ACUPUNCTURE & DRY NEEDLING
Fine needles are commonly inserted into very precise acupuncture points at depths of a ¼ to an inch deep or deeper depending on the location, such as the sciatic nerve. Depth of insertion will depend on nature of the condition being treated, the patients' size, age, and constitution. There may also be application of heat or electrical stimulation when necessary.
The classical Chinese explanation is that channels or meridians of energy run in regular patterns through the body and can be accessed at the surface of the skin. These energy pathways, are like rivers flowing through the body to irrigate and nourish the tissues. Any obstruction in the movement of these energy rivers is like a dam that backs up, reducing lines of communication. Each merdian and its branches have a relationship both internally and externally. Balance is achieved through the acupuncture points, which have the ability to unblock the stagnant energy rivers. In turn, keeping the line of communication between our nervous system and cells of our body unimpeded. Therefore acupuncture treatment can help internal organs to correct imbalances in their digestion, blood circulation, hormones, energy production and other biological activities.
Modern scientific research explains that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to improve lymphatic and blood circulation. It will also promote the release chemicals triggering the body’s natural biofeedback system. These chemicals will either help to reduce pain, or release other chemicals and hormones, which effect reproduction, sleep patterns, digestion, heart rate, and mental stability, to name a few. The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body's natural healing, defense regulating mechanisms, and in promoting physical and emotional well-being.
Acupuncture is a method of encouraging the body’s innate healing abilities to improve physiological function.
Dry needling, also known as Ashi needling, is actually one of the earliest forms of acupuncture.
It involves the needling of trigger points or exact areas of pain. Unlike other acupuncture modalities, it does not require further diagnosis. The patient will typically describe and point to the area of musculoskeletal pain. Once the area is determined through palpation, muscle and range of motion testing, many needling techniques and patterns of needle stimulation can be applied. The patient will notice a decrease in pain and improved range of motion over time, dependent on the chronic or acute nature of the issue.
More than three hundred herbs that are commonly used today have a history of use that goes back at least 2,000 years. Since that time, clinical studies show that these herbs, and others can greatly increase the effectiveness of modern drug treatments, reduce their side-effects, and sometimes replace them completely.
Herbal medicine treats the underlying causes of illness rather than the associated symptoms. Each herb has many different properties which interact with both the person taking them as well as the other herbs in the formula. They act in the same way as acupuncture in that the goal is to regain balance in the body’s ecosystem. Only, herbal medicines introduce a material substance that counter acts the effects of the imbalances that can occur in the body. Each herb has a thermal nature, a flavor, specific organs it acts upon and a direction in which it moves, and all must be balanced with precision to achieve their desired outcome.
After an initial consult, when a diagnosis and pattern of disharmony has been understood, we apply a holistic approach to the use of herbs. Taking into consideration the many dynamics of the human condition, addressing the physical, emotional and spiritual imbalances. A formula is then individually created to stimulate the body’s innate healing powers. On occasion, a standard, over-the-counter herbal medicinal can be prescribed. This will typically be administered in pill form with pre-formulated dosing in less complex cases. As most cases tend to be multi-layered we adhere to design custom-made formulas for each individual. Meaning that no two formulas are alike. This focus on individualization allows the herbalist to prescribe a recipe based on the patient’s most important needs. While at the same time addressing the fundamental supporting factors that allow for physiological changes to occur. Just as importantly it takes into consideration any possible interactions with prescribed medications.
As a general rule, the timeline for treatment will vary depending on whether or not the ailment is acute or chronic in nature. Typically, acute cases are treated within a span of 1 to 30 days (eg. flu, herpes virus, stomach flu, food poisoning, musculoskeletal injury, etc.). For chronic cases (anything that has persisted for several months or years) it may take 6 to 12 months or less as long the necessary steps have been taken (eg. change in diet, lifestyle, stress lowering exercises, change in toxic environment exposure etc.). In some cases, herbs are taken daily, for an indefinite period, just as some drugs are taken daily. This is typically the situation when there are genetic disorders or permanent damage that cannot be entirely reversed, problems of aging, and ailments that have been left for too long without effective treatment.
DRY & WET CUPPING
“Where there’s stagnation, there will be pain. Remove the stagnation, and you remove the pain.”
The traditional medical model recognized that pain results from congestion, stagnation, and blockage of energy, vital fluids, lymph, phlegm, and blood. Dry or wet cupping is therefore a method of breaking up the blockage to restore the body’s natural flow of energy, blood and fluids. In dry cupping, the therapist will simply place the suction cups on the skin along the effected areas. In wet cupping, the practitioner will sterilize and prick the skin, then apply the suction cup to draw out small amounts of blood. This procedure is useful to relieve pain associated with sprains and strains, as well as to reduce fever. If larger areas need to be addressed then "glide" cupping is useful. An essential oil or other topical ointment is applied to create a frictionless surface. The cup(s) are then moved about to promote circulation.
The suction and negative pressure provided by cupping can decompress the myofascial layer thereby loosening muscles, encourage blood flow, and sedate the nervous system. Cupping is used to relieve back and neck pains, stiff muscles, anxiety, fatigue, migraines, rheumatism, and even cellulite. In the past it was frequently used to dispel pus from sites of infection. Cupping is one of the best deep-tissue therapies available. It is thought to affect tissues up to four inches deep from the external skin. Toxins can be released, blockages can be cleared, and veins and arteries can be refreshed, thereby detoxifying the skin and circulatory system. In other instances it used to clear congestion in the lungs due to the common cold or asthma.
While cupping is considered relatively safe, it can cause some swelling and bruising on the skin. As the skin under a
cup is drawn up, the blood vessels at the surface of the skin expand. This may result in small, circular bruises on the areas where the cups were applied. These bruises are usually painless, however, and disappear within a few days of treatment. In addition, there are several instances where cupping should not be performed. Patients with inflamed skin; cases of high fever or convulsions; and patients who bleed easily, are not suitable candidates for cupping. Pregnant women should not have cupping on their stomach or lower back. If the cups are being moved, they should not cross bony areas, such as the ridges of the spine or the shoulder blades.