When comparing yoga and acupuncture, there are quite a few similarities between the two practices. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Practitioners (Acupuncturists) work to ensure the smooth flow of Qi within the body. Qi can be translated as ‘life force’.
In Ayuverdic medicine, yoga practitioners refer to ‘Qi’ as Prana. TCM and Yoga activate the smooth flow of Qi/Prana in a different way but both are based on Eastern Philosophy with similar ideas. Both Yoga and TCM are used to create free flowing energy whether it is Qi or Prana.
In TCM there are energetic pathways in the body. These pathways are called Meridians. When the energetic flow within the meridians becomes blocked, the result can show up as a variety of symptoms such as pain, emotional ups and downs, fatigue, overeating….the list goes on and on. Acupuncturists strive to remove any blockages within these pathways to create free flowing Qi within the meridians and reduce and/or eliminate the symptoms thereby bringing the body back into balance.
The complementary nature of yoga and acupuncture is reflected in their common goal of releasing stagnation of energy in the meridian systems and their related organs or in the blood. While yoga provides the format to release the blockage, acupuncture and meridian theory provides a framework to understand which poses are best for a particular condition. Additionally, herbs can strengthen the flow of qi, as well as unblock stagnated qi. Our overly fast lifestyles, combined with poor eating habits and a polluted environment can create deficiencies that acupuncture and herbs can help to correct. The Chinese pharmacopia is the largest, most advanced categorization of plants animals and minerals in all the world. It has withstood the test of time.
While yoga strengthens and stabalizes the flow of qi/prana, acupuncture and herbs dramatically enhance one’s healing and overall health goals. Acupuncture will also intensify and speed recovery of each yoga session, helping one to move forward in their health and mental state with clarity, focus and increased sense of well being.
Yoga practice and Traditional Chinese Medicine (Acupuncture and herbs), concurrently have time tested treatments that date back 5,000 years. My acupuncture assessment is to derive treatment protocols that will dramatically enhance the healing process.
Warrior II focuses on the lymphatic system and the hips and knees. The emphasis on these joints are related to the gall bladder, spleen and stomach meridians. These organs help the lymphatic system by increasing digestion and immune fluid. By stimulating certain acupuncture points on the Gallbladder, spleen and stomach meridians, digestive fluids increasing thereby boosting the immune system via the gut.
Wheel and other backbends can effectively and sometimes very intensely stretch the stomach and spleen meridians. This pose can help prevent your body from acid reflux, heartburn and other stomach issues. Various combinations of spleen and stomach meridian points will discourage acid reflux while calming the mind of excessive worry. These points will also help one to maintain focus and mental clarity without the distraction of “monkey mind” chatter.
Tree pose is a standard balancing pose that can be adapted based on your skill level. It focuses on the small intestine meridian and increases abdominal circulation. Tree pose can also calm and relax the mind and nervous system, bringing more self-awareness. Points stimulated on the “Du” and small intestine meridians can anchor the QI, and open the mind to the truth of who we really are deep down.
Downward dog can always be the home base pose. It is a staple that can be used in almost every yoga practice.
This pose focuses on the arms and shoulder meridians, which can improve heart and lung function. Increased function of these organs can help fight against allergies, viruses, anxiety and trouble sleeping. Downward dog can also help digestion and allow for increased blood flow. By stimulating the heart and the lung meridians, we can calm the emotions to help relieve severe anxiety and sadness while improving breathing ability thus oxygenating the brain! This pose focuses on the arms and shoulder meridians, which can improve heart and lung function. Increased function of these organs can help fight against allergies, viruses, anxiety and trouble sleeping. Downward dog can also help digestion and allows for increased blood flow.
Great article on the topic include: Meridian Yoga
At Bennett Acupuncture we are PPO provider on many plans, PLUS we have great cash programs. Want us to check with your insurance company, just call us at 714-962-5031. While some specific treatments or programs may be covered, there may be others that are not. We can get you up to speed on your options. Better yet, want to meet Dr. Bennett and see if it is a good fit for you, click here for a FREE one on one meeting.
About Acupuncturist Dr. Stefanie M. Bennett, LAc, PhD – Holds both a masters and doctorate in acupuncture and Chinese medicine, plus two diplomats. She has completed additional training in functional medicine, herbal medicine, and applied clinical nutrition. She has been practicing in Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach for over 13 years. She can be reached at 714-962-5031 and new patients are welcome
If you or someone you love have one of the many chronic health problems that people suffer from such as, heart disease, fibromyalgia, ulcers, chronic fatigue, and autoimmune disease—you will likely be given a drug to manage your symptoms and not much else. The key to successfully treating these conditions, however, is addressing their underlying cause and concurrently follow the treatment by medical providers. This is the promise of Chinese medicine (acupuncture and herbal medicine) and functional medicine- treat the underline elements. Providers like meyself and medical providers need to work together, I do it here everyday at our office.
Most patients are told that the causes of their condition are unknown and simply prescribed drugs to manage the symptoms. But is it really true that we don’t know what causes chronic illness? Certainly there are particulars related to each specific illness that we don’t yet understand. But I would argue that we do, in fact, have a solid grasp on the most important factors that contribute to virtually all chronic disease. Hence, it’s within our bodies innate ability and power within it to prevent, stop the progress and in some cases reverse many of these conditions.
Presently in the midst of the most serious epidemic of chronic disease we have ever faced. 50% of US adults are facing one or more chronic health conditions, and 25% have two or more. (1) 7 of the top 10 causes of death in 2010 were chronic diseases, and two of them—heart disease and cancer—together accounted for almost half of all deaths. (2)
In conventional medicine, focus is on diseases and the symptoms; it works “from the outside in”. For example, you undergo a physical exam exam and your blood tests reveal that you have “high cholesterol”. The most likely outcome in this situation is that you’ll be prescribed a statin, and in some cases be told to exercise more and eat better. There is rarely any serious investigation into what “caused” the high cholesterol in the first place. Many times an assumption is made it is your diet.
In acupuncture functional medicine, however, we work “from the inside out”. We pay less attention to the symptoms, and attention to the pathology that produces those symptoms. High cholesterol is a symptom, not a pathology. The underline problems that can lead to high cholesterol include a combination of the following imbalanced QI (acupuncture term for energy), poor thyroid function, intestinal permeability, disrupted gut microbiome, chronic viral or bacterial infections, insulin and leptin resistance, and nutrient imbalances—few.
Whether you have one or more conditions I will focus on the underline causes with acupuncture and functional medicine. Of course I will pursue MD’s approval and work as a team. I have found most medical providers to be receptive to my co-management, especially since I have an extensive medical clinical background.
As you can see, this is a fundamentally different approach than what is typically done in the conventional setting.
Unfortunately, the acupuncture and functional medicine approach is not completely embraced within the conventional health care model. But I believe that is changing. The prestigious Cleveland Clinic just launched a Center for Functional Medicine.
I think health insurance companies will also see the benefits of acupuncture and we are PPO providers here at this clinic.
About Acupuncturist Dr. Stefanie M. Bennett, LAc, PhD – Holds both a masters and doctorate in acupuncture and Chinese medicine, plus two diplomats. She hascompleted additional training in functional medicine, herbal medicine, and applied clinical nutrition. She has been practicing in Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach for over 13 years. She can be reached at 714-962-5031 and new patients are welcome