An Ancient Therapy
It should be understood that Acupuncture is only one method of treatment in the toolbox of the system of Oriental Medicine, which includes guiding medical theories and concepts dating back thousands of years. While there are different Acupuncture “styles” every Oriental Medicine practitioner practices, every OM practitioner will always be guided by the medical theories of Oriental Medicine. Although these theories are as complex as each individual, they boil down into a simple, fundamental concept – to Restore Balance by regulating Qi flow (read “basic acupuncture theory” below).
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Acupuncture Styles Used
There are a number of different “styles” of acupuncture that are practiced at the discretion of the Acupuncture physician, or at the request of the patient.
Candice has her base studies in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), further studies include 5 Element theories and Acupuncture protocols as well as 5 Element herbal perspectives and Perennial Medicine developed by Thea Elijah, and Kiko Matsumoto’s Japanese style of Acupuncture.
Acupuncture Style Differenciation
TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) has a Western Allopathic approach, or more of a “physiological/symptomatology approach”, which comes in handy during times of stress, pain, injury and needing to relieve those uncomfortable symptoms quickly. Typically needles are inserted to what is considered a safe “Qi depth” (known as “grabbing hold of the Qi for most effectiveness”), sometimes manipulated through a series of movements (but not always) and retained anywhere between 15-30 min., or whatever is most tolerable for a patient.
5 ELEMENT (PERENNIAL MEDICINE) The perennial approach, developed by living (and practicing) master teacher Thea Elijah, understands that medical approach reflects the surrounding culture’s understanding of the human being and that “Health that has been restored due to the cultivation of virtue is not the same as health that has been restored simply due to the dispelling of illness”. While the physical manifestations of health may appear to be the same, on the level of the spirit the difference is incalculable. Perennial Medicine expects the patient to experience a healing transformation from deep within themselves and seeks to achieve that through tapping into the source of creation – harnassing the continuous flow of the creator to influence/change the created.
The 5 Element style of Acupuncture typically inserts needles to what is considered a safe “Qi Depth”, retained for only a few seconds and a new needle is inserted into the next combination of points.
JAPANESE STYLE (KMS) is a complementary blend of Acupuncture styles developed by living (and practicing) master Kiiko Matsumoto and her style is amongst the most powerful being taught (Harvard Medical and Continuing Education for Acupuncturists) and practiced anywhere. This approach begins by asking the questions: “Why is the patient not getting better?” And: “How does Qi need to be moved so the patient’s ability to heal can become fully functional again?” (read “basic acupuncture theory” below to understand how “Qi” is used in treatment). These questions are answered through a system palpation designed to give instant feedback. A KMS practitioner uses palpation (abdominal, neck and channels on extremities) to create a diagnostic map that indicates the individual’s areas of strength, weakness and energetic blocks. These are then evaluated against the patient’s main complaint to determine the most effective treatment strategy. The advantage of using palpation is that both the practitioner and patient are aware when an area being evaluated is uncomfortable and when it is immediately cleared by treatment. Typically fine needles are gently inserted in the direction of channel Qi flow and retained for 5-15 minutes before moving on to the next combination. Moxibustion is also used heavily in this style.
What to Expect?
This is about the patient’s comfort level. As a patient, your willingness and presentation are how it all begins. Candice will pull from any one of these methods of Acupuncture, if not all of them, to assess and treat her patients. She will always strive to assist in the restoration of her patient’s health while bringing her patients into awareness of their own power to recover.
Basic Theory of Acupuncture
Acupuncture is a treatment modality that treats pain, illness, and disease by regulating the flow of Qi in the body. Qi is the energetic “life force (source consciousness)” that when flowing freely; animates us, protects us from illness, pain, and disharmony. Our health is determined by the quality, abundance, and availability of our Qi. Qi is considered to be the “master” regulatory force that enables and controls all the systems of the body.
Qi moves through the body via pathways called meridians or channels that connect the internal organs and glands to the rest of the body. Meridians can be compared to rivers or stream-flows that must be abundant and free from blockage to maintain health. An acupuncturist uses acupoints found along the meridians to regulate the flow of Qi. Acupoints can be stimulated in many ways which include, (but are not limited to): needles, magnets, electricity, heat, and touch. The success of an acupuncture treatment is dependent upon how well the practitioner is able to determine two things:
- The underlying reason Qi is not flowing freely called the constitutional or “root” cause of the imbalance.
- The immediate cause of pain, discomfort or disease, called the symptomatic or “branch” aspect of the patient’s main complaint.
Because the root and branch are linked, these two aspects must be understood by the acupuncturist and treated simultaneously for the treatment to be both successful and long-lasting. Here is an example using an analogy to help explain this concept:
A person is using a long hose to water her garden. She turns the hose on, water flows freely and she moves from one plant to the next with no problem. After some time has passed, she has moved a good distance away from the faucet where the hose is connected and suddenly water stops flowing. She examines the end of the hose and doesn’t see any obstructions that would cause this. So the question is: Why has the water flow become obstructed? There are many possible answers to this question:
- Someone turned the faucet off.
- Someone turned off the water to the whole house.
- The hose has become kinked or twisted on itself.
- The hose has become stuck on something.
- The hose has been cut.
In this example, the problem to be solved, (branch or symptom) is obvious; lack of water flow. The reason or root of the problem has to be investigated to be known. The fix or treatment of the problem depends on the cause. Unkinking the hose won’t work if someone has turned off the faucet or if the hose has been cut. In this case, the first step would be to turn the water off at the faucet before repairing the hose.
With this analogy in mind, it can be said that all styles of acupuncture, (on a theoretical level) attempt to understand both the root and branch relationship of any given problem.