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"So acupuncture can help me restore my health and vitality without drugs or surgery?  -- Naturally!
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Our Services

— What we treat & what therapies we use —

"Health" in Chinese
Conditions treated

According to traditional experience, receiving acupuncture on a regular basis really excels at helping you stay healthy and live long.

 

But if you do have health problems, acupuncture and Chinese medicine may help restore health and harmony.

 

Acupuncture is not just for pain.  It is not limited to nerve, muscle, and joint problems.  Practically every human ailment can benefit from acupuncture and related therapies.  Chronic, long-term degenerative diseases that have responded poorly to conventional treatment may respond to acupuncture.

 

Acute illnesses such as colds, flu, or food poisoning are often treated with good results.  During the pandemic in China, COVID patients who saw herb doctors had an easier time of it. 

Please contact us to learn whether we may be able to help you.

Chinese medicine, old & new
Traditional Chinese Medicine, Classical Chinese Medicine

The classical principles for understanding health and disease, going back 2300 years in China, are still in use today for diagnosis and treatment. 

 

Diagnosis is framed by yin and yang, the five movements, the twelve organs, and other principles strange to Western ears.  The whole person is considered in context.

In treatment, Classical Chinese medicine uses lifestyle changes, acupuncture and moxibustion, massage, herbal medicine, dietary therapy, therapeutic exercise, heat and cold, and other traditional therapies such as cupping and gua sha (the precursor to the Graston technique of the chiropractors).   More recently, modern therapies have been used, such as electrical stimulation, laser light, far infrared, nutritional supplements, sound and vibration, and many others.

Some, but not all of the therapies we use are discussed further in the sections below.

Occupational Therapy
Macro detail of a hand stimulating an acupuncture needle on the back of a patient.jpg

Acupuncture

Acupuncture uses fine sterile needles to treat specific points of the body.  These points have an action at a distance from the point being treated.  The points are arranged along channels (mistakenly called "meridians" in the West), and each channel relates to a specific internal organ.  Acupuncture directs the flow of energy and gives the body a set of instructions.  Acupuncture and related therapies help wake up your body's own natural healing ability, nudging you in the direction of balance and harmony.

Pressure Points

Acupressure

Acupressure uses the same points, but they are treated with fingers, chopsticks, or special tools.  Expensive of time compared to needles, it is most appropriate for those who are needle-phobic — and particularly for children, who in the Vietnamese tradition are not needled before the age of seven or eight.  If we give you acupressure homework for self-treatment, it may help a great deal — if you do the homework consistently!

Patient at occupational therapy works with hedgehog ball to stimulate motor skills.jpg

When I first met Barbara Davis, OT, I asked her about occupational therapy.  She said, "An occupational therapist is like a physical therapist, only smarter."

That was an understatement.  The scope of practice in occupational therapy is huge, and involves helping people of all ages overcome their limitations when they have some degree of difficulty doing any kind of activity which a human being might engage in.  Anything.  Can't feed yourself with your dominant hand because of an injury or nerve problem?  She'll bend a spoon to the shape that works.  Trouble with your golf game?  You and Barbara and your golf coach could knock some strokes off and help your body feel good.

Anything you can think of that's holding you back from something you love to do, or need to do, chances are Barbara can help you with it.

And to me, a good occupational therapist can be the ultimate wellness coach.  Here are the things that you, and only you, need to do to be all you can be.  If you hit a roadblock, here's what to do next.  Of if I don't know what to tell you, I'll try to find out.

 

Did you know there are nutrients to help prevent and treat dementia?  Breathing exercises that tone your vagus nerve, to create a relaxation response and help organ function?  Foods that help reduce inflammation and lower the risk of cancer?  That's all in the scope of occupational therapy, and Barbara has the expertise.  Connect with Barbara here:

Indirect moxibustion

Moxibustion

The Chinese word for acupuncture is zhenjiu, "needle-burn."  The burning of mugwort floss, called "moxa" in the West, is a big part of acupuncture practice, older than needles.  It adds energy that is so much like your own human energy, your body readily absorbs it and puts it to work.  Above is shown a moxa pole, held near an acupuncture point.

 

With direct moxibustion, shown below, first a special salve is put on the skin for protection, and then a bit of moxa, called a "cone," is placed and lit.  Larger cones are removed before they can cause a burn.  Thread-size cones are extinguished with the practitioner's finger.  For many patients, moxibustion greatly increases the effectiveness of acupuncture.

 

I frequently use a special electronic instrument from France that creates almost the same spectrum of heat and light as moxa, without smoke or fire.

Direct moxibustion
Tuina grasping

Massage & Bodywork

My bodywork specialty is pain and discomfort of the neck, tops of the shoulders, and upper back.  I treat orthopedic conditions in any part of the body, sometimes in collaboration with our occupational therapist.  It should be said that some orthopedic conditions require a chiropractor, and some require a surgeon.

 

Massage & bodywork is another pillar of Chinese medicine; Chinese medical massage is called tuina, and can be done with the patient wearing loose clothing.  Shiatsu is a Japanese version.  We use the best of both Asian bodywork and Western.  Here is a list of styles from which I have chosen an eclectic blend of the best techniques:

◦    Neural Reset Therapy — Lawrence Woods, Ralph Stevens
   ◦    Myoskeletal Alignment Therapy — Dr. Erik Dalton
   ◦    Orthopedic massage — Dr. Ben Benjamin, Whitney Lowe
   ◦    Osteopathic bodywork — Dr. Leon Chaitow
   ◦    Visionary Craniosacral Work — Dr. Hugh Milne
   ◦    Medical massage — Ralph Stephens
  ◦    Myofascial Integration — Thomas Myers
   ◦    Tuina (Chinese bodywork) — Brian Moran
   ◦    Shiatsu, acupressure — various teachers
   ◦    Jin Shin Jyutsu — Jed Schwartz

I have discovered some techniques of my own!

Chinese herbal medicine
Herbal medicine

Chinese herbal medicine has a long history and is quite sophisticated.  800 years ago they knew the properties of more than 5,000 medicinal substances, whether they were warming or cooling, ascending or descending, what flavors they had (pungent, bitter, sweet, sour, salty -- each flavor has a different effect), and they learned how to combine herbs in formulas to increase the desired result while minimizing side effects.

Herbal medicine works well together with acupuncture for many patients, and in some cases herbal medicine is enough.  A course of herbal medicine is usually a few days to a few months.  It is only used until a problem is resolved.

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Dietary therapy & nutrition

"Food is your best medicine," wrote Dr. Henry Bieler.  The classics of Chinese medicine say that disease should be treated first with food, and if that isn't enough, then acupuncture and massage, and if more is needed, then herbs are added.  There are specific foods to eat or avoid for specific health conditions.

We often recommend some version of the Mediterranean diet, with large amounts of vegetables, mostly cooked but not cooked to death; some fruit, meat and fish, eggs and dairy if they are tolerated, nuts and seeds, whole grains, whole foods, close to their natural state, and ideally, "nothing that comes out of a box." 

We do recommend a high potency multivitamin for everyone.

Qigong exercise

Qigong exercises

Qigong ("chee-goong") is an ancient Chinese method of exercise for cultivating health and well-being.  It shares a lot with taijiquan ("tie chee chwan"), known as tai ch'i in the West.

Qigong is easier to learn and practice.  It opens the joints, increases the capacity of the lungs, exercises the diaphragm, helps to circulate Qi ("chee") through all the channels, and calms the nervous system, having an especially toning effect on the vagus nerve because of the deep breathing.  (The vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the body and communicates with all of the internal organs, reports to the brain about them, and is key to the relaxation response which counters stress.) 

 

Twenty minutes of qigong daily has a huge benefit for your health.  There are also specific exercises for each of the 12 major internal organs.  If we give you qigong homework, it will greatly increase the effect of acupuncture.

Cupping therapy spa woman doctor removes cups from the patient's back in Chinese medicine

Other adjunctive therapies

Vacuum cupping, above, relieves pain by invigorating the blood, releasing the muscle layer, and stretching the fascia.  Light cupping, with a low vacuum, can be used when there is no pain but the tissues need to be toned.

Gua sha for the common cold

Gua sha is an oiled scraping technique that also releases the muscle layer.  It is most commonly used on the upper back and neck for shortening the duration and lessening the severity of the common cold.  Practically every Chinese household uses it for that purpose.  It's effective.

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