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A Match Made in Heaven: Yin and Yang

By Sara Calabro

There’s a famous saying. Many of the couples who are celebrating Valentine’s Day today have been told it. Just as many of us have said it.

“You two are like Yin and Yang.”

We use this phrase all the time to describe how two seemingly opposite people complement each other in a couple. But what do the terms Yin and Yang really mean? How can they help us make sense of the differences we wrestle with in relationships? Keep reading

‘Why Are You Doing That Point?’ Liver 3 and Large Intestine 4

By Sara Calabro

Acupuncture devotees are dying to know: Why are you doing that point? It is one of the most common questions that acupuncturists receive during treatments.

This is the first installment of an ongoing series that explains popular acupuncture points.

The logic behind choosing points varies. Certain acupuncture styles recommend points for unique reasons. Even within the same style, many points have more than one indication. Some points can substitute for others in cases where, for example, a needle-sensitive person prefers being stuck elsewhere. Other points can be left out or added based on the overall combination. Keep reading

Top 5 Excuses for Not Getting Acupuncture

By Sara Calabro

Some people just can’t bring themselves to try acupuncture. Despite being something they’re curious about, something they sense could be helpful, acupuncture remains an unscalable mountain. No amount of friend, physician or celebrity endorsements is enough to convince them otherwise.

Here are the top five excuses for not getting acupuncture—and why they’re not good enough. Keep reading

How Is Japanese Acupuncture Different?

By Sara Calabro

Many acupuncturists say on their websites that they practice Japanese acupuncture. Ever wonder what that means? How does Japanese acupuncture differ from other forms? And wait, isn’t all acupuncture Chinese?

As far as we know, all acupuncture did originate in China. (Although theories abound.) However, it didn’t take long for other countries, once they got their hands on acupuncture, to start developing their own versions. In the case of Japan, scholars estimate that acupuncture made its way there, possibly via Korean immigrants, sometime around the fifth century. Keep reading

TMJ: Think Muscles for Jaw Pain

By Sara Calabro

Researchers from Georgetown recently showed that acupuncture in rats reduces a protein that’s associated with stress. While this gives hope to those for whom molecules make more sense than qi, it remains to be seen whether the findings can be replicated in humans.

In the meantime, the Western-minded among us will appreciate that there’s already a relatable framework for understanding how acupuncture relieves certain symptoms of stress. One of the most common, TMJ, responds very well to trigger-point acupuncture. Keep reading

12 Reasons to Get Acupuncture in 2012

By Sara Calabro

There has never been a better time to get acupuncture. The reasons are infinite (in our humble, unbiased opinion), but here are 12 of the most compelling motivations for making acupuncture a priority this year.

1. It’s not about adding more “stuff.”

The driving idea behind acupuncture is that we’re already in possession of everything we need to be well. The holidays, while meaningful, are often a time of excess—too many presents, too much food and alcohol. The new year is an ideal time to embrace what we have rather than what we want. Acupuncture teaches us to do this. Keep reading

Slide Gently Into Winter

By Sara Calabro

Winter officially begins on Thursday. The holiday frenzy surrounding this week makes it easy to overlook the milestone. But winter is the season that sets the stage for good health in the year ahead. It’s worth taking a moment to reflect on.

In acupuncture theory, the move from one season to the next is a significant event. Humans are viewed as microcosms of the natural world that surrounds them, so seasonal changes can greatly influence how we feel. Each season has an associated natural element, organ and emotion. Acupuncturists examine these associations to determine whether a person is appropriately adjusting. Keep reading

Mexican Indigenous Healing Inspires Acupuncture Project

By Sara Calabro

Jeya Aerenson, an acupuncturist in Eugene, Oregon, really wanted to learn Spanish. Now, the Mexican people who helped her achieve this goal are learning from her. But rather than offering language skills, Aerenson is teaching acupuncture. In February, she’s temporarily shuttering her private practice to travel to Oaxaca, Mexico, where she will educate local healthcare providers on administering the NADA protocol, five designated acupuncture points in each ear.

In a recent conversation with AcuTake, Aerenson talked about pioneering and paying for the Oaxaca Acupuncture Project, the impact of acupuncture on underserved Mexican communities, and why everyone should care about indigenous healing traditions. Keep reading

Treasure ‘The Missing Piece’

By Sara Calabro

The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein is profound in its simplicity, transformative in what it reveals. So is acupuncture.

The illustrated story is about a circular creature who feels incomplete because of his wedge-shaped cutout. On his journey to find fulfillment, he feels the sun and rain, meets worms and beetles, smells flowers, swims in oceans, and climbs up and down mountains. He meets various wedges but none are exactly the right fit. Eventually he finds what appears to be a perfect match, a wedge made in heaven. But a few rolls in, he realizes that being “fixed” actually makes him feel broken.

The Missing Piece is generally interpreted as a reflection on love and relationships. However, the book’s message also can be applied to health. Keep reading

Acupuncture Is Having an Identity Crisis

By David Simpson

Growing interest in acupuncture has led to several unfortunate attempts to label it. Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine… Acupuncture gets tossed willy nilly among these different rubrics.

Not only is this inconsistency confusing for patients, but all of these names present a number of difficulties in accuracy, cultural respect, and sensitivity. Keep reading