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Acupuncture and Adjunctive Techniques

Acupuncture is a preventative form of health care,

building resistance to disease and reducing the effects of stress.

acupuncture needles

Trained in various styles of acupuncture, I mostly utilize Japanese styles. These include Manaka 5 phase and Ion Pumping Cord Treatments, Kiiko Matsumoto, and Shakujyu. These styles utilize abdominal palpation & pulse diagnosis to determine appropriate diagnosis. Needle insertions are typically fewer and more superficial due to accessing a different energy level. Patients report that the needle insertions tend to be more comfortable.


Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) style of acupuncture tends to insert needles deeper and involves stronger needle manipulations. I utilize this style if patients fail to respond to Japanese styles.


Auricular (ear) acupuncture is a microsystem where a map of the body is represented on the ear. It is most widely known for its effectiveness in treating addictions, however it can be used for any condition, especially in conjunction with regular acupuncture treatments.


Magnet Therapy involves the placement of magnets at specific acupoints to stimulate the point; these may be used instead of needles on patients who are uncomfortable with needles or an alternative for older children who are not yet able to lie still for 20 minutes.


Electrical Stimulation (E-stim) uses a gentle electrical current to stimulate the acupuncture needles. The electrical output creates a tapping or vibrating sensation at the needle site that mimics ongoing stimulation of needles. It is used in cases where continuous manipulation is needed to provide better results. 


Ion pumping cords may also be attached to the needles. These cords do not utilize an outside power source but rather direct the flow of the patient's own energy

cone moxa on back

Heat treatments involving the burning of the herb mugwort (Arthemesa vulgaris) are called moxibustion or moxa. There are many different forms and ways to use moxibustion. Moxa can be rolled into a ball and placed on the head of a needle, made into a cone shape and placed directly on the skin or on another medium such as ginger. It can be formed into thread shaped and placed directly on the skin. A pole, or stick, of rolled moxa may be held over desired area. Alternatively a conventional heat lamp may be placed on or near any part of the body. In all cases a deep warming sensation is ideal, and the purpose is to promote the circulation.


Akabane therapy is a particular treatment method that analyzes the relative deficiencies or excesses of the body by testing heat tolerance at the tips of the fingers and toes, then applying an acupuncture treatment accordingly.

Gua Sha Tool
Gua Sha

Gua Sha is a technique used to help promote the circulation of qi (energy) and blood through the body. A smooth edged tool is used to scrape across the skin to break-up adhesion at a deep tissue level and to release stagnation of blood that can result from trauma or poor circulation. The capillaries should be flexible and able to move out of the way when the tool is scraped across the body so no reaction would occur. When blood is not flowing smoothly and becomes stagnant those capillaries break and disperse allowing new blood flow to be established. This will leave visible red marks and bruising until the body reabsorbs it. The result is healthy circulation of blood and a reduction of symptoms that are usually felt immediately. It may also be used for breaking adhesions and increasing mobility.


Cupping may be used to promote the circulation of qi (energy) through the meridians. For this technique a vacuum is created to lift the skin and muscle layer to increase circulation, break adhesions, soothe muscles, and release stagnation. The cup may remain stationary or the practitioner may apply a lubricant to the skin and slide the cup over the body surface. Some side effects are reddening of the skin which may last up to two weeks, breakage of the skin which may cause bleeding, or burning from there being an open flame. 


Bloodletting or Microbleeding, alone or in conjunction with cupping, may be used to improve the circulation in specific meridians. Lancets are inserted into the skin and small amounts of blood are expressed from the puncture. Bleeding is used to promote circulation and release pathogenic heat. A side effect of bleeding is bruising at the site.

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