Acupuncture is the insertion of thin, solid needles into either local areas of pain or at distal points that access various internal and external regions of the body.
Acupuncture needles are about as thick as a hair at around .22mm. They are referred to as filiform needles meaning they are solid. They are different than hypodermic needles which are hollow, like the needles used to inject medicine or draw blood.
In America we use disposable needles to guarantee safety
from hiv/aids contagion. Once
the diagnosis is made and a treatment plan is in place the client will lie on a table either face up, face down or on their side whichever best facilitates comfort and the areas to be treated.
Commonly, some disrobing is necessary, but you will be draped appropriately. The sensation provided by acupuncture ranges from a dull heavy sensation around the needle site to a mild electrical sensation that goes as quickly as it comes.
Most people are surprised by what they don't feel when getting acupuncture. Once the needles are placed the whole experience is quite relaxing and will often leave people feeling euphoric for
a period afterwards.
Cupping is the use of a vaso-pneumatic device, or suction cup applied to the skin.
There are several methods of doing this. Historically, bamboo cups were boiled in water, removed and quickly placed on the skin. The heat creates a seal between the skin and bamboo cup causing a vacuum that draws the soft skin tissue up into the cup.
Today's practitioners use small glass jars with a flaming cottonball placed in the cup, then removed, and the cup is placed on the skin. The heat removes the oxygen within the cup and seals against the body causing a vacuum to occur.
The most modern method uses a hand pump style cup to create the vacuum.
Regardless, all methods are quite effective in promoting blood circulation, relieving inflammation and softening muscles and connective tissue.
People find this therapy very comfortable and quite relaxing.
When the cups are removed there will be some marks that will range from redness on the skin to an almost bruise-like marking. This will disappear on its own in 1-5 days.
Gua Sha is a therapy which uses repeated strokes over lubricated skin with a smooth-edged object. People have used coins, spoons, jade and even animal horns for this.
The object is placed against
the skin and with some pressure is moved along muscle pathways. This causes extravasation of blood in the superficial capillaries and usually results in discoloring
and redness along the treated area which will fade within
1-3 days. Through pressure and light friction this superficial blood is drawn toward the skin and fresh blood fills in underneath.
This therapy is very effective
in providing instant pain relief in some cases and helps to establish lasting circulation within the areas treated.
Tui Na is a form of massage developed in China. It uses principles of martial arts and physical medicine to restore balance within the body.
The practitioner may knead, roll, press or rub affected areas and also use motion, traction and stimulation of acupuncture points using acupressure.
These techniques can aid in
the treatment of both acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions. Tui Na is commonly used in conjunction with acupuncture.
Chinese herbal medicine has been used for centuries to
treat a variety of internal and external disorders. There are many medicinals that have been proven to be effective in treating pain directly through promotion of blood circulation, reduction in inflammation and curing infection.
Herbal medicine can also be used to treat many of the secondary effects commonly associated with pain, including but not limited to insomnia, depression, constipation and digestive issues.
CHINESE HERBAL MEDICINE
©Michael Johnston, LAc, MSOM, 2013. WEBSITE DESIGN: FARM Creative