Treatment options include: Acupuncture, Moxibustion, Fire Cupping, Gua Sha (a skin scraping technique), TDP (mineral heat) lamps, Tui Na (Chinese medical massage), and Auricular (ear) acupuncture/seeding. Each modality has its' own purpose and benefit, and during each treatment session I will utilize what I feel is most effective for you and your condition. I also believe whole-heartedly in the use of herbal therapy and may prescribe a prepared tea pill, topical liniment, or custom formula for your case. Used independently or in conjunction with treatment, Chinese herbs are an excellent way to treat and prevent many conditions.
The questions I am asked most often:
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture involves the insertion of sterile, hair-thin needles at specific points on the body based in Oriental medicine’s theories of internal movement, channel flow, and the relationships of organ systems.
Does it hurt?
No. Some points will be more sensitive than others, but nothing I do for you should hurt. Fullness, pressure, and throbbing are common words I hear after needle insertion.
Will I bleed?
Not likely. Occasionally there is a tiny drop when a needle is removed. This is more likely if you bruise easily, have a bleeding disorder or are on blood thinners. But you’ve probably bled more after accidentally pricking your own finger. Now there are bleeding techniques used in Chinese medicine to effectively reduce fevers, lower blood pressure and relieve pain. This type of treatment would be thoroughly discussed beforehand and still only involves a few drops of blood.
How long are the needles left in?
Once inserted, they are usually left in for about 20 minutes. This varies with the condition being treated and the persons’ tolerance. Some treatments are only 10 minutes, others can last 45 minutes.
How many treatments will I need?
I am asked this all the time and quite honestly, I don't know how many treatments you will need. Most people are feeling better within the first 3-4 visits, some faster than that, others take longer. It really depends on the issues we are working on, how chronic or acute they are, your general state of health, and how compliant you are. Whether you can come once a month or twice a week, consistency is key.
Moxa: What is it good for? Absolutely…everything!
Well, maybe not everything, but:
Artemisia vulgaris, or mugwort, is one of the oldest known medicinal herbs in the world (noted in poems and songs that can be traced back to 3 B.C.) In Chinese medicine an aged and pulverized form is used and comes in many forms. The herb is ignited and can be placed directly on the skin, on a needle, or used in a rolled, cigar-like form and waved over the area to be treated. Both the herb itself and the heat released offer healing benefits. This is referred to as moxibustion.
What is it used for, really?
Warming specific areas and acupuncture points for pain relief and strengthening, improving the immune system and circulation, alleviating stinging/itching/discomfort from insect bites and many dermatological issues. It is quite helpful for those who are weak, fatigued, or chronically ill, and those with menstrual or digestive disorders. In pregnancy it is used to help turn a breech presentation into a more proper head down presentation for birth! Moxibustion is considered to be an adaptogenic technique, meaning it is a substance that brings balance back to the body.
Cupping refers to an ancient Chinese practice in which a cup (or cups) are applied to the skin and held in place via suctioning so that the skin and superficial muscle layer is drawn into and held inside the cup(s). In some cases, the cups may be moved while the suction of skin is active, causing a regional pulling of the skin and muscle (the technique is called gliding or moving cupping). It often leaves circular red/purple marks (sha) on the area treated, and you look as though you lost a fight with an octopus! These marks should fade in a few days, but it is very important to keep these areas protected until they do (away from extreme cold, heat and wind or drafts).
- Muscle tension from stress
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Skin disorders
- Gynecological disorders such as cramps and infertility
- Colds and allergies
- Lung diseases and infections (especially chronic cough and asthma)
Gua means ‘to rub’ or ‘friction’ and is an ancient home remedy. Oils with special blends of Chinese herbs are applied to the area to be treated and a small tool is used (often I use a spoon or jar lid) to gently rub or scrape the skin, creating friction. This produces the same red/purple marks (sha) produced by the cupping technique but doesn’t take as long to fade. Gua Sha is beneficial for:
- Pain, stiffness and muscle tension (and may be used to treat areas that are difficult to access with cups, such as the cervical neck)
- Colds, allergies and flu’s
- Sore throats and ear infections
- Upper respiratory problems
- Digestive issues
Gua Sha is considered to be an ‘adaptogenic’ technique in that it warms if cold, mimics sweating and cools if hot, strengthens deficiency, and releases excesses.
* With both cupping and gua sha techniques, the color noted on the skin and rate of fading are diagnostic.
TDP (mineral) lamps
This is far infrared (below visible light) lamp. Its emissions improve circulation and loosens fascia to help warm areas, alleviate pain, and accelerate the healing process. It provides healing warmth and comfort and I often utilize these lamps in conjunction with other treatment modalities.
Tui Na is Oriental bodywork therapy that employs Chinese medicine theories of channel flow and utilizes acupressure to stimulate points along these channels. Unlike Western bodywork, this type of massage is dynamic, actively invigorating Qi flow through channels and meridians to relieve stress, strengthen the body, improve circulation and relieve pain. Oils, liniments and/or poultices may be used during these sessions.
Auricular Treatment (Ear Seeding/Acupuncture)
The ear, like so many areas on our bodies, is yet another microsystem. The whole body is represented on the ear. By visually and physically inspecting the ear, I can diagnose both acute and chronic issues. I often will 'seed' the ears during your appointment. This is another way to enhance treatment, as these seeds remain for 3-5 days. It's like taking your treatment home with you!
Chinese herbal medicine is well researched and dates back hundreds-sometimes thousands of years. Custom herbal formulas can be tailored to each individual and can address both acute symptoms and their more chronic root cause. Herbs can be taken internally or used topically. For the greatest healing effect, herbs are combined with acupuncture treatments, but they can be used successfully independently.