Being able to see the forest through the trees within this ancient medicine is key to understanding how to navigate within this very powerful practice.
WHAT IS CHINESE MEDICINE?
What is Chinese Medicine?
It’s funny, in China they just call it Medicine. Just kidding, well kind of. In China and other parts of East Asia, the modality that we, over here in the West, call Chinese Medicine is actually a culmination of many cultures, knowledge, and wisdom gathered and practiced over thousands of years. In China, all forms of medicine are practiced within a hospital setting. As a patient, you would see both a Western and Eastern doctor, as well as, prescribed both Western and Chinese herbal medicine. During the onset and now enduring pandemic, China has relied heavily on Chinese Herbal medicine in treating its people, often with staggering success rates compared to Western medication.
East Asian Medicine (EAM) encompasses many modalities: acupuncture, herbal medicine, cupping, tui na, qi gong, and nutritional therapy. EAM includes both the ancient and most advanced medicines of China, Korea, and Japan.
Chinese Medicine and EAM are often known for their most famous modality, acupuncture. This vision of needles is different for everyone. Here in the West we often attribute needles with vaccines or shots, we probably also think about crying babies or getting our blood drawn. Probably not the best thoughts and pictures come to our mind but rest assured acupuncture is different. In fact, I, Dr. B., am needle-phobic. Well, I was until medical school. It was there that I witnessed the true size of an acupuncture needle. To give you an idea of scale, that blood draw needle I just mentioned, more than 20 acupuncture needles could fit inside the tip. They are also solid, not hollow, and rarely hurt. Most people experience pressure when being needled, followed by a surge of feel-good neurotransmitters. See, no need to worry, by the second and third treatment, you’ll be checking your calendar of when your next appointment is scheduled.
Below is a list of some of the conditions Chinese Medicine can help with:
Acute & chronic musculoskeletal disorders
Post viral and long-haul symptoms
Neurological disorders – headache, migraine, Bell’s palsy, post-stroke symptoms, trigeminal neuralgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, and neuropathy
Gastrointestinal disorders – gastritis, constipation/diarrhea, indigestion, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
Respiratory disorders – common cold, sinusitis, seasonal allergies, bronchitis, asthma, rhinitis
Gynecological disorders – PMS (premenstrual syndrome), PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), irregular menstruation, fertility enhancement, menopause symptoms
Cardiovascular disorders – circulatory problems; hypertension, palpitations, poor circulation
Emotional disorders – stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression
Cancer treatment support
Preventive medicine & wellness maintenance
Acupuncture treats only pain right?
You already know where I am going with this, right? No, of course not! It treats so much more. In fact, most of what I treat in the clinic is mental-emotional, auto-immune, migraines, gastro-intestinal, and yes pain. Most often though, patients come in with pain, we get rid of it, we then move on to the root of the issue. Pain is a great motivator to seek help.
So what's going on during treatment? What does it feel like?
Acupuncture is the insertion of single-use, solid, sterile needles the width of a human hair, into various points or areas of the body. Western science has proven that acupuncture induces a physiological and biochemical response that tells the body to release calming neurotransmitters, nourish the area with fresh oxygen and nutrients and turn on our immune system by stimulating white blood cells. What that means, is that for thousands of years, acupuncture has been used to reduce pain, improve mood and stimulate the body’s natural healing systems. When used in conjunction with nutrition, herbal medicine, lifestyle changes, and functional medicine, the results are often drastic and life-changing.
What can Acupuncture help with?
Acupuncture works by stimulating the body’s internal healing system. In Chinese Medicine, this is referred to as Qi (Chee), or life force. This energy is responsible for our health and wellbeing. When Qi is disrupted or stagnated, to put it simply, then disease manifests. It is only by allowing the energy to flow that we can begin the process of healing. Acupuncture is only one way from which to facilitate the movement of energy. We move energy all the time when we laugh, dance, sing, passionately get involved in a project, or even play golf. When we are living our best life Qi flows. It is when we forget, become sick or get too old to enjoy life that Qi begins to stagnate. Acupuncture can begin the process of moving energy so our body remembers what free-flowing energy is like. When this happens our body naturally takes over seeking balance. It is in this process of balance that the potential for healing takes place.
What that means, is that for thousands of years, acupuncture has been used to reduce pain, improve mood and stimulate the body’s natural healing systems. When used in conjunction with nutrition, herbal medicine, lifestyle changes, and functional medicine, the results are often drastic and life-changing.
What should I expect?
Expect to love it! Most people are pleasantly surprised by the experience of an acupuncture treatment. The treatment produces a profound level of relaxation in most people and many patients enjoy a restful nap while on the table. I have often described it as getting to a deep level of meditation or relaxation without the work.
Is it safe?
Oriental Medicine, Functional Medicine, and Acupuncture are safe and effective during all phases of life, including childhood, during pregnancy, and while undergoing other medical treatment. In many cases offsetting some of the unpleasant side effects of western treatment, such as those seen with prescription medication, vaccines, chemotherapy, radiation, and steroid use.
Does it hurt?
The needles that are used are extremely thin, thin as human hair. In fact, 20 acupuncture needles can fit inside a common hypodermic needle that most patients have experienced in the past with a common shot.
Number of Treatments Recommended
After the initial evaluation, a trial course of acupuncture is recommended. This usually consists of four to six visits during a three or four-week period. If the patient is experiencing acute or even chronic pain, I personally expect to have a 20 to 30% reduction in pain after the first treatment. How long this reduced pain lasts varies from patient to patient and depends on the patient’s overall health and various other cofactors. Acupuncture has a cumulative effect, with each treatment building upon the last. As patients experience improvement in their condition, treatments may be extended once a week to every other week, every three weeks, monthly, and eventually seasonally. Consistency in the treatment plan will produce consistent results. Chronic problems generally require more treatment than acute problems. My goal is to get you feeling better, period. If that is not happening then we change course and direction or I find you someone that can better serve you.