Acupuncture is a technique that has its roots in China and its theories can be found in Tao Te Ching, one of the earliest known written books. Acupuncture has been used for treating wellness and health of people for over 2000 years, making it one of the oldest known forms of healthcare treatments. Currently there is research documenting proof of its effectiveness for many health disorders. Acupuncture therapy uses areas on the body to access the bodies Qi. Qi can be described by many as energy or vital force. This energy or Qi flows through the 12 regular meridians or channels of the body. This Qi can be accessed with needles through hundreds of points on the bodies’ surface.
It is important for the Qi to be circulating through the body smoothly in order to maintain health. When this Qi gets stuck or stagnated, disharmony or illness can occur. There are many things can lead the Qi’s lack of movement like the environment, wind, cold, heat and damp, a traumatic injury or surgery, an individual’s emotions like anger, depression, sadness or excitement, diet or lack of exercise, and also our constitutions, the energy that we are born with.
With Acupuncture, the goal is to get the Qi flowing freely again so balance and harmony can be restored. Tiny needles can be inserted into points on the bodies’ surface, to access the channels of the body. There are hundreds of points on the bodies’ surface, only a few chosen points will be used with each treatment.
Cupping is another technique that is often used with Acupuncture. Glass cups are placed on the body with suction. These cups will help dredge the muscles of toxins and stagnation. When the cups are moved up and down the back it often feels like a deep massage technique. Cupping can often lead to bruising because it is pulling the blood and toxins out of the muscles below. This bruising may last for a few days. Sliding cupping works well treating many different disorders and is also good to use for maintaining health and wellness.
You may have seen cupping in the 2016 Rio Olympics with the United States Swim Team. It drew the attention of the media because this is a healing technique in Chinese medicine that reduces stress and speeds the healing process of overworked muscles.
In addition to needles, or sometimes instead of needles an herb called moxibustion (mugwort) may be burned on (direct moxa) or near a point (indirect moxa). This herb is very powerful in warming and stimulating the flow of Qi. Indirect moxa can be burned at the top of the needle, the heat will go down the needle and penetrate deep into the channel. With direct moxa, a tiny thread sized piece of moxa will be burned directly on the skin/point, and will be extinguished before it is to burn the skin. The patient will most likely feel a local warming sensation with either technique.
Before the late 19th century and before western medicine, essential oils were commonly used for their medicinal properties. Essential oils have the power to help relax the nervous system, increase circulation, offer pain relief, enhance mood, reduce inflammation and also have antiviral, antibacterial and anti fungal properties. Essential oils can help compliment acupuncture treatments, and can also be used in between acupuncture treatments for added benefits.