What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is part of a holistic system of medicine known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that has been practiced for over 2,000 years. The basic principle of this health care system is that the human body is its own ecosystem and the laws and patterns of nature can be applied. As in nature, when certain elements are not working in harmony causing shifts in the environment, our well-being is compromised by patterns of disharmony leading to diminished health or disease. Acupuncture uses small, sterile needles place along specific points along the body, known as meridians, to improve the flow of energy, or Qi (pronounced “chee”), throughout the body and correct patterns of disharmony that are causing symptoms of illness. It supports our body’s natural healing abilities and brings the body back into a more balanced state that is essential for health and vitality.
Most people who are familiar with acupuncture associated it with pain relief, however acupuncture can help with other ailments. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes acupuncture for its ability to treat up to 43 common health disorders such as:
Respiratory – allergies, asthma
Digestive – constipation, IBS, food allergies
Gynecological – PMS, systems of menopause
Neurological – neuropathy, headaches/migraines, Parkinson’s
Addictions – smoking, drugs, food
…and much more.
What is Qi?
Qi is energy which circulates within the body. It is the animating force that provides you with the ability to talk, walk, think, metabolize, dream and love. Qi also protects you from illness, pain and discomfort, keeping you strong and healthy. Qi circulates through specific pathways called Meridians. There are 14 main meridian pathways traveling throughout your body, each one is connected to an organ system.
Meridian pathways are like rivers. When a river flows, it transports life-giving waters, nourishing the land and people around it. Like rivers, wherever your meridian pathways flow, they bring life-giving Qi to nourish every cell, organ, and tissue in your body.
An obstruction of Qi in your body is like a dam. When Qi becomes “backed up” in one part of your body, it restricts the flow in other areas. Hindering the flow of Qi circulating within your meridian pathways can lead to pain and illness.
The purpose of Acupuncture and Chinese medicine is to return the flow of Qi back to normal and to have the organs working at their peak. This will in turn encourage the Qi to flow smoothly and restore function to the affected area.
Cupping is a technique designed to stimulate Qi and Blood flow within the superficial muscle layers. A vacuum is created inside a glass cup that is placed over specific points on the body to relieve muscle tension and pain. Cups are either left in place for 10 minutes or they are moved over the affected area call “slide cupping” which enhances the myofascial release.
Electro- stimulation is a technique that uses a micro electric current is passed through acupuncture needles to increase stimulation along the meridians. A device that generates continuous electric pulses is connected to the needles using small clips. This device is adjusted for frequency and intensity of the impulse being delivered. This technique is used to in the treatment of pain, neuralgia, muscle atrophy, paralysis, post-surgery or post-trauma recovery and certain types of chronic illness.
Similar to reflexology using the ear as a microsystem of the body, this therapy is commonly used with addictions and emotional imbalances. Needles can be placed in the ear but more often an ear seed, a tiny round ball the size of a sesame seed with tape, is place in the ear stimulating specific points and allows the patient to perform acupressure at home.
Chinese Herbal Medicine and Food Therapy
As they say, “Food as medicine” so are herbs in TCM. In the Chinese culture, herbs and food are practically interchangeable and instinctively used in their daily lifestyle as chicken soup is used for the common cold in ours. Where acupuncture restores balance, herbs and good nutrition maintains that balance. Both herbs and food therapy are powerful on their own to restore and maintain balance especially when treating chronic illness. Herbs and food recommendations are based on their energetic qualities (i.e. warming, cooling, moving) to support the patient’s constitution or to correct their state of health. Any medications used by the patient are taken into consideration for possible side effects or interactions before herbs or food therapy protocols are given.