Acupuncture is the process of inserting thin, sterile, single-use disposable needles into the body for therapeutic purposes: to strengthen the body, stimulate it or relieve symptoms of dis-ease. Needles are generally inserted along channels although tender points (ashi points) may be used.
There are 12 regular channels in Chinese medicine and 8 extra channels with over 400 points to choose from for their therapeutic effects. A variety of diagnostic techniques will be used to evaluate your unique condition and determine which points are appropriate for you each treatment. Our bodies are an ever changing landscape so why would we use the same points each time?! Assessment techniques include manual thermal palpation, range of motion exercises and physical therapy tests, osteopathic listening techniques, channel palpation, abdominal palpation and examination, assessing your pulse and looking at your tongue.
During your first visit we will conduct an in-depth assessment of your health. Talking about sleep, appetite, digestion, diet, pain, bowel movements, emotional disharmonies and menstrual cycle (if applicable!). All of these factors help me understand what is going on with your system and how to best support your body in it’s healing. Not only do we each have a unique constitution but dis-ease manifests itself differently for each of us.
Treatments can be as simple as a couple needles or as complex as a variety of techniques to fit what is going on with your body. For most conditions you should expect to see changes within 4-6 weeks. Ideally you should see small changes after each treatment. During your appointment we will discuss treatment plans and at your first visit will talk about the proposed duration of treatment. The effects of acupuncture can manifest anywhere from instantly to days later with treatment effects usually lasting from 7-10 days. Treatments tend to have a cumulative effect on the body which is why a course of treatment is often recommended for health concerns you’ve had for a while.
I have been trained in Japanese acupuncture, moxabustion therapy, Manaka style acupuncture, scalp acupuncture, auricular acupuncture, the NADA protocol and Chinese style acupuncture. I am more than happy to work with you to find an approach you enjoy and that resonates with your body.
Community acupuncture is acupuncture in a community style setting. Three chairs are arranged in one of the private treatment rooms and patients are seen on a rotating, first-come-first-served basis. During the community sessions acupuncture points on the scalp, ear, neck, hands and legs will be used as these treatments are done fully clothed.
These treatments last up to an hour but you will be ‘tapped out’ after 60 minutes to allow another to take your seat if the clinic is busy. This is a wonderful option if you need frequent treatments or are working with a tight budget as these sessions are offered at a lower financial investment.
cupping + gua sha
Both of these therapies are useful for musculoskeletal pain, colds and certain respiratory conditions but work with the tissues of the body differently. Cupping uses suction to pull the superficial tissue layers up, allowing for increased circulation through specific areas while gua sha uses unidirectional stretching to create a response from the underlying fascial layer and initiate the cascade of cellular responses that comes from that stimulation.
Cupping usually feels like a really deep tissue massage and leaves red-purple petechiae on the body. This indicates areas of stasis and drawing the stagnant blood to the surface allows it to be reabsorbed by the body and helps tissues heal. It can also help dislodge phlegm from the lungs and draw pathogens out of the superficial layers of our skin.
Gua sha is one of my favorite techniques and involves using a soup spoon to scrape lubricated skin until petechiae is raised to the surface. Gua sha can be used to illicit an immune response and can be helpful for things like fibromyalgia, digestive conditions, menstrual pain, achilles tendonitis, torn muscles, and mastitis (among a whole long list of other things!!!). It’s awesome. You’ll love it.
Tuina is a traditional form of Chinese therapeutic massage that uses grasping, lifting and pulling techniques to promote circulation and healing within the tissues and joints. Tuina can be useful for a broad range of conditions of the upper and lower body as well as digestion, menstruation, and certain emotional conditions when we feel ungrounded in our body or disconnected from it. Tuina may comprise your entire treatment or may just be a small part of it, depending on what you need.
Moxabustion, or moxa, is the use of mugwort and other herbs to apply heat to points. This can be done a variety of ways - directly on the skin in small 'rice-grain' cones, directly in large hershey kiss sized cones, rolled in a ball and placed on top of a needle, in pre-made stick on moxa's and indirectly through a long moxa cigar.
Therapeutically moxa delivers warmth to areas that are cold, instigates an immune response from the body to encourage healing at a particular location and can help both tonify and disperse. There are SO MANY ways to use this awesome technique and it can be helpful for a broad range of conditions.