Traditional Chinese Medicine
Acupuncture is the most commonly known treatment modality used in Chinese medicine. Acupuncture is the practice of piercing the skin, muscles, and body tissues with thin, sterile, single-use needles. Acupuncture is used on specific points that have a specific effect on the body. Piercing these specific points activates muscle fibers, fascia, interstitial tissues, nerves, and blood vessels. Through this network of body tissues, acupuncture has the ability to affect the internal organs as well. Manipulating these tissues of the body stimulates the bodies natural healing resources. The practice of acupuncture is relatively painless. The needles used are not hollow like the hypodermic needles you may be used to. In fact, about 15 acupuncture needles can fit inside one hypodermic needle!
There are some cases where a small electrical current is connected to the needles and consequently flows through the network of body tissues. It is painless, and feels more like an internal massage than electricity. The continuous stimulation of the needles with the electricity has a profound effect on pain syndromes. Studies have shown that electro-acupuncture stimulates the release of several endorphins and can cause pain relief for up to several days.
Dry needling is acupuncture.
Originating in ancient China, acupuncture is a surgical operation in which an acupuncture point (a specific muscle or connective tissue site) is punctured with an acupuncture needle (a fine needle of up to six inches in length) to cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent disease or other conditions. Acupuncture is based on anatomy, physiology, and pathology.
Dry needling is acupuncture in which an acupuncture point that has become exquisitely tender, commonly known in the West as a trigger point, is punctured with an acupuncture needle to cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent disease or other conditions, especially musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders, including musculoskeletal pain. An acupuncture point that has become exquisitely tender is identiﬁed by a flinch reaction on palpation.
Dry needling is not new. It was described in the first century BCE in the Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic (黃帝內經 [Huáng Dì nèi jīng]), the foundational text of Chinese medicine.
Dry needling is unsafe when performed by unqualified practitioners of acupuncture, such as physical therapists.
To report a serious adverse event caused by an unqualified practitioner of acupuncture, such as a physical therapist, performing dry needling, use the Dry Needling Adverse Event Reporting System (DNAERS) form. The National Center for Acupuncture Safety and Integrity (NCASI) will use the information as part of our legislative and administrative advocacy work.
It is a violation of Federal law when unqualified practitioners of acupuncture, such as physical therapists, purchase, possess, or use an acupuncture needle. An acupuncture needle is a restricted medical device under section 520(e) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act) (21 U.S.C. § 360j(e)).
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has restricted the sale, distribution, and use of an acupuncture needle “to prescription use”. In addition, in order to ensure the safe and effective use of an acupuncture needle, FDA has further restricted the sale, distribution, and use of an acupuncture needle “to qualified practitioners of acupuncture as determined by the States”. Therefore, it is a violation of Federal law when unqualified practitioners of acupuncture, such as physical therapists, purchase, possess, or use an acupuncture needle.
For references and more information, please visit www.acupuncturesafety.org
Chinese herbal medicine uses the fundamentals of TCM to categorize natural substances that are used for medicinal purposes. Plants, animal parts, insects, and minerals are all present in the Chinese herbal materia medica. Collectively, they are referred to as herbs. If you would like to take Chinese herbs, but have concerns about them containing animal or incest parts, there is usually an alternative. Please don't hesitate to express your concern.
Each herb has specific traits and properties, which are matched to the traits and properties of the person who is taking them. They are almost never used alone, but together in herbal formulas. Using the herbs in formulas helps to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the medicine. Formulas are designed to treat the symptoms of disease as well as the root cause. The formulas can be easily modified to match each individuals ailment. What I love most about Chinese herbal medicine, is how it is tailored to the individual taking the medicine. Two people may have the same cold, but take two different formulas because they are two different people who are experiencing the cold in two different ways.
Moxibustion, commonly called moxa, is a warming modality that is used on the meridians and acupoints using the same theory as acupuncture. This method does not pierce the skin, but is used on or above the skin. Moxa is mugwort that is processed into several forms. Mugwort is a Chinese herb that offers a deep-penetrating heat, much like infra-red heat.
1. A moxa pole is mugwort wool rolled into a stick and wrapped with paper. The stick is then warmed up until the end is glowing like the end of an incense stick. The warm end is then held over the acupoints to provide meridian therapy.
2. Loose moxa is mugwart wool that is manipulated by the practitioner into various shapes, usually cones or balls. The cones are placed directly on the acupoints and allowed to smolder just long enough for the patient to feel a comfortable warming sensation. Moxa balls are placed on the end of acupuncture needles to warm the needle during the treatment.
The most common form of moxa used in my practice is pole moxa. It has a remarkable effect in promoting healing and increasing the flow of blood and body fluids.
Cupping is a therapy in which cups are placed on the skin, and a partial vacuum is created by means of heat or suction. The suction stimulates the flow of fluid and blood in the body, and can offer a myofascial release. Studies have shown that cupping can affect tissues as deep as four inches underneath the surface of the skin, causing toxins to release, lymph flow to increase, muscles and fascia to relax, and cause an increase in circulation at the cellular level. When there is a significant amount of reaction to the cups, they may leave red or even purplish rings where the cups were placed. The rings are evidence of the stagnant blood coming to the surface of the body. These marks usually go away in 4-6 days, and rarely last more than 10 days.
Gua-sha is an ancient treatment technique that manipulates the myo-fascia, stimulates the release of toxins, and relieves pain and muscle soreness. The techniques involves a gentle scraping of the surface of the skin. Oil is placed on the skin, and then short brisk strokes are applied using a smooth rounded object (like a spoon). This painless scraping motion will cause a redness of the skin, called sha. The darker the sha, sometimes even purple, the more toxins and stagnation are being released. Patients will leave feeling an immediate sense of relief and increased relaxation.
Nutrition, Exercise, Lifestyle
The food we eat, the way we live, and what we do have enormous impacts on our health and well-being. As a medical practitioner, I have your best interests at heart, and nutritional and lifestyle counseling are all a part of your treatment. I believe that you have the power to take control of your athletic performance, your health, and your life. I am here to offer unconditional support and information to keep you moving forward on your personal journey.