In an acupuncture treatment at The Missoula Meridian patients are seen one at a time, so you know that your entire treatment time is devoted to you. Every session will involve some degree of questioning, observation of your tongue and pulse and possible palpation of your abdomen and limbs. These are the ways we gather information to effectively come up with your Chinese medical diagnosis. We pick points based on your diagnosis and symptoms and then, once the needles are in, we leave the room to allow the needles to remain in place for 20 - 40 minutes. This allows time for the body to balance and the mind to let go. It is normal to notice an array of sensations throughout the body during this time. In addition to allowing time for rest, your acupuncture session may also involve gua sha, glass cupping, ESTIM, moxa, or massage techniques
In a time before microscopes, the Chinese were studying and observing the human body. Through observation of the natural world and individual bodies, the Chinese discovered patterns and theories that are still being proven true today. The theories behind this medicine are simple, yet deeply philosophical. While the Chinese didn’t have the same medical language that we’ve developed today, modern studies are constantly supporting what the Chinese already recorded to be true. For example, have you ever heard of beets being good for your heart and blood? For centuries the Chinese people have known this to be true, they support the blood because of their red color and recent studies show they increase the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood.
Read the study here!
Traditional Chinese Medicine: Acupuncture was first documented approximately 5,000 years ago. It's the act of placing extremely thin needles into specific locations on the body. There are over 350 acupuncture points and licensed practitioners are trained to choose the points based on thousands of years of knowledge that has been passed down from Eastern healers. Acupuncture acts on Qi. What is Qi? There’s no easy answer as it has broad definitions and many names as it’s described over numerous cultures. Here we’ll say that it’s intelligent energy, a subtle form that supports, shapes, and enlivens all living things, from the tallest tree to the smallest cell. Don’t worry, there’s some science here, didn’t Einstein show us that everything is made of and radiates energy?
“To live is to have Qi in every part of your body, to die is to be a body without Qi. For in order to be healthy the proper balance of Qi must be obtained; neither too much, nor too little.” - Classic text, Nan-Ching, 5th century B.C.
Qi flows along meridians, energetic pathways in the body, the way that the nerves are roads for electric impulses. When qi is balanced and flowing freely, the body’s natural self-healing abilities are activated, enabling internal stability and harmony to occur. Different stressors block the flow of Qi and over time, the body as a whole becomes weakened, unbalanced, and its self-healing abilities are compromised.
The theory is deep and meaningful, complex and theoretical. We can also try to explain what is happening with this energy medicine in biomedical terms thanks to the scientific research that’s been performed.
Biomedicine: The field of acupuncture research is small due to difficulties measuring a formless substance like Qi. The research that has been done lends various theories:
Neurotransmitter Theory: Acupuncture stimulates the release of specific neurotransmitters that affect immune system function. Research has also shown that it increases white blood cell count.
Autonomic Nervous System Theory: Acupuncture stimulates the release of norepinephrine, acetylcholine and several types of opioids, affecting changes in the autonomic nervous system and reducing pain.
Gate Control Theory: Acupuncture activates specific receptors that inhibit the transmission of painful stimuli.
Vascular-Interstitial Theory: Acupuncture effects the electrical system of the body. This facilitates healing by allowing the transfer of material and electrical energy between normal and injured tissues.
Blood Chemistry Theory: Acupuncture can both raise and diminish peripheral blood components, thereby regulating the body toward homeostasis..
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