acupuncture chart of the xin bao luo

acupuncture chart of the xin bao luoHistory of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

There’s a new blog post on Dr. Andrew Weil’s website with a slideshow of photos from the many exhibits at the Shanghai museum of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The exhibits document the truly ancient and evolving nature of Chinese Medicine.

An excerpt is here…..

“In September of 2010, I went to China to meet with leaders of the integrative medicine movement there. I lectured to doctors and medical students, and toured the Museum of Traditional Chinese Medicine at the Shanghai College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It contains an astonishing 14,000 exhibits, including medical devices dating back to the Neolithic Age. Fascinating to see this long, unbroken history of a culture’s medical knowledge and practices.”

The photos show the classic (and mostly obsolete) “nine needles” as well as truly brutal looking neolithic stone and bone acupuncture needles that no one would even consider using these days. We should be truly grateful that we live in modern times.

The primitive society of China is divided into two time periods – The Old Stone Age (10,000 years ago and beyond) and the New Stone Age (10,000 – 4000 years ago). During the Old Stone Age knives were made of stone and were used for certain medical procedures. During the New Stone Age, stones were crafted into fine needles and served as instruments of healing. Many stone needles and needles made from bamboo and bone have been excavated from ruins in China. The most significant milestone in the history of acupuncture occurred during the period of Huang Di, the Yellow Emperor (approximately 2697-2597?). In a famous dialogue between Huang Di and his physician Qi Bo, they discuss the whole spectrum of Chinese Medical Arts.

The intervening thousands of years have allowed acupuncture (and tool manufacturing) to evolve to the sophisticated and virtually pain-free system we have available to us today.

Thanks to Dr. Weil for sharing his great photos!

What is Qigong? It’s a Branch of Chinese Medicine

What is Qigong? It is perhaps not as well-known as some of the other modalities of Chinese Medicine in “the west”. This is a shame as it is a well-developed and powerful healing system. Qigong is pronounced “Chee Gung”. Here is my definition of Qigong:

Qigong is a set of exercises done to produce a specific effect on the function or energy of the body.

You see, over its thousands of years of history Chinese Medicine developed into a vast system of healing and nourishing the body and mind. In this way it is akin to how “Western Medicine” developed various specialties (dermatology, psychiatry, internal medicine, etc.) and modes of treatment (drugs, surgery, talk therapy, etc.) Here are just a few of the branches of Chinese Medicine:

  • Acupuncture
  • Herbal Medicine
  • Tuina (medical massage)
  • Dietary Therapy
  • Moxabustion (heat therapy)
  • Qigong

Do It Yourself Healthcare

What sets qigong apart from most of the other branches of Chinese Medicine is that it is (typically) not done to you- you do it to yourself!

This “do it yourself” characteristic makes qigong uniquely positioned. It is a way to directly participate in transforming our own health!

Supercharge Your Results

Another great aspect of qigong is that it is compatible with virtually any other form of treatment you may be utilizing. It won’t interact with western pharmaceuticals, because it’s not a drug. It complements and supercharges the effects of acupuncture by reinforcing the effects of the needles. It is compatible with chiropractic, massage, herbal medicine, surgery, you name it!

“What Can I Do To Heal Faster?”

Often my acupuncture patients ask me what they can do to help their healing process. I’m thrilled when I get asked that kind of question because when a patient is willing to take personal responsibility for their health the results really accelerate.

I do my very best to empower people who want to actively participate in their own healthcare. I may suggest and teach a qigong exercise specific to a particular person’s acupuncture diagnosis. If you are a patient of mine, ask me if there is any qigong we can add to your treatment routine.

Not an acupuncture patient of mine yet? I am offering free face-to-face consultations. Schedule one to see if a combination of acupuncture and qigong might help you find freedom from pain and illness.

If you’re interested in learning more about acupuncture, simply schedule an appointment at our location in Durham, NC. To schedule an appointment call 919-228-8448, or use our online scheduling system.

Acupuncture for a worried, scattered mindAcupuncture for a clear mind is not usually a way that people think about when then think about having acupuncture treatments.

Imagine lying down for bed, but your brain won’t seem to shut off. The more quiet you try to create in your mind the more your mind revolts. It reminds you of all the things in your life you have on your “To Do List”. It tells you of all the things you have to worry about tomorrow and in the days ahead. It may seem like your mind is stuck on the “ruminate” setting!

This situation is all too familiar for many of us.

My last post looked at “shen” and acupuncture for mental alertness. The shen or “awakeness” is just one aspect of the mind. Today we look at “yi” – the cognition, or the intellect.

The health of the spleen (and also the pancreas) are critical for a healthy mind. These are the organs of the “earth” energy in the body. When the “earth” system is weakened it can result in a disturbance in the thought process. Often this manifests as over-rumination, but it can also show up as an unclear, foggy mind.

What is over ruminating? When people ruminate, they over-think or obsess about situations or life events, such as work or relationships. Research has shown that rumination is associated with a variety of negative consequences, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, binge-drinking and binge-eating.

Acupuncture may be able to help you re-establish clear thought. To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.

Sign displaying the Taijitu and Bagua

What are Yin and Yang?

If you let most any acupuncturist speak for long the words “yin” and “yang” are likely to come out of his or her mouth. What do these words really mean?

First, I hear lots of people pronounce “yang” as if it rhymed with “rang”. Instead pronounce “yang” like it rhymes with “gong”. (i.e. with an “ah” sound) With that out of the way, on to the origin of the words.

The terms come from Taoist philosophy. The ancient taoists were extremely adept at observing and describing the universe and its dynamics. The terms came from the observation of the differing characteristics of the shady (yin) and sunny (yang) sides of a hill. Taoists realized that this dichotomy and duality exists in everything in nature. Furthermore they realized that without yin yang would have no meaning, relevance, or existence and vice versa.

Chinese words tend to be dense with meaning. These two words are no exception. Yin and yang are especially tricky as they somewhat defy classification as a part of speech. I would call them “noun-adjectives”, as they are slightly more noun than adjective. In use I might say “the yin of the body” or “kidney yang”.

Since yin and yang can be used to describe everything in the universe it is difficult to apply a definition to them. Instead the words are best understood through example. In my next blog post I will provide some examples of yin and yang to help create understanding of the concepts.

Yin creates Yang and Yang activates Yin.

To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.

Ginseng for energy or acupuncture?Dump the Ginseng!

Non-medicinal products containing ginseng abound in America. You can find:

  • Sweet iced green tea with ginseng
  • Multivitamins with ginseng
  • B Vitamin complex with ginseng
  • Energy drinks with ginseng

Ginseng comes to America from its use in Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. In Chinese herbal formulas ginseng (红参 or “ren shen” in Chinese) is used as an energy booster. And it is a really powerful energy booster when used in these formulas.

The problem is that the inclusion of ginseng in all of these products is primarily for marketing purposes. Some brilliant marketing person probably figured out that their products would sell better if they were marketed as containing this amazing herb. So many of us are dragging ourselves through life with low-energy that the promise of a quick fix can be very appealing. The problem is this:

Ginseng is completely inappropriate for most of the people to whom it is being marketed!

Don’t self-medicate with ginseng. If you are not middle-aged or older with symptoms like low appetite and a cold body, ginseng is probably not for you. If you are experiencing low energy do your body a favor and skip the caffeine-loaded energy drinks, mega-size coffee or ginseng-containing products.

There are many different causes of low energy. A licensed acupuncturist can help you get to the source of your low energy. You shouldn’t need rocket fuel just to get through your day.

To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.

Acupuncture - Needle in an acupuncture point

People often wonder how acupuncturists help people. What we do is located the acupuncture points. What is an acupuncture point?

Acupuncture points are the places on the body where an acupuncturist typically places needles. They are also the same points used in acupressure. But just what are they? What is special about these places on the body? How can points on one extreme of the body change what’s happening at the other end?

I wrote an article recently explores the topic of what acupuncture points are and how they are able to cause all of the amazing effects possible through acupuncture. It’s a heady look at the topic for the intellectually curious. The article is available here: What are Acupuncture Points?

I’d like to hear your thoughts on the topic. Does this clash with your understanding of acupuncture points? Does it fit well or poorly with modern science? Please comment below.

To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.