There are 12 main meridians or energy pathways that run through the body, along with 8 extra meridians that run very deep into the body and a network of smaller energy pathways (called collateral and divergent meridians) which connect the whole body so that there is no space which is not affected by a meridian.
Acupuncture needles are placed in acupuncture points (which are the same as acupressure points). Acupuncture points are places along the meridians in which the energy pools. Most of them lie in natural depressions in the body and are usually located between muscle bundles and bones. (Western research has found that there is a lower electrical resistance on the surface of the skin at acupuncture points.)
There are numerous scientific studies supporting the efficacy of acupuncture but no adequate scientific theory of how or why it works has been put forth.
During the actual acupuncture treatment the patient will be asked to undress and get under the covers just like during a massage. When the acupuncture needles are inserted it is common for patients to not realize that the needles have already gone in. At most the patient will feel a tiny prick upon insertion of the needle. It is the degree of manipulation of the needle that can create discomfort. Manipulation is employed in order that the patient might feel “da qi.” That is, to feel the qi or energy being moved through the meridian. This may be experienced as a tingling sensation, a warmth, or even an electric jolt. Some patients prefer this extra manipulation similar to the way that some massage clients prefer deep tissue massage, while most patients prefer to not feel anything but relaxation. Note: The reason our patients don’t feel the needle itself is because of our experience and style in needling and our use of thin needles.
Once the needles are in, patients commonly drift into a state of deep relaxation. You may feel tingling sensations or rushes of warmth as circulation returns to normal, or emotions may come up. After treatment patients often experience an “acupuncture high” that typically lasts 24 hours. There may be immediate relief of symptoms or it may take time to feel the full effects. In cases of injury or severe tension, the patient may experience soreness prior to feeling relief.
Both the NCCAOM and the CAB have databases that can be accessed in order to verify the license numbers of acupuncturists. In the state of California acupuncturists must first complete between 4-5 (and sometimes more) years of schooling (3,000-3,600 hours)at a Board accredited school which includes theory, diagnosis, acupuncture, herbology, Qi Gong, nutrition, classical Chinese texts, Western sciences, and other topics as well as one year of more as a clinic intern treating patients. The degree earned is a Master of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (MATCM) and Master of Traditional Oriental Medicine (MTOM). A rigorous state board exam must also be passed in order to be licensed.
In the state of California it is legal for Allopathic doctors and Osteopaths to practice acupuncture. They are required only to take a weekend course. Due to the complexity of Chinese Medicine, if you choose to go to a Western doctor for acupuncture it is advisable to find one who has elected to undergo more extensive training (at least 2 years of needling and theory). The understanding of the body required to practice allopathic medicine is very different from the understanding of the body required in TCM. Chiropractors must undergo the full 4-5 year acupuncture training in order to be able to needle patients.
TCM, Oriental Medicine(OM), Chinese Medicine, and Traditional Asian Medicine (TAM) are often used interchangeably. The medicine originated in China and was exported over the years to neighboring countries which modified and developed their own styles. Currently Traditional Chinese Medicine is what is emphasized in most American acupuncture schools with Japanese and Korean styles being also very popular. Cinnabar acupuncturists received the foundation of their training at a lineage-based, Chinese-owned school. However, their current needling style is influenced by Japanese acupuncture. The term Oriental Medicine has often been used to give credit to other traditions based on TCM that evolved in the counties surrounding China that are often used by American practitioners. However, currently many are trying to change the term to the more politically correct Traditional Asian Medicine (TAM). We choose to use the term TCM, though it continues to be a problematic term, because it is the most popular and commonly understood term for our medicine.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), has its origins at least 2,500 years ago in China (according to the oldest written records, 5,000 years ago according to some experts.) TCM is an extremely sophisticated, evidence-based, system of medicine. It is not a “folk” medicine as is sometimes referred to in the West , nor is it based on superstitions. In China, hospitals have TCM departments and is practiced side by side with Western Medicine. TCM developed over a few millenia of documented scholarly and practical trial and error carried out on millions of people in different climates. The major challenge of proving the efficacy of acupuncture and TCM in Western clinical trials is not due to any lack of logic or evidence. The main issue is that TCM is inductive. In other words, it looks at the whole picture. What the patient ate for breakfast, his/her constitution, lifestyle, weather, etc. are all relevant factors that affect diagnosis and treatment of a simple headache. Whereas Western medicine is deductive. You must remove as many variables as possible and isolate 1 or 2 things that are changing. This constitutes a “good” experiment. X number of subjects with a headache take Y medication and Z are cured. TCM is too complex to be broken down into this simple model. And yet, even with these issues, acupuncture and TCM still prove themselves effective in Western clinical trials.
The core philosophy of TCM is based on the concepts of Daoism, Buddhism, and Confusionism, although today it is mostly secular in its practice. The focus of TCM is on balancing the Yin and Yang of the body and the 5 elements, which creates a state of health. The ideal is to resolve imbalances before they manifest as serious disease and to achieve a higher standard of health. TCM employs numerous modalities. The most common are acupuncture, herbal medicine (internal and external), moxibustion, nutrition, cupping, tuina (Chinese massage), and Qigong.
Besides their use during treatments, herbs are often necessary to continue working on a condition in between acupuncture treatments. We offer herbs in pill form, which are most convenient, powder form and in raw herb form, which while much more effective, can be a little more time-consuming.
Acupuncture balances the body and stimulates it to heal itself on a profound level. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the body is an energetic system first. The vital energy that runs through this system is called “qi” and the paths in which it flows are called “meridians.” The substance of the body and all of its functions are dependent upon this flow of qi. When there is a blockage in the flow of qi, disease develops.
Besides our specialties, Cinnabar acupuncturists have experience with various health concerns such as headaches (migraine, sinus, tension), weight loss, addiction (food, cigarettes, alcohol, drug), and more.
We provide supportive treatment for serious illness such as patients undergoing chemotherapy, autoimmune disease, and degenerative disease.
Neurological Disorders – Post-stroke recovery, Bell’s Palsy & Trigeminal Neuralgia, movement disorders
Upper Respiratory Disorders – Asthma, allergies, bronchitis, sinusitis, sore throat, laryngitis, colds and flu.
Digestive Disorders – Irritable bowel, colitis, constipation, diarrhea, gastritis, heartburn, food allergies, ulcers
Urinary and Reproductive Disorders – Cystitis, menstrual cramps, irregular or heavy periods, infertility, menopausal symptoms.
Immune Function – Recurrent infections, supportive treatment fo cancer and AIDS patients.
Addictions – Addictions to nicotine, alcohol and drugs.
Eye and Ear Disorders – Tinnitus, Meniere’s disease.
Depression, Anxiety & Insomnia