What Is It?
Chinese medicine is a broad umbrella term that encompasses several modalities: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, cupping, and other techniques. Thousands of years ago, this is what Chinese doctors used to treat everything, from head to foot.
How Does It Work?
In all live beings (humans and animals), the vital energy or Qi flows throughout the body in intricate networks. When Qi is not flowing properly, different issues start showing up. When Qi is blocked, the initial imbalance is functional in nature and may not show up in medical tests. All the blood work and imaging come back normal, but the person still feels terrible. A Chinese medicine doctor first evaluates the patient to determine what is causing the imbalance. Then, he or she chooses the best tool/s to correct that imbalance.
Acupuncture is a modality that uses very thin needles to activate certain points in the body where the energy is focused. There are many acupuncture points, and each point has a certain function. The practitioner will needle different point combinations to address different issues. Once the energy is activated, patients may feel sensations in the area: ache, soreness, tingling, or warmth. Although needles are involved, acupuncture is not painful. As a matter of fact, many of our patients become so relaxed on the treatment table that they even fall asleep.
Another modality is Chinese herbs, which have been used for thousands of years. Again, each herb has a unique function, and different herbs are combined into one formula. Our herbs majorly come in 2 forms: a granular tea, or tablets. With the herbal tea, we are able to customize the herbs that go into the formula, to better address the patient as a whole. The tea does require access to very hot water, and there is an earthy herbal taste to the herbs. Alternatively are tablets. It is a little more convenient to take because the patient just needs to swallow them. The downside is that ingredients in the tablets cannot be changed. Both forms of herbs have been effective for our patients.
The third modality we use is cupping. We create a vacuum in the glass cups to achieve a suction effect. Cupping has many functions: release muscle tension to relieve pain, boost the immune system to get over a upper respiratory infection quicker, and detox the system to help with skin problems. Where the cup was, it can leave a purple mark, which typically goes away in a few days.
Curious to try acupuncture, cupping, or herbs? Give our office a call or fill out our request form to schedule an appointment with Dr. Anna.
Article Written by Anna Diec, LAc