Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points located near or on the surface of the skin which have the ability to alter various biochemical and physiological conditions in order to achieve the desired effect.
Acupuncture points are areas of designated electrical sensitivity. Inserting needles at these points stimulates various sensory receptors that, in turn, stimulate nerves that transmit impulses to the hypothalamic-pituitary system at the base of the brain.
Some of the physiological effects observed throughout the body include increased circulation, decreased inflammation, relief from pain, relief of muscle spasms, elevated mood, improved digestion and metabolism, energy boost and increased T-cell count which stimulates the immune system.
The Eastern explanation of how acupuncture works comes from China. Chinese Medicine is a tradition going back more than five thousand years. In this view, the body works best when vital energy circulates around the body exactly as it should. At this time, everything in the body is in balance between two different principles, Yin and Yang. Yin generally is assigned to relaxed, cool, nourishing and feminine objects or feelings. Yang is assigned to active, warm, dry, assertive and masculine objects, organs, and actions. The vital energy flows from one organ system to another to maintain balance between Yin and Yang. When this energy known as Qi (chee) is blocked or depleted, the body no longer works optimally and symptoms begin to appear. Acupuncture is utilized to circulate the Qi through specific channels and organ systems to regulate the well being of the entire person: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
Cupping is a method of treating disease that is caused by local congestion. A partial vacuum is created in a cupping jar, usually by means of heat, which is then applied directly to the skin. The underlying tissue is drawn up into the jar forming an area of blood stasis. This appears to bruise the area, or at least turn it a bright red. The amount of dark red or even purple blood drawn to the surface indicates the degree of stagnation. Dark blood is a sign of stagnation, which in many cases in modern terms is the amount of toxins in the blood. Cupping is generally indicated in the treatment of Arthritic pain, abdominal pain, stomach ache, indigestion, headache, hypertension, common cold, cough, low back pain, painful menstruation
Every treatment with Chinese medicine involves touching the body. Before, during and after Acupuncture, techniques are applied including, Acupressure, Shiatsu, Reflexology, Deep Tissue Release, Triggerpoint Release and Stretching.
Tui Na is a Chinese Bodywork Therapy that has been used in China for 2,000 years. Tui Na uses the traditional Chinese medical theory of the flow of Qi through the meridians as its basic therapeutic orientation. Through the application of massage andmanipulation techniques, Tui Na seeks to establish a more harmonious flow of Qi through the system of channels and collaterals, allowing the body the naturally heal itself. Bone-setting is a form of Tui Na manipulation techniques used to realign the musculoskeletal and ligamentous relationships in the body. External herbal oils, compresses, liniments, and salves are also used to enhance the other therapeutic methods.
Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the burning of mugwort, a small, spongy herb, to facilitate healing. Moxibustion has been used throughout Asia for thousands of years. The purpose of moxibustion is to strengthen the blood, stimulate the flow of Qi and maintain general health. The herb is placed on the needle or just above the skin and lit, but is extinguished or removed before it burns the skin. The patient will experience a pleasant heating sensation that penetrates deep into the skin. Moxibustion is used on people who have a cold or stagnant condition. The burning of moxa is believed to expel cold and warm the meridians, which leads to smoother flow of blood and Qi. In Western medicine, moxibustion has successfully been used to turn breech babies into a normal head-down position prior to childbirth. A landmark study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1998 found that up to 75% of women suffering from breech presentations before childbirth had fetuses that rotated to the normal position after receiving moxibustion at an acupuncture point on the Bladder meridian. Other studies have shown that moxibustion increases the movement of the fetus in pregnant women, and may reduce the symptoms of menstrual cramps when used in conjunction with traditional acupuncture.
The use of Chinese herbs has been experimented with, tested and proven over thousands of years. Herbs are extremely effective in treating internal medicine diseases. The way that an herb acts within the body and its therapeutic effect is determined by its temperature, its taste and the meridian channels that it enters. An herb’s temperature is classified as hot, warm, neutral, cool or cold. In line with common sense, cool and cold herbs are used to treat hot conditions, while warm and hot herbs are used to treat cold conditions. The tastes ascribed to herbs include sweet, sour, bitter, acrid and salty. Sweet herbs are used to tonify Qi. Sour herbs have an astringent effect in the body. Bitter herbs are used to dry damp and clear heat. Acrid herbs have the power to disperse cold and move stagnation. Salty herbs are used to soften and purge.
Occasionally just a single herb is prescribed for a patient’s condition. Far more common, however, is for several herbs to be combined into an herbal formula. In the context of an herbal formula, a single herb acts not only according to its own taste and temperature and channels entered, but also in concert with the other herbs in the formula. The overall effect of a formula is the result of the synergy or alchemy created by the combination of the single herbs.