Acupuncture or Chiropractic?
People often ask me. When should I get acupuncture vs chiropractic vs physical therapy vs massage? Can I combine different modalities? Do they work with or against each other? Here are some of my thoughts.
According the acupuncture classics Yellow Emperor's Inner Cannon 《黄帝内经》, diseases can affect our body from several different layers, and each layer should be treated differently. 故邪风之至，疾如风雨，故善治者，治皮毛，其次治肌肤，其次治筋脉，其次治六腑，其次治五脏。 Translation: Therefore when evil wind (e.g., disease) hits (the surface of the body) swiftly like the wind and rain, a well-developed practitioner would first treat the skin layer, then muscle layer, then sinew layer, then six Fu organs (Gallbladder, Small Intestine, Stomach, Large Intestine, Bladder, and Triple Warmer,) and then five Zang organs (Liver, Heart, Spleen, Lung, and Kidney.) When the disease is more on the superficial layer, such as pain and inflammation in the muscles and joints, one can use massage to relax the muscle, chiropractic to align the joints, and physical therapy to develop a home exercise routine. One can also use prolo-acupuncture to stabilize weak joints, dry needling to release trigger points in the muscles, and guasha/cupping to relax the muscles. They all work well together and are complementary to each other. When the disease affects the nerves where people experience numbness, tingling, weakness and pain down the legs or arms, one should consider getting electro-acupuncture to relieve nerve pain. Chiropractic and physical therapy also work really well together with electro-acupuncture. When the disease affects the deep layer like internal organs, one should consider herbal medicine together with acupuncture. These are internal medicine symptoms that affect our mood, digestion, sleep, circulation, breathing, hormonal, thyroid, urinary flow, menstruation, fertility, and various autoimmune diseases. Even though skin illnesses affect the surface of the body, the root of the issue is often the imbalance in the internal organs. Chinese herbal formulations along with acupuncture can produce most positive results.
The older we get, the bigger our wellness team needs to be. I hope this blog answers some of your questions.