Acupuncture is one part of a complete system of medicine called Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that originated in Asia thousands of years ago. Tiny acupuncture needles, comparable in width to a single strand of hair, are used to stimulate a healing response in the body. Acupuncture works on the entire body, including the musculoskeletal, endocrine, reproductive, digestive, nervous, and circulatory systems. This makes it an effective treatment for a wide variety of issues such as musculoskeletal or nerve pain conditions, digestive upset, and infertility or menstrual issues.
Chinese herbal medicine differs from Western herbalism in its focus on herbal formulas rather than individual herbs. Herbal formulas are effective for many conditions and often times complement acupuncture treatments so that results can be seen faster. Prescribing herbs in formulas, rather than individually, allows a combination of herbs to complement each other and obtain a greater therapeutic effect. In addition, herbal formulas are better balanced to avoid any side effects such as any digestive upset. Herbs can be a great way to treat headaches, anxiety, depression, insomnia, fertility or menstrual issues, digestive complaints, and many pain conditions.
Cupping is great for musculoskeletal conditions including neck pain, back pain, IT band issues, and many other pain conditions. In addition, it stimulates the immune and lymphatic systems, making it great for chest congestion, swelling, or boosting the immune system. Many types of cups may be used in practice such as glass, silicone, or plastic. At Affinity Acupuncture, glass cups are primarily used. The cups create suction to pull tight muscles and tissue up into the cup which creates a nice stretch to encourage tight muscles to relax. The suction also pulls fresh circulation into the area, bringing in blood, oxygen, and nutrients that are important in the healing process.
Massage may be incorporated into the end of acupuncture treatments. Tui na is a massage modality that many acupuncturists practice that focuses on condition specific treatment. However, Jacy is also a licensed massage therapist so has training in a variety of massage techniques and modalities.
Moxibustion, or moxa, uses the heat from burning mugwort to add warmth to different areas of the body as well as increase circulation. There are many different forms of moxibustion; however, at Affinity Acupuncture only indirect moxa is used. This means it does not come in contact with the skin, so there’s no risk of burns. Moxibustion is beneficial for many conditions including many reproductive issues such as painful periods.
Gua Sha, also known as instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization or Graston technique, has been used for thousands of years. The primary focus of gua sha is to stimulate the immune system and to address musculoskeletal conditions. Gua sha is an excellent tool for activating the immune system in order to recover from the common cold or illness more quickly. More recently, gua sha has been widely used to address many musculoskeletal complaints including neck pain, back pain, IT band issues, and tight hamstrings, calves, or quad muscles.
Nutritional and Lifestyle Recommendations
Certain lifestyle changes may help your body heal faster. Stretches, diet changes, or other recommendations may be made depending on your condition. A lot of the healing happens outside of the clinic, so it is important to continue to support that process with proper diet and lifestyle.
For those sensitive to needles or young children, there are many non-needle alternatives that may be able to help your condition including some of the services listed above. In addition, acupressure or ear seeds many be beneficial treatment options that stimulate acupuncture points without the use of a needle.