Types of Acupuncture treatment

Premier IFM Acupuncture Treatment Techniques

As part of an integrative & Functional medicine center all our practitioners focus on providing care that is a blend of traditional forms of care that have been proven over the centuries blended with evidence based alternative health care methods. Below are some of the most common acupuncture treatment forms that we commonly use in our office.
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Acupuncture is a complete medical protocol focused on correcting imbalances of energy in the body. From its inception in China more than 2,500 years ago, acupuncture has been used traditionally to prevent, diagnose and treat the underlying cause of a disease, as well as to improve general health. To address the underlying cause of a condition, these symptoms are viewed in relationship to the totality of a person. The gentle insertion of hair thin needles at specific points along the channels of Qi energy help restore harmony. In the presence of this subtle yet profound intervention, symptoms often resolve and patients frequently experience renewed vital.

Does Acupuncture hurt?

Generally, acupuncture does not hurt. Some people feel the needles as they go in, and some people feel nothing. Acupuncture needles are solid needles, not hollow like hypodermic needles, and they are much, much thinner - about the diameter of a thick human hair. Patients often have sensations during the treatment, which is the qi moving or the opening of a channel that has been blocked. The sensations that patients experience during acupuncture range from nothing at all to a brief ache or heaviness in the area being needled. Some points are more sensitive than others. By and large patients describe the sensations as fleeting and the treatment experience as deeply relaxing.

Are the needles safe?

I use only needles that are pre-sterilized, prepackaged, and disposable. Each needle is used once and then deposited in a biohazard container, which ensures safe disposal

Do I have to be ill to benefit from acupuncture?

Absolutely not. Many patients come in for regular maintenance treatments to stay in 'tip-top' condition so they can fully enjoy life. Acupuncture is a powerful preventative measure to keep patients healthy throughout the year. Acupuncturists see subtle signs of disease processes at work before symptoms begin to interfere with daily life. Chinese medicine effectively addresses these issues, preventing future problems from occurring. Because acupuncture treatments are so deeply relaxing, many patients find regular, maintenance treatments beneficial for stress relief.          

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Electro-acupuncture, the application of a pulsating electrical current to acupuncture needles as a means of stimulating the acupuncture points was developed in China as an extension of hand manipulation of acupuncture needles around 1934. The procedure for electro-acupuncture is to insert the acupuncture needle as would normally be done, attain the qi reaction by hand manipulation, and then attach an electrode to the needle to provide continued stimulation. This technique is usually applied in pain control treatment. The benefits of using electrical stimulation are:

It substitutes for prolonged hand maneuvering. This helps assure that the patient gets the amount of stimulation needed, because the practitioner may otherwise pause due to fatigue.

Electro-acupuncture may also help reduce total treatment time by providing the continued stimulus. During electro-acupuncture, the practitioner can attend to other patients.

It can produce a stronger stimulation, if desired, without causing tissue damage associated with twirling and lifting and thrusting the needle. Strong stimulation may be needed for difficult cases of neuralgia or paralysis.

It is easier to control the frequency of the stimulus and the amount of stimulus than with hand manipulation of the needles.
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Cupping is the term applied to a technique that uses small glass cups as suction devices that are placed on the skin.

There are several ways that a practitioner can create the suction in the cups. One method involves swabbing rubbing alcohol onto the bottom of the cup, then lighting it and putting the cup immediately against the skin.

Suction can also be created by placing an inverted cup over a small flame, or by using an alcohol-soaked cotton pad over an insulating material (like leather) to protect the skin, then lighting the pad and placing an empty cup over the flame to extinguish it. Flames are never used near the skin and are not lit throughout the process of cupping, but rather are a means to create the heat that causes the suction within the small cups.

Cupping brings fresh blood to the area, so it tends to improve circulation. It also helps open up the chest and benefit the lungs and can even benefit menstrual problems and digestive problems, too. Most commonly, it’s used for aches and pains of various types as well as respiratory problems, cough, wheezing, things like that.

Cupping therapy is usually used as part of acupuncture or body work treatment. There are very few conditions in which cupping should not be used, such as high fever, skin disease or tendency to bleed easily.

Each cupping session last about 10 to 15 minutes and it can be repeated, once the marks are cleared, until the problem is resolved. To get a treatment, seek a licensed acupuncturist.
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Gua sha is a healing technique of traditional East Asian medicine. Sometimes called ‘coining, spooning or scraping’,

Gua sha is defined as instrument-assisted unidirectional press-stroking of a lubricated area of the body surface to intentionally create transitory therapeutic petechial called ‘sha’ representing extravasation of blood in the subcutis.

Raising sha removes blood stagnation considered pathogenic in traditional East Asian medicine. Modern research shows the transitory therapeutic petechial produce an anti-inflammatory and immune protective effect that persists for days following a single

Gua sha treatment accounting for the immediate relief that patients feel from pain, stiffness, fever, chill, cough, wheeze, nausea and vomiting.
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Herbal medicine is a medical system based on the use of plants or plant extracts that may be eaten or applied to the skin.

Since ancient times, herbal medicine has been used by many different cultures throughout the world to treat illness and to assist bodily functions. Herbal remedies in the form of extracts, tinctures, capsules and tablets as well as teas may be recommended by healthcare practitioners of many different disciplines as a practical way to address a wide variety of medical conditions.

Herbal medicine consists mainly of plans, minerals and herbs including roots, barks, flowers and other natural materials that contain minerals, which help the body's own natural healing processes. They are pure and natural and contain "no synthetic chemicals". Thus, there are few side effects.

Each formula (prescription) is especially tailored to match each patient's specific symptoms. The taste of a plant can also indicate the organ to which it has a natural affinity. Besides defining particular herbal tastes, the Chinese ascribe different temperatures to herbs-hot, warm, neutral, cool, and cold.

Each individual herb has different properties such as taste and temperature, and enters different organs in the body. When the herbs are combined, through mutual harmony, the treatment effect is increased and the side effects reduced.

A usual prescription or formula can consist of multiple herbs. These treatments require the patient to slowly build up to the dose, may take a few weeks before an effect is noted, and have “far fewer side effects and contraindications" than western drugs.

These formulations are also usually far "less expensive" than drugs from a pharmacy. To optimize the effect of herbal treatment, we recommend avoiding following food items: pork, turnip, greasy food, white radish and alcohol.
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Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the burning of mugwort, a small, spongy herb, to facilitate healing. Moxibustion has been used throughout Asia for thousands of years; in fact, the actual Chinese character for acupuncture, translated literally, means "acupuncture-moxibustion." The purpose of moxibustion, as with most forms of traditional Chinese medicine, is to strengthen the blood, stimulate the flow of qi, and maintain general health.


What conditions is Moxibustion used for?

1) Pain due to injury or arthritis, especially in "cold" patterns where the pain naturally feels better with the application of heat
2) Digestive problems and irregular elimination
3) Gynecological and obstetrical conditions, including breech presentation in late term pregnancy
4) Protection against cold and flu strains

How is Moxa Applied?

Mild-warm moxa: Ignite a moxa stick and place it 2-3 centimeters away over the site to bring mild warmth to the local place, but not burning, for some 15 minutes until the skin becomes slightly red. It is suitable for all the syndromes indicated for moxibustion.

1) Warming Needle Moxibustion: Moxibustion with warming needle is an integration of acupuncture and moxibustion, and is used for conditions in which both retention of the needle and moxibustion are needed.

It is applied as follows: after the arrival of qi and with the needle retained in the point, get a small section of a moxa stick (about 2 cm long) and put on the handle of the needle; ignite the moxa stick from its bottom and let it burn out.

This method has the function of warming the meridians and promoting the flow of qi and blood so as to treat bi-syndrome caused by cold-damp and paralysis. Application to cold-damp syndrome was the subject of a clinical evaluation involving patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Acupuncture was performed by deep needling of the acupuncture points, and then moxa was applied to the needles for 30 minutes, performed daily during a two month course of therapy. Warming needle, as now used, allows longer retention and gentler heating.



Is Moxibustion painful?

Indirect moxibustion feels warm and very good. Direct moxabustion burns for about 3-5 seconds. Both methods are very effective and not painful.

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Premier IFM - Integrative Functional Medicine
Dr. Craig Mortensen
151 N. Kraemer Blvd. # 115
Placentia, CA 92870
(714) 996-6840

(714) 996-6840