The meridians themselves have particular characteristics and locations depending on the organ they refer to. There are 14 main meridians that in total have 361 acupuncture points. When an individual comes for treatment, the acupuncturist will take an in-depth medical history and ask questions that a typical Western Medicine practitioner would probably never ask, such as questions about sleep, bowel movement, urination, menstrual symptoms (if female) and emotional state to name a few. The acupuncturist will also look at an individual’s tongue and feel the pulse in three specific locations on both wrists. The acupuncturist will also observe an individual’s coloring, eyes, lips, nails, and ask about any unusual markings on the body. The medical history and the acupuncturist’s observations will provide a means for the acupuncturist to select points on the body for treatment.
Each person’s experience with acupuncture will be different than the next and the number of visits an individual will need depends on how long an individual has had a certain condition. The sooner you come for treatment when a symptom manifests, the quicker you will get better. However, acupuncture should never be a substitute for seeking medical attention from a physician. It is recommended that you see your doctor before you come for acupuncture.
There are so many ways you will benefit from acupuncture. Many individuals report a sense of deep relaxation, improved sleep, reduction or elimination of pain, improved digestion, more energy and a sense of well being. There have been numerous studies indicating its usefulness and efficacy in adult postoperative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting, postoperative dental pain, addiction, stroke rehabilitation, headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and asthma.
Cupping therapy has been around for centuries and has been used by many cultures as a therapeutic treatment for all types of health conditions.
Cupping therapy is often used by acupuncturists to promote blood and lymph flow in order to promote healing. Or, as we would say in our profession to release “sha” which can be interpreted as stagnant qi and blood and to allow new blood and lymph to flow into the area. I often use this therapy for respiratory problems such as cold/flu, asthma, allergies as well as for areas of pain and stiffness such as the back, neck, shoulders, legs.
A vacuum is created in cups made of glass or plastic and placed on areas of the skin where there is pain to create a suction reaction. Cups can be of various sizes depending on the part of the body that is being worked on.
The cups are often moved up and down to create a massage-like feeling. There can be some discomfort, but mostly people report a feeling of “it hurts so good”. After the cups are removed, there can be circles of redness or even bruising depending on the severity of the person’s health condition. These red marks or bruising typically clear up in a few days and are nothing to be alarmed about.
Microlight Electro-Acupuncture (MEA) is a unique treatment system for pain relief, injury rehabilitation and facial rejuvenation. Modern bio-medical research and traditional Chinese Medicine agree that energetic blockages are the root of pain and inflammation. MEA was developed according to the principles of Chinese Medicine by Dr. Darren Starwynn, O.M.D. MEA therapy works by balancing and unblocking the internal energy pathways of the body.
Special probes apply colored light and microcurrent to selected acupuncture points and regions of pain. The microcurrents are electrical currents in the millionth of amp levels so gentle that most people say they don’t even feel them. This is different from most other electrical stimulation devices as there is no discomfort to you.
MEA is a therapy that can be used instead of acupuncture needles and I often use it for those who say they are afraid of needles. Because it is so gentle and safe, it is a great way for young children to get acupuncture without the needles.
Moxibustion is an herbal heat therapy that is typically administered in conjunction with acupuncture. There are typically two types of moxibustion: direct and indirect.
Indirect moxibustion refers to the burning of moxa (which is the herb mugwort) an inch or two above the skin. This is often done with a moxa stick, which is processed mugwort compressed into a stick about the size of a cigar. This stick is lit at one end and held above the skin, usually an area of pain, bringing mild warmth to the area without burning the skin. The intensity of the heat is adjusted to the patient’s comfort level.
Direct moxibustion refers to moxa burned on the skin usually directly on acupuncture points or painful reactive points. In my practice I typically do rice grain moxibustion which refers to using pieces of moxa the size of rice grains. Even though the moxa is burned directly on the skin, the skin is typically not burned because an ointment is put on the area to protect the skin. In addition, the moxa grain is usually extinguished before it burns down to the skin level.
The theory behind moxibustion is that it helps to stimulate qi (energy) and blood flow in the area to allow healing to take place. As a result, moxibustion can help to reduce both pain and inflammation.