Chinese medicine is a complete system of medicine that draws from a wide variety of modalities, such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, and more to address both chronic and acute medical conditions. While we use the term “Chinese medicine,” acupuncturists are generally trained in systems that incorporate insights from Japanese, Korean, and other Southeast Asian traditions going back many centuries. All are united by a common framework that looks at the body in a very different way than the conventional western framework many of us are familiar with.
There are a wide variety of ways to perform acupuncture – we prefer a more gentle method.
Acupuncture involves the gentle insertion of very fine, sterile needles into specific points on the body that have been determined over thousands of years of research and study to have positive effects on the body.
Most people do not find acupuncture painful. While there are different styles of acupuncture, some that utilize more stimulation, and some that utilize less stimulation, when done correctly there shouldn’t be a high level of discomfort for the patient. People may feel a slight sensation as the needle enters the skin, but sensations beyond that are usually described more as a dull ache. Mostly no sensation is felt. Once the needles are in, most of our patients feel a sense of deep relaxation, and even sleepiness!
Acupuncture also has adjunct therapies that use the same points on the body, but involve different applications, including cupping and moxa.
If a patient has severe needle phobia, there are plenty of alternatives. As stated above, cupping, moxibustion, and other therapies can be utilized to stimulate the acupuncture points to good effect without needles. While it is best to let your practitioner do the therapy that is going to be the most effective for your condition, nothing positive will be gained by great tension or fear on your part! Never hesitate to tell me about your concerns or experiences – your wellbeing is my number one concern.
Interested in what western science has discovered about acupuncture so far? The Acupuncture Evidence Project has completed a comparative literature review and found evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture for 117 conditions.
Moxibustion is often used when cold is at the root of a problem, and because of this, it is more common in chronic conditions – particularly those that involve a combination of pain and weakness, as in a long injured knee. That being said, moxa also has use in acute injuries and can be an important part of treatment in many cases of climber’s and tennis elbow.
Most people find moxa to be very pleasant, particularly in the winter months. The feeling is similar to being in front of a campfire. Moxibustion is an excellent choice for those who are uncomfortable with needles.
Moxibustion involves the use of a special preparation of an herb, Artemisia, and it is placed on or held near the body at specific points and burned. It is warming and produces a wonderful feeling of movement and nourishment. The burning material does not touch the skin, and we always practice moxa in a way that is within your comfort level.
This is an Asian form of bodywork that has become well known since several olympic athletes and celebrities have been seen with large red marks on their backs. These marks, though not suffered by everyone who gets cupping, are a somewhat common occurrence after a good cupping treatment.
Cupping feels like a nice focused, deep massage and promotes feelings of relaxation all over the body. It involves placing sterilized cups, typically made of glass, on bare skin and creating a vacuum between cup and skin. Cupping is often done on the back, but can also be done on the larger areas of the legs, the neck and even on the lower arms. It can easily be combined with other forms of bodywork, as well as acupuncture.
Chinese (and western) herbal medicine has been used for thousands of years to correct pathology, in contrast to conventional care, which is almost entirely focused on suppressing symptoms. We practice classical Chinese herbalism, rooted in the belief that true healing comes not from covering up symptoms, but by addressing the root cause.
Our bodies possess the innate ability to heal, and sometimes just need a little support in doing so. Herbal medicine is safe and effective for a wide range of acute and chronic conditions. It can be a stand alone treatment, but I find the fastest results occur when herbal medicine is combined with acupuncture and other modalities.
You can be assure that we are extremely selective about sourcing herbs, and only purchase from companies that conduct independent third party testing to ensure there are no pesticides, chemicals, or heavy metal contaminants. We take great care and precautions to make sure all of our herbal products adhere to the highest safety standards, and are environmentally ethical and sustainable, by having personal relationships with the manufacturers or suppliers.