Acupuncture is a powerful form of healing and part of a system of healthcare practices dating back more than 5000 years. Its ancient roots can be traced to China. The foundation of this form of medicine is based on the ancient Taoist principles of Yin and Yang, the transformation of energies within the body as well as external environment to achieve balance. Acupuncture uses the application of needles to stimulate various points on meridians on the body that facilitate the movement of Qi also known as “life force”. Stimulating these points helps bring the body into balance by activating and supporting the immune system thereby increasing the body’s ability to heal itself. This is also known as homeostasis.
1. Using a guide tube pre-sterilized disposable needles are gently inserted in an acupuncture point along a meridian.
2. The acupuncture needle is stimulated to obtain “Qi” sensation. Sensations vary from heaviness, warmth, “dull achiness”, numb or tingling in the area of insertion.
3. Another acupuncture point is carefully palpated before needle insertion.
4. Patient experiences deep relaxation during acupuncture treatment.
Styles and Techniques
Japanese Style acupuncture in particular the teachings of Kiiko Matsumoto, focuses on Hara diagnosis (palpation of the abdomen) and palpation of the meridians to determine which acupuncture points to needle. The use of moxibustion, ion pumping cords and pachi pachi may be used stimulate acupuncture points and promote the flow of Qi.
Traditional Chinese acupuncture uses various diagnostic methods for determining which acupuncture points to use. These include tongue and pulse diagnosis and meridian palpation. The use of moxabustion and cupping may also be used in conjunction with needles.
American Style referring to APM (Acupuncture Physical Medicine) a protocol developed by Dr. Mark Seem founder of Tri-State College of Acupuncture. Uses classical acupuncture and Western physical medicine to focus on the individuals unique holding pattern. Trigger point style needling is used on tender points to release of myofascial constrictions. This is especially effective with musculo-skeletal, tendino muscular problems, chronic and acute injuries.
Moxibustion: the use of an herb (mugwort) that is burned directly or indirectly on the acupuncture point warming the area, promoting circulation and the flow of Qi. Moxa can be used with needles or alone. Its affects are warming and soothing.
Cupping: is a therapy in which a jar or glass cup is attached to the surface of the skin creating a suction. This brings congested stagnant Qi and blood towards the surface promoting free flow of Qi and blood. In ancient times cupping method was called “horn method” because an animal horn was used.
Gua Sha: Is a frictioning/scraping technique used bring “Sha” to the skin surface. “Sha” is congestion under the skin surface and in the tissue below that causes pain and stiffness. Gua Sha is applied with a rounded tool, this could be a soup spoon, a buffalo horn made for this purpose or a metal lid. When “Sha” comes to the surface there is a warm feeling and the skin will have reddish discoloration and petichia. This is not painful and the redness disappears in a day or so.