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Acupuncture is based on the theory that there are patterns of energy, called chi, flowing through the body. Disease or pain result when this energy is disrupted, weakened, or becomes stagnant. An Acupuncturist can correct the flow of energy and restore balance by inserting sterile needles a fraction of an inch into specific points on the body. Acupuncture regulates chi, nourishes organs and tissues, benefits the spirit and calms the mind. It is very effective in the treatment of pain disorders, emotional distress (Ex: PTSD, anxiety, irritability, depression) or organs malfunction..
It is unclear how acupuncture works, though there is evidence that it stimulates the release of brain chemicals that regulate pain and mood. One of the components which acupuncture helps is to produce endorphins, which are the body's natural pain-killers and it reduces cortisol levels present in a chronic stress response.
Moxibustion is another ancient Chinese medicine technique which involves the burning of mugwort to facilitate healing. The Chinese character for acupuncture, translated literally, means "acupuncture-moxibustion". Moxibustion is used to strengthen the blood, stimulate the flow of chi, and maintain general health. The sensation that moxa produces is a pleasant heat that penetrates deep into the skin. In traditional Chinese medicine, moxibustion is used on people who have a cold or stagnant condition. The burning of moxa expels cold and warms the meridians, which leads to smoother flow of blood and chi. Mugwort, the herb which is used for moxi- bustion, also known as artemesia vulgaris or ai ye in Chinese. It is frequently used alongside acupuncture for conditions ranging from bronchial asthma to arthritis with amazing success In moxibustion, the leaves of the Chinese herb mugwort are dried and then burned using one of several methods. The 'moxa stick' is the most common form in which moxibustion is used to promote healing. Here the dried mugwort is rolled up tightly and wrapped in paper forming a cigar-like stick. It is then waved over the area to be warmed for a few minutes.
Cupping involves attaching jars to the skin to treat pain and other disorders. It causes local congestion through negative pressure. The jars are placed along specific meridians or around the pain area. It promotes the flow of chi, while warming, dispelling cold dampness and helping with swelling and pain. Cupping is usually used to treat Bi syndrome caused by wind dampness, such as pain of the lower back, shoulders, legs, and gastrointestinal disorders such as stomach ache, vomiting, diarrhea and lung afflictions such as cough and asthma.
Non-Needle Acupuncture refers to the use of Tui Na Massage (also known as acu- pressure). Although not as effective as the needle insertion style, these techniques are particularly useful with children.
Gua Sha is a folk remedy which works similarly to cupping. A plastic soup spoon or coin is used to scrape the surface of the skin to bring more blood flow to the area. The increased blood flow helps the area to repair and heal more quickly. It also helps to release heat from the area of stagnation. Gua Sha can be used in areas of the body not easily treated by cupping.
The ear is one of the most widely used micro-systems of acupuncture. It is viewed as a reflection of the whole body and, observation and palpation of areas of the ear are useful for diagnosis and effective treatment. Most patients receive needles on their ears during a regular body acupuncture treatment and, often times press balls or press tacks are placed to provide continuous stimulation of the points after the appointment.
Electro-acupuncture is when electrodes are attached to needles already inserted in a certain body part. The electrodes are then attached to a device that generates continuous electric impulses using small clips. It is a substitute for prolonged hand maneuvering, it can produce a stronger stimulation and it is easier to control the frequency of the stimulus.