More About Meridians

The meridian system in acupuncture is the very foundation of Chinese Medicine, and was mapped out more than 2,000 years ago. The meridians represent the principal pathways that qi, blood, and fluids are circulated throughout the body, tissues, and organs, providing them with nourishment and energy. These pathways are vital in the communication among the organs, muscles, glands, and digestive and endocrine systems, as well as the brain. It is this communication that makes the body a unified whole.

Acupuncturists believe that when qi flows freely, there is no pain or disease. But when there is stagnation of qi, pain, disease, or disfunction shows up in the body. It is up to the acupuncturist to maintain this free flow of qi, blood, and fluid in the body. This is where the knowledge of meridians is most important, and most helps patients maintain abundant health.

How Do They Work?

Meridians are complicated to understand, and take years to fully comprehend. I’ll try to simplify the theory here to illuminate the process. There are twelve paired yin and yang meridians, and two unpaired channels. Each of the twelve meridians are bilateral and are associated with an organ of the body.

The two unpaired meridians are the Governing or Du meridian, and the Conception or Ren meridian. The Governing meridian runs along the center of the spine, along the back of the body, and represents the yang or the masculine aspect of the meridian system. The Conception meridian runs along the center of the front of the body, and is the yin or feminine aspect of the meridians.

These two opposite channels represent the yin and yang at the center of the body. Balancing the yin and yang of the body is fundamental […]

By |December 12th, 2012|Acupuncture|0 Comments

How Acupuncture Works

How does acupuncture work?

This question has been plaguing me since my first experience receiving acupuncture over thirty years ago.

When I was a patient, I was just satisfied that it did work. I treated it like a strange magic that made me well again, and left it at that. I had a blind faith in the Chinese way of healing people.

It was only when I decided to become an practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine that my burning desire to really find out the truth about how it really works was set into motion. Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in NYC had accepted me into their four year Master’s program, and I was embarking on a journey to find out the hidden knowledge of this 2,000 year old ancient medicine.

Finally the mystery behind the medicine that heals on so many levels would be unveiled for me to know and understand! All I needed was to pay my tuition and the truth would then be revealed.

Well, nothing could have been further from the truth.

In the four years of the Master’s program I took all the classes I could to unlock the mystery: fundamentals of Chinese medicine, Chinese philosophy, fundamentals of acupuncture, and herbology, to name a few. There was not one explanation offered in any of the classes that could satisfy my western scientific mind. This, after all, was not in my culture; the talk of qi (life force), meridians (paths through which qi flows), and yin and yang was an exciting foreign language and way of viewing the world. But I still lacked an explanation of how acupuncture treatments could have such a transformative effect on my patients.

I was looking for some sort of scientific […]

By |December 2nd, 2012|Acupuncture|0 Comments

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|0 Comments

Moxa

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|0 Comments

Cupping

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|0 Comments

It’s National Acupuncture Day!

Today is National Acupuncture Day as well as my birthday. It makes me smile to think that my birthday is the same day as National Acupuncture Day, as if somehow it was my destiny to become a practitioner of Chinese Medicine. So exactly how did a girl from Chattanooga, Tennessee end up in New York City working as an acupuncturist/herbalist in an completely Chinese office?

I joke and say that I am the “token” in the office that I have shared for the last eight years with the famous Dr. Jin, her husband Dr. Kin (both acupuncturist from Shanghai), and their Chinese only staff. They treat me like family and tell me that I am part Chinese because I work long hours like they do. But no one works as hard and as long as my Chinese colleagues–inspirations to us all.

Most people are unaware of Acupuncture Day and the benefits of acupuncture, but we acupuncturist are asked to spread the word.

I want to take this opportunity to share my story about how I came to rely on Chinese Medicine as my primary health care system, and why I chose this career path in my second spring of life.

In the early 80’s I was living and working as a professional modern and jazz dancer in NYC. Dancers work long and hard physically, and my body was constantly plagued with aches, pains, strains and tears. When I needed medical attention, the western doctors would tell me to stop dancing for six to eight weeks! For a dancer, that was like telling me to stop breathing for that amount of time. Clearly that was not an option, as “the show must go on” and the rent needed to […]

By |October 24th, 2012|Acupuncture|0 Comments