Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Orange Acupuncture... unwinding memories

Dear Readers,

   It's been 2 years since Orange Acupuncture is established and I gotta say I love what I do and I like to help people. I'm grateful for all the continuous encouragement and support from my family, friends, colleague, teachers and patients.

   Through my practice, I've learned a lot. Each patient's body react to my treatment differently even if they would come in with similar complaints. This is challenging and yet very intriguing and motivating. Regardless of a doctor who focus in Traditional Chinese Medicine or Western Medicine there's no absolute formula that I can use on each patient. This is why it is considered as someone who practices medicine -> Doctor.

   Looking back at my decision of becoming a Dr. in Traditional Chinese Medicine 10 years ago, I realized that living in United States is localizing me and preventing me to learn more from my roots. Luckily, I was born and raised in Taiwan and my level of Chinese comprehension is very well. Because of my interest in TCM and Classical Chinese writings, I read all Huang Di Nei Jing (Ancient script of Traiditional Chinese Dr's treatment notes and lecture). One of the first medical books in Chinese history! I find it very interesting to learn from these articles that were documented, understand how the doctors figured out the pathology of diseases, and surprised by their creativity. Through learning acupuncture from school, the ancient documented articles, and my practice and experience, I was able to pick out the best and most logical treatment option. Not only do I compare them with oriental medicine, but also with western medicine which finally led me to develop my “framework of TCM”. With this framework I am able to understand a patient’s condition clearly, set up treatment plan, and adjust it by the treatment result. I am able to refine my thought and adjust the framework after evaluate the effectiveness of treatment.

  Due to the different environment and limitation of information exchange in ancient time, doctors would develop their own “virtual structure”. Some of them are only able to apply on certain diseases, but those very talented doctors in history are able to develop virtual structure that can apply on most diseases even to those diseases he has never seen. I'm motivated by their advancement in medicine and I aim to advance my skills to better help those who are in need.

  I'm lucky to have found my passion at a young age and grateful for all the great reviews on Yelp and testimonies from my patients. Your stories gave me a lot of encouragement. They are the incessant reminders of why I wanted to be a doctor, and they are the living proof that I helped someone. I strongly believe in body's natural defense to fight off diseases and utilizing organic treatments and nutrients to promote better health along with enough exercise everyday.

To Your Health!

Winston Wang


   Acupuncture points are also stimulated by burning a herb called "moxa" over the point. The name "moxa" is derived from its Japanese name Mogusa (which means burning herb). The botanical name of the herb is Artemis Vulgaris commonly known as Mugwort. Before use, the raw herb is processed into moxawool by grinding the dry leaves of this plant into a fine wool. When the moxa is burnt, the smoke has a characteristic odor that is similar to the smell of hashish.

   Moxa is used in two ways, either directly on the skin or indirectly through a needle, garlic salt or ginger. Direct moxibuxtion is carried out with a smouldering cigar of moxa, which is used to warm the acupuncture point from a distance of one centimeter.

   In indirect moxibuxtion a slice of ginger, or garlic is placed over the acupuncture point. The moxa is then placed on it and ignited. Another method of indirect moxibuxtion is to place a small ball of Moxawool on the head of an acupuncture needle. This is then lit, allowing the needle to transmit this heat directly to the acupuncture point through the needle. In a patient with severe pain in the abdomen, coma or shock the navel is filled with salt and a small ball of moxa is lit over it. This can revive a patient within a few minutes!

   Moxa disperses the cold and so is used in the treatment of diseases like arthritis, and bronchitis, which are said to be caused by wind, cold and damp. Moxibuxtion is used to treat chronic bronchitis, bronchial asthma, chronic diarrhoea, arthritis and some conditions where there has been an inadequate response to acupuncture with needles. Many other substances have been tried as alternatives to moxa, but it appears that none of these alternatives are as effective as moxa in healing.

Evolution of Acupuncture Needles

   The earliest acupuncture implements were sharp pieces of bone or flint in the shape of arrowheads called Bian stones. Their use was limited because of their size and shape and they were used to scratch or prick acupuncture points. Later, sharp pieces of pottery were used for this purpose. As time went on, the Chinese refined this process eventually using needles to stimulate acupuncture points.
Early acupuncture needles were made from bamboo and bone and as they were rather thick, their insertion was painful. In spite of there being no knowledge of sterilization before the 19th century, it is surprising to note that infection rarely occurred with acupuncture. This is because acupuncture stimulates the immune system enhancing the body's protective mechanisms.

   With the advent of the Iron Age and the Bronze Age the next type of needles to be developed were metal needles. As the art of metallurgy progressed, different types of needles were made. Early needles were made from iron, copper, bronze, silver and gold. At the time when the "Nei Jing" was written, there were nine different types of acupuncture needles in use. These were similar to present day needles. Very thin, fine needles were used for routine treatment. Arrowhead needles were used to prick the points. Blunt and round needles were used for acupressure. Scalpel like needles were used for cutting open boils and abscesses. Larger and heavier needles were available for insertion into joints and when the acupuncture points lay deep below the skin, longer needles were used.
   Small thumbtacks shaped needles were used for insertion at ear acupuncture points when prolonged stimulation was required. Three-sided needles were used to bleed the patient in cases of coma and high fever. The drawing of a few drops of blood from certain acupuncture points can bring down high fever, stop convulsions and restore consciousness in a matter of minutes without any other treatment. Finally there were the plum blossom needles also called the seven star needles which was used to tap the skin over acupuncture points. This was mainly used to treat skin diseases, children, old people and patients who were afraid of needles.

   These needles were in widespread use for thousands of years until the early years of the 20th century, when the invention of stainless steel revolutionized the art of
Some acupuncturists claim that needles made from silver or gold have special therapeutic properties. Needles made from sliver and gold are expensive and so are often resharpened, straightened and reused. Unfortunately, the process of sharpening needles is laborious and time consuming and it is rarely possible to get as sharp a point on these needles as on a stainless steel needle. In my experience needles made from stainless steel are as effective in therapy as needles made from any other material.
Needles made from two metals act as a thermocouple, and generate a small electric current. So the handles of some acupuncture needles are made from metals like copper, silver and gold with the needle itself being made from stainless steel. Needle handles made with copper and silver get oxidized during use and storage, which reduces their electrical conductivity making them unsuitable for electrical stimulation.

Source: http://www.healthy.net/Health/Article/The_History_of_Acupuncture_in_China/1819

Aren't you glad to have a thin needle under your skin instead of a piece of "arrow" now?

Monday, March 16, 2015


Acupuncture originates from two Latin words “acū” which means ‘needle’ and “pūnctūra” which means to pierce or penetrate. Therefore “acupuncture” means “to pierce with a needle”.
In acupuncture very thin needles, slightly thicker than a human hair, are inserted into acupuncture points. The purpose of acupuncture is to regulate and normalize the flow of the Qi (Chi-energy), so that the Yin and the Yang return to a state of dynamic equilibrium. Acupuncture is designed to relieve symptoms by curing the disease.

An acupuncturist would treat the fundamental cause of the illness and as the cure progresses the symptoms disappear on their own. Treatment duration greatly depends on patients’ conditions. Of course, it often takes a great deal of skill to find the true cause of some illnesses! It is possible for an acupuncturist to treat the symptoms of various diseases very effectively and quickly; for example a mere symptomatic treatment such as the pain in the back results from sports injury can be relieved in minutes.

It’s crucial to determine which acupuncture points to be used in a course of treatment. The acupuncturist must know the function and interaction of each acupuncture point and to each other before planning treatment to eliminate obstructions in the flow of Qi and to balance the Yin and Yang. After concluded a diagnosis, treatment began.

An experienced acupuncturist uses as few needles as possible to balance the energy flows. In contrast, a novice may use many needles and still be unable to balance the energy flows. Most patients need ten to fifteen acupuncture needles for each treatment, but sometimes only a single needle may be enough. While treating a frozen shoulder, a single needle is inserted into the leg and then twirled. In a few minutes, a shoulder that has been immobile for up to three months moves freely and without pain. Though cartoonists are fond of drawing patients with needles stuck all over them, actually only a few needles are used for each patient.

Needles... Here we go again..

An average acupuncture needle is slightly thicker than a human hair and its insertion is virtually painless. Many potential patients are dissuaded from trying acupuncture by the pictures they see of acupuncture where long, thick needles are inserted into the patient. This has given rise to the misconception that acupuncture is painful. This misconception also arises from the belief that acupuncture needles are similar to injection needles. There are several fundamental differences between acupuncture needles and hypodermic needles used for giving an injection.

Normal acupuncture needles are so thin that they cannot be seen in a picture or on television. The needles used for demonstration are far thicker than those used for acupuncture. As you would appreciate, a silver needle slightly thicker than a human hair is hard to see.

An acupuncture needle is very thin, ranging from 0.16 mm to 0.38 mm in thickness, while injection needles range from 0.6 mm to 2 mm (in blood transfusion needles). The tip of an acupuncture needle is conical in shape, which allows it to penetrate the tissues separating the fibres of the muscle as it enters, without causing damage. Similarly on removing the needle the separated fibres close smoothly around the needle, preventing bleeding.

A hypodermic needle in contrast, has a sharp edge and its insertion cuts out a small cylinder of flesh as it enters. This fact is used for carrying out a needle biopsy to diagnose cancer. A hypodermic needle also has a hole through which a liquid is forced while giving the injection. Once the medicine is injected it forces the cylinder of flesh, into the place where the injection is given releasing painful substances called prostaglandins. The forcing of the medicine into a closed space also causes pain.

 In acupuncture, no fluid is injected into the body and as the needle does not have a cavity in the middle, it is much thinner than a hypodermic needle. The sensation felt when an acupuncture needle is inserted is very different from the sensation felt when a hypodermic needle is used. In contrast to an injection, an acupuncture needle produces its effect by altering the energy flow inside the human body.

Acupuncture needles come in various sizes and thicknesses ranging from two millimeters to ten centimeters in length. The handles are one to three centimeters long. The longest needles are used on fat people in areas where there is thick muscle and a lot of fat, like the buttocks and hips. On the forehead hands and face, only the tip of the needle is inserted. The depth of insertion of the needle varies from one millimeter to about ten centimeters depending on the depth of the acupuncture point to be treated.

When animals gets acupuncture treatments, there aren't any psychological placebo effect. Their treatment results directly validated the effectiveness of acupuncture.
Something to think about eh?