Acupuncture is one of the 4 main branches of Chinese Medicine. Name by itself can give you a clue that this is a puncturing of the skin in specific points. Such points are located on the body either along invisible channels that carry energy (“qi” in pinyin; pronounced as “chee” in English) through the body, or in points not located on such channels, and also may be used to initiate positive change in state of the energy in patient’s body (extra points and points that are sensitive on palpation – “Ashi points”). These points are like windows our body uses to communicate with outside energy. Using different types of stimulation of the needle, -- necessary change in the flow of the energy in meridian or area of the body is initiated, and thus improvement of the condition of the patient will be succeeded by balancing energy (Yin and Yang Qi) within the body. The main concept of Chinese Philosophy, in understanding the world and it’s existence, lays in balance of two opposite interconnected and interdependent energy types: Yin and Yang (which can be related to Sun and Moon, Cold and Heat, Night and a Day, Negative and Positive, Earth and Heaven, Woman and Man and so on). Everything, from Chinese Medicine to Feng Shui (now becoming more and more popular ancient art of creating harmonious environment around human being to better fit in the flow of the energy around us and benefit from it), Chinese Astrology and Yi Jing (ancient “Book of Changes” used by people of China from Emperors to common people for divination, as long as few thousand years until now days) are based on this concept. In regards to the health, ancient Chinese figured out, that, disease is imbalance of Yin and Yang within the body due to disturbance initiated from outside of the body (injury, stressful situation or weather) or from inside (food, drink, overacting or underacting in life (too much work, too much sex, too much rest (or lack of physical activity), too much of emotional involvement (sadness, joy, hate, anger, depression, fear etc.). All of this can initiate deviation of the smooth flow of the energy within the body and create different problems from pain to variety of malfunctions of the human organism. To resolve the problem, Chinese Medicine uses different tools, to bring it back in balance. This approach was used for the last few thousand years with great results without any pharmaceutical/chemical-based products (and side effects from them) and Chinese people in vast majority (those who live healthy life style and eat simple, but healthy food) as you may notice yourself, - even look much healthier than people in the Western world, who have access to a “better” Western Medicine health care and “better” (high end) pharmaceutical products. This medicine does not need constant commercials on TV; it is not getting necessary for people coverage by medical insurance companies. It earns its popularity by the word of mouth from those who was healed or had much better results with Chinese Medicine. More and more people are turning to a free of side effects, totally holistic alternative medicine, whose ways of healing were approved over thousands of years by billions of healed people. Western Medicine having in its hands “hitech” achievements still cannot compete with it in any therapy and in many cases uses surgery (may be the only powerful area of Western Medicine) to invade the body when therapy fails, where Chinese Medicine often doing much better job without destroying body.
What health problems have been successfully treated with acupuncture?
Acupuncture is one of the most powerful types of Oriental Medicine, successfully used for more than 3000 years in China and in nearby countries (Korea, Vietnam, Japan) and for the passed couple hundred years also in other parts of the world, to improve acute and chronic health problems from pain management in sport medicine to infertility, stress and depression, PMS and insomnia, high blood pressure and post stroke condition. After many researches conducted in last decades, it was found, that one of the most obvious changes produced by acupuncture is great increasing of white blood cells production, thus increasing power of immune system. In combination with other types of medical treatments much better results are being succeeded in treatment of different serious autoimmune diseases and cancer. Nevertheless, here is the short list of the names just of a few health problems commonly treated with acupuncture:
Problems with digestion
Support for getting rid of addictions
Stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia
Diseases of internal organs
Problems with vision, hearing
Improving intellectual activity (memory, ability to focus)
General preventive medicinal treatments, strengthening immune system and improving function of the organs
How many treatments are needed to see improvements of the condition?
Although very often results are noticed right after the treatment, for chronic cases many acupuncture sessions are necessary. In case of financial difficulties to afford it: “Community Acupuncture clinic” type is a great solution for this. By clicking on highlighted name of the clinic you will find basic information about it (such as main concept, pricing and scheduling appointments).
Traditionally acupuncture is often mixed with other types of treatment
Cupping (applying to the body with help of glass or bamboo cups creating vacuum suction to bring blood to the upper layers of the body tissue, thus improving blood circulation)
Moxibustion (application of heat to acupoints, traditionally using for this purpose herb “Mugwort”; warming up needle inserted into the skin, warming up area of the body improving Qi and Blood flow in the area, specifically good for condition of the cold and lack blood circulation in the area or channel (meridian).
Gua Sha (scraping off evil Qi). Use of different tools for scraping technique to improve Qi and Blood flow (usually applying some media before scraping, for better sliding effect). This type of treatment used for many health problems, but mostly for pain in deferent body areas and high fever.
Chinese Massage therapy (using different types of it: acupressure (Dian Xue), Tuina, Anma) to initiate flow (wake up) of Qi and Blood, based on the same concept of flow of Qi via meridians. Chinese Massage is another main branch of Chinese Medicine and can be used along with other types of treatment independently.
Medical Qigong (is still less known and rarely taught in TCM schools in USA) is one of the main branches of Chinese Medicine and its energetical, philosophical and spiritual basis. It divides in 2 divisions: (a) preventive and health strengthening, for longer life spam and (b) therapeutical, - which requires long time training and later constant self practice in order to be able to treat others without harm for own health of the therapist. Therapeatical Medical Qigong can be used together with Acupuncture by trained Qigong therapist, who is also trained in acupuncture.
Chinese Herbal Medicine is one of the main branches of Chinese Medicine. It is used to improve health of the patient creating positive change of the energy acting on it from inside, versus acupuncture or massage where change initiated acting from outside. Of course this type of treatment is totally independent and can enhance results of other therapies.
What to expect at the treatment?
First part of the treatment is diagnosis of the patient. In case of the initial appointment in private format I suggest to plan on at least 30 minutes in addition to the treatment which includes diagnosis and consultation in itself. If it is a follow up appointment: time for diagnosis will be needed much less. For diagnosis are used: visual observation with analysis of the skin, hair, eyes, posture, and body movement; tongue observation, pulse diagnosis and analysis of the Qi (energy) of the patient (Qi scan).
Wearing loose clothes or having with you (to change before session) would be a good idea. During the treatment sometimes having easy access to the areas slightly above elbows and knees may be necessary for needling especially in Community Acupuncture Clinic.
Sometimes needles should retain in the point of insertion for more than 30 minutes, which is why it is good idea to use restroom before getting needled.
Needles used for acupuncture are thin, stainless and disposable. Needling is almost pain free (some say “like mosquito bite”). It is a unique and completely safe therapy, no less painful than acupressure or deep tissue massage and produces great healing results.
History of Acupuncture
Acupuncture along with herbal medicine are the most well known today in the world outside of China holistic types of treatment with great results in healing different hard to treat with Western Medicine diseases. Most of the people who came across acupuncture had great experience with miraculous results they tell their friends and family members about. Many people lives have been changed by Chinese Medicine in cases of cancer, infertility, fibromyalgia and many others. There are many different styles in Acupuncture that are used through the world now. Some of them are differentiated by their geographical origin and strongly related to cultural traditions and based on that technique can give patient different experience. When the most well known styles are known like Classical Chinese style (has many different schools of thought and traditions, i.e.: Five Element School, Eight Principles School), Korean style (hand acupuncture) and Japanese style (famous for being called “painless”) along with Japanese style of moxibustion (using big quantity of small size rice grain-like of highest quality pure moxa in one session) and using cuteneous therapy, similar to Chinese Gua Sha (using tiny metal tools for scraping technique and often used for treatment kids). Auricular (Ear) acupuncture is part of classic Chinese style that was long time learned by French acupuncturists and later grew up in separately standing French school of Auricular acupuncture. It is based on concept of reflexology (were ear, in the root of the theory, is seeing as projection of the human embryo with similarly located organs and body parts, same as hand in Korean acupuncture style or sole or the foot). This is an old school of thought incorporated by many schools of acupuncture, where every part of the body can be seen as a projection of the whole body or another part of the body.
In my practice I am using technique which is somewhere in between classical Chinese and Japanese styles of Acupuncture.
Low Cost CSC Community Acupuncture Clinic:
In San Francisco, at 2040 Anza Street, SOON coming up Grand Opening of The Christ the Savior Church Community Acupuncture Clinic, whoe's goal will be to make Acupuncture more accessible for people with all income levels.
Working hours of the Clinic: Thursday - 11am to 6pm
Saturday - 1 pm to 4 pm
Sunday - 1 pm to 4 pm
Price: sliding scale from $20 to $40. YOU DECIDE how much you can pay!!!
Treatment: acupuncture will be performed in a group setting, using points mostly located on hand up to elbow, feet up to the knee, neck, face and ears. No need to remove your dress, although keep in mind that mentioned above areas of the body will need to be accessible.
Patients will be receiving treatment sitting in recliner armchairs or laying on massage table.