Inspired by nature’s five distinct elements—wood, fire, earth, metal, and water—the practitioners at Five Element Wellness Center assess imbalances in their clients’ bodies and treat them with holistic therapies. Acupuncture sessions recalibrate energy levels or target pain using fine needles, whereas massages soothe muscles with the power of touch. Body wraps, on the other hand, help draw toxins out of the body better than a snake charmer’s flute and facials help purge pores of dirt and impurities.
In choosing which points to stimulate, Michelle Mansueto, AP is guided by a network of meridians running through the body. Begin to navigate these pathways with Groupon’s exploration of acupuncture meridians.
Like currents in the air, acupuncture meridians as postulated by traditional Chinese medicine are invisible paths of action in the body. Acupuncture theory holds that a person’s life force, or chi, flows along specific channels from organ to organ. When chi becomes unbalanced or gets blocked, health and wellness problems arise, whether it’s digestive trouble or a bicep that looks like a creepy face when you flex. It’s the acupuncturist’s job to unblock chi by inserting thin needles into carefully chosen points along these pathways.
Twelve primary meridians flow through the body, each categorized as yin or yang (roughly defined as the passive and active forces within nature). Each meridian corresponds to a specific organ, element, and set of emotions. For instance, the lung meridian flows through the arm and is associated with yin and metal, as well as with feelings of grief and sadness should its flow of energy be disturbed. For each condition an acupuncturist seeks to assuage, a timetable dictates when each meridian is most active and therefore easiest to treat. With so many complexities to keep in mind, it’s easy to understand why acupuncturists must undertake thousands of hours of coursework to become licensed.
So far, doctors and scientists have had little luck mapping meridians to visible anatomical structures, but some studies have uncovered overlap between ancient and modern medicine. For example, meridians tend to fall along planes between muscles, or between a muscle and bone or tendon—areas usually rich with connective tissue. A 2010 study published in PLOS One made one further connection: bands of collagenous tissue, in particular, present less opposition to the flow of electricity than other areas of the body. These bands underlie some—though not all—primary meridians, suggesting that the energy known as chi may be related in some way to the energy that zips through our power lines and singing toothbrushes.
The treatments offered at Bio Beauty Skincare & Waxing Center rejuvenate bodies and faces using natural elements and modern med-spa technology. Active enzymes brighten skin during chemical peels, and organic hard waxes whisk away unwanted hair from faces and physiques. Radio-frequency facials help tighten lax skin, whereas ultrasonic-cavitation treatments target bodies' stubborn fat deposits. The center also offers body treatments, including needleless acupuncture; backials, facials for clients' backs; and stackials, facials for clients' stovepipe hats.
Licensed acupuncturist and Doctor of Oriental Medicine Valencie Exceus—or Dr. Vie—helms Highpoint Healing and Wellness, where she and her staff use Eastern medicine and massage modalities to treat patients and their individual conditions. New patients engage in a one-on-one consultation with Dr. Vie as she reviews their medical histories and offers an in-depth discussion of their medical concerns to recommend the best course of action. Among the doctor's specialties are acupuncture, cupping, therapeutic massage, Chinese herbal medicine, and tuina. The center also offers Chinese medical massages aided by soothing essential oils, ambient music, trickling water fountains, and the gentle snores of a sleeping giant.
Lifetree Clinic's licensed acupuncturist, Junghyun Park, attempts to take some of the mystery out of acupuncture by thoroughly answering questions about the ancient practice on his website. He explains in depth how most clients feel while he is inserting the hair-thin needles, as well as how they feel after the needles have been in for a while. Instead of guaranteeing that acupuncture can solve any ailment, Park explains that, like Western medicine treatments and pleated pants, acupuncture may not work for everyone.
In addition to using acupuncture—which can alleviate problems such as digestive disorders, lower-back pain, and facial wrinkles—Park also relies on Chinese herbs, tui na massage, and cupping to improve health.
Wielding a spread of hair-thin needles, licensed acupuncture physician Marilyn Aracena utilizes traditional Chinese medicine techniques to improve her clients' health and relieve chronic pains. Her acupuncture treatments help unblock the body's natural energy flow, or qi, in order to relieve mental stress and physical aches caused by blockages. Nature Wellness also offers tuina massage, cupping treatments, and other forms of therapy for clients who prefer a more hands-on approach to relief or who still harbor grief over a balloon that they popped as a child.