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Acupuncture

Start your path to an optimal health, Geneviève St-Pierre, Registered acupuncturist

Start on your path to an optimal health

Geneviève St-Pierre
Registered Acupuncturist

Acupuncture, an Ancient Wisdom

Acupuncture is an alternative medicine that made its proof for a long period of time and some say that it is more than 4 000 even 5 000 years old. Acupuncture is part of the five branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), with Chinese medicinal herbs, Chinese diet, Tui Na massage and energy exercises such as Qi Gong and Tai Chi.

Acupuncture is a holistic approach which means that it treats the person as a whole, taking into consideration not only the physical symptoms but also the mental, emotional, social and environmental factors. It acts on the Qi, the energy which circulates in the body through the meridians. Needles are inserted at precise points on the body in order to regulate the flow of Qi as well as targeting physiological, psychic and organic functions.
Acupuncturist pointing the bladder meridian on the lower back of a human model

Foundations of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Yin and Yang


The theory of Yin-Yang originates from the Taoism and it is based on the observation of nature. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, health is said to result from a balance between Yin and Yang, diseases from its imbalance and death from its separation. Yang is associated with the following characteristics: male, warm, dry, moving and bright. Yin is associated with the following characteristics: female, cold, wet, still and dark.

Yin and Yang are opposite relative to each other, for example, ice cold water is Yin in comparison to boiling water which is Yang. Yin and Yang are interdependent, that is, they cannot exist without the other for example, the day cannot exist without the night. Yin and Yang are inter-consuming, meaning that they are continually in a changing state to preserve the balance for example, in summer it is hot (Yang), so we sweat (Yin). The Yin and the Yang are inter-transforming for example, night turns into day.

Yin Yang symbol representing the foundations of Traditional Chinese Medicine, TCM

Five Elements


The five elements theory comes from the observation of natural cycles and interrelationships both in our environment and within us. The five elements are:

  • The Wood which can be bent and straightened is related to spring, east, birth, green, anger, sour, sinews, wind, and liver and gall bladder organs.
  • The Fire which flares upwards is related to summer, south, growth, red, joy, bitter, blood vessels, heat, and heart and small intestine.
  • The Earth which permits sowing, growing and reaping is related to the late summer, center, transformation, yellow, pensiveness, sweet, muscles, dampness, and spleen and stomach.
  • The Metal which can be molded and can harden is related to autumn, west, harvest, white, sadness, pungent, skin, dryness, and lungs and large intestine.
  • The Water which moistens downwards is related to winter, north, storage, black, fear, salty, bones, cold, and kidneys and bladder.
Five elements diagram representing the foundations of Traditional Chinese Medicine, TCM

The five elements are generated and controlled by two different cycles:

The generating cycle:
  • Wood burns to make Fire
  • Fire whose ashes decompose into Earth
  • Earth where Metal is born
  • Metal which enriches the Water
  • Water which nourishes Wood

The controlling cycle:
  • Wood penetrates Earth
  • Earth channels contain Water
  • Water extinguishes Fire
  • Fire melts Metal
  • Metal cuts Wood
  
When an element is deficient or in excess, it can bring all the other elements out of balance.
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Types of Treatments

Cupping therapy is one of the oldest practiced medical treatments. There are different types of cup used, glass, plastic, silicone which are placed on specific points on the skin for a few minutes to create suction. There are many benefits in this type of therapy. To name just a few, it warms and promotes the free flow of Qi and blood, it dispels “evils” like cold and dampness, and it diminishes pain and swelling.
Moxibustion consists in heating an acupuncture point with the aid of the plant Artemisia vulgaris, which is burned in order to penetrate the heat through the skin. This will warm the meridians, expel pathogenic cold, and strengthen the Yang, it is beneficial to the movement of blood and Qi and helps prevent disease and stay healthy.
Gua Sha is a method that consists of scratching the skin which has been previously lubricated, with an instrument of a rounded shape to provoke a light bruising. It promotes the elimination of toxins and stimulates the self-healing process of the body. It is valuable in the treatment of many conditions like pain, fever, digestive or gynecologic issues.
  
Tui Na massage is part of the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it acts on the meridians and the acupuncture points. Tui Na means “to push” (tui) and “to grab” (na). The main purpose  of Tui Na massage is to disperse blockages of energy, to strengthen the body and mind to harmonize energy and allow it to flow freely.
  
Ear acupuncture uses the reflex zones of the ear to detect and correct imbalances in the body. It is particularly recommended for treating problems of sleep, anxiety, pain, tobacco or alcohol addictions or to help lose weight. There are different ways to treat these zones, either with needles, magnets or with small seeds that are kept in place for a few days for a continuous effect.  
  
Electrical stimulation consists either in applying a current by connecting the needles to a device that transmits a light electric current or using an instrument which transmits an electric current to the skin level without the use of needles. Electrical stimulation is particularly effective in relieving pain or to improve treatment efficacy for certain diseases.  

  
Chinese food cure in Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on the temperature and flavor of food. Food has a temperature that is hot, cold or neutral and a flavor that is sour, bitter, sweet, hot or salty. Different temperatures and flavors influence our bodies in different ways. It is important to properly harmonize our meals and adjust what we eat to our condition; this can make all the difference.
  
Lasers are used in replacement of the needles or in conjunction to optimize the treatment. This is a particularly attractive option for children, babies or people who do not wish to be treated with needles. Two different lasers may be used, the first emits a red beam which stimulates the acupuncture points, and the second emits a blue beam which has a calming effect. Both lasers are Class 3R / IIIa.

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