Often the main modality used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Small, fine, sterile needles are inserted into various areas of the body to aid in the circulation and movement of energy or life force that is often referred to as Qi/Prana (pronounced “chee” and “prahna”). The needles work to increase blood flow, smooth out energetic stagnation (blockages) and stimulate physiological responses from your body’s healing mechanisms. The needles can also signal the nervous system and help to regulate certain types of neurotransmitters.
What is Qi? Qi is the life force of the body – animated, dynamic, moving, breathing, pulsating. Every being on this planet has Qi, including plants and animals. Yogic traditions often refer to this life force as Prana. Both TCM and yoga philosophy share similar beliefs in that the body is a reflection, a mirror, of the natural world around us. Modern day “Qi speak” may use terminology such as bio-electric currents and even discuss connections and links with embryological development.
Needles connect to the subtle currents of our body and send signals to change directions, slow down, speed up, give more “oomph” or back off. Because Qi is so free, dynamic and easily changeable, these imbalances in the body are often corrected quickly and with ease. Long term blockages of Qi can lead to chronic illness, disease and pathology, which is then harder to unwind and unravel and generally takes more time, consistency and patience with the progress and outcome.
How do blockages occur in the human body energy field? Blockage or disruption of free-flowing Qi can be due to many reasons. Some include: mental/emotional struggles, physical pain or trauma to the body, daily food and lifestyle choices, sleeping patterns, work habits, relationships and interactions, seasonal shifts or extremes, among other things.
How can emotions or mental problems affect my physical body and health? The human is the sum of many parts. Bodymind or mindbody is a term often used to explain the connection and inability to separate the two.
An ancient healing modality practiced by many cultures dating back thousands of years. Usually, a glass (using fire as the medium) or plastic/silicon cup (using air pumps) is placed somewhere on the body and either left stationary or moved around gently. Cupping works by creating a negative pressure or vacuum on the fascia and muscles. This results in capillary rupture which encourages cellular activity, blood flow, circulation and attention in the area, promoting healing and regulation at a faster rate. Cupping can produce spots that may vary in color from light pale to dark purple, and will disappear in visibility over the course of a few days to two weeks. Cupping is often used for musculoskeletal complaints and often provides immediate relief.
A Chinese herb known as Folium Artimisiae Argyi/Mugwort Leaf/Ai Ye. This herb is traditionally burned and used directly on or near the skin to aid with issues relating to internal/external cold, joint or menstrual pain, energy and fatigue, among others. There are many different types of moxibustion and you may see it show up in a variety of forms in your treatment.
Herbs are a pillar of Chinese medicine and have played a major role in health for thousands of years all over the world. There are many traditional formulas proven to work for a wide breadth of complaints, with additional ability to custom create a formula built from single ingredients. Herbal medicine is a stand-alone form of therapy but is often used in conjunction with Acupuncture, Nutritional suggestions and yoga instruction. Herbs come in many forms including: raw, pre-made pills, powders, tinctures, patches and more. Herbal medicine goes to a deeper layer in the body and can impact restoration of health on a deeper level. Herbs change and vary just as much as the authentic being does. Some formulas are taken longer than others and build on the root or cause of an issue IN ADDITION TO the branch or the symptoms. Other herbs may be used briefly for acute situations like the cold or flu or an ankle sprain. Herbal medicine strongly aids in the treatment of the whole being and not just the parts.
Often time poor dietary choices add to imbalances and blockages. The food and drink we choose to put into our bodies become us. In this modern society, it can be challenging to know how to eat healthy, on a budget, with limited time and resources. Part of the TCM umbrella is guidance on the types of foods right for you, at that time of season, in that part of your life, with your current lifestyle. Food can be fun and therapeutic and can often heal minor imbalances quickly. Often dietary changes are the cheapest lifestyle adjustment with the biggest impact.
Using the key elements of asanas (postures), and pranayama (breath) yogic techniques and systems are integrated into the treatments as called for, in relation to the TCM diagnosis. Meditation instruction is also provided for those interested in exploring the long list of benefits! It is quite common that we forget to breath during the day, have unhealthy patterns of thought or our everyday posture and ways of moving are creating blockages and imbalances that we aren’t even aware of. Sometimes, simply allowing five minutes a day for deep, mindful breathing or focused awareness can change a life forever.