Did you know that acupuncture can help treat most chronic health concerns, from digestive diseases, to premenstrual tension, help improve your immunity, allergies or asthma, as well as treat your aches and stresses?
When people hear that I use acupuncture as one of my primary tools, they often begin to tell me about a pain they are experiencing, or express that they don’t believe in it… On this page I will answer some of the most frequently asked questions, to demystify this amazingly safe and effective treatment.
So what would you like to know?
Can it help me?
More than Pain Management…
Most people in the West associate acupuncture with pain management and musculoskeletal problems. While this aspect is most certainly true and can produce incredible results, acupuncture offers much more than pain management. Using micro needles, we can help restore health and vitality to our body’s internal ecosystem, and our mental-emotional waters…
So how does it work?
My Modern Understanding*
(Please note that this section is currently under a comprehensive re-write – In the meantime for the science or skepticism behind acupuncture please check out my article here, and for further interest visit here, here, here, and here.)
Nearly all acupuncture points lie over significant nerve branches and other important tissue intersections, namely the fascia (the thin membrane which holds and separates muscles), which all link one part of the body to seemingly unconnected parts elsewhere. Other acupuncture points are synonymous with common ‘trigger points’ (muscle knots), tender areas of pain in muscle fibres. By releasing these points, not only in the pain reduced, but the muscles can further relax, letting go of their holding/guarding patterns, and any organs or tissues they may be connected to or supported can also enjoy the freedom of more mobility. These factors combined can all contribute to the unique ‘personality’ and effect of each point.
The Traditional Perspective
The ancient Chinese believed that the same forces that exist outside of us, move within us as well. Common weather energies such as heat, cold, moisture, dryness, and wind, also have parallel symptoms within us. Even today we are all familiar with the term ‘inflammation’, symptoms that mirror the activity of ‘fire’. The ancient Chinese simply extended these observations much further, encompassing every aspect of our organism, guided by the patterns of nature.
Within the body, these natural energies are produced, balanced and correspond to the internal organs (Zangfu). The organ energies flow outward, while the external counterparts were believed to flow in from our surrounding environments. The acupuncture ‘channels’ (river-like flows of these natural energies known as ‘Qi‘), metabolize and balance the energy from our outer world, while the organs are the inner source of these same elements. Both must be balanced in harmony for health to blossom. By inserting needles into the skin we can remove blockages or stimulate more flow in these energies of function, like removing debris from a river or opening a flood gate… ensuring that we remain in harmony and in balance with the world around us.
A Secret Language
The body speaks to us in its own language of signs and symptoms. As we become more in touch with our bodies, we also discover points of pain, numbness or weakness all over us. These tender points are yet another form of communication, one that the ancient Chinese translated into what we now know as the ‘acu-points’ and the channels.** By stimulating these points we respond back to the body organism in its own language. Many of these points can be seen as areas of stuck emotional energy, things we haven’t properly processed but instead pushed down to deal with later… these things don’t necessarily just go away, and often the body simply reflects the symptom in the appropriate channel, letting us know its needs are not met. By moving the stuck ‘Qi’ in the point, we honour its communication instead of simply suppressing the symptoms as mere nuisances, thus we can affect great change throughout the entire being.
What can I expect?
Does it hurt? What does it feel like?
Acupuncture is relatively painless as most of the pain nerves surface in the outermost layer. Using sterile, single-use needles, it is the acupuncturist’s job to quickly penetrate through this layer into the deeper levels, by-passing any pain sensations. Instead what you experience is what is known as the “Arrival of Qi” or the “Qi sensation” (Deqi), which commonly feels like a sense of radiating pressure, buzzing, or a rush of energy to the point, many people even experience the radiating of the acupuncture channel itself (beyond any nerve pathways), often directly into the source afflicted organ, often without them knowing which organ channel is being needled! Quite a remarkable and satisfying experience!
Another form of treatment is known as ‘Trigger Point Therapy’ or ‘Dry needling’. In these sessions, the needle is inserted into a tender point on a tight muscle band, and then repetitively stimulated. The purpose of this treatment is to cause the muscle to discharge its nervous tension, which causes the muscle to jump or twitch, often significantly. While this is still relatively painless, it may cause soreness after the session as the previously tense muscle may dump its lactic acid into the nearby tissue, similar to, but more focussed than the soreness after a vigorous workout.
As with all Roots to Sky treatments, you will receive the best of care, safety and communication, as well as after-treatment care techniques to make your Roots to Sky experience something you look forward to each session :)
What makes Roots to Sky different?
Roots to Sky is an experience of Modern meets Traditional, balancing classical and scientific theory with deep intuitive guidance into each session.
In modern ‘TCM’ practice, believe it or not, acupuncture is commonly practiced in an ‘herbal’ way (this point is good for this condition) instead of the traditional perspective of using the channels themselves as independent aspects of physiology: with unique functions and dynamics. Classical channel theory as taught by Wang Ju-Yi and Jason Robertson provides deep insight into the nature of the channels while Qi Gong training and Reiki mastery guide the Spirit of each session, as it is said in the most ancient and revered Chinese medical texts, all treatments “must first treat the Spirit“. Roots to Sky remains committed to the latest developments in acupuncture and Chinese medicine research to help bridge our medical communities and traditions.
Drawing from ‘Alchemical Acupuncture’ and years of Non-Violent Communication and anti-oppression study, Roots to Sky provides incredibly safe, clear, open and empowering sessions. Theory provides your explanations, while intuition guides the gentleness, skill and effectiveness of the profound art that is Acupuncture…
So for your muscle aches and pains, to your low immunity, menstrual concerns or chronic fatigue; to your stress and emotional well-being, come experience the sensory experience of Acupuncture… Feel the arrival of Qi, the restoring of your body’s own innate healing abilities, and the flow of the channels for yourself!
This page will keep expanding as I add more links and expand on the latest research on acupuncture. For more information on the elegant practice & philosophy of Chinese medicine, I’m excited to share my upcoming introduction article, keep in touch :)
*Starred notes continue on next page, below.
Classical Chinese Acupuncture by Matt Walton R.TCMP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
*I’m aware that these perspectives are taking liberties in assumptions, but as you will see in my upcoming Acupuncture ‘Health Essentials’ article and database, the science behind acupuncture studies is immature at best with few actual quality studies existing. And while my basic points are extrapolating, the science behind these fields as well is also in its infancy and may represent a new area of surprising insight as they deepen.