Does Auricular Acupuncture Really Work In Treating Substance Addictions?

It is believed that acupuncture was created by the Chinese and it entails the sticking of needles into the skin in various parts of the body. Acupuncture is used as an alternative and adjunctive therapy for certain mental and physical maladies, including alcohol and drug addiction.

For a few thousand years, the Chinese have been using acupuncture as a main mode of treatment for common and not-so-common ailments. Some European countries have been using it for centuries. In the US it has become a common practice since the 1970’s.

How Acupuncture Works

Ear or auricular acupuncture is a form of acupuncture that is widely used to help people recover from addiction. It is the most popular type of acupuncture used to assist people with addiction.

In this type of treatment, the acupuncturist penetrates a filiform needle into the ear of a person. The ear acupoints needled include the:

1. The Sympathetic or Autonomic Point – This acupoint promotes soothing and relaxation of the nervous system.
2. Shen Men Point – Also called the “spirit gate,” this point reduces anxiety.
3. Kidney Point – Relieves fears and heals vital organs.
4. Liver Point – Curbs aggression and eliminates toxins from the blood and liver.
5. Lung Point – Ameliorates feelings of grief and boosts the function of the lungs.

Acupuncture works on the notion that there are energy pathways within a person’s body called meridians that’s spread throughout it. Stimulating these energy pathways enhances the flow of life energy (Qi) and when Qi flows freely and smoothly, the organs function in a healthy and efficient way.

Can Acupuncture Help With Addiction?

Acupuncture is a very inexpensive and safe way to address addiction. It can benefit people suffering from substance addiction when it’s used alongside with other modes of therapy, such as support groups, group counseling, and individual therapy.

Acupuncture advocators claim that the therapy can:

• Help normalize sleep
• Lower stress and anxiety
• Help normalize the emotions of a person
• Relieve physical pain
• Alleviate unpleasant withdrawal symptoms
• Augment patient retention in rehab
• Help lessen cravings

The Effects of Auricular Acupuncture on Drug Use

How acupuncture actually works still confounds modern science although it is suspected that the treatment affects the brain’s dopaminergic system. The continued use of drugs are positively reinforced by the drugs themselves by bringing about euphoric and pleasurable feelings; conversely, the drugs cause dependency and dysphoria through the withdrawal symptoms of the person. In theory, acupuncture helps promote pleasure and relaxation to the person (positive reinforcement) and helps reduce the cravings and withdrawal symptoms of the person which can help reduce the person’s use of drugs.

By decreasing the level of dopamine released when the addictive substance is used, acupuncture is believed to lessen the substance’s positive reinforcement properties. The person is less inclined to use the drug in the future without the dopamine surge that diminishes the “buzz” or “high” of the person.

Acupuncture treatments are known to significantly reduce the drugs’ withdrawal properties, such as distress and dysphoria, that serve to negatively reinforce the continual use of the drug (since the person can also suppress withdrawal by continuing the use of the drug), by enhancing the levels of dopamine and curbing GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) neurons. This dopamine surge into the brain’s nucleus accumbens can neutralize withdrawal symptoms and uplift mood.

Studies on Acupuncture Treatment for Addiction

There are mixed results as to the efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of addiction. The treatment also seems to work better in treating certain substance addictions than others.

• Clinical trials indicate that acupuncture helps lessen alcohol the symptoms of withdrawal in rats, that could help spur the potential for future studies in humans burdened with alcohol addiction.
• Additional research has failed to identify any positive correlation between cocaine addiction and acupuncture treatment.
• One study showed that acupuncture can relieve the withdrawal symptoms of opioid substances. However, the therapy wasn’t effective for people suffering from cocaine and alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Self-Reports From Users

One study documented the reports of users who have undergone auricular acupuncture treatment. A lot of these people experienced certain benefits along with negativities with this type of treatment. The benefits included:

Positive physical effects

• Peacefulness
• Enhanced wellbeing
• Relaxation
• Anxiety relief
• Reduced substance abuse

The negativities they encountered included:

• Short term effects
• Physically distracting
• Need for another person to be administered
• Not strong enough to reduce cravings
• Time-consuming

Notwithstanding the conflicting evidence, a lot of individuals argue that acupuncture has helped them while they were recovering from alcohol or drug addiction. Because of its minimal side effects and being quite safe to use, acupuncture as an adjunct type of addiction treatment seems to have little risk.

Acupuncture’s Use in Addiction Therapy Programs

Holistic therapy clinics focus on treating the whole individual by enhancing his/her spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health. Compared to medication, counseling and other conventional and mainstream therapies, the treatments provided at these rehab clinics are considered alternatives.

Acupuncture is usually integrated into the treatment programs of these holistic centers. It can be included in the customized plan of treatment plan of a person to address his/her specific needs for his/her mental health and recovery.

In treating substance addiction in Bellingham, auricular acupuncture is not effective enough to be used as a standalone treatment. It is often accompanied by other complementary or alternative recovery treatment plans, like yoga, exercise programs, nutritional counseling, meditation, music or art therapy or mainstream therapies like 12-step programs, psychotherapy, or group counseling.

Group and Individual Therapies

Auricular acupuncture is widely used by treatment facility staff certified in the NADA (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association) protocol. This type of protocol is a standardized acupuncture way of treatment and provides acupuncture training to mental and medical health professionals. The NADA protocol usually lasts for half an hour or so while, the person is relaxing. In the procedure, needles are stuck into five predetermined acupoints in the person’s ear.

The Uses, Procedures, And Benefits of Cupping Therapy

An ancient Chinese medicine procedure, cupping therapy involves the application of rounded cups over a part of the body. The cups are placed upside-down on the skin and a suction effect holds them to the skin. The suction causes a stimulating effect on the flow of blood and energy in the treated part of the body.

The Uses of Cupping Therapy

In general, cupping therapy is used to alleviate various kinds of ailments like muscle soreness and pain, inflammation, and to accelerate the self healing process of the body.

For the last decade, cupping has become wildly popular in the world of sports for the healing and recovery of stiff joints and sore muscles among others.

Swimmer Michael Phelps is one of the more high profile athletes who have had the procedure prior to performing in the Rio Olympics.

According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), cupping activates the circulation of qi or chi (vital energy) and helps rectify imbalances caused by an injury or illness. Several TCM practitioners combine cupping with Chinese massage (Tui Na) and/or acupuncture, the other TCM modalities utilized to stimulate or activate acupuncture points.

What Occurs During a Cupping Therapy Procedure?

During a cupping procedure, a TCM healer may put into a cup, alcohol or herbs and then light up that substance. As the flame slowly burns out, the healer rapidly places the cup upside-down on the body where energy channels connected to the ailment are located in order to treat the ailment.

The procedure can also be administered through the use of an electrical or mechanical vacuum pump. The cup is attached to the pump and placed upside down on the skin while the pump is turned on to generate the suction.

For about five to ten minutes, the cups are left attached to the body causing the blood vessels to dilate and strengthen blood and qi flow. The other benefits of cupping include the opening up of the pores of the skin and the detoxification of the body.

In another cupping technique called “wet cupping,” the practitioner punctures the skin before the cups are applied to the skin. This causes some bleeding which is believed to help remove toxins from the body quickly and much more efficiently during the cupping procedure.

Does Cupping Really Work?

Currently, only poor quality clinical studies have been done to scientifically test the benefits of cupping therapy for any health condition.

A 2009 review, for example, assessed seven clinical trials that tested whether cupping therapy can improve the conditions of patient suffering from cancer pain and low back pain; although the results showed significant improvements from the patients treated with cupping therapy, the reviewers did not find the proof adequate enough of the treatment’s efficacy, because according to them, the studies were of poor quality.

In 2010, another study review was published that showed researchers analyzing five studies that used cupping therapy for stroke rehabilitation. Two of the studies reveal that cupping provided certain benefits to stroke patients like strengthening the muscles and alleviating shoulder pain; however the authors of the review still saw that cupping was not effective enough in stroke rehabilitation.

Possible Side Effects

The side effects of cupping therapy may include swelling, pain, and in some cases, burn. The procedure can also leave circular bruises or round purple marks on the skin; after several days, these marks start to diminish although they may remain on the skin for two weeks or more.

Cupping treatment shouldn’t be administered on parts of the body where the skin is inflamed, irritated, or broken.

Some of the rare after effects that can occur from this procedure include skin pigmentation, panniculitis, keloids, iron deficiency anemia, thrombocytopenia, and acquired hemophilia A.


Despite the fact that clinical studies have failed to sufficiently prove the efficacy of cupping in treating ailments, more and more people are willing to try it due mainly after seeing movie and TV celebrities, like Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston and high-profile Olympic athletes like Michael Phelps sporting the trademark purple bruises of cupping. Before trying out the therapy, be sure to first talk to your doctor or primary healthcare provider to discuss whether it’s appropriate for you and to weigh the pros and cons of the treatment.

Thrive Wellness Center
1244 S Federal Hwy
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
Phone: (954) 713-6118

The Different Classifications of Chinese Herbs

Chinese herbology or Chinese herbal medicine is a means of therapy that has been practiced for thousands of years. This procedure has been used to address a wide range of diseases over the years. Most of the Chinese herbs that are used today have been tested over time and are derived from various fruits, roots, and plants. These days, modern science is borrowing a lot from these herbs to create new drugs for many health conditions that they had no answer to before.

Five Tastes

The herbs under this classification are further categorized according to taste. They include salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and pungent. Sweet herbs are utilized to bring about harmony in the body while bitter herbs aid in the elimination of excessive body heat. Pungent herbs are known to raise vitality by boosting metabolism. Each specific taste influences a specific bodily function and therefore can stimulate a unique healing effect on the body.

Four Natural

Chinese herbs have four natural classifications. They include hot, warm, cool, and cold. Under this classification, the herbs are designed to bring back natural temperature in the body by modifying internal temperature. The four natural classifications are further classified as ‘yin’ (cold) and ‘yang’ (hot). For example a person with colds, will be treated with herbs that have yang (warming) properties.


The energy channel of the herb is associated with the organ system of the body that the herb is designed to affect. Some herbs are used to target the blood vessels, some the kidneys, lungs, heart, etc. A practitioner will use an herbal formula that specifically targets an affected organ system.

Herbal practitioners strive to utilize the various classifications to optimally treat the patient. They may either use the herbs that have the appropriate meridian, nature, and taste or mix the herbs together to address the specific needs of the patient. Chinese medicine still uses various ancient Chinese herbs that are now borrowed heavily and oftentimes synthesized by modern Western medicine. Listed below are some of these ancient Chinese herbs:

1. Cinnamon – In TCM (traditional Chinese medicine), cinnamon is called ‘gui shi.’ It is an herb that helps add warmth in the body and thus is classified as a yang herb. Cinnamon also affects the blood system and is believed to help resolve many blood related conditions. It also treats allergies conditions basically associated with the circulatory system.

2. Mushrooms – Mushrooms have wide medicinal applications and is used in many communities all over the world. Western modern medicine has discovered that mushrooms possess immunity boosting qualities and is presently used in the creation of various new drugs.

3. Ginseng – Having been used for millennia, ginseng is classified as sweet and is utilized to significantly raise the energy of people who have been weakened by illness. This herb has an active ingredient known as ginsenosides that is known to help alleviate stress. There are different species of Ginseng. The Red Panax Ginseng is quite common while wild Ginseng is quite rare and a bit expensive. They all are used to address many types of illnesses including hot flashes, sweating problems, fever, and constipation.

Dr. Vickery is a licensed acupuncturist in Tarzana, CA., and the founder and clinical director of Vickery Health and Wellness.

Providing Acupressure Treatment For Your Animal Friends

More and more animal owners seeking ways to help their furry family members live happier, healthier, and longer lives are turning to holistic therapies for animals such as acupressure. Those animal lovers are at the forefront of demanding more options for their pets. This shift in viewpoint challenges veterinarians to consider alternative modalities other than the western medicine paradigm they learned in veterinary school. To their credit, a lot of veterinarians are responding.

Acupressure has been used for ages in China to help maintain the well-being and health of farm animals. In our modern age, a great number of classes, books, and programs are offered for people who want to learn about this healing art. Using the same principle as acupuncture, acupressure uses the hands to manipulate the pressure points instead of needles. In Eastern medicine, every creature born possesses a certain amount of energy or Chi. This Chi gradually becomes exhausted due to age, trauma, injury, and illness. To restore the expended Chi, Acupressure is used to activate specific pressure points on the body.

When an acupressure point is stimulated, it releases endorphins, helps relax the body, relieves pain, and increases the transport of oxygen-free and new blood into an ailing part of the body to supply nutrients in the body and cleanse out toxins. Acupressure is an ideal therapy when it’s used as a preventative measure to maintain well being and health. Depending on the animal being treated the number of “maintenance sessions” the practitioner administers on the animal vary, although for a healthy animal, it is usually about one session every one to four weeks. The number of sessions will be based on the type of condition being treated, genetics, lifestyle, age, and health of the animal. Acupressure can be used to alleviate certain chronic and acute conditions.

Typical Acupressure Treatment

Observing the animal patient

Initially the practitioner will observe the gut sounds, posture, and movement of the animal and take note of the patterns and marks on the body using these as either signs of health or of a specific problem. Then the practitioner will ask permission from the animal to perform an acupressure procedure. The practitioner does this by softly touching and speaking to the animal so that it becomes relaxed and gives the practitioner its permission. The next phase of the treatment is the Opening, in which the practitioner runs his/her hand from the animal’s eye to its hind foot along a chi channel known as the Bladder Meridian. This activates the flow of energy in the whole body of the animal and prepares it for the actual Treatment phase. The type of treatment for each animal will be unique and customized based on its problem. The goal of the treatment is to heal and balance the health of the animal. The final phase of treatment is called the Closing and is similar to the opening, wherein the practitioner gives a long stroke from the animal’s eye to its hind foot. This helps the animal feel refreshed and relaxed. Based on the animal and its problem, a session of acupressure may last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.

For alternative cooperative and holistic therapies like Aromatherapy, Massage, Reiki, or Acupressure, you may start to realize personal discoveries that usually rely on you and your practitioner’s intuition instead of scientific theory or logical processes. This is the reason a lot of holistic treatments do not meet the criteria of scientific proof in order for them to be considered viable and bona fide treatments from the viewpoint of modern medicine even though they have shown to work on a lot of people and animals.

Holistic animal treatments such as acupressure are rewarding and exciting fields of study for people seeking to improve the well being and health of their animal friend.

Thrive Wellness Center
2499 Glades Rd #305a
Boca Raton, FL 33431
Phone: (561) 416-4391

Moxibustion To Eliminate The Symptoms And Underlying Cause of Frozen Shoulder

As clinical studies have confirmed, a combination of moxibustion and acupuncture treatment for Frozen Shoulder works extremely well and many people are curious as to how the treatment actually achieves this. In their western medical viewpoint, modern medical doctors are actually at a loss as to what exactly causes frozen shoulder and if they don’t how the condition arises, their modes of treatment are practically ineffective. Frozen shoulder’s most intriguing aspect is that the sufferer usually has no history of injury. This has made researchers pause to believe that its cause may be due to an auto immune problem. However the researchers still don’t know why the problem tends correct itself after 1½ years or so without requiring any medical intervention.

Over a thousand years ago, classical Chinese medicine texts have described frozen shoulder and its symptoms. This disorder was called by various names, including “Old Woman’s Shoulder” or ‘100 Years old shoulder”.

It’s interesting to note that statistics gathered by western medical researchers reveal that women tend to be more affected by frozen shoulder than men. This was also observed by ancient Chinese physicians hundreds of years ago. Actually, treatment of this condition in women is different to men. Unlike Western conventional medicine, Chinese medicine does not follow the “one size fits all” approach in which steroid shots are the standard for both male or female, and young and old alike.

The aim of Boynton Beach acupuncturists in treating frozen shoulder is to bring back harmony to the yin and yang forces of the body. In Chinese medicine, frozen shoulder is essentially a problem in the balance between yin and yang. Western medical studies have actually supported the traditional Chinese medicine perspective of frozen shoulder.

Western medical doctors have observed that their patients during cold weather report their shoulder pain gets worse. This is especially true when the weather changes to extreme cold all of a sudden. Frozen shoulder, according to Chinese medicine, is the result of external cold weather piercing through the shoulder joint and building up there eventually “freezing” up the joint.

This condition, according to Western medicine, is due to a lack of synovial fluid that lubricates the shoulder blade and upper arm. This is congruent to Chinese medicine theory stating that the watery yin fluids have either dried up or become depleted brought about by a history of flu and fever.

Frozen shoulder pain also tends to get worse at night. In Chinese medicine, this may be due to a blood and energy flow blockage that escalates at night due to inactivity and sleeping.

Western medicine treatments for frozen shoulder include regular moving and stretching exercises. In Chinese medicine, practitioners simply go about rectifying the obvious: eliminating the build-up of cold with moxibustion heat therapy.

In moxibustion therapy, yu zhu and other yin moistening Chinese herbs and fluid building acupoints are used to nourish the yin fluids.

Acupoints that are known to boost blood flow and mobilize energy are used to expel the blockage that causes the increased pain at night. Cupping is specifically used to In particular cupping is used enhance the circulation of blood.

Additional acupoints are used for women suffering from frozen shoulder to benefit and normalize their hormone system. To further accelerate healing and increase mobilization, Tui Na massage may also be used.

The Many Advantages of Using TCM Herbal Remedies

Also known as alternative medicine, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a very important component of today’s health care system. Many of TCM’s treatments are used to alleviate dozens of symptoms, resolve various disorders, and even lessen the growth of cancerous cells. Two of TCM’s most important modalities, herbal therapy and acupuncture offer people the chance of an active, healthy life.

TCM, for thousands of years, has been deemed to be one of the most effective and versatile therapies for many ailments. These days, many people all around the world believe in the powers of this healing system, and because of the Internet, are able to make an informed decision on the subject.

Compared to modern Western medicine, Chinese medicine is a lot different in its philosophical concepts and is based on age-old beliefs that originated in China. Practitioners of Chinese medicine believe that treating the whole person is essential in order to restore vitality and give the body what it needs to become balanced and harmonious. Different types of modalities are utilized and millions of people aver that Chinese medicine has made their life much better.

With the help of traditional Chinese medicine, the body’s normal function can be very well maintained. Herbal treatments, acupuncture, and massage are utilized and are well presented online, explaining their recommended uses and specific advantages. To appreciate how TCM works, it is crucial that people understand the concept of yin and yang as well as the existence of vital energy or Chi (Qi) in the human body.

Chinese herbal medicine is perhaps the most important component of traditional Chinese medicine. This form of healing modality can help restore the body into wellness and health in a natural way. There is a huge variety of herbal ingredients used to help restore balance to the human body and many of these ingredients are commonly used around the world due to their potency, availability, safety, and usefulness. Chinese herbal therapy has specialists that still follow very old and rarely modified traditions. The herbs they use possess diverse agents that fortify and strengthen the body that are combined into a formula to address the specific needs and constitution of the patient.

You can research a wide variety of Chinese herbs on the Internet to find out what herbs work best for you and it is essential that you read about them. You’ll find natural herbs that can help improve digestion, enhance relaxation, and boost the health of the skin and hair. There are also a lot of herbs that can help treat female and male sexual disorders and herbs that can help alleviate mental and physical ailments as well as pain.

Because it is a safe and natural healing alternative for diseases and disorders, Traditional Chinese medicine has been the subject of controversies brought about by the profit-driven Western pharmaceutical and Western medical cartel. They accuse TCM as being mostly placebo and that it follows a pseudo-scientific method. Some even say that the herbs have no therapeutic value whatsoever while others report that they generate negative side effects. As a result, herbal medicine has been marginalized and people end up being misinformed. Thankfully, the Internet is able to give this major branch of alternative medicine a chance to fairly present itself and as a result, people are much able to comprehend the incredible benefits and importance of its products. The fact is most of the pharmaceutical products manufactured and used today by Western medicine are derived from these herbal products.

Chinese herbs and their uses have long been studied by scientists. What they have discovered is that these herbs have extremely potent effects, providing the body with essential vitamins and minerals that help raise the energy levels of the body. Many of the herbs are widely known for tonifying and reducing stress levels in the body. Chinese green tea, for example, helps restore vitality and millions of people around the world go to the Internet to purchase these products.

The World Wide Web has given us a chance to know, access, and purchase a wide variety of Chinese herbal products. They are used for different purposes, as each herb may possess one or more health-enhancing benefits. Some herbs can help you lose weight as they can provide you with extra energy to exercise or help suppress your appetite. Herbal remedies that are very popular are sold as tea, pills, tablets, or capsules. They may lessen mood swings or stimulate the nervous system or, on the contrary, may bring about a pleasant state of relaxation.

You may be able to find a Chinese medicine treatment for every ailment known to man. All around the world, people believe in this treatment and prefer it over the dangerous modalities offered by Western conventional medicine.

Amy-SuiQun Lui, L.Ac.
Asian Health Center
27059 Grand Army of the Republic Hwy
Cleveland, OH 44143
Tel: (440) 833-0983

The Reasons Why Chinese People Tend To Live Healthier Longer Lives

Research has shown that in the West, more and more younger people are getting sick and some, even dying, due to man-made maladies brought on by unhealthy diets, mindsets, and habits. It seems that a better respect and understanding for the human system has been accumulated by the Chinese that have allowed them to live healthier and longer lives. Listed below are the basic reasons why this is so:

1. For the Chinese, food is not looked on as an enemy; however, in the West, where food is abundant, the fashion industry has bred societies of malnourished women. The Chinese consider food not as a way to gain excess weight but as merely as a way to attain basic nourishment.

2. The Chinese also utilize food as medicine and prefer it more to toxic pharmaceutical drugs for the curing of ailments. For example, to facilitate digestion or cure colds, chili and garlic are used as a means to counteract toxins.

3. These people also have been the greatest promoters of Green Tea, an herbal remedy famous for neutralizing the harmful effects of free radicals that’s believed to damage cells, accelerate aging, and cause cancer.

4. In the West, exercise is seen as something tedious and difficult to do and thus should be avoided like the plague. On the other hand, the Chinese emphasize passive exercises like tai chi, an extremely gentle activity that does not run counter to the natural tendencies and rhythm of the human body. This exercise is appropriate for all ages due to its gentle and slow movements and can be done anywhere. Tai chi’s easy pace also de-clutters the mind and uplifts the spirit. It is done not so much as to rectify the harm done by overeating but as a way to maintain a natural balance between the body and the mind.

5. The Chinese usually eat until they’re comfortably full and satiated. Most people in the West either eat too little or too much. When our personal aims aren’t based on satisfaction and health, we oftentimes follow the whims of the diet industry where profit rather than health is its primary goal.

6. The typical American diet tends to be a bit dry and the liquids ingested are alcohol and sugary soda drinks or fruit juices. At every meal, the Chinese have a soup-based dish packed with nutrients that can help prevent the tendency to overeat and to fill the stomach before the meal proper.

7. In Chinese nutritional therapy, vegetables play a very important role in health, way above carbohydrates (rice, potatoes, etc.) and protein (pork, chicken, beef, etc.). They are considered meals themselves.

8. Compared to the processed foods served in the West, on a typical Chinese table, foods served are usually a lot fresher. This means that they get more nutritional value from their foods compared to the genetically modified organisms offered by the food industry that has no nutritional value whatsoever can even be dangerous to your health when consumed. Unfortunately, the Chinese government is now also one of the biggest producers of GMO products in the world today.

9. Compared to people in the West, especially in the States who often eat a lot of calories and are usually not active, the Chinese on the whole, are a lot fitter and slimmer. They tend to eat foods that are richer in nutrients than calories and so they hardly have any issue with their weight and overall health.

10. The word calorie has no equivalent in the Chinese language.

Ni Nan Healing Art Center
2579 Merrick Rd
Bellmore, NY 11710
(516) 442-7408

The Liberating Effects of Chua-Ka Massage

Chua-Ka is a type of Mongolian massage that is most similar to Tui Na massage. It is a deep tissue type of physiotherapy and is used to free tension and trapped pain in the body whilst liberating the mind and soul of its associated preoccupations and fears. Therefore, this type massage can be used to relieve psychological tensions as well as physical ailments.

According to the philosophy underlying Chua-ka, human beings are born supple and smooth. As we age, this suppleness and smoothness slowly disappear; painful spiritual, mental, and physical memories accumulate; and metabolic waste products deposits build up in our bodies. In Oriental medicine, the mind and body are one; everything that occurs in the mind is manifested in the body and vice versa.

Chua-ka massage works by liberating both the mind and body of these accumulated memories and wastes, which leads to a better sense of awareness and improved health. On your first visit, your Chua-ka therapist will take a history of your lifestyle, diet, and health. This is needed in order to come up with a plan of treatment that will address your specific needs.

During the massage therapy itself, your therapist will utilize certain thumb techniques in order to massage the deep tissues of your body. He may also apply smooth long strokes that help stimulate your circulatory system and facilitate the restoration of elasticity of your skin. The therapy is deep yet extremely gentle resulting in an overall sense of well-being.

During the massage, towels are used to provide warmth and comfort. For people who desire to experience improved health and greater self-awareness, Chua-ka is the best type of massage therapy to consider. It is quite effective for the following issues:

• Stress and associated symptoms
• Cellulite
• Digestive disorders
• Headaches and migraines
• Insomnia
• PMS (premenstrual syndrome)
• Muscle pain
• Back pain

Thrive Wellness Center is an acupuncture clinic in Boca Raton, FL providing Chinese medicine treatments for many health conditions.

The Force Of Tai Chi

The earliest mention of the Great Ultimate or Tai Chi was in the Book of Change or I-Ching. According to legend, it was the Zhou dynasty’s first emperor, Zhou Wen Wang, who wrote it. Thus, I-Ching is also referred to as Zhou-Yi.

In Chinese, the “I” in I Ching means ‘change’ and hence as its name implies, the I-Ching asserts that life is a never ending series of changes. It is derived from the Chinese characters of the sun and the moon that respectively symbolizes yang and yin (positive and negative).

The I Ching has a passage that states, “The Great Ultimate has Changes that brings about the Two Elements. From the Two Elements comes the Four Phenomena while from the Four Phenomena comes the Eight Hexagrams, etc.”

The Great Ultimate or Tai Chi actually means the genesis, the beginning, or the earliest of all things and events. Some ancient Chinese people refer to it as the Universe.

In the I Ching, there is a part that says “The Way is the one yin and one yang.” This implies that everything and every event that has occurred, is occurring, and will occur in the universe, is due to the united and yet opposing energies of yin and yang.

This explains why Tai Chi engenders the Two Elements of yin and yang. If you carefully observe a Tai Chi diagram, which in Chinese, is referred to as the Two-Fishes diagram, you would see a circle separated into two equal sections. Tai Chi represents the circle, which is the entire Universe, and within this circle, there is the Yin and Yang or the Two Elements.

In Tai Chi, the separation of yin and yang implies the Universe has two opposing elements, which is symbolized by the black (yin) section and white (yang) section. However, the separation is a curved and not a straight separation implying that the two contrasting forces actually complement each other that helps to shape a whole circle.

Initially, this suggests that while these opposing forces are divided – they are also united in a manner that brings about a total completion or wholeness. The united and at the same time, opposing energies of yin and yang form the foundation of the philosophy of I-Ching. The concepts of I-Ching are used in Tai Chi, with the yin and yang forces being the most basic concepts to illustrate both the world’s meta-physical and physical aspects.

Secondarily, the curved separation implies that the Universe is in fluctuating balance or more specifically, the yin and yang elements in the Universe are in fluctuating balance. This is reflected in the I-Ching that states “The yang comes into being, when the yin becomes extreme and vice versa”.

Observe again the I-Ching diagram. If you go in a right direction around the diagram, you will notice that as one element grows more and more and attains its peak and the other elements start to grow in place. For instance, moving along the black side’s diameter, you may notice that the black becomes bigger and bigger and then suddenly decreases and the white this time starts to grow bigger and bigger then suddenly shrinks. This implies that as one force becomes extreme, the other force will start to grow.

Its Meaning in Life

In life, the dynamic behind yin and yang interaction simply means we need to have balance in all aspects of our lives, and not only applied on one or just a few. We need to have balance between the spiritual and material, between friends and family, between personal life and work, etc. The list is long. If not, disharmony will rule our lives.

Thirdly, within the Tai Chi diagram, the decreasing and growing changes of yin and yang suggests that a person’s life is in constant flux and this implies there is constant shift between low and high, sadness and happiness, sorrow and joy, bad and good, etc. In I-Ching, this is the principle of dualism.

There are always dual principles at play in all things and events. In life, there is no such thing as absolute bad or absolute good. What really matters is the amount of bad or good.

For instance, just because someone has no bad quality in him means that he/she is completely good or if a person has no good quality means that he/she has never done any ‘good’ at all. At some point in time, a “good” person may have done small bad deeds, and sometimes, a bad person may have acted or have performed small good deeds.

Also there may also be a negative side to some good things and conversely, some bad things may have positive sides in them. It all boils down to how we perceive the situation. This essentially is the meaning of the dualistic principles in I-Ching.

Going forward, each element in the I-Ching diagram contains a dot that is opposite its color. The white section has a black dot while the black section has a white dot. What does this mean? According to the I-Ching, From the Two Elements come the Four Phenomena. This verse implies that there is always an element of yang within the element of yin and within the element yang can be found some elements of yin as well.

It’s Importance in Life

The dot with an opposing color to a force it is in means that there always will be some opposing aspects in any things or events. Thus, in bad, there always will be some element of good and some good in bad, just like there’s some yang in the yin and yin in the yang. This is most clearly observed in sports where someone will win while others will lose. In good news, there will some bad news within, within joy, there’s some amount of sorrow, among winning, there’s also losing, etc.

People will always experience a blend of high and low, victory and defeat, joy and sadness, and good and bad in their lives. In life, positive and negative always come in one package.

If we want to truly learn in life, we need to give and take – and acknowledge the nature of life for what it is. Graciously and bravely accept the bad and revel in the good things. Doing so will help us live a more harmonious and balanced life.

The yin and yang principle of Tai Chi became a significant influence to the ancient Chinese. It was eventually integrated into their lifestyle, arts, religion, art of war, medicine, theories and philosophy. It has also become a part of Daoism, which some erroneously claim is where Tai Chi actually sprang from. The reverse is actually true.

Knowing the concepts of I-Ching can help people better understand and appreciate the nature of life itself which can help them face daily challenges and chores in a much more manageable and balanced way. Wishing you good fortune, harmony and success in your life and to paraphrase Obi-Wan-Kenobi, may the Force of Tai Chi be with you…always!

Nelya de Brun is a licensed acupuncturist in Boynton Beach, FL., practicing acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and Western medical pathology. She is also the founder of Classical Oriental Medicine, LLC.

Some Things To Know And Consider In Auriculotherapy

More popularly known as ear acupuncture, auriculotherapy uses the principles underlying acupuncture to certain points on the ear. According to auriculotherapists, the self healing functions of the body can be stimulated by the needling of specific points on the ear, as the ear holds lots of nerve endings and tiny capillaries that, when stimulated, impacts the functions of the body and organs.


Acupuncture originated in ancient China and is one of the world’s most ancient therapies. Ancient texts of Chinese medicine tell of specific massage procedures and acupuncture points for the ear. During ancient times, gold or silver earrings were sometimes recommended for eye problems to furnish continuous therapeutic stimulation at acupoints on the auricle or outer ear, a healing tradition that is still administered in some parts of the globe, including some regions in Europe. Both ancient Greeks and Egyptians prescribe to the belief that applying certain treatment to the ears could affect health. The father of medicine, Hippocrates, spoke of a point on the ear that could be surgically manipulated as a form of birth control measure. In the Middle Ages, European physicians recommended surgery on a specific part on the ear for an ailment known as sciatica that generates nerve pain in the thighs and hips.

In 1957, a French doctor named Paul Nogier published his work, Treatise of Auriculotherapy. In his work, he laid out a complex map of acupuncture points on the ear that conform to the processes and organs in the body. According to Dr. Nogier, the ear has a shape like that of an inverted human fetus, and the ear acupoints conform to the parts of the body of the shape of the fetus with the head represented by the earlobe. Nogier believed that when these ear acupoints are stimulated, the bodily processes and organs associated with them would be stimulated by neural pulses. By quantifying the pulses of electricity on the skin of the ear, Nogier believed that conditions can be uncovered in the internal organs, which means that auriculotherapy can be utilized to diagnose health conditions. Nogier and his supporters, including ear acupuncturists in China and America, performed clinical studies in auriculotherapy, and revealed certain surprising and major outcomes in both diagnosis and treatment of conditions.

The Benefits of Auriculotherapy

Auriculotherapy is a non-invasive, low-priced, and quick form of pain management and relief. During medical procedures, this practice is sometimes also used as anesthesia. It can help people overcome alcohol, tobacco, and drug addictions, and it works in the treatment of chronic diseases and health conditions.

The Treatment Process

Auriculotherapists first interview and then examine the patient before proceeding to the treatment itself. During the treatment, the therapist will examine the ears of the patient thoroughly. Then the therapist will use his hands to feel or palpate the patient’s ears to see if they have painful spots or irregularities. The therapist may look for areas that are numb or insensitive through the use of hot or cold needles on the ear. He may also avail of electrical instruments that measure skin resistance at ear acupoints.

During auriculotherapy, various other forms of treatment may be also used. The needles used are usually very thin. The treatment usually requires the use of more than one needle and it can be slightly inserted or inserted deeply along the folds of the ear. On certain acupoints, the therapist/practitioner may slant or twist the needles to increase the healing effects of the treatment. The needles are left in the patient’s ears for a few minutes to around 40 minutes or more.

There are auriculotherapists who may use permanent press needles. These needles are shaped like a tack and are small. They are sometimes taped to the ear where they will remain for a number of days to a few weeks. Those permanent press needles are used for problems such as longstanding (chronic infections and addictions.

Electroacupuncture is one type of acupuncture that is also used by auriculotherapists occasionally. Electroacupuncture involves the use of electrical gadgets that generate and transmit mild electrical pulses through the body or in the ear. It has been shown to work for various types of conditions including chronic pain, alcohol and drug addiction, and nerve damage or paralysis in the body. Some auriculotherapists also use a bleeding type of procedure in which one to two drops of blood are removed from specific acupoints on the ear. This technique is used for heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and other types of health problems.


Like all forms of acupuncture, auriculotherapy, should never be administered on exhausted or weak individuals and neither on people who have just drunk alcohol or eaten a meal or are very hungry. This treatment should not be performed on pregnant women during the first six months of their pregnancy. After six months, these women can be allowed to undergo the treatment but only on very specific acupoints on the ear to alleviate and control pain. Children below seven years of age should not be given this treatment and extreme care should be taken when performing this procedure on elderly patients. Ear acupuncture is also contraindicated for people with anemia (low red blood cell count). Before treatment, patients with nervous problems need to be calmed down and relaxed. Acupressure and ear massage may be a better form of treatment for people who find acupuncture scary or painful.

Side effects

There are some side effects in acupuncture treatment. One common side effect is the discomforting feeling people experience during or after treatment. Other side effects of acupuncture that may be experienced post treatment include sharp pains on some parts of the body, profuse sweating, headaches, numbness, nausea, dizziness, and fainting. These responses can be the result of acupuncture needles being inserted into the wrong area or inserted too deeply or it can be due to anxiety. Taking out the needles and/or telling the patient to lie down can help allay these side effects. Other side effects that may be felt during treatment include a faster pulse and hot flashes. Some of the symptoms may increase but this is only very temporary and they typically vanish rapidly.

Ni Nan Healing Art Center
2579 Merrick Rd
Bellmore, NY 11710
(516) 442-7408

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