What Is Acupuncture And Traditional Chinese Medicine?



raditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has a long and rich history, and is one of the oldest forms of medicine in existence. Traditional Chinese Medicine includes: Acupuncture, Herbal medicine,Tui-na(therapeutic massage), Diet, as well as meditational techniques to heal the body. The fact that TCM has existed for thousands of years, and is still used today is a testament to its value as a form of healthcare.



Herbal Medicines
form the very foundation of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
  The Chinese Medicine practitioner has hundreds of medicinal herbs at their disposal, which have been used and tested over many hundreds of years. The application of these herbs includes diagnostics and pharmacology, and is specifically tailored to the needs of the individual patient.  A very popular tenant of Chinese Medicine is the belief of treating the patients underlying issue or the root of the problem.  The branch of symptoms displayed in the patient are the outward manifestations of a deeper underlying cause.  Once the root cause of illness is being treated the "branches" will invariably clear up.


Acupuncture is a technique rooted in this vast traditional medical system.  It's origins date back to nearly 2,000 years ago, developing in the Han Dynasty. Historically, physicians used acupuncture to balance the bodies natural energy system. When this system was out of balance, patients would experience "Dis-ease". Today in Modern China, as well as in the west Acupuncture is used as an integrative medicine or stand-alone to treat a wide-range of issues. The technique involves placing tiny non-invasive needles that are inserted into specific anatomical points scattered throughout the body.  By placing acupuncture needles into specific acupuncture points you initiate a naturally-occuring healing response. Receiving acupuncture encourages the body to promote natural healing and to improve function. 

See: Conditions treated by Acupuncture & TCM 

How Does Acupuncture Work

The question is not if acupuncture works but how does it work. To better understand acupuncture's role in treating disease let's first look at where its use came from.  From its inception, the use of acupuncture has been based upon the theories of early Chinese scholars and physicians. Chinese philosophy at the time of acupuncture's development took on a holistic view of the universe.  This whole-systems philosophy viewed human's as having a direct and intimate relationship with their environment and contradicts the notion that we are all just separate parts divided amongst ourselves.  They believed that by distancing ourselves from this holistic reality would lead us to great harm and disease.

It is with this perspective that Chinese doctors embraced a whole systems approach of the human body when treating diseased patients. They viewed that both mind and body are not separate entities but part of the same intelligence. Therefore, in resolving even physical issues it was important to have a strong emotional center.  They used acupuncture as a tool to unite the mind-body into one. Acupuncture was said to increase circulation of blood and strengthen the life force, or Qi.

Qi is a very important concept in Chinese Medicine and is roughly translated as "energy" or "life force". Having deficient Qi might be likened to our biomedical understanding of a weakened immune system or poor circulation.  At it's very core acupuncture and Chinese Medicine focuses on strengthening and connecting the human body and all of it's organ systems to bring the body back into balance and out of a state of disease.


 The Modern View Of Balance - The Stress Response

The Stress Response, or fight-or-flight is your bodies natural defense mechanism to stress. Imagine you are in the jungle and you hear movement behind you. You stop still from fright and your heart begins to pound. As you turn your head to orientate your eyes and ears to the sound you see the undergrowth trampled as you hear an animal pounding towards you – then you hear the lions roar.

At times like this you would want every muscle in your body to work to the peak of its ability – and your brain to be super-alert. Evolution has obliged, and given us the stress response. In today's modern world it isn't the lion that after you, but the many stresses present from our daily lives. Past traumatic experiences both physical and emotional can all attribute to activating this stress response system. What started out as a natural defense mechanism now inhibits you on a daily basis. Putting energy into digesting your lunch, optimizing your immune system or ensuring you are fertile all become rather unimportant in chronic stressful situations.


By decreasing the effects of stress on your body with acupuncture and holistic treatments you are rebalancing and integrating your body back to it's own healthy nature.

Does Acupuncture Hurt


Acupuncture needles are a different type of needle then most are familiar with. These "needles" are hair thin and made of stainless steel and are specifically engineered not to cause any pain. 

Most people feel no pain but will usually feel a slight tingling or heavy sensation around the site of needling.  This is usually accompanied by a feeling of relaxation which makes the whole needling process actually quite calming.

Preparing For Your First Treatment

If you have never experienced acupuncture treatment before the following is a list of a few things that will help make your first experience a breeze:

Make sure to eat something.

  • Acupuncture is known for moving circulation which can affect your blood/glucose levels so make sure to eat something prior to receiving acupuncture treatment. This will help ensure that your blood glucose levels stay balanced throughout your visit.

Wear comfortable clothing.

  • Your attire should be something you feel comfortable in and that allows for easy access to different parts of your body. Depending on your individual treatment your acupuncturist may choose to needle areas that may require you to wear a short-sleeved shirt or gym shorts. In general, loose athletic clothing seems to work the best. 

Remember to take a deep breath and enjoy the treatment. Don’t worry, what you are about to experience is completely safe and contrary to popular belief many find the needling sensation quite pleasant.

How Many Treatments Will I Need?


A 3 Step Process To Internal Change


Step 1: Symptomatic Care


During the first stage of treatment your physician may work towards alleviating symptoms that may be causing you discomfort or adding to the complexity of your condition. A useful metaphor to describe this stage of the process is to imagine the many layers of an onion. The outside layers of the onion protect and hide the inside layers from view. In order to gain a deeper perspective of your health, these outside layers or symptoms need to be dealt with accordingly.


Step 2: Corrective Care


Now that the outer layers or symptoms are cleared away we are able to deal with the root of the problem or the underlying conditions that caused the symptoms to appear in the first place. This stage of care involves addressing core disharmonies or issues that may be contributing to the cause of negative health patterns in the body.


Step 3: Integration:


Integration is the third and final stage of treatment and is considered a maintenance phase.  This phase is integrating the healing that occurs in treatment. A new seed is planted. A long held disharmony or illness is resolved and the body is able to achieve a state of balance and equilibrium. The experience around this transformation can be a great relief for the individual and a turning point in their health and wellness.

Please also take into consideration that the amount and frequency of treatments required depends entirely on your individual condition. Typically, in most circumstances patients will have improvement in just a few sessions.  Many will improve significantly after just the first treatment.  

Our team will work with you the whole step of the way so that we may best assist you in obtaining your health goals.  



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