East Asian medicine involves multiple modalities (techniques) to aid in healing. This clinic offers all of the following:
Acupuncture involves the stimulation of pressure points using needles. It can ‘direct traffic’ in stagnant (possibly painful) areas of the body and improve circulation, activate the parasympathetic nervous system (and relax the mind), and facilitate the healing processes of the body. While some needles are applied locally, other needles far from the area of target can also be applied to help direct the traffic of circulation and support the body’s constitution. Many systems and schools of acupuncture theory exist, so different practitioners can treat the same condition using vastly different points (or even modalities!).
Tuina is Chinese medical massage, and many styles and schools exist. It can be used to improve circulation through an area and regulate fluid metabolism, break up scar tissue and adhesions, and improve range of motion.
Shiatsu is a form of Japanese bodywork that follows the meridian system in East Asian medicine (as in traditional Chinese medicine). While tuina is generally applied at a more rigorous pace for an invigorating experience, shiatsu follows a more relaxed rhythm and can be more appropriate for relaxation and for a wider demographic of people.
Positional Release Therapy
Positional release therapy (PRT) involves the use of trigger points whereby the muscle in pain is passively contracted and the position is held for 1-3 minutes, allowing the body to reset and relax and thus reducing the pain. While it did not originate from East Asian medicine, PRT can be effectively combined with other East Asian medicine modalities for pain relief.
Cupping involves the use of glass ‘cups’ for suctioning large muscle groups in the body to improve circulation and break up adhesions. Several cupping techniques can be used. In stationary cupping, many cups are left on the body. In sliding cupping, oil or lotion is applied first, and 1-2 cups are moved (‘sliding’) up and down a muscle group while maintaining moderate suction. In jumping cupping, a cup is rapidly and repeatedly applied and removed with slight-to-moderate suction up and down a muscle group until a slight color change in the skin (redness) is invoked. While cupping has recently become popularized through the use by prominent athletes, care must be taken to avoid exposure to cold, dampness, and wind until the markings left by the cups fully dissipate (3-7 days).
Guasha means “scraping sand” in Chinese, and it is a technique involving the application of oil and the use of a ceramic spoon or ox horn to scrape muscle groups in the body (most commonly in the neck and back) to release ‘granules’ in the muscle to the surface of the skin. It can be useful for whiplash injuries as well as common colds.
Electric Stimulation (“e-stim”)
E-stim involves the use of a low-level electric current between acupuncture points. Different types of electric waves can be used to either relax or constrict a muscle, and it is frequently used in pain relief or stroke rehabilitation applications.
Moxibustion is the application of burning moxa (made from mugwort leaves) on or near pressure points, and it often achieves a warming effect that stimulates the pressure points and associated meridian systems.
Reiki is a Japanese bodywork technique involving the transformative and comforting power of touch to relax the body and mind and aid in healing.
East Asian herbal medicine involves the use of complex herbal formulas (often 4-12 herbs per formula, but 2-30 herbs are possible) to chemically address imbalances in the body. Traditionally, dried raw herbs are decocted and drunk twice a day. In modern times, many people prefer them in pill form for taste and convenience. Granules, which are offered at this clinic, are another option: just add hot water and drink!
Topical Applications – Liniments
Liniments are alcohol infusions of herbs that can be applied topically to areas of pain or injury. They are especially useful for sports injuries, including sprains and bruises.
What to expect from a session – rhythm and flow
So many modalities! If I came in for an acupuncture appointment for pain, how might the session go?
Treatments are tailored to each individual and the chief complaint(s), but a typical session could look like this:
- 20-minute consultation on health history and information on the constitution (for first-time acupuncture patients only)
- 5-10 minutes of patient intake on the chief complaint
- 20-35 minutes of acupuncture
- 5-20 minutes of targeted bodywork to improve circulation and alleviate pain
Other modalities such as e-stim and moxibustion can be applied when appropriate for specific cases and herbal medicine can be discussed and offered.