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Acupuncture Includes the Following:

Acupuncture is used primarily when a patient falls ill, experiences pain, or feels out of balance. It is also used as a preventative medicine because it strengthens the body's im-mune system. During an acupuncture treatment, fine stainless steel needles are inserted into the skin at very specific points. The acu-puncture needles are sterile and are disposed of after each treatment.

Acupressure is similiar to massage therapy, it is also known as tuina (twee'-nah) in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Tuina when applied by a skilled and knowledgeable practitioner, is a very effective form of therapy. Tuina uses the same theoretical and diagnostic principles that acupuncture does, however, the Qi in the meridians is stimu-lated strictly through the use of the hands or fingers through rubbing and pressing motions. No needles are used. Acupressure techniques are often used in conjunction with acupuncture or other TCM therapies.

There are many different ways in which tuina can stimulate the movement of Qi, each way specific to the type of therapeutic effect required Tuina is used mainly to treat mus-culoskeletal disorders and can be very relaxing, yet invigorating.

Moxibustion is another technique that most acupuncturists use. It treats disorders by applying heat at specific sites on or near the surface of the body. The heat generated during moxibustion is a very Yang form of Qi and activates the flow of Qi within the merid-ians. Moxibustion warms and nourishes the Qi of the body through the transferance of heat and can be used quite effectively for some underlying deficient conditions. The Yang Qi heat of moxibustion is also used specifically to dislodge coldness that may be trapped within the body. There are many ways to apply moxibustion to the skin sur-face, but two of the most common are the moxa pole (or stick) and rice grain moxa

These two methods use the same substance, a "punk" or "wool" obtained from the mugwort plant, Artemesia vulgaris. For the moxa pole, the mugwort is compressed into cigar-like rolls. Use of the moxa pole is known as "indirect moxibustion." The pole is lit and held gen-tly over the skin until the patient feels the area warming. In some instances the moxa pole is used at sites where acupuncture needles are already inserted. In this technique heat from the pole is trans-ferred to the needle and carried deeper into the body.

Anther method of application of external heat to the body is the use of infrared lamps. These lamps are placed over the area to be warmed and turned on for 15 to 20 min-utes. The heat they provide covers a more extensive area than either pole or cone moxibustion.

Many acupuncturists use cupping to treat patients. A vacuum is created by lighting an alcohol swab and inserting it inside of a glass "cup or jar", which is then quickly applied to the skin. This creates a suction that draws the skin slightly upward into the cup and helps to relieve congestion of Qi or Blood in the area where the cups are applied. Cups come in several sizes. Traditionally, before the advent of modern glass-blowing, cups were made of bamboo. Even today, some practitioners still pre-fer using bamboo cups.

Cupping is often used in conjunction with acupuncture or moxi-bustion. Sometimes the cups are applied over an inserted needle, al-though most of the time they are used independently either before or after needle insertion. Cupping is used most frequently to treat sprains, sore muscles, and other types of musculoskeletal disorders. A special technique called "Running Cupping" is effective for back pain by ap-plying the cup to oiled skin. The cup is then gently moved across the tissue.

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