Acupuncture is not a single technique - it refers to many different techniques using very thin, sterile needles to help restore proper function in the body. For example, some techniques can strengthen certain body systems, others can help discharge stagnation in certain parts of body, and still others can directly stimulate injured, diseased or degenerated body tissues to heal and better perform their functions. When applied correctly, acupuncture can help with a very wide variety of health conditions.
In addition to needles, acupuncturists also use other methods such as guasha (gentle friction over the skin with a smooth object), cupping (placing suction cups on the body), moxibustion (a type of heat therapy) and manual techniques when necessary.
Based on a patient's individual constitution as well as their specific complaints or health problems, a traditional herbalist prepares a mixture of several natural substances (mostly roots, barks and other plant parts) that is custom designed to address that individual's current condition. These mixtures are typically based on herbal combinations whose uses, efficacy and safety profiles have been documented over the course of many centuries, and that can be modified as necessary depending on the situation.
Usually custom herbal formulas are given either in raw form, in which case the patient is given instructions for boiling the herbs into a strong tea at home; or in granule form, in which a mixture of powdered herbal extracts can simply be dissolved in hot water prior to taking. The raw and granule herbs used at White Pine Healing Arts are among the highest quality, cleanest herbs available in the world, in many cases even surpassing organic produce in their standards of purity.
After a given course of herbal medicine has been taken, a follow-up visit is usually necessary so that the herbalist can assess any changes and modify the formula accordingly. Because Chinese herbal medicine always takes into account a person's constitution and their overall state of health, it is able to address root causes of health problems rather than simply suppressing symptoms or other manifestations. Therefore, when used appropriately, Chinese herbs often produce results that are more lasting and less disruptive to the body than those using conventional methods.