Acupuncture & TCM

What is Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a safe, natural, effective therapy where thin sterilized needles are inserted into the skin. Acupuncture has been used for many illnesses both chronic and acute as well as for illnesses that are a result of a weakened immune system or an overstrained nervous system. 

Acupuncture is rooted in ancient Chinese traditions and the theory is based on energetic pathways in the body called channels or meridians where qi and blood flow. When qi flows freely we are well. The qi and blood are carried through the channels to protect, prevent, heal, and nourish the body, mind, spirit, and emotions. 

Just as you cannot see electricity run in wires you cannot see the qi (energy) running in the channels. Acupuncture is based upon 5000 years of clinical study and observation. We know electricity exists and science shows the validity of acupuncture’s electric “energetic” properties.

Qi (vital energy, life force) and blood work together to keep the body healthy. When qi or blood becomes blocked or weakened due to injury, trauma, diet, medications, overwork, stress to name a few causes, the qi and blood cannot perform their functions properly causing symptoms or imbalance. Acupuncture works to restore the flow of qi and blood by removing the stagnation and by strengthening them to provide energy and nourishment to the tissues and organs restoring balance known as homeostasis. 

“I think the benefit of acupuncture is clear, and the complications and potential adverse effects of acupuncture are low compared with medication.”

Dr. Lucy Chen,

a board-certified anesthesiologist, specialist in pain medicine, and practicing acupuncturist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital

Acupuncture may help with the treatment of the following conditions

Address the underlying cause and improve your ​quality of life.

Acupuncture can help conditions well beyond pain relief. Not only can acupuncture reduce and eliminate pain, increase mobility and circulation, it can also help with conditions such as anxiety, stress, insomnia, digestive issues, and fertility.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Acupuncture has shown to be helpful in over 100 health conditions.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) originated over 2500 years ago in China. It is comprised of various components to form a complete medicine collective. TCM involves multiple aspects, such as acupuncture and qigong exercise. Below are some of the therapies and diagnosis techniques used during your assessment and treatment.

Dr. Goldie

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Victoria has a beautiful combination of TCM, herbal, and reiki energy therapy which assists with healing and balancing of the mind, body, and spirit. I highly recommend Victoria for her expertise and kind nature.

Pulse Diagnosis

The four pillars of health used in TCM are observation, listening, inquiry, and palpation. One form of palpation is Pulse diagnosis. The pulse is used as a tool to help confirm an accurate Chinese medicine diagnosis. It accesses the physiological and pathological state of the client.

The pulse is taken at six positions on the wrist and at three different levels. The diagnosis is determined from multiple factors including depth, length, speed, strength, shape and rhythm, quality. All these factors influence the overall analysis.

The pulse is felt at three positions on each wrist:

The pulse is felt at three different levels on each wrist:

The pulse indicates the state of the internal organs by the state qi and blood. Short-term external influences also show up in the pulse, such as, common cold. Each pulse tells a story. For example: The Lung pulse with a full feeling can occur as a result of emotional problem (grief) affecting Lungs or from Phlegm in Lungs or from an Exterior Excess in which the pulse feels rapid (heat) and floating in the case of a cold with sore throat. Pain normally shows up as a ‘wiry’ quality indicating tension in the body.

The pulse is a key factor in the full assessment and course of treatment.

Chinese Dietary Therapy

Chinese dietary therapy classifies food as healing in terms of energetics, thermal nature, and effects on the organs. Food acts as a foundational medicine.

Food is the base of our entire selves; the base for how we feel, our body’s ability to deal with stress, energy levels, moods, how each body system functions.

TCM dietary recommendations are based on various therapeutic components. The energetics considered are the five elements (Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, Wood), colour, season, innate temperatures, flavours, the direction of qi flow, effects on the organ systems, remedial actions; such as, purgative, dispersing, or strengthening. The five thermal natures of food include cold, cool, neutral, warm, hot. The five flavours include pungent, salty, sour, bitter, sweet.

TCM Digestive Energy – the Spleen and Stomach Energetics

We are only as healthy as the strength of our centre; in TCM that is the Earth element and the corresponding organs spleen and stomach. The state of the digestive system is determined by how the spleen and stomach produce qi (vital energy). The stomach is the origin of food and drink, receives and digests, the function is to “rotten and ripen”. The spleen is responsible for absorbing nutrients from what the stomach digested; the spleen “transforms and transports” the qi to the body.

Some Causes of Weak Digestion

How to Recognize Digestive Imbalance
Many people feel like they ‘aren’t absorbing nutrients from their food’ and have the sense their digestion is not fully functioning.

There is not a one diet fits all approach. Each person is unique and has his or her own nutritional requirements.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates

One of the main foods in TCM used to rebuild the body systems, recover from illness and convalescing is a rice porridge or gruel called “Congee”. It is soothing to the stomach and easy to digest.

How to make Rice Congee

It is made by slowly cooking 1 part white rice in 6 parts water until the rice is the consistency of a thick soup or pudding-like consistency. A crockpot works especially well for this purpose.

To help maintain healthy digestion see “Steps to Optimal Digestion” under the
PUMP Health news tab.

Moxibustion Therapy

Moxibustion is a form of heat therapy where dried mugwort (moxa) is burned on or near certain points or locations of the body.

Mugwort leaf, also known as wormwood or artemesia vulgaris is dried and then the leaves are processed into various grades of moxa wool. The most common forms of moxa are Stick and Loose. Moxa sticks are made from a compressed herbal composition and look like a cigar. An end is lit and different techniques are used close to certain acupoints or over areas of pain. Loose moxa looks spongy and the practitioner forms it into cones. An ointment is used on the skin as a barrier and the moxa cones are placed on the ointment and lit with incense.

Moxa provides warmth to the 12 primary channels restoring free flow of qi and blood, expels cold and stagnation, helps regulate menstruation, reproductive issues, arthritis, digestive disorders, pain relief, ease the fetus, turn a breech baby, and support the immune system.

Treatment brings a sense of calm and relaxation. Regular moxibustion is said to penetrate all the meridians eliminating hundreds of diseases.

Cupping Therapy

The first recorded evidence of cupping came from Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic drawings. The Papyrus was the first published medical text (1550-2200BC) that discussed the benefits of cupping, as well as cupping methods.

In Ancient Chinese Medicine, cupping was referenced as early as 280 BC. Cupping therapy has been a standard therapeutic treatment in almost every culture in the world.

Cupping is a very safe and effective treatment modality that improves blood circulation, and lymphatic flow in the body. It is a great tool to help with pain relief, and has no demonstrable negative effects on the body when practiced by a properly informed practitioner.

Cupping works by creating a partial vacuum (aka negative pressure massage cupping) by adhering a glass, silicon, or plastic cup to the skin. When qi is stuck in the body and cannot flow pain results. Cupping helps break up the blockage to restore the body’s natural flow of qi and promote relaxation.

Cupping has been shown to be effective for the following conditions:

Tongue Diagnosis

The tongue is a very important component in TCM diagnosis, indicating a person’s overall harmony or disharmony.

The tongue is connected to all the channels and collaterals of the body. Channels (meridians) are like major highways and collaterals are the roads that run off those highways. This organ network keeps the body functioning as a whole. The tongue serves as a mirror and is a map for the internal body.

The tongue reflects the condition of the zang-fu organs (the energies of the organs), qi and blood, thermal nature and location of the condition, such as inflammation and digestive issues. Also, changes such as a common cold will show up in the tongue.

Factors that influence tongue coating and moisture are coloured food, drink, spicy food, smoking, milk, and medicines.

Observing the tongue involves inspecting the tongue body, colour, shape, coating, and hypoglossal veins. The findings help with the overall picture of the analysis.

In TCM the normal tongue is described as pink with a thin white coating.


The term tui na/ tuina (pronounced “twee naw”), which literally means “pinch and pull,” is a form of Chinese manipulative therapy first documented 2500 years ago. It is generally not used for pleasure and relaxation, but rather as a treatment to address specific patterns of disharmony.

Tui Na techniques involve using the hands, knuckles, palms, thumbs and fingers, elbows and forearms to apply pressure by pushing and holding, rolling, kneading, tapping, twisting movements to acupoints, meridians and groups of muscles or nerves to help remove blockages that prevent the free flow of qi restoring balance leading to improved health and vitality. For example, manipulating four acupuncture points on the stomach meridian on the leg stimulates and calms digestion but correcting the flow of energy in that channel (meridian).

Tui Na may benefit multiple disorders including insomnia, constipation, headaches, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, premenstrual syndrome, carpel tunnel, stiff neck, sore back, sciatica, and emotional problems. It can also help disorders related to digestive, respiratory, and reproductive systems. Tui Na can be used to address both internal diseases and external injuries.

TDP Heat Lamp Therapy

Thermal Design Power (TDP) lamps are far infrared heating devices used to accelerate natural healing processes within the body.
Far infrared emissions are thought to penetrate deeply into the body, increasing microcirculation and thus delivering more oxygen and nutrients to injured cells while eliminating cellular waste.
TDP lamps are increasing used in acupuncture clinics in China and throughout the world to support acupuncture sessions.
The lamp is commonly used over the upper or lower abdomen or back, and the feet in combination with acupuncture for various conditions including cold or deficient patterns, or on painful areas as the heat strengthens the smooth flow of qi energy and expels cold, blockages, and stagnation.

A TDP lamp is similar to a heat lap, however, it features a round plate coated with minerals consisting of 33 elements essential to the human body. When the mineral plate is heated, it emits a special band of electromagnetic waves that coincide with the wavelengths and intensity of the electromagnetic waves released and consequently absorbed by the human body.

This absorbed electromagnetic energy has been found to yield therapeutic effects on the human body including:


Electro acupuncture was developed in China around 1934. Acupuncture needles are inserted and then are attached to a device that generates continuous small electric current using small clips. All wave forms and frequencies are claimed to be of value in promoting circulation of qi and blood alleviating musculoskeletal issues, such as, sciatica, and shoulder pain.

The devices used adjust the frequency and intensity of the impulse being delivered, depending on the condition being treated. Electro-acupuncture uses pair of needles at time so that the impulses can pass from one needle to the other. Several pairs of needles can be stimulated simultaneously for 10 – 30 minutes at a time.

Electroacupuncture has been shown to be especially beneficial in cases with chronic qi stagnation or where the qi is difficult to stimulate. According to Chinese literature, especially good results are expected from electro-acupuncture treatment of neurological diseases, including chronic pain, spasm, and paralysis.

The benefits of using electrical stimulation are:

Electroacupuncture is non-invasive technique with therapeutic actions by using a gentle electrical current in conjunction with acupuncture needles to stimulate acupuncture points and enhance the qi.

Qigong Therapy

“Qi” means life-force energy and “gong” means skill. Qigong is the skillful practice of gathering, circulating, and applying life-force energy. Qigong training involves all the physical senses, concentrating on breathing, visualizing, and muscle relaxation.

Medical Qigong Therapy
Medical Qigong Therapy trains practitioners and healers in special qigong methods for health maintenance and longevity, disease prevention, and helpful in the treatment of health conditions. Some common ailments medical qigong has been beneficial for mental, physical, emotional stress, high blood pressure, headaches, anxiety or depression. Relief may happen quickly for some or can occur slowly over time, depending on the individual.

Medical Qigong and Acupuncture
Acupuncture needles are inserted with qigong energy, therefore, initiating increased Qi flow within the channels (meridians) resulting in a stronger treatment.

Combining Medical Qigong with Western Medical Modalities
Medical qigong is safe and effective when combined with medical approaches in alleviating client suffering. Due to medical qigong’s emphasis on mental, emotional, energetic and spiritual approaches to healing, medical qigong has been successfully combined as a complementary source of healing with the following western professional approaches: pediatrics, geriatrics, gynecology, neurology, psychology, oncology, surgery, high blood pressure.

Qigong breaks down energy blockages and promotes the free flow of energy throughout your body’s meridian system, the invisible pathways through which Qi moves and that connect everything in your body.