Qi (pronounced chee) is commonly known as vital energy, life force or energy flow - a universal energy in the broadest sense possible. It is the active principle forming part of any and every living thing. It refers to all manifestations of energy whether they be material such as the earth beneath your feet, or immaterial such as thought and emotion. Qi also refers to the vital substances that comprise the human body and maintain its life activities. It also refers to the physiological functions of the vital organs and meridian pathways.
Acupuncture is an ancient system of natural healing that originated in China 4,000 years ago, based on the Chinese Medicine principle that any dysfunction results from an imbalance in the body's organic, energetic and natural activity. It is applied through insertion of acupuncture needles into acupuncture points located along meridian pathways of the body to restore proper Qi flow. When Qi is flowing properly energetic processes operate in a rhythmic and harmonious way, thereby bringing health to the physical body. Acupuncture involves a complex system of examination, diagnosis and treatment. It is a form of preventive medicine as well as applicable for pain relief and amelioration of many other conditions.
This is the application of a fine micro-current technology to acupuncture needles that have already been inserted into the body. The needles are left in place while leads from an electrical device are attached via small clips to the handle of the needles. The device generates continuous electrical pulses to the needle which is moderated by the acupuncturist according to the appropriate frequency and intensity necessary for the patient and their specific condition. The patient experiences a slight tingling and/or throbbing sensation during an electro-acupuncture treatment. The acupuncturist adjusts the electrical pulse so it is not too strong for the patient to relax and feel comfortable, but at the same time it needs to be high enough to produce the intended results.
Meridians are a complex web of pathways that adjust the ebb and flow of Qi through the body. There are fourteen main meridians that run on the surface of the body serving as lines of communication among the vital organs. As pathways linked to a specific organ system they function to make the organism a unified whole. Meridians also help maintain balance of yin and yang and provide warmth and nourishment for the whole body. Any break in the continuous Qi flow within the meridians is an indication of imbalance. One could liken meridian pathways to the circulatory or nervous systems, except meridians transport Qi rather than blood or nerves.
Acupuncture points are specific areas located along the meridian pathways where energy can be accessed. There are 365 main acupuncture points utilized by an acupuncturist to restore health to the body. Chinese Medicine theory states that when acupuncture points are blocked or congested, the result is "imbalance" or "disease." During Acupuncture, needles are inserted into specific acupuncture points to stimulate the energy that is either blocked or congested. The points are chosen on a particular meridian based on the patient's symptoms and root cause of disease.
Chinese Medicine is an ancient system of medical wisdom and clinical tradition developed approximately 4,000 years ago to restore health and wellbeing. Its main premise is that illness arises when the cyclical flow of Qi becomes unbalanced, blocked, or depleted. Chinese Medicine involves application of energetic techniques to re-establish a balanced and free flow of Qi.
These techniques may include acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, acupressure, tui na massage, Chinese herbs, moxibustion, gua sha, dietary therapy, lifestyle counseling, meditation, breathing techniques, as well as T'ai Chi and Qigong exercises. The predominant Chinese Medicine treatment style practiced in the United States is called Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Over 15 million Americans have turned to it as a form of alternative / complementary medicine.
What designates Oriental Medicine as different from Chinese Medicine is that it is a system of medicine with a diversity of theories and applications stemming from not only the ancient Chinese medical traditions but also energetic techniques developed in Japan, Korea, Viet Nam, Thailand, Tibet and India. Oriental Medicine has world-wide appeal and has spread to not only the United States but also to the countries of France, England, Spain, Germany, Russia, Africa, South America and the United States.
This is a traditional herbal system from China whereby approximately 3,200 herbs and 300 mineral and animal extracts are combined into more than 400 different formulas. Each herbal formulas may contain 4 to 12 different ingredients and taken internally or applied externally in the form of teas, powders, pills, tinctures, syrups, oils, fomentations or plasters. Chinese herbal medicine is a major branch of Chinese medicine that functions to treat imbalances for restoration of overall health to the body It also works with prevention to strengthen immunity and resistance to disease.
Moxibustion is an ancient Chinese Medicine heat treatment that involves the burning of the mugwort plant (artemesia vulagris or ai ye), commonly known as moxa. This treatment is applied either directly on an acupuncture point on the skin, or more commonly indirectly via a moxa stick over the point to penetrate heat, but not touching it. Or, moxa rolled around an acupuncture needle and then lit so that the heat penetrates through the needle into the acupuncture point. Moxibustion treatment is usually indicated for patients with a Chinese medicine diagnosis involving excess coldness or stagnation. It functions to expel cold and warm the meridians to promote increased Qi and Blood flow in order to facilitate healing. It is a commonly known treatment for turning breech babies. Moxibustion treatment creates smoke and a pungent odor, although smokeless moxa sticks are available as an alternative.
Gua Sha is a Chinese Medicine rubbing technique whereby the skin is pressured and stroked by a round-edged instrument. A practitioner prepares the skin first by massaging it with Chinese herbal oil to get the blood moving. Gua Sha results in the appearance of small red petechiae called "sha" which fade in 2 to 3 days. This technique works to stimulate healing through removal of blood stagnation, thus promoting and restoring normal circulation and metabolic processes. It is typically applied to prevent and/or eliminate pain, stiffness, fever, chill, cough and nausea.
Cupping is an ancient Chinese Medicine technique that applies a glass or bamboo cup to the skin through suction. The cups are left on the body for approximately ten minutes to reduce blood stagnation by moving Qi and Blood flow. The traditional method involves the placement of a cotton ball soaked in alcohol inside a cup to create a vacuum. The cup is then swiftly placed on the skin to establish good suction. The vacuum created by the lack of oxygen anchors the cup to the skin and pulls it upward on the inside of the glass as the air inside the jar cools. Drawing up the skin opens up the skin's pores, which helps to stimulate the flow of blood, balances and realigns the flow of qi, breaks up obstructions, and creates an avenue for toxins to be drawn out of the body. This method may produce redness, discoloration, bruises and on rare occasions a minor blister could form which may last several days, but will eventually disappear.
Recommendation of foods appropriate for one's energetic constitution is at the heart of Chinese Medicine Dietary Therapy. This technique is used to nourish and rebuild Qi and Blood flow as well as to restore normal function of both meridians and their associated vital organs. Dietary recommendations are based on the Law of the Five Elements as applied to food. For example, the five tastes of food (sour, bitter, sweet, pungent and salty) are recommended according to how they correspond to a particular color, respective meridians, and associated vital organs. Additionally, each of these five tastes has a functional effect which is also taken into account during the application of Chinese Medicine Dietary Therapy.
This is an integral aspect of Chinese Medicine whereby the practitioner makes recommendations regarding one's lifestyle according their specific impacts on their health. These recommendations are based on the ancient theories of Chinese Medicine applied to guide patients toward lifestyle activities that cultivate, rather than deplete Qi and Blood.
Tai Chi is an ancient exercise practiced for self-defense, health, peace of mind, vibrant energy, coordination, balance, and longevity. It is based on a Chinese teaching over 6000 years old and means "the grand way of life as taught through movement." You will also hear it translated as "grand ultimate boxing." Through daily practice, Tai Chi reconnects the mind to the body, the conscious to the subconscious, and the individual to their environment. This gentle, yet powerful Chinese way of movement teaches one to live in harmony with nature, through the dynamic duality of yin and yang. It is meditation through movement; practiced with both relaxation and concentration. With its circular movements, rhythmic breathing, and flowing postures, Tai Chi maximizes full health and healing potential through creating a free flow of Qi and Blood throughout the body.
Qigong is a system of Chinese Medicine healing developed in ancient China about 3,000 years ago. The word Qigong (pronounced "chee-gung"") is derived from two Chinese characters, the first Qi refers to vital energy and the second Gong refers to cultivation – therefore Qigong is an ancient form of Chinese exercise that cultivates energy. It is practiced to cultivate Qi, a vital energy that flows through every living being. Practicing Qigong opens the flow of Qi not only in the area of the body that is moving, but also throughout the body. It is a form of movement that stimulates energetic and physical healing through opening and strengthening not only the flow of Qi, but also Blood in the body. It is a gentle method of self-healing and fitness practiced to enhance health and longevity and to ameliorate health conditions such as pain, fatigue, digestive disturbance, low immunity, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, gynecological problems and much more. Qigong can be practiced at any age and any ability. The movements are easy to learn and practicing them is tremendously invigorating, yet calming at the same time. As both a physical and mental exercise, Qigong regulates the body, breath and mind to keep the body fit, while maintaining a peaceful, balanced mind.
Tai Chi is one of the oldest forms of Qigong; they are like two different purposes with common ground. Tai Chi is characterized by more stretching and more total body exercise, whereas Qigong by more concentration and emphasis on breathing. Both Tai Chi and Qigong are methods of self-cultivation and tend to operate beneficially by improving state of mind through increasing flexibility of the muscles and tendons; oxygen consumption; relaxation, calmness and tranquility, internal organs function; and digestive, metabolic, hormonal and neurological health.
Tui-Na is a combination of massage, acupressure and other forms of body manipulation. Tui-Na works by applying pressure to acupoints, meridians and groups of muscles or nerves to remove blockages that prevent the free flow of qi. Removing these blockages restores the balance of qi in the body, leading to improved health and vitality. Tui-na is best suited for rectifying chronic pain, musculoskeletal conditions and stress-related disorders that affect the digestive and/or respiratory systems. However, because tui-na is designed to improve and restore the flow of qi, treatment often ends up causing improvements to the whole body, not just a specific area.
Therapeutic Massage is a stimulating, manual manipulation of the body's soft tissue for the purpose of increased relaxation, healing and well-being through touch. It employs various techniques to enhance function and healing through manipulation of both superficial and deep layers of muscular and connective tissue. Massage also decreases muscular reflex activity and inhibits motor-neuron excitability. A massage can be directed toward a particularly painful or tight area or be an overall full body massage. It is different from relaxation massage in that it's goal is to not only relax the body but to also have a therapeutic effect.