The objective of the acupuncture consultation is to establish an understanding of the patients overall health and concerns to enable the design of an individualized treatment plan.
Every consultation begins with a series of questions about your health concerns including your chief complaint and any other symptoms that you may have. This is followed by questions about your family health history. After this brief discussion, we use two of the major TCM methods for diagnosing symptoms: Tongue and Pulse Examination. To conclude the consultation, our Registered Acupuncturist will design a treatment plan based on the differential diagnosis. The number of treatments necessary to see sustainable results will vary depending on the individual and the condition.
Introduction to Acupuncture
Acupuncture is an essential part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, a comprehensive system of health care with a continuous clinical history of over 2000 years.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theories, there are 14 pathways of energy that run in regular patterns through the body and over its surface. Each of these energy pathways, called meridians, is like a river that flow through the body to deliver nutrients to major organs. An obstruction in the movement of these vital pathways causes disturbances that result in symptoms, which can result in chronic illness over time. Acupuncture is the treatment of these symptoms through the careful insertion of fine, sterile needles into specific acupuncture points along the affected pathway to reestablish regular flow. This is why acupuncture treatments is known to help the body’s internal organs to correct imbalances in their digestion, absorption, and production of energy activities, along with in the circulation of their energy through the meridians.
The modern scientific explanation is that by inserting needles into the acupuncture points stimulates nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body’s own internal regulating system.
The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body’s natural healing abilities, and in promoting physical and emotional well-being.
Acupuncture treatment plans are individually designed for each patient during the initial consultation. At that time, the Registered Acupuncturist must determine:
- Which meridian points to insert the needles into
- The depth and direction of needle insertion
- The type of needle manipulations
- The duration that needles are left in place
- The frequency and total number of treatments necessary
- Whether additional treatment strategies are necessary
Additional treatment strategies include:
- Electromagnetic Heat Lamp Therapy
- Electric Stimulation
- Electroacupuncture (Needle Free Acupuncture)
- Auricular (Ear) Acupuncture
- TuiNa (Chinese Massage)
- Chinese Herbal Therapy
CHINESE THERAPEUTIC MASSAGE:
Chinese therapeutic massage is often used in conjunction with acupuncture treatments. Dr. Wang uses a combination of two techniques of Chinese bodywork: Acupressure and Tui Na.
Acupressure is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) bodywork technique that is derived from acupuncture. It is not a form of relaxation massage. Acupressure is a form of therapeutic bodywork that is used to target specific problem areas. It involves the physical application of gentle to firm pressure on the same pressure points used in acupuncture to promote the flow of energy.
Tui Na is another TCM technique of therapeutic bodywork that uses rhythmic compression along the energy pathways of the body, and a number of techniques that manipulate and lubricate the joints. Tui Na is similar to acupressure in that it directly affects the flow of energy by holding and pressing the body at acupressure points. It can be used to target specific problem areas, particularly chronic pain in muscles, joints, and/or other parts of the skeletal system. It is especially effective for relieving joint pain, sciatica, muscle spasms and pain in the neck, back, and shoulders. It has also been known to help with chronic conditions including headaches, insomnia, and tension from anxiety and stress. Tui Na is the form of Chinese bodywork that most closely resembling conventional western massage, as it employs many of the similar techniques including:
- Gliding (‘Tui’)
- Kneading (‘Nie’)
- Percussion (‘Da’)
TCM Herbal Therapy
TCM Herbal Therapy is often used in combination with Acupuncture to treat any long-term disharmony that is considered to be chronic. While acupuncture is able to provide immediate results in chronic conditions, herbal therapy provides the body with necessary dietary supplements and medicinal ingredients to support long term results. The Chinese Pharmacopoeia lists thousands of different medicinal substances with specific medicinal properties and disharmonies that they can help. There are about 600 different herbs in common use today.
What makes TCM Herbal Therapy unique is the degree to which formulation is done. Unlike most other forms herbal medicine (such as western herbal medicine) where herbs are usually delivered singly or combined into very small formulas of herbs with the same function, TCM Herbal Therapy create complex formulas that combine up to 20 herbs. Vital TCM carefully selects herb suppliers to ensure high quality herbs. Our herbal formulas combine anywhere from 8 to 16 herbs. Herbal formulas are prescribed for each patient based on the differential diagnosis. Herbal formulas are prepared in loose tea form and require some patient preparation at home. The herbalist weighs out a day’s dose of each herb and combines them in a package. A patient is given a package for each day the herbal formula will be taken. Once at home, patients will prepare the herbal formula at home using the traditional method of decoction, which ensures a potent delivery of herbs.
Preparation of Herbal Decoction
- Soak the package of herbs in warm water for a few minutes
- Raise the level of the water to a height of approximately 3 cm, just above the top layer of herbs
- Start boiling the herbal formula over a strong flame and bring the mixture to a boil
- Reduce the heat to a simmer and let sit until there is approximately 1 cup of liquid remaining
- Strain the decoction and set aside to cool
Each package of herbs can be prepared into a decoction twice