Acupoint

One of over 2000 specific points on the body where a therapeutic modality (acupuncture, acupressure, moxibustion, massage) can be applied. Acupoints (or acupuncture points) are located on meridians. There are approximately 360 acupoints on the 14 major meridians and typical acupuncturists use about 100 of those points on a daily basis.

Acupressure

Direct pressure applied to an acupuncture point or “trigger-point”. Typically, pressure is applied to more than one point at a time. Its goals are similar to acupuncture, but uses no needles. This technique is included in Tui Na.

Acupuncture

The practice of inserting needles into the body to reduce pain or induce anesthesia. More broadly, acupuncture is a family of procedures involving the stimulation of anatomical locations by a variety of techniques. There are a number of different approaches to diagnosis and treatment in American acupuncture that incorporate medical traditions from China, Japan, Korea, and other countries. The most thoroughly studied mechanism of stimulation of acupuncture points employs penetration of the skin by thin, solid, metallic needles, which are manipulated manually or by electrical stimulation.

Acute

Of abrupt onset, in reference to a disease. Acute often also connotes an illness that is of short duration, rapidly progressive, and in need of urgent care.

Addiction

A chronic relapsing condition characterized by compulsive drug-seeking and abuse and by long-lasting chemical changes in the brain. Addiction is the same irrespective of whether the drug is alcohol, amphetamines, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, or nicotine. Every addictive substance induces pleasant states or relieves distress. Continued use of the addictive substance induces adaptive changes in the brain that lead to tolerance, physical dependence, uncontrollable craving and, all too often, relapse. Dependence is at such a point that stopping is very difficult and causes severe physical and mental reactions from withdrawal. The risk of addiction is in part inherited. Genetic factors, for example, account for about 40% of the risk of alcoholism. The genetic factors predisposing to addiction are not yet fully understood.

Electro-acupuncture

Also know as Percutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (PENS), it consists of small clips (one positive and one negative) attached to two needles on one end and to a small box outputting a microcurrent on the other end. It is used to strengthen the effect of an acupuncture treatment or to deal with nerve pain or other neurological problems.

Exercise

Movement, be it breath work or dynamic movement, may be prescribed to help restore physical vitality, muscle and respiratory performance, and emotional/mental well-being. Qi Gong, meditation, Tai Chi, yoga, physical therapy, and daily activity are all examples of the types of exercise that may be recommended to enhance your treatment with TCM.

Meridian

A traditional Chinese medicine term for each of the 16 vertically oriented pathways throughout the body for the flow of qi, or vital energy, accessed through acupuncture points. There are 14 major meridians on the body (each associated with an internal organ) and six extraordinary meridians.

Qi

Literally meaning “vital air” or “vital breath,” qi is a Chinese term for vital energy or life force. In traditional Chinese medicine, qi (pronounced “chee”) is believed to regulate a person’s spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical balance, and to be influenced by the opposing forces of yin and yang. It also refers to the oxygenation of vital organs, which is required for optimal function.

Sensation

In medicine and physiology, sensation refers to the registration of an incoming (afferent) nerve impulse in that part of the brain called the sensorium, which is capable of such perception.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

TCM is the ancient art of balancing the body’s innate healing energy, Qi, through the use of acupuncture, herbs, bodywork, breath work, moxibustion, and exercise. A whole medical system was documented in China by the 3rd century B.C. TCM is based on a concept of vital energy, or qi, that is believed to flow throughout the body. TCM proposes that qi regulates a person’s spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical balance and is influenced by the opposing forces of yin (restorative energy) and yang (expressive energy). Disease is proposed to result from the flow of qi being disrupted and yin and yang becoming unbalanced. Among the components of TCM are herbal and nutritional therapy, restorative physical exercises, meditation, acupuncture, and Tui Na massage.

Yin

A relative term (in relation to Yang) associated with the more substantial parts of our being and of nature. Yin is associated with the feminine, nourishment, dark, moist, coolness, substantial, and being rooted or grounded. In a word, yin is calm. In the traditional TaiJi symbol, yin is represented by the black swirl.

Yang

A relative term (in relation to Yin) associated with the more energetic parts of our being and nature. Yang is associated with the masculine, life-force, energy, brightness, warmth, the ethereal, and rising up. In a word yang is active. In the traditional TaiJi symbol, yang is represented by the white swirl.