Tuan Nguyen & Thuc-Dan Nguyen

| 08/26/2016

Acupuncture 101: The Basics and the Benefits with Tuan Nguyen and Thuc-Dan Nguyen

Acupuncture 101: The Basics and the Benefits with Tuan Nguyen and Thuc-Dan Nguyen

Acupuncture and moxibustion are integral parts of traditional oriental medicine, one of the world’s oldest approaches to medicine that remains widely practiced today. Acupuncture uses instruments, the most common of which are filiform needles, to stimulate the body’s internal energy, or “Qi” (pronounced chee), and restore its natural flow so the body can function normally. Moxibustion, on the other hand, uses a heat source, such as burning herbs or heat lamps, to stimulate Qi. Acupuncture has grown in popularity in the United States over the past two decades.

Many people express interest in acupuncture but are hesitant to take the leap, usually because of what they don’t know. Let’s take a look at the fundamentals so that you can make an informed decision about whether to incorporate this ancient practice into your health and wellness regimen.

Acupuncture and moxibustion are commonly used to treat:

acute and chronic pain


immune system disorders

hormonal imbalances


digestive conditions

psychological and mental health symptoms

nervous system conditions

respiratory system conditions

musculoskeletal conditions

How do acupuncture and moxibustion work?

Because acupuncture and moxibustion can treat a wide range of ailments, they require a holistic view of the body, not just a focus on a particular symptom. First consider how the body becomes sick in order to see how acupuncture and moxibustion work.

In traditional oriental medicine, treatment revolves around the body’s meridian and collateral systems and how Qi flows through them. Qi circulation can be interrupted by external and internal factors. External factors include: abrupt changes in the weather (barometric pressure, temperature, humidity, etc.) and traumatic injury. Internal factors include abrupt or unhealthy changes in lifestyle, diet, and emotions.

When the flow of Qi is interrupted, it can stagnate, speed up, slow down, or reverse. Our goal as practitioners is to unblock stagnated Qi and restore normal flow. Two ways we accomplish that is by utilizing acupuncture and moxibustion to trigger the natural healing mechanism of the body when it can’t do its job.

Acupuncture and Moxibustion are based on the idea that the body heals itself, except in extreme life-threatening situations. For example, when a meridian is blocked, communication between different systems breaks down. Without communication, systems can’t coordinate and the body cannot heal itself. Acupuncture removes that block so communication and healing within the body can resume.

Helpful Definitions

Qi translates as “vital energy”. There are many different types of Qi, which have different functions in the body.

Meridians and Collaterals are the pathways through which Qi flows. In general, meridians run along the body vertically and collaterals run across the body horizontally, creating connections between meridians. There are 12 main meridians in the body. They link externally to the skin (and a field above the skin) and internally deep into the organs.

Acupuncture Points are highly active areas along meridians and collaterals where treatment is focused.

About the Authors

Tuan Nguyen is a third generation acupuncturist and herbalist and co-owner of Acupuncture & Herb Clinic, LLC in Sterling, VA. His practice provides quality, holistic, and natural health care for clients and helps promote the healing of many ailments and imbalances of the mind, body, and spirit. Tuan and his partner Thuc-Dan Nguyen have a combined 33 years of experience in practicing acupuncture and traditional oriental medicine. Tuan has been practicing acupuncture and oriental medicine in the United States since 1997. 

Thuc-Dan Nguyen received her earliest training in childhood from her father and grandmother. She has been practicing acupuncture and traditional oriental medicine since 2002.


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