Since most health problems are caused by imbalances in the body, acupuncture can restore and achieve the body’s balance by working with the body’s life force, or Qi (pronounced “chee”). Qi is a dynamic, vital energy that permeates the human body and every other living thing. It flows in the body through 14 energy pathways –also known as “meridians” — which run beneath the skin to communicate with the body’s major organs.
Good health is dependent on the abundance, balance, and smooth flow of Qi within the body, much like a flowing river. When Qi becomes disrupted or blocked, an imbalance in the meridians and their associated organ systems results in illness. This can be compared to a large rock or dam that blocks a river: water backs up or gets stagnant and flow is impeded and causes problems. Imbalances in the body can occur due to trauma, poor diet, medications, stress, excessive emotions or other conditions.
Acupuncture directly affects the body’s Qi, unblocking obstructions and balancing the flow of energy to facilitate the bodies’ own healing process. It focuses on re-balancing the flow of energy by the gentle insertion of ultra-thin needles at specific points on the body where Qi can be accessed.
When a thin needle is inserted into the body, the brain sees it as an invasion so it sends out chemicals, endorphins and blood to the area. Basically, it is kicking in your bodies’ own healing mechanism to do what its meant to do: heal.
Sterile, disposable acupuncture needles are extremely thin and flexible. While most feel no discomfort during the process, one may feel a slight sensation of heaviness or tingling when Qi is activated. Depending on the diagnosis, needles are left in place for 20 to 35 minutes while the patient relaxes to soft music. Most people find treatments very relaxing and report a deep sense of emotional grounding after acupuncture.
There are approximately 365 acupoints on the body, most of which have specific energetic functions. The choice of acupoints varies depending on the acupuncturist and the patient’s diagnosis. Acupuncture points have been empirically proven to be effective in the treatment of specific ailments and the location of these points have now been confirmed by electromagnetic research.
There have been many discussions about exactly how acupuncture works according to the Western biomedical model. After looking at the extensive research done in both China and the West, it is clear that acupuncture has a measurable effect on the autonomic nervous system, on vascular and endocrine physiology, brain chemistry and specifically on the production of endorphins.
Endorphins are natural opiates that relieve pain and increase a person’s sense of relaxation and wellbeing. This may be why acupuncture is so frequently used in the treatment of all types of pain, musculoskeletal problems and other disorders such as depression, stress disorders, fibromyalgia and soft tissue injuries.
Herbal medicine is an ancient and powerful form of natural healing and is a safe, natural and effective way to treat many health conditions. Herbs can substantially aid in healing by synergistically continuing the process made by acupuncture treatments. And herbal medicine can directly influence your endocrine system, metabolism, immune system and other body systems which may be malfunctioning and contributing to illness or pain.
Made from high-quality organic substances, most herbal formulas consist of four to 15 herbs and treat a wide variety of symptoms that stimulate the body’s natural healing process. Herbs can nourish, support, increase and enhance your organ systems and assist in the body’s own healing mechanism.
The beauty of herbal medicine lies in its flexibility. Herbal formulas contain a range of herbs that possess different qualities and properties that can target certain aspects of disharmony. Just as each person and condition is different, herbal formulas can be specifically designed for the individual needs of each patient and can be modified as the healing process progresses. Herbs rarely elicit side effects and have been safely used for thousands of years.
Formulas come in many forms, including raw herbs, prepared pills, powders and tinctures and are usually made up for each patient’s specific pattern. I prescribe herbal blends that work synergistically to promote healing and balance for specific conditions. The herbs are pure and natural and are from companies that have been tested for safety and purity.
Herbal medicine has been practiced safely and effectively for centuries and has the greatest potential for beneficial results when prescribed by a trained professional who recognizes the benefits and risks. In California, licensed acupuncturists are the only licensed health care professionals who are required to be trained and tested for competency in the prescription of herbal medicine.