Acupuncture, which is just one of the treatment modalities or pillars in Oriental Medicine, is based on a complete medical system that is used to diagnose and treat illness, prevent disease and promote health and well being. This is a noninvasive treatment method that has been used for thousands of years to promote natural healing. It is a safe, painless and effective way to treat a wide variety of medical problems both physical and psychological.
Albert Einstein and Western Science have demonstrated that everything is made of, and radiates energy which supports, shapes and brings to life our physical body. Oriental Medicine and acupuncture are based on this same foundation. Energy, Qi (pronounced “chee”) circulates throughout the body, animates the body and protects it from illness, pain and disease. Our health is influences by the quality, quantity and the balance of our Qi.
Qi flows through specific pathways or meridians which connect to all our physical structures including our internal organs and glands. These channels are like our electrical wiring around our physical body. Acupuncture points are those sites along the channels where our energy can be accessed, stimulated and nourished to affect change, heal imbalances and promote health. Acupoints are like the outlets along our electrical wiring.
Prior to any treatment with acupuncture a comprehensive medical history is taken in order to diagnose an imbalance or dis-ease according to the Oriental Medical system. This includes such diagnostic techniques as observing the tongue and other aspects of the body, palpating the pulse as well as possibly the abdomen or along any of the energy channels or meridians. From there well structured, individualized treatment plan is designed. Acupuncture treatment involves the painless insertion of fine, sterilized needles into specific acupuncture points in order to circulate, stimulate and nourish one’s Qi and thus the connecting structures and organs. This can eliminate pain, restore balance and stimulate your own innate ability to heal ultimately leading to optimal health and well being.
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Moxabustion is a type of warming therapy. It can be used alone or with the acupuncture needles. Mugwort ( Artemisia vulgaris ) is a Chinese herb and in OM the dried leaf is used either in the form of a rolled stick, placed on the ends of an acupuncture needle or in a warming device used to warm a larger area. Whatever the form, it is burned to have the effect of warmth for nourishment and or to increase circulation which is the effect that heat has on the body.
Electro-Acupuncture involves stimulating the acupuncture points using a safe, gentle electrical current similar to a TENS unit which is often used in various therapies for the treatment of pain. The electrical stimulation can be applied directly to the handle of an acupuncture needle or used with a small probe with slight pressure at site of an acupuncture point.
Auricular or Ear Acupuncture is a therapy that involves the insertion of very fine needles into certain points on the human ear for the purpose of treating disease, pain and addictions. This is an ancient practice recorded in classical Chinese medical books as well as other cultures; Arab, Egyptian, Greek, Hindu and European. For centuries the ancients have mentioned the ears for the purpose of diagnosis and the treatment of disease. Today Auricular Acupuncture is a more sophisticated scientific procedure which has been refined and perfected through the research of modern scientists such as Dr. Nogier of France and others in China. Through this research definite physiological relationships have been found connecting certain areas of the ear to areas of the body. The ear itself has an ample supple of nerves and blood vessels, originating from nerves and larger blood vessels in the body. By inserting a needle or pressure onto a specific point, the nerve endings of the ear are stimulated and a message is sent along to the main nerve trunks enervating the corresponding area or organ of the body which they control. As a diagnostic tool, discoloration or sensitivities, pain, eczema, scars, etc. can represent a malfunction or imbalance in the corresponding area of the body. Auricular acupuncture can be as a primary treatment or as an integral part of acupuncture treatment. Although it is effective in numerous diseases, today it is often used particularly in controlling pain, addressing weight loss and as an inexpensive and simple treatment integrated along with other therapies for addictions.
Tui Na is an Asian form of body work or massage that is more specifically therapeutic than other types of Western massage. As a technique it can be used alone or integrated into an acupuncture treatment. Tui na involves acupressure and massage techniques along the acupuncture meridians or pathways. This form of therapy gradually was developed by the working people of China through a long process of working, living and struggling with disease. As a treatment, Tui na has the ability to regulate nerve function, strengthen the body’s resistance to disease, flush out the tissues, and circulate blood stimulating the tendons, ligaments and muscles which ultimately make the joints more flexible. This style of bodywork incorporates the theory and practices of Oriental Medicine
Gua Sha is a technique wherein the skin is scraped, in strokes, by a round-edged instrument. In western terms, the scraping draws out blood and metabolic waste congesting the surface tissues and muscles, promoting normal circulation and metabolic processes. Gua Sha is valuable in the treatment of pain, in the prevention and treatment of acute infectious illness, upper respiratory and digestive problems, and many acute or chronic disorders.
Cupping is an ancient Chinese method that creates local congestion. Ancient versions of cupping therapy included the use of cups made of bamboo, glass, metal or wood. Today cupping is usually done by inserting a flame into a small glass cup to remove the air and create a vacuum. The cup is then deftly inverted onto the surface of the body where the cup is held firmly in place by the suction created by the vacuum effect. This method is called “fire cupping.” There are also specially designed cups fitted with air lock valves that allow practitioners to remove the air with a hand-held pump.
In general, cupping therapy opens the “meridians” or “energy channels” of the body and allows energy to flow freely. Frequently, the practitioner will apply a lubricant to the skin before placing the cups, and then move the cups back and forth across certain area of the body. This combines the effects of cupping with dermal friction therapy (gua sha) and is called “sliding cup” technique. Cupping is frequently used to treat early stage colds and flu, trauma, and muscle pain, especially in the back and shoulders. Cupping, like gua sha, leaves distinctive marks on the skin. While this is not harmful or painful, the markings are somewhat unsightly.
Qigong is an ancient Chinese health care system that integrates physical postures, breathing techniques and focused intention. The word Qigong (Chi Kung) is made up of two Chinese words. Qi is pronounced chee and is usually translated to mean the life force or vital-energy that flows through all things in the universe. The second word, Gong, pronounced gung, means accomplishment, or skill that is cultivated through steady practice. Together, Qigong (Chi Kung) means cultivating energy, it is a system practiced for health maintenance, healing and increasing vitality.
Qigong is an integration of physical postures, breathing techniques, and focused intentions. Qigong creates an awareness of and influences dimensions of our being that are not part of traditional exercise programs. The gentle, rhythmic movements of Qigong reduce stress, build stamina, increase vitality, and enhance the immune system. It has also been found to improve cardiovascular, respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic and digestive functions. Those who maintain a consistent practice of Qigong find that it helps one regain a youthful vitality, maintain health even into old age and helps speed recovery from illness.