Acupuncture is a medical technique that has been practiced primarily in Asia for more than 2,500 years. Due to its widespread growth in the West, today acupuncture is recognized by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) as effective in the treatment of a wide variety of medical problems. Some examples of these include various kinds of pain, sleep disturbances, anxiety, menopause discomfort, and smoking cessation.
As part of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is used as a technique for balancing the flow of energy also called the “life force” (known as “qi” or “chi” pronounced as “chee”) that travels along pathways (meridians) throughout your body. Acupuncture involves the insertion of extremely thin needles at these strategic points on your body. Because the needles are so thin, this insertion is not painful. By using these needles to stimulate specific points along these meridians, licensed acupuncture practitioners can enable your energy flow to re-balance, resulting in the improvement of many health conditions.
Many acupuncture practitioners use the process of stimulating these acupuncture points of nerves, muscles and connective tissue as a way to boost your body’s natural painkillers and increase blood flow. This works to alleviate pain as well as treat other physical conditions of illness.
At Fort Collins Family Acupuncture we practice what is called the “Eight Method” style of acupuncture. Other modalities that we use with acupuncture and Oriental medicine include moxibustion (moxa), cupping, nutritional counseling, and a technique called “tuina”.
Moxibustion, or moxa, is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the burning of an herb called mugwort. This herb is used in various forms—loose or condensed into a cigar-shaped roll. The moxa technique involves lighting this bundle and holding it over but not touching the patient’s affected area, allowing it to warm it. According to Chinese medical theory moxibustion mitigates against sensations of cold and dampness in the body and it has also been used to turn “breech” babies.
In the cupping process, a partial vacuum is created by heating special glass “cups.” When heated, a vacuum is formed inside them, and the rim of the cup is held gently against the skin. There is no chance the skin will be burned. More than one cup is usually applied. A bruise may form where cups are placed, but this is not painful and the bruise heals quickly. Cupping can be used to break up scar tissue, reduce muscle tightness, and it treats various lung issues such as bronchitis, COPD, pneumonia or asthma. It can even be used at the onset of the common cold to speed recovery.
Diet constitutes a large part of a person’s health. Chinese medical theory views nutrition in a way that often differs from mainstream Western dietary habits. In Chinese medicine we look at the temperatures and properties of foods and recommend foods based on each patient’s individual pattern(s).
For example, milk and ice cream are “cold and damp” by nature, so it is not recommended for someone diagnosed with dampness in their constitution. Tangible dampness includes phlegm, edema (fluid retention), and discharges. Intangible dampness includes a person’s subjective feelings of heaviness and dizziness. Other symptoms of dampness include bloating, diarrhea, lack of appetite, undigested food in the stools, fatigue, and possible edema in the abdominal area. When a person coughs up mucus right after eating ice cream, it shows that a cold spleen is producing dampness. Since excessive dampness in the spleen is stored in the lungs, a damp spleen can often lead to frequent colds and allergies.
Tuina is a manual therapy—a kind of Chinese style massage. We often use this to treat painful conditions.
There are special protocols of “tuina” that we use for infants and children in lieu of acupuncture.
Another form of acupuncture therapy is acupressure, which uses the manual application of gentle pressure at selected sites rather than the insertion of thin needles into the skin to treat specific disorders. Palpation of these points is often used to help with the Chinese medical diagnosis.
Call us for an appointment to see how acupuncture can help you with your health issues – 970-472-0955.