What is Acupuncture?

Vader acupuncture

Traditional Chinese Acupuncture has been documented in use for about 5000 years.

Acupuncture removes energetic (Qi) blocks and moves stagnant nutrients (Blood) within the 12 Channels (meridians).  These 12 Channels interconnect the entire physical body (joints, organs, muscles, nerves, etc.) with the emotions and spirit.

How does Acupuncture work?

Acupuncture uses sterile, single-use, disposable needles to remove blocked Qi and move stagnant Blood to relieve disharmonies in the body and accelerate healing on all levels.

There are many systems in acupuncture, possibly thousands of styles. Dr. Shay primarily uses two styles of acupuncture: 1) Dr. Richard Tan’s “Balance Method”, and 2) Auriculotherapy.

What is Dr. Tan’s “Balance Method” acupuncture technique?

Dr. Tan’s “Balance Method” is a revolutionary new system of acupuncture based on correspondences between different channels and body parts reflecting to different body parts. A “simple” summary is pictured below, a work done by Mark Melchiorre under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unite States License:

This elegant and effective system quickly resolves imbalances in the 12 Channels.

This elegant and effective system quickly resolves imbalances in the 12 Channels.

For example, if someone has a neck problem along the Bladder (UB) channel, then the same side Lung (LU) channel can be needled along the wrist. The Lung and Bladder channel have a correspondence and the wrist and neck have a correspondence (see the image above of the arms and legs and upper body and face). This may seem complicated but the system itself is very simple once you understand the patterns. Don’t worry, you won’t need to learn, understand, or even believe in this style of acupuncture for it to work. Acupuncture has worked for 5,000 years and constantly evolves, and this style of acupuncture is one of the most revolutionary of its time. To read more about Dr. Tan himself, click here.

Here is a chart that I color coded in Dr. Tan’s class, showing the 6 methodologies and which channel balances out the others. Notice how the Liver channel balances out most of the arm channels, which is why most of my shoulder treatments involve treating the Liver channel.

Dr. Sam Shay's chart of Dr. Tan's "Balance Method" showing visual quick reference of which meridian balances which other meridians.

Dr. Sam Shay’s chart of Dr. Tan’s “Balance Method” showing visual quick reference of which meridian balances which other meridians.


What is auriculotherapy?

Slide159 by sushiphotos, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  sushiphotos 

Auriculotherapy is a specific kind of acupuncture that treats the whole body through through specific points on the ear. The ear has a ‘map’ of the human body, just like the hands and feet have a map of the human body.

Auriculotherapy is extremely useful, particularly in pain management and addiction withdrawal, particularly the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) Treatment Protocol:

What is the “NADA Protocol” (from the NADA Website): “At five designated earpoints in each auricle (outer ear), NADA-trained clinicians apply fine gauge, sterilized, one-time use stainless steel needles just under the skin, where they remain for up to an hour while the patient (in most circumstances) relaxes quietly in a comfortable chair. Ordinarily, groups of patients sit together while undergoing the treatment. The procedure functions as an adjunct to a comprehensive addiction treatment program offering the basic therapeutic elements of counseling, education, family involvement, mutual support group involvement, supportive health care of a general nature. Patients in all types of treatment settings including inpatient, outpatient, incarcerated, shelters, harm reduction and street outreach can utilize this treatment. Among the benefits reported by patients and clinicians are improved program retention, a more optimistic and cooperative attitude toward the process of recovery, as well as reductions in cravings, anxiety, sleep disturbance and need for pharmaceuticals.”

Will acupuncture on the body or in the ear hurt?

Needle insertion is relatively painless. In most cases only a slight prick is felt. Acupuncture needles are much finer than syringe needles used to draw blood, therefore much less painful.

Can Acupuncture help me?

Acupuncture can help injuries. Injuries block (stagnate) the Qi in the 12 Channels and block (stasis) the Blood, causing pain, loss of function, and loss of motion. 

Restoring Qi flow and removing Blood stasis may help reduce pain, accelerate healing, improve function, and improve motion.

  • ACC covers Acupuncture treatments for injuries, e.g.:  Sprains, Strains, Burns, Tendonitis, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, and others. 
  • Acupuncture can help with many other conditions. 

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