Gentle, Effective Acupuncture, Cupping and Moxibustion, East Asian Nutrition & Herbal Medicine.
Acupuncture is a form of energetic medicine that recognizes vessels, also known as meridians, which direct the function and nourishment of every system in the body, affecting physical, mental and emotional well-being. Thin filiform needles, flexible but solid, are either used to make gentle contact or may be inserted into points located on the meridians that act as gates to shift and balance the flow of qi. Each point is selected for its specific ability to strengthen/tonify, move/disperse, or transfer qi in a particular pathway, system or region of the body. In the west, acupuncture is most commonly known for its ability to relieve pain, but also offers a vast system of treatment that is capable of addressing many other health concerns. Click here to see a growing number of researched conditions that are benefited by acupuncture.
Cupping is a manual technique used to treat patterns such as as qi or blood stagnation (experienced as myofascial tension or pain) and the early onset of the common cold. Glass cups are applied to the skin after briefly holding a flame inside the cup to create a vacuum. I most often perform “running cupping,” where a light oil is applied to the skin, then one or two cups are placed and slowly moved along channel pathways to relieve symptoms. Occasionally, I may do stationary cupping, where several cups are placed on a site, typically with stronger suction, and left there for a period of time, to resolve stagnation. Cups come in many sizes and can be used on many regions of the body (most commonly on the back) similar to massage, but utilizing suction, rather than pressure.
Moxibustion, also known as moxa, is a process of burning various forms of dried, combed mugwort (Artemesia argyi) at specific acupuncture points, above or near the skin. The general purpose is to warm and invigorate the affected channels, to dispel cold, move stasis and support immune function. In warming needle moxa, loosely rolled balls of moxa are placed at the handle-end of needles and burned, generating a gentle warming effect that penetrates deeply into the channel. Cone moxa is also used, directly on the skin, to consolidate and tonify. (In this case, cones are removed as soon as the warming sensation is felt, and before they become hot.) Rice grain moxa can be used to either disperse or tonify, at specific points, to offer additional reinforcement to needling therapies.
FOOD AS MEDICINE
East Asian medicine recognizes that all foods have a nature—for example, some foods are warming, some are cooling, some are drying, others generate dampness, some foods have ascending and energizing qualities, while others descend and root us. There is no “right diet” that applies to everyone. The central gift of this traditional approach to eating and preparing food is that when we know the nature of the foods we consume, and we understand our own patterns, we can use food to heal and balance ourselves in our everyday lives. For many of us, changes in dietary practice are challenging, but they can be made at any pace, and I have also noticed that the greatest results come when they are explored slowly, and with pleasure. Food is our connection to the Earth, and in many ways, our connection with each other. I like to suggest adding foods that are beneficial, rather than emphasizing elimination of “bad” foods…generally, it seems that when we begin to feel better, the attraction to foods that aren’t helpful tends to fall away naturally.
HERBAL FORMULAS AND SUPPLEMENTS
Just as foods have characteristic natures, so do medicinal substances derived from plants, minerals, and animals. I prefer to use acupuncture and food as primary tools for healing, but there are times when herbal formulas or supplements are quite useful, especially when patterns of deficiency and/or chronic stagnation are present. Carefully chosen supplements and herbal formulas can make a significant difference in the ability to shift longstanding patterns of imbalance. I care deeply for the sourcing of products that are clean, ethically procured, properly identified, and tested for purity. (Click here to learn more about KPC standards.) Herbal therapy is tailored to individual needs, to maximize the benefits of treatment.