Call Peter Geller @ 631-275-2716 to Book a Session!
WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE?
Acupuncture, one of the major modalities of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), is among the world’s oldest forms of holistic medicine. Originating in China well over 2,000 years ago, this ancient healing method employs extremely fine needles at selected points on the body to stimulate the flow of vital energy, known as qi (“chee”).
According to classical Chinese medical theory, blockages, weaknesses, and disharmonies in the qi underpin all ill health. So, rebalancing and revitalizing qi flow in the organs and meridians (energy pathways) is key to both restoring and maintaining health. Acupuncture intervenes directly in the meridian system to accomplish these goals.
WHAT ACUPUNCTURE TREATS
Acupuncture has been used for centuries as both preventive and therapeutic medicine.
Though commonly applied to both acute and chronic pain conditions, acupuncture also addresses a vast array of general health concerns. These include many internal medicine conditions, psychological and emotional issues, addictive behaviors, and “vague” complaints that often go unrecognized by Western medicine. TCM also emphasizes disease prevention and life enhancement, with strategies and therapies for maintaining health and increasing vitality. So even in the absence of major health concerns, acupuncture can be used for wellness “tune-ups” to enhance performance, reduce stress reactions, increase energy, boost immunity, and promote general well-being.
ACUPUNCTURE, TCM, AND WOMEN’S HEALTH
TCM practice, like that of Western medicine, may be general or may focus on any of a wide choice of specialties. Among the largest and most complex specialty areas is women’s health.
Acupuncture, often in conjunction with herbal therapy, dietary modification, and other TCM methods, addresses the full spectrum of gynecologic issues in each phase of a woman’s life. Traditional medicine approaches these issues from a place of profound attunement to, and respect for, the unique needs of women and the natural rhythms and cycles that govern their health. In TCM, restoring or maintaining vigorous function and vibrant well-being always depends on harmonizing with these cycles, never on bypassing or suppressing them.
From the standpoint of modern medicine, what TCM calls stimulating and regulating the qi has the effect of restoring or rebalancing hormonal levels that have waned or otherwise lost their equilibrium.
Commonly treated conditions include menstrual problems such as painful or irregular periods, excessive or absent menstruation, and PMS; menopausal symptoms; infertility; and the emotional states that often accompany all these problems.
CHINESE HERBAL MEDICINE
Chinese herbal medicine, like acupuncture, constitutes one of the major branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Developed over thousands of years of Chinese history, TCM and its herbal tradition continue to evolve today and are now practiced around the world.
As with acupuncture and other TCM treatments, herbal medicine addresses a broad spectrum of health conditions, including acute and chronic pain, stress, insomnia, arthritis, headaches, digestive complaints, respiratory problems, gynecologic and urologic concerns, and psychological issues.
Chinese herbology is not folk medicine but a literate, systematized, and highly refined method that employs detailed analyses of herbal properties, actions, and uses. All this information is organized and unified by TCM’s overarching theoretical framework.
Of nearly 6000 herbs in the Chinese medicine repertoire, from 500 to 1000 are used with any frequency, and these in particular have been classified, studied intensively, and subjected to centuries of carefully observed clinical use. TCM places herbs into any of 18 major categories and dozens of subcategories—about 50 groupings in all.
Most herbs have multiple uses but are classified according to what is judged their strongest application. Herbal properties that determine therapeutic applications in TCM include “temperature” (hot like a pepper, warm like ginger, cool like mint) and taste (sweet, bitter, sour, spicy), which influence their effects; organ systems most affected; and observed actions in the body, such as boosting energy, removing food stagnation, or clearing excess heat.
But Chinese herbs are seldom prescribed singly; the vast majority of prescriptions come as formulas, generally containing four to 18 ingredients. The creation of balanced combinations derived from well-elaborated therapeutic principles is, in fact, what most distinguishes Chinese medicine from other herbal methods. The art and science of herbal prescribing consists of choosing or devising effective, carefully constructed formulas that have potent therapeutic effects without producing undesirable secondary effects. The ingredients of a well-designed formula synergize and not merely complement each other’s actions.
There are hundreds of classic formulas and variations, and now many modern additions, to choose from. But skilled practitioners often use these simply as a starting point for creating customized prescriptions that are tailored to the specific presentation of the patient, and modified or changed altogether as the picture changes.
Chinese medicinals come in a variety of forms. The classic method is to cook raw herbs into a decoction and drink the “soup.” In modern practice, granulated concentrates of herbal extracts offer a more convenient alternative that is nearly as potent. Hundreds of formulas also come as pills, tablets, or capsules, just like vitamins or other nutritional supplements. Finally, herbal medicine is available for external use, in the form of hard or soft plasters, oils, liniments, washes, and steam-soaks.
Call Peter Geller @ 631-275-2716 to Book a Session!
TAI JI (T’AI CHI)
Practiced for hundreds of years, t’ai chi ch’uan (spelled “tai ji quan” in modern English transliteration) is a Chinese Taoist system of gentle internal exercise. Originally devised as a superior form of self defense based on principles of yielding and softness, it has come to be practiced today for many other benefits that derive from the same principles.
With regular practice, students may achieve:
· Improved health, circulation, vitality, and stamina
· Profound relaxation, finely tuned balance, and enhanced coordination
· Sharpened attention and concentration
· A sense of one’s own center and rootedness
· Cultivation of one’s own ch’i (spelled “qi” today), the vital force underlying all physiological processes—including longevity—and linking the body, mind, and spirit.
The sequence of movements comprising a t’ai chi “form” is performed slowly and fluidly and can be practiced with benefit by anyone who can walk, regardless of age or state of health.
Many styles and individual forms have developed over the centuries. The style that will be offered at Integral Life Healing is known as Yang-style short form, developed by Prof. Cheng Man-Ch’ing. Prof. Cheng, a poet, painter, calligrapher, and renowned doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, was the t’ai chi grandmaster who developed the short form from a much longer sequence of movements. For those with limited time to exercise, the short form permits the regularity of practice essential for obtaining the benefits of t’ai chi ch’uan.