Oriental Medicine is a traditional system of healing based on a philosophy that views the body as an ecosystem which continually seeks to be in balance. Illness results when the mechanisms of the body are thrown out of a functional state of equilibrium. Over 5000 years ago practitioners of this system identified the body’s vital energy (often called “qi”) as being a key component in determining an individual quality and quantity of life. They observed and documented a variety of factors influencing one’s health including the effect of the seasons, environment, diet, emotions and daily routines. In addition they observed the relationship of basic elements of the body and their relationship to one another. For example, the vital energy of the body moves in general pathways called meridians or channels just as the blood of the body moves through the veins and arteries. The quality and movement of the qi affects the blood and vise versa. Oriental medicine practitioners assess each patient according to their specific constitution and the particular pattern or disharmony manifestation. Over the centuries a number of techniques were developed to direct and support this vital energy based on the needs of the particular individual. In addition, hundreds of medicines from herbal, mineral and animal sources have been studied, tested and combined into specifically formulated prescriptions in order to direct the body back into a state of harmony. The following are a variety of modalities used in East Asian medicine to return the body into balance whereby optimal health and fitness can be achieved and maintained. Techniques are carefully chosen based on the specific ailment.
Acupuncture, which originates from China, is one of the oldest and the most well known techniques in Asian medicine in which fine, hair-thin needles are inserted into specific points on the body’s surface in order to influence physiological functioning. It is a safe and effective way to treat people of all ages and is used to alleviate pain and promote good health.
Electro-acupuncture: mild electrical stimulation of acupuncture points that reduces pain and speeds recovery from injuries.
Auricular acupuncture: a complete system of ear acupuncture able to affect conditions related to the entire body. This type of acupuncture is well known for its success with curbing addictive behaviors, the treatment of anxiety, depression and obesity.
Moxibustion: the use of a form of mugwort leaves (artemesia vulgaris) over an area, on a needle or with the proper preparations on the skin in order to activate certain points, bringing warmth to the body. This can engender the production of qi and blood, promoting circulation and healing.
Tuina (tway-nah) is a form of massage/physiotherapy which utilizes soft tissue manipulation, acupuncture points, external herbal medicines, therapeutic exercise and structural realignment methods to treat a wide variety of musculoskeletal and internal organ disorders.
The use of glass cups, which through the use of heat creates a slight vacuum on the skin. This method is used to break up areas of stagnation, promoting a more vibrant flow of blood and nutrients in the area. The cups are left in place from five to fifteen minutes. A technique called “running cupping” in which the practitioner slowly glides the cups over skin is often indicated to relieve muscle strains and alleviate respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis. Cupping can be very effective in releasing muscle tension, reducing swelling and dispelling pain.
Chinese medicinals in the form of pills, powders or raw herbs which are combined and prescribed according to the patient’s specific needs. They may be taken internally or used as a poultice, salve or soak.