Oriental medicine originated over 3,000 years ago, and uses a variety of techniques to treat disease and maintain health. The more common applications of Oriental medicine include acupuncture, moxibustion (localized heat therapy), herbal recommendation and bodywork.
A practitioner works with the patient's natural vital energies. This vital energy - or life force - is called qi (pronounced chee). Through insertion of fine needles into specific points along energetic pathways, the practitioner can stimulate the energetic flow of the body. Balancing the qi allows the body's innate healing potential to function more effectively. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine is very safe. It is now licensed in over 40 states and is increasingly being recognized by medical insurances.
Acupuncture is a form of health care that promotes the body's natural healing process. The practice of inserting very fine sterile, disposable needles into specific points on the body – known as acupoints – has a successful track record dating back more than 2,500 years. It is based on the theory that vital energy called qi runs through the body along specific channels called meridians. Sometimes this energy gets blocked or flows abnormally resulting in illness. Acupuncture unblocks the energy and restores the body's healthy balance.
A mild sensation of dullness is common and desirable at the site of insertion, however acupuncture is not painful.
Chinese Medical Body Work/ Massage
Bodywork can be applied before or after an acupuncture treatment to support and enhance the benefits of acupuncture.
Tui Na or Chinese Massage, involves medical manipulation of the soft tissue, using techniques such as lateral decompression, grasping, pulling, traction, pressing, and rolling. Tui Na helps break-up blockages and promotes circulation and increased range of motion. Removing these blockages restores the balance of qi in the body, leading to improved health and vitality. These techniques can be applied to all parts of the body to address both internal and musculoskeletal disorders.
Amma Bodywork is another type of Asian bodywork that focuses on regulating qi flow through the body by stimulating acupuncture points and channels. Amma can be excellent for maintaining health, as well as addressing many issues including digestive disorders, skin conditions, back and neck pain, depression, arthritis, headaches, stress, chronic pain, asthma, insomnia, infertility, PMS, and menstrual issues. Amma Bodywork is a more gentle and superficial style of bodywork than Tui Na.
Exercise: Qi Gong and Tai Chi
Qi Gong and Tai Chi are ancient Chinese health care systems that integrates physical postures, breathing techniques and focused intention. They incorporate physical movement/exercises that move energy in a way to promote healing. They focuses on relaxation and concentration and awareness of Qi circulation and movement. Specific exercises may be recommended to support the acupuncture treatment.
Usually these movements are designed to generate better integration of the whole body and to support everyday movements. It has many functions including helping the body's qi move more smoothly, reducing stiffness and soreness, increasing the body's resistance, relaxation and many more.
Chinese Dietary Therapy
In Chinese dietary therapy, food is considered as medicine and a patient’s diet is modified based on individual needs. All foods have specific properties and nutritional value to them above and beyond their vitamin and mineral content. Foods are recommended based on their properties, such as temperature and nature, as well as the patient’s constitution and the season of the year. It helps support the benefits of acupuncture and aids in preventing disease. Each person’s health is significantly influenced by the foods he or she consumes.
Herbal medicine involves the use of plant, mineral and some animal products – used in combination – to create decoctions, granular formulas, elixirs, tinctures and pills specifically designed based on each patient's unique presentation. Herbal formulas are unlike prescription medications because of their ability to be completely individualized for the patient and modified as a condition changes.
Herbal formulas can be very effective in treating many various disorders from pain problems to internal disorders, such as –
- Digestive problems
- Peri-menopausal symptoms, and
- Dermatological conditions
Even the common cold can be helped using an herbal formula. They are quite often prescribed for chronic conditions, but are certainly efficacious for acute conditions as well. Frequently used in combination with acupuncture to enhance the course of treatment.