Visit our blog for informative articles about Traditional Chinese Medicine and healing arts, holistic health and other related subjects of interest.


What Exactly is TMJ?

Temporomandibular Joint Pain

Temporomandibular Joint, or TMJ is not a condition; it is a term used to refer to a joint around the jaw. Symptoms of TMJ Disorder include pain in the jaw and surrounding areas; limited ability to open your mouth and snapping noises when you move your jaw. Other symptoms include numbness of the jaw and temporal area. Some of the causes of TMJ include stress (grinding the teeth), direct trauma, or bad diet habits like chewing on one side a lot.

Studies have found that many TMJ disorder sufferers can get relief through acupuncture and acupressure.

There have been a number of studies validating the efficacy of acupuncture in treating dental pain. One review (The Use of Acupuncture in Dentistry: a Systematic Review, P. Rosted, MD, The Medical Acupuncture Webpage) evaluated 15 studies. Eleven of the 15 studies found acupuncture to be effective. Of these, 7 involved acupuncture analgesia, 4 involved the treatment of facial pain and TMJ Disorders. The author noted that 11 of the fifteen studies showed acupuncture to be more effective than placebo, non-standard (sham) acupuncture, or that it was able to produce better or similar results to an accepted treatment procedure.

Very fine and thin needles are inserted on traditional acupuncture points around the jaw, between the ear and mandible. Some needles may be threaded near or along the joint line. Electrical stimulation is usually employed to cause a more sustained analgesic effect by allowing very tight muscles to fatigue and eventually relax and release their grip on surrounding nerve bundles.

To make the treatments even more effective, techniques in manual therapy are employed. These consist of joint mobilization and soft tissue work to resolve an alignment problem around the jaw that makes surrounding muscles tight enough to irritate nerves.

The combination of the acupuncture and physical or manual therapy is so effective that it does not only provide symptomatic relief but also resolves the root or underlying mechanical problem.

Dr. Ramon Gutierrez at ARC

Stress & Anxiety? Acupuncture can help

Acupuncture in treating Stress & Anxiety



Anxiety & Stress are two conditions that impact many people every day. It can be difficult to suffer with these issues because they can be inhibiting, while not causing physical pain they can deeply impact our daily lives. Luckily, acupuncture is an excellent outlet to treat these conditions naturally while seeing the body as a whole to understand the source of these problems.  

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the Liver and Heart are associated with stress and emotions. Why? The liver’s responsibilities include storing blood and maintaining the free flow of qi. The heart’s responsibilities include housing the spirit and governing blood. Thus, the Liver and Heart’s association with emotions arises from the idea that emotions affect the directionality of qi as well as the interconnection between qi and blood. Therefore dysfunction of Liver and Heart can lead to symptoms such as hypertension, palpitations, stress, anxiety, irritability and insomnia. It is important to note that dysfunction of the Liver and Heart does not mean there is actually a physical problem with the Liver or Heart.

So what can ARC do to help? Our acupuncturist can needle different acupuncture points to tonify the liver, tonify the heart, promote the flow of qi, promote the creation of blood, relax the mind, and calm the spirit. Our therapist can also perform massages to promote the flow of qi, relax the mind, body and spirit. Modalities such as electro-acupuncture and moxibustion can further amplify the effect of acupuncture, help relax muscles and tendons, promote the flow of qi and blood, as well as calm the mind. Remember ARC is happy to help you!

8 Effective Ways Acupuncture Can Help In Weight Loss

The widespread use of acupuncture for weight loss is the result of recent research developments showing that this approach can be successful. As reported by Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, recent studies have shown that when acupuncture is combined with traditional methods of weight loss, patients lose more weight. In these cases, one to three acupuncture weight loss sessions can be safe and effective in helping people achieve reasonable weight loss goals.

Acupuncture is an ancient traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practice that involves inserting thin needles into very specific points on the body. These needles are placed in order to stimulate key nerves in the body that regulate energy and metabolism, as well as numerous other factors that can affect your health. To promote weight loss, the acupuncturist focuses on  the endocrine system and kidneys, which are addressed to treat water retention and to stimulate nerve and hormonal balance. The spleen and thyroid gland are also targeted to effect sugar and hormonal balancing. Finally, the adrenal and ovary glands are included to treat weight gain due to menopause or premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

The acupuncture needles are inserted into the skin about ¼-inch deep, up to a ½- inch, depending on the style of acupuncture and the desired effects. According to the tenet of TCM, this practice helps to improve the flow of Qi (vital energy) through the body.

How Does Acupuncture Help In Weight Loss?

Acupuncture can help with weight loss by regulating hormone production, improving the metabolism, optimizing digestion, reducing inflammation, suppressing the appetite, lessening water retention and optimizing other bodily functions that are related to obesity and weight loss.

1- Improves Digestion

Using stomach and kidney acupuncture points, it is possible to improve the functioning of the digestive system and even increase the amount of nutrients that are taken in by the body. By preventing slow digestion and improving gut health, you can relieve constipation, bloating and other gastrointestinal issues that may keep you sedentary or lead to fat deposition.

2- Reduces Inflammation

Inflammation or tension in the gut, muscles and other tissues of the body can slow down the metabolism, put strain on the immune system, and even impact heart health and digestion. By relieving tension and regulating the immune response of the body, acupuncture for weight loss can lower your levels of oxidative stress and optimize your body to shed the excess pounds.

3- Stops Water Retention

Stimulating the nerves of the kidney and endocrine system discourages water retention in the body. Preventing your body from storing excess water is a quick way to lose weight and help to keep it off.

4- Hormone Production

If your hormone levels are out of balance, many different bodily processes can be negatively affected, from digestion and cognition to healing and immune system function. Acupuncture of the spleen and Shen Men point in the ear are found to be  effective in balancing hormone levels.

5- Boosts Metabolism

Needles stimulating the thyroid area can boost the functioning of your pituitary gland, one of the key areas of the body in relation to metabolism. This can thereby increase the rate of fat-burning, making not only your workouts, but also your daily activities, more effective in burning calories and losing weight.

6- Improves Mood

Acupuncture is able to induce the release of endorphins in the body, which are feel-good hormones that can quickly eliminate stress and anxiety. Many people overeat when they have high levels of stress hormones, or are feeling overwhelmed. Acupuncture can help to eliminate those urges.

7- Sensitive Points for Acupuncture

When it comes to acupuncture for weight loss, there are a number of key areas on the body that should be focused on. As mentioned earlier, the areas related to digestion and food intake are particularly important, such as the stomach, kidney and mouth. Thyroid and endocrine acupuncture can also help regulate your hormone levels and ensure proper energy flow in the body, while also helping with appetite and metabolic speed. The lungs and spleen are also critical areas for weight-loss acupuncture, but the most important and unexpected sensitivity point for weight loss is actually the ear.

8- Ear Therapy

In recent years, acupuncture ear therapy (also known as auricular acupuncture) for weight loss has received a lot of attention after a number of studies were conducted that showed significant weight loss following ear therapy. The ear is one of the densest areas on the body for nerve endings that are linked all over the body. There are dozens of different specific points on the ear, carefully studied and recorded over thousands of years, that can impact your health.

As with any weight-loss strategy, a single change in your lifestyle or behavior is not likely to deliver the results you want. Even though acupuncture can effectively alter your metabolic and hormone levels, and address numerous issues related to weight loss, you should still complement this treatment with the proper diet and regular exercise.

Finding an experienced acupuncturist is an essential first step in determining a treatment plan focusing on stimulating weight loss. Our team at ARC Acupuncture & Physical Therapy has helped many people achieve their goals for a healthier, more active life. We invite you to learn more and contact us to schedule a consultation at one of our six Central Florida ARC Acupuncture & Physical Therapy locations.

Acupuncture and Relief from Headaches and Migraines – Is It Effective?

Can Acupuncture Help Migranes?

Acupuncture is becoming increasingly popular among sufferers of all types of headaches, both acute and chronic – as well as debilitating migranes. The effectiveness of acupuncture in relieving head pain also is becoming increasingly supported by clinical studies in the United States and other Western countries. As far back as 2008, Duke University issued a press release stating, “Acupuncture is more effective than medication in reducing the severity and frequency of chronic headaches.” Duke University’s own Duke Integrative Medicine facility in Durham, NC, offers acupuncture as an important component of its treatment options.

Acupuncture has also been recommended as a viable treatment for chronic headaches by the National Institutes of Health, attributing it with reducing the incidence and severity of tension headaches and possible prevention of migraines. A recent study conducted in Australia concluded that acupuncture is as good as prescription medication for a wide range of pain – including migraines.

In another report, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published an analysis of an acupuncture study involving 249 participants who regularly suffered migraines. They were divided into three groups: those receiving acupuncture, those receiving “sham” acupuncture and a control group receiving no treatment. Over a 24-week period, those who received true acupuncture treatment revealed a significant change in the frequency of migraines, indicating long-term pain relief.

Different Types of Headaches

Because “headache” is a general term, it is helpful for the purposes of diagnosis and treatment to identify the categories into which this type of pain can be classified according to symptoms.

Tension Headache

About 90% of all headaches fall into this category. They may alleviate after a few hours, or occur more frequently and last all day. Tension headaches occurring more frequently and lasting longer are known as frequent episodic tension headaches. An even more severe form is the chronic tension headache.

Cluster Headache

This type of headache presents as a burning sensation around and above the eyes, at the temples and toward the back of the head. Other symptoms may include red, swollen eyes or a runny nose.

Migraine Headache

Migraines are typically characterized by pulsing or throbbing pain on one side of the head, photophobia (extreme sensitivity to light), nausea, vomiting and/or worsening of pain triggered by physical activity. The sufferer may experience an “aura” – a series of sensory and visual changes that occur just before an episode. Migraine headaches are often misidentified in self-diagnosis as a sinus headache.

Migraines are more common in people under 55 years old. According to the American Migraine Foundation, sufferer demographics consist of one in five women, one in 16 men and one in 11 children. The exact cause is not known, but some common triggers include stress, allergies, hormonal changes, caffeine withdrawal or overload, bright lights, lack of sleep, skipping meals, weather changes, alcohol (especially red wine) and foods containing nitrates.

Non-pharmaceutical Headache Relief

As people become more cautious about seeking pain relief from prescription medications, acupuncture provides treatment that has been part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practice for more than 3,000 years. A review article in Practical Pain Management found that pain relief with acupuncture comes from inactivating the source of pain by modulating endorphin levels. In another study, acupuncture was shown to also stimulate the production of another natural painkilling chemical compound called adenosine. By releasing these powerful biological chemicals through acupuncture, the body goes to work on healing itself.

Finding an experienced acupuncturist is an essential first step in determining the type of headache to be treated and an appropriate treatment plan. Our team at ARC Acupuncture & Physical Therapy have helped many people relieve or eliminate pain and enjoy a better quality of life. We invite you to learn more and contact us to schedule a consultation at one of our six Central Florida ARC Acupuncture & Physical Therapy locations.

Acupuncture with Electric Stimulation

Though the body has an amazing ability to heal itself, pain often triggers a negative cycle within the body when muscles constrict, restricting blood flow. The key to acupuncture is its ability to reach deep into tissue, increase circulation and get to the source of the problem.

The use of electric stimulation with acupuncture increases the intended effect. Although electric stimulation is used commonly in physical therapy to constrict muscles and reduce pain, the inclusion of acupuncture needles allows the stimulation to penetrate deeper than if delivered through a superficial patch on the skin. Used simultaneously they increase the likelihood of effective pain management and pain relief. Studies show that acupuncture causes a chemical reaction in the brain, affecting serotonin levels and causing the release of endorphins, the body's own natural painkiller.

Acupuncture As A Pain Management Tool

Acupuncture, which originated in China more than 3,000 years ago, is a treatment for pain and illness in which thin needles are positioned under the surface of the skin at specific points on the body. It spiked interest in the United States in the 1970s, following reports of the use of acupuncture as the sole analgesia during major surgeries.

Many studies have suggested that the majority of acupuncture points are located over the peripheral nerves, near nerve endings. Due to our better understanding of pain, we realize that needle stimulation via acupuncture can close the gate and block the stimulation of pain signals within A-delta fibers located in or just under the skin or muscle.

Acupuncture can also activate the release of endorphins (our body's own natural painkillers) within our central nervous system to further reduce the transmission of pain signals.

For these reasons, acupuncture is rapidly becoming a very popular, cost-effective and drug-free alternative in managing severe and chronic pain of all kinds.

Acupuncture Needles

Acupuncture can be performed as a treatment on its own, as well as in conjuncture with a complete TCM course of treatment. Since its introduction to the West in the 1970s, acupuncture is gaining new interest as a means of chronic pain management without the use of pharmaceutical drugs.

Acupuncture needles are quite safe with each needle wrapped in a sterile package prior to use. Needles are made of stainless steel with a copper grip. Each needle is promptly and properly disposed of after one single use.

Surprisingly to some, there is very little association with either blood or pain when using the needles. The majority of acupuncture patients do not bleed at all. Most describe the sensation as a slight sting or prick that only lasts a second as the physician places the needle for treatment. Most patients describe the treatment as relaxing or report no sensation at all when needles are removed or while the needles remain in place for approximately 20 minutes during a treatment.

Chinese Herbal Medicine

Chinese herbal medicine is based on a highly developed integrative – or holistic – approach to diagnose and treat medical conditions. All the diagnoses are made from the signs and symptoms your body reveals. The subtle variations in the pulse in the wrist, the sound of your voice, the condition and appearance of your tongue, face and skin – are all important indicators of your condition. Herbs are formulated according to your specific diagnosis.

Chinese herbs have a balancing or regulating effect and are typically more gentle compared to pharmaceutical drugs. Side effects are possible, but usually minimal.


Cupping is used to relieve back, neck and shoulder pain, stiff muscles, rheumatism, respiratory conditions, anxiety, fatigue and migraines – among many other conditions. It is especially therapeutic, as the body's natural reaction to pain causes a secondary muscle contraction. When the muscles constrict, the blood supply is restricted, causing the surface to become ischemic, which produces secondary pain to the surface area.

Cupping – combined with acupuncture – causes a reflex mechanism that helps to reduce or eliminate pain and promote circulation.

Acupuncture Clinical Practice

Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine.[2] It is used most commonly for pain relief,[9][10] though it is also used to treat a wide range of conditions. The majority of people who seek out acupuncture do so for musculoskeletal problems, including low back pain, shoulder stiffness, and knee pain.[31] Acupuncture is generally only used in combination with other forms of treatment.[11] For example, American Society of Anesthesiologists states it may be considered in the treatment for nonspecific, noninflammatory low back pain only in conjunction with conventional therapy.[32]