Chinese medicine is thousands of years old and its basic concept is that a vital force of life, called qi, surges through the body. Any imbalance to qi can cause disease and illness. This imbalance is most commonly thought to be caused by an alteration in the opposite and complementary forces that make up the qi. These are called yin and yang.
Chinese philosophy believes that humans are microcosms of the larger surrounding universe, and are interconnected with nature and subject to its forces. The balance between health and disease is a key concept. Chinese medicine treatment seeks to restore this balance through specific treatment tailored to the individual. It is believed that to regain harmony, you must achieve the balance between the internal body organs and the external elements of earth, fire, water, wood, and metal. Chinese medicine includes modalities such as: Acupuncture, electroacupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, Chinese nutrition therapy, moxibustion, fire cupping, gua sha, tui na massage, and tai chi/qi gong.
Acupuncture originated in China around 3,500 years ago and remains one of the oldest and effective systems of holistic medicine. Acupuncture is a minimally invasive medical technique where hair thin needles are inserted into acupuncture points along meridians that weave and flow throughout the entire body. Acupuncture acts on muscle fibers, connective tissue, and the nervous system by signaling and encouraging the body to release endorphins, stimulate nerve growth factor, and can reduce pro-inflammatory markers, which in turn, reduces inflammation and alleviates pain. By utilizing meridian pathways along the body, acupuncture can clear stagnation of blood, energy, or fluid that is causing pain, inflammation, swelling, physiological dysfunction, or psycho-emotional imbalances. Acupuncture can also improve systemic circulation, which optimizes organ function and promotes overall well-being. By balancing body chemistry, acupuncture influences the biochemical feedback of the body via the central nervous system. Acupuncture is effective in treating: Anxiety, stress, depression, addiction, substance abuse, gastrointestinal disorders, back pain, neck pain, joint pain, migraines, headaches, hormonal imbalances, gynecological conditions, autoimmune conditions and much more.
Electroacupuncture is a form of acupuncture where a small electrical current is passed between pairs of acupuncture needles. Electrical stimulation can augment the use of regular acupuncture, can restore health and well-being, and is particularly good for treating stubborn acute or chronic pain. Electroacupuncture focuses on specific amplitudes and frequencies that can soothe nerves, alleviate pain, and promote cellular regeneration.
Chinese herbal medicine has a long history dating back some 4,000 years. Since then, Chinese herbal medicine has been under constant development and refinement. Unlike western herbs, Chinese herbs consist not only of plants, but also of animals and minerals. Mastery of Chinese herbal medicine is incredibly intricate. It involves the knowledge of hundreds of herbs and formulae. In most cases herbs are not used alone, but in combination with a prescription centering around a main ingredient. The formula may consist of 10-15 or more ingredients, each having a functional relationship to the others. Patented herbal formulas are GMP certified and tested for the utmost safety. Herbal formulas can be custom tailored for your condition and individual constitution. The formulas can be prescribed in pill, tablet, tincture, or granular form. Chinese herbal medicine can be used to treat all types of conditions such as: Chronic and acute pain, gastrointestinal disorders, gynecological conditions, autoimmune conditions, migraines, headaches, stress, anxiety, diabetes, hypertension, and arthritis just to name a few.
Chinese nutrition therapy of aims to maintain balanced nutrition through diet. The goal is to achieve the balance of yin and yang through the combination of nutrition and medicine. It is important to blend traditional culinary skills and modern processing methods to produce food, which is not only composed with color, aroma, taste, and texture, but that also promotes healing and longevity. Chinese nutrition therapy treats through eating, that is, medicine can be used as food, and food can be combined with medicine. In this way, medicine functions by means of food, thus food reinforces the effects of medicine. To this extent, Chinese medicine and food supplementation can bring out the best in each other through combination.
Moxibustion or “moxa” for short, is an ancient form of heat therapy in which dried plant material called mugwort (artemisia vulgaris) is burned on or very near the surface of the skin. The intention is to warm and invigorate the flow of energy in the body and dispel certain pathogenic influences. There are two types of moxibustion: Direct moxibustion and indirect moxibustion. In direct moxibustion, a small, rice or cone shaped amount of moxa is placed topically on an acupuncture point or on the handle of an acupuncture needle and then burned. Indirect moxibustion may utilize ‘poles’ or pre-made cones of moxa that is burned next to or near the skin without contact. Moxa expels pathogenic influences and warms the meridians, which leads to smoother flow of blood and energy. In western medicine, moxibustion has been used to turn breech babies into a normal head-down position prior to childbirth.
Cupping is an ancient therapy that involves putting cups on the skin for a few minutes to generate suction. The cups can be made from glass, plastic, bamboo, earthenware, or silicone. For dry cupping, the therapist puts alcohol on a cotton ball and uses it to burn the oxygen out of the cup before placing the cup on the body. The cup is placed upside down on the skin. A vacuum is created as the air inside the cup cools, which causes the skin to rise and for blood vessels to expand. The cup is usually left in place for about 3-5 minutes either static or with movement. Cupping increases blood flow, which helps increase the rate of healing in recovery from muscle fatigue and injuries. Cupping can be used to treat asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, fibromyalgia, joint pain, back pain, and muscle tension.
Gua sha (pronounced gwaa-shaw) is a form of massage therapy that involves gently scraping your skin with a massage tool to improve circulation. In western medicine, gua sha is also known as (IASTM) Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Manipulation. This term may be utilized in a physical therapy setting. Gua sha offers a unique approach to better health. The skin is scraped with short or long strokes and with light to moderate pressure to stimulate microcirculation of soft tissue, which increases blood flow. A smooth-edged, blunt instrument is used for treatment. These tools can be made of porcelain, metal, stone, or animal horn. Massage oil, balm, or liniment is applied to the skin to eliminate any friction. Gua sha is intended to address stagnant energy in the body that is responsible for inflammation. Rubbing the skin’s surface helps break up this energy, reducing inflammation and promoting healing. Gua sha is used to treat: Chronic pain, peripheral neuropathy or edema, inflammation, arthritis, and fibromyalgia.
Tui na (pronounced twee-nah) massage originated in ancient China and is believed to be the oldest system of bodywork. Tui na is based on the theory that imbalances of energy can develop blockages that lead to symptoms of pain and illness. Tui na stimulates the flow of energy to promote balance and harmony within the body using many of the same principles of acupuncture. Tui na is similar to acupuncture in the way that it targets specific acupuncture points, but instead applying pressure utilizing hand and arm techniques, as opposed to the insertion of needles to stimulate points. During a session, oscillating pressure techniques are used that differ in force and speed. Tui na can be done as a stronger deep-tissue massage, or as a more gentle energetic treatment. Some techniques are softer, passive, and meditative, while others are more active, dynamic, and physical.
Tai chi is an ancient Chinese tradition that, today, is practiced as a graceful form of exercise. It involves a series of movements performed in a slow, focused manner, accompanied by deep breathing. Tai chi, also called tai chi chuan, is a non-competitive, self-paced system of gentle physical exercise and stretching. Each posture flows into the next movement without pause, ensuring that your body is in constant motion. Tai chi has many different styles. Each style may subtly emphasize various principles and methods. There are variations within each style. Some styles may focus on health maintenance, while others focus on the martial arts aspect of body movement. Qi gong is an internal process that has external movements. Qi Gong means a form of movement and mind using intentionality and mindfulness to guide and utilize energy. Qi gong is often referred to as the internal portion of tai chi. Qi gong is characterized by stationary movements that are repeated. Qi gong stimulates muscle, bone, heart, respiration, and other vital functions in the body.
Please Note: All Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatments are considered Out of Network (OON) for insurance. However, we are happy to provide you with a superbill that has the necessary coding for you to submit to your insurance provider for potential reimbursement.