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Techniques

The ancient principles of Chinese Medicine may hold the solutions you’ve been looking for. Using a variety of techniques including acupuncture, Chinese herbs, bodywork, moxabustion and nutrition, practitioners of Chinese Medicine strive to bring your body into its naturally balanced state – a state of wellness. Once your Qi (pronounced Chee and also known as your body’s life energy) is balanced, it will work to heal your body and mind, restoring a sense of health and well-being.

Principles of Chinese Medicine

Practiced and developed over thousands of years, the body of knowledge that is Chinese medicine is vast. There were many different schools of thought and many great teachers who contributed to the practice of this ancient healing system. Medical practitioners treated everything from aches and pains to internal disorders and epidemic diseases. In many villages, the doctor was only paid if the community was healthy, so preventative medicine has always been an important focus for the Chinese medical practitioner. For simplicity’s sake, some fundamental theories and common techniques are outlined here.

Chinese medicine is founded on the principles of harmony and balance and the idea that everything in the natural world is related to and supportive of everything else. The theory of Yin and Yang is central to this belief. Whether in nature or the human body, Yin represents everything that is cool, still, dark, solid and fluid. Yang represents all that is hot, active, bright, hollow or spacious. Yang grows out of yin and yin nourishes and anchors yang. One cannot exist without the other. The principles of Chinese medicine are aimed at finding and supporting the perfect balance of yin and yang, the right amounts of warmth and coolness, movement and stillness, ascending and descending energies. The balance of Yin and Yang is managed in several ways.

DSC_0030Acupuncture

Chinese medicine is based upon the belief that the human body is an intelligent organism that constantly strives to maintain a balanced state of health and well-being. The Qi (pronounced Chee), which is the body’s energy or life-force, is central to this principle. The Qi flows through the body in an intricate system of meridians, or channels, bringing nourishment to and supporting function of muscles, organs, tissue, nerves, blood and bone. If the flow of Qi is disrupted or blocked, various types of dis-ease result. These may manifest as pain, tension, fatigue, lumps, rashes or more serious illness.

Each meridian has several points along itspath that affect the flow of qi in particular ways. The acupuncturist uses thin, stainless steel needles to access these points and work with the patient’s Qi. Needles are typically inserted near the area of dis-ease and also near the outer reaches of the channels, usually around the wrists, ankles, hands and feet. The acupuncturist sets the needles and leaves them for 20-45 minutes, while the patient relaxes.

Moxabustion

Moxa is a dried form of the herb mugwort (artemesiavulgaris). The nature of mugwort is very warming, nourishing and moving, especially when burned. Moxa comes in many forms. Loose moxa is sometimes placed on the ends of needles and burned. Moxa may also be loosely gathered or tightly compacted into rolls, which then can be lit and held over specific acupuncture points. Moxa will help build and nourish qi as well as opening and warming the meridians.

Herbal Medicine

Chinese-herbsPlants have been an integral part of Chinese Medicine since the beginning of the common era. Herbalists use the principles of Chinese diagnosis and treatment to construct formulas that not only treat a patient’s symptoms, but also treat the underlying root of the problem, thereby restoring balance to the whole person. Traditional herbalists provide their patients with raw herbs to cook and drink as teas. Many people today find the prospect of preparing their own formula daunting, so formulas are now available to be taken as tablets. Wallowa Mountain Acupuncture primarily uses formulas made by the Institute of Traditional Medicine in Portland. (www.itmonline.org). Their formulas have proven to be of the highest quality, both in terms of safety and effectiveness.

 

 

Cupping

cupping3This is a technique designed to remove stagnation and impurities (know in Chinese Medicine as Sha) from the superficial and muscular layers of the body. A small flame is used to remove the oxygen from inside the glass globe, which is then placed on the skin, forming a vacuum. Cups may be left in one place or the skin may be lubricated so that they can slide over larger muscle groups. While this technique provides significant relief, it does leave some bruising and discoloration on the skin.

Gua Sha

Also known as Scraping, this technique is similar to cupping in its use to remove Sha from the body. A smooth implement (usually a smooth Asian soup spoon) is used to “scrape” the skin, opening the surface of the body to relieve muscular tension, release fever and provide relief. Like cupping, gua sha will also leave some bruising and discoloration on the skin.

Shiatsu

Shiatsu is a form of acupressure that was developed in Japan. Rather than using needles, the practitioner uses her hands to apply pressure to the meridians and stimulate the flow of Qi. The patient remains fully clothed and work is typically done on a mat on the floor. In addition to the application of pressure on the points and meridians, the practitioner will also use stretches to assist in opening and relaxing the patient’s body.

Yoga

Yoga postures are often prescribed to support musculo-skeletal treatments that address pain and tension. Often, just a little work at home can make a huge difference in the efficacy of ongoing therapy. Modifications are provided so that anyone, no matter their strength or flexibility, can have a safe and comfortable way to work with their breath and their body.