I employ a variety of modalities under the cohesive system of traditional Chinese and East Asian medicine to create a comprehensive treatment plan with you. These include: acupuncture, cupping, bodywork, moxibustion (heat therapy), food-as-medicine, and herbs. Below is a description of each:
Overview of Chinese and East Asian Medicine
Folk medicine in China has been developing for millennia and as a system is very different than modern biomedicine. It works primarily on the functionality of the body as a complex, dynamic and interrelated ecosystem. Diagnosis is made by using detailed observation, including using the complexion, tongue, and pulse. Since it utilizes diagnostics from a completely different paradigm than conventional allopathic medicine it can offer a powerful alternative perspective on ailments that are poorly understood have limited treatment options in Western medicine. It can also be a helpful complement to conventional treatment of a wide range of problems.
Acupuncture is a very old modality in Asia, with historical texts dating its origins back 2,000 years, and archeological data as far back as 4,000 BCE. It involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body that regulate the person’s “qi.” Loosely translated, qi is energy and function. The places where the needles are inserted are called points and lie on channels that regulate certain functions in the body. The needles stimulate the points, which regulate the functions. Much like rivers in nature, when these channels are obstructed—due to accidents, poor diet, or other environmental factors—the rivers become compromised and pain or disease result. Acupuncture restores function to the natural terrain of your body using your own resources. No one knows exactly how this works in biomedical terms, but these channels tend to correspond to major arteries and veins and lie close to nerves. It is possible that acupuncture achieves results by regulating the circulatory, nervous and/or endocrine functions of the body.
Cupping involves creating a vacuum inside a glass or plastic “cup” and placing it on the body to draw up the skin and form a suction. These cups are either left stationary on the body or moved around depending on what your body needs.
Cupping has been used widely in many cultures dating as far back as 3,000 BCE. In Chinese medicine it is used traditionally to break up stagnation and help release harmful pathogens, treating a wide variety of problems including muscular tension, injuries, and the common cold. Clinically, I have found it to be very useful in improving circulation and relieving pain, especially in cases of acute injury, as happens with motor vehicle accidents, where pain and tension can be widespread and there is holding from trauma. It can be used alone or in conjunction with the other modalities listed on this page.
The herb mugwort, a kind of artemisia, is used topically and internally in Chinese medicine for many kinds of ailments. When shredded into a fluffy “wool” and burned near or on the skin it is called moxibustion. It is especially good to warm the body and move stagnation, making it especially useful in addressing conditions of chronic pain and gynecological issues.
Herbs in the artemisia family are known in Asia, Europe and the Americas with strong spiritual properties and as important allies in gynecological ailments.
In conjunction with acupuncture I use gentle craniosacral therapy to help open the fascial tissue of your body. This can be a very effective way to work with tension and pain in your body.
Food is medicine. With all the fad diets and concern over weight in modern culture navigating your relationship to food can be difficult and stressful. I believe in health at every size and will never push dietary changes, but can offer support for you making healthy changes in your life. Read my blog post for more on the subject.
Herbs are nature’s pharmacy. Most drugs are derived from plants, distilled down to a few chemical constituents that are considered to be the active agents. When using a whole-plant approach we primarily consider the energetics of the herbs as understood within a traditional framework. Herbal medicine means using formulas or single herbs for a more focused approach (versus using foods) to help your system regain its dynamic balance.