Acupuncture is a method of accessing the body's vital energy, or Qi (pronounced "chee"), by stimulating various points on the body with the insertion of micro-fine needles. The goal of acupuncture is Acupuncture to restore the body's natural balance which is often upset by injury, disease, or stress. The acupuncturist inserts needles into specific points on channels or "meridians" - 14 energetic pathways mapped on the body through which Qi flows. These meridians run just beneath the skin like flowing rivers to communicate with the body's major organs. Specific points along particular meridians activate the body's energy to facilitate healing of the root cause, as well as alleviating the symptoms.
Acupuncture needles are extremely thin and flexible. Upon insertion, one may feel a slight sensation of heaviness or tingling at the point when the Qi is reached. Sterile, disposable needles are generally left in place for 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the diagnosis. Patients sometimes report feelings of relaxation or euphoria following acupuncture treatments.
To strongly stimulate Qi, acupuncture needles can be connected to an Electro-acupuncture stimulator which delivers an electric pulse through the needles. The frequency and strength of the electric pulse can be varied to achieve the desired effect for each patient.
An integral part of Asian medicine is the use of herbs, which can substantially aid in the restoration and maintenance of the body's natural balance. Herbs are highly specific in their actions, and herbal formulas containing a range of herbs with various properties can target certain aspects of disharmony. Made from organic substances such as plants, flowers, minerals and animal products, herbal remedies are the precursors of Western pharmaceuticals. However, herbs rarely elicit side effects and have been proven safe and effective during thousands of years of use. Herbal formulas can be specifically designed for the individual patient's needs. Patients can take herbs in the form of teas brewed from raw herbs, prepared pills, powders, or tinctures.
Moxibustion involves applying heat from the slow-burning herb called mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) over acupuncture points to stimulate the flow of Qi and warm the channels.
To increase the flow and circulation of Qi and blood, glass globes are applied to the skin over acupuncture points. Slightly heated, these cups create a vacuum suction to draw the Qi and blood to the surface of the skin to help restore their smooth flow.
TUI NA and MASSAGE THERAPY
Massage is widely used in Asian medicine to promote Qi and blood flow throughout the body. Tui Na combines acupressure, massage and stretching to help restore balance in the body. Similarly, chiropractic care uses massage to restore normal joint motion, normalize nerve and blood flow in the area and to reduce pain.
What is TRADITIONAL ASIAN MEDICINE (TAM) and what conditions are commonly treated with acupuncture and TAM?
Traditional Asian Medicine (TAM) is a complete medical system that has been employed for the treatment and prevention of illness for thousands of years. This system of healing views the patient as a whole being, composed of body, mind, and spirit. It strives to achieve balance between the body and nature and the two mutually dependent opposing forces of yin and yang. The goal is to achieve and maintain optimal health and well-being.
Utilizing acupuncture and herbs, TAM can successfully treat and prevent many illnesses. Additional modalities, including moxibustion, electro-acupuncture, cupping, Tui Na, massage, acupressure and nutritional counseling may further enhance the healing process.
According to the World Health Organization, acupuncture can effectively treat a wide array of acute and chronic health conditions and provide preventive care. The following disorders may benefit from acupuncture treatments.
Musculo-skeletal: arthritis, back and neck pain, bursitis, fibromyalgia, joint pain, osteoarthritis, sciatica, shoulder pain, sports injuries, sprains, TMJ, tendonitis
Urogenital/Reproductive: endometriosis, infertility, menstrual problems, menopause, morning sickness, pre-menstrual syndrome, prostate problems, sexual dysfunction, urinary tract infections, vaginitis
Respiratory / Ear, Nose, Throat: allergies, asthma, bronchitis, common colds, emphysema, eye disease, flu, hearing loss, vertigo, sore throat, laryngitis, sinusitis
Cardiovascular: angina pectoris, atherosclerosis, anemia, hypertension, palpitations, coronary heart disease
Gastrointestinal: anorexia, food allergies, peptic ulcer, constipation, colitis, Crohn's disease, diarrhea, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, nausea, vomiting, gastritis
Mental / Neurologic: anxiety, depression, insomnia, stress, Bell's palsy, cerebral palsy, dizziness, headaches, migraines, multiple sclerosis, neuralgia, stroke, paralysis, tremors
Dermatologic: acne, dermatitis, eczema, herpes, hives
Miscellaneous Disorders: chronic pain, diabetes, fatigue, hemorrhoids, hypoglycemia, hepatitis, HIV and AIDS related conditions