fetuses that rotated to the normal position after receiving moxibustion. Studies have shown that moxibustion increases the movement of the fetus in pregnant women, causing the fetus to turn. This is a very safe and effective method to turn a breech baby.
Cupping is a method that utilizes suction to stimulate flow of blood, lymph and qi to the affected area. This is achieved by heating the cup with an open flame and then quickly applying to the skin, which creates a vacuum. Cupping can be used to relieve pain in the muscles, especially back pain from stiffness or injury, and clear congestion in the chest, which can occur with colds and flu.
Cupping can affect the body up to four inches into the tissues, causing tissues to release toxins, activate the lymphatic system, clear colon blockages, help activate and clear the veins, arteries and capillaries, and activate the skin.
While cupping is safe and effective, it can leave bruise-like marks that are both harmless and painless and usually disappear within a couple of days. Most people find cupping to be very relaxing.
Gua Sha literally means to scrape or extract toxins. Gua Sha is a technique that utilizes a tool for scraping the surface of the skin to pull stagnant intercellular fluid to the surface, removing toxic debris, and replacing it with fresh oxygenated, nutrient rich fluid, which in turn accelerates regeneration and revitalizes that particular region.
Gua Sha not only treats the meridian system but the entire system. This is why the Chinese utilize Gua Sha as their foremost treatment in the prevention of disease. Gua Sha can be used to treat, alleviate and heal chronic degenerative diseases, migraines, chronic neck, shoulder and back pain, bone spurs, strains and sprains, menstrual disorders, insomnia, heart disease, hypertension, vertigo, sinusitis, ear and eye disorders, chronic infections, sciatica, osteo arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, neuralgia, asthma, cysts and tumors, carpal tunnel syndrome, stress, digestive disorders, muscle aches, breast pain, varicose veins, skin disorders, blood disorders and liver, spleen, kidney, bladder, pancreatic stress and much more.
Gua Sha is not painful, but can leave a reddening of the skin where toxins come to the surface to be released. This discoloration generally fades in a couple of days. Most people find Gua Sha to be a pleasant experience, and often feel relieved of physical and/or emotional stress after a treatment.