Amy Guinther, Licensed Acupuncturist, Herbalist and Functional Medicine practitioner serving the Madison, Wisconsin area.

Understanding Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine

Oriental medicine examines the whole body and the complex interplay between different systems making it a truly holistic medicine.  It utilizes Acupuncture as well as other modalities  such as moxibustion, cupping, gua sha and herbal medicine.

Oriental medicine is a highly sophisticated, comprehensive health care system that has been used for thousands of years to diagnose, treat and prevent disease. Oriental medicine examines the whole body and the complex interplay between different systems making it a truly holistic medicine.

Acupuncture involves the placement of very thin, sterile needles into specific points on the body to decrease pain, enhance the body’s own healing mechanisms and to treat most complaints and conditions.

The width of the acupuncture needle is very fine (about the width of a horse hair) and should not be compared to a hypodermic needle typically used at the doctor’s office. Acupuncture is not painful, and in fact it is so relaxing that people often doze during their treatments.

Many people are surprised to learn that Oriental medicine includes more than acupuncture. Although acupuncture is our main tool, we also use other modalities to support the health of the body. These may include:


Electro-Acupuncture is the use of small electrical currents through the acupuncture needles. Electro-stimulation is often used in conjunction with acupuncture to enhance a treatment. Electro-acupuncture has been proven to decrease pain, accelerate tissue healing, and significantly reduce inflammation, edema and swelling.


Moxibustion is a technique in which a Chinese herb called Artemisia Vulgaris is used to apply heat to an acupuncture point. It is used to treat certain debilitating conditions as well as arthritis and pain. Moxa is usually rolled into a stick the size of a cigar, lit, and held over specific areas of the body. Moxa can also be placed onto the handle of an acupuncture needle, allowing deeper penetration of heat.


Cupping is a technique where a glass or plastic cup is suctioned onto the body and allowed to sit for about ten minutes. This technique stimulates circulation, relieves swelling, and greatly enhances an acupuncture or Electro-acupuncture treatment. Cupping is used for many conditions including; back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, common colds and influenza.

Chinese Herbal Medicine

Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine consists of 5,767 substances derived from plant, animal, and mineral sources. The use of these substances can be traced back to 1,000 BC. Over the past 3000 years, an incredibly rich and powerful system has medicine has been created. During this time, classical herbal formulas that are effective for many health concerns have been developed. The herbs are available in the form of herbal teas, liquid extracts, tablets, capsules, granules, lotions, creams, salves, or poultices.  They treat most medical conditions including acute and chronic pain.

What Can Oriental Medicine Treat?

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine have thousands of years of antidotal evidence supporting its effectiveness, but until recently it has been unclear exactly how it works. Evidence now shows that acupuncture helps to alleviate pain, modulate neurotransmitters and hormones, decrease inflammation, mediate immune function and regulate blood flow. All of these mechanisms allow the body to heal naturally.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine are extremely successful in the treatment of pain and a multitude of other conditions. Many people try Acupuncture and Oriental medicine as a “last resort” treatment for complex medical problems and find that it can help them when other treatments could not.

Acupuncture is also used as a preventative medicine. Many people see their acupuncturist monthly or seasonally for a “tune up” or “balancing” treatment. This can prevent disease and promote health, energy and vitality.

Each person’s medical condition is unique; therefore a full assessment of your health concerns and medical history is performed. This is not “cookbook” medicine, and different people with the same western medical diagnosis, will often have different treatments based on their unique constitution. Your acupuncturist will assess your condition to determine how Oriental medicine can help you.

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a comprehensive medical system that is capable of successfully treating a wide range of conditions, some of which include:

Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat Disorders

Circulatory Disorders

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Gynecological / Genitourinary Disorders

Immune Disorders


Respiratory Disorders

Emotional & Psychological Disorders

Musculoskeletal / Neurological Disorders & Pain

Acupuncture Also Treats:

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Madison Acupuncture & Complementary Medicine specializes in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, combined with Functional Medicine to provide personalized therapeutic solutions.