Acupuncture and massage are a match that were made long long ago - over 3,000 years in fact. Acupuncture together with massage, called Tui Na in Traditional Chinese Medicine, is therefore a classic combination with a proven track record of success for many ailments such as neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, headache, foot pain and more.
Truly, there are many things that shouldn’t be divorced from Acupuncture for maximal effectiveness. Chinese Medicine includes not only Acupuncture, but Tui Na, Cupping, Gua Sha, Moxa (heat application), Chinese herbs used both internally and topically, lifestyle and dietary advice, Qi Gong and Meditation. All of these modalities are designed to be used together synergistically to create the greatest and most beneficial effect.
Most Acupuncturists will combine several of these modalities into every Acupuncture treatment. I allow 10-15 minutes in every Acupuncture session (sometimes more as time allows and as symptoms dictate) for bodywork therapies - Tui Na, foot reflexology, cupping and/or gua sha. I feel strongly that massage helps the body integrate the energetic treatment of Acupuncture into the physical symptom improvements we are seeking to create. These bodywork therapies, which all fall under the broader category of massage or therapy from a Western perspective, can move Qi and Blood, relax and lengthen muscles, improve range of motion and thereby reduce pain and improve function!
Benefits of Combining Acupuncture and Massage
By far, neck pain and back pain are the syndromes that always warrant combining Acupuncture and Massage in my clinic. The benefits of Acupuncture are so widespread - not only can Acupuncture directly treat the muscles and joints involved in the pain, but it can also improve organ function, improve circulation, decrease stress (which is a big contributing factor in both of these types of pain) and reduce pain by decreasing inflammation and creating natural endorphin release.
One of the best parts about direct Acupuncture treatment for neck pain and back pain, is the fact that the needles can go right to the heart of the pain. You know that feeling like you have an itch you can’t scratch? Or pain that feels like it is so deep inside your back or hip or neck that while massage feels great, it just feels like it can’t get deep enough? This is often because the smaller deeper stabilizing muscles are in spasm, or because the pain is in the joint itself, and massage has to go through all the superficial layers first and just can’t get deep enough.
Enter Acupuncture - the direct line in. It bypass the superficial layers to go right to the heart of it and affect change! It also creates neurological change along the way that helps with long term healing - Acupuncture has actually been proven to cause changes in mu-opiate receptors in the brain which can change your experience of pain (in a positive way!) long term on a neurological level.
When you combine the benefits of Acupuncture with the benefits of massage, these benefits are amplified and become stronger and longer lasting. Once you’ve bypassed those superficial levels and gone to the root of the problem, the body relaxes and circulation improves. When you follow Acupuncture treatment with Massage, the massage treatment can go deeper and get farther to create positive change. It also helps to integrate the energetic and physical changes to set the treatment and make it longer lasting and more successful
The benefits of massage alone are likewise many fold - improved circulation, improved relaxation, stretching, lengthening and softening of muscles. Tui Na, or traditional Chinese massage, is like a fusion of Swedish, deep tissue and sometimes Thai, as there are specific stretches recommended for certain physical ailments. This means traditional Chinese massage is highly adaptable to any specific ailment or comfort level.
When you combine the power of Acupuncture with the benefits of massage, truly you experience an incredibly powerful healing combination. For acute injury, especially car accident whiplash and back pain, and for sports injury (I have a strong Iron Man and Ultra Running contingent!) Acupuncture + massage can be quite transformative, highly efficient and therefore highly recommended.
Neck Pain and Back Pain Treatment Today!
The first official day of Fall is right around the corner - September 23rd to be exact - and with it we are seeing the late summer heat (slowly) give way to the cooler temperatures of Autumn. In Chinese Medicine this represents a transition from the Earth element, which governs the Spleen and Stomach channels, to the Metal element, which governs the Lungs and Large Intestine channels.
The interplay between the Spleen and Lungs in particular fuels our immune function making this a delicate seasonal transition for our health, and a critical time to strengthen immunity.
To help you make this transition as smooth as possible, here are 5 tips from a Chinese Medicine perspective that will help you bolster the Spleen and the Lungs, improve your immunity, and kick Fall colds and flus to the curb!
Top 5 Fall Health Tips
Get Acupuncture and Tune Up for Fall
I hope you’ve enjoyed these Autumn health tips and that you put some of them into practice over the next few weeks! If you want to know more, check out these dietary recommendation sheets for tonifying Yin and tonifying Qi. Eating foods on the list when you have a choice between something on the list or something off the list will help you smooth the transition to Fall as well.
If you’re ready to come in for a tune up, please book online or email Rebecca via the Contact link at the top of the page.
Until then, enjoy the beautiful Fall weather!
One of the most common things all my facial acupuncture patients tell me is that they get complimented on their complexion. Co-workers and friends will ask, “Did you go away over the weekend? You look so well rested.” Or, “Something is different about you. I can’t say what it is, but you look like you glow.”
Indeed, Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture is commonly referred to as a Botox Alternative and is sought by people looking for a natural anti-aging treatment, especially to reduce lines and wrinkles, but it truly does so much more. It works both from the inside out and the outside in to brighten and improve your entire complexion.
Facial Acupuncture Balances and Brightens the Skin
Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture is highly effective in balancing and brightening the skin because in Chinese Medicine, we can’t divorce the face from the rest of the body and your overall constitution. Our focus in facial acupuncture treatment is the face, to be sure, but the channels that traverse the face traverse the entire body so we cannot treat one without the other. Furthermore, the appearance of the complexion is a reflection of your internal Qi - the face is dominated by the Stomach channel which in turn is dependent upon the health and function of the Spleen (indicating digestive function), and aging in particular is governed by your Kidney Qi.
To successfully slow the hands of time and improve your skin, all of these energies must be balanced and addressed through the combination of facial and body acupuncture treatment. The result is not only a brightening effect on the face, but an overall improvement in health and wellbeing that is often palpable, even if no other specific complaints are present.
As the overall health of your Qi improves along with the increase in Qi and Blood flow to the face specifically, we address a number of skin issues. Among them:
All of these things combine to create a truly beautiful picture and noticeably improved facial appearance. Especially during hormonal shifts, when your skin can change from dry to oily or even to combination, facial acupuncture is an incredibly powerful tool because of the concurrent treatment of skin concerns and hormone balancing.
Facial Acupuncture - Not Just the Face
Remember that there is more to your face than just the face itself as well - your neck is very important. In Chinese Medicine the neck is referred to as the “Celestial Pivot” since it is very important to the communication between the body, the brain and the heavens. Ensuring that your neck muscles are relaxed so that flow between the head and body is smooth is essential. Neck pain, therefore, is very successfully treated along with facial concerns. Furthermore, neck lines and wrinkles can also be addressed, especially with cupping therapy.
Facial Acupuncture for Treatment and Prevention
Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture is an amazing anti-aging therapy because it can be used both actively, for the treatment of lines, wrinkles, sagging, uneven skin tone, eye concerns, etc. and passively as prevention. Indeed, Facial Acupuncture as a maintenance treatment to reduce the formation of lines and wrinkles is traditionally how the Empress of China began using this technique - Facial Acupuncture plus tonic herbs and facial massage using a jade stick or roller was part of a regular longevity regime for the royal family.
The ideal time to start monthly facial acupuncture treatments for prevention, is actually between 25 and 30 years of age. 25 is often when we see our first fine lines and wrinkles appear, and by 35 most people have 1-2 lines that are noticeable and beginning to deepen. It is ideal, therefore, to add facial acupuncture into your regime at this time to maintain the most youthful appearance.
I have successfully reduced deep lines and eliminated fine lines in women all the way up to 60, however, and in women 70 and older I have been able to remove new lines (that formed within the last 2 months before treatment) and slow the aging process significantly. Between 60 and 70 line removal is less predictable due to genetics and lifestyle factors, but prevention of anything new is still very strong. Regardless of when you start, the results of facial acupuncture treatment can be maintained 2-5 years with regular monthly treatment after a full facial series.
Want to Know More?
Since treatment for a digestive disorder was my introduction to the power of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, digestive disorders hold a very special place in my heart and in my practice. Assessing food allergies and sensitivities is always high on my list when people come into my office with digestive complaints and while it isn’t the source of everyone’s problems, it is becoming increasingly common and always bears review when determining course of treatment.
The difference between a food sensitivity and a food allergy is something I get asked almost every day in my practice so you know, I thought it was probably time to write something about it!
Food Allergy vs. Food Sensitivity - What Gives?
The difference between a food allergy and a food sensitivity is rather subtle and often confusing for most people. At the most basic level, a food allergy is something that is strong and will likely show up on a blood test. A food sensitivity is something more subtle - you may notice the signs and symptoms when you eat it, but it won’t necessarily create a strong enough reaction in the bloodstream to be measurable by western tests.
This sounds rather straight forward, but most people find it confusing because the subjective experience of a sensitivity can be just as strong if not stronger than the subjective experience of an allergy.
I’ll give you an example:
Patient Joe is sensitive to gluten and allergic to eggs. His sensitivity to gluten causes irritable bowel syndrome symptoms - intestinal cramping and diarrhea - but a blood test does not show that he is actually allergic to the substance. His blood test identified allergy to eggs, however, causes some puffiness in the hands and feet and a feeling of lethargy. The experience of the intestinal cramping is painful, it feels more severe than the reaction to eggs, but technically it is a sensitivity because it doesn’t show up on a blood test.
Both an allergy and a sensitivity cause antigen-antibody complexes to form in the bloodstream, cause inflammation and create a reaction. Only one (allergy) causes a large enough quantity of these complexes to be measurable in the bloodstream.
As you can see, however, except for cases of anaphylactic shock, the difference between an allergy and a sensitivity is rather immaterial - they both cause a reaction that is harmful to the body and can negatively impact your quality of life. The key, therefore, is being able to identify them and make conscious choices about how we do (or do not) control our exposure to them so that WE get to be in charge of the reaction.
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