Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine
Acupuncture is evidence-based complimentary alternative medicine with a five thousand year history of development. It can enhance your health by reducing pain or restoring mobility. Acupuncture can be simply symptom-oriented, or comprehensive, addressing your overall constitution and identifying imbalances at the beginning of a continuum that, if neglected, can lead to disease.
Feel better, have more energy, understand your health condition from an Eastern perspective, and prevent disease.
After taking antibiotics, I didn't feel much improvement, but it was after Donna's acupuncture that I felt a shift in my energy and started getting better.
~ Lynda Aubrey
Here's how Worker's Comp defines acupuncture:
(Quote from :Title 8. Industrial Relations Division 1. Department of Industrial Relations Chapter 4.5. division of Workers' Compensation "Section 9792.21) (A) Definitions:
(i) "Acupuncture" is used as an option when pain medication is reduced or not tolerated, it may be used as an adjunct to physical rehabilitation and/or surgical intervention to hasten functional recovery. It is the insertion and removal of filiform needles to stimulate acupuncture points. Needles may be inserted, manipulated and retained for a period of time. Acupuncture can be used to reduce pain, reduce inflammation by decreasing swelling, increase blood flow, increase range of motion, decrease the side effect of medication-induced nausea, promote relaxation in an anxious patient, and reduce muscle spasm.
(ii) Acupuncture with electrical stimulation is the use of electrical current (micro-amperage or milli-amperage) on the needles at the acupuncture site. It is used to increase the effectiveness of the needles by continuous stimulation of the acupoint. Physiological effects (depending on location and settings) can include endorphin release for pain relief, reduction of inflammation, increased blood circulation, analgesia through interruption of pain stimulus, and muscle relaxation. It is indicated to treat chronic pain conditions, radiating pain along a nerve pathway, muscle spasm, inflammation, scar tissue pain, and pain located in multiple sites."
Here's how the California Acupuncture Board defines it:
d) "Acupuncture" means the stimulation of a certain point or points on or near the surface of the body by the insertion of needles to prevent or modify the perception of pain or to normalize physiological functions, including pain control, for the treatment of certain diseases or dysfunctions of the body and includes the techniques of electro-acupuncture, cupping, and moxibustion.
4937. An acupuncturist's license authorizes the holder thereof: (a) To engage in the practice of acupuncture. (b) To perform or prescribe the use of Asian massage, acupressure, breathing techniques, exercise, heat, cold, magnets, nutrition, diet, herbs, plant, animal, and mineral products, and dietary supplements to promote, maintain, and restore health. Nothing in this section prohibits any person who does not possess an acupuncturist's license or another license as a healing arts practitioner from performing, or prescribing the use of any modality listed in this subdivision.
As Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) integrates into western healthcare, California Licensed Acupuncturists are trained to understand your western medical diagnosis while evaluating your health using Chinese diagnostics. By looking, listening, palpating and even observing body odors, licensed acupuncturists form a very individualized differential diagnosis that leads to a treatment plan and the selection of points and herbs to alleviate symptoms and reverse the disease process.
The diagnostic process is systematic and rational. Through a series of questions about how your body functions and what you are experiencing and by looking at your tongue and by assessing the quality of your radial pulses, the discerning practitioner recognizes your unique pattern of disease. This pattern differentiation is essential to good treatment and a successful outcome for you.
Acupuncture is just one modality within the broader heading of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Also included are moxibustion, tuina, cupping and guasha and Chinese herbology.
Acupuncture is the insertion of thin sterile disposable needles into specific points on the body to evoke a qi reaction. Donna likes to use needles ranging from .20 mm–.25 mm in diameter. These range in length from .5–2" and are inserted to depths appropriate to point location and underlying structures. Though your comfort is paramount, some points may evoke a stronger qi reaction.
Being the active sort, I found that after forty years, I'm beginning to experience a certain level of discomfort over time. I've tried various methods to alleviate the discomfort such as massage, chiropractic, etc. Although massage was able to soothe my aches and pains somewhat, I'm always open to new methods and treatments. During our annual vacations to Elk, California for the past 11 years and enjoying massage therapies from Donna Call, I recently found she had become a California certified licensed acupuncturist. Normally I would be very uncomfortable with sharp foreign objects in my person, but I've come to find Donna as a confident, qualified and knowledgeable individual. When she informed me and my wife of her knowledge and experiences with acupuncture, I decided to go for it. It was a very painless and relaxing experience and I knew I was in good hands. I sincerely felt better and more relaxed following my treatment. Now my only problem is finding someone of the same caliber in my local area.
~ Chris Yakligian
I've known Donna as a masseuse for years, so even though I'm afraid of needles I decided to try acupuncture. My results were great. Thanks, Donna!
~ Al Greenwood
"Qi" is difficult to define. Reputable writer on Chinese Medicine, Giovanni Maciocia states the character for Qi indicates that is something which is, at the same time material and immaterial (The Foundations of Chinese Medicine, page 35). Nonetheless, a simplistic definiton of qi is vital energy. This equates to the quantum energy that pulsates in every atom of living cells. Early Chinese mystics perceived a systematic organization of qi in the body, just as we perceive on a physical tangible plane, the organization of cells, tissues and organs. Qi moves in meridians or channels throughout the body and when qi flow is blocked, obstructed or moving out of its normal pathway or direction, this manifests as disease. A few years ago, Dr. Mehmet Oz on the Oprah Winfrey show, February 12, 2007, regarded acupuncture as being in the forefront of a new wave of energy medicine. Perhaps this hearkens to a future marked by an integration of TCM into standard medical healthcare. Nonetheless, the concept of qi at the essence of Chinese medicine, while escaping linear definition, is becoming a perceptibly understandable concept.
Moxibustion is applying heat to areas or points with the use of a formulation of warming herbs. Moxibustion moves and tonifies qi, improving function. The aroma of the herbs is pleasant, strong, and pungent, and I am lucky to be able to offer this modality to you in my coastal offices. Many of my colleagues in office buildings in the Bay Area cannot burn moxa because of the pungent aroma.
Tuina is Chinese Medical massage aimed at restoring function and reducing pain. With a 40 year history of providing therapeutic massage, I have been pleased to expand my skills with a style of massage that is result oriented—the result: your ease of movement and freedom from pain. With stress being a precursor to so many modern diseases, I am always happy to offer you a simply relaxing massage session in my office or in your home, with or without the inclusion of acupuncture.
“Donna brings something more to her practice than all of her training and knowledge: herself. She reminded me, once again that ‘It's the Singer, Not the Song’: her training is thorough and essential, but, literally, in someone else's hands, something else, and, I think, something less might have happened. Meeting her had synchroncity and grace written all over it.”
In Cupping, we create a vacuum within glass jars by introducing an ignited alcohol-saturated cotton ball into the cup, quickly removing it, then placing the cup in areas that need improved circulation. Opposite to pressing, cupping pulls skin upward, stimulating areas that are restricted by impeded circulation. Cupping is also used over points that “clear external wind”—feng fu and “tonify the lungs”—feishu, strengthening wei qi, defensive qi, boosting the immune system. Cups can leave marks that might last a couple of days. To alleviate this, we can apply oil first, and move the cups, stimulating circulation to underlying tissues and structures. Nowadays, plastic suction cups are easily used with equally good results.
Gua sha is an acupuncture physical therapy modality which also promotes circulation. Warm oils are massaged into the painful area, and then a coin or spoon is used to scrape the skin until it reddens. This mark may remain for a few days but the beneficial effect is recognizable by increased range of motion and less pain.
Chinese Herbal Medicine:
Chinese herbal medicine began approximately 5000 years ago. As the photos indicate, I look surprisingly energized (and admittedly a decade younger) and absolutely love this portion of the medicine. If your condition is not life threatening, there is a formula that can help you. Or, in conjunction with your western medical protocol, Chinese herbs offer support that might mitigate the side effects of the western pharmaceutical approach and improve energy level and quality of life. I took Chinese herbs to get through school, to balance the stress of commuting three and a half hours each way, and raising a family of four young children. When I first wanted to study acupuncture back in the eighties, people told me that I would have to study Chinese herbology and that portion of the program would be incredibly difficult. Yes, I had to study herbology, but I took to it like a fish to water. It probably helped that I had some background in raising a family on good nutrition and a rudimentary understanding of Western herbology. We studied 365 single Chinese herbs and 65 formulas for the California State Licensing Exam, but there are many more, and many variations and combinations based on your unique condition. Herbs are available in pill form, in granular form to be mixed with warm water, and as medicinal teas—strong tasting, but very effective.
To prepare an herbal tang:
Rinse and soak your bag of herbs for ten minutes. Depending on the size of your bag of herbs, add four to six cups of water. Bring to a boil in a ceramic, glass, or stainless steel pot. Simmer for 10-40 minutes, as directed. Pour off the tea, then repeat with the cooked herbs. Add 2-3 cups of water, bring to a boil, and simmer until reduced to one cup. Combine the two batches and drink one third of a cup three times a day, or as directed.
This photo is taken with my friend and former clinic supervisor at ACCHS, Yen-Wei Choong, The Yellow Emperor’s Natural Healing Center, 10 Greenfield Avenue, in San Anselmo, California, 415-459-2160. If you live in that area, you may call him for appointments. Sometimes I make cameo visits there for massage, acupuncture, or combination treatments.