Acupuncture restores and maintains health by balancing vital life force called Chi. Treatment is focuses on restoring harmony so that Chi flows freely, augmenting health. When a person is sick, diseased, or injured, there is an obstruction of Chi within the body. Very thin needles stimulate points (acupoints) on energy pathways called meridians; this assists the flow of Chi. The result is the balance of opposing internal forces. There are more than 365 acupoints traveling on the 12 main meridians.
An Acupuncture session begins with the practitioner performing energy diagnoses through health history, pulse reading, tongue reading, and other assessment tools of oriental medicine. Acupuncture diagnosis discerns the pattern of disharmony underlying physical and emotional symptoms. The practitioner selects treatment points in specific combinations based on the diagnosis of Chi flow. The client then lies either face up or face down on a massage table while the practitioner inserts needles into specific acupoints. The practitioner may twirl or heat inserted needles, or stimulate them with micro-current, ultrasound, lasers, magnets, or tuning forks to enhance their effect.
Receiving an acupuncture treatment does not need to be painful and clients often do not feel it; though there might be a slight prick as the practitioner inserts a needle. Needles are used once and then disposed. Sessions usually last one hour, are deeply relaxing, and result in the reduction of symptoms. Long term benefits include improved health, enhanced immune system function, and better stress management and life skills. Acupuncture is especially useful in the elimination and management of acute and chronic pain.
Plants have been used for medicinal purposes since the beginning of time. Their unique value lies in their ability to synthesize a vast array of chemical compounds that perform specific biochemical functions in the plant’s biology. Many of these functions provide useful effects for humans and animals as well. For example, plants produce chemicals to defend against predators or parasites and the anti-microbial properties they produce can be useful for us. In fact, 40% of pharmaceutical drugs are derived from plant substances.
Some people believe that since humans evolved in conjunction with plant species, we are better able to assimilate their properties than synthetic drugs. Regardless, when used appropriately, herbal medicine can be as effective as conventional medicines. It’s a mistake however, to think that herbs have no side effects. They have the same potential to cause harmful side effects and harmful drug interactions as any conventional medications and must be used with knowledge and care. Before using any medicinal plant, all the properties and potential side effects are considered by the doctor in light of an individual’s medical history, medication list, additional medical treatments, and other supplements.
Homeopathy is an alternative medicine first defined by Samuel Hahnemann in the 1700s and is based on the premise that disease and sickness are caused by a disturbance in the life force (energy, Chi) of a person. While the therapeutic use of medication is a result of the drug’s action in the body, the therapeutic effect of a homeopathic remedy is the result of the body’s reaction to the remedy. Homeopathics stimulate the body to a healing response.
Homeopathy treatment strives to match a remedy with the picture of the whole person, including their symptoms, personality and idiosyncrasies. Hahnemann says “Disease has no energy except what it borrows from the organism.” Homeopathy changes the environment so the disease no longer accesses the energy to maintain itself. When the homeopathic remedy is a good match, the effects are extraordinary.
Homeopathy is often used in acute illness as an adjunct treatment. A full classic homeopathic session involves a comprehensive intake that often lasts two hours and covers all aspects of a person’s life. This allows the homeopath to get the full picture of the person to find the best remedy match.
A homeopathic remedy consists of small sugar pills or water under the tongue that are infused with the energetic properties of the remedy. Homeopathic remedies are inexpensive, easily obtained and when chosen correctly, very effective.
Hydrotherapy is the use of water to revitalize, maintain, and restore health. It has been a mainstay of naturopathic treatment for over a century, and has been used since ancient times to treat physical and psychological ailments. The benefits of water are due in part to its physiologic effect. Cold is stimulating and causes superficial blood vessels to constrict, shunting the blood to internal organs. Hot water is relaxing, causing blood vessels to dilate and remove wastes from body tissues. Alternating hot and cold water can improve elimination, decrease inflammation, and stimulate circulation.
While hydrotherapy treatments include saunas, steam baths, foot baths and sitz baths, naturopaths also use a treatment called Constitutional Hydrotherapy. This treatment involves the use of alternating hot and cold wet towels applied to the mid-torso. These stimulate the kidneys, pancreas, adrenal and lymph glands, increasing the flow of lymph and exerting a powerful effect on the immune system.
is often employed in combination with infra-red or heat saunas to increase elimination of toxins.
Nutrition and Supplements
Nutrients are substances that create fuel for the body and are the building blocks of molecules, cells, tissues, enzymes, hormones, and all body substances. Every part of the body is created with nutrients; every bodily function requires nutrient derived energy to be performed. In other words, what we eat in essential to being alive and to the quality of our life. Nutrients are divided into macro or micro nutrients. Macro nutrients are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats; micro nutrients are vitamins and minerals. The term ‘you are what you eat’ is literally true.
The term nutritional supplement refers to vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that are extracted and concentrated to be used to support health and treat illness. For example, Vitamin C is used to treat scurvy, the common cold, as well as support the immune system. Plant compounds known as phytochemicals have powerful disease fighting properties and can reverse oxidative stress. While it’s best to get nutrients through foods, the diminished quality of many of our foods from poor soils, genetic modification, and processing may make taking a supplement essential for good health. This is also true when we suffer from poor digestion and are not receiving the benefit of the foods we eat.
While individual nutrients help prevent and treat disease, whole foods allow nutrients to work together synergistically and are a better source than extracted supplements. Consequently, in addition to a whole foods, diet, whole food vitamins may be advised to provide the missing nutrients in a person’s diet or be used medicinally to combat disease.
An analysis of a person’s diet and health history helps determine the best nutrient regime supporting optimal health.