Category Archives: Acupuncture

Posts related to acupuncture, it’s uses or current research

Acupressure for Allergy Season

We love to offer support for our patients in many ways, and one of those is take-home treatments. Acupressure is a form of massage, is easy to do, and is an effective way to stimulate acupuncture points to promote either easing of symptoms, or support body and local tissue functions. In other words, it’s great self-care! Acupressure is done using fingers, palms, or elbows on particular points of the body.

The points, or locations for pressure, can be assigned by your acupuncturist after a treatment to extend acupuncture, or can be used as needed anytime. In thinking about current issues that may be affecting folks now, I have some points to suggest that might be helpful, and are safe for most anyone to do, though if pregnant, please use acupressure with caution, and there is a note about that on one point in particular below.

Do these points help immediately? Sometimes, they can. Often, the effect is gradual since the activation of a point is like opening a gate allowing a flow rather than an on-off switch.

Gallbladder 20 is Feng Chi, or Wind Pool, a great point for many types of headaches, as it is a place where many meridians connect. Its location is at the back of the skull, in a little “valley” where the skull meets the soft tissue of the neck. It is not the valley behind the mastoid bone behind the ear, but the next one behind that. It is often sore when pressed, and can quickly alleviate a headache. Press, looking for a sore feeling, for 10-30 seconds for a young person (or animal!) and 2-3 minutes for most adults, or as long as feels good. Alternatively, this point can be stimulated by rolling a cotton handtowel into a tight roll and leaning the head back upon it (on the floor, or against the back of the couch) for a length of time. It’s a great point to focus on when giving a neck massage to release tension in the back of head and neck. We use this point for: headaches, to clear and open the nose, ears, eyes and more. I think it’s great for allergies this time of year!

Large Intestine 4 is a well-known acupressure point, especially for headaches. This point should be avoided in pregnancy since it can promote uterine contractions. LI 4 is easy to find and to stimulate. To find this point on your hand, close your thumb and pointer finger together- see the mountain that pops up next to the crease? That’s He Gu, or the “Joining Valley,” LI 4. Pinch this point with your thumb and your finger on the palm side of the hand. You should feel a very sore and achey sensation. This point excels at treating headaches in the front of the head, and pain of the face, such as toothache, and can also be used for issues of mouth, nose, eyes and ears. Because it affects the uterus, it can be used for menstrual pain, and is often combined with other points in this case. Many acupuncturists use this point in treatments for stress and other types of pain, because it helps to “move qi,” or dislodge stuck energy.

 

Large Intestine 20 Ying Xiang, and Bi Tong

Two points that are close together beside the nose are great to help open the sinuses. I use the knuckle of my thumb to press these points, as I breathe in and out very strongly with my nose. (The “out” exhalation can be like a snort, and can carry some material with it!) To find, press on the side of your nostrils (there is a sore spot there!) and from there you can rub your thumb up and then back down, with just enough pressure to feel the soreness. I usually have my patients do a nice, slow, deep inhalation, with the quick snort, while rubbing back and forth between these 2 points on either side of the nose.

St 36 , Zu San Li or “Leg three miles”, is a very famous and widely used acupuncture point. This is a point I show patients who need a little “pick-me-up,” in situations like low energy, low spirits, dizziness or even something like a drop in blood pressure. It is regulating, meaning that it just helps to nudge body functions in the right direction, so it is also used clinically for high blood pressure. It’s helpful for stomach issues like nausea or low appetite and weak digestion. I would recommend it for those feeling emotionally overwhelmed or agitated right now, those who need a little extra grounding or strength, or to feel a little more security through these times of transition and uncertainty. This point is often used with moxibustion, which is a heat treatment using the mugwort herb. Moxa is very warming and more strongly tonifying than acupuncture or acupressure. Contact your acupuncturist if you want to know if moxa could be helpful for you. We may be able to arrange a video call to teach you to apply moxa at home.

Du 20, or Bai Hui, “Hundred Meetings,” is another commonly used point in acupuncture, as well as Tai Chi and QiGong practice. I will always remember one of my acupuncture teachers having us tap this point to keep awake in class, as it is very good to open the consciousness and the mind! Find it at the point at the top of the head, or really just slightly behind the very top of the head, at a flat spot. Tap here, or press, and it does have a slight ache or feeling that radiates over the head in a pleasant way. Besides helping you to wake up, this point can bring up energy, lift your spirit, clear the senses (try for ringing ears), and is helpful if you feel life is falling apart a bit, and so much more. If you have a meditation practice, this point can be used as a focal point in circulating energy and focus into the head, and the upper section of the body. In more spiritual practices, it connects us to the celestial influences, and the wisdom of our ancestors.

 

Use these points alone, on either or both sides of the body, or use in combinations that feel right to you. If you have any questions, contact your acupuncturist. We are available for phone or video consults at this time. We can recommend acupressure for self-care and advise about moxibustion if that’s appropriate for you. Stay tuned for more acupressure tips!

by Blake Faulkner, L.Ac.

Acutonics – An Alternative to Needles

Acutonics is the non-invasive use of precision-calibrated tuning forks developed by acupuncturists. The system of specifically “tuned” forks are used directly on acupuncture points instead of needles. It is an excellent option for treating children and people who are especially needle sensitive or fearful of needles.

Every cell in the body is a “sound resonator” for vibratory energy. The meridian “tune-up” can be used to treat patterns of disharmony and illness in the same way as traditional acupuncture. The various sound frequencies can be used to break up energy blocks and to harmonize the flow of qi in the body and chakra system.

In Western medicine, tuning forks are used in neurological testing and audiology. The sound waves travel deeply into the body creating a sense of relaxation and ease. In Eastern medicine, the forks are used to create harmony in mind, body and spirit. Treatments can be specific for such conditions as anxiety, PTSD, ADHD and other emotional and physical concerns.

 Debby Jennings, L.Ac

Yuan Qi Acupuncture: Fewer Needles, Big Results

Traditionally, acupuncture was not practiced in the same manner by all doctors. There existed many styles and family lineages. The different styles did have some overlapping techniques, but there were also a lot of differences amongst them. This posed a problem when attempting to teach acupuncture in schools, as the information needed to be consistent. So within the last century, Chinese medicine became standardized and also somewhat westernized. This led to the creation of what is known as TCM, or traditional Chinese medicine, as it is practiced in China and worldwide today.
Some of these lineage styles still exist today in small numbers, one such style I have been fortunate enough to learn is Yuan Qi acupuncture. Yuan qi is your original qi, or “Source Qi” and yuan qi acupuncture is meant to tap into your original qi in order to let your body heal itself.
Since learning yuan qi acupuncture I have noticed a significant improvement in my ability to treat pain and discomfort. The result is powerful and quick, with the patient often experiencing drastic pain relief within the first few weeks of getting treatment, especially when the pain has a specific location. Since illness and aging tend to drain our yuan qi, and, it is important to treat pain and illness as early as possible. Not only will the pain resolve more quickly, but you will also prevent your energy from being consumed over time.

Yuan Qi acupuncture can be practiced in almost any setting, since most of the points used are on the arms and legs. This makes it a great technique to use in our community clinic, making pain relief more affordable for everyone.

 Jesse Andreas, L.Ac.

More than Just Needles

I am coming upon the completion of my first full year as a licensed acupuncturist. As a relatively new practitioner, I spent a large part of this first year trying to attract new patients. Toward that end, I have participated in health expos and conducted seminars with the intention of educating the public about this form of health care. At many of these events, I would give brief treatments.

Of course there were many people with the usual reservations: fear of needles, wondering if the needles hurt, etc. Usually, the first half of the health care events would find me sitting alone and ignored at my booth, until the first brave soul decided to try acupuncture. Once the first patient was settled in, people would crowd around with curiosity until I was busy treating and educating.

For practicality, I would use only ear acupuncture for these “sample” treatments. The protocol I used was called the “NADA” protocol which is simply a selection of 5 points on each ear designed to reduce stress and calm the sympathetic nervous system. This type of ear acupuncture is often used in addiction and detox programs, as well as trauma clinics after natural disasters. The ear points provide an almost instant sense of relief and relaxation.

I was happy to witness the effects of these treatments as each newcomer became visibly calm. As the patients sat side by side receiving treatments, they would begin to socialize and share experiences. They would soon open up about ailments and their dissatisfaction with their previous healthcare experiences. Also, the more people began to communicate, the more new people wanted to try a treatment. It seemed that once they overcame the initial fear of needles (or whatever was holding them back) they realized that they enjoyed the experience. This sequence of events reminded me that one of the biggest impediments to my profession is the trepidation of the public to try something new. However, the satisfaction of those who were brave enough to try this gentle form of medicine impressed upon me the importance of continuing to educate and encourage people to try acupuncture.

It was clear from these experiences with the public that there are many who want to take the leap toward having more control of their health and their lives. This principle would extend further, into our ear acupuncture clinic at Stillpoint, and with my private patients. I found that people new to acupuncture are doing more than experimenting–they are looking for an adjunct to the healthcare methods that they have been using. They want to be heard and they want their personal experiences considered when making decisions about their health. They want to educate themselves more, and they are ready to heal. Seeing this has brought me a great deal of satisfaction, and excitement about contributing to their efforts.

At the completion of my first year of practice, I feel lucky to have been able to help these new patients on this path. I thought I knew the benefits that acupuncture could offer, but I am pleasantly surprised to see the personal empowerment that comes from people being willing to step outside their comfort zone and take responsibility for their own health.

 Jason Trakas, L.Ac.

Battlefield Acupuncture: Quick Pain Relief with tiny Needles

 

Have you ever heard of Battlefield Acupuncture?

No?  You’re not alone.  It’s a relatively new acupuncture protocol (a specified grouping of acupuncture points used together).This protocol, developed by the military for use in battlefield conditions, only uses points in the ear to treat chronic &/or severe pain anywhere in the body.  In our clinic, this protocol is used when someone doesn’t see significant improvement in their pain level from their regular acupuncture treatment.

Another twist is that this treatment uses a rather unusual type of acupuncture needle; the ASP needle.  The ASP needle is a semi-permanent needle that stays in the ear a few days to continue providing pain relief.

Semi-permanent needles might sound intimidating, but they are only 3 millimeters long (see photo) and the visible portion on the ear is only a fraction of that.  More importantly, the results from these tiny needles are outsized!  I’ve been treating patients with acupuncture for almost twenty years and this technique is one of the most profound and effective tools that I’ve learned for the treatment of pain – and I consider myself a pain specialist.

If your practitioner suggests that you could be helped by the addition of semi-permanent needles after your regular treatment, I urge you to give them a try.  I’ve seen truly remarkable results and am thrilled to have this versatile tool at my disposal.

Christi De Larco, L.Ac.