We offer a gentle but potent style of Japanese acupuncture (Kiiko Matsumoto Style), effective with a wide range of health problems—sometimes even those that haven’t responded well to other styles of acupuncture. Japanese acupuncture is known primarily for subtler, gentler needle technique, the unique application of moxa (read below), and reliance upon palpation for diagnosis, customization, and feedback during sessions. We also incorporate classical Chinese acupuncture, Neuroacupuncture (modern Chinese scalp technique), and myofascial trigger point-release techniques. To learn more about acupuncture and what it can treat, see our FAQ page.
At Bridge we are acupuncture specialists (devoting 99%+ of our study and clinical hours to the practice of acupuncture). As such we offer more expertise approaching cases as acupuncturists than your average clinic which may divide clinical hours between multiple services such as herbs, massage and other modalities. We do however incorporate non-needle techniques integral to the art of acupuncture during our sessions, described below, and can offer these techniques as stand-alone sessions for the needle shy. (Please read our FAQ though, if you're nervous about needles-- most people find they are OK with acupuncture needles once they try them out!)
Though something many Americans are still unfamiliar with, moxa is an ancient technique, predating even the use of acupuncture needles. "Moxa" refers to mugwort, a wild plant related to sage that is used to stimulate acupoints with heat, a process sometimes called "moxibustion." In this, the dried, golden fibers of mugwort leaves are shaped and lit with incense to make a warm ember, which is safely deployed to heat the skin through such methods as mounting on the needle handle (kyu-to-shin), or burning rice-sized cones atop an herbal ointment barrier (shiunko-kyu). Moxa smells great, feels great, and offers quantitatively measured benefits for the immune system and circulation. Though eschewed by many modern acupuncture clinics as inconvenient, moxa is close to our hearts at Bridge, and you will notice the aroma as soon as you walk in. (Moxa-only treatments are a great alternative for kids and adults who are too sensitive to needles.)
Nutrition is a major pillar of East Asian medicine, since even in ancient times malnutrition or dietary excess was considered one of the primary origins of disease. It's impossible to ignore the modern food system's multifarious effects on the health of our patients, but fortunately the simple approach of ancestral principals and East Asian nutrition has a lot to offer even in these times. At Bridge you'll find practitioners who "walk the walk" nutritionally and are happy to offer customized dietary recommendations as needed/desired.
Cupping is an age-old form of folk medicine made famous by the circular marks visible on world-class athletes. In this versatile method, a vacuum is generated inside of a cup using a pump or fire, and the cup is placed on the body, most often the back, for 10-20 minutes. The sustained suction effect serves to deconstrain tissue and exchange fluids. Cupping can remove deep-level stagnation and greatly relieve tension in muscles and connective tissue. Though less capable of individualization than acupuncture and therefore not our go-to method, it is well-suited to certain conditions and sometimes worked into acupuncture sessions, and is another great non-needle technique. We do offer cupping in stand-alone sessions upon request. (By the way, cupping feels great-- the marks are just temporary and don't hurt the way bruises do!)
Closely related to cupping, Gua Sha refers to a form of cutaneous therapy common throughout the Far East and now used as the basis for mainstream physiotherapy techniques (such as "Graston"). Originating in folk medicine, the method involves characteristic manipulation of the skin and surface tissues using some oil and common blunt tools like coins, spoons, and polished horn (at Bridge we're rather fond of jar lids). It feels akin to a deep-tissue massage but has a somewhat different clinical effect, clearing heat, removing toxins and improving circulation. We may employ it to touch-up acupuncture treatments or as a non-needle approach for conditions ranging from muscle spasms, tendinitis and whiplash to cough, fever and allergies.
Chinese for “breath energy work,” Qi Gong is a broad term for exercises that coordinate movement, intention and breathing. We often teach simple Qi Gong exercises appropriate to a patient’s condition, such as deep breathing exercises that benefit the nervous system, or gentle mobilizations. Sometimes we even offer special charity workshops in local parks (subscribe to our newsletter to be notified). Qi Gong also refers to the "breath work" and intention your practitioner brings to your acupuncture session to increase its efficacy. You may notice your acupuncturist engaging in deep breathing and intently focusing on a point or pathway-- this is qi gong.
Used with or without needles, micro-electrical techniques common to Japanese-style acupuncture involve ion pumping cords, diodes and magnets to harness the relationship between the body’s surface electrical potentials and its healing ability. Mild, safe, and extremely useful for acute injuries, pain and inflammation, sinus and skin problems, and as an alternative to needles for both grown-ups and kids.
The practitioners at Bridge are experienced meditators who recognize the many health benefits meditation has to offer and have experience helping patients build up their own tailored practice. For years Bridge has also been the proud sponsor of a popular donation-only neighborhood community meditation class, open to all levels and abilities. See our Scheduling page for information.