Far more than a technique of inserting tiny needles along meridian lines of the body, Acupuncture’s complex system of diagnostic methods takes into consideration the person as a whole, not just isolated symptoms.
It is a practice based on discerning the bodies’ “pattern of disharmony” to treat and strengthen the physical condition and overall function. In short, our objective is to increase both your ability to function and your quality of life.
Acupuncture has flourished as a primary health care modality in Asia for at least 2,500 years, is used widely throughout Europe, and yet is considered one of the newest primary health care professions in the United States. Acupuncture means the stimulation of a certain point or points on the surface of the body by the insertion of sterile needles to prevent or modify the perception of pain or to normalize physiological functions. Modern Acupuncture utilizes other modalities as well such as herbal medicine, moxibustion, exercise and nutrition.
How Acupuncture Works
Acupuncture is a therapy based on the belief that health is determined by a balanced flow of Qi, the vital life energy present in all living organisms. According to Acupuncture theory, Qi circulates in the body along twelve major energy pathways called meridians that are linked to specific internal organs and organ systems. This “vital energy” in humans is believed to flow along meridians that have their root in the internal organs, and by stimulating appropriate points along these meridians, the energy is released and regulated, and health may be restored.
On the surface of the 12 main meridian pathways are up to 365 main Acupuncture points. When Acupuncture needles are inserted into these acupoints, they help correct and rebalance the flow of energy and consequently relieve pain and/or restore health. Because the meridians influence every cell in the body and pass through every organ and organ system, Acupuncture provides health practitioners with an accurate means of determining health deficiencies, as well as a method of reestablishing balance.
Acupuncture has been used for centuries to treat a broad range of conditions. At Acupuncture Associates of Delray Beach, we specialize in treating women’s health issues such as infertility, pregnancy, menstrual disorders, and menopause, as well as general wellness and prevention.
Integral to Herbal Medicine is the restoration of harmony expressed in terms of the two complementary forces – yin and yang – and the five elements – fire, earth, metal, water, and wood.
These five elements are of particular importance as they give rise to the five tastes by which all medicinal plants are evaluated and are said to have a particular medicinal action:
- Fire gives rise to bitter-tasting herbs that drain and dry
- Earth to sweet herbs that tonify and may reduce pain
- Metal to acrid herbs that disperse, Water to salty herbs the nourish the kidneys
- Wood to sour herbs that nourish the yin and astringe to prevent unwanted loss of body fluids or Qi (energy).
Herbs that have none of these tastes are described as bland, a quality that indicates that the plant may have a diuretic effect.
The taste of a plant can also indicate the organ to which it has a natural affinity. Besides defining particular herbal tastes, Herbal Medicine ascribes different temperatures to herbs – hot, warm, neutral, cool and cold. Each individual herb has different properties such as taste and temperature, and enters different organs in the body. When the herbs are combined through mutual harmony, the treatment effect is increased and the side effects reduced. A usual prescription or formula can consist of multiple herbs.
The use of plants as medicine is older than recorded history, but thanks to modern technology, science can now identify some of the specific properties and interactions of botanical constituents. With this scientific documentation, we now know why certain herbs are effective against certain conditions.
After a diagnosis is made by your practitioner, herbs are selected and combined, or a well-known traditional formula is prescribed. The formula is then adjusted to fit your symptoms and diagnosis, and bring about the treatment effect by regulating Qi, and fundamental substances such as blood and body fluids. When used in conjunction with Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine gives total harmony and balance to the whole body, effecting maximum treatment.
Wellness and Prevention
Wellness means choosing a balanced way of life. It’s about caring enough about yourself to take stock, make the necessary changes, and maintain your motivation.
Each and every one of us is primarily responsible for our health. There are the risk factors of genetics, toxic environments and the like, but our lifestyle choices determine our health and well-being more than anything else. We have to be honest with ourselves, and find what is holding us back from feeling good, then work through the blocks, not around them.
Chinese Medicine works to balance the body, and to help the body strengthen and heal itself. Its purpose is not to mask or relieve a specific symptom, but to bring you to a state of wellness.
Why wait until you are sick? Acupuncture may be used preventatively as well as to successfully treat a wide range of health issues:
- Chronic constipation or diarrhea, nausea, colitis, indigestion, gastritis, reflux, and irritable bowel syndrome.
- Sprained ankles and knees, back pain, arthritis, neck and shoulder pain.
- Headaches (stress, cluster, migraines), insomnia, and depression.
- Fatigue, CFS, and fibromyalgia.
Homeopathy is based on the Law of Similars, which has been verified experimentally and clinically for the last 200 years. Dr. Samuel Hahnemann described this principle by using the phrase “let like cure like”, and developed the principle into the system of medicine we know today as Homeopathy.
Brought to the United States in 1825 by several doctors who had studied in Europe, by the turn of the century there were 22 Homeopathic medical colleges, and one out of five doctors were using Homeopathy. But the move toward a mechanical model of the body, and of disease, pushed Homeopathy into the background. The present day resurgence of Homeopathy, fueled in part by the National Center for Homeopathy, is slowly bringing Homeopathy back to its place in the medical care system in our country.
In conventional medical thought, health is seen simply as the absence of disease. You assume that you are healthy if there is nothing wrong with you. But, to a person versed in Homeopathy, health is much more than that. A healthy person is a person who is free on all levels – physical, emotional, and mental. Obviously, a person with a broken leg is not free on the physical level to move around. But on a more subtle level, a person who cannot eat certain foods or is allergic to certain materials is also experiencing a lack of freedom.
An important basic difference exists between conventional medical therapy and Homeopathy. In conventional therapy, often the aim is to control the illness through regular use of medical substances. If the medication is withdrawn, however, the person returns to illness, and there has been no cure. For example, a person who takes a pill for high blood pressure every day is not undergoing a cure but is only controlling the symptoms. Alternatively, Homeopathy’s aim is to cure.
Food Therapy / Nutrition
Combining acupuncture with a sound nutritional regimen can have significant health benefits on your body, including improved metabolism, weight loss and improved energy. We can create a plan that helps your body operate more efficiently and leads to better health choices. Harnessing traditional Chinese medicinal methods, we build a plan that starts at our office and continues beyond our doors – all aimed at building a better you. Our team will provide insightful knowledge and advice along with a customized program that works for you.
Practitioner Ashley Cowden, uses an assessment technique known as Nutrition Response Testing (NRT) to help best evaluate each individual and their body to find out their nutritional needs. Nutritional Response Testing is a form of muscle testing that is based upon principles of Applied Kinesiology and Traditional Chinese Medicine. With this technique we are able to take nutrition from the textbook to your body. Each body innately knows what it needs for optimal health and healing. Our job, is to tap into that knowledge and use it to our benefit. By using a muscle test, we are able to do just this. When we can assess food sensitivities, we are able to know if foods you are consuming on a regular basis could be impairing your healing process. Additionally, we are able to find out if any organs, systems or glands in the body are functioning suboptimally. With this knowledge, we are then able to make educated, tailored, and conscious decisions about what you need.
Many times people have the following experiences: they are doing all of the “right” things with diet and exercise, and are extremely frustrated by a lack of results. They know they aren’t feeling well, they know “something is just not right” but all of the bloodwork and medical exams show that everything is normal. On a daily basis, they feel stressed, anxious, fatigued, constipated, foggy, and drained; yet they have gotten so used to feeling this way, they do not realize greater well-being exists for them. Or, for others, they have cabinets full of synthetic supplements and are taking so many supplements they are not sure which are helping or hurting their system! In these scenarios especially, muscle testing is of great value as we are able to identify what is beneficial and what is depleting for the body. We are also able to determine subtle imbalances that are creating real symptoms. Such conditions include: gluten sensitivity, thyroid dysfunction, adrenal insufficiency, endocrine system weakness, immune system imbalance, digestive challenges and more. By utilizing this fine-tuning approach, we are able to identify and correct any imbalances and determine a precise plan for health. With this, we create a vital, healthy, and thriving system. It is when we feel well, that we are empowered to live well!