WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE AND ORIENTAL MEDICINE?
Acupuncture is most commonly thought of as the insertion of extremely fine needles into very specific points, or acu-points, to promote the balancing of Qi [translated loosely as energy] throughout the meridians of the body. It works to unblock and reestablish the normal flow of this energy in order for healing to begin and optimum health to be achieved.
In a much larger sense Acupuncture is but one tool that a pratitioner of Oriental Medicine uses. Health and wellbeing are reflections of balance…both internal and external. Thus, the tools that the acupuncturist use reflect the type of imbalance present in the patient.
In a very simplified summary the following may help to illuminate the approach: for Blockages, or Stagnation, needles may be used to stimulate flow; for Cold, moxabustion and TDP Lamps may be used to warm; for Heat, specific acu-points and skin pricking may be used to release the heat; for Deficient conditions, Chinese Herbal Formulas may be prescribed along with any combination of the above mentioned therapies to help tonify and balance. Woven into the therapies would be recomendations for dietary improvements, therapeutic exercises, and Qi Gong, a form of meditation.
Thus, the practitioner works with the patient to help them understand their imbalances, what factors contribute to their conditions, and what changes need to take place to help restore their vitality!
CHINESE MEDICINE MODALITIES
Discovered in the 1970s, auricular acupuncture is a unique therapy that views the various parts of the ear as a micro-system of our body. By stimulating specific points on the ear, treatment can be directed to address conditions throughout the entire body. There has been vast amounts of research utilizing auricular acupuncture for addictions. This form of treatment is used extensively in Smoking Cessation Programs. For more information visit the National Acupuncture Detox Association.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
A powerful approach to treatment. Chinese Herbal Formulas have been used for over 2,000 years to address patient’s health concerns. Teas made from bulk herbs or from concentrated granules are incorporated into your daily routine. Some formulas address acute conditions, such as colds and flus; some formulas address monthly conditions, such as dysmenorrhea or headaches; and some formulas address chronic conditions, such as digestive problems or various musculoskeletal pain. Other forms of herbal medicine include the use of tea-pills, external linaments, and external herbal plasters.
Chinese Medical Nutrition
The food we eat on a daily basis provides more than just caloric fuel for our bodies. Ultimately, nourishing ourselves is about learning to listen to the signals our bodies generate. Do you feel cold all the time? Are you constantly coughing up phlegm? Does eating a meal cause you to want you to take a nap? These signals reflect the imbalance present in the patient. Our food choices provide the fundamental basis of our health. By incorporating these dietary changes, the patient is making a conscious choice to move toward health with each meal they eat. Balance is achieved by eating a wide variety of foods!
This therapy utilizes Heat generated by the burning of a chinese herb (mugwort) to stimulate acu-points. The practitioner can use indirect Stick Moxa, where the heat source is held above the skin; they could also use direct cone moxa, where the heat is generated on the skin; or the practitioner could instruct the patient to use some variations of these therapies at home to continue their treatment throughout the week in between office visits.
TuiNa (Therapeutic Massage)
Acu-points can also be manually stimulated. Commonly incorporated into treatments where there are blockages, or stagnation, in the flow of qi, TuiNa is used to increase circulation to these affected areas. Acu-pressure is regularly taught to patients to help them continue their treatments throughout the week in between office visits.
Cupping + Gua Sha
Cupping utilizes glass or plastic cups to create suction on the skin to increase circulation to areas of stagnation. With Gua Sha, the practitioner uses a flat edged tool that is rubbed across affected areas of the patient’s body to increase the flow of qi through areas of stagnation.
Qi Gong + Meditation
Eastern Philosophy and Medical Theory does not distinguish a separation of mind and body. What affects one aspect of an individual, affects the whole. Practitioners work with patients to learn simple meditation techniques to help bring awareness to their present state of health. Daily meditation practice is an powerful tool that patients can bring into their lives.
A modern approach developed to treat musclar pain. Battery-powered devices are used to constantly stimulate the needles that have already been inserted. Specific settings can focus the treatment for acute injuries or for chronic pain.
Magnet and Laser Therapy
These non-insertive techniques can be used for those patients with a strong aversion to needles. Magnets, similar to the ear pellets mentioned above, can be taped in place and left on the patient to continually provide therapy throughout the week in between office visits. Laser therapies have been the subject of research particulary in the area of injury repair and pain management.
To learn even more about acupuncture please visit…
Acupuncture Society of New York (ASNY)
NIH’s Center for CAM
National Certification Commission on Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM)