Acupuncture is the use of fine needles to stimulate areas or points on the body. The standard filiform needle is one of nine needles that are most commonly used. Some needles used for acupuncture techniques do not penetrate the skin. They are used for pressure stimulation, and scraping. The biomedical model of acupuncture effectiveness is in the stimulation of areas of least resistance of the bioelectrical nerve conduction. The acupuncture needle creates an irritation, which sends the signal through the sympathetic nervous system to the brain. The brain then interprets the signal to release a myriad of compounds to the targeted area for the healing response. Acupuncture has also been shown to increase the uptake and regeneration of released compounds thereby offering a faster than normal recovery time.
The Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) model suggests that acupuncture regulates circulation, distribution, and manufacture of vital life energy called Qi (chee). Various forms of Qi operate different areas and function in the body. Each of the more than 400 acupuncture points has a specific function in regulation and activity. Therefore, an acupuncture prescription is specific for the person, and how illness or injury has developed. Most illness can be treated with acupuncture because it strengthens the body’s own healing capacity.
Herbal Medicine is the use of plant, animal, and mineral compounds to affect body function. Various compounds in their natural state have been identified in having particular biological action since recorded history. The use of herbs in TCM does not separate its components from its natural state, which preserves the synergy of chemical structures within the herb. When the herb is used responsibly, it retains its safety and desired outcome, without side affects. A single herb is rarely used in a TCM prescription. Herbs are combined based on the diagnosed syndrome, and where in the body the syndrome is located. A TCM herbal prescription will have in it one or more chief herbs, assisting herbs, and adjunct herbs. A chief herb is one that creates the most change. An assisting herb can strengthen and modify a chief herb’s function. An adjunct herb can act to synergistically “blend” the formula, and reduce toxicity of selected herbs. This way of combining herbs allows a more personalized prescription specific for the individual and health complaint. I only use herbs from companies that have tested for impurities, heavy metals, fungicide, pesticides, and correct species.
Tuina (twe-naa) is the name given to the Chinese style of rehabilitation and bodywork therapy. It focuses on the realignment of tissue through various finger, hand, elbow, and knee techniques. The techniques used are determined by the state of injury of tissue due to lack, or obstruction of metabolic circulation. The altering of circulation and freeing of obstruction will give the body a better avenue of healing those areas that are compromised. Herbal liniments are often applied and worked into the tissues to accelerate the process of circulation.
Nutrition is used as therapy in TCM. All food and culinary herbs have a particular function in the body. Different classes of food have its related function in the organs and tissues. Each of the flavors of sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and pungent have a role in the functioning of an organ system. So, a weak organ system will benefit from a flavor and class of food, and further weaken from inappropriate diet. Inappropriate diets can also create the opportunity for greater health problems. If a person has illness, then long-term modification of the diet will help in shifting the imbalance toward the generation of good health. Food as therapy is the most mild of therapy but the most long lasting. The appropriate diet for an individual will have the longest effect in maintaining good health for a lifetime. I also use my experience in sports nutrition to offer guidance in proper supplement and nutrient requirements.