The Traditional Eastern Theory:
Acupuncture is an Ancient Traditional Therapy that originated in China close to 3,000 years ago. It is a system of medicine based on the use of tongue & pulse diagnosis, acupuncture point selection, and the use of fine, sterile, single use needle insertion.
The philosophy of traditional acupuncture is that disease is caused by an interruption in the flow chi or energy along the meridian pathways. Acupuncture acts by removing these obstructions through the mobilization and regulation in the flow of “chi” that courses along the meridians and nourishes the corresponding organs to which they relate. This free flow of “chi” initiates the body’s innate healing responses and harmonizes the balance between the Yin & Yang forces within.
Acupuncture is a safe and effective natural therapy. It is used to heal illness, prevent disease and improve well-being. It can be used to manage pain, reduce stress and high blood pressure and balance organ systems to restore proper endocrine and hormonal balance.
There are twelve major meridians or energy channels running along the length of the human body. Illness and imbalance is caused by obstructed energy flow anywhere along these meridian pathways. These pathways can be blocked by scar tissue, injuries, illness, mental-emotional or physical stressors or disease processes.
The Science Behind Acupuncture
~Understanding Acupuncture from an Evidence-Based Perspective
How does traditional acupuncture translate into our modern medical understanding?
Scientific research and clinical trials have begun to reveal the physiological changes brought about by acupuncture treatments. This research is ongoing and is finally beginning to shed new light on a traditional treatment. It is demonstrating that the use of acupuncture initiates real neuro-physiological & neuro-endocrine mechanisms of actions in terms of its therapeutic responses.
There are many theories and various mechanisms of action through which acupuncture can exert it's therapeutic effects.
The Endorphin Theory:
Evidence indicates that acupuncture stimulates the release of neuro-chemicals such as endorphins. The release of endorphins function to relieve pain and stimulates a subsequent cascade of neurotransmitters which instigate a deep state of relaxation and regulates serotonin levels to help balance mood. Endorphins also play a role in balancing the endocrine (hormonal) systems in both men and women.
The Gate Theory:
The Gate Theory proposes that acupuncture stimulates the peripheral nerves which sequentially modulate neurological gates and channels to specific nerve fibers in the central nervous system to effectively alter the transmission of pain impulses and modulates disease.
DNIC Theory (Diffuse Noxious Inhibitory Control):
One of the pain modulating theories is that acupuncture supports an opioidergic mechanism. Studies have demonstrated that acupuncture activates the release of opioids that act as natural analgesics for pain relief. Acupuncture increases circulation and therefore improves nutrient influx and exchange to the nerves, muscles and surrounding tissues. This helps to remove inflammatory cytokines, decrease muscle hypertonicity (muscle pain, spasms & tension) and increases joint mobility and range of motion for faster recovery times.
Research and clinical trials are also lending credence to the fact that acupuncture strengthens the immune system and significantly improves a variety of diseases with its innumerable therapeutic applications.
Acupuncture strengthens the immune system by increasing T-cell counts, balancing the function of the spleen and is useful in treating conditions such as allergies and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Acupuncture alters the neuro-chemical balance of the brain by modifying the production and release of neurotransmitters and neuro-hormones.
Acupuncture has been documented to regulate blood pressure and is safe to use alongside medications and other natural therapies.
Acupuncture mobilizes blocked energy and re-establishes the regular flow of chi through the meridians aiding the body's internal organs to correct imbalances.
This improvement in energy flow and biochemical balance results in stimulating the body's natural healing abilities, promoting stress relief, relaxation and an enhancement of physical and emotional well-being.
Circulation of Energy Through the Primary Meridians
Ailments that appear at different times during the day or night correspond to potential disruptions in the circadian flow of chi through the meridians and organ system.
Liver: 1am - 3am
Lung: 3am - 5am
Large Intestine: 5am - 7am
Stomach: 7am - 9am
Spleen: 9am - 11am
Heart: 11am - 1pm
Small Intestine: 1pm - 3pm
Bladder: 3pm - 5pm
Kidney: 5pm - 7pm
Pericardium: 7pm - 9pm
San Jiao (Triple Burner): 9pm - 11 pm
Gall Bladder: 11pm - 1am
An imbalance in one organ system can lead to further imbalances in other organ systems as the body’s compensatory mechanisms begin to draw on them for support. This can lead to further organ and system stress, depletion and chronic problems.
This concept can be further explained by The Five Elements Theory.
Tongue and pulse diagnosis are two of the main diagnostic tools used in determining a proper Chinese medicine diagnosis. These assessment tools, along with a thorough history help guide the correct selection of acupuncture points to help resolve the underlying conditions to be treated.
The tongue has many relationships and connections within the body. It is correlated to both the meridian systems as well as the internal organ systems. It therefore becomes very significant as a strong visual indicator of overall harmony or disharmony patterns in the individual. It also acts as a marker to indicate resolution patterns.
The tongue is examined for its correlation to the organ systems. The tongue body, color, shape, coating, and geography are all examined for their clinical significance.
While tongue diagnosis provides valuable clinical information, the pulse is also used to gain a deeper understanding of the patient and the various levels at which an underlying condition resides.
In Western medicine, the pulse is used as a generalized diagnostic tool. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the pulse is measured on both wrists, and at three differing points and depths, in order to gain a deeper understanding of the various organs and potential patterns of imbalance.
The quality of the pulses are also measured as the additional characteristics reveal a greater clarity in understanding the underlying clinical picture.
The Five Element Theory is a comprehensive theory that reflects the organization and patterns of the natural laws at work within us and around us. It connects our micro states to the macro. Each of the five elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water correlate to generating and controlling cycles in the organization of our being and connect us to the natural world around. Each element is characterized by a season, a direction, a climate, stage of growth, internal organs, body tissues, emotions, colour and taste and mirrors the principles of the natural laws.
The Theory of Five Elements rests on the notion that all phenomena in the universe are the products of the movement and transmutation of the interactions and relationships between these different elements and the phenomena of how they coexist in nature. In Chinese medicine, the Five Elements theory influences the orchestration of our Zang-Fu organs, physiology, pathology, diagnosis and treatment approaches.
These Five Elements reflect our interconnectedness and interaction between the generating and controlling cycles that govern all living things. All our systems are connected to each other. In order to maintain balance these forces must coexist in a state of harmony. Just as the dynamic balance of the opposing forces of Yin and Yang are constantly interacting, changing and unfolding in their processes. We are the reflection of this dynamic state.
The Five Elements Theory is an essential concept in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It provides the framework for understanding the links between our mind, body, spirit and emotions in conjunction with our organ system functions and symptomatology. It reveals the dynamic state of balance or disharmony in order to allow for a more comprehensive diagnosis and a blueprint for returning these elements to balance within our state of being.
Based on your TCM Diagnosis, dietary recommendations will be made in order to help facilitate the a resolution of the TCM Pattern Differential.