History & Background
Acupuncture & Eastern (formally known as Oriental) medicine has been practiced for more than 5,000 years and includes acupuncture, herbal medicine, moxibustion, Oriental massage and Oriental nutrition. It is a system of medicine that categorizes body patterns into specific types of diagnoses with corresponding treatment plans. Oriental medicine is practiced in China, Japan, Korea, Viet Nam, Thailand, Tibet and India. One may be surprised to find that Oriental medical theory and practice has spread to France, England, Spain, Germany, Russia, much of Middle and South America, and Africa. It has gained worldwide acceptance and recognition as effective medical treatment. Due to the sheer weight of evidence, Oriental medicine demands that it be taken seriously as a clinical approach of considerable value. Over 15 million Americans have turned to it, making it the complementary treatment of choice for Americans everywhere. Oriental medical practitioners use a variety of healthcare therapies. Acupuncture, moxibustion (which is a type of heat therapy using the mugwort plant), and Chinese herbal medicine are the most popular. Other aspects of Oriental medicine are: Electroacupuncture – the use of fine microcurrent technology Diet, Lifestyle and Nutritional Counseling Cupping – this employs a glass or bamboo cup as a suction device to stimulate blood circulation Tai Chi – a form of physical exercise Qi Gong – breath exercise Meditation Various forms of therapeutic massage.
Acupuncture is an ancient healing art that has been practiced for thousands of years and more people have been treated with acupuncture than any other form of treatment in history. It has it’s roots deeply planted in China and Taoism and practitioners of acupuncture and Chinese medicine have used this noninvasive medical system to diagnose and help millions of people get well and stay healthy.
What does an acupuncture treatment consist of?
During an acupuncture session, an acupuncturist will lace fine, sterile needles at specific acupoints on the body. This activates the body’s Qi (pronounced “chee”) and promotes natural healing by enhancing recuperative power, immunity, and physical and emotional health. It can also improve overall function and well-being.
How safe is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is extremely safe and effective form of health care that has evolved into a complete and holistic medical system. It is an all natural, drug-free therapy, yielding no negative side effects, just feelings of relaxation and well-being. It has been used for thousands of years to effectively treat illness, prevent disease, and improve health/well-being. There is little danger of infection from acupuncture needles because they are sterile, used only once, and then properly discarded.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Acupuncture is a safe, painless and effective way to treat a wide variety of medical problems. During a session, an acupuncturist will use very small, hair-thin needles. These are inserted into specific points in the body, where they are gently stimulated to elicit the body’s natural healing response. Acupuncture is effective for controlling pain and can regulate the body’s physiological functions to treat various internal dysfunction and disorders.
What can acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture is recognized by leading national and international health organization to be effective in the treatment of a wide variety of medical problems. Pain, insomnia, and depression, to name a few, are health concerns in which acupuncture treatment is commonly used. Below is a list of more specific health concerns that acupuncture can help with:
- Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy.
- Abdominal pain (in acute gastroenteritis or due to gastrointestinal spasm)
- Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)
- Bell’s palsy
- Cancer pain
- Chronic gastritis
- Morning sickness
- Diabetes mellitus, non-insulin dependent
- Facial pain
- Facial spasm
- Female infertility
- Fibromyalgia and fasciitis
- Hepatitis B virus carrier status
- Herpes zoster
- Induction of Labor
- Knee pain
- Low back pain
- Male sexual dysfunction, non organic
- Malposition of fetus
- Nausea and vomiting
- Neck pain
- Pain in dentistry
- Peptic ulcer
- Periarthritis of shoulder
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Postoperative pain
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Raynaud Syndrome
- Renal colic
- Retention of urine, traumatic
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Sore throat (including tonsillitis)
- Spine pain, acute
- Stiff neck
- TMJ dysfunction
- Tennis elbow
- Tobacco dependence
- Ulcerative colitis, chronic
- Whooping cough (pertussis)
Moxibustion is a technique used in traditional Chinese medicine in which a stick or cone of burning mugwort , Artemesia vulgaris , is placed over an inflamed or affected area on the body. The cone is placed on an acupuncture point and burned. The cones is removed before burning the skin. The purpose is to stimulate and strengthen the blood and the life energy, or qi , of the body. The actual Chinese character for acupuncture literally translates into “acupuncture-moxibustion.” More than 3,000 years ago, during the Shang Dynasty in China , hieroglyphs of acupuncture and moxibustion were found on bones and tortoise shells, meaning the practice precedes that date. The root word, “moxa” is actually derived from the Japanese.
Benefits of Moxibustion
Moxibustion is used for people who have a cold or stagnant condition. The moxa stick is burned to warm up the blood and qi that are not circulating well. It is particularly known for its ability to turn breech presentation babies into a normal head-down position that is considered safer during childbirth. In a 1998 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association , 75% of the pregnant women in the study had breech fetuses that turned in the normal position. Moxibustion significantly increases fetal movements in pregnant women. Moxibustion is also used to treat inflammations. For example, if treating a patient with tendinitis, the moxa stick is burned over the elbow area. It is also highly regarded for menstrual cramps, where the stick is waved over the abdominal area. Often, the cramps disappear immediately.Moxa on acupuncture points is frequently done with acupuncture treatment for many kinds of ailments. The treatment brings warmth and helps strengthen the activity of the blood.
Moxibustion is the burning of mugwort over an affected areas of the body. The mugwort can come in sticks that closely resemble the circumference and length of a cigar. Moxa cones can also be burned. The mugwort, called Ai Ye in traditional Chinese medicine, is positioned over acupuncture points to stimulate the qi and blood. In breech presentation babies, the acupoint BL 67, located on the outside of the little toe, is stimulated. For menstrual cramps, the meridian called the Ren Channel, the center line of the lower abdomen, is treated. Moxibustion is almost always used in conjunction with acupuncture, as a complementary technique. In Japan , there are practitioners who are separately licensed to practice as specialists in moxibustion. It is used for a wide variety of ailments, depending on the patient’s needs and history. For menstrual cramps, moxibustion can be used once. For breech presentation, the turning may occur during the treatment. Patients can be taught how to treat themselves, and moxa sticks are easily purchased.
Moxibustion is specifically used for patients with a cold or stagnant constitution. Therefore, if any patient has too much heat, they should not undergo moxibustion treatment. An expert practitioner can advise patients in these matters.
Moxibustion Side Effects
Because moxibustion often includes the burning of smoking mugwort sticks, patients who have respiratory problems should avoid the use of smoking moxa sticks. Smokeless moxa sticks are available, and patients who have respiratory difficulties may opt for this method. There is also the occasional report of external burns if the moxa stick is held too close to the patient, although this is rare.
Cupping is one of the oldest and most effective methods of releasing toxins from the body’s tissues and organs. Other terms for cupping are: fire cupping, body vacuuming, and the horn method.Cupping is the practice of applying a partial vacuum by means of heat or suction in one or several bell-shaped vessels (suction cups) to parts of the skin.
This causes the tissues beneath the cup to be drawn up and swell increasing blood flow to the affected area. This enhanced blood flow under the cup draws impurities and toxins away from the nearby tissues and organs towards the surface for elimination. The time the suction cups are left in place varies according to the patient’s age and physical constitution, and the medical disorder being treated.
Cupping is a safe, non-invasive and inexpensive technique. It is used to alleviate the pain and discomfort arising from disorders of the lungs and other internal organs, muscle spasms, joint pains, and numerous other conditions.
Cupping acts to draw inflammation and pressure away from the deep organs (especially the heart, brain, lungs, liver and kidneys) towards the skin. This facilitates the healing process. Practitioners of cupping contend that this process strengthens the immune system, so encouraging the optimum functioning of the body. In other words, it assists the actions of Physis. In doing so, it diverts toxins and other harmful impurities from these vital organs towards the less-vital skin, before expulsion. The blood which is diverted allows for a fresh ‘stream’ of blood to that area.
Gua sha is a healing technique of traditional East Asian medicine. Sometimes called ‘coining, spooning or scraping’, Gua sha is defined as instrument-assisted unidirectional press-stroking of a lubricated area of the body surface to intentionally create transitory therapeutic petechiae called ‘sha’ representing extravasation of blood in the subcutis.
Raising sha removes blood stagnation considered pathogenic in traditional East Asian medicine. Modern research shows the transitory therapeutic petechiae produce an anti inflammatory and immune protective effect that persists for days following a single Gua sha treatment accounting for the immediate relief that patients feel from pain, stiffness, fever, chill, cough, wheeze, nausea and vomiting etc, and why Gua sha is effective in acute and chronic internal organ disorders including liver inflammation in hepatitis.
Tui Na massage is an ancient healing art of Traditional Chinese Medicine which has been practiced in China for over 4000 years.
The name Tui Na comes from “Tui” meaning “push” and “Na” meaning “Grasp”. It is used to treat conditions that in western medicine ordinarily would require a physiotherapists, a chiropractor and an osteopath.
Tui Na not only works on the muscles and joints, but also at a deeper level, affecting the flow of vital life energy in the body. This ‘life energy’ is referred to as “Qi” (pronounced “chee”) and flows through the whole universe as the activating force for all life.
Qi flows through channels in the body called “Meridians”. Meridians supply Qi energy to the organs, body tissues and mind. Tui Na applies pressure to the Meridians and specific points on the to even out the flow of Qi through the body.
Traditional Chinese Medicine always views disease as an imbalance in the flow of Qi. When your Qi flow is balanced you feel confident and energetic as it affects you emotional, intellectual, spiritual and physical well being.
During treatment, the trained practitioner will ask questions about the patient’s lifestyle making careful observations. It is fundamental to Tui Na that the therapist and patient have an awareness between them. Feedback received from the patient during massage guides the therapist towards the points to treat and the amount of pressure to apply.
After Tui Na treatment, the patient will most often feel energised, happy and enlivened, however it can also release blocked emotional energy. This may result in the patient feeling emotional afterwards.