Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a complete medical system that has diagnosed, treated and prevented illness for 25 centuries, and is based on the philosophical concept that the human body is a small universe with a set of complete and sophisticated interconnected systems, and that those systems usually work in balance to maintain the healthy function of the human body.
TCM includes Qigong (movement of subtle energy), Tai Chi (exercise), Astrology, Feng Shui (healthy living spaces), massage, bone setting, Diet with the seasons, Herbology and Acupuncture (Zhen Jiu) and Acupressure (Zhi Ya). In the west, we are most familiar with the Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology components of Chinese medicine, both of which are used in the diverse health resource toolkit at Stillpoint Family Health Services.
Acupuncture is based on the belief that health is determined by a balanced flow of Qi, also referred to as "Chi." Qi is circulated through the blood stream via fourteen energy ducts called meridians. Each one of these pathways or channels through which Qi flows is linked to an internal organ system. There are over 1,000 acupoints within the meridian system that can be stimulated to enhance the flow of Qi. Acupuncture diagnoses illness by accessing blockages in the body's meridians.
Very fine, disposable needles are inserted into the acupoints, located just beneath the epidermis, usually at a depth of about a quarter of an inch into the skin. Most of these needles are very fine, so there is virtually no discomfort. Inserting these needles helps correct the flow of energy within the body, stimulate and activates the body’s self-healing mechanism, relieves pain, and balances out stagnation or hyper-stimulated meridians. The needles are gently twisted or sometimes twirled, leaving them in for approximately 20 minutes; or the needles can be stimulated with a weak electrical current; or heated with a burning herb such as mugwort(moxa).
The sensations one may experience during the course of a treatment often include mild cramping, heaviness, distention, "electricity" or tingling at the point of insertion, feelings of extreme, full-body relaxation, mild euphoria, and warming or cooling sensations. While undergoing therapy for one ailment, other problems may resolve concurrently. This is a common side benefit that again demonstrates the value of balancing the quality and quantity of "vital energy" within the entire person.
Unlike the Western anatomical model which divides the physical body into parts, the Chinese model is more concerned with function. For example the TCM spleen is not seen as a specific piece of flesh, but an aspect of function related to transformation and transportation within the body, and the mental functions of thinking and studying. Take a look at the 12 standard meridians of TCM and see which function is assigned to them in TCM.
Twelve Standard Meridians of TCM:
Channel / Meridian
- Govern Qi and respiration
- Control channels and blood vessels
- Control dispersing and descending
- Regular water passages
- Control skin and hair
- Open into the nose
- House the Corporeal Soul
- Governs Blood
- Controls the Blood vessels
- Manifests in the complexion
- Houses the mind
- Opens into the tongue
- Controls sweat
- Governs Blood (with the heart)
- Houses the Mind (with the heart)
- Ensuring the free passage
(making things go through)
Taiyang Small Intestine
- Controls receiving and transforming
- Separates fluids
Yangming Large Intestine
- Receive food and drink from the small intestine
- Governs Transformation and transportation
- Controls the Blood
- Controls the muscles and the four limbs
- Opens into the mouth and manifests in the lips
- Controls the "Raising Qi'
- Houses thought
- Store Essence and govern birth, growth, reproduction and development
- Produce marrow, fill up the brain and control bones
- Govern Water
- Control the reception of Qi
- Open into the ears
- Manifest in the hair
- Control the two lower orifices
- House Will Power
- Stores Blood
- Ensures the smooth flow of Qi
- Controls the sinews
- Manifests in the nails
- Opens into the eyes
- Houses the Ethereal Soul
- Stores and excretes bile
- Controls judgement
- Controls the sinews
- Removes water by Qi transformation
- Controls the "Rotting and Ripening" of food
- Controls the transportation of food essences
- Controls the descending of Qi
- Origin of fluids
- Upper burner = thoracic cavity (includes lungs and heart)
- *Middle burner = upper part of the dorsal cavity (includes stomach, spleen, hepatic portal system, various secretory pancreatic cells, duodenum, portions of the lymphatic system carrying chyle, catabolic/transaminoic functions of liver cells, associated with digestion.
- *Lower burner = lower part of the dorsal cavity (includes small intestine, large intestine, kidneys, bladder, associated with elimination).
Dr. Michael Lipelt, Dr. Michael Lipelt, founder and practitioner at Stillpoint Family Health Services received a Master of Science in Oriental Medicine at Meiji College of Oriental Medicine, in San Francisco, CA in 1994, his national acupuncture certification in 1993 from the NCCAOM (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine), and his Acupuncture License for the State of California in 1995. Dr. Lipelt completed post-graduate dental acupuncture studies at the UCLA School of Dentistry in Los Angeles, CA in 1992, and his Dental Acupuncture License for the State of California in 1993. He has practiced acupuncture now for almost 20 years, while integrating it with other holistic healing methods.