Acupuncture is One of Life's Most Natural Wellness Treatments
Acupuncture is one of the world’s oldest continuously practiced health systems, dating back as many as 5,000 years. Today millions of people in the US, adults and children alike, receive acupuncture treatments each year to ease pain and address both acute and chronic physical, emotional and psychological conditions.
As the efficacy and benefits of acupuncture are increasingly recognized, more are seeking acupuncture as part of their preventive care to boost their immune systems and maintain greater overall health, well-being and vitality.
With relatively few if any side effects, acupuncture is used to restore balance and promote the body-mind-spirit’s tremendous natural healing capacity. By gently stimulating specific points on the body, acupuncturists seek to keep your Ch'i, sometimes translated as “vital energy” or “life force,” flowing smoothly and balanced throughout your entire body.
Acupuncture treatments are based on the philosophy of “Chi”. There are rivers of energy called “Chi” that circulate throughout the body. When these channels are flowing harmoniously a person feels in good all-around health. If a river’s Chi is dry, blocked, or overflowing due to anxiety or injury, a person may feel “out of sorts” or sick on a physical, mental, or spiritual level. Acupuncture activates and adjusts the flow of energy at specific points on the body, stimulating the body’s own curative ability to promote healing and to maintain health. In this sense, acupuncture is one of the most natural treatments you can seek out for healing.
When the flow of Ch'i is optimal, you experience vibrant health. When the flow is blocked or out of balance, your body sends you signals via pain, various symptoms of dis-ease, or both. Acupuncture considers the person as a whole, aiming to treat the presenting symptoms and resolve the underlying imbalance. A unique treatment plan that specifically addresses your individual needs and condition will be determined by your practitioner in partnership with you.
Most people experience no discomfort or a mild sensation as the hair-thin needles are inserted; some report mild tingling or a brief, dull ache.
Holy City Acupuncture uses pre-sterilized, single-use, disposable needles that are .18mm wide (literally, the width of 1 or 2 human hairs). The needles have a very fine endpoint and are not at all like the hypodermic needles used for injections or to draw blood, which are hollow, have a cutting edge, and are 5-10 times larger. For young children and needle-averse individuals, acupressure and other tools are an option.
Following treatment, most people report feeling relaxed, even blissful. Some feel more energized and focused or more grounded and centered.
is the oldest continuously practiced medical system in the world and is used by one third of the world's population as a primary health care system. It is likely that more people have been treated by Chinese medicine throughout history than by any other formalized system of medicine. Because of its relatively low cost and its noninvasive nature, acupuncture has become a highly popular form of complementary health care in the United States. The World Health Organization (WHO) has endorsed acupuncture treatment for over 40 conditions, including stress, digestive disorders, depression, allergies, sleeping disorders, addictions, headaches and menstrual disorders.
This highly effective system of medical care is based on natural laws which govern the movement of vital life giving energy, both in nature and in the body. This energy, called "Ch'i" (pronounced "chee"), moves through the body in precise channels supporting functions of the body, mind and spirit. When "Qi" is moving disharmoniously, imbalance begins to surface in the form of specific symptoms. To address the underlying cause of a condition, these symptoms are viewed in relationship to the totality of a person. The gentle insertion of hair thin needles at specific points along the channels of chi energy, help restore harmony. In the presence of this subtle yet profound intervention, symptoms often resolve and patients frequently experience renewed vitality.
Ch'i (pronounced “chee”) is a fundamental concept of Traditional Chinese Medicine. At its core, of Chinese medicine, is the philosophy that Ch'i flows throughout the body. Ch'i is loosely translated to ‘life force’ or 'vital energy' that is part of everything that is alive.
Where there is no Ch'i there is no life.
Ch'i helps to animate the body and protect it from illness, pain and disease. A person’s health is influenced by the quality, quantity and balance of Ch'i.
The Chinese character for Ch'i shows steam rising from a pot of cooking rice. In order to maintain health, we need to keep the ‘rice pot lid moving’ appropriately so that it does not get stuck closed or blown off.
Chi Steam/Energy Cooking Rice
Qi is circulated through specific pathways called meridians. There are 14 main meridian pathways throughout the body. Each is connected to specific organs and glands. Meridian pathways are like rivers transporting life-giving Qi to nourish and energize every cell organ gland tissue and muscle. When Qi flows freely throughout the body, one enjoys physical, mental and emotional well being. An obstruction of Qi anywhere in the body is like a dam, backing up the flow in one area and restricting it in other. This blockage can hinder the distribution of the nourishment that the body requires to function optimally.
How Does Qi Get Blocked?
Qi Stagnation (Qi blocked or not flowing very smoothly can arise from a number of causes. According to Chinese Medicine, health is achieved by maintaining the body in a "balanced state”. Disease is due to an internal imbalance of yin and yang. Yin represents cold, slow or passive aspect of a person, while yang represents hot, excited or active aspects. Health is achieved when there is a balance of yin and yang. If there is an imbalance it can lead to blockage in the flow of Qi. What this means is if you do not get enough rest or conversely if you do not get enough movement, it can contribute to your body’s energy not flowing smoothly. Another way Qi can get stuck is through emotional imbalances. When emotions are either repressed or not acknowledged they can get stuck. Frequently expressing emotions like over the top joy or overt displays of anger can exhaust Qi and cause it to become depleted and unable to move smoothly.
The body’s energy has a direction, which it should flow properly. Did you ever get angry and feel Qi rising to your head (maybe you got warm or red in the face)? This happens because the stuck Qi building up has to be released. It goes up to the head, and can cause migraine or tension headaches, and high blood pressure. Stomach Qi should move down, if it moves up then you can develop acid reflux. Other things such as cold, injury, poor diet, lack of exercise can cause Qi to get stuck.
The Theoretical Foundations of Chinese Medicine by Manfred Porkert
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. The purpose of moxibustion, as with most forms of traditional Chinese medicine, is to strengthen the blood, stimulate the flow of Ch'i, and maintain general health.Mugwort, also known as artemesia vulgaris or ai ye in Chinese, has a long history of use in folk medicine. Research has shown that it acts as an emmenagogue that is, an agent that increases blood circulation to the pelvic area and uterus and stimulates menstruation. This could explain its use in treating breech births and menstrual cramps.
There are two types of moxibustion: direct and indirect. In direct moxibustion, a small, cone-shaped amount of moxa is placed on top of an acupuncture point and lit, but is extinguished or removed before it burns the skin. The patient will experience a pleasant heating sensation that penetrates deep into the skin.In indirect moxibustion, a practitioner lights one end of a moxa stick, roughly the shape and size of a cigar, and holds it close to the area being treated for several minutes until the area turns red. Another form of indirect moxibustion uses both acupuncture needles and moxa. A needle is inserted into an acupuncture point and retained. The tip of the needle is then wrapped in moxa and ignited, generating heat to the point and the surrounding area. After the desired effect is achieved, the moxa is extinguished and the needle(s) removed.
In traditional Chinese medicine, moxibustion is used on people who have a cold or stagnant condition. The burning of moxa is believed 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.
A landmark study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1998 found that up to 75% of women suffering from breech presentations before childbirth had fetuses that rotated to the normal position after receiving moxibustion at an acupuncture point on the Bladder meridian. Other studies have shown that moxibustion increases the movement of the fetus in pregnant women, and may reduce the symptoms of menstrual cramps when used in conjunction with traditional acupuncture.
Cupping is an ancient Chinese healing art form that has been practiced for over 5000 years in which glass/plastic cups are applied to the skin and a vacuum is created under the cup using heat or pressure. The cups are applied directly to the skin, where it is held in place by suction. In some cases, a small amount of oil is first rubbed on the skin, which permits the cups to slide with ease, and the cup can be easily moved about the body while the suction of skin is active.
Cupping therapy stimulates micro blood circulation, lymph and Ch'i(pronounced “chee”) within the superficial muscle layers. Cupping therapy engages negative pressure, rather than tissue compression. The suction from the cups, rapidly facilitates rigid tissue release, loosens and lifts the connective tissue, breaks up and drains stagnant fluids and toxins while increasing blood and lymph flow to the skin and muscles.
Cupping uses include: relieving sore muscles, especially back pain from stiffness tension or injury; neck pain and clearing congestion in the chest, which can occur with colds. It is recommended for the treatment of pain, gastro-intestinal disorders, lung diseases (especially chronic cough and asthma), and paralysis. Cupping can also be used for other disorders such as sciatica and menstrual cramps.