Acupuncture originates from China and has been practiced there for thousands of years. The practice of acupuncture consists of inserting fine, solid, packaged/disposable needles into selected body locations (acupuncture points). Classic texts describe 365 points located in systematic fashion on meridians that are mapped onto the surface of the body.
Cupping involves placing glass, bamboo or plastic jars on the skin and creating a vacuum by suctioning out the air. The underlying tissue is raised, or sucked, partway into the cup. The purpose of cupping is to enhance circulation, help relieve pain, remove “heat” and pull out the toxins that linger in your body’s tissues.
Electroacupuncture is quite similar to traditional acupuncture in that the same points are stimulated during treatment. As with traditional acupuncture, needles are inserted on specific points along the body. The needles are then attached to a device that generates continuous electric pulses using small clips. These devices are used to adjust the frequency and intensity of the impulse being delivered. It has been effectively used as a form of anesthesia; as a pain reliever for muscle spasms; and a treatment for neurological disorders.
Gua Sha is a modality used across Asia both in the clinic and in the home and now in the West. It is defined as instrument-assisted unidirectional press-stroking of a lubricated area of the body surface to intentionally create transitory therapeutic petechiae called ‘sha’ representing extravasation of blood in the subcutis. Raising sha removes blood stagnation considered pathogenic in traditional East Asian Medicine. Modern research shows that it produces an anti inflammatory effect and relief from pain, stiffness, fever, chills and cough.
Massage therapy is manual manipulation of soft body tissues (muscle, connective tissue, tendons and ligaments) to enhance a person’s health and well-being. Tui Na Massage is a form of Chinese Medicine that focuses on acupuncture points and meridian pathways.
Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese Medicine technique that involves the burning of mugwort, a small, spongy herb, to facilitate healing. Moxibustion has been used throughout Asia for thousands of years. The purpose of Moxibustion is to strengthen the blood, stimulate the flow of qi, and maintain general health.
We will review your Health History Questionnaire which includes a discussion of chief complaints, current and past health concerns and review of systems. The first visit will also include a discussion of findings, followed by the acupuncture treatment. Depending on the issues presented, the session may also include Acu-pressure, Electro-Acupuncture, Reflexology, Tui Na Massage, Gua Sha, Cupping, and Moxibustion. The needles are retained for a minimum of 20 minutes and maximum 40 minutes. The initial session is roughly one hour and fifteen minutes and follow up sessions are one hour.
After the initial session we will discuss a care plan which includes the number of treatments to achieve the best results. Typically 4 to 20 sessions are suggested for maximum results depending on how chronic and severe the condition is.
Acupuncture has the following benefits:
Provides drug-free pain relief.
Effectively treats a wide range of acute and chronic ailments.
Treats the underlying cause of disease and illness as well as the symptoms.
Provides a holistic approach to the treatment of illness.
In general, acupuncture is painless. I use tiny, hairlike needles equivalent to the thickness of a cat whisker. The needles are pre-sterilized, stainless steel and disposable. A guide tube allows quick painless insertion. Approximately 40 acupuncture needles (40 gauge) will fit into the tip of an 18-gauge hypodermic needle.
Neurology & Brain Function:
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the human brain before and after acupuncture treatment of pain shows dramatic decreases in brain activity — up to 70%. The decrease in brain activity associated with pain impulses diminishes painful sensations and increases a patient’s tolerance for pain.
Endocrine Involvement & Inter-cellular Communication:
In the realm of blood chemistry, acupuncture stimulates the secretion of naturally-occurring opiate substances (endorphins, enkephalins, and dynorphins). These substances act on the central nervous system to block and modulate pain of both musculoskeletal and visceral (organ) origin. Acupuncture stimulates local and systemic secretion of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which promote relaxation and a sense of well-being, thereby contributing to pain-relief. Research shows that acupuncture can inhibit pro-inflammatory cytokines (molecular messengers between cells), reducing neuropathic pain. This study shows that acupuncture inhibits pro-inflammatory cytokines in patients with chronic headache. Studies also show that acupuncture influences leukocyte and lymphocyte levels, which, together with cytokine inhibition, can help fight infection and boost immune response.
Autonomic Nervous System Changes:
Acupuncture has been shown to enhance the generation of nitric oxide, which in turn, increases blood circulation, leading to decreased inflammation and increased healing. In one study, acupuncture was shown to increase blood flow in the sciatic nerve, relieving pain & improving the gait of horses suffering from lumbar spinal stenosis. Acupuncture increases blood flow in muscles, leading to decreased inflammation and increased tissue repair.
Other Pain Relief Mechanisms:
The neurogate theory, tested on this study on rats, says that fibers that are stimulated by acupuncture could prevent pain input into the spinal cord. The Diffuse Noxious Inhibitory Control Theory says that by providing a noxious stimulation (i.e. a non-painful stimulation by an acupuncture needle), the body responds by changing the signals it receives from the painful area being treated. You experience this when you bump your elbow, and it hurts less when you rub it.
The World Health Organization (WHO) listed the following conditions, shown through controlled trials, to be treated effectively by Acupuncture:
Peri-arthritis of the shoulder
Sciatica/ Low Back Pain