Acupuncture is one of the primary tools a Chinese medicine practitioner uses to restore balance, alleviate pain and prevent disease. In traditional Chinese medicine, the abundant and smooth flow of qi (vital energy; pronounced “chee”) in the body is central to overall health. The body contains a network of channels or pathways called meridians through which qi flows. Acupuncture is the insertion of fine, sterile, and disposable needles into distinct points along these channel pathways where qi can be accessed most readily. Stimulation at these points promotes the smooth flow of qi and elicits a therapeutic response.
Illness or disease can be the result of poor qi circulation, qi flowing in an unhealthy direction, or insufficient qi in a particular area of the body. Acupuncture can disperse qi stagnation, redirect qi movement, or concentrate qi in a specific area in order to restore optimal and sufficient flow throughout the body. Acupuncture works to facilitate the flow of lymph- and oxygen-rich blood, remove obstructions in the muscles and nerves, trigger hormonal release, and relax the nervous system. Aside from addressing the chief complaint, some of the immediate benefits of an acupuncture treatment include deeper breathing, improved digestion, better sleeping patterns, relaxation, decrease in pain, and a general sense of well-being.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese herbal medicine is an integral part of traditional Chinese medicine and is often used in conjunction with acupuncture as a safe and effective means of healing the body and mind. For thousands of years, empirical and clinical research has demonstrated the therapeutic properties and benefits of Chinese herbs. Chinese herbs consist of natural plant parts such as roots, stems, branches, bark, leaves, flowers, fruit or seeds, as well as natural minerals and some animal products. Each herb is understood to target specific organs and carry out distinct functions in the body, and when used in combination, a variety of therapeutic strategies can be employed at once. Chinese herbal formulas are custom tailored to meet the specific constitutional pattern and diagnosis of each patient.
Lifestyle and Diet
According to traditional Chinese medicine, what we regularly ingest is extremely important to maintaining vitality and preventing illness. In fact, many medical conditions can be dramatically improved by simply modifying our diet. Whenever possible, we should try to eat fresh, whole, unprocessed natural foods free from chemicals, additives and preservatives.
One’s lifestyle habits are also essential to maintaining balance and promoting proper flow of qi, such as sleeping patterns, work/life balance, exercise routines, types of exercise, methods of stress reduction, etc.