As many women know, menstrual cramps can be quite painful and disruptive to daily life. The constant aching and pain that may last up 7 days can really take a toll on a woman’s quality of life. Of course, there are plenty of medications on the market that can ease the pain but do not treat the root of the problem. From a traditional Chinese medical standpoint, menstrual cramps are the result of energy (qi) and blood not able to flow freely. (We call this qi and blood stagnation) There are many different ways to help promote movement during this time of the menstrual cycle that really help with painful periods. [Read more…]
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views the body in terms of energy and balance. Energy (qi) runs in channels throughout the body and these channels are named after organ that you have heard of before. However, from a TCM perspective, the organs function very differently than Western medicine. In fact, the TCM organs have nothing to do with Western medical function at all. Therefore, when a person comes in for acupuncture and is told there is an imbalance within the “liver”, the acupuncturist is referencing the liver energy, never the actual liver itself.
The heart channel is one of my most favorite channels from an emotional standpoint. Classically, the heart is known to govern the blood in the body and store the “shen”. Shen is similar to conciousness. During the day, the shen goes out and interacts with the world and when we sleep at night, it is because the shen is “sleeping” in the heart. [Read more…]
Acupuncture is, among other things, a transfer of energy. When we needle a point, we are using the needle to active the acupuncture point’s unique function. Each acupuncture treatment is a unique set of points that are used to treat each person’s Chinese pathology. However, I have found that the idea of intention is just as important in an acupuncture session as the point prescription. This is the idea that when the acupuncturist is inserting the needles, they direct their energy into the overall intention of the treatment. In recent months, I have found that when I focus my intention of the overall acupuncture treatment, my patients report a greater sense of relaxation during the treatment and longer lasting results as well.
I experienced this phenomenon while I was in acupuncture school. During the first few semesters of school, we were required to take a massage class and practice on our friends. I was massaging my friend’s calves because she was experiencing leg cramps at night. During the massage, I was talking to my friends and not really setting my energy or focus on the massage itself. That night, I woke in the middle of the night from horrible cramping in my claves. I had never experienced that pain before nor have I ever experienced it since that time. This was how I realized and truly understood the value of intention and focus in giving acupuncture (or any other) treatment.