Alternative Healing Network

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San Diego, CA 92116
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Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture restores health by removing energy imbalances and blockages in the body.  Practitioners of TCM believe that there is a vital force or energy called qi (pronounced “chee”) that flows through the body and between the skin surface and the internal organs, along channels or pathways called meridians. There are 12 major and eight minor meridians. Qi regulates the spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical harmony of the body by keeping the forces of yin and yang in balance. Yang is a principle of heat, activity, brightness, outwardness, while yin represents coldness, passivity, darkness, interiority, etc. TCM does not try to eliminate either yin or yang, but rather keep them in harmonious balance. Acupuncture may be used to raise or lower the level of yin or yang in a specific part of the body in order to restore the energy balance.

Points along meridians are specifically chosen for their individual function based on each patients needs. Many patients feel nothing at all during this procedure, while others experience a prickling or aching sensation and still others a feeling of warmth or heaviness.

What are the benefits?

When people think of acupuncture they usually think of its effectiveness in treating pain. However, acupuncture provides more than pain relief. It is helpful in treating a number of other ailments, such as:

*Anxiety * Depression * Irritable Bowel Syndrome

* Insomnia * Menstrual & PMS Problems

* Headaches & Migraines * Stress Related Disorders

* Chronic Fatigue Syndrome * Addiction * Sinus Problems

* Obesity & Weight Control * Arthritis * Infertility

How often should I receive acupuncture?

It depends on your condition. Some conditions require that you come for weekly treatments. In some cases, such as if the condition is acute and painful, you may require treatments 2-3 times per week for the first couple of weeks. The benefits of acupuncture treatments tend to hold longer as you progress in your treatments. So, your need for acupuncture will decrease with time.

Other treatments your acupuncturist may incorporate . . .


Moxibustion is a technique used in which a stick, cone, ball or “rice grain” of the herb mugwort, Artemesia vulgaris, is placed over an affected area on the body. The herb is burned at or near specific points, and is removed before burning the skin. The purpose is to stimulate and strengthen the blood and the life energy, or qi, of the body.


Cupping is an ancient Chinese method of causing local congestion. A partial vacuum is created in glass cups placed on the skin either by means of heat or suction. This draws up the underlying tissues. When the cup is left in place on the skin for a few minutes, blood stasis is formed and localized healing takes place.

Cupping has also been found to affect the body up to four inches into the tissues, causing tissues to release toxins, activate the lymphatic system, and help activate the veins, arteries and capillaries and activate the skin. Cupping is the best deep tissue massage available.

Gua Sha

Gua Sha involves repeated pressured strokes over lubricated skin with a smooth edge. Commonly a ceramic Chinese soup spoon is used, or a well worn coin, even honed animal bones, water buffalo horn, or jade. A simple metal cap with a rounded edge is commonly used.This results in the appearance of small red petechiae called ‘sha’, appearing from a dark blue-black to a light pink, but is most often a shade of red, which will fade in 2 to 3 days. Although the marks on the skin look painful, they are not. Raising Sha removes blood stagnation considered pathogenic, promoting normal circulation and metabolic processes. The patient experiences immediate relief from pain, stiffness, fever, chill, cough, nausea, and so on. Gua Sha is valuable in the prevention and treatment of acute infectious illness, upper respiratory and digestive problems, and many other acute or chronic disorders.