Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

How Acupuncture works inside your body


Acupuncture moves, regulates and balances the Qi (translated as “life energy” or “life force”) that flows through the human body along electromagnetic pathways called meridians. These pathways are interlinked so that what happens in one part of the body is reflected in other parts of the body. The organs and muscles and bones and nerves and all the myriad parts of our organic, energetic, whole system are connected and interacting, along with our emotions, thoughts, and spirit. If one part of the body malfunctions or is harmed in any way, then other parts are also affected, disturbing and un-balancing the Qi. When this happens, we experience discomfort, distress, illness or disease. Acupuncture, as it intervenes and re-directs the Qi and corrects its flow, helps the body recover and restore its balance, health and well-being.

What the Needles Do

In Western medical terms, acupuncture works by using thin needles to direct our body’s signaling systems, namely the central nervous system and our hormone-producing glands. Needles inserted at the site of an acupuncture point trigger the release of biochemical signals in the central nervous system or hormones from our glands into the muscles, organs, spinal cord and brain. In turn, these signals instruct and influence our body’s self-regulating systems. One of the most important examples and perhaps most often felt, is the dramatically reduced experience of pain.

What You Will Feel During Your Treatment

During an acupuncture treatment session, 1 to 20 metallic needles (the thickness of three strands of hair and an inch and a half in length) are inserted into the body. The needles, just breaking through the surface of the skin, remain in place for 15 to 30 minutes. Unlike the hypodermic needles used for injections, acupuncture needles are not blunt, do not have holes in them and do not remove tissue. Instead, they are solid and thin, come to a smooth point and are rarely ever described as painful.

Each person experiences acupuncture differently. What is called ‘the needling sensation’ – or the stimulated arrival of Qi – varies from acupuncture point to point. You may not feel anything at all as the needles go in and remain during the treatment. You may feel pressure, numbness, tingling or warmth. Or you may feel an ‘electric’ sensation of the qi radiating from the point of insertion to another part of the body. All of these are normal needle sensations experienced during an acupuncture treatment.

If this is your first experience with acupuncture, you will be rewarded and inspired and you will find yourself in better health because of it.

Getting Ready for Your Visit

Getting Ready for Your Visit

  • Just as happens when you first see a chiropractor or a medical doctor, you will complete a Patient Health History Form. This form can be downloaded and printed from this website.
  • Your first visit as a new patient will take about an hour and a half. It will begin with the intake of information, reviewing your medical history and discussing the reasons for your visit. Oriental Medical diagnosis includes this review as well as visual observation, palpation of the pulse and assessment of ‘tender’ points and trouble areas.
  • Wear loose fitting clothes if you can. Or, you may bring a change of clothes. A gown is available if you need or prefer.
  • It is best to eat a light meal or a snack within an hour or two before your treatment. Avoid alcohol, and fasting is not recommended.
  • Expect that your follow-up visits to the office will be about one hour long.
  • Don’t forget that acupuncture is a balancing and calming experience!
Oriental Medicine Treatment Therapies

Oriental Medicine Treatment Therapies

Your treatment evaluation and treatment session will often include a combination of the therapies that are a part of Oriental Medicine:

  • Acupuncture
  • Moxibustion
  • Cupping
  • Electro-stimulation
  • Acupressure and Asian bodywork
  • Chinese herbal formulations
  • Qigong, Tai Chi, energy work and other exercises
  • Nutrition and lifestyle recommendations
Acupuncture, moxibustion, electro-stimulation

Acupuncture, moxibustion, electro-stimulation

  • Acupuncture is an ancient treatment, which uses very thin, solid sterile needles placed into specific points in the body or ear to stimulate and guide the body’s innate healing abilities.
  • Moxibustion is a therapy that combines the burning of special herbs at the sight of specific acupuncture points or along the meridians, with or without needles. This can increase the effectiveness of the acupuncture by bringing heat and the therapeutic qualities of the herbs into the body.
  • Electro-stimulation uses micro- or milli-amperage to stimulate the acu-points and meridians, with or without needles. Electro-stimulation increases acupuncture’s effect on the innate electromagnetic nature of the body and is often used to treat pain and to induce the healing of tissue.
  • Both moxibustion and electro-stimulation of points and meridians are used to enhance the acupuncture treatment but are not indicated for every situation.


  • Cupping is the use of open-ended glass balls applied with suction to the body
  • Cupping creates superficial and deep stimulation to improve circulation and to encourage healing.
Acupressure and Asian bodywork

Acupressure and Asian bodywork

  • Acupressure is the application of pressure on acu-points and along meridians as a means of stimulating the healing process.
  • Asian bodywork includes the Oriental massage traditions, such as the popular shiatsu and tuina, and incorporates Oriental Medical principles to work on the superficial meridians.
Chinese Herbal Formulations

Chinese Herbal Formulations

  • Chinese herbal medicine is all encompassing, offering complete care and treatment internally and externally. Chinese herbs can and do stand alone as treatment for ailment and disease.
  • Herbal formulas are taken internally in the form of teas, powders, pills, tinctures and syrups.
  • There is a complete topical/external pharmacy of liniments, ointments, oils, creams and medicated patches for use after injury, for skin conditions and disease.
  • Over 3000 different herbs and minerals are included in Chinese formulas. Three to five hundred are commonly used and a single prescribed formula may contain up to a dozen different ingredients. Each herb in a formulation is chosen based on its physiological effect (what it does in the body) both alone and combined with other herbs.
  • Chinese herbal formulations are commonly used and are widely accepted as a medical therapy for restoring health and vitality. Chinese herbs are combined according to each patient’s unique needs.
  • Every Chinese medicinal herb has been carefully studied to understand its properties and effects, what actions it takes, what results it provides. For instance, lemon with its sour taste is an astringent which in the body promotes digestion and stops abnormal secretions and discharge.
  • Any ‘side effects’ from using Chinese formulas are more like ‘after effects’: temporary discomfort in the digestive tract or through elimination – not the type or term associated with pharmaceuticals. To resolve, dosage is adjusted or herb combinations can be modified and re-balanced.
  • For centuries people all across the globe have used indigenous materials found in nature: flowers, seeds, fruits, leaves, roots, barks and branches, as well as rock and minerals, to treat a wide variety of diseases and conditions. Modern medicines derive from this natural healing universe. Chemical components are extracted and/or mimicked in order to develop pharmaceuticals that can insert themselves into and interact with the human body’s innate chemistry and target a specific organ or disease. In contrast, traditional Chinese formulas work by influencing systems and the body as a whole.
Exercise, Qigong, Tai Chi

Exercise, Qigong, Tai Chi

  • Improvement of health and quality of life depend on so many factors. Exercise and physical activities are of the utmost important to the body’s well-being, stamina and flexibility.
  • Exercise can be classified as external or internal. External exercise – athletic sports and martial arts, walking, running and biking – is essential for optimal health. However, excessive exercise may exhaust the Qi and compromise the body’s smooth and full functioning.
  • Qigong and Tai Chi are forms of internal exercise. Think of them as internal martial arts or as moving meditation. The benefits of internal exercise include increasing energy, improving circulation, restoring strength and relaxing a worried mind.
Nutrition and Lifestyle

Nutrition and Lifestyle

  • Healing and recovery is not restricted to the clinic or the treatment session.
  • Shifts and changes in diet and nutrition and in daily living habits will improve health and vitality.
  • Recognizing your strengths along with your weakness will empower your progress and success as you heal and change.
Acupuncture History

A Little Acupuncture History…

Acupuncture was first written about more than 2,000 years ago in the ancient Chinese medical text known to us as The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine. It is one of only a handful of ancient traditional medicine therapies and evolved from principles unique to East Asian philosophy and thought. Centuries of practice, research and study have resulted in what today we call Oriental Medicine: an umbrella of medicine that includes acupuncture, herbology, bodywork like tuina, physical therapies such as cupping and gua sha, heat therapy known as moxibustion, dietary practices and exercises including Tai Chi and Qi Gong. This impressive range of protocols and practices has been accepted into the ranks of healing, health and medicine across the United States by both the medical community at large and our general population.

  • In 1995, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration classified acupuncture needles as medical instruments and confirmed their safety and their effectiveness.
  • In 1997, the US National Institute of Health issued a report titled: “Acupuncture: The NIH Consensus Statement.” It states that acupuncture is a very useful method for treating many conditions and acknowledges that the side effects of acupuncture are considerably less adverse than when compared to other medical procedures such as surgery or pharmaceuticals.
  • Recently, the NIH recommended to U.S. insurance companies that they provide full coverage of acupuncture treatment for a number of commonly treated conditions.
  • Currently, there are approximately 50 acupuncture colleges providing top-quality education in acupuncture and Oriental Medicine to thousands of students each year.