Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine that has been used for over 2500 years.
Acupuncture balances the flow of energy in the body known as chi or qi (pronounced chee) through pathways known as meridians. One can think of chi as a healthy flowing river.
Pain or injurycauses the “river” to stop flowing. Acupuncture is designed to unlock the blockage to restore the flow of chi. This is achieved by using small needles inserted underneath the surface of the skin. Those who try acupuncture for the first time are pleasantly surprised at how it doesn't hurt and how effective it is in relieving pain.
A typical treatment may last anywhere from 30to 90 minutes. The acupuncturist will take your history and do a physical examination just as any medical provider would. Once the issue has been identified very thin needles are inserted into the body. After needle insertion you will relax for 15 to 30 minutes. Periodically the acupuncturist may slightly adjust the needles. At the end of the treatment the needles are taken out. This causes very slight discomfort. Many patients report immediate pain relief and a relaxation affect. Most conditions will require several treatments often 1-2x a week for several weeks.
Shiatsu Massage: Shiatsu is a form of Japanese bodywork based on concepts in traditional Chinese medicine. Shiatsu massage can be a part of an acupuncture treatment. The practitioner provides pressure to specific points on the body that help alleviate pain and tension. These points are typically the meridians that acupuncturists use. This style of massage is often referred to as acu-pressure. Treatments are also designed to improve blood flow and assist the lymphatic system.
Cupping Massage: Cupping is an ancient form of alternative medicine that involves placing special suction cups on the skin. Some think of it as a "reverse massage" becuase a typical massage involves downward pressure on the muscles, whereas cupping lifts the skin and allows improved blood flow. There are different forms of cupping such as fire cupping or cupping done with a rubber pump. This form of treatment can be a great alternative to a typical massage.
Moxa or Moxibustion: Moxa, a traditional chinese medicine techinque, is a form of heat therapy that consists of burning the mugwort herb over the skin to improve blood flow. THis is a technique that has been used in Asia for thousands of years. Indirect Moxa treaments involve lighting one end of a moxa stick (roughly the size and shape of a cigar) over the treated area for several minutes until the area turns red. Moxa can also be integrated with acupuncture treatment.
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