Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine

Oriental Medicine is one of the oldest, most continuously evolving medicines on earth. Ancient written texts date back 1800 years, with a prior oral history over 5000 years. Three-quarters of the world’s population utilizes this unique and powerful medicine.

The body is always striving towards balance; we are homodynamic, moving in and out of balance. Balance is not a static condition, but a gentle, graceful ebb and flow. Pain and disease is the result of an obstruction of the free flow of Qi and Blood.

The practice of Oriental Medicine uses acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, Gua Sha, cupping, massage, Qi gong, nutrition and lifestyle coaching.

Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine, sterile, solid needles into specific points on the body to facilitate the free flow of Qi (Vital energy) and Blood (Vital substance) to bring the body and mind to a state of balance and harmony. Research has shown that acupuncture affects the higher brain centers, stimulating the release of neurotransmitters that influence the immune and antinociceptive systems. Several types of opioids, norepinephrine and acetylcholine are released that help normalize the autonomic nervous system and reduce pain.

Acupuncture activates receptors that inhibit the transmission of nociceptive signals in the dorsal horn, which interrupts painful signals and allows the nervous system, to reset by breaking the pain cycle. Acupuncture manipulates the electrical system of the body by stimulating closed-circuit transport in the tissues to facilitate healing. Studies have shown that acupuncture affects blood chemistry and can both raise and lower blood components to regulate the body’s systems.

Recent functional MRI studies show that specific acupuncture points influence certain areas of the body, causing the corresponding area in the brain to “light up” when those points are stimulated. For instance when a point is traditionally used to treat the eyes, the visual center of the brain will show activity when that point is stimulated.

Chinese herbal medicine is unique in that each formula is designed to treat each patient’s individual signs, symptoms, tongue picture and pulse pattern. Is the patient’s internal environment too cold, hot, damp, or dry? Each herb is warming, cooling, drying or moistening in nature, and a formula is designed using between 1 and 30 herbs to create a proportion of properties that will balance the body’s internal environment.

The color, coating and shape of the tongue are examined to help distinguish the internal environment of the body. The pulse is felt at the radial artery in 12 positions and 3 depths, evaluating which of 28 different pulse characteristics are present. This information helps us to see the relative balance between 12 of the primary channels through which Qi flows in the body.

By incorporating all of this information, we are able to determine patterns of imbalance and establish the root, (the underlying cause of the illness) and the branch, (an individuals presentation of signs and symptoms).

Gua Sha is a technique that uses a blunt tool to scrape the skin bringing fresh blood to the area and breaking up old scar tissue.

Cupping utilizes jars that are placed on the skin to create a vacuum, lifting the tissue, bringing fresh blood to the muscles, and dispersing old stagnant blood. It is very good for chronic muscle tension patterns.

Qigong is a system of healing that incorporates movement, meditation, visualization and breathing techniques to facilitate the free flow of Qi and Blood, resulting in the optimum state of well being.

Nutrition and lifestyle are the corner stones of good health.

Many conditions respond well to Oriental Medicine. My areas of expertise are in the alleviation of painful conditions and women’s health issues.


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Dr. Sara Marie

Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine