Acupuncture has been practiced in China for over 3,000 years, and today it is still relied upon as a valuable healing tool. For thousands of years, the Chinese and other Eastern peoples have used acupuncture to restore, promote and maintain good health. The mechanism of acupuncture treatment lies in the regulation of Yin and Yang, strengthening the body's resistance and eliminating pathogenic factors.
In Chinese medicine, no symptom or complaint is viewed in isolation. Rather, the body, mind and soul are evaluated together. The goal of acupuncture is to create harmony within the body by restoring the flow of Qi (pronounced "chee"), the life force involved in all of the body's functions - breathing, heartbeat, metabolism and even emotions.
Qi collects in the organs and travels through energy channels in the body called meridians. The Chinese believe that diseases occur when the circulation of Qi is halted, whether by injuries, heat, cold or other influences. By redirecting the flow of Qi, acupuncture can help cure disease, prevent illness and restore harmony.
How acupuncture works is the subject of many scientific studies, and several theories exist. One suggestion is that the needle insertion may stimulate the production of endorphins - natural protein substances with a pain-killing effect manufactured by the brain. Another theory proposes that the stimulation of the acupuncture points prevents pain impulses from reaching the brain.
Patients visiting an acupuncturist or doctor of traditional Chinese medicine can expect to be asked questions about their health, have their tongues examined, their pulses taken at the wrist and sometimes, after due consideration from the doctor, to be treated by the insertion of fine needles at specific points of the body.
The practice of acupuncture is a large and complex subject rooted in the Daoist philosophy of change and growth, balance and harmony. Without this unique perspective, acupuncture cannot be readily understood or effectively used for treatment. Some familiarity with these concepts is therefore essential for understanding the role of acupuncture in promoting wellness.
Auricular therapy depicts the auricle (the outer portion of the ear) as an upside-down fetus with more than 200 points that correspond to bodily parts.
Diagnosis involves examining the ear for tenderness or for variations in electrical conductivity, and the therapy can be used to treat the same body systems as standard acupuncture without the use of acupuncture needles. Instead, smooth herbal seeds are attached to the skin of the ear with a tiny adhesive bandage to stimulate the ear points. Typically, the seeds are kept in place for about a week, and patients can stimulate the points themselves by pressing the seeds a few times during the day.
Since the ear represents the entire body, auricular therapy can be used to treat numerous conditions. In our practice, we use auricular therapy primarily to promote weight loss and to help patients to quit smoking. We also use it in the treatment of chronic debilitating pain, stress, anxiety, depression, addiction, insomnia, and many other conditions.