Eastern Medicine

ACUPUNCTURE’S RICH HISTORY

Acupuncture is a very ancient form of healing that predates recorded history.

The philosophy behind acupuncture is rooted in the Taoist tradition which goes back over 8000 years. The people of this time would meditate and observe the flow of energy in the universe.

The primitive society of China is divided into two time periods – The Old Stone Age (10,000 years ago and beyond) and the New Stone Age (10,000 – 4000 years ago). During the Old Stone Age knives were made of stone and were used for certain medical procedures. During the New Stone Age, stones were crafted into fine needles and served as instruments of healing.  Many stone needles and needles made from bamboo and bone have been excavated from ruins in China.

The most significant milestone in the history of acupuncture occurred during the period of Huang Di, the Yellow Emperor (approximately 2697-2597?). In a famous dialogue between Huang Di and his physician Qi Bo, they discuss the whole spectrum of Chinese Medical Arts.

This dialogue is the basis for a monumental text called the Nei Jing (The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine). The Nei Jing is the earliest book written on Chinese Medicine. It was compiled around 305-204 B.C. and consists of two parts:

The Su Wen (Plain Questions) and the Ling Shu (Miraculous Pivot or Spiritual Axis). 

From the 1970’s to the present, acupuncture continues to play an important role in China’s medical system. China has taken the lead in researching all aspects of acupuncture and its clinical effects. Acupuncture is safe, sustainable and a commonly used system of healing all around the world. 

Although acupuncture has become modernized, it will never lose its connection to a philosophy established thousands of years ago.

UNDERSTANDING EASTERN MEDICINE

In Eastern medicine, the diagnosis may sound odd. I may use terms that sound funny, like referring to your water element or talking about your qi. Eastern medicine is fundamentally rooted in observable science and looks to nature to draw conclusions about health. If you would like to learn more, I suggest reading Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine by Harriet Beinfield. I will always explain your treatment plan. It’s important you understand why and how Eastern medicine works for your concerns. 

ACUPUNCTURE IS EFFECTIVE

Research in the States and China has shown that acupuncture is most effective when it is done frequently and on a regular basis. Once a week is an acceptable plan for most conditions, following a series of two treatments a week for the first five weeks. Some conditions may take more or less time to see improvement, depending on the severity. 

Most people see an acupuncturist for ten to twenty sessions and then continue maintenance of their symptoms with a monthly appointment. 

Acupuncture does not replace the need for western medical care. 

FEAR OF NEEDLES

Eastern medicine is most commonly known for using acupuncture needles to treat a variety of complaints. However, Eastern medicine is much more than that! The Su Wen discusses the Eight Pillars of Eastern medicine which are eight modalities commonly used to treat disease. Below is a list of the modalities and a brief description.

  1. Acupuncture: The insertion of sterile needles along energy pathways in the body to restore wellness.
  2. Moxa: Commonly known as the the herb mugwort and seen smoking on the chiseled chest of Chuck Norris in his martial arts movies. Moxa helps increase the immune system, reduce pain, and increase digestion. It is best known for treating loose stools in patients with Chrones disease or IBS. 
  3. Cupping: An ancient form of alternative medicine in which an Acupuncturist puts special cups on your skin for a few minutes to create suction. People get it for many purposes including to help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being, and as a type of deep-tissue massage.
  4. Gua Sha: Providers familiar with gua sha know that it can reduce a fever and alter the course of an acute infectious illness as well as reduce inflammatory symptoms in chronic illness. A group at Harvard used bioluminescent imaging with a mouse and showed that gua sha upregulates gene expression for an enzyme that is an anti-oxidant and cytoprotectant, heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), at multiple internal organ sites immediately after treatment and over a period of days following gua sha treatment [4].     http://www.pacificcollege.edu/news/press-releases/2015/05/05/science-gua-sha
  5. Herbs: The use of herbal medicine in a careful crafted formula specific to the individual needs of the patient. 
  6. Tai qi/ Qi Gong: Exercises that promote the circulation of qi (energy). 
  7. Feng Shui: A philosophical system of harmonizing everyone with the surrounding environment. It is closely linked to Taoism. The term feng shui literally translates as “wind-water” in English. 
  8. Meditation/Prayer: A training for the brain that increases mindfulness in the same way that exercise increases muscle tone. For more information visit, https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2017/03/study-discovers-how-slow-breathing-induces-tranquility.html
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