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Service Descriptions


Thin, sterile, single-use needles are placed at specific points to tonify and promote movement of the body's Qi, aiding the body's ability to heal itself.   It restores balance by increasing circulation to an area, and opening energetic blockages which manifest as physical or emotional symptoms.  Acupuncture is an extremely versatile technique as it can be used to treat or improve a wide range of conditions.  It has been practiced and refined for several thousand years. 


Cupping is an ancient technique, used in many cultures, in which a special cup is applied to the skin and held in place by suction. The suction draws superficial tissue into the cup, which may either be left in place or moved along the body. Cupping brings fresh blood to the area and helps improve circulation. Traditional cupping, sometimes referred to as 'fire cupping,' uses heat to create a vacuum-like suction inside of glass cups. In the hospital environment, I will be using a small pump to create suction.

Gua Sha

Gua means 'to rub' or 'press-stroke', Sha is a term that describes the blood congestion in surface tissue that accumulates in areas of pain and stiffness.  It's benefits are numerous:  resolves spasm and pain, and promotes normal circulation to the muscles, tissues, and organs near the treated area.  Research has shown that Gua sha causes a four-fold increase in micro-circulation of surface tissue and can reduce inflammation.


Moxibustion involves the heating of acupuncture points with smoldering mugwort herb (known as moxa). Moxibustion stimulates circulation, counteracts cold and dampness in the body, and promotes the smooth flow of blood and qi. This safe, non-invasive technique may be used alone, but it is generally used in conjunction with acupuncture treatment.  In the hospital environment, I will be using an infrared heat lamp in lieu of 'moxa'.

Tui Na Massage

Tui na means 'pushing grasping,' and is a powerful form of Chinese medical bodywork. Based on the same Oriental medical principles as acupuncture, tui na seeks to improve the flow of qi through the meridian channels. Tui na is particularly effective for conditions involving muscles, tendons and joints, such as structural misalignment, orthopedic problems and sports injuries. It can also be used to treat internal diseases.

Herbal Medicine

Chinese herbs are often used in conjunction with acupuncture for added therapeutic effect. While many cultures have herbal medicine traditions, the sophistication of Chinese herbal medicine is unsurpassed. Chinese herbal medicine has a long history reaching back several thousand years, and the resulting system is now used to treat everything from the common cold to symptoms associated with cancer.          

There are thousands of medicinal plants in the Chinese materia medica, of which about 300 are commonly used. If prescribed, you would receive a mixture of several different herbs in a formula that has been tailored to your condition. Chinese herbs are extremely effective and normally have none to only mild side effects, however it is important to tell me all the medications and supplements you are currently taking so that we can avoid any unwanted interactions with your formula.

Food Therapy and Lifestyle

One of the most potent therapies is also the most accessible and low cost: regulating diet.  In order to achieve the full and lasting effect of acupuncture and herbs, appropriate changes in diet and lifestyle (exercise, rest and relaxation, and mental attitude) may be recommended.

Aitkin Acupuncture at Riverwood Healthcare Center
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