About Jubal Bewick, EAMP, MSAOM
Acupuncture treatments during the early 20th century used glass or plastic needles that were placed into specific acupuncture points in the body. These points are found just above energy channels called meridians. Each acupuncture point is related to a specific body part and when a point is pinched or needled, it stimulates the organ it is associated with as the meridians transport energy all over the body.
A blockage in any of the meridians could lead to disease, so acupuncture is used to clear the blockage and help bring back health. Western acupuncturists have been able to create different ways to simulate the body organs in a less invasive and effective way by using magnetic radiations, electric impulses, and lasers.
Acupuncture has shown to be effective in treating many different conditions and disorders. For example, headaches are among the various neurological disorders that acupuncture can effectively treat. It is an excellent tool in the relief of cluster headaches, tension headaches, and migraine headaches, and usually brings about an instant effect on headaches and helps prevent the rise of future occurrences.
Acupuncture is also known to help alleviate muscle stiffness and pain. Sometimes, your movement can be restricted by the contraction of your muscles due to fatigue and stress. With acupuncture stimulation of muscle-related acupoints, you can regain the free movement of your muscles, as acupuncture increases oxygen and blood flow to the muscle tissues, providing them with more energy and nutrition to work much more efficiently.
Myofascial muscle syndrome and other muscle conditions that cause acute knee, elbow, shoulder and neck pain, as well as muscle sprain, inflammation and tendonitis, all respond well to acupuncture treatment, helping people who are tired of taking medications that do not work and cause harmful side effects. But acupuncture is only one of the modalities used in Chinese medicine.
What is Cupping Therapy?
It is widely believed the cupping therapy originated in China around 2,500 BC, although there are ancient documents showing it being used by Egyptian practitioners thousands of years earlier. Cupping therapy is a technique that uses glass cups placed on the body in order to bring about healthy blood flow. It also is widely used to eliminate toxins and alleviate pain. The cups are utilized as vacuums with the aid of either suction or heat. They are placed at “triggers” or very specific areas on the body in the same manner as the needles are inserted into very specific points on the body. The cups are usually allowed to stay stuck on the skin for about 15 minutes. Stationary cupping and massage cupping are the two most common forms of cupping used today.
How Does Chinese Herbal Medicine Work?
Traditional Chinese herbal medicine dates its therapeutic origins as far back as two and a half to three millennia ago to the Late Bronze Age, Iron Age and to the Zhou Dynasty. Herbal medicine in China, from its ancient origins, was forced to develop to respond to diseases current at the time. Today, it still continues to evolve to meet the health demands of people all around the world.
Western medicine provides pharmaceutical medications to control symptoms; unfortunately these drugs do not cause changes to the disease process, while Chinese herbal medicine addresses the underlying imbalance of a person’s symptoms and conditions.
Chinese herbal prescription remedies are designed to enhance the Internal Organ Networks in order for them to perform optimally. These remedies are herbal formulas customized to aid a specific organ system or organ like, for example, the Lungs to assist in respiration or address respiratory problems like asthma. The same goes with the other organs: the Spleen and Stomach to promote energy and good digestion, address female and male infertility, as well as the Heart to address stress and blood circulation problems.
Compared to their western counterparts of over the counter and prescription drugs that may result in more harm sometimes due to side effects, herbs tend to be more harmonizing and nourishing to the body.
Certain kinds of herbal formula treat ailments and illnesses such as cramps, allergies, and colds oftentimes with quick and dramatic outcomes, while others tend to reinforce the constitution of a person over the long term.
What is Acupressure?
The Eastern medical system of TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine, uses acupressure as a way to relieve symptoms or to support the systems and organs of the body. Acupressure is a bit the same as acupuncture but in lieu of needles, fingers or instruments are used to put certain pressure on acupoints of the body in order to treat ailments and illnesses.
In Asia, acupressure is a widely used healing technique, but in the West, the medical establishment has not quite fully accepted it yet. The basis of this rejection is Western medicine’s use of science as the main method for ascertaining whether a therapy or practice works or not. Acupressure has relied on non-scientific oral tradition (word-of-mouth) in the promotion of its use for most of its history.
However, during the past few years, both Western and Eastern medicine collaborated with each other in order to scientifically determine the effectiveness of this type of physical therapy. The International Journal of Nursing Studies published a Korean study that endeavored to learn whether acupressure could be a practical way to relieve some of the more acute effects of dysmenorrhea.
The study included the participation of 58 college-aged females. A course of acupressure to the Sp 6 (San Yin Jiao) acupuncture point was administered on 50 percent of the participants. The other half was classified as a "control" group to gauge the efficacy of the acupressure treatment.
The women in the treatment group were given acupressure therapy within eight hours of their period. The symptoms related to their dysmenorrhea were measured prior to the administration of acupressure, then half an hour later and at the first, second, and third hour mark - following the administration of acupressure.
According to the researchers, the treatment group experienced a significant decrease in the intensity of their symptoms immediately following treatment. This effect was shown to last up to a couple of hours after the treatment ended.
Acupressure has also shown to be effective in treating morning sickness in pregnant women. In 2008, the Complementary Therapies journal published a study that showed acupressure’s contribution in the relief of nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy.
The trial involved the participation of 26 women who were asked to wear an "acupressure band" for three days. The band bore pressure to the San Yin Jiao point - which was indicated for vomiting, stomach aches, and a wide range of unrelated symptoms. Another group of women was also told to wear an acupressure wristband but not on the San Yin Jiao point. Improvement in the relief/management of the symptoms of morning sickness was seen in the group that wore the wristband on the San Yin Jiao point.
If you suffer from insomnia, you'll probably walk out with a prescription of powerful sleeping pills if you go into an allopathic physician’s office and complain of sleeping problems. Whether the pill works or not, you may be told by your doctor that you need to keep on taking it for some time - unless you discover a way to cure the underlying root of your sleeplessness. In this regard, acupressure may be a safer option than drugs, and proof to support this body/mind option is provided by a few recent acupressure studies.
What is Gua Sha Therapy?
Gua Sha is a form of scraping therapy that’s meant to deliberately elevate a reddish skin rash via applied pressure and repeated scraping movements with the use of a handheld instrument. The handheld tool can be a thin disc (like a coin) or a ceramic soup spoon that has a curved surface. Majority of practitioners choose to use the traditional polished water buffalo horn specifically customized for this therapy. The tool is set on the problematic areas of the skin and body that earlier have been lubed with massage oil. The areas are then repeatedly scraped with strong pressure. The hard compression to the soft tissue elevates the 'Sha,' that may appear as a temporal bruising.
While this alleged bruising can at times be mistaken for a painful injury, it is oftentimes totally painless. The marks quickly vanish within a few days. These marks are actually deemed to be a part of the treatment. The practitioner observes the characteristics of the 'Sha' in an effort to determine the state of flow of the blood in the site of the treatment. Before treatment starts, this diagnostic indication can serve as feedback to determine the kind of condition to be treated (neck pain, shoulder pain, sciatica, etc).
Under the skilled hands of a qualified practitioner, Gua Sha can be a powerful means of treating various bodily illnesses. And while it is mostly used to treat ailments in the neck, shoulders, buttocks, and back, it can also be used to treat common pathologies such as the flu and cold, boost the function of the immune system, and eliminate toxins from the body. For people suffering from sciatica, this therapy can provide prompt relief from pain and numbness caused by the pinching of the sciatic nerve.
About Jubal J Bewick, EAMP, MSAOM
Jubal Bewick, is a Board Certified Acupuncturist and Herbalist in Walla Walla, WA., with a Masters of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from Bastyr University. To learn more about Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, please visit his website.
Acupuncture Clinic Walla Walla
Blue Mountain Acupuncture
2200 Melrose St Suite 9
Walla Walla, WA 99362
Phone: (509) 876-4597