Using incredibly fine, single use, sterile needles to stimulate precise points on the body, acupuncture can regulate all of the body’s interconnected systems and promote natural healing and pain relief. Recognized as safe and effective medical treatment by the World Health Organization and the American National Institute of Health, acupuncture can help to resolve pain and illness, restore good health, and facilitate optimal wellbeing. Read More
Traditional Chinese medicine, has, over many centuries, mapped out a sophisticated network of channel pathways or meridians, along which the acupuncture points are distributed. While it is a common belief that these channels are invisible and have a metaphysical, energetic nature, they can actually be viewed as an interconnected network of physiological structures, which include blood vessels, nerves, muscles, fascia and connective tissue. There is an interrelationship between these channel structures and their corresponding functions, and a larger body of scientific research is developing that confirms many of these.
In Chinese medical theory, form and function are not viewed as being separate or distinct from each other, so in order to have a better understanding of this model, it is important to understand not only the localized channel structures, but also their region of influence. Modern computer imaging has revealed dynamic activity occurring in various regions of the brain with the insertion of acupuncture needles into specific points on the body. Additionally, many acupuncture points are located along nerve pathways and in regions of dense connective tissue that have been shown to illicit dynamic activity and physiological change over wider regions upon stimulation with acupuncture needles. Each point used in a single treatment may be selected for the specific physiological function it can influence or the region of the body it affects. Because acupuncture influences many physiological functions, its effects and usage is wide ranging. It can be used to treat a wide variety of ailments, both physical and emotional.
Frequently Asked Questions
If we use a neurological model to explain acupuncture, then we can view how stimulating specific points can treat the whole body. The nervous system extends nerve fibers from the spine that travel to the internal organs and all the way to the tips of the fingers and toes. If, for some reason, a nerve signal becomes diminished due to compression of a nerve at the spine, organ and/or muscle functions that are activated by signals from these nerve fibers can be affected. Inserting an acupuncture needle at specific points along the spine and at specific nerve receptors in the muscle tissue can improve the nerve signal. This increased nerve signal can help to improve organ and muscle function. Activating certain nerves can also enhance brain function, cause deep relaxation, and improve circulation and blood flow all the way to the extremities.
The basic thing to keep in mind is that when one part of the body is not functioning correctly, it can affect the entire body and mind. The adrenal glands, which are located on the kidneys, release hormones that change heart, digestive, and even brain function. This not only has a physical effect on the body, it also changes the way we think and process information. Therefore, treating a heart or digestive condition, or some type of psychological issue, may require treating the adrenals and kidneys. This is why Chinese Medicine views the body as a whole and does not dissect it into separate pieces. This is what is meant by the term ‘holistic medicine.’
While qi is commonly referred to as the body’s bio-energy, this idea does not provide a full or accurate explanation of the term. The word qì in Chinese language can take on many different meanings depending on the context. While it is most literally translated as matter-energy, steam or vapor, gas or air, it can also be used to refer to vitality or vital energy, spirit or vigor, the breath and respiration, one’s odor or smell, and one’s attitude, temperament, or morale. The term qi may also refer to the energy and strength that the body receives from food, among other things.
The extended meaning of qi can refer to many types of natural phenomena. It can include everything from the air we breathe to the blood that flows through our body. Its use in Chinese medical theory, however, can be complex and refer to substances and process (both physical and psychological) that may have no equivalent in Western medicine. Despite the many diverse applications and translations of the term qi, in Chinese medical terms, it is said to refer to a “concept of the finest matter believed to exist in all possible aggregate states, from air and steam or vapor to liquid and even solid matter.” It may also contain the meaning “that which fills the body”, “that which means life”, “finest matter influence”, or “influence”. Others may describe it as an idea relating to a process of change and transformation from one state to another, and it can also be defined as relationship and action, where form and function are indistinct and inseparable. As you can see, qi is not necessarily a fixed tangible thing or energy. These ideas have significant implications to healing.
The strength and/or movement of qi in the body can refer to the capacity of the body to transform and change, repair and restore, and thus heal. Therefore, when Chinese medical theory says that acupuncture regulates the body’s qi, what it is referring to is improving the body’s ability to properly regulate physiological function, transform, change, and resolve illness.
Example: When a doctor of Chinese medicine says that the digestive qi is weak and/or stagnant, this means that the ability of the stomach and intestines to break down and digest food (transform it from one state to another) is weak. If the motive ability of the stomach and intestines to move food along the gastrointestinal pathway is inhibited, gas, bloating, and nausea can occur. Poor function of the digestive system could also cause fatigue, as the body is not able to properly digest food and extract all the necessary nutrients. These nutrients and the energy and vitality they provide are also a type of qi. In this example, poor digestion could lead to decreased levels of energy and vitality. Chinese medicine would call this qi deficiency. In this instance, acupuncture and herbal medicine would be used to strengthen and regulate the qi of the digestive system and tonify the qi of the entire body. In western terminology, this is the same as saying that acupuncture and herbs would be used to improve the ability of the digestive system to break down and digest food and properly absorbed nutrients, providing vitality and energy and the necessary resources to repair and restore the body.
This is a very short introduction to qi. A more comprehensive article can be can be found in the articles section.
- For your first appointment, please fill out all required forms found under patient forms. Please fill out all sections as completely and accurately as possible.
- Try to wear or bring loose fitting, comfortable clothes to each session.
- Do not wear makeup if you can help it. This is especially important for your first visit as some important diagnostic indicators can be seen on the face.
- Do not wear perfume or cologne.
- Do not scrub your tongue.
- Bring copies of any important medical documents or lab work.
- Do not eat an unusually large meal immediately before or after your treatment.
- Do not over-exercise, or consume alcoholic beverages within 6 hours before or after the treatment.
- Plan your activities so that after the treatment you can get some rest, or at least not work too hard. This is especially important for the first few visits.
- Continue to take any prescription medicines as directed by your other doctors; however, certain drugs (especially opiates and recreational drugs) can interfere with the effectiveness of acupuncture treatments.
- Try to keep good mental or written notes of your response to the treatment and any changes. This is important for your doctor so that the follow-up treatments can be designed to best help you with your condition.
- Respiratory Disorders: emphysema, sinusitis, asthma, allergies, and bronchitis.
- Gastrointestinal Disorders: food allergies, peptic ulcer, chronic diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, gastrointestinal weakness, anorexia, and gastritis.
- Urogenital Disorders: stress incontinence, urinary tract infection, and sexual dysfunction.
- Gynecological Disorders: irregular menstruation, dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, infertility, menopause, and PMS.
- Disorders of the Bones, Muscles, Joints, and Nervous System: arthritis, migraine headaches, neuralgia, insomnia, dizziness, low back pain, neck, shoulder, and other joint pain.
- Circulatory Disorders: hypertension, angina, arteriosclerosis, and anemia.
- Emotional and Psychological Disorders: depression and anxiety.