Chinese medicine modalities work together to unlock difficult conditions.
Patterns and Pathways Acupuncture offers a full-spectrum approach to Chinese medicine services to bring the best possible outcome to your acute or chronic medical condition. Dr. Scott works hard to discover the root of each patient’s condition. When addressing the root of the condition, the patient’s body is better able to heal itself, naturally.
Chinese medicine is a holistic model of health care which makes the bold assumption that in order to treat the whole person, one must address the physical, mental and emotional levels of each patient. Our medical paradigm offers a “big picture” perspective and can be custom-tailored to each individual patient’s needs.
This is a complete system of medicine that has been used continuously by the Chinese and other cultures for literally thousands of years. When you work with Patterns and Pathways Acupuncture, you may receive one or more of the following medical modalities, described in detail, below.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical therapy using very thin, sterilized needles which are inserted into specific points on the body. The stimulus of acupuncture needles retained in the body for between 30-60 minutes per session causes the body to respond with self-healing without side effects. This is a very safe and time-tested medical modality that can be applied in a number of health concerns.
Acupuncture, like it’s counterpart Qigong, is based on the idea of electro-magnetism. “Wired” electrical signals control many functions in your body including the function of the brain and nervous system, the beating of the heart, muscle movement/contractions, and movement of nutrition into cells and waste products out of cells. You could think of Qi as the “wireless” electromagnetic information system which moves through the channels, which the Chinese have studied for thousands of years.
Over the course of a lifetime, blockages can occur in the channels (which are also referred to as meridians). These blockages can be caused by trauma, injuries, scars, surgery, and various chemical imbalances. These chemical imbalances can include, stress, environmental toxicity, and dietary factors.
Once these blockages occur, they can affect any organ system, bodily function or any specific part of the musculoskeletal system. Blockages in channels can cause dysfunction or pain in any of the aforementioned parts. Using the acupuncture needles in the areas of blockages or in related areas, the metal of the needle is able to re-conduct electromagnetic fields to flow in these areas of greater resistance, restoring function and eliminating pain.
Moxibustion is a Chinese medicine heat therapy that involves the burning of mugwort, a small, spongy herb, to facilitate healing. Moxibustion has been used throughout Asia for thousands of years. It is considered such an important part of Chinese medicine that the actual Chinese character for acupuncture, translated literally, means “acupuncture-moxibustion.”
It is said that moxa, when burned around the patient’s body, enters all 12 acupuncture channels, moves qi and blood, and stops pain. Therefore it is an excellent compliment to acupuncture and herbal medicine.
Patients can be instructed in the safe use of moxibustion at home to help with specific ailments or to maintain general health.
Guasha is a traditional Chinese medical treatment in which the skin is scraped to produce light bruising. Chinese medical theory posits that guasha releases unhealthy elements from injured areas and stimulates blood and qi flow to promote and speed healing.
Guasha involves repeated pressured strokes over the skin with a smooth edge. The skin of the treatment area is typically lubricated with massage oil or Chinese liniment. Commonly a ceramic Chinese soup spoon is used, or a well worn coin, even honed animal bones, water buffalo horn, or jade.
Tuina is a form of Chinese therapeutic massage that has been used extensively in China for over 2000 years as a highly sophisticated therapy for both musculoskeletal issues as well as for internal medicine.
The techniques range from gentle pressure to deep tissue and include kneading with palms and fingertips, pressing and tapping. It can be used for a wide range of orthopedic conditions, sports injuries, trauma and rehabilitation.
Tuina is used cosmetically for non-surgical facelifts. It is helpful for stress related conditions. It is an effective way to bring Chinese medical therapy to children without using needles. It can treat most pediatric conditions including colds and flu, poor digestion, attention disorders, allergies and developmental issues. Tuina may be used as an adjunct therapy during an acupuncture session if it is deemed necessary.
Dietary recommendations are customized for each person after a thorough health assessment. Traditions of the East emphasize the use of food as medicine. Every bite of food is an opportunity to either enhance or to undermine your treatment goals.
Foods and cooking methods are prescribed according to constitutional type. Foods are classified similarly to herbs and have a temperature (which affects the patient’s consitution), a flavor or flavors (which exert themselves in specific ways upon the body), and affinity to certain organs or systems.
For a patient who has symptoms such as high metabolism, sensitivity to heat, high blood pressure, or hot flashes we might recommend cooling foods such as adequate hydration, melons, and cucumber while minimizing the consumption of hot/spicy food, alcohol and refined sugar.
Lifestyle medicine is quite the broad topic. Practitioners will usually prescribe or prohibit certain exercises, activities, motions, actions or body positions during the course of treatment. These changes, when applied by the patient, will compliment and support the other modalities of Chinese medicine, help to prevent re-injury or exacerbations, and speed-up recovery & healing time.
Let’s say for example that you are a patient with carpal tunnel syndrome. This repetitive strain injury was caused by overuse of the hands and wrist with typing. In a case like this, we would most likely ask that you slow down or stop the offending behavior at least temporarily in order to let it heal. This is an example of a lifestyle change that is commonly considered necessary to gain traction in the healing process.
Other important lifestyle changes that you can make right now which will assist in your attempts to get well could include quitting smoking, optimizing your diet, changing your exercise habits, better managing your stress, learning and practicing meditation, making sure to stay properly hydrated, letting go of toxic relationships, etc. The ultimate goal is is lessen the impact of your lifestyle on your medical condition so that it can resolve more rapidly and completely.
Acupressure & Essential Oils
Acupressure is a self-care technique that empowers you to take control of your health. Learning some specific points to stimulate can provide you with a strategy to deal with symptom flare-ups in-between acupuncture sessions. Furthermore, you can extend and deepen the results of acupuncture by applying this technique to yourself.
Some patients just don’t like needles. Sometimes patients have a sound medical reason to not take needling therapy. Also, not everyone can ingest Chinese herbal medicine. Celiacs are limited to gluten-free herbs only for example. Drug-herb interactions may in some cases exclude the use of Chinese herbal medicine entirely.
In these cases, custom essential oil blends can be custom-tailored to the patient’s condition. The oils are applied to a set of prescribed acupuncture points using acupressure techniques. In this way, the patient is all to treat themselves in the comfort of their own home or office.
Cupping is one of the oldest methods of traditional Chinese medicine. Originally, practitioners would use hollowed-out animal horns for cups, and place them over specific points or channels.
Today, most Chinese medicine practitioners use cups made of thick glass or plastic. Bamboo, iron and pottery cups are still used in other countries. Glass cups are the preferred method of delivery, because they do not break easily and they allow the practitioner to see the skin and evaluate the effects of treatment.
In a typical cupping session, glass cups are warmed using a cotton ball or other flammable substance, which is soaked in alcohol, let, then placed inside the cup. Burning a substance inside the cup removes all the oxygen, which creates a vacuum.
As the substance burns, the cup is turned upside-down so that the practitioner can place the cup over the desired area. The vacuum created by the lack of oxygen anchors the cup to the skin and pulls it upward on the inside of the glass as the air inside the jar cools. Drawing up the skin is believed to open up the skin’s pores, which helps to stimulate the flow of blood, balances and realigns the flow of qi, breaks up obstructions, and creates an avenue for toxins to be drawn out of the body.
The cups are typically left in place from 5 to 10 minutes. Several cups may be placed on a patient’s body at the same time. Some practitioners will also apply small amounts of medicated oils or herbal oils to the skin just before the cupping procedure, which lets them move the cups up and down particular acupoints or channels after they have been applied. This technique is referred to as “moving cups.”
In general, fleshy, muscular sites on the body, such as the back and stomach (and, to a lesser extent, the arms and legs), are the preferred sites for treatment.
Qigong is “acupuncture without needles” One beautiful aspect of Qigong is you can learn to do it for yourself. This is very empowering for those who do not live near a Certified Medical Qigong practitioner. It compliments all the other Chinese medicine modalities.
Qi is the body’s electromagnetic field. Gong is “skill” or “cultivation to the point of mastery.” Qigong is the mastery of the flow of electromagnetic fields that control our brain, muscles, organs, emotions and every aspect of our functioning.
Acupuncture controls the Qi using the metal of the needle; Qigong controls the same energy through the use of breathing, movement, relaxation and mental intention. “Intent leads the Will; Will leads the Mind; Mind leads the Qi”
The brain is a rich reservoir of bioelectricity. This reservoir of potential energy generates the dynamic field called consciousness. Through conscious intent we mobilize the resources of the brain, eliminating blockages and restoring balance at the most fundamental levels.
Qigong exercises and acupuncture can be used separately or together. Qigong exercises are easily learned and can be done at home to extend the effects of the sessions, empowering the patient to participate in their own therapeutic process.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese herbal medicine in the form of the customized bulk-herb decoction in water is the standard of care in Asia. A more convenient alternative to bulk-herb decoctions is granulated concentrates dissolved in warm water or taken in capsule form.
Herbal medicine is a powerful healing modality in its own right and accounts for the majority of literature on Chinese medicine. It’s a perfect compliment to acupuncture in that it heals the body on a biochemical level while acupuncture heals on an electrical level. Herbs significantly augment the effectiveness of acupuncture sessions since the patient is able to take the herbs on a daily basis to reinforce the momentum of the treatment.
Chinese herbology takes a distinctly different approach than Western herbal medicine. Chinese herbs are prescribed in classic formulations consisting of several herbs used together, whose interactions have been studied for thousands of years. These alchemically-balanced formulations are then custom-tailored to the needs of each individual patient for optimal results.
I Ching Counseling
This modality has the potential to dramatically and permanently change chronic conditions.
Acupuncturists work hard to discover the roots of a patient’s condition in an attempt to resolve their complex, chronic medical problems. These roots are the underlying causes of your condition and potentially that which keeps them in place, despite your best efforts to improve your health.
The mind has a profound effect on our state of health. Consciousness is neither separate from the body nor emotions in the holistic view of health and healing. Often, the roots of chronic conditions lay in the mistaken ideas and beliefs we have accepted as normal or truthful. In fact, few people realize that these mistaken ideas and beliefs have a sick-making effect on those who harbor them for any length of time.
I draw upon my 20 years experience with I Ching and the groundbreaking work of Carol K. Anthony and Hanna Moog in I Ching: Oracle of the Cosmic Way to help my clients discover those mistaken ideas and beliefs which undermine their attempts to get well. Once discovered, they can be worked with and resolved.
I Ching consultations are performed and the patient is given specific instructions on how to “deprogram” the mistaken ideas and beliefs which hinder their progress. This modality is highly recommended for those who have “tried everything” for their chronic conditions, to no avail.