▶ ACUPUNCTURE: ANCIENT MEDICINE FOR MODERN LIFE
Acupuncture is the insertion of single use, sterile needles into points along meridians, pathways of the body where energy called "qi" flows. The needles are thinner than a human hair. The meridians traverse the body's surface and connect internally to organs such as the kidney, liver, spleen and so forth. By stimulating specific points along meridians, qi is allowed to flow, blockages are cleared, and qi is strengthened. Acupuncture is one part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, a comprehensive system of health care that treats the body holistically, meaning that not only the symptoms are taken into account but the entire body and mind are taken into consideration when forming a treatment plan. The particular points on the body are selected according to the theories and principles of Chinese medicine for the purpose of restoring balance to the functioning of the body, its internal organs and the spirit, or "shen" in Chinese. Modern science is finding out more about the importance of the body's regulation of the immune system. Acupuncture helps the body regulate its immune system, strengthening or reducing pathogenic activity that may be hindering its functioning. Other techniques that are part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and may be used when needed are guasha, cupping, moxibustion, and Chinese massage called tuina. All of the facets of Chinese medicine help to reduce inflammation in the body, enhance the immune system, restore function to the body's systems and promote circulation.
▶ WHAT DOES ACUPUNCTURE TREAT?
The World Health Organization recognizes acupuncture for effectively treating over 43 ailments including:
- Gastrointestinal disorders: Constipation, diarrhea, IBS,peptic ulcer
- Gynecological disorders: Irregular menstruation, PMS, infertility, menopause
- Musculoskeletal disorders: Chronic pain, osteoarthritis, headache including migraines
- Mental and emotional disorders: Stress, depression, anxiety, insomnia
- Addictions: Alcohol, nicotine, drugs
- Urogenital disorders: Urinary tract infections, sexual dysfunction
- Neurological disorders: Post-stroke recovery, Bell's Palsy & trigeminal neuralgia, movement disorders
- Upper respiratory disorders: Asthma, allergies, bronchitis, sinusitis, sore throat, laryngitis, colds and flu
- Digestive disorders: Colitis, gastritis, heartburn, food allergies
- Urinary and reproductive disorders: Cystitis, menstrual cramps, heavy periods
- Immune function: Recurrent infections, supportive treatment for cancer and AIDS patients
- Eye and ear disorders: Tinnitus, Meniere's disease
▶ HOW MANY TREATMENTS ARE NEEDED?
The number of treatments needed vary from patient to patient depending on the condition. An acute issue may resolve in one or two sessions. Chronic health problems may take 6 or more weekly visits to resolve. Progress is evaluated after at least 3 treatments, though changes will be seen before then. When moving into maintenance of health, a monthly visit can treat and prevent any imbalances for overall wellness. At the first visit, the practitioner takes a detailed health history, fully investigates the chief complaint, and provides acupuncture and/or other necessary modalities. This first visit is longer, about an hour and a half. After that, sessions are about an hour long. In general, chronic conditions take longer to treat than acute conditions. A general rule of thumb is one month of weekly treatment for every year someone has had a particular health condition.
▶ DO THE NEEDLES HURT?
The sensation that people experience during an acupuncture treatment varies from person to person. When the needles are inserted you may feel a slight pinch, or you may not feel anything. While the needles are in you may have a sensation of a dull ache or heaviness around the point or area. These sensations are signs that qi is arriving at the point. The effect is positive and relaxing. Endorphins, the body's natural pain-relieving chemicals, are released during acupuncture.
▶ QI: THE BODY’S ENERGY
The concept of Qi (pronounced "chee") is at the center of Chinese Medicine. While there is not an exact, adequate translation, Western culture translates "Qi" as "life force" or "energy". Qi is what every living entity possesses and is what is accessed with the acupuncture needles. Qi is everywhere in the body and flows through channels or meridians on which the acupuncture points are found. The basis of acupuncture is expressed in this famous Chinese saying: "Bu tong ze tong, tong ze bu tong" which means "free flow: no pain, no free flow: pain." Acupuncture is used to reestablish the proper flow of qi in the body to regain health.
▶ CHINESE HERBAL MEDICINE: TREATING THE ROOT OF IMBALANCE
Chinese herbal medicine is a safe, balanced way of addressing many varied health conditions in the body. With herbs, one can strengthen the immune system, relieve pain, treat colds and flus, calm the body and mind from stress, treat menstrual cramps, insomnia and much more. I have an in-house herbal dispensary with herbal formulas in pill, capsule and tincture form. These medicines are a great alternative to Western pharmaceuticals in many cases. They also can be used if someone is already taking Western medication. I am a board certified, experienced Herbalist. Herbal medicine is not a one size fits all approach, as it often is for Western pharmaceuticals. Steps to Wellness: STEP ONE: SYMPTOMATIC CARE: At this stage, I am concerned with alleviating the symptoms causing you to seek my care. Once your symptoms are resolved, we move onto Step Two, Corrective Care. STEP TWO: CORRECTIVE CARE: This second phase is concerned with treating more of the root, the underlying cause of your illness, beyond simply addressing the symptoms. Often this phase will involve a second formula, different from the formula in Step One. This stage of treatment may be enjoyed for two to six months. We are rebuilding the core foundation. STEP THREE: PROPHYLACTIC CARE/MAINTENANCE THERAPY: The final phase of treatment involves now staying strong and healthy. This may involve a different herbal formula aimed at prevention of relapse. This phase is ongoing. The body's immune system will be maintained to protect you as it should.
▶ CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY: GENTLE, REALIGNING BODYWORK
Craniosacral therapy is a subtle and profound form of bodywork which assists the body's natural capacity for self-repair. In a typical session, the client lies on the table fully clothed while the therapist gently places their hands lightly on the head and other parts of the body, tuning into the craniosacral rhythm by listening and perceiving with their hands. A deep sense of relaxation usually occurs, and with this the flowing of the cerebral spinal fluid is refreshed. After a session, a new supply of cerebral spinal fluid occurs, helping with the body's detox process, unwinding blocked areas and restoring better energy. The work can address physical aches and pains, hormonal imbalances, acute and chronic diseases, recovery from car accidents and other traumas, and emotional or psychological stress. Or craniosacral bodywork can simply help to develop vitality, health and well-being. The craniosacral system is the deepest physiological system in the body. The heartbeat and respiration are dependent upon its smooth flow. Working with this system in conjunction with acupuncture can help shift entrenched patterns in the body, enabling health to emerge. There are a few different styles of craniosacral therapy. While they have aspects in common, the style I practice is an anatomy-based and fluid model, closest in theory and practice to the Biodynamic School. Craniosacral therapy can treat many longstanding conditions such as frozen shoulder, headaches, TMJ, menstrual pain and PMS, post-operative conditions, visual disturbances, exhaustion, stress, and more. Craniosacral therapy can also help the deeper injuries that happen from car accidents, bicycle accidents, head injuries/concussions and other traumas.
▶ LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE: DETOXIFYING THERAPY
Lymphatic drainage is a type of therapeutic, detoxifying bodywork popular in Europe. Lymphatic drainage is a holistic approach to promoting a healthy lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a complex network of vessels and ducts that move fluid throughout the body and is responsible for moving toxins away from healthy cells and carrying germ-fighting materials to cells when they are under attack by viruses or other toxins. Though fluid moves through the lymphatic system, it does not have its own pumping mechanism. Lymphatic drainage therapy consists of light touch massage. The treatment primarily focuses on specific lymph nodes of the body, as well as the natural flow of the lymphatic system. This action removes blockages in the lymph system and promotes greater health. When the lymphatic system becomes blocked, lymph nodes may become swollen. Further, the system fails to remove the body’s toxins and can even affect white blood cell counts. Lymphatic drainage promotes health in the lymphatic system as well as other bodily systems such as the circulatory, respiratory, muscular and endocrine systems. It can reduce the swelling of specific lymph nodes and their related areas of the body. I incorporate lymphatic work into treatments as it is clinically indicated. It excels at treating swellings, edema, and immune problems. It is extremely relaxing, like massage and acupuncture.
For more information on acupuncture and alternative therapies click the following link: National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine
Know your Acupuncturist! Not all Acupuncturists have the same amount of training! Follow the link below for more information on the difference between Medical Acupuncture and Traditional or Chinese Acupuncture: Types of Acupuncture