HOME

MY PERSONAL STORY
ACUPUNCTURE
HERBAL MEDICINE
EDUCATION OF PRACTITIONERS
SERVICES OFFERED
LINKS

ACUPUNCTURE

WHAT IS TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE (T.C.M.)?

T.C.M. is an ancient system of healing that dates back several thousand years. Through the observation of the interaction of humans with their environment (including weather influences, emotions, diet and other factors), the theory of Chinese medicine evolved.

The philosophy is that an energy called “qi” (pronounced chee) circulates through our body  along acupuncture meridians or channels, with blood and body fluids, to all cells, organs, muscles and tissues. “Qi” is sometimes described as “energy on the verge of materializing” – meaning it cannot be seen with the naked eye, but it can be measured with specialized instruments, the Doctor of Chinese Medicine’s fingers and on the acupuncture needles. Nothing exists without qi – no movement, no respiration, no digestion and no life.

T.C.M. has several modalities that fall under its umbrella – acupuncture, Chinese dietary therapy, moxibustion (herbal heat treatment), Tuina (acupressure massage) and the use of medicinal herbs. All of these modalities are used to move and regulate the flow of qi and blood.

WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE?

The oldest records of acupuncture date back to 1600 B.C. The first book relating to acupuncture is from about 1550 B.C.
 
Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine, sterile needles into strategically located points on the body that are known to have an effect on our energy,  blood, hormones and other chemicals in the body related to good health. The needles are frequently placed away from the site of the problem, sometimes at the other end or other side of the body. By stimulating the skin and the tissue underneath, the corresponding internal organs or diseased part of the body are affected.

Acupuncture releases endorphins (the body’s natural pain killers) to induce a state of relaxation. Acupuncture balances the flow of qi and blood and therefore encourages the body to heal itself.

Treating only the acupuncture points relating to symptoms is often referred to as “anatomical acupuncture” and is comparable to pulling off the top of a weed. If the root is not treated or eradicated, the problem recurs. Practitioners with minimal education will often use this symptomatic approach. Doctors of Traditional Chinese Medicine treat the root cause of the problem.

WHAT DOES T.C.M. TREAT?

Acupuncture is most well known for the treatment of pain. Body points, ear points and Korean Hand Therapy (application of stick on pellets or small needles into points on the hand) are very helpful in pain conditions, both acute & chronic. Acupuncture is also very effective for the treatment of addictions.

Acupuncture can be used to treat many illnesses from simple to severe, both acute & chronic. The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) recognizes some of the common conditions that can effectively be treated with acupuncture and Chinese medicine. The list includes but is not limited to:

Infectious diseases & Auto-immune diseases – common cold/flu, abcesses, hepatitis, urinary infections, tuberculosis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, A.I.D.S.

Gastro-Intestinal Disorders – ulcers, colitis, irritable bowel syndromes, gastritis, hyperacidity, esophageal spasm, chronic diarrhea/constipation

Neurological & Musculo-Skeletal Disorders –headaches, migraines, epilepsy, neuralgia, back pain, sciatica, osteoarthritis, rheumatic arthritis, Menieres disease, trigeminal neuralgia, facial palsy (within 3-6 months), stroke

Disorders of the Eyes, Ears, Nose, Mouth & Throat – conjunctivitis, toothache, pain of dental surgery, sinusitis, bronchitis, bronchial asthma, tonsillitis, rhinitis, cataracts, visual disturbances, hearing impairment, tinnitus

Endocrine Disorders – thyroid problems, diabetes

Cardiovascular Disorders – hypertension (high blood pressure), angina (chest pain), irregular heart beat

Respiratory Disorders – asthma, sinus problems, chronic coughs & colds

Mental-emotional Conditions – stress, tension, anxiety, depression, insomnia, addictions to alcohol, drugs (prescription & non-prescription), cigarettes and food

Gynecological Disorders – menstrual disorders, menopausal syndrome, infertility, endometriosis, morning sickness

Cosmetic reasons - acupuncture and medicinal herbs can be useful for facial rejuvenation for the lessening of wrinkles and elimination of fine lines as an alternative to plastic surgery.

DOES ACUPUNCTURE HURT?

Acupuncture needles are hair fine. It would take approximately 20-25 acupuncture needles to equal the diameter of a hypodermic needle that we get injections with, or have blood drawn with.

On the initial insertion of the needles, patients often don’t realize a needle has been inserted. Sensations vary from a slight needle pick, to a dull heavy sensation to a feeling of movement outward from the needle. Sensations usually last only a few seconds.

Once the needles are in place, they should be comfortable and the patient can relax in a quiet room with soft music. The needles are left in place for 20-30 minutes or longer depending on the patient’s condition. Because acupuncture promotes a sense of relaxation, many patients find themselves having a restful nap during their treatment.

The needles used in this clinic are disposable and are discarded after one use.

HOW DO I GET STARTED?

Due to the complex nature of Chinese medicine and the need to assess each individual, I am unable to provide advice over the telephone regarding herbs or acupuncture for particular cases. Consultations are done on-site only.

The first visit with a Doctor of Chinese Medicine is an assessment that usually takes 1 – 1 ½ hours. It is essential for this assessment to be done to ensure that you will receive the proper treatment according to your constitution.  During this visit, a detailed history of your health will be taken. In addition, information about pertinent family history, your past illnesses, diet, digestion, sleep, personality and temperament and other factors of your life will be discussed.

Specific to Chinese medicine are tongue and pulse diagnosis. Your tongue will be examined for the general colour and any variations in the colour, as well as any coatings, cracks or crevices in the surface. Areas on the tongue correspond to the internal organs.  It is advisable to avoid brushing your tongue on the day of your initial assessment or subsequent acupuncture treatments.

Three pulse positions on each wrist (for a total of 6 positions) are palpated to give information about the health and imbalances in the organ systems of your body. Each wrist gives different information about the various organs of the body.

All of this information from your medical history and the tongue and pulse diagnosis fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle to provide your Chinese medicine diagnosis (called a pattern discrimination).

From this diagnosis, a treatment plan that is unique to your condition will be outlined for you. This treatment plan might include acupuncture, medicinal herbs or other natural supplements, dietary recommendations and suggestions for other things you can do at home to help your recovery.

HOW MANY TREATMENTS WILL I NEED?

Acupuncture is most effective when a series of treatments are received over a period of time. The effects of acupuncture are cumulative. Each patient’s requirements are different, but generally more chronic or serious problems will require a minimum of 8-10 treatments before patients will notice an improvement in their condition. Some chronic conditions will require more long term treatment.

Acute conditions (eg. colds, sprains) will often respond with a short course of 2-3 treatments.