Acupuncture is amazingly comfortable and effective physical medicine. We use micro-thin, sterile needles to stimulate natural circulation, self-healing and muscle health; which create broad and profound benefits. Stephanie Mauri, L.Ac. specializes in integrative therapy with a musculoskeletal approach, supporting holistic health through improved body-wide circulation and soft tissue health. I carefully assess the body and find acupoints connected with chief complaints, posture and symmetry. Biomedical acupuncture views the spine as centrally important. Treatment benefits the spine itself, as well as the organs and regions of the body which are innervated by various spinal segments. I practice acupuncture as an integration Eastern and Western training (Classical and Traditional Chinese Medicine, Organ-Channel Theory, Trigger Point Therapy, Sports Medicine) and multiple bodywork methods.
How does acupuncture work?
The body is made of many different kinds of tissue. Acupuncture improves circulation, communication & metabolism within various tissues and levels of the body. Each point effects a comfortable “micro-wound,” which create immediate physiological self-healing responses, locally and holistically. Over time, acupuncture strengthens the immune system and fosters more efficient, healthier tissues. The body is a unified, intelligent energetic circuit which benefits from all areas thriving in good health.
When I received my first acupuncture treatment, I felt a sheet of energy move deeper in my body than I ever had before. Acupuncture is known to stimulate movement along what’s called “meridians.” These coordinated movements optimize circulation of energy and fluids which prompt faster and better healing and natural function.
Acupuncture meridians are specialized energetic pathways of connective tissue shadowing and surrounding important vessels and structures, including connections with the organs, spinal cord and brain. These pathways cross-communicate bio-electrically and travel through the entire body.
Meridians continually strive towards wellbeing for the organism and protecting the vital organs. Acupuncture engages these intelligent meridians, prompting profound self-healing at the level of the central nervous system, in addition to local healing in the region of each needle.
Acupuncture is best used as preventive medicine by regularly toning the body’s systems and nipping dysfunction in the bud. Acupuncture is curative medicine with frequent application and when conditions are physiologically healable. Each person has a unique “self-healing potential” involving genetics, lifestyle, age & physiological condition.
What is an acupoint?
This image represents a remarkable way to think of an acupoint. We have layer upon layer of tissues in our body. Acupoints are typically natural depressions in the muscle felt during palpation.
Perhaps we can understand these depressions, by virtue of their shape, as speeding communication of energy from one layer of tissue to another. Because the morphology of the fascia dips in, these areas naturally funnel energy or what practitioners call “qi.” Many acupoints are located at junctions where a nerve runs along and penetrates into the deep fascia. The acupuncture needle stimulates the surrounding field of energy and blood flow around the nerve.
The fascia is a dynamic connective tissue covering which extends throughout our whole body and functions as an intelligent soft-structural lining. Amazingly, it functions as a unified fascial net in which stimulation in one part communicates forces and information along the whole system. “Acupoints” can be seen as areas of ‘easier access’ to pathways and regions of heightened fascial networking. Scientific research has measured and documented these points on the body to be specific areas of increased conductivity and decreased electrical resistance.
The acupuncture needle is stainless steel, sterile, disposable, micro-thin and flexible. It conducts energy, promoting circulation and metabolism. Acupuncture improves diverse conditions because it stimulates natural, physiological cellular self-healing.
During acupuncture, a depression or knot in the muscle is palpated and a needle is gently inserted. The sensory nerves, which run along the fascia and branch off to innervate almost every square inch of our body, immediately sense the change in their environment. Because the sterile and disposable acupuncture needle is so fine, the sensation is usually not pain but a dull ache, pressure or heaviness in the muscle, a warmth, tingling, floating sensation, or a feeling of energy movement along the meridian.
At the acupoint, the needle actually stretches muscle fibers, triggering a reset response, & creates a microlesion or microwound. The local tissue healing response is anti-inflammatory. Blood vessels dilate & flood the area with immune cells, ready to begin the repair process. The immune system activates healing factors in the immediate area as well as holistically through the central nervous system.
What is holistic healing?
The benefits of acupuncture exceed local healing at the acupoint. Peripheral sensory nerves immediately communicate to the spinal cord and brain. Endorphins are released, which relieve pain and relax tissues, enhancing circulation and healing. Endorphins have value in the body beyond just feeling good. Research shows that for several days after acupuncture or massage, the positive chemical effects of endorphins continue in the bloodstream during which time your body is receiving the chemical signal to heal.
We do not heal well during stress. Mental and emotional stress, chronic pain and physical dysfunction create a continuous state of stress for the body. The sympathetic nervous system is over-activated, creating high blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol, used in “fight-or-flight” responses. During stress, the body delays parasympathetic activities like “rest-and-digest,” healing and repair.
As a unified, intelligent organism, the body enacts a holistic healing response with acupuncture therapy. With the call to self-healing in place, the parasympathetic nervous system activates healing activities and regulates organ function. The immune system is stimulated and strengthened, which protects the whole body, including the brain itself!
Why is muscle health so important?
The proper flow of blood and fluids throughout the body is essential for good health. Any disruption of flow in this system affects the health of specific body tissues “downstream.”
Chronic muscle tension impairs blood flow. Muscles become hypoxic (low oxygen) and toxic (metabolic waste build-up.) The brain eventually adapts to perceiving chronic tension as “normal.” The brain centrally sets muscle tone too high and we can’t relax these muscles!
Imbalanced muscle tension unevenly pulls on tendons and joints and can gradually pull the entire body into misalignment. In Biomedical Acupuncture for Pain Management, An Integrative Approach, Yun-Tao Ma explains, “acupuncture needling relaxes the muscles, increases blood circulation, and reduces inflammation and swelling of the muscles, ligament, capsule, and bursae, which help to restore the normal function of… articulation. After the stresses of swelling and inflammation are removed, the degeneration process will slow down and partial or even full recovery of function can be expected, depending on the extent to which the causes of the pain are inherently healable.”
Acupuncture actually stretches tiny muscle fibers, signals the brain, disrupts contraction patterns, relaxes muscle fibers and immediately improves oxygenated blood flow. The area shifts towards healing. The brain suddenly notices imbalance in the area being treated and centrally signals the area to reset & normalize.
In summary, acupuncture therapy helps to improve the blood flow and natural health of our muscles, creating a better environment for postural health, the flow of meridians and the health of vital organs. Since the body is an intricate inter-connected system, pathology in one area affects the whole body, especially over time… Therefore attending to any one bodily issue benefits overall health. Acupuncture benefits musculoskeletal health as well as deeper internal issues, because of the body’s connections.
Acupuncture stimulates your body’s healing responses, which enacts local and systemic self-regulation toward balance (homeostasis.) Activating your body’s self-healing capacity on a peripheral and central level is a major benefit of acupuncture.
The effectiveness of acupuncture depends on the severity of symptoms, physiologic conditions, an individual’s self-healing potential, and proper treatment methods. Early problems can respond quickly to acupuncture, while chronic problems usually take more treatments to change. Acupuncture is excellent preventive medicine. Give your body a try!
Before receiving acupuncture, please read Informed Consent.