Acupuncture and Herbal Therapy Are Used Alongside Holistic Western Medicine
Acupuncture is the more than 3,000 year-old practice of placing fine needles in the body along meridians, or channels of energy. Acupuncture is the main modality used in our practice to influence health benefits at every visit. Before the first needle is placed, an extensive evaluation of the patient is conducted through asking questions, looking at the tongue, feeling the pulse on both wrists, and gaining clues from lab results and prior diagnoses.
Acupuncture is particularly effective at influencing hormones, making it a very powerful tool for balancing female and male hormones and regulating stress and anxiety. How acupuncture impacts hormones and increases blood circulation to the reproductive organs is at the center of the research on the success of acupuncture in fertility, IVF and PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) protocols.
Chinese Herbal Therapy
Chinese herbs are an integral part of our practice. Acupuncture and herbs reinforce each other to create an effective and efficient treatment plan. There are times when herbs are essential to a treatment. One such case is in the treatment of age-related fertility or poor egg or sperm quality. The dense, nutritive nature of herbs goes a lot farther than acupuncture alone in supporting healthy DNA and long-term cellular energy production. Chinese herbs are prescribed in combinations or formulas, rather than individually. Formulas are often blended to support an individualized treatment plan.
Functional medicine is a holistic western medical view of the body as an integrated whole, and understands that our health is impacted by many things- genetics, lifestyle and our environment. In many ways, Chinese medicine is a functional medicine system. The philosophy of this ancient medicine is akin to this new movement in western medicine.
We draw upon certain core practices and principles of functional medicine in our acupuncture clinic. Liver detox, gut healing, blood sugar stabilization and a thorough review of western labs are powerful ways of supporting the work of acupuncture and herbal therapy. Nutritional counseling and supplements are used alongside the deep traditions of Chinese Medicine.
Lab testing is a very valuable tool for moving a treatment plan forward and at times for evaluating a plan’s success. We use serum (blood) tests to tell us about hormones, thyroid health, iron storage, blood sugar levels, and more. Stool testing can give us insight into gut activity including digestions and absorption, the presence of good and bad bacteria and yeast, and bowel inflammation.
Lab results are evaluated with both “functional ranges” and “standard ranges.” The standard range is the window in which a result is considered normal. However, often times the standard range for a test is so wide that someone may not feel great but their test results haven’t fallen above or below the standard range yet. A functional range is a more narrow reference window that can help us to understand why a patient may not be feeling well, before they are feeling really awful.
Cupping is a modality within Chinese medicine that involves the strong suction of special cups on the body. It feels somewhat like a massage and many patients request it for its muscle relaxing benefits. The most common place for cupping is along the back and upper shoulders. It is used in stress-relief treatments, pain conditions and to aid in cold and flu resolution, especially when a cough is present.
Moxibustion is a Chinese Medicine modality. Commonly known as “moxa”, it involves burning the compressed herb mugwort and directing the heat over certain acupuncture points. It is not painful. In fact, the warmth from moxa can be very soothing. It is a powerful adjunct in the treatment of breech babies and in stopping uterine bleeding.