About Acupuncture

Acupuncture is part of a comprehensive holistic health care system including bodywork such as gua sha, acupressure, cupping, nutritional therapy, movement therapy, and herbal medicine. It promotes natural healing, and supports physical and emotional health.

Vital energy flows through pathways we call meridians. There are fourteen meridians throughout the body, and each of these is connected to organs and glands. Meridian pathways are like rivers flowing inside the body. Where a river flows, it transports life-giving water that provides nourishment to the land, plants and people. Similarly, where meridian pathways flow, they bring nourishment to every cell, organ, gland, tissue and muscle in the body. An obstruction to the flow of vital energy acts like a dam; as energy becomes backed up in one part of the body, the flow becomes restricted in other parts. This blockage can be detrimental to a person’s health, cutting off nourishment to the body, organs and glands.

How is our health disrupted?

Physical and emotional trauma, stress, lack of movement, too much movement, seasonal changes, poor diet, and injuries are among the many things that can influence the quality, quantity and balance of vital energy. Normally, when an imbalance occurs, the body easily bounces back, returning to a state of health and well-being. However, when this disruption is prolonged or excessive, or if the body is in a weakened state, illness, pain, or disease can set in.

What does an acupuncturist do?

During the initial exam a health history is taken, and we discuss your symptoms, diet, and lifestyle. If you have recently had lab work done elsewhere, please bring a copy, the results are helpful for the provider. We feel your pulse, observe your tongue, then make a diagnosis and treatment plan. We address your current symptoms as well as the root of the imbalance in your body.

Acupuncture is the gentle insertion of tiny, disposable, sterile needles. Points are selected to regulate the vital energies of the body. What do we mean by regulate? Many health problems manifest as excess or deficient, with symptoms of heat, cold, dryness, excess phlegm or fluids, stagnation, or pain. Acupuncture treats symptoms while getting to the root of the problem as well.

Topical treatments such as fire-cupping, gua sha, and the use of moxa (the herb Artemis Vulgaris or Mugwort) are used in conjunction with acupuncture. Cupping and gua sha address deep-seated obstructions within the muscles and adjacent tissues to help eliminate pain, expand movement, improve blood circulation, improve organ function, and clear the lungs.

Fire-Cupping involves applying a glass cup with suction over an area where there is muscle pain, decreased sensation, coldness, or limited movement. Cupping moves blockage in the tissues that have developed as a result of injury, illness, or poor circulation. The suction restores adequate blood flow to the area, accelerating the healing process after an injury or illness. Cupping is also used in early stages of colds and respiratory infections to assist in clearing the pathogen from the body.

Gua Sha is a technique in which an oil is applied to the skin where there is pain or limited function. Then a flat edged gua sha tool is rubbed over the area with pressure, releasing tight, painful, numb, contracted muscles and tendons. Gua sha can also be used to release congestion from the lungs.

Moxa is used externally to warm the body, invigorate blood flow, and dispel dampness and cold. We also regularly use it to help turn a breech position fetus! Two forms are used: the smokeless stick, and indirect moxa applied to the needle handle. For the person who is often cold, moxa is a wonderfully soothing treatment.

Electro-Acupuncture is the application of a pulsating electric micro-current to acupuncture needles. It was developed in China as an extension of hand manipulation of acupuncture needles around 1934.

Herbal Medicine is the use of plant seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark, flowers, mineral, and animal objects for medicinal purposes. Chinese herbal medicine usually consists of combining two or more herbs into formulas instead of using single herbs. While the scientific study of herbs began just over two centuries ago, modern doctors of CM use herbal formulas which were created, recorded, and effectively used thousands of years ago.

We order lab tested and organic herbs as much as possible. Herbs are tested for authenticity, heavy metals, pesticides, preservatives, and micro-bacteria. They are processed using Traditional Methods at PIC/S-GMP certified plant (Pharmaceutical Inspection Cooperation Scheme-Good Manufacturing Practice). Herbs are available in capsule, powders that are made into a tea, and some liquid herb extracts. We are happy to make custom herbal formulas for our patients.