Well Within Natural Medicine in Saint Petersburg FL

Melanie A. Smith, AP, DOM

235 - 31st Street North Saint Petersburg, FL 33713 phone: (727) 522-6515

Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine

(0)
Monday, August 31, 2009
Acupuncture is an essential part of Oriental Medicine, a comprehensive system of health care with a continuous clinical history of over 3000 years.  Oriental medicine includes acupuncture, Chinese herbology, bodywork, dietary therapy and exercise based on Traditional Oriental Medicine principles.

Oriental medicine is based on an energetic model rather than the biochemical model of Western medicine.  The ancient Chinese recognized a vital energy behind all life forms and life processes.  They called this energy Qi or Chi (pronounced chee).  In developing an understanding of the prevention and cure of disease, these healing practitioners discovered that this energy flows along specific pathways called 'meridians'.  Each pathway is associated with a particular physiological system and internal organ.

Disease is considered to arise due to a deficiency or imbalance of energy in the meridians and their associated physiological systems.Traditional Oriental Medicine uses an intricate system of pulse and tongue diagnosis, palpation of points and meridians, medical history and other signs and symptoms to create a composite Oriental medical diagnosis.  A treatment plan is then formulated to return the body to a balanced state of health.

The first publicized use of acupuncture in the United States was in 1826 when Ben Franklin's grandson, Franklin Bache, MD, published a paper on the beneficial effects of acupuncture.  Acupuncture and electro-acupuncture were used in the 1860's, 70's and 80's for lumbago, fractures and anesthesia.  In the early 1900's, however, with the rise of Western allopathic medicine, the use of acupuncture became less known in the US except in Chinatowns.It was not until 1971, during the Nixon Adminstration, that acupuncture was revived for Americans.  James Reston, a NY Times reporter, was travelling in China with Henry Kissinger when he developed acute appendicitis.

Chinese Physicians successfully treated him for post-operative pain using acupuncture.  Reston wrote an article entitled "Now, Let Me Tell You About My Appendectomy in Peking..."  This piqued the interest of Americans everywhere.  A resurgence of acupuncture practice commenced.The State of Florida was one of the first to start licensing Acupuncture Physicians starting in 1982.  According to Florida Law, Acupuncture Physicians may stimulate acupoints with needles, moxibustion, cupping, thermal methods, magnets, gua sha, scraping, acupatches, acuform, acupoint injection, massage, acupressure, reflexology, shiatsu, tui na, electrical stimulation and laser biostimulation.They may use nutritional counseling, recommend non-prescription dietary supplements, Qi Gong therapy, recommend breathing techniques and therapeutic exercises, give lifestyle and stress counseling, recommend homeopathic preparations, and prescribe herbal formulas.

The World Health Organization has set training standards at 2500 hours for acupuncture training programs plus basic biosciences prerequisites.  Acupuncture Physicians in the state of Florida must complete a five academic year program of intensive study of 3,000 hours of training.  This is similar to the number of hours required of other medical professionals:  MD/DO 2,756 hours (plus 3 years of residency) and DC 2,887 hours.

The course of study includes training and supervision in the use of Oriental Medicine diagnosis and techniques, herbal studies, nutrition, western biomedical terminology, biological sciences, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, laboratory and diagnostic testing.In the state of Florida Acupuncture Physicians or Doctors of Oriental Medicine are considered Primary Care Physicians.

Auricular Medicine

Auricular medicine is a highly effective system for analyzing areas of problems, and treating the entire body from the external ear.

It originated in China, but has been redeveloped in Europe (primarily France and Germany) over the past 40 years. According to the principles of auricular therapy, each area of the ear corresponds to a different anatomical portion of the body.  A large number of points have been identified on the ear that correlate to location and function within the body. Ear Acupuncture works by stimulating the central nervous system through the cranial nerves/spinal nerves on the auricle of the ear that has a reflex connection to the body.

This stimulation of neurotransmitters modulates the pain and modulates nerve function beginning the healing process within the body to that organ or body part.  By correcting pathological reflex centers in the brain, stimulation of auricular points can lead to balance, where any form of stress or pain is lessened.Besides assessing the treatment effects resulting from auricular therapy, it is also possible to diagnose a variety of pathological conditions by examining the ear.

When there is a pain problem involving a given area of the body, the corresponding ear point is said to be "reactive", manifesting greatly increased tenderness and electrical conductivity as compared to the surrounding areas of the ear. With auricular therapy, clients are able to find out what is wrong with their body, way before signs show up on a typical physical or blood test.

Whereas a physical exam or blood test is unable to treat abnormal readings, auricular therapy is able to treat even slight abnormalities. Stimulation of these ear points in time exerts certain therapeutic effects on those parts of the body with which they are associated. Treatment can involve the use of tiny acupuncture needles or the application of an ear seed (herbal seed on a piece of adhesive) that remains on the point for several days providing on-going stimulation after the office visit.

This treatment method is excellent for anyone with a needle phobia.  Ear Acupuncture is effective in the treatment of a wide range of common diseases, acute pain patterns, chronic degenerative conditions, treatment of difficult emotional states, weight loss, and for detoxification from addictions like smoking, alcohol and drugs.

Cupping

Cupping refers to an ancient Chinese practice in which a glass cup is applied to the skin and a vacuum is created under the cup using heat (fire cupping), so that the skin and superficial muscle layer is drawn into and held in the cup.  The cup may be moved while the suction of skin is active, allowing for a deep massage of the muscles.

Chinese Cupping helps soften long-standing muscle tightness and adhesions by pulling toxins out of the tissue.  Cupping helps loosen tight muscles and can be more effective than massage techniques .  This method can help the treatment of chronic injuries.  After having this treatment you may leave the office with purple marks from the suction.

Gua Sha

Gua Sha means “scrape toxins” and is used in Asia by practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine and locally in homes. With Gua Sha, the skin is pressured, in strokes, by a round-edged instrument; breaking up blood and metabolic waste congesting deep in the tissues and muscles, pulling the congestion to the surface thus promoting normal circulation and metabolic processes.

Gua means to rub or friction. Sha is the term used to describe congestion of blood at the surface of the body. When friction is applied in repeated even strokes, the sha surfaces as small red petechiae. In minutes the petechiae fade into echymotic patches (bruises). The sha disappears totally in two to four days. The color and rate of fading are both diagnostic and prognostic indicators.

By resolving fluid and blood stasis, Gua Sha is valuable in the treatment of pain, in the prevention and treatment of acute infectious illness, upper respiratory and digestive problems, and many acute or chronic disorders. The benefits of Gua Sha are numerous. It moves stuck blood, promoting normal circulation to the muscles, tissues, and organs directly beneath the surface treated.

The patient experiences immediate changes in stiffness, pain and mobility. Normal metabolic processes are restored by the movement of fluids as nutrients are carried to the tissues and metabolic wastes are carried away. Because Gua Sha mimics sweating, it resolves fever. Gua Sha helps loosen tight muscles where other massage techniques or even myofascial release have not been enough.

This method can help the treatment of chronic injuries.  After having this treatment you may leave the office with purple marks from the scraping but they do go away within a short time.  This technique is similar to Chinese Cupping but offers more flexibility in reaching difficult areas.Gua Sha cools the patient who is overheated, warms the patient who is chilled, nourishes the patient who is deficient, and clears the patient who is excess. Gua Sha is therefore considered an adaptogenic technique.

A care provider considers Gua Sha in any case of pain or discomfort, for upper respiratory or digestive problems, and for any condition where palpation indicates there is sha.After Gua Sha, the patient is instructed to cover the area, avoiding wind and exposure to the sun or sudden change in temperature. Stretching is recommended but not a heavy workout on the day of treatment.

Magnets

Magnets may be used instead of needles on acupuncture points within a number of treatment styles.  Small, round magnets can be effectively used to move stuck energy and balance polarities in the body.

The magnet may be held over an acupressure point or spun over a point or area of the body (ie chakra, auric field, meridian).  Magnets are very powerful and should only be used with proper supervision.  Many people are magnet sensitive so it is important to energy test a magnet on someone prior to its use.

A crystal can be used in place of a magnet for magnet sensitive individuals.  Products containing magnets designed to wear for extended periods of time are NOT recommended without first energy testing them within your body’s energy field.

Moxibustion

Moxibustion is a method whereby moxa  (a Chinese herb) is burned on or above the skin at acupuncture points. The heat warms the Qi and Blood in the channels and is therefore useful in the treatment of disease and maintenance of health. Sometimes moxibustion is more effective than acupuncture, whereas at other times the two have a synergistic effect.

Tui Na

Tui Na is an Oriental Bodywork Therapy that has been used in China for 2,000 years.  Tui Na uses the traditional Chinese medical theory of the flow of Qi through the meridians as its basic therapeutic orientation.

Through the application of massage and manual manipulation of the muscles, Tui Na seeks to establish a more harmonious flow of Qi through the system of meridians, channels and collaterals allowing the body to naturally heal itself.

Tui Na methods include the use of hand techniques to massage the soft tissue (muscles and tendons) of the body and acupressure techniques to directly affect the flow of Qi.  External herbal poultices, compresses, liniments, and salves are also used to enhance the other therapeutic methods.

Medical Qigong

Medical Qigong is an ancient form of Chinese energetic medicine and is one of the four main branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM); along with acupuncture, herbal medicine and chinese medical massage.  

As with other branches of TCM healing occurs through balancing qi or electromagnetic energy which surrounds and pervades all living creatures.  Qigong comes from two Chinese words: Qi (chi) means energy and gong (kung) means a skill or a practice.  Qigong therefore means a skill or practice of cultivating energy.

Qigong is a 5000 year old energy art for strengthening the flow of life force and improving health.  It works to boost immune function, increase energy levels, and improve recovery time. There are various kinds of Qigong -- broadly categorized as internal and external.  Internal Qigong is much like meditation, with visualizations in order to guide the energy.  External Qigong includes movement accompanying the meditation.  Magnetic energy fields are formed and created in a slow graceful manner.

The Qi (life force) literally throbs and pulsates in your hands. Medicinal Qigong is famous in China for curing chronic disease and promoting health.  Disruptions in the electromagnetic energy of the body occur throughout our lifetime as a result of poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, injuries, sugery, suppression of emotions and aging.The goal of Qigong is to correct these bio-energetic imbalances and blockages.

This enables the body to strengthen and regulate the internal organs, the nervous system and the immune system, relieve pain, regulate hormones, and strengthen and release deep-seated emotions and stress. A long kept secret, Qigong was seldom ever taught outside of family bloodlines and royalty in China.

It gave women the ability to enhance "jing" (hormones) and retain their feminity for far longer than the average woman.  For men, Qigong practice allowed the accumulation of Jing leading to increased sex drive, higher levels of secretion of growth hormones, and extraordinary muscular endurance.  Qigong was passed down for thousands of years from father to son and used by the military to build the body's endurance.Qigong boosts muscle and strength, yet amazingly lowers cortisol.

This cortisol hormone (also known as the "stress hormone") is the enemy of longevity and breaks down muscle tissue creating inflammation in the body.  Jogging and weight lifting actually accelerate the release of cortisol.

Qigong enhances energy rather than depletes energy.  For these reasons Qigong is a superior form of exercise and its healing power is well documented.
© 2014 altMD, LLC. All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of altMD's terms of service and privacy policy and Health Disclaimer. The material on this site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.