Licensed Acupuncturist Christine Asuncion asked many questions about my injury and my general health, and proceeded to talk about her business, outlining the differences in treatment between traditional Western and Eastern medicine.
“I opened my clinic six-and-a-half years ago with a clear vision—a health and wellness center dedicated to serve the local community as well as Maui’s many visitors,” she said. “My vision was to make acupuncture and Oriental medicine accessible so that everyone on Maui can be empowered to take care of their everyday healthcare needs safely and effectively.”
As the diminutive Christine spoke about her trade, her art and her life, she seemed to grow in stature. Her confidence and knowledge were undeniable.
Christine Asuncion feels blessed to be able to bring her knowledge of Oriental medicine to the Maui community.
“I believe it is important to educate the patient about the importance of health and healthcare options that are available to them,” said Christine. “This philosophy is what led me to name my business ‘I’ao,’ because it is an acronym for ‘Integrating Acupuncture & Others’ and our concept for balancing health in a harmonious way.”
She said it is a team effort between patient and practitioner, and at times, other health professionals, which creates a successful outcome.
Oriental medicine is based on a concept of vital energy, or Qi (Ki or Chi, pronounced “chee”). Qi flows along channels or meridians linking all of the body’s parts and functions. Qi nurtures and maintains the physical body as well as the mind, keeps the blood circulating, warms the body and fights disease.
When a person is healthy, Qi flows smoothly through the channels. If the flow of Qi is blocked, weak, or excessive, then symptoms and illness can occur. During acupuncture treatment, the flow of Qi is corrected by inserting needles or applying pressure to specific points along the channels. This redirects the Qi to flow correctly and restores balance to the entire system. Acupuncture is also used preventively by correcting energy flow even before symptoms or disease appear.
I was treating my injury with “rice.” Although it might sound Oriental, “rest, ice, compression and elevation” is a standard Western medicine treatment. And thus far, it had only made me “rust” or “restless, uncomfortable, stiff and tired.”
I was ready for something new.
“In the last 10 years of my practice, many patients have come to me to try acupuncture and Oriental medicine as a last resort for health issues that Western medicine could not address—or addressed poorly,” said Christine.
The needles are the width of a human hair. She applied them confidently and adeptly, as she described the sensations I might feel. The procedure was painless.
Although acupuncture is an ancient healing art dating back thousands of years and first practiced in China, Christine chose to practice more traditional Japanese acupuncture techniques, which are gentler, subtler and less painful than the techniques used in traditional Chinese medicine. Japanese acupuncturists are trained to find the exact active location of the acupuncture points in the individual patient, which allows the treatments to be extremely effective without using deep needle insertions or strong stimulation.
Christine also employs moxa or moxibustion (yaito), the burning of the herb mugwort Artemisia vulgaris, a standard protocol in traditional Japanese acupuncture.
“I use it for its thermal affect of warming the body deeply, therefore giving a more penetrative affect versus surface area heating, i.e. a heat pad,” she said. “In addition, its medicinal properties assist in boosting one’s immune system by removing stagnation or blockage in the body, which typically creates pathology.”
The next morning, I was remarkably refreshed and relatively pain-free for a person with a fractured leg.
“My philosophy at I’ao Acupuncture & Spa is simply stated,” said Christine. “In fact, ‘Balancing your health in a harmonious way’ is the tag line of my business. And we are proud to combine the wisdom and treasures of acupuncture and Oriental medicine with our state-of-the-art treatment modalities.”
In her daily practice she often treats a wide range of disorders—from complaints of pain, to sinus issues and musculoskeletal disorders. She is also well-versed in treating fertility, pediatric issues and chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.
I’ao Acupuncture & Spa also offers herbal medicine, massage, nutritional recommendations, Pure Far-Infrared Jade Stone Sauna treatments, TuroboSonic Wholebody Vibrational Therapy, skin care, Acupuncture Facial Rejuvenation and Warm Jade Stone treatment enhancer. All these services help to increase blood flow, reduce body fat, increase nutritional exchange, increase cellular integrity, reduce toxins, accelerate natural healing, help expedite results from other therapies and enhance the appearance of anti-aging by promoting well-being—all in their own unique way.
“Nourishing, supporting and restoring your mind, body and spirit is what we believe will ultimately allow one to achieve harmony for an optimal well-being,” said Christine. “I hope that I will continue to be blessed with sharing this powerful medicine. It is a great tool for living a balanced and healthy life.”