Tools of the Trade
Acupuncture & how it works
Acupuncture is the use of ultra-fine disposable needles, which are inserted at specific points of the body to very precisely redirect the flow of qi or energy throughout the body. There are over three hundred sixty acupoints on the body, and each has its own specific function. Ultimately, acupuncture allows the body to function in a more efficient and balanced state and it accomplishes this through a decrease in the body’s stress and inflammatory responses, the increasing of circulation and balancing of hormones.
Acupuncture needles are as fine as a hair. They are stainless steel, solid, sterile, disposable, and can be inserted almost painlessly. They are nothing like the hypodermic needles you’ve experienced getting a shot or vaccination at the doctor’s office. Acupuncture needles do not inject anything into your body. Much of the lasting pain and discomfort associated with hypodermic needles is due to the medications injected into your body.
A typical treatment can last from twenty to forty minutes. After a treatment most patients feel relaxed and rejuvenated, with partial or total relief of symptoms treated.
nutritional Advice & whole food Based supplements
As part of the holistic approach Chinese medicine looks at your whole heath picture and nutrition is no exception to this. We start by looking at your diet to see what you are doing well and what needs to be improved in order to create the healthiest, most efficient and well balanced system that we can. With a happy internal environment the body has the tools it needs to heal itself.
Another tool that we can use to help create this optimal internal environment is whole food based supplements. In a world where is it is becoming more and more challenging to get the proper nutrition solely from the foods we eat the use of supplements can fill in those nutritional gaps.
Cupping therapy is great for increasing circulation, releasing tight and fatigued muscles, reducing myofascial pain, and clearing colds and flus. It can be used in addition to acupuncture or by itself. The cups work to separate the muscle from the fascial layer and give a complete fascial release and promote good blood flow.
Gua Sha is used to treat a wide variety of conditions. Pain, digestive disorders, menstrual conditions, emotional stress and anxiety are just a few of the conditions that this technique can be used to treat.
Gua means ‘to rub’ or ‘press or stroke.’ Sha describes the red “rash” or congested blood that comes to the surface of the skin. The therapist uses some type of tool often a soup spoon, jar lid or specialized tool to rub the areas that require treatment. Similar to cupping the skin will often be left with red, blue or even blackish bruise like marks but these marking are not painful and will fade over a few days. The treatment itself is generally not painful and often very relaxing.
Like cupping therapy Gua Sha also clears stagnated blood, increases circulation, and releases fascia, but unlike cupping it can be done anywhere there is skin. It has also been shown to initiate a systemic anti-inflammatory response. In addition to its anti inflammatory properties it is also thought that because it is a hands on technique and the repetitive nature of the scraping creates vibrations that can penetrate deeper then surface level and actually work at the internal and organ levels.
If you would like to read more about Gua Sha check out my blog post.
Acupuncture works through manipulating the energy that is already present in the body, but at times it is necessary to add energy to the system to give the body the resources that it needs to heal. This can be done two ways, with food and with herbal medicines. The wonderful thing about herbal medicines is that there are far fewer complications and side effects than with western pharmaceuticals. In addition, there is no risk of dependency.
Moxibustion is a technique that involves the burning of mugwort, a small, spongy herb, to facilitate healing. Moxibustion has been used throughout Asia for thousands of years; in fact, the actual Chinese character for acupuncture, translated literally, means "acupuncture-moxibustion." The purpose of moxibustion, as with most forms of traditional Chinese medicine, is to strengthen the blood, stimulate the flow of qi, and maintain general health.