I use a Japanese style of needling for most conditions. This is a very gentle insertion and manipulation method that is virtually painless compared to many other needling techniques.
A needleless Japanese technique called Shonishin (pronounced show-knee-shin) uses specific tools to stimulate points and meridians with acupressure. Sometimes acupuncture needles may be used with a simple in and out technique rather than leaving them in for a prolonged amount of time as with adults. Children respond very quickly and easily to acupressure because they are so young and vibrant, so this subtle interaction with the body’s energy is very effective. My 3 year old daughter enjoys treatments routinely to boost her digestion and immune system. Learn more about treatments for children.
Moxa, for short, is the application of heat to a point or region of the body with the herb mugwort. The mugwort is rolled into a cone or cylinder of appropriate size for the condition and applied to either the handle of needles or indirectly held over the skin. This technique is often used to help stimulate and nourish the body’s resources. The gentle warmth with indirect and needle-top moxa makes you feel like you are being warmed by the sun on a beautiful sand beach, even in the dead of winter! Who wouldn’t like a little mental escape to Acapulco or the Bahamas!
As you will hear me mention many times, I am a true believer that balance and moderation are among the major keys to good health. With that in mind, I will never tell you that I expect you to remove all of something from you diet, or that you must eat or drink certain things to be healthy. I will, however, be happy to give you information on foods or supplements which may be adding to complications of a specific condition and/or make suggestions of foods that may be more helpful. I have tried blocks of time (days or weeks) without certain foods like dairy, refined sugars, gluten, or GMOs in my personal diet to see how it changed how I felt; and so I may suggest things of that nature for you. These kinds of diets, in my opinion, are only necessary temporarily. If your diet is wreaking havoc on your body because of insufficiencies caused by certain conditions, then giving your system a break to rebuild its resources will go a long way in recovery. Once your body is at an optimal level again, I think it is realistic to consume most things in moderation without causing major problems. This isn’t a “cheat day” but rather a level of health where the body is able to digest and transform just about anything more easily.
Cupping and Guasha:
These are Traditional Chinese techniques used to release muscle tension or acute illness externally. Cupping uses heat and suction to relax muscles and move energy to the surface. It will usually leave red, purple, or brown circles on the skin that I say affectionately make you look like you’ve been hugged by an octopus. Guasha uses a ceramic spoon or smooth edged tool to rub the skin after oil is applied. This also moves energy and toxins to the surface and will usually leave a pink or red irritation on the skin. Either of these techniques will probably leave visible skin changes for a few days to a week. Therefore, if you have a special event to attend or any reason to not want this skin reaction, other therapeutic techniques may be discussed. These techniques can be very helpful to release muscle tension, however, especially if needles are not wanted.
Asian Bodywork (Traditional medical massage):
TuiNa is a Chinese bodywork technique that I have found very effective for neck and back pain, insomnia, mental restlessness, and digestive conditions. This practice is done over clothing and addresses acupuncture points and meridians with firm but gentle handwork rather than acupuncture needles. It can be used for relief of symptoms and also aids in diagnosis of underlying patterns of disharmony.
Shiatsu is a Japanese bodywork technique that also uses acupuncture points and meridians with handwork to stimulate movement of energy through the body. This can be helpful for relief of symptoms and to aid in the optimal function of internal organs. Japanese style bodywork is generally isolated pressure as opposed to western massage therapy which may use the whole hand with a rubbing or kneading motion. Shiatsu does not use oil so there is no need to remove light clothing.
Hara work is a Japanese abdominal therapeutic massage. It is, in my opinion, essential to balancing health by treating the core of our life-force. I point to the relationship of the umbilicus (belly button) to original nourishment in the womb prenatally and the convergence here of all the systems of the body after birth. The digestive, cardiovascular, nervous, endocrine, and musculoskeletal systems all cross this area of the body and so Hara work can be effective for virtually every condition.
This technique uses a lancet similar to that used for Diabetic sugar level testing to pierce the skin and then 5-10 drops of blood are removed, usually at the tips of fingers or toes. There is no need to worry about large quantities of blood being removed, as it is less than a teaspoon. The purpose is to promote movement of blood and energy in a particular meridian where there may be advanced stagnation such as after an acute injury or long term poor circulation.
Auricular (ear) acupuncture:
The ear is one of the acupuncture point microsystems that has been studied for its relation to all functions and structures of the body. Through observation of specific regions of the ear, a wide range of conditions may be diagnosed and treated. It is particularly good for addiction and stress therapy.
It is my belief that most conditions can be effectively treated by acupuncture, accessory techniques, and dietary changes. If, however, I discover through our consultation that your condition would respond more effectively with Chinese or western herbs in conjunction with these therapies I will be happy to give you referrals for herbalists in the area.