Services - Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine

What are The Five Branches of Oriental Medicine?

1. Acupuncture

San Diego Acupuncture
Q: What exactly is acupuncture and what does it do in the body?

A: Acupuncture is the gentle insertion of very fine needles at specific points on the body. Based on information gathered for over 3,000 years in China, today’s acupuncture practitioners are trained to select specific points in order to stimulate the movement of energy within the body, allowing natural healing to take place. While preventing illness by improving the overall functioning of the body's immune, blood, energy, endocrine, and organ systems, acupuncture is also helpful for treating chronic and acute illnesses and injuries; preventing both recurrence of illnesses and new illness and improving overall health.

Q: Do the needles hurt?

A: Acupuncture needles are almost as thin as a human hair and are gently placed and retained at specific point locations in the body for 20 to 45 minutes. The resulting Qi stimulation feels like a dull ache rather than a sharp pain.

2. Herbal Remedies 

Q: What are herbal remedies?

A: Herbal remedies involve the use of any or all parts of healing plants (roots, leaves, stems and seeds) to treat illnesses and maintain health. Medicinals are given to improve the body’s natural functions and to restore a balance of health. Herbal remedies can be given in many forms, such as liquids, granules, raw, tablets, creams and ointments.

Q: How are herbs used?

A: Herbal medicine can increase the effectiveness of your acupuncture treatment and these herbs come in various forms. The most common are small, easy to swallow pills. But some patients prefer individual packages of powdered herbs mixed into a cup of boiling water. Still others are prescribed raw herbs that are boiled in a pot on the stove for several hours.

3. Moxibustion

Q: What is moxibustion?

A: Moxibustion is a Traditional Chinese Medicine technique that involves the burning of Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), a small, spongy herb, to facilitate healing. Moxibustion has been used throughout Asia for thousands of years; in fact, the actual Chinese character for acupuncture, translated literally, means "acupuncture-moxibustion." The purpose of moxibustion, as with most forms of Traditional Chinese Medicine, is to strengthen the blood, stimulate the flow of Qi, and maintain general health.

Q: What is moxibustion used for?

A: In Traditional Chinese Medicine, moxibustion is used to remove cold or other stagnant conditions in patients. The burning of moxa is believed to expel cold therefore strengthening the Kidney Yang. It also warms the meridians, which leads to smoother flow of blood and Qi. In Western medicine, moxibustion has successfully been used to turn breech babies into a normal head-down position prior to childbirth. A landmark study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1998 found that up to 75% of women suffering from breech presentations before childbirth had fetuses that rotated to the normal position after receiving moxibustion at an acupuncture point on the Bladder meridian. Other studies have shown that moxibustion increases the movement of the fetus in pregnant women, and may reduce the symptoms of menstrual cramps when used in conjunction with traditional acupuncture.

Q: Are there any precautions I should be aware of?

A: Although moxibustion has been safely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries, it is not for everyone. Because it is used specifically for patients suffering from cold or stagnant constitutions, it should not be used on anyone diagnosed with too much heat. Burning moxa also produces a great deal of smoke and a pungent odor. Patients with respiratory problems may request that their practitioner use smokeless moxa sticks as an alternative.

Q: Who can practice moxibustion?

A: Moxibustion is usually taught as part of a qualified acupuncture or Traditional Chinese Medicine degree program. Although there are no licensing or accreditation requirements associated with the practice of moxibustion, in the United States, a practitioner must have an acupuncture license to be allowed to perform moxibustion.

4. Cupping 

San Diego Cupping
Q: What is cupping?

A: Cupping is one of the oldest methods of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Originally, practitioners would use hollowed-out animal horns for cups, and place them over particular points or meridians. Today, most acupuncturists use cups made of thick glass or plastic, although bamboo, iron and pottery cups are still used in other countries. Glass cups are the preferred method of delivery, because they do not break as easily as pottery or deteriorate like bamboo, and they allow the acupuncturist to see the skin and evaluate the effects of treatment.

Q: How does cupping work? What does it treat?

A: In a typical cupping session, glass cups are warmed using a cotton ball or other flammable substance, which is soaked in alcohol, lit on fire and placed inside the cup. Burning a substance inside the cup removes all the oxygen, which creates a vacuum. As the substance burns, the cup is turned upside-down so that the practitioner can place the cup over a specific area. The vacuum created by the lack of oxygen anchors the cup to the skin and pulls it upward on the inside of the glass as the air inside the jar cools. Drawing up the skin is believed to open up the skin’s pores, which helps to stimulate the flow of blood, balances and realigns the flow of Qi, breaks up obstructions, and creates an avenue for toxins to be drawn out of the body.
Cupping is used primarily to treat respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, asthma, and congestion; arthritis; gastrointestinal disorders; and certain types of pain. Fleshy sites on the body, such as the back, buttocks and stomach are the preferred sites for treatment.

Q: Is cupping safe? Does it hurt?

A: While cupping is considered relatively safe it can cause some swelling and bruising on the skin. As the skin under a cup is drawn up, the blood vessels at the surface of the skin expand. This may result in small, circular bruises on the areas where the cups were applied. These bruises are usually painless, however, and disappear within a few days of treatment.

5. Tui Na 

Q: What is Tui Na?

A: Tui Na (pronounced "twee nah") is a form of Oriental bodywork that has been used in China for centuries. A combination of massage, acupressure and other forms of body manipulation, Tui Na works by applying pressure to acupoints, meridians and groups of muscles or nerves to remove blockages that prevent the free flow of Qi. Removing these blockages restores the balance of Qi in the body, leading to improved health and vitality.

Q: What should I expect during my first Tui Na treatment?
A: In a typical Tui Na session, the client remains clothed but wears loose clothing, and sits on a massage chair or table. The practitioner will ask the patient a series of questions, and then begin treatment based on the answers to those questions. Tui Na practitioners may employ a variety of methods to achieve their goal. Commonly used techniques include soft tissue massage, acupressure and manipulation. Practitioners may sometimes use herbal compresses, liniments, ointments and heat to enhance these techniques.

Q: For what conditions is Tui Na used?
A: Tui Na is best suited for rectifying chronic pain, musculoskeletal conditions and stress-related disorders that affect the digestive and/or respiratory systems. Among the ailments Tui Na treats best are neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain, sciatica and tennis elbow. However, because Tui Na is designed to improve and restore the flow of Qi, treatments often result in improvements to the whole body, not just a specific area. There is anecdotal evidence that headaches, constipation, premenstrual symptoms and some emotional problems may also be effectively treated through Tui Na.

Q: Is Tui Na a relaxing form of body work?
A: Tui Na tends to be more specific and intense than other types of body work. Therefore, Tui Na may not necessarily be used to sedate or relax a patient. The type of massage delivered by a practitioner of Oriental Medicine can be quite vigorous; in fact, some people may feel sore after their first session. Some patients may also experience feelings of sleepiness or euphoria.

Q: What are the contraindications for Tui Na?
A: As with all forms of care, there are certain instances in which Tui Na should not be performed. Patients with osteoporosis or conditions involving fractures, for instance, should not receive Tui Na. Neither should patients with infectious diseases, skin problems or open wounds.
First appointments usually begin with an “Initial Intake Consultation” where a complete medical history is documented. This process requires the patient to complete a lengthy Intake Form. To speed up this process, print out and complete the applicable Intake Form (New Patient Intake Form or Worker's Comp Intake Form) and bring it to your first appointment.

Based on the medical history and presentation of a patient, an Oriental Medicine Diagnosis is created. This diagnosis is very different from any Western Medical diagnosis. In Chinese medicine, practitioners use various methods to get full, detailed information about the patient. These methods include observation, auscultation and olfaction, interrogation, and pulse feeling and palpation.

Treatment Plan
Based on the diagnosis and the goals of the patient, a treatment plan is designed that quickly and effectively returns balance and health and strengths the Qi. A shift in energy is often reported after the first session, with an accumulation of desired affect with each treatment. Treatment plans may include dietary and lifestyle changes, therapeutic exercises, temperature charting, herbal remedies, aromatherapies and/or emotional freedom clearing.

Downloadable Intake Forms

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Please print out the forms and fill them out prior to your first appointment
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