What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a medical therapy encouraging the body to promote natural healing and improve function. It is one form of therapy used within the coherent system of healing known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM is a complete medical system unto itself. Acupuncture is done by inserting very fine sterilized, stainless-steel needles into specific points located on the surface of the skin in order to treat a wide variety of illnesses. TCM views a person as an energy system in which body and mind are unified, each influencing and balancing the other. Unlike Western medicine which attempts to isolate and separate a disease from a person, Chinese Medicine emphasizes a holistic approach that treats the whole person.
How does acupuncture work?
TCM explanation: The life energy (Qi) flowing through the body can be influenced by stimulating specific points on the body. These points are located along channels of energy known as meridians that connect all of our major organs. Illness arises when the cyclical flow of Qi in the meridians becomes unbalanced or is blocked.
Western explanation: The stimulation of acupoints can alter various biochemical and physiological conditions. These points are areas of designated electrical sensitivity. By needling these points, various sensory receptors are stimulated, and in turn, nerves are stimulated to transmit impulses to the hypothalamic-pituitary system at the base of the brain. This system is responsible for releasing neurotransmitters and endorphins. Endorphins play an essential role in the functioning of the hormonal system and are body's natural pain-killing hormones. This is why acupuncture works well for back pain and arthritis and also for P.M.S. Acupuncture not only relaxes the entire body; the substances released as a result of acupuncture also regulate serotonin in the brain which plays a role in human and animal disposition. This is why depression is often treated with acupuncture. Other physiological effects observed include increased circulation, decreased inflammation, pain relief, and increased T-cell count which stimulates the immune system.
Cupping is a technique where glass cups are warmed using a cotton ball or other flammable substance, which is soaked in alcohol, let, then placed inside the cup. Burning a substance inside the cup removes all the oxygen, which creates a vacuum.
The vacuum created by the lack of oxygen anchors the cup to the skin and pulls it upward on the inside of the glass as the air inside the jar cools.
Drawing up the skin is helps to open up the skin’s pores, which helps to stimulate the flow of blood, balances and realigns the flow of qi, breaks up obstructions, and creates an avenue for toxins to be drawn out of the body. Cupping is used for many conditions including; back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, common colds and influenza.
Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the burning of mugwort, a small, spongy herb, to facilitate healing. Moxibustion has been used throughout Asia for thousands of years.
In traditional Chinese medicine, moxibustion is used on people who have a cold or a stagnant condition. The burning of moxa either on a needle or a moxa stick, roughly the shape and size of a cigar, to expel cold and warm the meridians, which leads to smoother flow of blood and qi. In Western medicine, moxibustion has successfully been used to turn breech babies into a normal head-down position prior to childbirth.
When our mind, emotions and body are blocked, depleted or used improperly, our sense of harmonious balance disappears, giving rise to all the symptoms of illness. Acupuncture can assist the body in healing itself by clearing the blockages and restoring healthy flow.
Many conditions respond to acupuncture, especially those that are stress related, painful or when the body's functioning has become imbalanced.