Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine
Acupuncture is one of the oldest practices of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It addresses meridians, or channels of energy, that flow throughout the body. There are many techniques which are based on different philosophies. While commonly used for pain relief or management, acupuncture treatments have proven successful for a wide range of other physical and psychosomatic illnesses and conditions.
We use the four diagnoses (asking, looking, listening and palpation) to determine the most appropriate acupuncture technique for you. We form treatment plans based on your condition, needs and goals, as well as your comfort level with needles.
Below are a few of the acupuncture techniques we use.
Toyohari: Five-Element Acupuncture
Oriental Medicine has long recognized that the Five Elements – Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water – exist in everything and everyone. Five Element Acupuncture asserts that every human develops an imbalance in these Five Elements at some point in their lives, and that this imbalance causes illness of the mind body and spirit.
This technique focuses on diagnosing and treating a patient’s Causative Factor (CF), or root imbalance. The CF is assessed listening to, observing and palpating the body itself. Each of the five elements has a corresponding color, sound, emotion, and odor, and can be perceived when an element imbalance is present. A practitioner uses the senses of sight, hearing, touch, and smell to identify these imbalances and accurately diagnosis and treat the CF. Most importantly, as each person is unique, their individuality must be taken into account and no two patients can ever be treated the same.
Toyohari is a refinement of a little over 2,000 years of tradition of acupuncture derived from the Chinese classics. Its powerful effects and simple, gentle style were developed in Japan, where there is a 400-year-old tradition of acupuncture practiced by blind practitioners.
The nature of Toyohari treatments, placing great emphasis on the use of pulse diagnosis and palpation skills, is well suited to the sensitivity of these blind Japanese practitioners. The theoretical foundation of these treatment techniques is derived primarily from the Asian medical classic the Nan Jing, with influences from the Nei Jing, the Su Wen, and the Ling Shu.
Principle amongst the techniques used in the Toyohari system are:
Needling is generally done with very thin silver needles for supplementation and with thin stainless steel needles for dispersion. Most of our needling techniques are non-insertion style, with the acupuncturists treating by following the improving movement of Ki.
These include a variety of specific techniques for supplementation and for dispersion. Included in these techniques are moxibustion, extra vessel balancing, circadian clock balancing, micro bleeding. Also included are specialized needling techniques for stagnation and excess or deficiency in the inguinal, sacral, abdominal, cervical and shoulder regions.
Treatment is largely based on the practitioner’s ability to feel and work with Ki (energy) throughout the patient’s body. In accordance with tradition, Toyohari uses the “four diagnoses” (asking, looking, listening and touching), to find energetic imbalances in patients. Palpation skills are enhanced as acupuncturists learn to feel the deficiency of Ki, the excess of Ki and the abundance of healthy Ki directly with their hands.
Pulse Feedback (“Feel the Ki”)
Progress during treatment is closely monitored point by point to follow the changes in the pulse after each needling technique. The treatment will be adjusted, if necessary, as each needle application is monitored.
Electroacupuncture: Impulse Therapy
Electroacupuncture is a form of acupuncture where a small electric current is passed between pairs of acupuncture needles. It is often used when treating disorders causing stagnant Ki to stimulate movement.
The technique is similar to traditional acupuncture in that needles are inserted at specific stimulation points along the body. The needles are then attached using small clips to a device that generates continuous electric pulses. The frequency and intensity of the impulse being delivered is adjusted depending on the condition being treated. Several pairs of needles may be stimulated simultaneously, usually for no more than 30 minutes at a time.
Trigger Point: Single-point Insertion Acupuncture
Trigger point therapy is a more aggressive form of treatment combining palpitation and single-point insertion. The method is often used in western medicine, and aims to directly manipulate muscles and alleviate areas of tightness, or “trigger points”. The practitioner uses palpitation to locate the area(s) of tightness, then inserts a single needle into the area and gently probes the area to induce twitching. This reaction causes the muscle to fatigue and thus relax, alleviating tightness.
Balance Method: Meridian Therapy
Developed by Dr. Richard Tan, The Balance Method focuses on healing the body by balancing meridians. Each organ and its corresponding meridian is connected to others through a complex network. These relationships provide the locations for treatment. Once the affected area is identified, a distal point, determined based on the corresponding meridian, is used to treat the affected area. For example, points in the elbows are used to treat knee pain.
The technique uses fewer needles simply by nature of an acute focus on localized treatment areas. The precise stimulation of as few distal points as possible avoids further aggravation of local pain. It requires the practitioner ask questions, listen, observe and palpate to determine the exact location of the affliction, and also be well versed in the various point combinations.