In Chinese medicine there are four pillars of healing: acupuncture; bodywork; herbs/nutrition; and movement. In order to provide a comprehensive care, I incorporate all four into my practice.
Acupuncture is an ancient modality of Chinese medicine. It is the insertion of hair-thin needles into the "channels" of the body to rebalance "qi." When qi is blocked and not flowing smoothly, physical and emotional pain results. The purpose of acupuncture is to find this blockage and restore a smooth flow. Western medicine understands acupuncture as manipulating the fascia and connective tissue to elicit muscular, neurological, and hormonal changes in the body.
Trigger Point Therapy
Trigger point therapy (also known by some as "dry needling") is a type of acupuncture that releases tight muscles in the body. Trigger points are tight, tender, hyper-irritable spots in the muscles that produce local tenderness or referred pain. By releasing trigger points directly, tightness and pain can be quickly and efficiently reduced. This style is excellent for orthopedic conditions.
Cupping is the application of glass or plastic cups to the body to create a suction or pull on the soft tissue. Temporary marks known as "petechiae" results from the suction. This is a positive inflammatory response which promotes circulation of blood to the tissue and helps to alleviate tightness and pain in the muscles, break up adhesions, and remove toxins. Cupping can also be used to treat respiratory conditions and digestive issues.
I am trained in two styles of Asian bodywork: Amma and Tui Na. Amma is a gentle, relaxing technique that works along the acupuncture channels to balance qi. It is used to internal conditions and can help to promote lymphatic drainage. Tui Na is a stronger, deeper style of bodywork that addresses specific areas of pain discomfort in the musculoskeletal system.
The Chinese translation for gua sha is "scraping sand." This ancient Chinese technique involves the scraping of the soft tissue with a tool to break up adhesions and release chronically tight fascia in the body. Like cupping, this results in temporary marks on the body and a positive inflammatory response. I like to use gua sha for very stubborn, chronic, unrelenting pain.
Facial Gua Sha
Facial gua sha is a cosmetic technique that utilizes the principles of gua sha to lift, tone, and sculpt the muscles of the face. If you think of the "scraping sand" translation, this treatment can be analogized to scraping the bottom of a lake to bring the sand to the surface of the water. Like the lake, by gently scraping the skin we can access the underlying fascia, musculature, and vasculature to stimulate the circulation of blood flow and the production of collagen and elastin to the surface of the skin. Engaging these underlying layers of skin produces a glowing, tight, toned aesthetic.
I utilize medical-grade essential oils in clinical practice to enhance the effectiveness of treatment. Either through inhalation or direct application to acupuncture points, essential oils produce both calming and healing benefits.
Eastern Dietary Therapy
Diet is often an extremely important factor that determines the success of treatment. Chinese medicine has a unique set of principles that guides how a person should eat based on their individual constitution as well as the current weather and season. I believe in small, sustainable changes for diet because I understand how hard it can be to make these lifestyle adjustments.
Moxibustion is the practice of burning "moxa" or mugwort over the body, usually on or over specific acupuncture points. Both the mugwort itself and the property of heat have nourishing, healing effects on the body such as increased circulation, cellular regeneration, improved digestion, and relaxation of muscles and fascia.
Tiny beads, also known as ear seeds, attached to a small adhesive are placed on specific acupuncture points on the ear. The ear is considered a microcosm of the body - points along the ear correlate to specific areas of the body. For example, you can treat low back pain through a specific point on the ear that correlates to the back. Additionally, branches of major nerves such as the vagus nerve connect to the ear, and stimulation of these nerves with needles elicits neurological responses for pain relief, stress reduction, and hormonal regulation.