Acupuncture is the ancient medical art of placing needles in specific points along energetic pathways or meridians in the body; this moves Qi and Blood. Points are carefully selected based on their energetic, philosophical and spiritual properties, with careful attention paid to the needling technique. Technique varies based on the selected channel system and overall function of the point.
Chinese Medicine is applied philosophy, deeply influenced by Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism. Acupuncture is a statement of movement – How is your life moving? Are you moving with your life or against it? Qi is often defined as energy; this definition extends to include how we establish relationships with our Qi. To have Qi is to have awareness. Our Qi propels us through our lives, and defines our relationship with ourselves and with the external world. Wherever we put our attention and intention, our Qi follows.
Sometimes Qi becomes stuck, misdirected, or lacks direction. The Qi in a certain channel may not be moving or interacting properly with other channels. It may be blocked, so we, too, feel blocked or stuck, unable to move freely in our lives. We may become dispirited, and feel unable to move forward in a certain direction, or we may even lose sight of where we want to go. We may use our Qi to rebel against our true nature or the world we live in.
Qi and Blood are closely linked – while Qi is the energetic component, Blood is the substance that animates our lives. It is intimately connected with the Heart, the residence of the Spirit. Blood contains our emotions and experiences, and facilitates their expression. Like Qi, our Blood can become stuck or lack proper movement. We may suppress painful experiences, or difficult emotions – this affects the status of our Blood.
Over time, the compromised movement of Qi and Blood begins to affect us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This becomes the basis for pathology, with a myriad of different symptoms possible. Symptoms are messages from the body, indicating that something is out of balance. Acupuncture helps to redirect our Qi and Blood back to their natural course, and in doing so, reconnects us with our body’s innate ability to heal.
Acupuncture helps to create an openness and awareness within us that connects us with our sense of purpose and direction. Through Acupuncture, we gain insight into how we are living our lives, enabling us to make appropriate changes, both in lifestyle and mindset, which support greater health – freedom, fulfillment, and inner peace.
What is Classical Acupuncture?
Classical Acupuncture, distinct from the more commonly practiced “TCM” (Traditional Chinese Medicine), is a sophisticated and comprehensive medical system infused with a rich history and the wisdom of thousands of years.
Classical Acupuncture is rooted in the classical medical texts the Nei Jing and the Nan Jing which date back to the Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220CE). It also draws its theories of disease progression and treatment from prominent scholars and medical practitioners of the Tang (618-906AD), Song (960-1279AD) and Yuan (1279-1368AD) Dynasties.
Classical Acupuncture contains a wealth of information, supported by thousands of years of empirical findings that make it an extremely potent and life-changing form of medicine.
While “TCM” (Traditional Chinese Medicine) was abridged into a series of general patterns using mainly one channel system, the 12 Primary Channels, to treat disease (this occurred during the mid-20th century cultural revolution of China), the knowledge base of Classical Acupuncture remains intact – with the use of 6 different Channel Systems and a total of over 60 channels (see The Channels of Classical Acupuncture).
A sophisticated and dynamic pulse analysis unique to Classical acupuncturists, and a deep understanding of the application of the 6 different Channel systems, enables a Classical acupuncturist to diagnose and treat the complexities of a wide range of conditions. Treatments are tailored to the individual with consideration of all aspects of the patient – physical, emotional, constitutional, and spiritual. Special attention is also paid to the patient’s diet and other lifestyle factors.
Classical Acupuncture is a dynamic and interactive form of medicine, in which the patient is invited to be an active participant in his or her own healing process. This facilitates profound shifts in all aspects of health.
The Channels of Classical Acupuncture
The 12 Sinew Channels
Treat acute and semi-acute musculoskeletal disorders (strains and sprains), seasonal allergies, burns, skin conditions (including rashes and insect bites), and scars.
Examples of conditions treated: plantar fasciitis, sprained ankle.
The 16 Luo Channels
Treat the psychological impact of trauma (physical, emotional, sexual), acute or persistent emotional states ranging from anger, grief, and worry to rage, obsession, and mania, gastrointestinal issues, cysts, circulatory disorders, and self-destructive behaviors (anorexia, bulimia, addiction, self-injury cutting).
Examples of conditions treated: mild depression to multiple personality disorder, Raynaud’s Syndrome, PTSD, insomnia.
The 12 Primary Channels
Treat a wide range of conditions affecting the function and physiology of the internal organs – includes the treatment of respiratory, gastrointestinal, urogenital, gynecological, and endocrine disorders.
Examples of conditions treated: common cold, asthma, acid reflux, menstrual disorders, fatigue. These channels can also be used to help reposition a breeched baby, and to induce labor.
The 12 Divergent Channels
Treat chronic degenerative disease, disorders of the ligaments/skeleton, autoimmune disease, ENT (ears, nose, throat) disorders, suppressed emotions manifesting as chronic musculoskeletal pain, longstanding emotional disorders manifesting as mental illness, and repressed memories.
Examples of conditions treated: fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, renal hypertension, diabetes, chronic allergies, multiple sclerosis.
The 8 Extraordinary Channels
Also called the Ancestral vessels, they treat inherited or congenital conditions (including inherited family patterns of behavior, mindset, and emotions), developmental issues, unresolved illness or trauma rooted in childhood, and reproductive disorders.
Examples of conditions treated: childhood sexual abuse, infertility, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
There is no time better than today to address your health and well-being. You may have suffered for years from any number of physical or emotional symptoms, or may feel stuck and lack direction in your life. Maybe you have conceded that this is how your life has to be. This is not true! Classical Acupuncture helps to bring awareness to your condition, empowering you to make positive shifts in all aspects of your health.
What to Expect
The first session lasts for one hour and a half and includes a thorough conversation in which your concerns and goals regarding your physical and mental/emotional health are addressed. I will proceed to take your pulse and observe your tongue, diagnostic measures that indicate the status of your internal organs and their associated meridians (energetic pathways), as well as your blood and body fluids. Based on this information, a diagnosis and individualized treatment plan will be created.
Once you are comfortable and relaxed on the massage table, sterile, thin, single-use needles are inserted into specific points along chosen meridian/s. Strict safety controls are observed in accordance with Federal and OSHA regulations. To enhance your treatment other modalities such as cupping (relieves muscle tension, invigorates and detoxifies blood), moxibustion (therapeutic use of the herb mugwort), and tui na massage may also be used.
While the intentions of each treatment are personalized, the aim is to create an opportunity to feel a sense of calm and openness that will extend beyond the treatment into your daily life. This is often experienced as a sense of heightened awareness, renewed optimism, connectivity with self, engagement with life, enhanced attention to emotions and patterns of being, and overall balance.
This varies from person to person and depends on the severity and duration of the condition being treated, as well as the patient’s age, general health, and overall responsiveness to acupuncture.
Generally, acute or recent conditions require less time to treat, and may be resolved in one or several treatments. Conditions that are chronic, of a long duration, or rooted in childhood naturally take longer to resolve and require commitment on the patient’s part to make optimal progress (several weeks, months, or longer). Weekly or biweekly treatments are generally recommended in the initial treatment phase of a chronic condition. Attention paid to one’s diet, sleep habits, and emotional/behavioral tendencies greatly enhances the efficacy of the treatments, and facilitates a deep and powerful shift toward sustained health and wellbeing.
After their central issue has resolved, it is common for patients to continue to receive treatments on a less frequent basis, whether monthly or upon starting to feel out of balance. The use of Acupuncture as preventative medicine is especially beneficial to maintain physical and emotional balance in the body, helping to prevent the emergence of more serious symptoms.