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Acupuncture
 
  • 359 standard acupuncture points
  • acupuncture points are located on meridians/channels on the body
  • acupuncture points are stimulated by acupuncture needles to bring homeostasis back to the body
  • 4-20 needles per treatment, needles remain for 20-40 minutes
  • acupuncture stimulates the central nervous system (CNS), this results in reducing pain, boosts immunity and calms the mind and body
  • healthy people can get acupuncture too, it's a great way to stay balanced and keep the immune system strong
  • customized treatment strategies for every patient
  • inexpensive approach to common conditions  that can be difficult and expensive to treat
 

There are approximately 359 standard acupuncture points throughout the body.  These points lie on meridians (channels) along the body and all have very specific functions that influence the mechanism of balance. The idea behind acupuncture is that by stimulating these points, one will enable the body to heal itself naturally.  In order to stimulate these points, very fine, single-use, sterilized needles are used.  These are inserted into points that are chosen by the acupuncturist during an acupuncture treatment and left in anywhere from 20-40 minutes, depending on the reason for the visit.  Although there are many acupuncture points, the amount of points and number of needles used range anywhere from 4-20 needles.

From the Western perspective, acupuncture works by stimulating the Central Nervous System (the brain and spinal cord) to release natural chemicals, such as neurotransmitters and hormones. These chemicals functions to reduce pain, boost the immune system and regulate various body functions in order to establish homeostasis.

 

Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM)
 
  • has been used in China for over 5000 years
  • consists of plants, stems, flowers, branches, roots, flowers, minerals, animal parts (bones, organs, horns), seashells
  • comes in pill form, powder granules, raw herbs
  • should only be prescribed by a certified acupuncturist or herbalist
 

Before there was pharmaceuticals,  over-the-counter (OTC) and allopathic medicine (as we know as Western Medicine), people healed each other and themselves by using what was available to them, the Earth.  CHM draws on that ancient practice and through thousands of years of direct experience, they discovered what herbs were toxic and could cause harm, what herbs imparted strength to the body and what herbs had special healing effects.  After years (millenias!) of trial and error, a sophisticated system of diagnosis and treatment principles was born and has evolved to what we know today as Chinese Herbal Medicine.

 

CHM is as much part of Oriental Medicine as is using acupuncture, and for many practitioners of Chinese Medicine, they go hand in hand. Like yin and yang, one cannot exist without the other.  Learning to use Chinese medical herbs is one that is laborious, tedious and maybe more difficult than studying acupuncture, but at the end of the road, the knowledge that is acquired and results achieved with patients can be more powerful than just using acupuncture alone and also is extremely rewarding, for the patient and practitioner.

 

But what are Chinese herbs?  When you look at a plant, you see that it has stems, branches, flowers, seeds, roots and if it’s a tree, there is the trunk, the bark and maybe even fruit.  All components of the plant/tree are used for different medicinal purposes in Chinese herbology.  They all have different properties such as taste, temperature and where it goes to in the body.  As part of our training in CHM, we learned such information and how these herbs work synergistically together to treat disease in the body.  We also are trained in knowing toxicology, drug and herb interactions as well as cautions and contraindications.  At present, Chinese herbs come in several forms for ingestion such as pills, powders and raw form. 

 

In order to make sure Acupuncturists are competent and well trained in using CHM, the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) will only certify those who have passed national standardized examinations and who have graduated from recognized accredited schools by the U.S. Department of Education.

 

 
Cupping Therapy

 

  • there are 2 main forms of cupping, fire (wet) or dry cupping (air pump)

  • used for chronic and acute conditions

  • small glasses, jars, or plastic (dry cupping) as suction devices and placed on skin

  • typically 5-20 minutes on skin and creates bruise like appearance, clears within 3-5 days

  • treats muscuskeletal injuries, pulmonary disease (common cold), gastrointestinal disease

 

Cupping is the term applied to a technique that uses small glass cups or bamboo jars as suction devices that are placed on the skin.  This is actually quite an old process, with evidence dating back to the 4th century in ancient China.  Not only is it an ancient form of therapy in China, there is evidence that the Ancient Egyptians had their own form of cupping and Hippocrates has written in detail of Cupping Therapy in 400 B.C.

 

There are several ways that a practitioner can create the suction in the cups. One method involves swabbing rubbing alcohol onto the bottom of the cup, then lighting it and putting the cup immediately against the skin, creating a vacuum; this is termed “fire cupping”.  There is also “dry cupping”, in which the cups are placed on the skin and a pump is used to draw air out of the cup creating the same vacuum as fire cupping.   Flames are never used near the skin and are not lit throughout the process of cupping, but rather are a means to create the heat that causes the suction within the small cups. 

 

Once the cups are placed on the skin, the empty vacuum draws on the skin and muscles fibers.  This will open the skin pores, sedate the nervous system (great for patients with high blood pressure), loosen the muscle fibers and pull out toxins that were deep inside the body.  By virtue of the suction mechanism, new space is created thereby allowing new blood to fill the space and clear out obstruction.  According to most patients, this is not a painful experience, they often compare the sensation similar to that of a deep tissue massage and a sense of relaxation after their treatment.

 

The cups are left on the skin anywhere from 5-20 minutes, depending what kind of condition is being treated.  Traditionally, cupping is used to treat pulmonary disorders (asthma, bronchitis), gastrointestinal disorders and musculoskeletal disorders.  The trunk (back and abdomen) of the body is the preferred site for cupping, however, cupping the limbs is not unheard of.  After Cupping Therapy, most patients tend to have a circular red mark where the cups were placed.  It looks like a bruise but is more similar to a hicky (for lack of a better comparison).  Is does not feel like a bruise because there aren’t any broken blood vessels, it is the blood that was deep in the body and drawn up to the skin.  This blood will eventually be drained out through the lymphatic drainage system, like most toxins in the body.  The marks on the body typically clear out within 3-5 days.

 

Gua Sha Therapy

 

  • Gua means "to scrape", Sha means toxins that are brought out through scrapping

  • chronic or acute disorders

  • commonly used on neck, back, shoulders or any flat surface area on body

  • folk medicine in Asia, commonly practiced in households as preventative measures, especially in summer months to release heat from body

  • used for musculoskeletal injuries, preventative against disease, detox toxins

 

Gua sha, is an ancient healing therapy used in Ancient and Modern China, as well as all over Asia.  “Gua” means to scrape and “Sha” is the term used when the toxins in the body are brought to the superficial layer of the skin, manifesting as petechiae (little red marks). 

 

Gua Sha can be used for chronic or acute disorders, with the back, neck, shoulders, chest and abdomen as the most common areas scraped but can be done virtually anywhere where on the body where there is musculoskeletal obstruction or pain.  It can also be used to treat the common cold, flu, bronchitis and asthma.  Because Gua Sha is considered more of a “folk” medicine in Asia, it is done in many households; family members often Gua Sha each other as a preventative regimen, especially is in the summer months since it is well known to release heat and stagnation in the body.

 

Practitioners who apply this method to patients use instruments that have a smooth-rounded edge similar to the edge of a Chinese soupspoon.  In Asian homes, where this practice is still performed, Chinese soupspoons and well worn coins are used, while in a clinical setting, Chinese medical practitioners use more “official” tools such as polished slices of buffalo horn, a well honed animal bone, or jade. 

 

The area where the scraping will be applied is well lubed with massage oil and pressurized strokes are repeated down the area that is being treated.  If there is Sha in the area, petechiae will appear on the skin.  Depending on the amount of Sha, the marks lasts between 3-5 days.

 

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