• Acupuncture Therapy

  • What is Acupuncture?

    Acupuncture originated in China over 3,000 years ago and is part of the holistic system of healing known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (“TCM”). Acupuncture is the gentle insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the body. This process stimulates the movement of energy (which is sometimes referred to as “Chi”,”Qi”,”Ki”or “Prana”) which propels blood, stimulates organ function and animates every living cell within the body, allowing homeostasis to take place. The acupuncture points are selected based on a complex system of diagnostics to yield specific point prescriptions that are unique to the condition and individual being treated.

    Acupuncture treats and also helps to prevent illness by improving the overall functioning of the body’s immune and organ systems. Acupuncture is helpful for:

    • Treating existing illnesses and injuries.
    • Preventing both recurrence of illnesses and new illness.
    • Improving overall health.

    Traditional Chinese Medicine Theory:

    The Classical Chinese explanation is that energy (Qi) flows in channels (meridians) throughout the body and over its surfaces. These channels are rivers of energy which are referred to as meridians. The Chinese have identified 71 meridians in the human body, which is a basic energy map for all people. The meridians are often compared to a series of interconnected highways. Each of the major organs in the body is associated with its own meridian. Through the network of meridians the internal organs are connected to certain areas and parts of the body including the muscles, bones, joints, and also other organs.

    The Chinese believe that health is a manifestation of balance, both within the body itself and between the body and the external environment. When the body is internally balanced and in harmony with the external environment, Qi flows smoothly through meridians to nourish the organs and tissues. If an obstruction occurs in one of the meridians, the Qi is disrupted and cannot flow properly. When the Qi cannot flow smoothly or is forced to flow in the opposite direction, the body’s innate balance is disrupted and illness results.

    Acupuncture points are the specific points on the meridians where the Qi is both concentrated and accessible. Acupuncture engages the Qi by inserting needles at these specific points, the goal being to restore the proper flow of Qi. As the body regains its natural balance, well-being returns.

     

    Acupuncture and Modern Science

    To the human body, acupuncture needles are a physical stimulus. In Western science, a stimulus is defined as a detectable change in either the external environment or within the body itself. When the body detects change, it produces a response. Although acupuncture is not yet fully understood by Western science, with modern technology scientists can now actually begin to “see” the body’s response to acupuncture. For example, using Functional MRI, researchers have shown that when a needle is inserted at specific acupuncture points on the body, corresponding changes occur in the brain.

    In the West, acupuncture is most well-known for its ability to relieve pain so the majority of research thus far has been done in this area. Acupuncture points are now believed to stimulate the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) to release pain-relieving chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord and brain. Acupuncture may also stimulate other chemicals to be released by the brain, including hormones that influence the self-regulating system of the body.

     

    Moxibustion and acupuncture

    Moxibustion is a therapy that historically predates acupuncture. If you’ve ever visited an acupuncturist’s office and smelled something fragrant burning, chances are the acupuncturist was using moxibustion therapy.

    The therapy is the burning of the herb artemesia vulgaris, commonly known as ‘mugwort’ or ‘moxa’, to warm and stimulate the acupuncture points for a specific function/condition.

    Prior to the invention of the modern acupuncture filiform needle, moxa was used solely to stimulate a particular region of the body and provide deep penetrating heat which could relieve pain. As the history of acupuncture and moxa developed the two therapies were sometimes combined to achieve a greater effect. Today, moxibustion therapy is oftentimes used in conjunction with acupuncture to treat conditions of arthritic joints and other painful syndromes.

    Electro-Acupuncture

    Acupuncture needles, once inserted, must be stimulated by the practitioner in a particular fashion as to affect the function intended. Any particular acupuncture point, in and of itself, is relatively neutral in function unless stimulated, either manually or electronically by the practitioner. In ancient times, manual stimulation was the sole method used to achieve this. Today, modern acupuncturists rely on specifically designed electronic acupuncture devices, to achieve this same goal. Electronically stimulated acupuncture, or “electro-acupuncture”, is typically used to strengthen and guide the treatment for a particular outcome.

     

    TDP (F.A.R. Infrared) Mineral Lamp

    The TDP is a lamp that generates F.A.R. infrared (below visible light) emissions. The TDP lamp is a therapeutic substitute for moxibustion, a traditional Chinese therapy, and is used by acupuncturists and Asian physiotherapists.

    TDP is an acronym for “Teding Diancibo Pu”(特定电磁波谱) which loosely translated means specific electromagnetic spectrum.

    The TDP mineral lamp was invented in China in 1978 and exhibited at the 1986 Zagreb International Fair in Yugoslavia in competition with 560 inventions from 18 countries by the inventor Gou Wenbin. It was also exhibited at the 1986 Brussels Eureka World Fair for Invention.

    The story told about the discovery of TDP mineral lamp therapy begins in a black clay factory in rural China, where in spite of a work environment where workers were exposed to extremes of cold, wet, and heat, they had a very low incidence of illness. Upon further investigation, the differentiating factor was determined to be the beneficial far-infrared radiation from the hot clay. Analysis of the clay and later experimentation led to the development of the medical device now known as the TDP mineral lamp.

     

    Gua-Sha

    Traditional Chinese Medicine relies on multiple methods and modalities to achieve specific functions for specific disorders. “Gua-Sha”, which literally translates from Mandarin to “scrape sand” is one of these methods.

    Gua-Sha involves using a specific smooth-edged tool, which is applied to the bare skin, prepped with oil or other liniment, for the purpose of scraping along muscle tissue to release knotted tension in certain muscle groups. The releasing of “sha” or in the West what is referred to as ‘petechiae’ (tiny red skin dots), releases built up lactic acid,which is trapped in the muscular tissue matrix, to resolve deeply-rooted and chronic tension. The result is a “flushed” skin surface and underlying muscle tissue that is free of trapped congestion and which can now receive a fresh supply of oxygenated blood to function normally.

    In China, Gua-Sha is often times used as a common home remedy for simple discomforts as it is relatively simple to perform yet provides effective and quick relief from muscular tension. Although simple to perform, Gua-Sha must be used with caution and guidance as it can easily be ‘overdone’ and is best administered by a trained acupuncturist who is knowledgeable about its use and precautions.