Acupuncture is an ancient therapy for restoring balance to the body's natural energy systems. Acupuncture theory is based on the concept of qi and teaches that the life force energy in our bodies - Qi - circulates through energy channels or meridians. Qi is the power or force that fuels and drives both body and mind functions. Acupuncture works by inserting very fine sterilized disposable acupuncture needles into
meridians (the channels of energy). An acupuncturist can stimulate the body's own healing response and help restore its natural balance/homeostasis. As the energy of each organ travels to and affects different areas of the body, an acupuncturist may needle an area apparently unrelated to the location of the symptoms. By leaving the needles in for approximately 20 minutes, a circuit of energy will be created which will help to correct any imbalance, thereby bringing relief to the patient.
An acupuncturist can identify 12 internal organs, each having a corresponding meridian or channel through which the Qi of the organ flows. The flow of Qi can be disturbed by a number of factors including; emotional upset, physical trauma, poor diet or overwork. Blocked Qi can manifest itself in areas that are painful or are particularly cold or hot, or a different colour. These signs can help an acupuncturist determine which points are most suitable. Treating the patient as an individual is at the core of the acupuncture treatment and it this that helps allow the body to rebalance itself.
Does an acupuncture treatment hurt?
Acupuncture needles are metallic, solid, and hair-thin. People experience acupuncture differently, but most feel no or minimal pain as the needles are inserted. Your acupuncturist will be using needles that are very fine and flexible. The needles are usually inserted only to a few millimeters. The experience is usually very relaxing and you may feel a heavy sensation in your limbs.
Acupuncture can have side effects such as local bruising, minor bleeding, fainting, some pain or discomfort, and the possible temporary aggravation of symptoms existing before treatment.
Cupping is an ancient method in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to remove stagnation and stimulate the flow of Qi & Blood. A partial vacuum is created in cups placed on the skin either by means of heat or suction, that uses small glass cups or bamboo/clay jars as suction devices that are placed on the skin. There are several ways that a practitioner can create the suction in the cups.
Generally, cupping is combined with acupuncture in one treatment, but it can also be used alone. The suction and negative pressure provided by cupping can loosen muscles, encourage blood flow, and sedate the nervous system. Cupping is used to relieve back and neck pains, stiff muscles, anxiety, fatigue, migraines, etc. Even hands, wrists, legs, and ankles can be applied with cups, thus applying the healing to specific organs that correlate with these points.
According to TCM, cupping can NOT be used over skin ulcers or to the abdominal or sacral regions of pregnant women.
Cupping will be applied by qualified practitioners with specific tools only.
MOXA (Moxibustion) is one of the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) therapies that consists of burning the dried leaf on or above specific points on the body. This herb is known as Aì yè (Artemisia argyi, or Chinese mugwort) in Chinese herbal medicine. It helps to warm areas of the body with the intention of stimulating circulation and lymphatic flow. It also helps to smooth the flow of Qi and blood and expel pathogenic influences.
In TCM, MOXA is used to treat heavy menstrual bleeding and uterine bleeding and to increase blood circulation to the pelvic area to treat menstrual pain. It successfully been used to turn breech babies into a normal head-down position before childbirth.
The MOXA stick (or cone) is usually applied for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. The contraindications for MOXA are heat syndrome of the excess type or fever due to Yin deficiency, and the abdominal and lumbosacral regions of pregnant women.
Auricular (ear acupuncture) involves the insertion of tiny needles on the ears. It is a diagnostic and treatment system based on normalizing the body's dysfunction through stimulation of definite points on the ear.
It is a microacupuncture technique similar to reflexology. It was speculated that the technique works because groups of pluripotent cells contain information from the whole organism and create regional organization centers representing different parts of the body. Nevertheless stimulation of a reflex point in the ear seems relieve symptoms of distant pathologies. In addition to improving general well-being, auricular acupuncture has been used successfully for many years to treat a wide range of health conditions and ailments, such as addiction, withdrawal symptoms, stress, anxiety, mood swings and heart problems, among others. Modern research is confirming the efficacy of auricular for analgesia and anxiety related disease.
Auricular is a low-risk treatment. A systematic review of adverse events reported in more than 40 published research papers found no serious adverse events. The most common minor side effects were dizziness, pain at the site of insertion, nausea, skin irritation, and minor bleeding.