Recovery is the process we go through in order to return to a healthy state. What is health? Everyone has a unique answer to this question whether you are recovering from an acute injury, a surgical procedure, or addiction and a simple answer may be the absence of a disease state. In Classical Chinese Medicine texts, the primary focus for healthy function of organs is most used and the optimal state of health is the starting point for treatment. If an organ is healthy, then these are the functions is how this concept of health is transmitted. This perception allows a more holistic understanding of a healthy, optimal function than the R.I.C.E. method of treating an ankle sprain or to take a set of pills for each symptom.
To Ice or Not to Ice
In Chinese Medicine, there are several techniques to reduce swelling and relieve inflammation without using ice such as; emergency acupoints to move energy, kill pain, and stimulate circulation, cupping to disperse coagulating blood and fluid, and cooling herbal poultices and plasters that reduce inflammation. The truth is that while ice does contract the blood vessels in the local area to reduce swelling and cool the heat of inflammation, ice also can congeal the fluids that cause swelling. This inhibits reabsorption and delays the healing process. Why do some sprains heal quickly while others do not? This is the question to ask when considering icing an injury. Note: If necessary, ice should be applied sparingly, less than 10 minutes per hour and only when red, hot, and swollen in the moments following the injury.
Increase the flow
When acupuncture needles are placed in the body, a local healing response is initiated. This includes red blood cells and critical nutrients to repair the micro-trauma of the insertion. The result is natural healing mechanisms of the body are directed to cleanse and renew injured tissue.
How Acupncture Helps you Find Balance
As your body heals from any type of trauma, the return to a balanced state is the goal. In the initial acupuncture treatment, a detailed diagnosis of the major organ systems and the human energy system is examined in order to facilitate the appropriate treatment plan. The Heart, Spleen, Lungs, Kidneys, and Liver should be assessed to ensure proper function and cooperation in order for lasting effect of treatment. This is called “ben” or root treatment and partly explains how acupuncture needles in your leg can help your neck.
Once you’ve experienced the blissful moments on the table, you can easily sense the additional stress reduction and deep relaxation that accompanies an acupuncture treatment. This effect is also a big part of the healing process which creates access to your innate healing potential, that strong emotions like worry, fear, and anxiety can block. Once acupuncture restores your body’s healing mechanism, you are able to repair the initial complaint, and also address other problems that interfere with optimum health. For these reasons, acupuncture can help speed recovery from acute trauma to major surgery and reduce the need for painkillers and unnecessary suffering.
Jeremy Ashburn: Hey guys, I’m Jeremy Ashburn and I’ve got Chad Johnson with me, and we’re at Chad Johnson Acupuncture, in Asheville, North Carolina. Today we’re asking “Does insurance cover acupuncture?”
Chad Johnson: That is a very common question. And the insurance industry as a whole is in a lot of flux right now. Some companies will cover acupuncture on the higher level insurance policies, but that’s something you really need to call your insurance company and see if they will cover it. Now, the way that I work with acupuncture is I have you pay for the treatments and then you submit a bill to the insurance company and they will reimburse you. That’s a common way to practice acupuncture. Medicaid, unfortunately, does not cover acupuncture, but my fingers are crossed with the opioid epidemic that soon a lot of these people will take us more seriously.
Jeremy Ashburn: And it is, I know in other countries, obviously acupuncture is covered, so it is kind of changing a little bit over time. So, this could be happening in the future where insurance companies start covering it more.
Chad Johnson: Yeah, hopefully. We’ll see how it goes.
Jeremy Ashburn: Definitely. Okay. Well, if you want to ask a specific question you can call 828-333-5087 or ChadJohnsonAcupuncture.com. And thanks.
Jeremy Ashburn: Hey guys. I’m Jeremy Ashburn, and I’m with Chad Johnson today at Chad Johnson Acupuncture. We’re just answering common questions that clients ask throughout the year. One of the questions when you’re getting treated with acupuncture treatments is of course, “How many treatments will you need in order to start getting better or getting well?”
Jeremy Ashburn: Hey guys, I’m Jeremy Ashburn, and I’ve got Chad Johnson with me, how are you doing, Chad?
Chad Johnson: Very well.
Jeremy Ashburn: Now we’re at Chad Johnson Acupuncture in Asheville, North Carolina, just south of downtown in Biltmore Village. Today we’re just asking the common questions that clients ask you throughout the year, as they call you up on the phone. And, as you’re working on them, I’m thinking probably one of the first questions that come up is, “What is acupuncture?” (more…)
It’s not surprising because about 75 to 85 percent of Americans experience some form of back pain. Back pain can be sudden, sharp, debilitating pain or constant, nagging, debilitating pain. Either way, it can affect your mood, job performance, and family. As a back pain sufferer myself, I have found many effective solutions for low back pain relief and teach self care techniques to prevent recurrence.
Unfortunately, I see a lot of back pain in my office both chronic and acute. Most people think the cause of low back pain is a disc herniation, stenosis, or osteoarthritis. This is often not the case.
In fact, the most common causes of back pain I see in my clinic are actually injuries to the ligaments and/or muscles. This is a critical point affecting treatment because the key to alleviating most back pain can be found in treating a combination of any or all of these casues. I have found that a multi-faceted approach is the quickest way to my patient’s recovery.
Important: Having low back pain does not always mean you have to get your back cracked, take addictive pain killers, or get surgery for relief.
Once the soft tissue is repaired, the low back can easily return to homeostasis and allow you to return to work, play sports, exercise, or whatever you love to do.
Low back pain can be complex and requires professional diagnosis. If you have serious back pain, see a certified neurologist or orthopedist for a biomedical diagnosis. In addition, seek out a licensed acupuncturist/massage therapist, or make an appointment with my office.
Bonus: 3 easy tips for a healthy low back
Keep your back warm via hot water bottles, hot packs, and hot baths.
Gentle movement. Move it or lose it.
Drink plenty of water. Your discs, muscles, and tendons are made of water.
Here in Asheville it’s cold and flu season. During Autumn, we are returning to school, work, and gearing up for the holiday season. According to the laws of nature, it is a time to reduce activity and turn inward to bolster our bodies protective systems from cold, damp days. While acupuncture and massage are great at cold/flu prevention and support of overall health and wellness, I’m going to share with you three great methods to support your body and create a strong immune system to resist the dreaded cold and flu at home.
Grandma was right: Wear a scarf and hat to keep the head and neck warm. Keep the cold and damp out and the warmth in when outdoors. On the back of the neck there is an acupuncture point called Dazhui or, “Great Vertebra.” This is the point that is most vulnerable to wind and cold causing sore throat, sinus congestion, and chills/fever. I always keep a scarf and hat in the car and never leave home without them.
Salt Water Heals: The common cold and flu affect the respiratory system beginning in the nose and throat. At the first sign of a sore throat or sinus infection, try nasopharyngeal rinsing twice a day with a solution of 1/4 c. water, a pinch of sea salt, and 3-5 drops of tea tree and/or lavender essential oil. With a clean dropper or neti pot, cleanse each nostril while the head is tilted back. The solution should run through the nasal cavity and go out the mouth. This cleanses the mucous membranes of pollutants and enhances overall immunity. I perform this feat in the shower to expel the solution with easy cleanup. After being in an enclosed space with others is a good time to rinse, ie. planes, family gatherings, trains. Keep in mind, it’s important to use distilled water to cleanse the nasal passage as warned in this recent NY Times article.
A Gentle Approach: Learning to pace yourself is very important for immune health. Reduce rigorous outdoor exercise and replace with more relaxing type exercise such as yoga, tai chi, or qi gong. These meditative exercises have been scientifically proven to boost immunity while providing gentle movement to increase flexibility, improve blood flow, and calm the mind.
In addition to these easy tips, remember to eat a nutritious, organic diet, keep a positive attitude, and visit your favorite acupuncturist to stay healthy throughout the year. In the next episode, I’ll share some tips to care for your back.