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What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of the oldest, most commonly used medical procedures in the world. Originating in China more than 2,000 years ago, acupuncture began to become better known in the United States in 1971, when New York Times reporter James Reston wrote about how doctors in China used needles to ease his pain after surgery.

What does acupuncture feel like?  

Acupuncture needles are metallic, solid, and hair-thin. People experience acupuncture differently, but most feel no or minimal pain as the needles are inserted. Some people are energized by treatment, while others feel relaxed. Improper needle placement, movement of the patient, or a defect in the needle can cause soreness and pain during treatment.4 This is why it is important to seek treatment from a qualified acupuncture practitioner.

Is acupuncture safe?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved acupuncture needles for use by licensed practitioners in 1996. The FDA requires that sterile, nontoxic needles be used and that they be labeled for single use by qualified practitioners only. Relatively few complications from the use of acupuncture have been reported to the FDA in light of the millions of people treated each year and the number of acupuncture needles used.

How might acupuncture work?

In the TCM system of medicine, the body is seen as a delicate balance of two opposing and inseparable forces: yin and yang. Yin represents the cold, slow, or passive principle, yang represents the hot, excited, or active principle. Among the major assumptions in TCM are that health is achieved by maintaining the body in a “balanced state” and that disease is due to an internal imbalance of yin and yang. This imbalance leads to blockage in the flow of Qi (vital energy) along pathways known as meridians. It is believed that there are 12 main meridians and 8 secondary meridians and that there are more than 2,000 acupuncture points on the human body that connect with them.

Preclinical studies have documented acupuncture’s effects, but they have not been able to fully explain how acupuncture works within the framework of the Western system of medicine that is commonly practiced in the United States. It is proposed that acupuncture produces its effects through regulating the nervous system, thus aiding the activity of pain-killing bio-chemicals such as endorphins and immune system cells at specific sites in the body. In addition, studies have shown that acupuncture may alter brain chemistry by changing the release of neurotransmitters and neuron-hormones and, thus, affecting the parts of the central nervous system related to sensation and involuntary body functions, such as immune reactions and processes that regulate a person’s blood pressure, blood flow, and body temperature.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

What is Chinese Herbal Medicine?

Chinese Herbal Medicine has evolved over 4000 years as a powerful and accurate tool regulating the internal organs and immune system. It assists greatly in helping many skin conditions. All the ingredients used by proper Chinese herbalists are natural, and unlike most Western drugs, have no side-effects. Over 1000 herbs are used in Chinese medicine and the ingredients all come from the natural flora and fauna of China. A properly trained Chinese doctor will be able to prescribe a mixture of different herbs to treat an individual’s illness. No two patient prescriptions will be the exactly same, as a herbal prescription is tailored to treat the specific ailment of the individual, unlike Western prescriptions which are standardised by the pharmaceutical companies.

How does one take Chinese Medicine?

Traditionally, Chinese herbs are boiled in a soup or as tea to extract the essence of the herbs, which is then drunk by the patient. However, at the Tao Institute, our Chinese medicine doctors prescribe herbal capsules and herbal teas to make Chinese herbal therapy more accessible and convenient for busy modern lifestyles. Our Chinese medicine doctors also formulate and prepare our own herbal capsules based on our patients’ individual conditions.

What is Tui Na?

Tui Na is an Oriental Bodywork Therapy that has been used in China for 2,000 years. Tui Na uses the traditional Chinese medical theory of the flow of Qi through the meridians as its basic therapeutic orientation. Through the application of massage and manipulation techniques such as hand rolling, tui fa etc, Tui Na seeks to establish a more harmonious flow of Qi through the system of channels and collaterals, allowing the body to heal itself naturally.

How is Tui Na practiced?

Tui Na methods include the use of hand techniques to massage the soft tissue (muscles and tendons) of the body, acupressure techniques to directly affect the flow of Qi , and manipulation techniques to realign the musculoskeletal and ligamentous relationships (bone-setting). External herbal poultices, compresses, liniments, and salves are also used to enhance the other therapeutic methods.

What does Tui Na treat?

Tui Na is not only an effective treatment for musculo-skeletal problems such as stiff neck, sciatica, low-back pain, discs, joints, and soft tissue problems.It is also used to treat different internal disease or illness, such as Gynecological problems, Digestive problems, Circulation problems, Constipation, Insomnia, Chronic Fatigue, Neurological problems, Tumors,etc. Tui Na stimulates the body’s organs via special points and channels helping to prevent or heal disease by improving both mental and physical vitality.

What to Expect during the Tui Na session?

When you go into a typical adult Tui Na session, the patient wears loose clothing and lies on a massage table or floor pad. After answering questions about the nature and location of the health problem as well as basic questions about general health, allergies and other existing conditions, the practitioner will concentrate on specific acupressure points, energy trigger points, muscles and joints surrounding the affected area.

Don’t always expect a light, relaxing massage. This therapeutic method goes directly after the problems, sometimes requiring curtain pressure. When excessive friction from rubbing or stroking is involved, the practitioner may choose to use talcum power, sesame oil, ointment of Chinese holly leaf, oil from HongHua, or a specialized massage emulsion or oil developed for TuiNa.

Sometimes clothing is removed or repositioned to expose a particular spot that requires direct skin contact. The patient should always be informed before this act, and no inappropriate or unexpected contact should ever be made in a professional session. Treatment sessions last from 30 minutes to over an hour. Patients often return for additional treatments for chronic conditions. As with most “energy-based” treatments, the patient usually feels either relaxed and tired, or surprisingly energized by the treatment and release of pain.

What is the history of TuiNa?

Tuina dates to the Shang Dynasty, around 1700 BC. Ancient inscriptions on oracle bones show that massage was used to treat infants and adult digestive conditions.  The first reference to this type of external treatment was called “Anwu”, then the more common name became “Anmo”. It was then popularized and spread to many foreign countries such as Korea and Japan.   As the art of massage continued to develop and gain structure, it merged (around 1600 CE) with another technique called “Tuina”, which was the specialty of bone-setting using deep manipulation.

Today, the term “Tuina” has replaced “Anmo” within China and in the West. The term ”Anmo” is still used in some surrounding countries such as Japan.

When Not to Use It?

Tui Na can be quite powerful during the deep-tissue manipulations. Tui Na is not used for conditions involving compound fractures, external wounds, open sores or lesions, phlebitis, or with infectious conditions such as hepatitis. Tui Na should not be performed on the abdominal portion of a woman in menstrual or pregnant periods, and it is not used for treatment of malignant tumors or tuberculosis.


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