Branch Treatments 5/5 (33)

We have talked a lot about branch treatments over the last several weeks. A Practical Dictionary of Chinese Medicine uses the terminology ‘root and tip’ as the primary and secondary aspects of disease. The root is the primary condition and the tip is the resulting secondary condition which presents as clinically observable changes in the body.

It is the damage to the root system which ultimately brings demise to the entire tree. One cannot necessarily see the roots, but if the branches show damage, you can assume that the roots need help!

Cause and Effect: roots and branches of a tree

Treating a patient’s symptoms is just as important as treating the root cause of their symptoms. This is the main reason that they come in and PAY for your services, right?  Sending them home with a relief of symptoms is very important. As we discussed in previous posts, treating the root cause of the problem can benefit 80% (or more) of a patient’s symptoms.  The root treatment is also a necessary prerequisite for treating the branch, or presenting symptoms. Without the root treatment, the use of local treatment for symptoms will be less effective. In Meridian Therapy, Shudo Denmai emphasizes that “when localized structural damage reaches a certain order of magnitude, it is unlikely that root treatment can cure the problem instantly.” We have to also treat the branch.

There is almost no limit to the variety of approaches and techniques that can be used to treat the branch. Each practitioner can use his/her own unique talents and skills. It is my opinion that root treatment with acupuncture can be combined with a variety of modalities to achieve excellent results.

Some of the branch treatments that I use in my practice include:

  • Auricular therapy
  • Tendinomuscular channel theory
  • Ashi points along the channel
  • Mirror imaging
  • Massage
  • Entry/Exit points
  • Chinese herbs
  • Nutritional therapy
  • Exercise

Often, I use outside practitioners as a branch treatment. There are multiple health care providers in my community whom I work closely with–including chiropractors, massage therapists, physical therapists, clinical counselors, and fertility specialists. These practitioners regularly report back to me that when their patients receive acupuncture they get better results.

I thought it would be wonderful for us to share our experiences with branch treatments in the Forum this week. Please share some of your favorites. We want to know what works extraordinarily well for you.

  • Do you have favorite point combinations?
  • How about a favorite herbal formula which works well for sinusitis, arthritis, migraine headaches, or insomnia?
  • Do you get amazing results with shoulder pain, headaches, or low back pain?
  • Do you have any particular technique that works well?

I’m looking forward to the opportunity for all of us to learn from each other. See ya’ in the forum!



Kimberly Thompson, L.Ac.

Acupuncture Research Analyst

Miridia Technology Inc.

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Dr. Kimberly Thompson, DACM, L.Ac.

Dr. Kimberly Thompson, DACM, L.Ac. is a US licensed acupuncturist in the state of Idaho and certified in the treatment of acupuncture, Oriental medicine and Chinese herbology by the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Kimberly wears multiple hats in the acupuncture community. She owns her private clinic, Meridian Family Acupuncture. She has spent the last 10 years working for Miridia Technology as an acupuncture Research Analyst–where she helps plan, develop, and integrate modern diagnostic and treatment tools for the ever-evolving scientific world of acupuncture. Kimberly is a world-renown teacher, blogger, columnist, and mentor in the acupuncture community.

2 Replies to “Branch Treatments

  1. Thanks Mam for the wonderful insight,
    I get amazing results for low back pain with bleeding and cupping therapy.
    I totally agree must treat root cause, alone branch treatment does not give satisfying results

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