Auto-Immune Disorders

The Vital Internal Organs

A Different Approach to Auto-Immune Disorders

In acupuncture and Chinese medicine, there is no such thing as a condition that is caused by the body attacking or destroying a part of itself. We look at these conditions in a completely different, much more constructive way. First of all, there is an understanding that the body has a strong self-preservation instinct and is always trying to optimize, even when circumstances are less than ideal. Second, because they are essential to survival, the body prioritizes the functioning of the vital internal organs over everything else and will protect them at any cost. What is often diagnosed as auto-immune disorders in Western medicine, then, is often interpreted in Chinese medicine as the body sacrificing the health of one part to preserve as much of the whole as possible. In other words, they reflect the efforts of the body to sustain life, not destroy it.

Two Basic Categories of Imbalance

In Chinese medicine, autoimmune conditions can be divided into two basic categories: those of deficiency and those of excess. With conditions of deficiency, there is simply not enough nourishment or energy to keep the whole system healthy. Because the internal organs are so vital to survival, the body prioritizes and distributes what it does have to these first, even if this means there is little left over for anything else. One example of this type of deficiency is alopecia areata, which is characterized by hair loss. In Chinese medicine, this is not happening because the body is destroying its hair follicles but because, after the internal organs are taken care of, there simply is not enough extra nutrients available to nourish the hair. On the other hand, with conditions of excess, the system as a whole is overwhelmed by too much of something, unable to process it out fast enough, so it accumulates. Some common patterns of excess include inflammation, or what we call heat, and congestion, or what we call damp. One example of this is rheumatoid arthritis, where the body protects the vital internal organs by storing the excess heat in the joints, causing inflammation. Another example is Fibromyalgia Syndrome, where the body stores excess damp in the muscles, causing aches and pains.


What I Treat

Over the course of my practice, I have had the opportunity to treat quite a few different types of auto-immune disorders including eczema, psoriasis, vitiligo, alopecia areata, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia Syndrome, Lyme disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, interstitial cystitis, and diseases of the endocrine system like Addison's, Grave's, and Hashimoto's.

Complementary, Supportive Therapies that Enhance Acupuncture

Chinese medicine is so much more than just acupuncture. I am also trained in herbal medicine, 5-element nutrition, and different types of traditional hands-on techniques. I find that these complementary therapies can help enhance the effects of acupuncture. For example, there are multiple nourishing herbal formulas that treat conditions caused by deficiency. Nutritional adjustments can also be beneficial for replenishing missing nutrients or helping the body clear out excess inflammation. Even hands-on techniques can help with conditions that are marked by pain, like Fibromyalgia Syndrome, helping move accumulations so the body can process them out. Acupuncture is the fundamental therapy upon which all of my treatments are built, but my toolbox also includes Chinese herbal medicine, 5-element nutrition, ba guan (cupping), tui na (Chinese medical massage), zhi ya (acupressure), chi nei tsang (internal organ massage), gua sha (massage with jade and horn tools), and topical herbal formulas for pain. If your condition would benefit from any of these traditional techniques they are included at no extra charge. Please click here for more information about my acupuncture  treatments.
"I don't live in Asheville, so don't get to see Nancy as often as I would like, but when I do get there I am always so grateful to be in her presence and have her work on me. She is empathetic and especially intuitive and can go steps ahead of what you, yourself think is your problem you are being treated for. I have total confidence in Nancy's healing treatments and in her personal abilities that give added value. I wish I could go more often. She is very very good at what she does." ~Carole S.
West Asheville Acupuncture
Monday to Thursday 9:30 to 6:00
Friday 9:30 to 12:00
26 Fairfax Avenue, 28806
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