• Overview

    Acupuncture, from the Latin acus, meaning needle and punctura, meaning to pierce, is part of a holistic system of healing, developed and refined in China over a period of more than 2,500 years

    Acupuncture points are areas of designated sensitivity shown to be effective in the treatment of specific health problems. While perhaps best known for pain relief, traditional acupuncture is used to maintain health and treat a wide range of illnesses. It focuses on the patient's overall well-being, rather than treating only specific, isolated symptoms.

    The ancient premise of Oriental medicine is that health is dependent on the body's life energy, "qi" (pronounced "chee"), flowing in a smooth and balanced way through the network of meridians (channels) connecting all major organs. Qi consists of equal and opposite qualities, known as yin and yang. When the qi is disturbed, these become unbalanced, resulting in illness. The flow of qi can be disturbed by any number of factors, such as anxiety, stress, poor nutrition, weather conditions, hereditary, infections, toxins and trauma. The acupuncturist restores the qi's balance by inserting fine sterilized needles into the channels of energy, stimulating the body's own natural healing mechanisms. As a holistic method, the principal aim of acupuncture is to restore equilibrium between a person's physical, emotional and spiritual aspects.
  • Chronic Pain

    Chronic pain persists for weeks, months or years. It overwhelms all other symptoms and may become the problem in and of itself. It can cause people to lose their appetites, and be exhausted by any physical activity. Many people suffer from chronic pain in the absence of any past injury or evidence of illness. The most common type of chronic pain is from an abnormal function in the nervous system, described as "neuropathic pain."
    In the treatment of pain, the primary difference between Traditional Chinese Medicine and western medicine is that acupuncture have virtually no side effects. This is because acupuncture works in an entirely different manner. For example the drugs commonly used to relieve pain provide short-term relief by blocking the production of pain-creating substances called prostaglandins, which ultimately slows the recovery process.

    Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) creates an entirely opposite effect. Acupuncture works to stimulate the central nervous system, which in turn releases chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord and brain. These chemicals either alter the perception of pain or release other chemicals that influence the body's self-regulating systems. These biochemical changes support the body's natural healing abilities, improve circulation, and promote physical and emotional well-being. When circulation in the tissue improves, muscle relaxation occurs and pain is reduced. In some cases, improved circulation may cause the pain to increase, but this is followed by accelerated repair of the tissue.
  • Infertility/IVF

    Infertility is defined as the inability to become pregnant after one year trying. There are two types of infertility: primary infertility, which is infertility without any previous pregnancy, and secondary infertility, referring to cases in which there has been a previous pregnancy.

    Depending on the cause of infertility, natural approaches can be very useful and should be tried before proceeding to drastic medical intervention, especially if you are in your twenties. Natural approaches to promote fertility include:
    Functional related infertility is often stress-related, and is most common among women who work or live in stressful environments. In Chinese medicine, acupuncture is used to decrease stress in the body by regulating the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system. The treatment also addresses possible hormonal imbalances and circulatory problems.

    If you choose to undergo IVF, be assured that recent studies have concluded that acupuncture performed immediately before and after IVF significantly increases the chances for a viable pregnancy (ongoing studies confirm these findings.) Acupuncture reduces uterine contractions, which may contribute to the failure of IVF treatments, before, during and after IVF. Acupuncture can also increase blood flow to the uterus, which creates a very favorable environment for pregnancy to occur. Minimally, a treatment should be performed 1/2 hour before implantation and 1/2 hour after. In order to achieve maximum benefit, weekly treatments are recommended at least two months prior to the start of IVF.
  • Stress/Anxiety

    Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) draws a direct connection between stress, anxiety and the liver, cautioning that "disharmony of the liver is the cause of 10,000 illnesses. The reason that the liver is so important is that the function of the liver in TCM is to promote the smooth circulation of vital energy, or qi (pronounced "chee") throughout the body. When qi stagnates, blood and other body fluids lack the energy to move and can thus collect. This stagnation can even lead to the formation of masses such as breast lumps and fibroids in the uterus if left untreated. If blood stagnates in the chest, the lungs and heart will be affected.
    Acupuncture induces a relaxation response, which decreases the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, increases energy and tissue regeneration, and reduces stress. One feels more relaxed, and digestion improves. As tension is relieved, so are headaches. Instead of being tense and angry, one remains calm, tempers stay even, and blood pressure can even decrease. Studies have shown that the substances released in the body as a result of acupuncture relax the body, and also regulate serotonin in the brain, which affects emotional states.

    Acupuncture will not, of course, change the circumstances of a person's life. But it can relieve feelings of anxiety or depression. As the heavy feelings of stress are relieved, a person feels more confidence in his ability to cope with the negative aspects of life and make necessary changes. This in turn can eliminate dependence on sleeping pills, tranquilizers and antidepressants.
  • Headaches/Migraines

    Both western medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine recognize two categories of headaches: primary and secondary. A primary headache is a clinical condition, not a symptom of another disorder. Primary headaches include tension headaches, migraines and cluster headaches. Secondary headaches are caused by other medical conditions such as sinus disease, allergies, dental disorders, head injury or brain tumors. Acupuncture is used to effectively treat primary headaches, namely tension and migraine, which are the most common.
    Emotional stress is a well-known trigger for migraines. People living in a fast-paced lives tend to have imbalanced autonomic nervous systems. This imbalance may be tied to other health conditions such as heart disease, insomnia, hypertension and premenstrual syndrome.

    The acupuncture technique used by Spirit Acupuncture functions by activating the nervous system and decreasing muscle tension. Acupuncture points for this technique are usually chosen on the forearms and lower legs.

    We also suggest lifestyle changes to reduce the incidence of headaches:
    • Sleep adequately (7-8 hours/day)
    • Avoid physical or mental fatigue
    • Avoid alcohol
    • Avoid caffeine
    • Eliminate foods that trigger migraines
    • Avoid any personal triggers
  • Allergies

    Western medicine tends to rely on relieving the uncomfortable symptoms of allergy sufferers with the use of medications. While this approach may provide temporary relief, there are often unpleasant or even intolerable side effects, such as drowsiness, immune system suppression or over-reliance on medications often result. Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine believe that the best way to control allergies is to address their causes by treating the whole person and balancing the immune system.
    Treatment using acupuncture can dramatically lessen allergic reactions, or in some cases help the sufferer tolerate what caused the symptoms. It also enables most people to reduce or eliminate their dependence on allergy medication. We like to use a two-phased approach when treating seasonal allergies.

    First, during the pollen season, the focus will be to treat the acute symptoms by expelling the wind-cold or wind-heat. Second, after the pollen season, or when the symptoms have cleared, our focus is on treating the underlying problem by strengthening the immune system or wei qi. After an initial series of treatments, further treatments are provided as needed. Some people may need to return once or twice a year for a booster, while others may need to come more often. Your treatment will always be individualized to meet your needs.
  • Facial Rejuvenation

    Facial rejuvenation acupuncture, sometimes referred to as "acupuncture facelift," is a wonderful timeless beauty technique used by the Chinese since the Sung Dynasty. It is an effective non-surgical yet painless way to lessen the appearance of fine lines as well as deeper wrinkles. According to Chinese medicine, it improves circulation of Qi and blood and stimulates the body's natural anti-aging powers.

    In a study published in the The International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture, it was reported that of 300 people, 270 perceived a marked decrease of facial wrinkles after just one treatment. Their skin felt firmer to the touch and elasticity was improved.
    Hair-thin needles are gently inserted into specific points on the face to facilitate the movement of Qi and blood. This in turn nourishes, re-hydrates, tones and reduces the appearance of facial wrinkles. Additionally, specialized frequency-specific electrically stimulated needles improve skin elasticity as well as the tone of the facial muscles. Your skin will also have a more youthful glow.

    Treatments improve muscle tone and dermal contraction, increase collagen production, tightens pores, and increases local circulation of blood and lymph around the face. It can be used to reduce a double chin and sagging jowls help to decrease inflammation, puffy or droopy eyelids.
  • Weight Control

    The western solution to weight control is simple: eat less and exercise more. The problem is that not all diets are the same in their ability to properly nourish the body. Many fad diets purposely eliminate one complete food group (the zero-carb or no protein diet), or focus on eating one food to the near exclusion of all others (the grapefruit diet). These diets work in the short run because the body cannot metabolize food for fuel when a complete spectrum of nutrients does not exist. This is like losing weight from malnutrition, and is a very unhealthy.
    Acupuncture for weight loss works on different levels. Acupuncture can stimulate the body's production of serotonin and endorphins. Thereby relaxing the person so they can avoid stress eating. Acupuncture has also been shown to improve the muscle tone of the gut to decrease hunger. Furthermore, acupuncture affects the hypothalamus which among many other things, plays a large role in the mechanisms of hunger.

    Some people are anxiety eaters. Acupuncture is particularly helpful in these cases because of its centering, calming and balancing function. Once stress is relieved, the desire to eat for comfort is lessened.

    Acupuncture is a complementary therapy. An overweight or obese person must be willing to make a deep, long-term commitment to controlling their weight. Any therapy for weight control must be combined with a proper diet and exercise.
  • Smoking Cessation

    It takes a highly motivated person to look towards acupuncture to quit smoking. The reasons to quit smoking vary. There are those who may have developed signs and symptoms from smoking, such as shortness of breath, chronic cough or increased frequency of colds and other chronic illness. You might not be experiencing negative health effects yet, but want to prevent possible future effects from smoking. Some decide to stop smoking when a loved one develops a smoking-related illness such as emphysema or lung cancer.
    Every patient's acupuncture treatment is tailor-made and designed especially for you. You will learn to identify your triggers for smoking and how to avoid them. Acupuncture can reduce the cravings and lessen the withdrawal symptoms associated with your efforts to quit smoking. The five acupuncture treatments for the quit smoking program are spaced out over three to four weeks, usually two treatments the first week, and then one treatment a week thereafter. The treatments focus on any physical or emotional withdrawal symptoms that may arise.