Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
Chinese Medicine is a comprehensive system that includes acupuncture and herbal medicine, as well as manual bodywork therapies such as tuina and gua sha. Chinese cultures have been using this form of medicine for several thousand years. In fact, until the early 1900s, traditional Chinese Medicine was the only available healing art for the people of China and other East Asian cultures. As a result, a complete and full spectrum system has evolved, capable of treating the entire range of human health conditions. Today, Chinese Medicine is often used as an adjunct or complement to western medicine when the latter carries too many side effects or is ineffective.
Chinese Medicine has been exhaustively researched in the past several decades to confirm its efficacy and safety. As a result of this research:
The World Health Organization now recognizes over 100 conditions in which it recommends acupuncture. Several branches of the U.S. Military have adopted ear acupuncture as an acute pain treatment on the battlefield. The most prestigious health clinics in the country, including the Mayo Clinc, The Cleveland Clinc, and Swedish Medical Center, have incorporated acupuncture into their standard treatment protocols.
Acupuncture consists of the insertion of sterile stainless steel hair-like needles into the skin at one of over 2,000 specific locations (points) on the body. The points of insertion initiate physiologic processes in the body that facilitate the resolution of a particular condition. The actions can be very specific at some points, such as increasing stomach acid secretion, or very general, such as creating calm, or decreasing pain. Modern research has identified several pathways that are activated by acupuncture that explain many of its actions, such as the release of endorphins, the production of nitric oxide, the initiation of a descending pain inhibition signal from the brain, and local vasodilation at the site of treatment. We cannot yet however, thoroughly explain all the benefits of acupuncture with our current understanding of the body. In order to minimize discomfort and risk of injury, we only use single use, disposable needles.
Can't stand needles, but want to try acupuncture? Acupuncture without needles includes acupressure and shiatsu as these are techniques using palpation that move the energy within the meridian channels. There are other techniques developed that affect the meridians in Chinese Medicine through the use of sound and vibration. Sound forks or tuning forks are specifically calibrated to use for the acupuncture points to affect the energetic patterns in the meridians.