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Acupuncture Benefits and Treatment in San Diego
Acupuncture has been a revered part of Eastern medicine for millennia and now, as scientific research continues to prove its efficacy, it is gaining popularity in Western medical practices. In the United States alone, more than 10 million treatments are administered each year. This is in large part due to the fact that acupuncture boasts a wide range of benefits and a low risk of side effects.
Whether you want to relieve stress, reduce pain, or improve your overall health and well-being, acupuncture may be able to help. Aspire Regenerative is proud to offer acupuncture in San Diego to patients suffering from a vast array of conditions.
What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a time-honored healing practice that works to restore the balance of a person’s life force energy, or qi (pronounced “chi”). Acupuncture is a mainstay of Eastern medicine and has been around for thousands of years.
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), it is believed that illness and pain are symptoms of an imbalance in a person’s qi. This energy is said to have set pathways within the body called meridians. Acupuncturists follow this flow of qi and place hair-thin needles in specific acupressure points to restore balance and improve patients’ overall health. With the help of modern science, we now know that acupuncture has a physiologic effect on the body by interacting with underlying tissues such as nerves, tendons, ligaments, muscle, fat, and skin.
Acupuncture is a complementary therapy, meaning that it works well in conjunction with other treatments. It doesn’t interfere with medications and it can be beneficial to patients undergoing physical therapy.
Acupuncture Services at Aspire
The primary technique used by our practitioners is Japanese acupuncture. The Japanese style of acupuncture differs slightly from traditional Chinese techniques in that it uses smaller needles to provide patients with a more comfortable experience. There is also an added emphasis on palpation and advanced tactile skills during treatment, which help to identify areas of concern. Other differences include a shallower needle-insertion depth and the occasional use of moxibustion as part of the treatment process.
Japanese acupuncture can treat a wide range of health concerns, including but not limited to muscle or joint pain, respiratory problems, menopause, infertility, mental health, migraines and indigestion. Our providers will tailor your treatment plan to address your specific needs and target the underlying cause of your symptoms to improve your wellness. Your holistic treatment plan may also incorporate other techniques for the best possible results.
Moxibustion is often used as a part of ancient Japanese acupuncture. It involves the burning of moxa, compressed leaves from the mugwort plant, and allowing it to smolder near the surface of the skin. The warmth it provides works to improve circulation and promote relaxation by drawing heat into the muscles, blood vessels and capillaries. It also helps to regulate qi, dispel coldness and create an overall feeling of wellness throughout the body.
When used during acupuncture, moxa is placed near the acupressure points to provide a warming sensation that travels along the meridian system. Since it improves the flow of qi and promotes relaxation, it adds to the soothing nature of acupuncture. Moxibustion is safe when administered by a qualified professional and makes a great adjunct treatment.
Often used in conjunction with acupuncture, manual therapies such as gua sha, cupping and kinesiology tape (KT) can help augment the effects of your treatment. These techniques may be used separately or together depending on your needs and overall health. Our providers will recommend the best approach for providing optimal relief from your symptoms.
Gua sha (also known as the Graston technique and myofascial release) is a form of Chinese massage in which a smooth tool is used to scrape the skin with long, downward strokes. Gradually, more pressure will be added, which experts believe improves blood flow, reduces inflammation and relieves tension in the muscles.
Cupping is an ancient Chinese treatment that can help ease the symptoms of pain and discomfort. It works by placing specialized cups on the back, stomach, arms or legs to create a suction effect that draws fluid into treated areas. The force of the suction causes small blood vessels to expand and signals the body to begin the natural healing process. Cupping is often performed alongside acupuncture when muscle tension is severe.
Kinesiology tape (also known as KT tape or Kinesio® taping) is a therapeutic method that uses specially designed elastic tape to ease pain and promote recovery after an injury. You might have noticed this treatment on professional athletes with brightly colored stripes on their arms, legs and torsos during sporting events or competitions. KT tape can be used for acute or chronic pain and is a good option to use in conjunction with acupuncture.
Custom Herbal Medicines
Chinese herbal medicines can also be incorporated into your holistic treatment plan. Chinese herbal medicine has been used for thousands of years to help people improve their wellness and mitigate the symptoms of certain health conditions. In fact, many modern pharmaceuticals are derived from this ancient knowledge. Our providers will create a customized blend of herbal medicines designed to address your needs, using high-quality and responsibly sourced products.
What Are the Benefits of Acupuncture Therapy?
The documented benefits of acupuncture are numerous and research is ongoing to learn exactly how this treatment works on a cellular level. Western medical practitioners have found that acupuncture and regenerative medicine are closely related. In fact, studies have found that acupuncture can help repair atrophied muscle tissue and damaged nerve cells. It has even been shown to stimulate the release of stem cells to help heal a range of injuries and acute conditions.
Healthy individuals may seek acupuncture for stress relief. Athletes often undergo acupuncture to help with injuries, muscle stiffness, swelling, and soreness. Acupuncture has even been shown to help with weight loss/management and smoking cessation.
A report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) outlined numerous diseases and conditions that acupuncture has been shown to positively impact. The list included but was not limited to the following conditions:
- Tension headaches
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Dental pain
- Meniere’s Disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Gastritis (acute and chronic)
- Colitis (acute and chronic)
- Esophageal spasms
- Acute sinusitis
- Acute tonsillitis
- Bronchial asthma
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Menopause syndrome
- Low back pain
- Tennis Elbow
Are There Any Side Effects Associated With Acupuncture?
Acupuncture has a very low risk of side effects when performed by a licensed professional. Single-use sterile needles significantly reduce any risk of infection. The most common side effects reported by patients are mild bruising or soreness where certain needles were placed during treatment. If you experience any discomfort during treatment, let your acupuncturist know, so they can make adjustments.
Acupuncture may not be recommended if you have a blood clotting or bleeding disorder. In addition, you should tell your acupuncturist before treatment if you have a pacemaker, or may be pregnant, as certain needle placements may induce labor, or interfere with a pacemaker.
What Should I Expect During Acupuncture Treatment?
Whether you are treated with acupuncture for anxiety, a physical injury, or cosmetic purposes, the sessions will be very similar. The major difference will be in the exact placement of the needles. For example, those suffering from lower back pain will be asked to lie face down on a table so that needles can be placed on acupressure points in and around the lower back. In contrast, facial acupuncture is done with a patient lying on their back, so that needles can be placed along the face, hairline, and neck. There are hundreds of acupressure points located all over the body, so which points are targeted depends on the condition being treated.
Each treatment session will last approximately 30-45 minutes. There is nothing you need to do beforehand to prepare and you will be able to resume your normal activities immediately after treatments. Once the needles are lightly tapped into place, you can listen to music or simply close your eyes and relax. Many patients enjoy taking this time to meditate or center themselves. It is a good idea to avoid taking blood thinners (such as ibuprofen) prior to treatment, and you should drink plenty of water after each session to help flush out any toxins.
The number of sessions needed varies based on the condition being treated and the severity of symptoms. Your clinician will determine the best treatment plan for you.
Interested in learning more about acupuncture or scheduling an appointment? Book a consultation at the Aspire Regenerative acupuncture clinic in San Diego. Our highly trained clinicians can make treatment recommendations and create a personalized care plan to help you reach your health and wellness goals.
Cupping Therapy FAQs:
What is cupping therapy?
Cupping uses negative pressure created by heat or suction in a glass, silicone or plastic “cup” that is applied to the skin to achieve a variety of health outcomes.
Why do athletes use cupping therapy?
Athletes use cupping therapy to speed up recovery time, reduce pain and relieve muscle tension.
How long is cupping therapy?
The typical cupping session lasts 15-20 minutes depending on size and number of body areas being treated.
What not to do after cupping therapy?
It is recommended not to expose areas cupped to direct cold for 24 hours.
Where to get cupping therapy in San Diego?
Aspire Regenerative offers cupping therapy in combination with Acupuncture treatments.
What are the benefits of cupping?
Cupping provides a variety of therapeutic benefits. Cupping is often used to relieve tight muscles, reduce pain and speed recovery. Common conditions improved by cupping include: sciatica, headache, muscle pain, Bell’s palsy, neck and shoulder tension, low back pain and asthma.
How does cupping remove toxins?
Cupping reaches up to 4 inches in the muscle tissue to pull stored metabolic waste to the skins surface where it can then be flushed out by the kidneys.
Does cupping therapy work for weight loss?
Cupping can improve circulation and reduce the appearance of cellulite giving the appearance of a slimmer figure. By helping the body function more efficiently and reducing the toxic load, cupping can in theory assist the body in weight loss.
How often can you do cupping therapy?
This depends on the individual and the areas of the body treated. It is recommended to allow any marks caused by cupping therapy to fully resolve before treating the same area again.