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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

 

Acupuncture for Depression

shutterstock_130152032We have all felt sad or depressed at one time or another in our lives, but it tends to quickly pass. For those who are clinically depressed, this feeling tends to last for a much longer period of time and not only does it affect their lives, but the lives of those around them as well. Depression is a mental illness that if left untreated can lead to more emotional problems and also manifest into physical problems. It is characterized by prolonged feelings of hopelessness, sadness, worthlessness and thoughts of death/suicide. Depression affects physical health as well in that a person who suffers from depression may have trouble sleeping, eating, and working. It is estimated that there are 20 million Americans who are affected by depression and it is on the rise. The World Health Organization believes that depression will be the second highest medical cause of disability by the year 2030, second only to HIV/AIDS.

Today, the most common form of treatment for depression is medication. However, more than 60% of patients on anti-depressants are responding with below satisfactory results. They are receiving partial temporary benefit or no benefit at all. Those who do respond to medication only receive temporary benefit/relief from the symptoms. Anti-depressants don’t treat the cause, they only mask the symptoms, and the side effects of depression medication have been reported to sometimes be worse than the depression itself.  Even knowing all of this, 11.3 billion dollars a year is spent on anti-depressant medications in the United States.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) does not see depression as a specific illness for everyone who experiences it.  Chinese Medicine focuses on each individual and customizes the treatments specific to that particular person. Acupuncture is seen as an alternative treatment to reduce the severity of depression. Acupuncture can alleviate the signs and symptoms the person is experiencing as well as address the root cause and underlying imbalances.

Many studies have been done to support acupuncture as a treatment to alleviate depression.  Recently, a randomized controlled study was done. The results showed that the brain chemistry that is changed due to depression can be altered with acupuncture. Electro-acupuncture was performed on points Baihui and Yintang. At the end of the trial, the genes that were imbalanced from depression had become normalized. Acupuncture provides a safe, natural, drug-free way to treat depression.

You can read more about the study here: http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1363-acupuncture-relieves-depression-regulates-gene-expression

“The greatest mistake in the treatment of diseases is that there are physicians for the body and physicians for the soul, although the two cannot be separated.” -Plato

Acupressure Points

What Are The 4 Gates?

Through my time as an acupuncturist I have had many people ask me, “Why are you doing that point? What is that point for?” I do not always use specific points for specific ailments, but rather a combination of points tailored to treat the individual.

The 4 gates is an acupuncture point combination consisting of 2 different points needled bilaterally. One point, Large Intestine 4 (Hegu), is on the dorsum of the hand. The other point, Liver 3 (Taichong), is on the dorsum of the foot.

 

Large Intestine (LI4) –Immune Booster/Pain Reliever

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This point is great to use for many different conditions. It is used to strengthen one’s immune system or decrease the duration of colds and/or the flu. It can also be used for any type of problemwith the face which includes jaw pain, toothache, allergies, acne. It is also a great point to relieve a headache or to clear heat and inflammation anywhere in the body.

 

 

Liver 3 (LV3) –Keeping Things Moving

In my opinion, this is one of the most commonly needled points on the body. Deadman_LV3-242x300It can balance, tonify, or disperse stagnant liver energy.  It can be used for any liver energy disharmony. Just a few examples of this include: menstrual disorders/irregularities, headaches, dizziness, and detoxification. It can also be used to create a calming effect on the nervous system to alleviate insomnia, irritability, stress, and anxiety.

 

Together, these points work to circulate the qi and blood through the body. They help to open all the meridians, increase circulation, and decrease pain anywhere in the body. The 4 Gates can also be used for emotional issues as well such as feelings of being trapped or stuck in a situation. This is a great point combination to help maintain the free flow of qi and blood through our bodies.

Autumn Leaves

The Key to your Wei-Qi

The change of seasons, especially late summer into fall, can also mean the start of cold season. In Chinese medicine, there are 5 Elements. Each are related to a particular season: winter, spring, summer, late summer, and fall. The element associated with the fall is Metal. The two organs associated with this element are the large intestine and the lungs. The lungs help circulate the wei-qi, or defensive qi in our bodies. If the wei-qi is weak, the body’s defense system is down and you are more susceptible to colds and flu. Although we can control much of our everyday life, one thing we cannot control is the constant exposure to germs, bacteria and viruses. Our best defense is to keep our immune system strong enough so that when we encounter these germs we don’t get sick. Acupuncture is very effective at strengthening the body’s immune system. If our lung qi is weak, then our wei-qi is also weak and it can’t circulate properly. By strengthening our lung qi and keeping our energy balanced, we can strengthen our body’s natural resistance to disease.

Herbs can also be very effective in prevention or decreasing the duration of an illness. A common Chinese formula used to build up the body’s natural defenses is called Jade Windscreen, or Yu Ping Feng San. It is a classic formula that dates back over 800 years and it most widely known to treat for the prevention of colds and allergies. It is safe for both adults and children. If a cold or flu is already present in the body, other herbal formulas would be prescribed.

 

SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  1. Drink plenty of water
  2. Get an adequate amount of sleep (7-8 hours a night is sufficient)
  3. Exercise regularly (aerobic activity a few times a week and muscle strengthening at least twice a week is recommended)
  4. Avoid refined sugars (it taxes and weakens the body’s immune system)
  5. Foods: sweet potatoes, pears, and nuts are foods that strengthen and tonify lung energy. The flavor associated with the fall is pungent. Examples of some pungent foods are: peppers, chilies, onions, mustard, ginger, and garlic.