What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a healthcare modality developed by the Chinese over 2,500 years ago. Acupuncture promotes natural healing and improvement in the body's various and many physiological functions by the insertion of tiny sterile, stainless-steel needles into specific points located near or on the surface of the skin. It might seem crazy, but it works! Modern science has revealed that when stimulated by the needles, these specific body points can influence various biochemical and physiological functions which in turn, affect changes in the body. In simple terms, acupuncture influences the body’s various systems’ ability to balance themselves: hormonal, digestive, circulatory, neurological, lymphatic, muscular and emotional.
The acupuncture points were mapped out by the Chinese for more than two thousand years and recently, electromagnetic research has corroborated their locations. The ancient Chinese knew all of this without modern technology! The basic foundation for Chinese Medicine is that there is a vital energy flowing through the body called Qi (pronounced "chee"). This energy flows through the body on different channels known as “meridians” that connect all of the body’s major organs. According to Chinese medical theory, illness comes when the cyclical flow of Qi and blood within the meridians becomes unbalanced or is blocked. Like an irrigation system on a farm, if the water is not flowing properly through the irrigation waterways, the crops will not be properly nourished and will be unhealthy. When there is proper flow throughout the entire system, there will be health and vitality.
That said, acupuncture is not a "miracle cure" and it can take a series of treatments to shift the course of chronic illness in a positive direction. You'll be making a commitment to your body's innate ability to move gradually from a state of chronic pain (mental and physical) to a place where you feel better, think clearer and improve your overall physiological function. Robin may also suggest making some shifts in your diet and life-style that will, over time, positively impact your health and well-being.
What is Cupping?
Another ancient form of alternative medicine is called “Cupping”.
Cupping is a technique in which a glass cup or bamboo jar is suctioned onto the body and allowed to sit for about 10 minutes. Cupping stimulates the flow of blood, lymph, and Qi to the affected area; relieves swelling; and greatly enhances an acupuncture or electroacupuncture treatment. Its uses include relieving muscle pain, especially back pain from stiffness or injury; and clearing congestion in the chest, which can occur with common colds and influenza.
“OMG! I feel absolutely revitalized,” Liz one of Robin’s patient’s reports after a cupping treatment. “It’s the most interesting treatment that I have ever had…and, my back pain is so much better.”
How Cupping Works
Cupping is usually incorporated into an acupuncture of bodywork treatment, but can be used alone. The practitioner takes a glass cup or bamboo jar, roughly the size of a jar of baby food, and ignites a small flame inside the cup, creating a vacuum. The cup is then quickly applied to the body, drawing the skin up a few millimeters into the cup. This suction stimulates the flow of blood, lymph, and Qi to the affected area. The suction can leave red or purple marks on the skin that last a few days, but then go away.
Each cupping session lasts approximately 10 to 15 minutes and it can be repeated, once the marks have cleared, until the condition is resolved.
Film star, Gwyneth Paltrow is a champion of acupuncture and cupping. She was photographed by the BBC after a cupping session.
"It [cupping] feels amazing and it's very relaxing and it feels terrific," Paltrow told Oprah Winfrey. "It's just one of the alternative medicines that I do instead of taking antibiotics."
Gwyneth Paltrow, a longtime advocate of the benefits of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, once said that having acupuncture had guided her to a “new level” in life, helping her to find love with her husband and giving her the strength to cope with the death of her father.
“I have been a big fan of Chinese medicine for a long time because it works,” Paltrow said.