Acupuncture and Oriental medicine are the foundation of our practice. We are dedicated to the practice of this ancient medical art because we have experienced first-hand its amazing healing benefits. We are continually in awe of how acupuncture can take away nagging pain, calm the restless mind, boost energy, and restore balance and wellbeing to our patients.
Acupuncture is based on the premise that there is vital energy called “Qi” flowing through your body in specific pathways called meridians. When Qi flows freely, this energy creates health and vitality. However, Qi can become blocked or stagnant from various causes ranging from stress to surgery. Blocked Qi leads to pain and/or malfunction of the internal organs, creating a state of imbalance or “dis”-ease in which bothersome symptoms begin to appear. Acupuncture helps re-establish the healthy flow of Qi in your body, alleviating the symptoms and restoring healthy function to the body. Insertion of the super-fine, sterile needles occurs at particular acupuncture points along the meridian pathways and is relatively painless and often deeply relaxing. We use a very gentle insertion technique that virtually eliminates discomfort. We also explain why we are choosing each point for your treatment and how it will benefit you.
From a western perspective, there is no universally agreed upon theory as to how acupuncture works, but there is, however, a substantial body of research that proves it does change the body’s physiology. For example, studies have been done where patients receive acupuncture while simultaneously undergoing fMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging). These studies reveal that when an acupuncture point is needled, corresponding areas of the brain “light up”. For example, a point on the 5th toe called UB-67 is known by acupuncturists to affect vision. When this point is needled under fMRI, the visual center of the brain shows activity.
Electroacupuncture involves the application of a weak electric current to the acupuncture needles at specific frequencies to relieve pain or to increase energy. It was developed as an alternative to stimulating the needles by hand which can cause painful muscle aches. The current is felt as a gentle pulse or buzzing during the treatment and is helpful in cases where prolonged stimulation is indicated.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, illness results when Qi, or energy, is blocked or otherwise out of balance in the body. The placement of the needles addresses this problem, but when the Qi is weak, a low frequency can add energy and if the Qi is blocked, a midrange frequency can push through the blockage. High frequencies are used to stimulate the periosteum, or covering of the bone, in more severe pain problems.
Electroacupuncture has been extensively studied and there is a review of the recent research in the medical journal Anesthesiology which describes the specific neurotransmitters and spinal mechanisms involved. A copy is available in our office for review.
Electro-acupuncture is an option for your treatment, depending on your symptoms and your practitioner. In our office, Dr. Chris and Chelsey are the Electro-Acupuncture experts.
Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the burning of the herb mugwort (artemesiae vulgaris) over specific AcuPoints or areas of the body to facilitate healing. Moxibustion stimulates the flow of Qi and blood to help relieve pain in the muscles and joints, reduce menstrual cramping, relieve cold hands and feet, and even turn breech babies!
At our office, we use a form of moxa in which the mugwort herb is tightly wound into the shape of a cigar. The end is lit and held over the skin until the area becomes warm imparting its therapeutic effects. We use a special form of moxa that decreases odor and smoke. Patients can be taught how to do moxa at home to enhance treatment results.
Cupping is a technique where small glass or plastic cups are placed on the skin as suction is simultaneously created. A vacuum is created in glass cups by the removal of oxygen from the cup via a flame, and in plastic cups by a hand-held pump that removes air through a valve. Flames are never used near the skin.
The suction causes the skin and superficial muscle layer to be lightly drawn into the cup. Once applied, the cups are generally left in place for a few minutes while the patient relaxes. One of the best deep-tissue therapies avail, cupping releases toxins, clears blockages, and allows fresh blood to flow back to the muscles.
The suction and negative pressure provided by cupping loosens muscles, encourages blood flow, and calms the nervous system. Cupping is used to relieve back and neck pains, stiff muscles, headaches and migraines, fever, asthma, and even cellulite.
Tui Na is a therapeutic form of massage given to restore the harmonious flow of Qi and bring the body back into balance. During Tui Na, muscles and tendons are massaged to remove the blockages that are inhibiting the flow of energy through the meridians.
Tui Na both relaxes and energizes the patient. Tui Na focuses on a specific problem, usually acute or a chronic pain in the joints or muscles. This technique is very beneficial in reducing pain of the neck, shoulders, hips, back, arms and legs.