Weight Loss with Acupuncture

4 Ways Acupuncture Can Help Boost Weight Loss Efforts

I have read many statistics on weight loss and the numbers are staggering: one in four Americans are overweight. Even worse, Americans spend over 33 billion dollars every year on weight-loss programs. Despite all of the money spent on weight-loss, Americans have not become healthier. Actually, the statistics seem to get worse every year.Weight Loss with Acupuncture

As the owner of To the Point Acupuncture, I have been able to help many individuals boost their weight loss progress with acupuncture. But how acupuncture can help with weight loss?

4 ways acupuncture can help with weight loss:

  1. Endorphins: When we are in pain we tend to not want to exercise, which leads to weight gain. The increased weight on our joints tends to cause even more pain and so we have become locked in a vicious cycle of being in pain and overweight. So how do we break that cycle? The process of acupuncture naturally releases endorphins in the body. These endorphins help an individual feel happier and reduce the body’s perception of pain making it easier to begin an exercise program once again.
  2. Mood Changes: In America, we eat based on our moods. Commonly we eat when we are sad and depressed, hence the term “comfort foods.” Acupuncture does a great job of alleviating some of the quick mood changes which could lead to overeating.
  3. Stress: Stress can lead to increased weight gain. One way is by increasing cortisol levels in our bodies, which can lead to metabolism and immune response issues. Acupuncture is a great stress reliever for so many people. Being able to relieve some stress could be the pivotal point for an individual to start losing weight.
  4. Imbalances in the System: In Chinese medicine, excessive weight gain is regularly linked to imbalances between the spleen and liver organs. Acupuncturists are trained to zero in on specific acupuncture points that could be causing problems and are leading to weight gain.

If you believe that any of the above factors may be contributing to you struggling to lose weight, I would love to sit down and learn more about you. There are so many reasons and stressors in life that could lead to one’s inability to lose weight. It doesn’t have to be such an uphill battle! Please call me at (919) 621-3363 and let’s set up a time to chat!

Acupuncture

3 Reasons Acupuncture is the Best Non-Opioid Pain Relief

Acupuncture

The opioid epidemic has become a well-known crisis in the United States. There has been continued effort to end the epidemic via governmental funding by restricting prescriber guidelines, which is good news! But with restrictions, many individuals are left without pain relief. There are multiple options of alternative therapies to stop the cycle of opioid abuse and to provide a natural cure when recovering.

One of the many non-opioid pain relief therapies people seek out is acupuncture. As the owner of To the Point Acupuncture, I strongly believe that alternative treatments rooted in Chinese medicine are better compared to the pharmaceutical route.

3 reasons why I suggest acupuncture as a non-opioid option for pain relief:

  • Addiction: Long-term opioid use can potentially lead to addiction and substance abuse. This happens frequently to those in chronic pain who are just trying to find relief. Not only can acupuncture help with pain relief, acupuncture can also help those who are currently struggling with opioid addictions. Acupuncture can provide relief during the withdrawal process, both physically and mentally.
  • Effectiveness: Chronic pain can be insufferable. Prescribed pain relievers may alleviate the pain, but may pose life-altering side effects down the road. With acupuncture, there is no risk associated with treatments compared to medications. In fact, the only side effects one may experience would be better sleep, more energy, mental clarity, and less stress. Studies have shown that acupuncture can decrease inflammation and relieve common forms of pain better than prescribed painkillers. Acupuncture is also beneficial for a multitude of conditions such as cancer, anxiety, and headaches to name a few.
  • Psychological: Acupuncture stimulates the body to encourage the self-healing mechanisms within the body. Acupuncture is known to increase the levels of various chemicals in the central nervous system – endorphins, serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.

Please help me in spreading the word about this wonderful medicine. On Saturday, October 28th I am participating in the second annual Walk-a-Thon and Donation drive in downtown Raleigh. The focus this year is: A Key Solution to the Opioid Crisis. I would LOVE to have you walk aside me or donate money to raising awareness for acupuncture and to help it become a more prominent part of our healthcare system. You can register to join my team or donate on my personal fundraising page here: https://secure.qgiv.com/event/account/551162/

To learn more about pain relief through Acupuncture or the Walk for Acupuncture, contact me, Jill Doan, at To The Point Acupuncture in Raleigh today to learn more.

Managing Anxiety with Acupuncture

Anxiety is a prevalent condition among millions of American adults, approximately 3.3 million, to be exact. In addition to anxiety and the debilitating mental and physical effects it has, many adults will also typically have another co-occurring mental or physical illness. The addition of physical pain only exacerbates the existing symptoms of anxiety, often causing the recovery process to be much more difficult for these individuals.

The medications prescribed for these conditions often come with side effects such as increased mood issues or even physical risks such as addiction. However, there are alternative treatments for anxiety that are more holistic, relying on the body’s natural capacity for healing. At To the Point Acupuncture, I believe these alternative treatments rooted in Chinese medicine are better compared to pharmaceutical (or other self-medicating) routes.

 

3 ways to address anxiety using alternative methods of treatment are:

  • Acupuncture: It may seem counter intuitive to treat anxiety with needles, but truly it’s designed to elicit a therapeutic response in the body like no other medications are capable of doing. Acupuncture is meant to help restore and balance the body’s energy, or qi. It is also a treatment specific per individual, so no two people will get the same exact treatments for the same condition.
  • Cupping Therapy: This practice is also designed to balance the body’s qi and restore blood flow. It also works to remove toxins from the body that have been stored for a long time. Using methods of sliding and stationary cupping can help to alleviate the stress and pain that are afflicting an individual and causing them to experience anxiety.
  • Breathing Exercises: For more immediate relief in an anxious situation, individuals are encouraged to practice self-help methods of treatment until they’re able to see a professional. Breathing slowly and deeply provides real-time relief to those suffering as it can help reduce the heart rate and lower blood pressure in these situations.

There are many alternative methods of treatment that are effective at reducing the symptoms of anxiety and other mental/physical illnesses. If you’re interested in seeing what your options are, contact me today at To The Point Acupuncture. I’ve seen hundreds of patients benefit from these practices, so I’m certain we’ll find the right treatment for your specific needs.

5 Ways to Help You Stick to Your New Years Resolutions

It is that time of year again: New Year’s Resolutions.

New Year’s resolutions can have an odd impact on an individual’s body. When someone sets a resolution then doesn’t stick to it, they can experience increased stress, anxiety, and depression. This means that our body is physically impacted by the decision of our resolutions for 2017.

As an acupuncturist at To The Point Acupuncture, I see a lot of patients for depression as well as anxiety issues. Here are some simple steps to take to prevent this negative effect.

5 suggestions I make to my acupuncture clients about setting New Year’s resolutions for 2017 to positively impact personal health are:

  1. Leave Room for Failure: Stay away from absolutes such as 30 days of clean eating. Instead, try smaller goals and don’t be too hard on yourself with the occasional set back.
  2. Stay Positive: When setting resolutions, be careful how you word things. In order to make it more positive, frame things in a better light. For example, learning to eat healthy instead of losing 20 pounds.
  3. Missing the Journey: Resolutions are focused on the outcome, not the process put into accomplishing the goal. This makes the process of reaching the goal daunting and stressful. Don’t add extra stress to the journey; enjoy the little accomplishments along the way. Enjoy the journey.
  4. Too Many Resolutions. As a Raleigh acupuncturist, I have had clients who want to lose 20 pounds, begin running, get organized, and find a meaningful relationship all in one year. That is a lot for one person to make as a resolution. Instead, choose a few smaller resolutions and then one big resolution.
  5. Wrong Resolutions. Outside stress and pressure from family and friends can cause one to make resolutions they don’t need to. Don’t allow others to influence decisions on your goals and resolutions. You are making changes for yourself, not for anyone else.

So whatever your new year resolutions are, I may be able to help you achieve your goals. Feel free to contact me at To The Point Acupuncture today to set up an appointment.

 

The Impact That Holiday Eating Has on Your Body

Group of humans having Thanksgiving dinnerThe holiday season is a wonderful time where families and friends come together to celebrate each other. Arguably, one of the most important additions to these times is the various foods decorating the tabletops. It can be quite tempting to overindulge and overeat, in fact, it’s practically encouraged!

However, these carb-heavy and sugar-rich holiday meals have a long-lasting impact on our physical and mental well-being. As the owner of To The Point Acupuncture in Raleigh, NC, I’ve seen numerous patients suffering from the effects of holiday overindulgence well after the season has passed.

 

A few effects that holiday eating can have on our bodies, both physical and mental, are:

  • Weight Gain. Overeating can cause the body to go into alert mode, where chemicals involved in the metabolic and digestive processes work harder than necessary to get rid of the extra food. Unfortunately, this means that to work quickly the food will mostly be stored as fat, resulting in added pounds after the season.
  • Changes to Internal Chemistry. The overeating can also trigger internal changes to our body’s natural processes. The pancreas must work harder to create more insulin and remove excess glucose from the blood which will then cause feelings of fatigue and discomfort. That drop in blood sugar results in people craving and turning to more sugar and carb-filled foods to feel better. What a vicious cycle!
  • Mood Swings and Depression. The same foods that cause our physical bodies to react negatively, can also impact our mental health. Processed foods that are full of sugar and carbohydrates can cause us to experience symptoms of depression including fatigue, feelings of sadness, and irritability. The drastic changes in blood sugar levels are the culprit.

The good news is that you can restore hormonal balance, reduce cravings, and support digestion with both Chinese herbs and regular acupuncture treatments. I’ve seen many people regain their sense of control and rejuvenate their feelings of health despite over indulging during the holidays. If you’re interested in setting up an appointment to see how you can benefit from acupuncture and/or other forms of traditional Chinese medicine, contact me, Jill Doan, at To The Point Acupuncture.

Moving Away from Pain Management Drugs to Pain Management with Acupuncture

acupuncture therapy on auricle, horizontal very close up photoIn America today, opioid pain medications are prescribed at alarmingly high rates for pain management. Opioids include pain relievers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine and others, as well as the Schedule I street drug heroin. Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. with 47,055 overdoses in 2014. 18,893 of those overdoses were related to prescription pain relievers, and 10,574 were attributed to heroin.

Let that sink in for a moment and you’ll understand why this disturbs me. There were more deaths related to prescription pain medications than to heroin. This is why I am an advocate for alternative pain management treatments, such as acupuncture and/or cupping therapy, to eliminate the dangers associated with drug dependence and substance abuse.

Here are a few reasons why I believe in acupuncture as a reliable and safe alternative to traditional pain reliever prescription treatments.

  • Self-Healing is the Goal. There is evidence showing that it is medically effective. Acupuncture stimulates the body to provoke innate self-healing mechanisms. For centuries our bodies did not rely on prescription drugs for healing purposes, so we are equipped with the ability to heal naturally. Acupuncture is a great tool used to help the body tap into those resources.
  • Evidence for Effectiveness. Chronic pain can make life unbearable. People will visit doctors that are willing to simply write prescriptions for pain relievers that may pose a threat to someone’s well-being. However, the Archives of Internal Medicine has documented research compiled by international experts spanning 29 studies and 18,000 participants. The results of these controlled studies concluded that acupuncture relieved common forms of pain up to 50%. In addition, there is less risk associated with acupuncture treatments compared to prescription medications.
  • Beneficial for Multiple Conditions. From cancer to severe menstrual cramps to anxiety, acupuncture can make a noticeable difference in well-being and overall health. I’m a firm believer that no matter what the condition is, everyone can benefit from receiving acupuncture treatments.
  • Opioids Exacerbate Pain. In the long run opioids, morphine specifically, have been shown to have detrimental effects. A study published earlier this year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provided evidence to suggest that even a mere five days of morphine treatments caused chronic pain lasting for months.
  • Morphine vs Acupuncture. In addition, a study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine sought to prove the effectiveness of acupuncture compared to morphine. The study of 300 participants showed that the acupuncture group had 92% success rate compared to the 78% rate in the morphine group. Those who were receiving morphine treatments also reported 85 counts of side effects including nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and fainting. In conclusion, it can be said that acupuncture is safer than morphine treatments, and is at least as effective at pain relief as morphine.
  • Acupuncture for Opioid Addiction.For those who are currently struggling with opioid dependence, acupuncture can provide relief during the withdrawal process, both physically and mentally. Given the evidence that opioids pose a threat to physical health and well-being, those seeking pain management therapies owe it to themselves to try an alternative that poses no risks.

I’ve been practicing acupuncture and alternative therapies in the Raleigh, NC area for nearly 10 years, and I’ve seen my patients benefit from these practices. Even if you have inhibitions about these options for any reason, whether you’re skeptical or afraid of needles, please consider talking with me further. Contact me, Jill Doan, at To The Point Acupuncture in Raleigh today to learn more.

Taking care of your body during the summer

summer yogaThe summer is a wonderful time to spend with family, take vacations, and enjoy the weather. But, warm weather activities and summertime come with negative effects on the body such as heat exhaustion, dehydration, sun burns, injuries, stressful schedules and so much more. These are just a few of the issues that I see during the summer.

At To The Point Acupuncture, I help my patients have the best summer of their lives and experience new things that were too stressful before. To make sure that this summer is the best one so far, there are a few health tips I recommend to put in place to stay happy, healthy, and protected this summer.

I always suggest scheduling the following tasks to make sure that the summer of 2016 is the best one yet:

  1. Drink a Lot of Water. It sounds simple, but this is one of the biggest things I have to remind my patients about. The majority of the heat based issues listed above can be prevented by drinking water. Wondering how much water is enough? On average, a normal adult should have approximately 64 ounces of water per day.
  2. Take Frequent Breaks. Frequent breaks are a great way to prevent heat exhaustion and dehydration, but can also help prevent any outdoor injuries. However, if a sports injury occurs, give me a call so we can help alleviate the pain and resolve any further issues.
  3. Schedule an Acupuncture Appointment. Although everyone is different, one acupuncture treatment per month works very well for most people for maintenance and prevention. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture in particular, is a great way to keep healthy during the summer months. If an injury has already occurred, a weekly appointment with a Raleigh acupuncturist is best.

Balancing kid’s schedules in the summer can be very stressful and lead to anxiety; acupuncture is a great solution for this issue. The summer sun can also cause headaches and migraines which acupuncture has been proven to alleviate.

Never tried acupuncture before? The summer of 2016 is a great time to meet with a Raleigh acupuncturist for the first time. Contact me, Jill Doan, at To The Point Acupuncture with any questions and to schedule your first acupuncture appointment today.

 

6 Illnesses That Can Be Treated with Acupuncture

Woman undergoing acupuncture treatment with a line of fine needles inserted into the skin of her foreheadMany illnesses are so overwhelming that life seems unbearable with them. As the owner of To The Point Acupuncture in Raleigh, NC, I help my patients overcome a variety of illness with acupuncture.  Acupuncture is a great medicinal tool, but many people are too afraid to give it a try or are unaware of how many different medical conditions acupuncture can help. However, these individuals miss out on the positive impact acupuncture has to improve their lifestyle and well-being.

Commonly, people I meet believe that acupuncture can only treat pain related conditions such as arthritis or sciatica. This is a big misconception. Traditional Chinese Medicine, which includes acupuncture, is a complete medical system that can treat a variety of conditions.

A few common illnesses that I have treated with acupuncture include:

  • Sinus issues. A few of the sinus issues that acupuncture is known to improve include: sinusitis, dizziness, earaches, hay fever, allergies and more.

  • Circulatory Disorders. High blood pressure is a very common problem in many of the Raleigh business professionals I see. High blood pressure has been shown to improve with acupuncture.

  • Gastrointestinal Problems. Due to the unknown status of the food we all consume, many individuals suffer with diarrhea, nausea, bloating, and constipation. Some individuals suffer with more regular stomach issues that are treatable with acupuncture, such as: irritable bowel syndrome, spastic colon, colitis, and food allergies.

  • Gynecological Issues. 10.9% of all women in the United States are infertile. Acupuncture can help improve infertility issues as well as treat endometriosis and the related side effects, fibroids, premenstrual syndrome, and ovarian cysts.

  • Addictions. Regular visits to an acupuncturist can help individuals move past an addiction problem and help ease withdrawl symptoms. I have seen this first hand working in both detox clinics and in my own Raleigh office.

  • Emotional Disorders. Emotional disorders such as anxiety, insomnia, and depression can be debilitating in life, but acupuncture can improve these conditions.

Having been a Triangle acupuncturist for almost 10 years, I have seen how acupuncture can treat so many illnesses as well as improve individuals lives. There is no reason to let common ailments make life difficult or reduce one’s quality of life.

Many people have heard about acupuncture, but still don’t believe it can help them, and sometimes the fear of needles keeps them from giving it a try. If you have any reservations, please call me, Jill Doan, Licensed Acupuncturist, at To The Point Acupuncture to learn more about Chinese medicine and acupuncture and how it may be able to benefit you.

Acupuncture and Breast Cancer: A Clinical Research Overview

shutterstock_154750382You have probably noticed little pink ribbons popping up everywhere and many people dressed in pink clothing. That’s right. It’s October. Breast Cancer Awareness month, and everyone is coming out to show their support. Whether you are a survivor yourself or you know someone who has had breast cancer, it has affected the lives of almost everyone.  Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and it is the second leading cause of death among women.  One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Research and studies show that acupuncture can help to:

Reduce nausea and vomiting

Decrease fatigue

Control hot flashes

Minimize and lessen pain

I have also found acupuncture to be effective in helping with the healing process and also reducing scar tissue post breast reconstructive surgery.

 

Nausea/Vomiting:

The Journal of the American Medical Association published an article in 2000 on the effectiveness of acupuncture, specifically electro-acupuncture, on managing emesis (vomiting). In the study, 104 women receiving high doses of chemotherapy for breast cancer were chosen. All subjects were given anti-nausea medication. There were 3 groups. Those that received acupuncture with electrical stimulation, acupuncture without electrical stimulation, and no acupuncture. Those that had acupuncture experienced significantly less episodes of nausea/vomiting than those who didn’t receive any acupuncture at all.

Researchers at Duke University published an article in Sept. 2002 in the journal Anesthesia and Analgesia. The study showed that acupuncture worked better than the anti-nausea medication ondansetron, more commonly known as Zofran, in alleviating postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) after major breast surgery, such as a mastectomy.  Duke anesthesiologist Tong Joo (T.J.) Gan, M.D., who led the trial said, “In the areas of PONV control, pain relief, and general overall satisfaction, acupuncture appears to be more effective than the most commonly used medication (Zofran), with few to no side effects.”

 

Fatigue:

In 2012, the American Society of Clinical Oncology conducted a study of 302 participants with breast cancer. The study was to determine if acupuncture was effective in treating cancer related fatigue (CRF) in patients with breast cancer. Those participants that received the acupuncture for 6 weeks reported improvements in physical, mental, and overall fatigue. They had more motivation and felt less psychological distress. 

 

Hot Flashes:

Presented in part at the American Society for therapeutic radiation oncology conference in Boston in Sept 2008, Dr. Eleanor M. Walker presented her findings of acupuncture in the treatment in vasomotor symptoms in patients with breast cancer. The findings showed that acupuncture worked just as well as Venlafaxine (Effexor), a drug commonly used to treat night sweats and hot flashes in menopausal woman with breast cancer. The only difference is Effexor has numerous side effects and acupuncture does not. It also showed that 2 weeks post treatment,  the Effexor group had an increase in hot flashes, while the acupuncture groups hot flashes remained at low levels.

 

Pain:

Part of treatment for breast cancer is taking aromatase inhibitors. About 50 percent of people that take them develop arthralgia or joint pain, and so many people stop taking them because of this even though it is a vital part of treatment. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman school of Medicine found that acupuncture decreases this joint pain that is caused from taking aromatase inhibitors.

If you or someone you know has breast cancer consider acupuncture.  There are no side-effects and it can improve your overall well-being and quality of life.

 

References:

  1. http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-facts
  2. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=193319
  3. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040922070424.htm
  4. http://jco.ascopubs.org/content/30/36/4470.long
  5. http://jco.ascopubs.org/content/28/4/634.short

Acupuncture- Is it working for me? 

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I was talking to a patient the other day (she is being treated with acupuncture for fertility issues) and she said to me, “I know I am not pregnant yet, but I can tell the acupuncture is working.” She mentioned to me that she is sleeping better, her energy is up and she is more focused at work. I was so pleased to hear this. I thought to myself, “Yes! She gets it. She understands!”

Acupuncture works to guide the body back to its natural state of balance so it can heal itself. It is a process. Depending on the severity, nature and duration of time that the patient has had the condition it can take a while to become fully balanced.

I have had patients come in and tell me that they’ve had acupuncture before and it didn’t work. “I’ve had back pain for 30 years. I went to see an acupuncturist for one treatment and my back pain didn’t improve.”

We live in a fast paced society. We desire immediate results and want instant gratification. Unfortunately, most things don’t work that way and acupuncture is one of them. That is not to say that after one treatment someone won’t feel better, but especially if it is a chronic long standing issue it may take much longer.

Below is an article that talks about 6 signs that acupuncture is working for you. Be patient with the process. Your body has taken a while to become unbalanced it needs time to be able to reestablish that balance.

http://acutakehealth.com/how-to-know-when-acupuncture-is-working