Who We Are
Portland Acupuncture Group LLC was founded with a vision to create a model of healthcare which could easily reach all individuals regardless of age (the infant to the elder), social class, sexual orientation, race, diagnosis, or religious preference. We create a space of universal acceptance where all share and focus with the same goal in sight, which is wellness, healing and connection. We offer a multidisciplinary team approach; each with unique specialties and talents to address your needs as a whole in partnership with you. It is our experience that group treatment often in combination with other modalities of treatment is very clinically effective.
Our goal is to prevent injury and disease, nurture wellness and educate as to what that entails, to support and nurture the formation of community, and to offer options for those experiencing more chronic conditions; including but not limited to pain management (be it either spiritual or physical). Quality care is something that we believe should be available to everyone.
Who We Serve
Our model has both on site or mobile capacity. This is what makes it particularly valuable in terms of care delivery and service for our patients. Traditionally, this model of care has been used in multi-disciplinary settings including hospitals, inner city recovery centers, and disaster relief locations. We believe that in addition to these locations, our model can expand out to a variety of other organizations in need as well including businesses, smaller care clinics, and educational institutions to name a few.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a therapy developed by the ancient Chinese that consists of stimulating a designated point on the skin by the insertion of needles. Other therapies incorporated as part of the overall system of Chinese medicine may include the application of heat (moxibustion), Chinese massage (shiatsu or tuina), cupping, gua-sha, electrical stimulation, exercise therapy, nutritional counseling, qigong, and the use of Chinese or Western herbal medicine.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
From a western medical perspective the mechanism of action regarding how acupuncture works is still not definitively known. However, there are many current research studies reflecting how acupuncture positively influences the human body.
The theory of Chinese medicine is based on awareness that there is a connected network of “energy” encompassing all things in the universe. This system of thought applies to human beings as well.
The Chinese discovered that certain locations, or points, on the surface of the body are related to internal body function. According to Chinese tradition there is a network of energy that flows through the body and connects these points by way of different pathways, which are referred to as “meridians”. These channels are related to specific internal functions which are identified with anatomic structures, such as the heart, liver, kidney or lung. The Chinese medical “organs”, however, tend to represent complex functions rather than isolated structures. The meridians all form a network which circulates energy, fondly known by practitioners as “Qi”.
As long as the energy (Qi) has the appropriate strength and balance, and the flow is not blocked, healthy functioning of the body continues. When the energy becomes blocked, due to factors such as stress, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, external trauma, or a combination of all the above, then the energy becomes obstructed.
What Can Acupuncture Treat?
The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes acupuncture for the treatment of over 130 different diseases and conditions. Acupuncture can also specifically be used to mitigate and treat side effects of western medical treatments.
Although it could almost be stated that the use of acupuncture and Chinese medicine for multiple conditions is unlimited, currently acupuncture is best known for treating painful conditions such as migraine headaches, arthritis, nausea and vomiting, and back pain. However, it is effective, either alone or in combination, with Chinese herbal medicine or western medicine for many common and complex conditions recognized by the world health organization such as:
- Respiratory problems like sinusitis, bronchitis, asthma and allergies
- Gynecological problems such as painful menstruation, and PMS
- Digestive disorders including constipation, diarrhea, and gastritis
- High blood pressure, diabetes, emphysema, and hepatitis.
- Chronic pain, psychiatric disorders, and addictions
- Systemic lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, idiopathic edema
Acupuncture is also known to enhance the immune status of immunocompromised individuals, hasten recovery and/or stabilize symptoms of acute and chronic pain (being either physical or psychological), can decrease medication dependency and withdrawal symptoms with addictions, and can alleviate nausea and vomiting with pregnancy and conventional cancer treatment.
Our intent is not to suggest that Acupuncture and other therapies included with traditional Chinese medicine are a cure for all problems and diseases. Our emphasis is to enhance quality of life, no matter what life stage or advancement of illness an individual may be experiencing. Sometimes, this means to decrease the progression of a disease. Just as in any medical system, people have a better chance of getting well if they are well nourished, have a positive outlook on life, and if their disease is not too far advanced.
Does It Hurt?
Acupuncture is done with extremely thin, flexible, sterile needles made of surgical stainless steel. There is nothing special in the needle. There is sometimes brief pain as the needle passes through the skin. As the needle begins to work and the energy effect occurs, you may feel heat or a dull aching sensation where the needle has been inserted. Some people may say that they initially feel nothing at all. After the needle has been in a short time, you should not be aware of any discomfort.
Is It Safe?
Acupuncture has been used for 3,000 years in China. There are generally no adverse side effects from acupuncture. However, occasionally a reaction to acupuncture can occur (for example, some dizziness or nausea during a treatment). This feeling goes away shortly after the needles are removed. Please speak with your acupuncturist if you have any specific questions or concerns.
Can Children Get Acupuncture?
The answer is most definitely yes. Young children often benefit from acupressure, massage, and qigong especially when they are very little. As children mature and are comfortable with the provider and with treatments then needles can gently be introduced when appropriate. Very thin needles are used and often a very short retention tie is all that is needed to stimulate the points. Of course the most important thing is to involve the child in treatment, make him or her feel secure, and of course to have fun!
What Is Moxa?
Heat therapy in traditional Chinese medicine includes the use of moxibustion. This type of therapy can be applied directly, indirectly, or applied to an inserted needle to specific points on the body to promote the flow of qi, eliminate internal stagnation, and relax muscles. It is effective in treating joint stiffness, muscle strain, menstrual irregularities and other debilitating disorders.
What is Chinese Massage?
There are two forms of massage that are commonly utilized in traditional Chinese medicine including shiatsu and tuina. Massage therapy may be incorporated as an adjunct to other treatment modalities. Chinese massage techniques are used for therapeutic benefit as well as whole body balance.
What is Cupping?
Cupping uses glass jars to create a negative pressure vacuum on the surface of the skin to release stagnation deep within the muscles and meridians of the body. Over time with everyday stress, stagnation can build up in the muscles creating pain in the body. Releasing tension in the muscles can allow for increased blood circulation, toxin elimination, and rejuvenate internal tissues to promote healing.
What is Gua-Sha?
Gua-Sha is similar to cupping in that it promotes increased blood circulation, toxin elimination, and rejuvenates tissues to promote healing. An acupuncturist may use a thick Chinese spoon to rub over areas which carry more tension in the body. The ultimate goal is to have the muscles release to promote increased range of motion and enhanced functioning.
What Is Electrical Stimulation?
Electro-acupuncture can be used in conjunction with acupuncture treatments by attaching inserted needles to a device which can deliver a mild electric current. Patients often describe a tingling sensation during this form of treatment. This therapy is particularly useful in the treatment of nerve disorders, including numbness, paralysis and stroke, psychiatric disorders such as depression, as well as management of chronic and acute pain.
What is Exercise Therapy?
In addition to acupuncture and other therapies associated with traditional Chinese medicine, your practitioner may provide you with exercises for you to perform on your own specifically tailored to you and your health. This can include stretching, walking, or other forms of strength training to help keep the body in balance.
What is Nutritional Counseling?
In traditional Chinese medicine, food is considered as a primary medicine. What we take into our bodies to nourish ourselves has a direct correlation with our health. The common phrase rings loud and clear, often “we are what we eat”. Food sensitivities, intestinal parasites, stress levels, excessive stimulants (such as that extra cup of coffee), and processed foods can all affect our ability to utilize nutrients that we need to stay healthy and fight disease. In traditional Chinese medicine, each individual may have different dietary needs, which can be discussed with your acupuncturist.
What is Qigong?
Qigong is a form of meditation which has ancient roots dating back for thousands of years. Healing can occur in combination with movements targeted to create increased flow of energy in specific meridians, as well as the entire body. Other aspects of qigong include controlled breathing, guided imagery, and practice in a solo and/or group setting. Regular committed practice can result in benefits such as decreased pain, increased range of motion, decreased anxiety and depression, improved sleep, weight loss, and increased ability to cope with daily stressors.
What is Chinese Herbal Medicine?
Chinese herbal medicine, as well as western herbal supplementation may be used to help support the body in hopes of enhancing the internal healing process, or halting the progression of a current disease. Herbal medicines as well as supplements can be adjusted according to specific needs of the individual.
What You Can Expect During Treatment
True healing is a partnership between the patient and the person receiving treatment with a clear set of goals and initiatives. Traditional Chinese medicine emphasizes the importance of active participation by the patient when discussing healthcare choices, as well as personal effort and commitment on the patient’s part to achieve the desired effect. Treatment planning and goals may change depending on the life course of the individual, or the course of the individual’s illness. In addition, regular assessments will be performed to evaluate collectively determined goals. The main objective is to facilitate a space of healing and an approach which focuses on aspects of wellness rather than disease.