Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
by Chad Bailey, A.P.
Around 3,000 B.C., the Chinese discovered the theory of "qi" or "chi" (pronounced chee), universal life energy and the flow of qi in the meridians or energy channels. Qi governs all functions including physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual energies. The proper flow of energy in the body creates health and wellness. The need for balancing of energy created the concept of Yin and Yang, the opposites and extremes.
As time passed the tree of Oriental Medicine came to encompass acupuncture, herbology, tui na massage, diet therapy, qi gong, moxa, gua sha, reflexology, ear candling, smudging, feng shui and taoist counseling.
These concepts were then adapted into Tui Na which is a type of massage, and Qi Gong which is method of breathing and exercise. As time progressed, points were found along the meridians where qi could be accessed. These points became the acupuncture points we use today. Around 200 B.C. the use of acupuncture to influence qi balance began. As time passed the tree of Oriental Medicine came to encompass acupuncture, herbology, tui na massage, diet therapy, qi gong, moxa, gua sha, reflexology, ear candling, smudging, feng shui and taoist counseling.
The following is a brief description of each of these aspects of Oriental Medicine, all of which you can experience as part of your healing at Shin Wellness.
Acupuncture is the use of small, thin needles to balance energy flow in the meridians or energy channels and their connecting organs. Energy can become blocked or stagnant requiring releasing needles. Weak energy requires strengthening or tonifying points. Excess energy needs dispersing needles. Acupuncture harmonizes this systemic energy and keeps it in balance through treatment and preventive maintenance.
Acupressure is acupuncture without the use of needles. Pressure is applied to the same points and like acupuncture, energy can be dispersed or strengthened. Many imbalances can be treated with acupressure. Children and fearful adults can receive treatment without any "needle anxiety".
Electro-Acupuncture is the use of subtle electric currents (microcurrent) thru the energy circuits of the body using leads connected to two acupuncture points. Often used to disperse hardenings like bone spurs, nodules, stones or scar tissue and relieving acute pain and inflammation.
Chinese Herbology is the use of natural plants, minerals and some animal products, ingested and used topically to internally balance systemic energy. Pills, powders, teas, plasters, linaments and oils are all used.
Acupuncture is the use of small, thin needles to balance energy flow in the meridians or energy channels and their con- necting organs.
Tui Na is an ancient system of bodywork consisting of soft tissue massage, manual manipulation and energywork. The soft tissue massage uses different conceptual hand techniques which can be applied in unlimited ways providing a unique and personal massage, not a protocol or pattern. The manipulation in Tui Na is subtle and gentle. Qi Gong is the energywork used in Tui Na.
Oriental Diet Therapy is an individualized way of looking at nutrition. Through the use of Food Combining, Proper Meal Times and Food Energetics, a personal way of eating and a wellness lifestyle are achieved.
Qi Gong (or Chi Kung) includes breathing, warm up exercises, energy sets, stretching, seated meditation and in some sets or forms, even intense exercise. Qi Gong can also be used for the healing of others. Meridian theory, basic acupressure and tui na often accompany qi gong.
Moxibustion or "Moxa" is the burning of the herb, Mugwort/ Artemisia Folium (Ai Ye) to warm specific points or general areas. Needle moxa, moxa cones, moxa sticks and the moxa box all warm areas, increase circulation of energy, blood, and other fluids, build Yang energy and generally promotes health.
Cupping is the use of small jars or cups attached to the skin with negative pressure or suction. Cupping promotes the free flow of energy and blood, dispels wind, cold and dampness, reduces pain and swelling, as well as drawing out deep blockages and toxins.
Gua Sha or Scraping uses the scraping of the skin and muscle with a smooth tool to disperse stagnation and release toxins. Po Som On oil is the traditional linament used for gua sha.
Chinese Reflexology is hand, foot and face massage which activates the eastern meridians and the western dermatones or "reflexes".
Ear Candling is the burning of conical candles placed in the ears to naturally open the ear canal and improve ear function.
Smudging is the burning of Sage, Moxa or other herbs to aromatically and spiritually cleanse a person, space or object.
Feng Shui or Environmental Balancing, literally means wind and water, is the use of energy principles to balance the home, workplace or recreational environment.
Taoist Philosophy and Counseling uses the principles of Taoism, which provides the basis for Oriental Medicine, as tools for self-awareness, self-improvement and self-discovery.
What can I expect from my treatment?
Treatments last about an hour and may involve any of the above treatments described with an emphasis on acupuncture, tui na massage and qi gong energywork. Depending upon your problem, a treatment cycle could be 3-12 treatments. Acupuncture is not painful but you may experience sensations. Herbal and dietary suggestions may also be made.
How can I prepare for my treatment?
Relax! Come to your treatment relaxed. Wear comfortable clothes. Remember any questions you might have. Leave time to adjust to the treatment afterwards!
What is acupuncture and Oriental Medicine good for?
These treatments balance the energies of each patient: physicaly, mentally, emotionally, socially and spiritually. The following is a list of conditions treated using Oriental Medicine: pain and injury (including sports medicine), headaches, insomnia, digestive difficulties, stress, anxiety, gynecological concerns, PMS, asthma, common colds, influenza, allergies, eye/ nose/ ear/ throat problems, pregnancy issues, fertility & impotence, pre & post surgery, fibromyalgia, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, menopause, stroke, fibroids, nodules, psoriasis & other skin conditions, HIV, Hepatitis, respiratory conditions, hormone imbalances, Autism, smoking/ drug/ alcohol detox, acu facelifts, and many more but most importantly, preventive maintenance!
The World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health recognize that acupuncture can be a helpful part of a treatment plan for many illnesses.
A partial list includes: addiction (such as alcoholism), asthma, bronchitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, constipation, diarrhea, facial tics, fibromyalgia, headaches, irregular periods, low back pain, menopausal symptoms, menstrual cramps, osteoarthritis, sinusitis, spastic colon (often called irritable bowel syndrome), stroke rehabilitation, tendonitis, tennis elbow, and urinary problems such as incontinence. You can safely combine acupuncture with prescription drugs and other conventional treatments, but it is important for your primary care physician to be aware of and monitor how your acupuncture treatment may be affecting your conventional therapies.
In addition to those listed above, they recommend acupuncture for sports injuries, sprains, strains, whiplash, neck pain, sciatica, nerve pain due to compression, overuse syndromes similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, pain resulting from spinal cord injuries, allergies, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), sore throat (called pharyngitis), high blood pressure, gastroesophageal reflux (felt as heartburn or indigestion), ulcers, chronic and recurrent bladder and kidney infections, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), infertility, endometriosis, memory problems, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, sensory disturbances, depression, anxiety, and other psychological disorders.