Acupuncture originated in China over 3000 years ago and is one of the oldest and safest medical procedures in the world. Acupuncture involves the insertion of hair thin sterile needles to specific points and channels on the body to promote the body's natural healing response.
Acupuncture is widely accepted as an effective form of treatment for a variety of conditions, illnesses and imbalances. The World Health Organization, National Institute of Health and AMA all officially recognize it's efficacy (see NIH list of what acupuncture treats), and many health insurance companies and auto insurance companies provide coverage for acupuncture treatment.
"One of the advantages of acupuncture is that the incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than that of many drugs or other accepted medical procedures used for the same conditions" (National Institute of Health Consensus Statement, p9)
Acupuncture can also promote an overall feeling of health and emotional and physical well-being, and is an effective form of preventative health-care. At Alberta Street Acupuncture Clinic, we are committed to using the rich heritage of Chinese Medicine to provide our clients and neighbors with the highest quality of care.
Qi - the vital life force that is in every living thing
The word shiatsu means, finger pressure. It is a Japanese style of bodywork, developed from ancient massage techniques in China, which aim to stimulate the flow of Qi along channels running through the body. Using palms, thumbs, fingers, elbows, and stretches, the practitioner gives precise, directive pressure along the channels - encouraging movement throughout the connective tissues, muscles, nerves, lymph and blood vessels. Shiatsu is effective as preventive care and for alleviating a variety of complaints - treating muscles and joints, circulation, immune function, digestion, menstrual cycles, emotional wellbeing, mental health, and overall vitality. Shiatsu can be used alone, or combined with acupuncture and herbal medicine to enhance their effects.
Zen Shiatsu is done with the receiver fully clothed and incorporates a rhythmic, meditative approach during treatment. This allows the practitioner to "tune" in to the receiver, feeling where the channels are obstructed and restoring balance in these areas. Zen shiatsu produces a deeply relaxing effect and leaves you feeling light and rejuvenated!
Moxibustion is the burning of Chinese Medicinal Herbs or Herbal blends over acupuncture points, acupuncture needles, or regions of the body to facilitate healing. The use of moxa enhances the overall effect of the acupuncture treatment, and in some cases, is used alone.
Moxa use has been a part of Chinese Medicine for over 2,000 years, and is traditionally used to "tonify" Qi, tonify Yang, move Qi and blood to alleviate pain, and to warm the meridians. An ancient use of moxa that is becoming commonly used in modern applications is in the case of breech presentation during pregnancy. Studies have found that the burning of moxa over an acupuncture point on the small toe can increase the likelihood of the baby turning into the proper position. This treatment is most effective if used during the 34th week of pregnancy. In the case of breech presentation, treatment is discontinued once the baby moves into the proper position, as determined by an Obstetrician or Midwife.
Traditionally, the leaf of Mugwort (Artemesia Vulgaris) is dried and processed and then used in either a raw fiber form or in prepared stick form. The Moxa Stick is held about 2-3 inches from the body until the patient feels a warm sensation. Moxa Fiber is placed directly on the acupuncture point, or on slices of ginger or small mounds of salt and then ignited.
Gua Sha is a form of bodywork in which a smooth edged tool is used on various regions of the body in order to break up scar tissue and adhesions (often felt as lumps and knots in the muscles), increase blood flow and circulation, reduce restriction in movement, and to relieve pain. Gua sha is also used to treat early onset symptoms of the common cold.
"Gua" is translated as "to scrape" and "Sha" refers to the small petechia (discoloration) that appears in areas of stagnation and pain. This technique has been used for thousands of years in Chinese Medicine as a stand-alone treatment or in conjunction with acupuncture, moxabustion and/or massage.
At the Alberta Street Acupuncture Clinic we commonly use Gua Sha as a part of a Sinew Meridian treatment-- to alleviate acute and chronic musculoskeletal pain and restriction along a specific region of the body (i.e. shoulder girdle, IT Band, Plantar Fascia, Low back/Sciatic region).
Cupping is the use of glass, bamboo, stone or plastic suction cups over areas of the body to create a vacuum. Cupping promotes blood flow and facilitates the reduction of muscular or connective tissue adhesions by gently lifting and separating the muscle fibers and tissue. Cupping also increases local blood and lymphatic circulation. The technique is not painful, and most patients feel immediate relief of symptoms of local and referred "knots", tightness or restriction.
The first evidence of cupping comes from ancient Egypt over 3,000 years ago, and evidence of cupping in China dates to 1,000 years ago. The procedure is very safe, but will sometimes leave some localized discolored "suction marks" which usually last for 3-7 days. Cupping is currently used in many countries around the world as a home-therapy for muscular pain and to relieve early onset respiratory (i.e. common cold) symptoms.
At the Alberta Street Acupuncture Clinic, we often use cupping in addition to Acupuncture and Massage therapy to give the client the most beneficial and lasting effects from treatment.