Acupuncture is a treatment of trigger point stimulation with very fine sharp needles, or pins. It virtually creates no harm and has been thoroughly studied by modern medical institutions and found to be the safest manual medical treatment in world history, dating back thousands of years. If one remains relaxed, the entry of the needle is usually not felt, but various sensations, some pleasant and some not so pleasant, occur with the bodily reaction at the trigger point. This bodily reaction is completely dependent on the reaction of the patient’s mind and body, lasts a few seconds, and in scientific study is now proven to stimulate more specific responses, both locally and in the central nervous system. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the term for this is de qi, or the obtaining or arrival of Qi, a nonspecific term that refers to functional and energetic responses. Of course, if the health problem is localized pain, the trigger point may trigger that pain or other symptom for a few seconds, and the most abundant sensory receptors are nociceptors, reacting with sensations of pain or dysesthesia to a variety of stimuli, both mechanical, thermal and chemical. This is very beneficial to get the body to react in the right way to speed healing, as sensory stimulation and reaction are the hallmarks of acupuncture stimulation. While many patients naturally express apprehension of needles and the sensations elicited, a quick research will confirm that there is virtually no history of injury associated with acupuncture. Electrical stimulation and heat (moxibustion) may be added to the treatment for various purposes if needed. The needles are thin high quality disposable needles used only once. Trigger point or dry needle myofascial release may also be performed. Moxibustion is a method of stimulating the acupuncture points with heat from lit herbs, and is often used indirectly without needles, but may also be applied directly to the needle.

TuiNa physiotherapy

TuiNa physiotherapy, including myofascial release and soft tissue mobilization, is generally less intense than chiropractic manipulations but deeper and more intense than common massage. It targets tissues that are injured or inflamed, and because of this may be uncomfortable at times until these tissues become healthier. As the therapy progresses, usually very quickly, these injured or inflamed tissues are able to heal properly, and so the therapy becomes more pleasant and soothing, and you are thus certain that the therapy is working well. Therapeutic massage, called An Mo in China, and Shia Tsu in Japan, is also available if requested, but is always incorporated into my practice of Tui Na. Energetic treatments, or Qi Gong, may also be combined with massage, if requested, and are always a part of needle stimulation. The choice of treatment techniques is ultimately up to the patient, and should be discussed. A combination of deep soft tissue therapy, myofascial release, active release technique (ART), neuromuscular reeducation, diathermy, and joint mobilization provide both a thorough rehabilitative protocol to promote healthy tissue regrowth, and is proven to have a variety of systemic benefits as well, with significant beneficial effects on neurohormonal and immune system balance and function. Most patients combine this with acupuncture and trigger point needling, as well as herbal and nutrient medicine. Such combination often provide synergistic benefits, helping to correct a variety of factors that contribute to the disease or injury. Correcting as many health parameters as possible insures the best possible outcome.

Patient instruction

Patient instruction in therapeutics is an important part of the treatment protocol. Correction of postural mechanics (ergonomics) and sleep posture may be integral to the prevention of future injury in repetitive and postural stress syndromes, and dietary considerations may be very important to progress with chronic diseases and prevention of common health problems. Targeted stretch and excercise is often just as important as clinic therapies when recovering from tissue injuries, and expertise in this area helps the patient to understand and achieve great success. Often, patient teaching and discussion helps to achieve greater success with cognitive and behavioral changes that are needed for a healthier life and better recovery as well. If requested, time spent to instruct in simple Qi Gong techniques to promote a better mind-body healing are available as well, and entire sessions may be devoted to individualized Qi Gong instruction, if requested.

Herbal medicine and nutrient supplements

Herbal medicine and dietary supplements are used, if desired, to speed healing, prevent disease and future injury, promote overall health, and longevity. These professional medicines may be taken as pills, powders, tinctures, topical ointments or decocted from the raw herbs themselves. An enormous amount of study is devoted to this science in TCM medical colleges, while virtually no study is presented in standard medical schools. The field of professional herbalism and nutrient science is almost completely the realm of TCM and Naturopathy in the United States. TCM generally relies on herbal formulas of 5-15 herbs carefully combined to increase the positive effect and avoid any ill effects, but single herbs are also used if needed. The professional prescription of herbal medicines is of high quality and virtually no harm has been recorded from such professional prescription over the last 30 years. This use of professional prescription is much safer and insures quality compared to the self medication with commercially available herbs and supplements that are poorly regulated by the FDA, and often the product of misleading advertising. The complexity of herbal and nutrient medicine demands great study and knowledge to be used effectively. Before the domination of synthetic pharmaceuticals, herbal medicine was all that we had, an effective therapeutic tool for many centuries, and with modern research and development, great strides in this science and proof of efficacy are achieved every day. Each year, scientific study of herbal chemistry and nutrient medicine makes great leaps forward, and my practice is based on current research evidence as well as traditional empirical evidence and clinical guidelines. Much of this research is documented on this website in informative articles.