The roots of acupuncture stretch back to over 6,000 years BC, and it is one of the world’s oldest medical practices. In Chinese acupuncture history, the first record of treating disease dates back to 1500 BC during the Shang Dynasty. Evidence based acupuncture benefits a wide array of ailments and conditions according to the World Health Organization, and is a potent treatment for many conditions including but not limited to: back pain, headaches, insomnia, infertility, sports injuries and heart problems. The American College of Physicians recent set of guidelines also support acupuncture as an effective alternative to opioids for pain relief.
This ancient medical system uses tiny, disposable, sterile one-use needles that are thinner than a hair strand to correct imbalances, prevent, diagnose & treat disease, and improve general health. For those whom needling would be contraindicated, please see the section ‘Non-Needling Options’ below.
Trigger Point or dry needling is focused on treating physical conditions at the local site of injury. While this is an option for a temporary symptom-based approach, there are many advanced treatment techniques that promote the full spectrum of healing, and at times treating the site of injury is not possible. This is where the expertise of a Licensed Acupuncturist can be very helpful due to their expanded skill and knowledge base.
Information About Chinese Medical & Acupuncture Treatment
What is Acupuncture? Acupuncture is a healing art that involves the stimulation of specific points on the body. It has the effect of normalizing physiological function, modifying the perception of pain, and treating certain diseases and dysfunctions of the body. The stimulation may be produced by needles, heat, digital pressure, electrical currents, cupping, gua sha, moxabustion or other means, but most frequently needling. Herbs and nutritional supplements may be recommended and are considered safe in the practice of Chinese medicine.
What are the side effects or complications? Acupuncture is considered a safe method of treatment but occasionally there may be some bruising or tingling near the needling sites that can last a few days. There have been rare instances reported in which a patient fainted, developed a scar or infection, experienced a spontaneous abortion or sustained a pneumothorax (air in the chest cavity that could collapse a lung). Treatments like gua sha and cupping can leave marks on the body for a longer period of time. You will be consulted before applying these adjunct therapies.
What are the contraindications and cautions for Acupuncture or use of Chinese Herbal Medicine? Contraindications/cautions for acupuncture treatment and certain herbs include a history of bleeding disorders or current anticoagulant therapy, an implanted pacemaker or prosthetic heart valve, use of certain medications and/or pregnancy. These issues do not preclude an individual from treatment but do need to be taken into account.
Manual Therapy techniques such as cupping evolved more than 3000 years ago from shamanistic practices that held the belief that illnesses and infirmities can be sucked out of the body. This therapy pulls up on the skin versus applying downward pressure in traditional massage. This modality is usually combined with acupuncture although it can be used alone to invigorate local circulation of qi and blood, and reduce pain, swelling and tension.
Heat therapy is provided through moxibustion and a far infrared lamp. When indicated, the herb moxa (Artemisia Vulgaris) is shaped into small cones and burned to deeply penetrate selected acupuncture points. This bring radiant warmth and energy penetrates deeply into the body, where it helps to restore the body’s natural balance and flow of Qi.
When appropriate, a far infrared mineral lamp is used on acupuncture points and muscles to help increase blood flow to the area being treated. This modality is effective in helping to relieve pain, muscle and joint stiffness, muscle spasms and sprains & strains.
Gua sha is another ancient healing manual technique that breaks up stagnation and vents heat by rubbing a smooth-edged instrument across the surface of the skin. Although pain is the most common indication for gua sha due to its ability to reduce fever & inflammatory symptoms, it treats many conditions including but not limited to headache, migraine, earaches, asthma, bronchitis, colds & flu.
If you are sensitive to needles or have a condition in which needling would be contraindicated, one of the following modalities may be a better match for you.
Korya Hand Therapy (KHT) is a form of Korean acupuncture developed by Dr. Tae Woo Yoo in 1971, and he discovered that the hand is a microcosm which reflects the whole body and meridian systems. KHT is a painless system that uses tiny ionic pellets and indirect moxa to treat meridian imbalances
Floral Acupuncture is a model developed by Five-Element acupuncturist Warren Bellows and Deborah Craydon, a Bach flower essence practitioner. This system combines the use of acupuncture points with Bach flower essences and works both topically & internally to work through emotional states and promote progressive stages of healing.
Tuning Fork Therapy is an additional non-invasive option in addressing meridian imbalances and their effects on body, mind and spirit. My training in this holistic vibrational medicine system comes from Dr. John Beaulieu, who’s work encompasses decades of clinical application and research in the field of sound healing. His team conducts extensive research in the effects of sound healing on Nitric Oxide and its impact on immunity, stress, and the health of the cardiovascular and nervous systems.
Chinese Herbal Prescriptions:
Appropriately administered herbal therapies work to correct pattern disharmonies, facilitate the healing process, help sustain your physical treatments, and produce faster results than many dietary supplements which are primarily used to address nutritional deficiencies or symptoms rather than the root problem(s).
Formulas can be tailored to your specific dietary needs, and customized herbal prescriptions are appropriate for many types of acute, chronic and degenerative conditions.