Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) today is a comprehensive system based on thousands of
years of cross-cultural knowledge of the human body and mind. It is accepted around the
globe as a safe, effective and holistic complement or alternative to contemporary western
All about balance
TCM is based primarily on a theory of balanced energy in the body. At the first visit, the
Chinese Medicine practitioner will conduct a comprehensive intake to correctly diagnose the
patient's pattern of energetic imbalance. TCM diagnosis involves listening to the patients
complete health history as well as making observations of the tongue, and feeling the pulses
at the wrist. After determining the imbalance, the practitioner uses acupuncture, herbal
remedies, and various other modalities to restore balance.
Where do the meridians fit in?
TCM works on the premise of meridian theory: that there are patterns of energy flow called "Qi"
(pronounced chee) throughout the body, which relate to organs and the tendino-muscular system.
When the body is in good health, energy flow is balanced and consistent. However, when energy
flow is disrupted due to trauma, poor diet, medications, stress, or other factors, pain and
Acupuncture is one of the most effective ways to unblock energy flow and restore the body to a state
of balanced "qi". Acupuncture is performed by inserting fine needles into carefully selected points
along the body, corresponding directly to the energy meridians.
When the needle is correctly inserted in the proper location your body's energy will actually grab the
needle and the needle will stand firm. Sometimes the patient will feel very little, sometimes he/she
will feel a dull sensation, and sometimes the patient will literally feel an energetic sensation flow
briefly through the meridian as a blockage is relieved. In fact, your ability to "sense" the acupuncture
working may astonish you the first time.
Sensitive to needles?
Acupuncture needles are not hollow like hypodermic needles. Consequently, they are much thinner than
you might imagine. In many cases, you will not feel the needle being inserted. Nonetheless, if you
are sensitive to needles, you may choose from many other options including Acupressure, Herbs, Moxabustion,
Gua Sha, Cupping, Nutritional Supplements, and Asian Bodywork.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Herbal Medicine is a major component of Traditional Chinese Medicine and has been used for over 3,000
years in China and worldwide.
Before pharmaceuticals (and even the use of acupuncture needles) herbal remedies were used to heal and
balance the human body. Chinese herbs have shown their effectiveness under the scrutiny of both empirical
study and modern clinical trials. The herbs can be used to augment the treatment of a particular imbalance,
working together or sometimes in place of acupuncture and other medicines. Unlike most pharmaceuticals,
herbal prescriptions in Chinese Medicine are tailor-made for the individual.
Cupping is an old technique performed in both China and the West. The process traditionally uses glass jars,
heated to create a vacuum, and placed on the upper back to relieve acute illnesses such as colds and fevers.
Cupping can also be done all over the body to invigorate the flow of Qi and to relieve tension and pain.
It is often used for treating back- ache, chronic nausea and vomiting, sciatica, frozen shoulder, and more.
If cupping is deemed necessary for your condition, it is generally included in a private acupuncture visit.
You may also come in for cupping in a separate treatment.
Moxa is used by TCM practitioners for its warming and tonifying properties. Moxibustion (the process of
burning Moxa) either on a needle, or directly on the skin helps build the Qi and rid the body of excess
moisture. Patients usually enjoy this sensation of warmth and find it very relaxing. The heat never gets
close enough to the skin to burn.
Where appropriate, Moxibustion is included in a private acupuncture visit. Moxibustion treatments
without acupuncture are also available.
Gua Sha is a Chinese treatment, similar in effect to cupping. Gua stands for rubbing or friction. Sha
stands for congested or stagnant blood at the surface of the body. When friction is applied in repeated,
even strokes, the sha surfaces as tiny red petechiae. Usually, a Chinese soup spoon is used to create this
effect, but we like to use a special tool. This method is wonderful at treating stiff upper necks and backs
and helping deal with everyday stress. Gua Sha is included in a private acupuncture appointment or can be
Everyone knows that diet and nutrition are instrumental in maintaining health! Dietary changes and nutrition
are fully integrated into the theories of Chinese Medicine and are important factors in maintaining health
and achieving success in Chinese Medicine treatment.
As such, Traditional Chinese dietary recommendations are given to patients throughout treatment. As needed
we may also give advice about western nutritional supplements. Nutritional counseling is included in acupuncture
treatments or can be given separately.
Asian Body Therapy
In addition to, or instead of using acupuncture needles, we use specialized massage techniques that stimulate
the acupuncture meridians and points. Tui Na is Chinese Medical Massage that is used to stimulate the points
and heal dysfunction. Shiatsu is a Japanese form of bodywork that uses pressure on the acupuncture points as
well as stretching to help restore balance in the meridians.