Acupuncture at JH Backcountry Health
What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a system of medicine that focuses on giving the body what it needs to heal itself and to maintain wellness. Every person is unique, which means that their ailments are also unique, and therefore their treatment will be unique. Our medicine looks at the individual and not the disease or the diagnosis. TCM is a holistic approach to health addressing the entire person, from what you eat, how you sleep, to understanding your underlying body constitution. The goal of Traditional Chinese Medicine is to give the body what it needs to maintain balance and health through individualized, effective, and most importantly an all-natural approach.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a part of TCM. It is a classified system of points and meridians within the body. By definition, acupuncture is the insertion of sterile needles into specific points on the body to stimulate the central and peripheral nervous system to create a neurological response. This type of biofeedback has been shown to alleviate pain, regulate hormones, and treat various physical, mental and emotional conditions.
What Our Typical Acupuncture Visit looks like:
The initial visit will begin with an online intake of the 10 questions of TCM. This will allow me time to review your concerns, identify other questions that may need to be answered, and develop a TCM diagnosis and treatment strategy for your visit. This initial intake will also allow me to get an understanding of your whole health history, current health status and goals. In clinic, with pain or joint issues, there may be an assessment inclusive of range of motion, palpation, manual muscle testing, or orthopedic tests as indicated. This will also help determine prioritization of modalities and which modality is best for you. An acupuncture treatment consists of needle insertion and then a resting period of approximately 20 -25 minutes. The needles are removed and the treatment is over. Everyone experiences acupuncture differently. Some patients feel when needles are inserted, but most don’t. Some patients also experience a warming, cooling, moving, or calming sensation. Other healing modalities such as Tui Na, Gua Sha, or cupping may be utilized during this time, as needed.
Modalities Included in Your Acupuncture Visit
Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine
Herbal Medicine is a major component of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Herbal formulas are carefully chosen by a licensed practitioner to target both the symptoms and the underlying cause of your condition. Chinese herbal formulas are an alternative to western pharmaceuticals for some conditions. Herbal formulas are also a great companion to acupuncture to help facilitate healing faster. They are potent, high-quality medicinal grade herbs that work similar to western pharmaceuticals; however, because they are digested by the body like food, there is less risk for adverse side effects and harm to your liver or other organs. Chinese herbs do not chemically alter the body like many western drugs; instead, they work with your body to improve your health in a more natural way.
Food Therapy – Nutritional Recommendations
Hippocrates said “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine thy food,” and in TCM we consider the food we eat as one of the most important aspects of health. You can either eat to promote wellness, or you can eat to promote disease. Food therapy, in its broadest form, focuses on eating whole, seasonal foods. It can be as simple as using fresh ginger to alleviate nausea, or as complicated as making bone broth or congee to help strengthen the body. We take into consideration each individual person’s constitution and health goals when we discuss food therapy options.
Infrared Heat Therapy
We use infrared heat lamps to keep our patients warm and comfortable as well as for their healing properties. Infrared heat, as opposed to traditional and direct heating methods, penetrates deeper into your body without skin discomfort. There are many known benefits of infrared heat therapy including increased circulation, relaxation of body tissue, and decreases in pain.
The burning of a medicinal herb that has been used for centuries for its healing properties to warm the skin and promote circulation.
Tui Na is a type of Chinese medical massage that incorporates pressure points and deep tissue techniques to alleviate pain and promote circulation. It can be done on any part of the body and is highly effective for treating anything from headaches to sciatica and even arthritis. Tui Na is an active form of massage similar to shiatsu.
Promotes circulation and healing in specific areas of the body. Gua Sha involves the use of a ceramic or steel tool and is used mainly on the limbs or smaller areas of the body. The tool is rubbed on the skin and this friction brings blood to the surface while stimulating the lymphatic system. This therapy provides an optimal environment for healing, by either modifying physiologic responses to injury (e.g., inflammation, muscle spasms, pain) or enhancing components of normal musculoskeletal function (e.g., increase range of motion, increased muscular strength).
Cupping is done using either plastic or glass suction cups on broader areas of the body, such as the back, hips, abdomen, and thighs. The cups are adhered to the body using suction. This suction promotes blood circulation, decreases muscle tension and pain, and improve lymphatic drainage. Cupping can accelerate healing, relieve pain and help nourish the body tissues.
Electro-acupuncture is a form of acupuncture where a small electric current is passed between pairs of needles that have been strategically placed in the skin. The needles are attached to a device that generates continuous electric pulses using small clips. The frequency and intensity of the impulse being delivered is adjusted depending on the condition being treated. The current delivered through the needle stimulates a larger area than the needle itself, which makes electro-acupuncture very effective for pain management.
A type of acupuncture in which thin needles are inserted at specific points on the ear to control pain and other symptoms. It is thought that the ear contains a “map” of the whole body and that specific points on this map match up with certain parts of the body. The stimulation of these specific points on the ear, a microsystem of the entire body, benefit everything from emotional to physical, from internal organs and to the tips of your fingers. The continuous mild pressure they exert is amplified by pressing the seed or pellet with a few seconds every few hours. Auriculotherapy can be done by licensed acupuncture practitioners with acupuncture needles, tacks, ear seeds, even electrical stimulation.
Exercises and Stretches
You probably won’t make it out of our office without some homework. We want you to understand what is causing your pain (we love explaining anatomy) and how you can continue to aid your recovery. We teach exercises and stretches that will help you heal as well as what you can do to avoid future injury. As we said earlier, our goal is to have our clients spend more time doing what they love and less time in our office.
RockTape and Functional Movement Techniques
Kinesiology tape is used by medical professionals throughout the world to treat injuries and improve sports performance. RockTape turns down the volume on pain by providing a proprioceptive input that interferes with pain signals direct to the brain. It decompresses areas of swelling and inflammation via a microscopic lifting effect underneath the skin and between the many layers that allows the by-products created by inflammation to be removed more quickly. In addition, RockTape delays muscle fatigue during activity and helps distribute physical stress allowing the injured area to take less of the brunt. It can be used to treat sports and non-sports injuries, including shin splints, plantar fasciitis, runner’s knees pain and back pain.
The RockTape Functional Movement Techniques (FMT) certification is based on the concept of muscles acting as a chain; it addresses applications for pain, posture, edema, scars and neurological symptoms with an emphasis on myofascial pathways, movement therapy and performance enhancement.
Also known as myofascial trigger point acupuncture. It is the practice of inserting needles through the skin into trigger points to help relieve pain and release muscular adhesions.