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Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture stimulates points on the body using a number of thin, flexible needles. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) encompasses acupuncture and a variety of other complementary therapies.

At the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine, we safely provide only those traditional Asian therapies that have been deemed effective or promising by the World Health Organization (WHO).

TCM is based on ancient beliefs that are quite different than conventional Western medicine. A key goal of these therapies is to restore qi (pronounced chee), the “vital energy” that flows through intricate pathways throughout the body. By stimulating acupuncture points, this flow of energy is harmonized and optimal health can be restored.

To make an appointment, call us at 714-424-9001.

After reviewing decades of clinical studies, the World Health Organization (WHO) listed the following diseases, symptoms and conditions for which acupuncture has been proven, through controlled trials, to be an effective or promising treatment:

  • Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy
  • Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)
  • Biliary colic
  • Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
  • Dysentery, acute bacillary
  • Dysmenorrhoea, primary
  • Epigastralgia, acute (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm)
  • Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
  • Headache
  • Hypertension, essential
  • Hypotension, primary
  • Knee pain
  • Labor induction
  • Leukopenia
  • Low back pain
  • Malposition of fetus, correction of
  • Morning sickness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Neck pain
  • Pain in dentistry (including dental pain and temporomandibular dysfunction)
  • Periarthritis of shoulder
  • Postoperative pain
  • Renal colic
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sciatica
  • Sprain
  • Stroke
  • Tennis elbow

Source: 1998 WHO report, Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials.

We offer the following TCM therapies:

Acupuncture: Acupuncture needles are threadlike, stainless steel and sterile. From a biomedical perspective, acupuncture stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscle layer, spinal cord and brain. This chemical response can improve your condition or trigger the release of other chemicals or hormones that influence your body’s own internal regulating system. Typically, acupuncture treatments are customized to each person.

Electroacupuncture: Similar to traditional acupuncture, this uses a device that generates continuous electric pulses of varying frequency and intensity. A recent study by UC Irvine Health researchers has shown that repetitive electroacupuncture releases a kind of natural opioid that lowers blood pressure. The results suggest this therapy may be effective in treating clinical hypertension with few, if any, side effects.

Facial acupuncture renewal: This views the face as an extension of the pathways that travel the whole body. By needling the face, blood flow increases and qi (energy) carries nutrients to the cells. The body interprets the needle insertion as a “positive” injury, which stimulates collagen and elastin production. A series of cosmetic treatments (typically 10 to 20) can help diminish fine lines, lift the chin and neck area, and bring vibrancy and hydration back to the face and neck area.

Chinese herbal medicine: Traditional Chinese herbal therapy has been practiced safely and effectively for centuries. It offers the greatest potential for beneficial results when prescribed by a trained acupuncturist. All of the herbs used in our clinic are free of harmful chemical contaminants, organic whenever possible and adhere to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). We use teas, concentrated powders, capsules, pills, tinctures, liniments, poultices, plasters and soaks.

Moxibustion: This refers to the application of heat by burning ai ye (Chinese mugwort) to specific acupuncture points of the body. We typically use the indirect application method where the moxa is warmed over the acupuncture point about an inch from the skin. In clinical trials, moxa shows promise in treating pain, arthritis and a variety of other conditions. The heating is believed to enhance the proper flow of qi and blood, which balances the organs and increases mobility of muscles and joints.

Cupping: Practiced in cultures from Northern Europe to Southeast Asia, cupping applies suction through the use of glass cups that are heated and then applied to specific acupuncture points on the body. They form a vacuum and stay in place for five-10 minutes. Cupping stimulates the site of application by producing localized blood congestion. The technique can help relieve back pain, sprains, soft tissue injuries and pain associated with menstruation.

Tui na massage: More therapeutic than relaxing, this ancient Chinese-style massage (pronounced TWEE-naw) can be used alone or in conjunction with acupuncture. Its name comes from the Chinese words tui (push) and na (grasp). In contrast to traditional massage therapy, tui na uses little massage oil. It is used to stimulate the flow of qi (energy) and blood to help bring the body back into balance.

Traditional Chinese medicine therapies are an important part of the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine. As part of UC Irvine Health, we have made TCM a focus of our research efforts, which includes our recent findings of acupuncture’s effect on hypertension.

Our licensed acupuncturists and TCM providers:

Make an Appointment

714-424-9001