Acupuncture is one treatment technique within Chinese Medicine. The theory behind acupuncture stems from the belief in Chinese medicine that dysfunction comes when people become stagnant. By inserting a needle into a point where blood and qi is not moving we are able to help open the body’s communication and flow.
This is WAY cooler than just QI flow! We are talking about your body’s cellular communication. Its nerve impulses, it’s nutrient exchange, it's collagen signaling, it’s hormones ability to bind to receptors. This is why acupuncture is beneficial for so many conditions. Qi is a term we use to describe the intangible “spark” of energy but it is a VERY real thing. Think about it, if you break an atom down small enough we are all made up of vibrations, that’s quantum physics. Qi is extremely scientific.
Not like you would expect. Acupuncture needles are incredibly thin and often you don’t feel anything. With motor point and trigger point treatments on tight or injured muscles, it does often feel achy. Kind of like a deep tissue massage but not as intense and usually with better results.
Possibly! Many insurance plans do cover acupuncture. Please call or e-mail us with your insurance information and we can check for you.
No! Like any other medical procedure, it is going to work or not work no matter your personal feelings about it. Many of our most loyal patients started out as skeptics.
Now we've arrived at the "it depends" section of the FAQs. Most people notice at least some improvement after just one treatment. How long that improvement lasts depends on the person and the case. It can last anywhere from a few hours to several weeks or more. In most cases, it is important to get regular treatment for several weeks to get longer lasting results.
It depends! For most people, at least once per week for the first few weeks of treatment is needed. For more severe conditions we may recommend treatment up to two or three times per week to get the best results.
It depends! In general, acute cases that are just a few days or weeks old can be resolved much quicker than chronic issues that have been going on for years.
Probably not! Most people do not need to keep coming back forever to maintain their improvement. We work with you to help change the root cause of your condition and prescribe exercises, nutrition or lifestyle changes that will help prevent your problem from coming back.
No! We use only brand new, single-use and sterile acupuncture needles.
This is one of the most commonly asked questions in alternative medicine. What are these seemingly random points, who discovered them, and why do they work? In short, we don’t know! The fact is scientific technology just hasn’t caught up yet. While acupuncture is one of the most researched medical modalities in the world there is no definite answer to these questions. The reality is, it is likely a combination of answers. There are a few very interesting theories that have a lot of scientific backing.
Theory 1: Neurological:
With this theory there are actually two different speculations the first is with the central nervous system and the second is with the peripheral nervous system. The thought process about the central nervous system is that acupuncture puts the body into the parasympathetic state (this has been proven). The parasympathetic, rest digest and heal state, is the only phase that your body can heal in. The sympathetic, fight flight or freeze, state is a survival state. As long as your body is in survival mode, as most Americans live the majority of their lives, our bodies are not able to thrive and heal. Why are acupuncture points more effective than just randomly sticking needles in the body? This theory cannot explain this but it has been well researched that acupuncture points are more effective than random points at setting up the body for healing.
The peripheral nervous system theory is that acupuncture points are effective because they are located near major innervations of the body. While this is true for many points not all acupuncture points are located near major innervations. There is also a whole additional set of points called muscle motor points which are not part of the traditional acupuncture points and are located at the exact anatomical location where muscles are innervated. While these points are great at treating musculoskeletal issues they have not been well researched at treating other conditions. What we do know is that acupuncture is effective at helping the body re-innervate which is pretty spectacular because until just recently in contemporary medicine it was believed that the body could not create more nerve cells.
Theory 2: Hormonal:
This theory argues that acupuncture is effective because it helps the body regulate hormones. While the reason behind why acupuncture points trigger certain hormonal balancing is unknown we do know that acupuncture is beneficial for this. I actually believe that might be due to the fact that acupuncture puts your body in the parasympathetic and THAT is the real power! I believe, like Chinese medicine does, that when functioning properly our bodies will heal themselves.
Theory 3: Fascia and collagen:
This is the most interesting of all the theories to me. This theory is the only viable one that I know of which actually answers the question of why acupuncture points specifically work better! Let me give a little background. Fascia, this is the thin layer of connective tissue surrounding all the muscles, tendons, organs and compartments of the body. If you have ever seen the thin slimy layer between the skin and the meat on a raw chicken leg, that is fascia. It was only recently that the medical community has become interested in this translucent connective tissue. In a healthy body this connective tissue should glide smoothly over the muscle, tendon, organs or compartment it surrounds. It is supposed to act as a semipermeable barrier to protect the tissue it surrounds. As we live our lives this tissue gets damaged. Like we cut a finger while cooking, or we have a night where we indulge in too many alcoholic beverages. When we do this scar tissue builds and can stick the fascia to the muscle below. This is a fascial adhesion and can create a lot of pain and dysfunction. The cool thing about fascia is that it is semi viscous. Depending on where initial movement is it can create a ripple through the entire fascial plane. This means that if I put a pin in your foot I can treat your neck. But the initial site of movement matters! If I miss the mark the ripple will not be as effective. Many acupuncture points are actually at sites where multiple fascial planes overlap.
And it is even cooler than that! The real power of fascial is that it is rich in collagen. Collagen isn’t just good for helping you look youthful but necessary to help you FEEL youthful. Collagen is a protein in your body that is vital for many functions including keeping structure in your body, think of this as the infrastructure of your body assisting with anything from helping that roadways and communication pathways open to taking out the garbage. (It is essential to health to have collagen but it is easily damaged by daily living including eating sugar, sun exposure and stress. In order for your body to build collagen you need vC and protein). Collagen sends signals through your body using electrical impulses. Similar to a lighter spark- this is QI! This sets off a chain reaction in the body traveling through fascial planes- acupuncture meridians. The healing response is vast! The collagen signal calls for a variety of responses in the body including immune, endocrine, repair (the breakdown and rebuilding of cells) and even resolving inflammation! A very small stimulus can create a HUGE healing response. The butterfly effect on a micro scale.
Acupuncture points are points where collagen is very abundant. While there isn’t a ton of research on this it seems that acupuncture points are collagen hotbeds having more collagen than other locations in fascia. It is speculated that is why acupuncture points are more effective! Also why I suggest that people only be treated by licensed Acupuncturists who have been trained in Chinese medicine.
Yes! There are many ways acupuncture can be beneficial. Muscle motor point image and trigger point needling stimulate the motor point nerve bundle of the muscle to “reset” the muscle, relaxing it if overly tight or getting it working properly if it’s weak. Electro-acupuncture is like the estim pads used in training rooms everywhere, but penetrates deeper into muscles through the needles to reduce inflammation, relax tight muscles and quicken the body’s healing time. Acupuncture has been shown to improve the body’s healing response by increasing blood circulation and nerve function. It’s been shown to improve mental health and promote clear thinking which is always vital on the playing field. Tuina manual therapy is a type of deep tissue massage that works along acupuncture meridians to release tight muscles and break up scar tissue. Tuina combined with acupuncture can be very effective in promoting healing. Aside from musculoskeletal issues, acupuncture has been shown to be effective in the treatment of a wide range of common health conditions — including insomnia, anxiety, headache and digestive issues — all of which affect your athletic performance. We know that you can’t perform your best when overall health isn’t good.
Chinese Medicine is a comprehensive medical system which is based on a theory that believes your body, when functioning optimally, has the ability to heal itself. Chinese medicine uses acupuncture, Tui Na (manual therapy), Qi Gong (the practice of cultivating the life force of the body, herbal medicine, moxibustion, and nutrition to help your body function in its most optimal state. This theory believes that your body innately has all the tools to heal. What happens, as all of us live, we create roadblocks in the system. I like to compare it to traffic. If there is a car accident on I5 traffic it doesn’t just slow down on I5, but people try to avoid the congested area and take the back roads. This clogs up the back roads and doesn’t really fix the issue, I believe this is often what conventional medicine is doing; which is necessary and can be life saving. But we still need to clear the wreck on I5. And what is even more cool is Chinese medicine not only believes in clearing I5 but also then asks what we can do to avoid this crash in the future!
It can be a bit confusing though because we often use the same terms as conventional medical providers to mean VERY different things. We diagnose based on PATTERN not SYMPTOM. This means that we believe you CANNOT treat one thing without treating everything else. For example if you have a headache there are over a dozen patterns that can create this. This is why we ask some funny questions that don’t seem like they are related. In Chinese medicine everything is related. That is also why it is SO important to have great communication between patients and providers. The more involved a patient is in their health the more we are able to help. We might know Chinese medicine well but YOU are the subject matter expert on YOURSELF. We do not believe we can heal you. You heal you, we just give you tools and support so that your body can operate at its best.
Chinese herbal medicine is the use of herbs to treat the pattern diagnosis by a trained Chinese Medical Provider. Different from many forms of Western herbal treatment in Chinese herbal prescriptions we use combinations of herbs to create a balanced formula to best serve your body’s needs.
It is crucial that you get a comprehensive diagnosis and have a trained and board certified herbalist prescribe you herbal remedies. Having the conversation about medications and other supplements with your provider will ensure there are no contraindications. If there is any question about safety in a prescription it is best to have your contemporary medical doctor and Chinese Medical provider communicate with each other.
While acupuncture alone has many health benefits it is only one modality within Traditional Chinese Medicine. In order to have a comprehensive system the whole system should be used. Herbal medicine is better suited for internal medical issues, chronic health conditions, male and female fertility, women's health, gastro-intestinal issues and dermatology.
Topical herbal formulations are only to be used on the surface of the skin. Topical herbs are most often used for dermatological issues, injury recovery and pain management.
Moxibustion, or moxa, is the use of a processed herb called Mugwort (Ai Ye) burned over the surface of the skin. Moxa, like herbal medicine and acupuncture, is another modality with in Chinese Medicine. Moxa is used to create a penetrating heat that spreads deep to reach all levels of the body. Moxa helps to bring blood and qi to an area of stagnation. Moxa is used to benefit the immune system, digestive system, reproductive system and places of poor circulation. Indirect moxa does not touch the surface of the skin and is safely done at home. Direct moxa which is burned directly on the skin should be done by a trained practitioner in order to reduce the risk of burning the skin.
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