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?