THE ACUPUNCTURE PHOTOGRAPHY PROJECT
What happens when a photographer combines creative forces with a licensed acupuncturist? When medical procedures have long been displayed primarily in just clinical forms of photography, rather than artistic, would it be possible to visually show the peaceful nature and energy flow of the healing art of acupuncture? An art I have come to know, trust, love and find so much peace in.
About three years ago I met Emily Andrews of True Health and Fitness, a new resident of Greensburg at the time, from the Finger Lakes region of New York. The first acupuncturist I had ever met in my life, and soon to become close friend. For the past several years I have excitedly attended every one of my acupuncture appointments with anxious desire, not knowing how I lived before I found this incredible alternative medicine. It was over the duration of these treatments that I learned what a healing art form this is, and what a true artist Emily is in addition to her immaculate ability to clinically treat as a medical professional. It was during one of these actual acupuncture treatments that I envisioned this project, while laying there, needles puncturing the surface of my body, at extreme peace with my mind far off in "acu land".
In this photo project, we wanted to show all aspects of the amazing techniques of practicing acupuncture. Most people do not realize that acupuncture incorporates multiple modalities (such as moxibustion, cupping, and gua sha) and is so much more than just the insertion of fine needles into acupuncture points. Moxibustion is a gentle heat therapy that is warming, harmonizing, and moving. Moxibustion can be performed in many ways and we photographed warming needle, stick-on, and indirect moxibustion using a salt barrier. Cupping is a type of cutaneous stimulation that is cooling, moving, and calming. Emily prefers using the traditional style of cupping called fire cupping which utilizes a flame to create a vacuum in a small glass cup and then is applied to different areas of the body. Gua Sha is a type of massage that uses a tool to release tension, clear heat, and calm the mind. With cupping and gua sha, the goal is to strongly move stagnation and clear heat. These treatments bring "sha" to the surface which can cause redness or bruising. Emily states that this can be a great diagnostic tool for acupuncturists to help gauge the level of heat and stagnation present in a patient. Although the bruising may look painful, it is not painful and patients tend to feel very relaxed after cupping and gua sha.
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine is a system of medicine that dates back thousands of years. It is the oldest continually practiced medicine in the world. Acupuncture helps to balance the body so that it can heal itself. Traditional Chinese Medicine can be seen as both a science and an art. This intricate, highly-individualized medicine takes a creative personality to navigate and perform. By mixing the art of photography and the healing art of acupuncture we were able to capture the essence and beauty of this incredible medicine.
Thankfully, Emily was able to help me tremendously with this blog to accurately explain & caption the photos below. If you are not already a patient of acupuncture, give yourself the gift of this amazing healing art and call Emily, or your local acupuncturist to make your first appointment.
ARE YOU AN ACUPUNCTURIST?
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Ren17. This is a Sea of Qi point that helps to unbind the chest and improve mood.
Buddah's Triangle: LU9, PC6, HT7. This protocol of points quells anxiety and improves sleep.
Stick-on moxibustion is a great way to treat pain related to overuse. The smoke from these tend to surround a the afflicted area.
These abdominal points help to regulate digestion and mood.
Warming Needle Moxa. High quality mugwort is shaped and placed on the end of the needle then lit to warm the needle to activate the point.
Moxibustion alleviates pain, harmonizes the digestion, warms the body, and calms the mind.
The smell of the smoke is calming and can be as therapeutic as the heat.
Warming needle moxibustion on ST36 helps to boost the immune system, regulate the digestive system, alleviate pain, and calm the mind.
Mugwort (artemesia vulgaris or ai ye) is the most commonly used herb in moxibustion.
Mugwort cone on salt poured onto Rn8. This treats acute digestive upset.
Ear ShenMen. An auricular point that calms the mind, improves mood, and benefits sleep.
Fire cupping. Used to unbind the chest and clear heat from the Lungs.
Cupping relaxes the muscles and promotes the function of the Liver.
Gua Sha. A scraping technique that moves Blood stagnation to help with pain, tension, cold, flu and much more.
Sha. A presentation of the status of Qi and Blood.
YinTang. Decends Qi to quiet the mind, calms the Spirit. Treats agitation, insomnia, anxiety, overthinking.
I absolutely adored working on this project. So much so that Emily and I have already begun working on plans for PART 2. Of course, I had to include my lovely acupuncturist in a few images showing YinTang...
For PART 2 of our Acupuncture Photography Project... Visit our latest blog post!