Styles of Acupuncture:
Traditional Chinese Acupuncture: fine needles • shallow to deep insertion
Traditional Chinese Acupuncture utilizes super-fine needles inserted into the skin at acupuncture points to move qi, oxygen, blood, and fluids in the body. Many people ask, "What is qi?" The answer is not simple, and translating this term is commonly debated among scholars of Chinese Medicine. Although many consider qi to be "energy" or "life force," these terms are inadequate. Qi has many forms- it is in a sense the combination of our DNA, our lifelong and current nutrition, how well we have cared for ourselves, our metabolic function, our ability to process our foods, our efficiency in taking oxygen into our bodies, and our emotional state.
Japanese Acupuncture: fine or no needles • shallow or no insertion
A style of acupuncture that uses super-fine needles but with a more shallow insertion. There is an emphasis on palpation and direct moxibustion. Some Japanese techniques do not require needle insertion are often employed for the needle shy and children.
Trigger Point / Dry Needling: needling into trigger points
Tight bands of tissue can cause pain not only in the affected muscle, but can also pull on surrounding structures and pinch nerves. An example is tight scalene muscles pinching nerves and blood supply to the arms. By needling into specific tight bands of tissue known as trigger points, we can speed the relaxation of the muscle tissue and take pressure off of other involved structures.
Electroacupuncture: applying electrical stimulation to needles
Applying electrical stimulation to acupuncture needles can be used in a variety of ways. We use specific low frequencies to relax muscles, stimulate cutaneous nerves, stimulate nerves along the spinal cord affecting blood flow to extremities, and modulate the release of neurotransmitters to reduce pain.
Auricular: tiny needles or pellets applied to the ear
Auricular acupuncture uses hundreds of points in the ear to treat pain, emotional conditions and internal conditions. Often at the end of an acupuncture treatment, we will apply tiny gold or silver pellets to the points to reinforce the treatment effects.
How Does it Work?
Almost everyone wants to know how acupuncture works during their first appointment. The answer is it can work in a variety of ways.
- By inserting acupuncture needles into specific points with specific functions, we are able to bring the body into harmony. Acupuncture points lie along 12 main channels, which cover the body. By inserting needles into points along the channels, we are able to make changes locally or distally. If you can imagine a garden hose that is plugged, with leaks sprouting along the length of the hose, you can easily imagine what would happen if you unplugged the hose and the water was able to once again move freely. In a sense, this is what acupuncture does: we open the channels to allow the smooth flow of "qi".
- Channels relate to one another, so we may needle the Large Intestine channel to affect the Lungs, or the Kidney channel to affect the heart.
- Different areas of the body relate as well, so we may needle the feet to effect the neck, the elbow to effect the knee, and the hands to effect many areas of the body.
- By inserting acupuncture needles into specific areas that are problematic, we can create local change. For example, we may needle the head in cases of headache, or the ankle if there is a history of ankle sprain. We often place needles along the paraspinal muscles of the back to increase spinal mobility and muscle relaxation, while decreasing pain.