Stick out Your Tongue!

First time patients are often surprised when asked to stick out their tongue. And they are even more puzzled when six pulses are taken on both wrists.

The tongue and pulse are the diagnostic tools that help acupuncturists formulate a Traditional Chinese Medicine treatment plan. The treatment plan includes the choice of acupuncture points, the understanding of the specific meridians that need to be regulated, and whether or not herbal medicine will be used. But before a treatment plan can be established, acupuncturists must first consult the tongue and pulse.

I like to think of reading the tongue and pulse as looking into a window into the internal workings of my patients. Both are good indicators of what is going on internally with respect to the health and balance of the body. This is a valuable way of checking in, and a useful gauge for monitoring the improvements or decline of established patients’ health from treatment to treatment, or to observe clinical manifestations in the first time patient.

Reading the Tongue

The tongue is a map of your body’s organs. There are five zones that correspond to each of the internal organs.

When examining the tongue the color, shape, size, texture, and coating are all important aspects of consideration. A normal tongue appears vibrant and has a light red or pinkish body with a thin white coat. A baby’s tongue is a great example of a normal tongue.

When a person is not healthy, the tongue reflect this change. A deep red tongue can indicate inflammation or heat and, in contrast, a pale tongue can indicate anemia or blood vacuity. And a purplish tongue points to poor circulation, or what is known as blood stasis.

The observation of the color of the […]

By |November 28th, 2012|Acupuncture|Comments Off on Stick out Your Tongue!


Smoke in an acupuncture office! We know that it’s legal in some states now, but what is going on??

Many of my first time patients experiencing Chinese Medicine are concerned about the strange smells that they often encounter when at the office. No it is NOT marijuana! Although the smoke does have a similar smell which often adds to the apprehension patients have when coming to an acupuncture office for the first time.

This treatment is called moxibustion, or moxa for short.

What is Moxa?

The pungent smell comes from an herb called mugwart that is sometimes burned in tandem with acupuncture treatments to enhance the healing of many disorders.

Mugwart is a warming herb that can be used in many forms including cigar shaped moxa sticks, small moxa rolls that are placed directly on the needles, as well as moxa cones that are placed directly on the skin. However, the last technique is not often performed in the USA due to the potential of burning the patient!

I most often use the moxa cigar, which is applied one-inch above the skin to the areas of the body that are to be treated. And no… I do not burn my patients!

Uses of Moxa

The radiant heat from moxibustion has a laser-like effect — penetrating into the deepest layer of the bodies tissues all the way to the bone level. The healing effects of moxibustion stimulate blood flow, increase circulation, and enhance an immune response, resulting in an acceleration of healing time for many disorders.

Moxibustion has many applications and can be used calm the nervous system and relax stressed muscles, as well as to treat other disorders such as:
• fertility enhancement
• […]

By |November 14th, 2012|Acupuncture|Comments Off on Moxa


What is cupping? And why should anyone get cupped?

Cupping is a technique that practitioners of Chinese Medicine use along with acupuncture to help promote circulation and healing. This technique dates back thousands of years and has been used in many cultures throughout the centuries for healing.

It is a bit misunderstood here in the USA. People that are unfamiliar with cupping are at times horrified by the marks left from the cups, as well as mystified as why someone performs this technique in the first place. I know, because I was one of those horrified patients before I understood the reasoning behind cupping.

When I was a young dancer getting my acupuncture for all my muscular skeletal pains, strains, and tears, I was cupped for the first time by an acupuncturist that I had just started seeing. True to the Chinese style, the acupuncturist explained nothing about what was happening. All of a sudden my needles were taken out, there was this great torch of fire, and then I felt a strange suction sensation all across my back. In a short period of time the cups were removed and off I went without any explanation. “Oh well,” I thought.

That evening my husband gasped at the strange appearance of my back. When I looked in the mirror I couldn’t believe what I saw. There were dark red one-inch circle marks covering my entire back. I looked like I had been attacked by an octopus. That was my last time visiting that acupuncturist as I assumed that she must be crazy.

Cupping Explained

Now that I use and value the cupping technique, I wanted to help demystify and explain this ancient practice to the public.

I always explain and forewarn […]

By |November 7th, 2012|Acupuncture|Comments Off on Cupping