“Our primary aim is always to support your body’s natural ability for fighting off illness and injury.”

UNDERSTANDING EASTERN MEDICINE

Eastern medicine originated in China and has a history of over 4,000 years. It is a holistic and preventive medical system. It is holistic in that we heal your body as a whole rather than treating isolated symptoms, and preventive because our primary aim is always to support your body’s natural ability for fighting off illness and injury.

The fundamental difference between Western and Eastern medicine is that the former focuses on removing illness, while the latter aims to promote health. Both modalities have their strengths, and they should be used to complement and support each other.

For example, insomnia occurs when the body’s natural sleep drive becomes compromised. The Western medicine solution is to prescribe sleeping pills that bypass the impaired mechanism and induce sleep. This provides immediate relief, but the underlying condition remains. Eastern medicine takes a different approach – our goal is to restore the body’s innate ability to rest, so that you can find your natural sleeping rhythm again without needing to rely on pills.

TECHNIQUES

  • Acupuncture is the gentle insertion of extremely thin needles into the body to stimulate specially chosen points.
  • Herbal supplements are all-natural formulas combining plants such as ginger and ginseng; they are most often consumed as tea.
  • Massage relies on pressure from the fingertips of the practitioner instead of needles.
  • Cupping is a form of massage that uses glass cups to create vacuums at particular points to stimulate and increase circulation.

Acupuncture, herbal supplements, and massage are only one part of Eastern medicine. Nutrition is another very important aspect, as food is considered to be the best medicine. Getting proper amounts of rest and exercise is also fundamental, as is mental health. Eastern medicine is holistic, all-natural, and surprisingly powerful. Your body does the healing; we just help it along.

THE SCIENCE

Acupuncture works by stimulating the release of endorphins (the body’s natural feel-good chemical) and adenosine (the body’s natural painkiller). Furthermore, ultrasound tests have shown that acupuncture increases blood circulation, reduces inflammation, and improves oxygen flow and tissue function at the needle site. Neuroimaging studies have also shown that acupuncture can also increase the number of receptors for pain-reducing neurotransmitters.

For problems other than body pain, acupuncture works by sending nerve signals to the brain that regulate the automatic nervous system, which governs unconscious functions such as heart beat, respiration, and digestion.

Massage has similar effects to acupuncture. A recent study found recipients of massage had significantly lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and increases in white blood cells that help enhance the immune system. They also had increased levels of oxytocin, a hormone associated with contentment.

There is also a large and growing body of medical research into the effectiveness of Eastern medicine. In 1997, the National Institute of Health conducted a review of the research on date on acupuncture, concluding that it should be included in a comprehensive health care system:

“…promising results have emerged, for example, showing efficacy of acupuncture in adult postoperative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting and in postoperative dental pain. There are other situations such as addiction, stroke rehabilitation, headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and asthma, in which acupuncture may be useful as an adjunct treatment or an acceptable alternative or be included in a comprehensive management program. Further research is likely to uncover additional areas where acupuncture interventions will be useful.”

For more on how Eastern medicine works:
Status and Future of Acupuncture Mechanism Research, Vitaly Napadow, professor at Harvard Medical School and licensed acupuncturist
Adenosine is Key to Acupuncture’s Effectiveness, Nature Neuroscience

For more on Eastern medicine for specific conditions:

  • Allergies:
    Acupuncture Pins Down Allergy Relief, Fox News
  • Arthritis:
    Study Says Acupuncture Eases Arthritis Pain, Washington Post
    Acupuncture Relieves Pain and Improves Function, NIH
    What to Ask About Osteoarthritis, New York Times
  • Body Pain:
    Efficacy of Acupuncture for Chronic Shoulder Pain, JACM
    Acupuncture Works for Back Pain, USA Today
    Acupressure Good for Back Pain, BBC
    Ear Acupuncture for Back Pain During Pregnancy Dr. Weil
    Nerves Tangle, and Back Pain Becomes a Toothache New York Times
  • Cancer:
    Acupuncture May Help Ease Hot Flashes, WebMD
    Acupuncture Reduces Vasomotor Symptoms in Breast Cancer Patients, Medscape
  • Depression:
    Fighting Depression with Needles and Herbs, CNN
    Acupuncture Helps Depression Symptoms During Pregnancy, Stanford
  • Headaches:
    Regimens: Acupuncture Provides Headache Relief, New York Times
    Acupuncture Beats Headaches, The Guardian
    Acupuncture Beats Aspirin for Chronic Headache, Reuters
  • Infertility:
    Acupuncture Boosts IVF Success, BBC
    Acupuncture: A Cure for Infertility?, Fox News
  • Insomnia:
    Treating Insomnia, Emotional Disorders and ADHD with Acupuncture, Acupuncture Today
  • Weight Management:
    Acupuncture For The Treatment Of Obesity Nature


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