Acupuncture Alternatives- Treatment without Needles
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Alternatives to Acupuncture
I get it, needles aren’t for everyone- and that is ok! I also use several other treatment techniques as needed to help bring your body back into balance. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages and may or may not be included for your specific treatment.
Some of the methods are able to be used as a treatment within its own right, and some are used to enhance and compliment the main therapy used (generally acupuncture).
Some of the other treatments that may be included are:
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
In China and Japan moxibustion is a therapy within it’s own right, and will often be used on it’s own without any acupuncture needles at all. I like to use it in conjunction with both needles and/or massage. Moxibustion is the process of burning the herb Mugwort (also known as common wormwood, or Artemisia vulgaris), the leaves of the plant are ground up into a fine “fluff” and then rolled into a stick (a cigar like roll that is not suitable for smoking), shaped into small cones that are burnt on the skin or processed to be made into a carbon like stick that burns with minimum smoke.
Traditionally moxa helps to warm the body, increase circulation and reduce pain. Where the moxa is applied will depend on the moxa type used as well as your constitutional type and presenting symptoms.
The moxa stick is lit until it is glowing then held just above the skin so that a radiating warmth is felt. The warmth may be concentrated on certain points, or it can be used over a large area by moving the stick above the skin and slowly moving it over the desired area. . This is the most common way to administer moxa- it is most well known for helping turn breech (upside down) babies by holding the moxa stick over a point on the little toe.
I love using needle moxa, which is where small carbon “hats” that sit on top of the needles to send warmth down through the needles on specific points. This is able to repeated easily by replacing the hats once they have been used. This is most commonly used on the lower back, and feels lovely having the radiating heat warming this vulnerable area.
Cone moxa or rice grain is the use of the moxa punk (fluff), it is compressed into small cones and sat on either a piece of ginger, or directly on the skin. The heat travels down through the cone onto a specific point. The cone is then removed before it burns all the way down to the skin to prevent burning. I rarely use this form of moxibustion to ensure minimal risk of you being burnt.
Gua sha or scraping is used along different acupuncture channels, traditionally it can be used to release cold, stagnation or heat from the body. There are many different tools available to use including specially shaped crystals, bone, stone or ceramic including Chinese soup spoons.
This may leave a speckled mark on the skin that resembles a bruise, please advise me if this will be an issue- I will discuss this before applying the technique. I will generally use this technique when there is pain in the shoulders, or different large muscle groups.
Cupping is an ancient technique that uses fire to create a vacuum and suction cups to the skin. This is generally applied to the back to help increase blood flow, or remove stagnation or pain in the muscles with tension. Traditionally it can also be used to help clear chest congestion/phlegm.
Cupping is sometimes applied to the navel to remove cold energy from the body. Many patients are surprised to discover that after cupping has been applied the area under the cup is significantly colder than the surrounding skin, supporting the Chinese theory that the cold is being drawn to the surface from within the body.
Cupping may leave bruise like marks where applied, please advise me if this will be an issue. Again, I will discuss this with you before commencing treatment.
Massage is incorporated into nearly every treatment, generally on the lower back and/or shoulders, however I may perform massage over the upper chest or abdomen as well if necessary. Massage works to relax the patient, it can increase circulation, decrease stress, and promote well-being. Massage is generally performed at the end of treatment, however there may be some aspects of massage provided through the course of treatment as well. I always ask permission before providing massage and to ensure you are comfortable with what I am going to do.
ShoniShin translates from Japanese as “Little People Needle” – the practice of treating children. The techniques used are very gentle and most are non-insertive. The tools used are stroked or tapped on the childs skin in a soothing manner. For more information on ShoniShin please visit my page Acupuncture and Children.
Chinese dietary therapy believes that all foods have different properties, when used in conjunction with diagnostic principles, food is able to help or hinder progress of of health. Different flavours are combined to enhance their healing properties and to ensure a balance of the different energies. These basic principles are able to be seen in some classic food combinations- sweet and sour, honey (sweet) and soy (salty), as well as adding yoghurt (cool) to curry (hot) to help reduce the spiciness.
I can talk you through a manageable nutrition plan that suits your tastes and your budget. No radical changes will be asked of you. A gradual shift is usually the key to successful eating and drinking. Sometimes food may be a contributing factor to your condition, I will try to help you eliminate any foods that may be doing this, or help educate you on food combinations if needed.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Herbal medicine is a modality of its own in Chinese medicine, however I only use it in conjunction with my other therapies. I will use pre-prepared formulas in pill form- all have been produced meeting the highest therapeutic standards and have TGA approval.
Vitamin and Mineral supplements
Sometimes your condition can be caused by something as simple as a nutrient missing from your system, or sometimes your body needs a little boost to help it through the day. I stock a variety of different products that I may recommend to you.