How Does Acupuncture Work? 

How Does Acupuncture Work? 

Throughout our lifetime the body repeatedly encounters different levels of emotional and physical stress.  All of these stressors add up and can create strain and stress on the tissues of the body. The body will show this in a variety of ways. It may be pain, numbness, or tingling. All of these symptoms indicate blockages in the body, and it’s systems. In Chinese medicine, these systems are called meridians or the channels and their associated organs.

How Does Acupuncture Work?We think of the meridians and channels as waterways which connect all parts of the body to one another. When there’s a blockage, like a beaver dam, there are symptoms that can give us clues. Pain, numbness, tingling, and headaches are some examples. These blockages could be caused by any trauma, stress,  improper diet, and so forth. When the systems are blocked a person experiences symptoms. We can detect this by palpating the body. The organs will have indicators on the abdomen, on the neck and back. The limbs of the body (arms and legs) show blockages as well which usually manifest as joint pain and muscle pain.

How do you develop a treatment plan?

We can detect blockages using palpation of the body, listening to the patient, and discovering the primary symptom and response pattern. For example, if we are treating the shoulder, we palpate both the shoulder and the neck, which enervates the shoulder. We find tender spots around the problem area and then employ multiple methods to clear blockages. These range from massage to acupuncture, cold laser, moxibustion, cupping, and Gua sha. There are many different tools available within the scope of Chinese Medicine and Japanese acupuncture. In addition to these, in we practice martial arts trauma recovery techniques (Zheng Gu Tui na) as well as western massage therapy techniques.

What Happens During an Acupuncture Treatment?

During the initial treatment we have an in-depth interview, develop a treatment plan, and provide a first treatment. We spend twenty minutes discussing your chief complaint, as well as, any auxiliary issues, health history, relationships, etc. From there, we gather enough information to begin looking for the root of the problem.

What Happens During an Acupuncture Treatment?Let’s use the example of shoulder pain. We might start with the shoulder and work our way towards the neck. Usually, the neck and shoulder have a lot in common. We use palpation to find tender spots and then we’ll use distal points (points furthest away from the area of most pain) —maybe on the opposite arm or legs. This is to soften and relax the tender spots on the main area.

After that, we palpate the shoulder again and perhaps there is forty percent relief in the most tender spots. Once they soften little bit, we are able to find the deeper cause of pain and discomfort in there. So, we begin again, to find the deeper layers. Then, we treat adjacent points, which, are closer than the distal points. They may be on the same arm but in the elbow region. Once we treat those points, we test the shoulder again. It may now be an additional thirty percent softer, and we’ve achieved seventy percent relief using these methods.  Once we’ve gotten that far, we can go in locally and add cupping, moxa, and massage. Now you feel more space, there’s more freedom in the shoulder and we can really get at the origin of what’s going on (root cause).  Is it actually a muscle? Or is it adhesive capsulitis in the joint? We can now explore and find out.

How many treatments will I need?

How many treatments will I need?Sometimes it can be easy and take one to three treatments, and sometimes it can be more difficult. It may take five, ten, or fifteen treatments. The questions we ask here are; how long have you had the injury? Have you applied a lot ice to it?  What is your healing capacity? Are the bowel movements regular? Any problems with reflux? Issues like these can block healing. The organs can also maintain blockages to healing.  We can palpate the abdomen to find out about organ functions, listen to the pulse, and correct those. It should be noted that we work on the underlying blockages first, in order to get to the main complaint or symptomatic issue. We look at this through the lens of roots and branches. The branches are the symptoms, and we can work at the root level to treat the symptoms.

How do I choose the right acupuncturist?

Research and find three acupuncturists in your area. Give them a call and ask them three to five questions about your issue and listen to how they answer. If you like what they say, look at their website, read their bio, read their reviews and make sure they’re licensed. Licensed Acupuncturists go through rigorous education, clinic training, internships, externships, national board certification, continuing education, and state licensure. Once you’ve gathered this information, it comes down to who you’d like to work with.

We are available to speak with you over the phone to answer any questions or concerns you may have. We offer a free in-person consultation, if that is what you need. Additionally, we provide referrals to other qualified and reputable acupuncturists, holistic, and allopathic practitioners in our area. This is at the core of our patient-centered approach, we want you to find the right person to help you achieve your health goals.

Damp is a term acupuncturists use when the fluids of the body aren’t being processed correctly, leading to a buildup that can settle in and make itself at home in almost any area of the body. This, in turn, can lead to a wide array of mental and physical issues.

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6 Truths About the Not-so-sweet Side of Sugar

6 Truths About the Not-so-sweet Side of Sugar

A study published by the JAMA Internal Medicine found that more than 70 percent of Americans consume more than the recommended daily amount of sugar. Sadly, most of us are addicted to sugar, which happens to be hidden in most of the foods and drinks we consume. Added sugar can cause a whole array of problems that can be short term as well as long term. If you are experiencing health problems, lowering your sugar intake may be one of your best options. Below are 6 truths about the ugly side of sweets.

 

Sugar

No nutrients

Refined sugar has no nutritional value and it is recommended to consume as little as possible. The first step in eliminating sugar is from drinks such as soda, juice and mixed alcoholic drinks. Because of the large amounts of sweetener in these drinks, it can make them very addictive and hard to quit drinking.

 

Harms your liver

Sugar can be just as damaging on your liver as alcohol and lead to fatty liver disease. When you consume too much fructose, your body becomes insulin resistant resulting in various problems that can cause disease.

 

Raises cholesterol

One study done in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that participants who ate the highest levels of added sugars showed the biggest increase in bad cholesterol levels and triglyceride blood fats and the lowest levels in the good cholesterol levels.

 

Leading cause of obesity

In America, sugar is one of the leading culprits of obesity. It is estimated that 80 percent of food products in the U.S. contain added sugar. The best way to lose weight and lower your risk of obesity is to eliminate all processed foods and drinks.

 

Bad for your teeth

It should be a no-brainer that sugar is bad for your teeth. You may remember growing up having the dentist tell you as a kid to eat less candy to prevent cavities. As an adult, we know it’s not only candy that will cause cavities, but sugar that is found in your favorite drinks and everyday foods as well. Best way to sustain healthy teeth and gums? Cut the processed and refined sugar.

 

Can lead to type 2 diabetes

When your body is consuming too much sugar, your glucose levels become too high, which can be toxic to the body. When this happens, your body has a harder time producing enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels normal. This can then lead to type 2 diabetes.

 

Sources:
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3 Alternative Treatments to Support Cancer Care

3 Alternative Treatments to Support Cancer Care

Acupuncture

man-nature-yoga-light-katie-dempsey-45071_422538635123_585640123_5409391_5337612_nAccording to the National Cancer Institute, acupuncture can be used as a complementary therapy in system management of cancer-related symptoms such as side effects to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, boosting blood cell count and improve natural killer cell activity.

The National Institutes of Health have confirmed that there is evidence acupuncture is effective in postoperative care, chemotherapy, nausea and vomiting.

In a study done by Hematology/Oncology Clinics of North America, researchers found in a randomized placebo-controlled trial, acupuncture was proven effective for cancer patients with a variety of chronic pain and aiding in pain management. Acupuncture is found to have positive results as a complementary method to pain relief.

Acupuncture is a non-invasive treatment that works by addressing the body as a whole to release any blockages or stagnations in the body’s natural energy flow.

Massage Therapy

Researchers from the Rehabilitation and Integrative Medicine at MD Anderson Cancer Center found massage therapy to significantly reduce the pain of cancer and chemotherapy treatments, more so than conventional care.

Many cancer patients who receive chemotherapy report adverse side effects such as nausea, pain, muscle aches, weakness and fatigue. When these patients are treated with massage therapy, however, both the frequency and severity of these symptoms begins to subside. It doesn’t take many sessions before patients experience a positive improvement in their symptoms. While the study mentioned above lasted for seven weeks, many patients report an improvement in their symptoms after just a single session of massage therapy.

Lymphatic Drainage

Lymphedema, a swelling in the arms or legs, is common among patients who have received treatment for breast cancer. Manual lymphatic therapy works by using a light touch to help move fluid out of the tissues. Although lymphedema is not curable, it can be manageable with lymphatic drainage treatment.

The lymphatic system is essential for overall health. This system absorbs fluid, toxins and waste from tissue where it can pass through lymph nodes to be filtered. Lymphedema happens when the lymphatic system is blocked. The drainage therapy can help release these blockages to let fluid flow as it should.

Natural Ways to Help Stay in Cancer Remission

Lifestyle Changes

Diet can be a huge factor for staying healthy during cancer remission. You want to treat your body as best you can to prevent cancer from coming back. Boosting your immunity is essential for keeping your body’s defense working as it should.

Berries are a no-brainer. Filled with cancer-fighting antioxidants, make sure you’re getting your daily dose of blueberries and raspberries to help prevent cancer from growing. Green tea is another must. This tea contains antioxidants that can help prevent cancer. Try drinking at least one cup a day. Make sure to be eating whole grains and leafy green vegetables as well to keep an overall healthy diet.

Stay away from environmental toxins

Environmental toxins are everywhere, sometimes in places we wouldn’t expect. It’s important to be aware of these toxins and avoid them when possible. Avoid radiation, tobacco smoke and direct sun as much as possible. Be aware of pesticides found in food. Make sure to buy organic produce and wash it thoroughly before eating. Avoid plastic water bottles that are made with BPA and choose a reusable BPA-free bottle instead.

Maintain a healthy weight/exercise

Maintaining a healthy weight and staying active is always important, but especially is important for those who have had cancer. By keeping your body active, you are keeping your immune system in check as well. If you feel you need to lose or gain weight after you cancer treatment, consider a year-long plan to get back to what is healthy for you. As for exercise, start off slow. Just by adding a 20-minute walk into your day you can start ramping up your immune system. Exercise is also great for mental health and wellbeing as well as staying in physical shape.

Don’t forget about your mental health


Cancer can be very traumatic, and so can treatment. You may have lingering feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression from the experience. If you feel anxious about the cancer returning, consider joining a support group or talking to a professional. Yoga and meditation have also been proven to help lower stress and anxiety. Your mental health is just as important as your physical and should be addressed.

Ways to Combat PTSD Naturally

Ways to Combat PTSD Naturally

Man-jogging-by-plantronicsgermany-Creative-CommonsPTSD is a physiological disorder that can result from being exposed to a traumatic event.  The disorder results in several different symptoms including anxiety, irritability, insomnia and flashbacks. The effects of post-traumatic stress disorder in someone’s life can be far reaching.  Feelings of hopelessness, shame and despair, problems at work or with relationships, serious health problems, depression, anxiety and drug or alcohol abuse are not uncommon. Getting help can be hard at first, but can have a great impact for helping PTSD.

Acupuncture, MSRP & NADA

The Military Stress Recovery Project (MSRP) is a unique program that provides free community acupuncture to veterans and active duty soldiers with PTSD and their family members.
Treatment in a MSRP clinic is unique for several reasons.  Patients are treated in a group setting, sitting in comfortable chairs.  There is an environment of calm and support. The patients are treated using the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) protocol, a series of 5 needles placed in one ear. The program is designed to address all the needs of people with PTSD.
The MSRP clinics have been very successful.  Patients report stress reduction, improved mental clarity, improved energy, enhanced performance, better sleep, fewer bad dreams and headaches, less anxiety and depression, reduced anger and pain, improved general health and better relationships.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive therapy involves talk sessions between a therapist and their client. The therapist will help the patient work through their trauma and memory and can include techniques such as exposure therapy. This type of therapy is not for everyone but has been proven effective in beginning the steps toward recovery from a traumatic experience.
Relaxation methods
A lot of the times, anxiety and high blood pressure come with PTSD. Practicing daily relaxation methods can help lower stress and anxiety due to PTSD. Meditation, yoga and breathing exercises can all help lower heart rate and calm the mind. Spending time in a quiet place in nature can also have calming effects. Taking the time out each day to practice mindfulness can be very beneficial in lowering PTSD symptoms.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

EMDR therapy is practiced with a trained EMDR psychotherapist and involves allowing the brain to reprocess traumatic memories. It has been shown to reduce recovery time for PTSD patients and is less likely to cause triggers from the trauma than talk therapy. The American Psychiatric Association and Department of Defense/Veteran’s Administration recognize it as an effective treatment.

Guided imagery

Guided imagery is a meditation therapy that can be used at home and involves listening to dialogues to help reduce anxiety, depression and other symptoms of PTSD. The recorded dialogues are listened to a few times a week and involve imagining oneself in nature and a calm environment.

How to Help Someone with PTSD

Watching someone you love and care about suffer from PTSD can be hard. You may feel like you don’t know how to act around them or want to help but don’t know how. Below are ways to support those with PTSD.

Educate yourself

The first step you can take in helping those you care about is learning more about PTSD and what it means to suffer from it. Take the time to understand the causes, symptoms and effects to better understand what your loved one is going through. When things get tough, it is easy to get frustrated with someone who is dealing with this disorder. Remember that they are going through something out of their control and your support is important.

Listen, be patient

Sometimes it can take a person dealing with PTSD a while before they seek treatment. While it is important to encourage treatment, they also need to come to this decision on their own. Being supportive and a good listener in the meantime can be very helpful for their ultimate choice to seek treatment. Don’t push them to talk, but let them know you are there to listen. If they do want to talk, try to listen without judgement so that they feel comfortable to keep coming to you.

Make sure to take care of yourself

Being around someone who is struggling with PTSD is not only hard for them, but can take a toll on you mentally as well. Make sure you are taking care of your physical and mental health as well. If you feel overwhelmed or stressed, don’t forget to take time for yourself to destress and relax.

Understanding triggers and symptoms

If you are living with someone with PTSD it is important to recognize their triggers.  Triggers can be anything, sometimes an object, person or place that reminds them of their traumatic experience. Ask your loved one to explain what triggers them so that you can best help them avoid those triggers. Make a plan for when triggers or a flare up of symptoms do happen and ask them what you can do to help when this happens.

There are many resources out there to help those with PTSD as well as their families and loved ones. For family and friends of veterans, visit www.ptsd.va.gov for more information and help.

Sources:

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