During each visit, patients may receive additional therapies that serve to enhance their acupuncture treatment. At your session, Paula Steele, L.Ac, will explain in detail why one may be a better choice than another for your particular condition.
Burning a common herb derived from the mugwort plant directly on a point of the body or gently moving it over an area is used fairly often in conjunction with acupuncture. The result is a penetrating warmth that is pleasant to experience as it activates Qi deeply into the tissues. Moxibustion has been practiced for thousands of years in China and Japan to strengthen the blood, stimulate energy flow and warm the channels to keep healthy. It has a multitude of purposes from relieving rheumatism to enhancing immunity. Moxibustion is also exceptionally good for treating menstrual disorders. The overall effect of Moxa often induces relaxation.
Among the common tools used by a licensed acupuncturist are cups that utilize methods of suctioning the skin in order to stimulate the flow of Qi, blood or lymphatic drainage. Using either a plastic cup with a manual, hand held vacuum or the more traditional glass cups that uses an open flame to create the suction, both techniques help relieve muscle or joint pain. Cupping has the potential to affect up to several inches deep into the tissue making it a good choice for releasing blockages or stagnation such as muscular pain and tension, lung congestion and constipation. It is both a safe and effective modality, but unlike acupuncture, it could leave circular, bruise like marks that are painless and harmless for a few days to a week.
A skin scraping or rubbing technique that is used primarily on the back, neck, shoulders, buttocks and limbs to promote circulation and the release of stagnate blood and fluids. Using a variety of tools to scrape the surface of the skin, Gua Sha is useful to bring toxins and stagnant intercellular fluids to the surface of the skin so that nutrient rich, oxygenated blood can reinvigorate the area. Similar to Cupping, it is not painful but will leave a reddened discoloration for a few days. Treatments are used for chronic, degenerative disorders, muscle aches and pains, sciatica as well as internal diseases.
Auricular acupuncture can be a highly effective system for treating the entire body from the external ear. It originated in China, but has been redeveloped in Europe (primarily France and Germany) over the past 40 years. The ear is “mapped out” with all part of the body corresponding to specific points. According to theory, nerves from the ear connect to reflex centers in the brain, which send neurological reflex pathways to the spinal cord and on to neurons to the specified areas of the body. Thus most health conditions can be benefited to some degree by stimulated ear points. Commonly, auricular therapy is effectively used for anxiety, addiction, chronic pain and high blood pressure.
Micro-current Electric Stimulation/ E-Stim Therapy
Similar to traditional acupuncture, E-stim, or micro current electro-acupuncture uses the very same points during a treatment, but in an electrically ‘enhanced’ way. How it works is that a very small amount of electric current is given to the needles by way of attaching clips, or electrodes that are in turn attached to a device that provides low-grade, continuous electric pulsation. The sensation is never uncomfortable, as it often feels like a light tapping in the area of treatment. This modality is often used to relieve pain as it increases Qi and blood circulation, thus helping muscles relax. For this reason, chronic pain, sports injuries, muscle spasms, stubborn neurological problems and even paralysis can utilize this modality as a good option. It is important to let your practitioner know if you have a pacemaker, as electro-acupuncture should be avoided.
Cold Laser/Light Therapy
FDA classs IIIa lasters at 635nM and 450nM wavelength also known as ‘cold laser’ (different from those used in surgery known as ‘hot laser’). This form of light therapy is used to help reduce inflammation, improve circulating, decrease pain, minimize skin scarring, helps wounds heal faster, and affects cellular metabolism. Used for those who wish for a “needle-free” treatment , or for areas that are highly sensitive such as fingers and toes.
Shoni-Shin is a non-invasive technique that stimulates the meridian system using massage, acupressure and lightweight hand tools. It was developed and is widely used in Japan for over 300 years. Shoni-Shin uses rhythmic hand brushing, tapping and superficial scrapping along the meridian pathways to encourage Qi flow in order to balance the meridian system. The term Shoni-Shin means “Children’s Needle,” and this system is used frequently in the treatment of sensitive pediatric patients or wherever a gentler touch is needed, as the sensation is calming, mild, yet effective.