While acupuncture is often the most familiar technique in the system of Chinese Medicine, other healing methods are often used in conjunction with it (and sometimes instead of it) to provide comprehensive and individualized treatment. Below is an explanation of acupuncture and additional modalities. Please know I will explain what to expect and the purpose of any treatment methods recommended for you during your appointment.
Acupuncture is the strategic insertion of sterile, thin, single-use, disposable needles into various points in the body to regulate physiological activity and/or relieve pain. Many people feel nothing upon gentle insertion of the needle, and others may feel a small pinch. After insertion, sensations can include a feeling of heaviness, ache, warmth, or fullness. A feeling of relaxation often follows, and many patients fall asleep during the session. Most individuals are pleased to find acupuncture treatments enjoyable and look forward to them.
Chinese herbal medicine is a distinct tradition of herbalism based on the strategic combination of medicinal substances. Very rarely, if ever, is a single herb used alone. The use of multiple herbs allows the creation of a balanced formula, limiting possible side effects and maximizing therapeutic benefits. Herbal formulas come in a variety of forms, and these include topical application, capsules, tablets, tinctures, powders and teas/soups. The specific formula is designed taking into account numerous variables, including your symptoms and the duration of your illness, your constitution, the season, and the climate in which we live.
Older than acupuncture, moxibustion is the gentle warming of points on the body to regulate physiological activity. The most common substance used to do this is the herb mugwort, a member of the chrysanthemum family. Moxibustion may be done by holding a cigar shaped package of herbs over the points on the body, attaching the herb to acupuncture needles, or burning the herb with a medium between the herbs and the skin. Moxibustion is often used to warm and strengthen the body, and its uses include treatment for arthritic conditions, physical trauma, fatigue, digestive disorders and chronic pain.
Also known as coining, spooning, or scraping, gua sha is a bodywork technique that uses a smooth instrument to press/stroke an area (such as the back, shoulder, or neck) to move blood toward the surface of the skin. Recent research reveals that this initiates a healing process with anti-inflammatory and immune regulating effects. Conditions treated by gua sha included fevers, chills, cough, muscle pain and tension.
Glass cups with smooth edges are used to create a partial vacuum over the skin to pull blood toward the surface of the skin to promote circulation and release toxins. The effects are similar to gua sha, and indications for cupping may include cold or flu, pain, muscle tension or injury.
A Chinese proverb states, “He that takes medicine and neglects diet wastes the skill of the physician.” Dietary guidelines of Chinese Medicine are based upon the flavor and energetic effect of specific foods. Certain foods and types of preparation are recommended to address your complaint, individual constitution and lifestyle. When used with this understanding, nutrition can greatly enhance your treatment plan and give you tools to support long-term wellness.
Qi Gong/Tai Chi/Meditation:
Practices that use concentration and breathing to create changes in the body are powerful tools for maintaining health and vitality. Qi gong and tai chi are both types of moving meditation that coordinate movement and the breath to provide relaxation, balance, gentle stimulation of the joints, and greater body awareness. Tai chi has its roots in the martial arts and uses a “form” or lengthier pattern of movement. Qi gong exercises tend to be shorter in duration and rely more upon repetition of simple movements. Certain types of qi gong can also help release emotional trauma from the body.
Additionally, various types of sitting meditation and visualization support self-awareness, increased mental and sensory alertness, physical relaxation, and improved concentration. All these practices provide the opportunity to foster a greater connection between the mind and body. They are excellent practices to use between acupuncture treatments to continue the momentum and progress of your healing.
Please know the vast majority of conditions require a series of treatments, and your commitment to completing your course of treatment is critical to your success. The frequency of treatment and the overall length of your treatment plan depend on your specific condition and circumstances. These recommendations will be determined at your initial appointment and are based upon the nature of your complaint, how long you have had the problem(s), your health history, other types of treatment you are receiving, and other elements of your lifestyle (i.e., sleep, nutrition, stress, and exercise).
Your initial appointment lasts 1.5 hours ($150) and includes:
- Complete health history intake, allowing time for discussion of concerns and questions
- Pulse and tongue examination (important tools of Chinese Medicine)
- Explanation of your individual diagnosis, treatment plan, and how Chinese Medicine works
- Acupuncture treatment and/or additional therapies
- Nutrition and lifestyle recommendations
- Herbal consultation and recommendations (if appropriate)
Follow-up appointments last approximately 1 hour ($100) and include:
- Follow up exam and intake
- Acupuncture treatment
- Any necessary additional therapies, i.e., cupping, moxibustion, qi gong, or gua sha
- Continuing dietary, lifestyle, and herbal recommendations
To get started, call 323-475-9282 to schedule an appointment.