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WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE?

Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles into the body surface at specific points to treat certain illnesses. The term Acupuncture was originally coined by two words, “Accurate” and “Puncture”.

 

Acupuncture is now the fastest rising healthcare method in the West. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), acupuncture has proven effective in the treatment of many common illnesses. A recent nationwide survey estimated 8.2 million of U.S. adults had used acupuncture. Approximately one in 10 adults had received acupuncture at least once with good results.

 

       Acupuncture pertains to one type of external therapies.  In most cases, the needle tip only goes into superficial tissues of the body.  Without injection of any medication, its effects are mainly realized through mechanical stimulations.

 





WHAT IS CHINESE HERBOLOGY?

     For more than 5000 years, the Chinese have been developing many health-promoting herbal recipes.  More than 80,000 herbal prescriptions are recorded, whose precise quantities and proportions are crucial to their efficacy. In fact, many of today's wonder drugs were derived from traditional herbal formulations.  One of the characteristics of Chinese herbal medicine is that most herbs are used in prescriptions with multiple herbs. Many subordinate (or assistant) herbs cooperate with a major ingredient (or main herb) in a prescription to produce a better effect on one particular organ or condition.

 

     Herbal prescriptions are either tailored to fit the individual patient or designed to fit general conditions.  For the individual patient, Chinese pharmacists measure single ingredients on hand-held scales, mixing formulas for individual patient to take home and brew into tea.  But for the general conditions, there are lots of ready-made formulas herbs prepared in manufactories are available in our clinic. The ready-made formulas are usually are pill, capsule, tablet, tea or fluid form which are compressed with raw ingredients or extracts, then bottled or packaged. 

 

    Because they are ready to use without brewing, they are convenient and welcome in the modern society.  The herb formulas presented here are meticulously processed using formulas that have been passed down through many generations of herbalist.  They contain no harmful drugs, chemicals or additives.  All ingredients are grown in China in unpolluted soils that are largely uncultivated by man.  So they remain in their most natural states, to ensure the greatest potency and purity.

 





WHY DOES ONE NEED CUSTOMIZED HERBS?

Note that Chinese herbal medicine is completely different from Western herbs. According to TCM, everybody has individual physical constitutions or conditions. Customized herbs prescribed can be tailored to fit the individual patient, so that can attain optimal results. Therefore, it is advised to have your holistic diagnosis first based on the differentials of internal organs and eight principles in TCM. We supply customized Chinese herbs to patients throughout the world. If you do not know what herbs you need, our team of TCM experts can give you a personal evaluation free of charge, then we will provide you with a customized prescription and estimation of cost.



WHAT IS CORE CONCEPTS OF TCM?

Balance, Yin-Yang, and Qi are three of the most frequently used words in TCM. The balance of the body can be understood as an alternative form of homeostasis, a basic concept of modern Western medicine.  Homeostasis refers to the mechanisms for the maintenance of balance in all life signs such as body temperature, blood pressure, and blood sugar. Through the homeostasis mechanisms, many pathological changes, as long as they are not yet too severe, can be restored to normal physiological states automatically or through natural interventions, such as acupuncture.  

    

Yin-Yang is symbolized by a circle composed of two interlocking “tadpoles”, half-black and half-white. Black stands for Yin and white stands for Yang, reflecting the inescapably intertwined duality of all things in nature. In terms of human body functions, Yin-Yang can often be understood, respectively, as hypo/hyper states. As for Qi, there are many forms of manifestations, such as respiratory air, abdominal gas, muscular strength, mood, and certain sensations (e.g. tingling or numbness). Put it simply, Qi means vital energy or life force. In other words, Qi represents the body’s self-healing capability, or ac in conventional medicine, the mechanism of the body to maintain homeostasis.





INDICATIONS OF ACUPUNCTURE

    Acupuncture can treat more than 300 types of disorders; the following is some of its indications:

  

 

     In general, acupuncture has at least three main functions:  to ease pain, to regulate functions of the internal organs, and to facilitate rehabilitation.





QI, YIN-YANG AND BALANCE

     Qi, Yin-Yang and balance are three of the most frequently used words in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). In the West, the balance of the body can be understood as an alternative term of homeostasis, the basic concept of modern medicine.   Homeostasis refers to the mechanisms for the maintenance of all life signs such as body temperature, blood pressure, blood sugar, etc. Owing to the homeostasis mechanisms, many pathological states, as long as they are not yet very serious, can be converted back to previous physiological states automatically or through certain simple and natural intervention, such as acupuncture.

 

      Yin-yang, which the circular symbol is composed of two interlocked tadpoles, half-black and half-white (black is yin and white is yang), reflects the inescapably intertwined duality of all things in nature. In terms of human body functions, it can be understood as hypo/hyper aspects respectively. As for Qi, there are many symbols, such as respiratory air, abdominal gas, muscular strength, mood, and certain sensations, but “vital energy/life force” is one of the summative explanations.  





WHAT ARE MERIDIANS?

The recognition of the meridian system is an important part of TCM. The meridian system is composed of mainly 12 regular meridians and two extra meridians (the governor vessel and the conception vessel), forming the 14 general meridians. In the meridian system, 12 regular meridians correspond to 12 major internal organs and functions, and are named according to the organs they pertain. For example, the meridian pertaining to the lung is termed Lung meridian (LU).

The Meridians

Codes

Number of Acupoints

Lung meridian

LU

11

Heart meridian

HT

9

Pericardium meridian

PC

9

Large Intestine meridian

LI

20

Small Intestine meridian

SI

19

Triple Energizer meridian

TE

23

Spleen meridian

SP

21

Kidney meridian

KI

27

Liver meridian

LR

14

Stomach meridian 

ST

45

Bladder meridian 

BL

67

Gallbladder meridian

GB

44

Governor vessel

GV

28

Conception vessel

CV

24

The meridian pertaining to the stomach is Stomach meridian (ST). Each of the 14 general meridians has its own acupoints distributed along their specific running courses on the body surface.

Most researchers now believe that the meridians are merely functional phenomena based on reflex arcs, because they have no specific morphological structure besides the tissues known by anatomy. In other words, the meridians are actually physiologically connecting pathways with reciprocal actions between different parts of the body. The science behind the meridians may be explained by theories of referred pain known in the modern medicine. For example, it is well-known that the referred pain from angina pectoris can emerge at the inner side of the left forearm, which is consistent with the classical running course of Heart meridian (HT) and the Pericardium meridian (PC). Conversely, puncturing the points of these meridians, such as PC6 (Neiguan), could relieve the referred pain and improve the EKG results.  This indicates that the meridian system is a bi-directional network that connects internal organs and functions to the body surface as recognized by TCM.

      The generation of referred pain has been considered  to the convergence or facilitation of afferent nerve fibers from both the diseased viscera (e.g. heart) and referred somatic areas (e.g. PC6) that enter the spinal cord through the same dorsal roots. The same reason can be applied to the effects of puncturing PC6 on the heart.

 





WHAT ARE ACUPOINTS?

In acupuncture, needles stimulate specific anatomical locations of the body surface along the meridians; and those locations are typically referred to as acupuncture points or acupoints.

 

      Ancient Chinese discovered a total of 361 classical acupoints that are distributed at courses of 14 general meridians, as well as a certain number of extraordinary points, which lodge beyond the 14 general meridians. The acupoints are referred to either by their traditional name, or by the name of the meridian on which they are located, followed by a number to indicate what order the point is in on the meridian. A common point on the hand, for example, is traditionally named Hegu, and referred to as LI4, which means that it is the fourth point of LI meridian. Other examples of acupoints are PC6 (Neiguan), ST36 (Zusanli) and BL40 (Weizhong), which are well-known in treating illnesses on the head  (e.g. headache), chest (e.g. nausea), abdomen (e.g. heart burn), or back (e.g. lumbago), respectively.

 

However, during the past few decades, many newly discovered points (over one thousand) have been added onto the existing number of extraordinary points. Moreover, there have been extensive anatomical and histological studies on almost all of classical acupoints and extraordinary points. It has now understood that so-called acupoint is actually a small area instead of a spot, where denser nerve ending may lodge or certain nerve branches may pass.





HOW DOES ACUPUNCTURE WORK?

In terms of TCM, effects of acupuncture are realized through dredging the blocked meridians or regulating the flow of Qi.

     Modern scientific researches have verified that the effects of acupuncture are mainly realized through neural reflexes. If any of the reflex arc loops (e.g. the afferent nerve) was blocked or destroyed, acupuncture would no longer work. Taking an example of acupuncture anesthesia, needling signals may directly block the pains from surgical operation in the central nervous system. In addition, many effects of acupuncture, such as analgesia, are also related to the release or regulation of hormone or certain endogenous chemicals, such as endorphins, cortisone, neurotransmitters, etc. Through neural reflexes and accompanying releases of the chemicals carried in the body fluid (e.g. blood), acupuncture may generate either instant or persistent  effects on local or remote regions as well as on the whole body.





UNIQUE FEATURES OF ACUPUNCTURE

There are several unique therapeutic features of acupuncture. The first is that its natural stimulation or drug-free therapy that can activate one’s body to produce endogenous chemicals to balance hormones and regulate internal functions.   

        The second is that acupuncture stimulation may directly access the diseased regions of the body surface to reduce muscular tension or spasms, improve local circulation, and ease pain. Thus, quicker analgesic effects may be attained. The third is the bi-directional regulatory effects of acupuncture when treating functional illnesses even using a single acupoint. For examples, puncture PC6 (Neiguan) can help treat either tachycardia or bradycardia, and puncture ST36 (Zusanli) may relieve either diarrhea or constipation.

 




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