Acupuncture - the use of needles to promote healing in the body – is an ancient therapy dating back about 5,000 years to the period of the Yellow Emperor in China.
Acupuncture is an extremely specialized form of therapy that accesses specific points and energy channels on the body to cure disease, relieve pain, stimulate the immune system and heal mental/emotional imbalance.
In Chinese medicine, health = flow. Acupuncture focuses on the balance and movement of energy within the body. The aim is remove blockages and free the flow of energy – thereby restoring, promoting and maintaining optimal health.
How Acupuncture Works
Acupuncture is rooted in Chinese medical principles. It focuses on the balance and movement of energy or “Qi”. The application of needles and/or pressure is used to harmonize the flow of energy in the channels or pathways of energy in the body.
Acupuncture treatments are individualized based on your symptoms and any imbalances that have been diagnosed by your practitioner.
Acupuncture addresses problems from a whole body approach. The process of assessment uses both Western and Eastern knowledge and techniques – combining traditional Chinese medical principles for assessing energy imbalance with Western diagnostic techniques to assess organ dysfunction. A diagnosis is based on the assessment of every aspect of the mind/body complex – including observation of the tongue, pulse diagnosis, evaluation of your diet, your complexion, bowel movements, posture, emotions, vitality, personal likes and dislikes, smells, tastes and sounds. Every sign and symptom reflects the state of the internal organs and can be used in assessment of your particular constitution. Small areas of the body are microcosms of the whole (much like reflexology), revealing much about the whole body.
For a comprehensive assessment, your Chinese medical practitioner may also use information from available medical tests (blood work, imaging, X-ray, MRI, EKG, etc) and any medications you're on. Once an assessment is made, acupuncture is used to treat the body, bringing healing energy to the problem areas.
A Typical Acupuncture Session
An acupuncture session usually lasts 45 minutes. Patients are advised to wear loose fitting clothes and are treated on a massage table.
Before treatment, the acupuncturist reviews the patient’s medical history, complaints, signs and symptoms, diet and exercise patterns – information obtained from the initial intake form and the first consultation.
The acupuncturist skillfully gathers information through: review of information given by the patient, tongue and pulse diagnosis, observation of the patient’s signs and symptoms, listening to the patient’s complaints and palpating the patient’s body. Additional information is gathered from any lab-work that has been done.
The acupuncturist’s hands and fingers are essential gathering devices. When palpating, specific attention is paid to the location of any areas of sensitivity or pain, as well as pain related to any particular position or movement. Attention is also given to structural deviations, spasms, any palpable masses, skin temperature, color and skin changes.
After a complete assessment is made, a treatment plan can be formulated – that includes the manipulation of specific points and areas of treatment, recommendations for specific dietary plans, detoxification methods, the use of appropriate healing methods, vitamin and supplementary preparations. Education is of utmost importance, regarding appropriate diet and therapeutic exercises directed towards your optimal health. Holistic medicine stresses patient responsibility and cooperation in following through with the recommendations given. This is an essential component of a successful therapy.
Benefits in Prevention and Healing
Acupuncture has proven itself to be a powerful therapy for both prevention and disease. At The Source for Healing, Dr Jennings has successfully treated a wide range of conditions – including traumas from sprains, strains, motor vehicle accidents, fractures and broken bones, arthritic conditions, hypertension, diabetes, digestive disorders, circulatory problems, early stage cancers, autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s Disease and scleroderma, neuromuscular and neurodegenerative diseases such as myasthenia gravis, and Parkinson's, chronic fatigue syndrome, Lyme Disease, asthma, depression and bronchitis.
Acupressure – the use of pressure on acupuncture points - has proven to be exceptionally beneficial for infants and children in treating acute and chronic ear infections, upper respiratory infections, coughs, colds, flus, teething, colic, asthma, eczema, bronchitis and bed-wetting.
Because acupuncture works on all the energy pathways of the body, it affects all the systems of the mind/body complex and can therefore treat most disease. The decision of what to treat, when to treat and how to treatment depends on the assessment of the practitioner, the purpose of the patients visit (prevention or healing) and the severity of the signs and symptoms. Preventive acupuncture treatments, in combination with proper diet and exercise, have been found to be extremely effective in preventing further pathological changes from taking place and reversing certain conditions. When a reversal of abnormal changes is not possible, the acupuncturist can alleviate the symptoms and pain caused by these changes.
There are no specific contraindications for acupuncture or acupressure. A variety of techniques can be used that adapt treatment to your individual needs. Even in hospitals, where patients are confined by medical equipment such as ventilators, IVs and cardiac monitors, acupuncturists can adjust their treatments to accommodate these limitations.
Choosing an Acupuncturist
The true practice of Chinese medicine involves great attention to detail, extraordinary sensitivity, and kinesthetic awareness. The skill of the therapist in interpreting all the available data depends on the sensitivity and intuitive ability that develops from the continual application of knowledge with palpation. For the acupuncturist, the highest level of accomplishment is the ‘healing sensitive’ who can experience a patient’s pain, illness and distress – and guide his or her energy and treatments to manipulate the appropriate points, channels vessels, and tissues in order to bring the patient to a state of wellness.
Dr Kelly Jennings is a licensed practitioner who is also naturopathic doctor and has completed a rigorous six-year medical program in Chinese and naturopathic medicine at the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland Oregon. She is also a certified Qi Gong practitioner. In her care, you benefit from the knowledge and skill of this comprehensive training.
Holistic Health focuses on maintaining and restoring health before crises develop. When the body, emotions, mind and spirit are in a dynamic state of balance – one is in optimal health.
The principles upon which holistic health is founded are:
1) A human being is a living energy system, rather than an arrangement of parts. Any disturbance in body, emotions, mind or spirit reflects a disturbance in the whole system.
2) Real health involves the whole person. Mind and body are integrated and inseparable.
3) Holistic health treats the ‘whole’ person – not just symptoms and disease
4) Real health is not just the absence of disease – but a positive state of being.
5) Real health is achieved with treatment of causes rather than symptoms – using natural and preventive approaches to health.
6) In holistic comprehensive care, all approaches to health care are valued and integrated. Wherever possible, natural, low risk methods which mobilize the individual’s healing resources take precedence over drugs, surgery or other invasive therapies.
7) Holistic health recognizes the power of the body to heal the mind – and the power of the mind to heal the body.
8) Each person has a responsibility for his or her own health and must be an active participant in his/her own healing.