Sleep + Acupuncture

Soon we’ll get an extra hour of sleep thanks to Daylight Savings Time - but what if that doesn’t really apply to you?

You know the feeling — you’re tired, groggy, and can’t wait to be reunited with your big comfy bed. The only problem is that once you get there, you just cant fall or stay asleep.

Missing out on deep, restorative sleep can wreak havoc on nearly all aspects of your life. Essential for physical, emotional and mental health, sleep is your body’s opportunity to heal, rest and recover from the previous day while gaining energy for the day ahead. Without it, nearly everything suffers.

Luckily, acupuncture can help. How, you might ask?

Courtesy of the blog at Bulletproof.com, this preliminary report from 2004 showed that patients who experienced acupuncture treatment demonstrated an increase of melatonin at night, while reducing both insomnia and anxiety — which often go hand in hand.

This is something we’ve long believed in and have seen for ourselves time and time again, but a bit of research can’t hurt.

Acupuncture for sleep is not just anxious people to find relief, either. Back in 1999 this study concluded that, “true and individualized acupuncture indeed shows efficacy in primary sleep disorders. However, a direct influence by the therapist cannot be excluded.”

By placing the acu-needles at specific points to target your chief complaint (in this case,lack of sleep) energy (qi) can be balanced within the body while stagnant energy is released. Additionally inflammation can be reduced, muscle tension eased, and the mind relaxed — all conditions that will promote better, longer and deeper rest.

So, whether you are suffering from legitimate insomnia or more general restlessness and difficulty sleeping, we can help. Act now, and you can enjoy that extra hour of snoozing.

Evidence of Primitive Acupuncture

History buffs and acupuncture aficionados — you’re going to love this.

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According to LiveScience.com, Otzi the Iceman (if you’re not familiar, he’s the incredibly preserved Tyrolean Iceman mummy of a man who met his death via murder 5,300 years ago. He was found in 1991 in the Alps of Italy and has been thoroughly studied by science ever since) just may have undergone acupuncture.

How cool is that?

While we have long known acupuncture has been around for quite some time, having actual evidence that demonstrates the possibility of the treatment being used on Otzi is quite fascinating.

After carful study of his anatomy, researchers discovered that he was covered in tattoos — 61 to be exact. Simple in design, mostly strips and two crosses, they weren’t exactly decorative or artistic which led researchers to conclude they were possibly medical treatment.

Albert Zink, head of the Eurac Research Institute for Mummy Studies in Bolzano, Italy said, "The tattoos are all located at body regions where the iceman had some health issues and probably experienced periods of pain. For example, he had degenerative diseases of his hip, knee, ankle joints and lower back. Most of the tattoos are located [on] the legs and the lower back," Zink said.

Furthermore, some of the tattoos correspond. Directly to traditional acupuncture points, which Zink says suggests to some researchers, “that the iceman underwent some form of acupuncture.”

This seems to challenge. The notion that acupuncture first began in China about 2,200 years ago — with Zink acknowledging it could have earlier routes in Europe.

Regardless of whether acupuncture was actually used on Otzi, there is strong enough evidence to conclude that even 5,000+ years ago, people were practicing medicine, holistic treatment, and pain management

For more information on this discovery, you can read the full journal article from the International Journal of Paleopathology, here.

All About Equine Acupuncture

We’ve previously covered the benefits of acupuncture for both humans AND animals — further proving the efficacy, importance and versatility of acupuncture treatment. And while it’s becoming more widespread within the animal kingdom, perhaps the most success so far can be seen within the horse population.

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As a recent article from Ocala.com explains, acupuncture is helping horses to heal, avoid surgeries, lessen pain, and release endorphins.

After practicing acupuncture for 35 years Dr. Huisheng Xie recently opened the Equine Acupuncture Center in Reddick, Florida. It is there that horse owner Lousia Flaig sought treatment for her 14 year old horse Songline, who had previously had surgery for an injured tendon. Unfortunately, the surgery was unsuccessful, and the horse had not been able to return to his prior activities in eventing, and a s a stallion.

Flaig explained, “We were looking for an alternative. He already had surgery once. I feel doing this, we can’t go wrong, and with surgery we can make it worse.”

So, Xie performed acupuncture treatment on Songline, inserting acuneedles along points in the horse’s back and leg, and connected them to electric stim. Perhaps surprisingly or perhaps not for true acupuncture believers, “Within minutes the horses lower lip began to droop, a sign of a relaxed horse.”

Xie explained this as the release of endorphins having a morphine-like effect.

In further support of veterinary acupuncture, recent vet school grad Emily Roth said that throughout her experience with the practice being used on animals, “I really saw very profound results. Predominantly, pain relief in a lot of lameness cases and chronic pain issues. It treats the whole body and helps the body heal itself and ultimately that should be the goal in medicine versus using more invasive techniques.”

Instead of subjecting animals to surgeries that require extensive healing time and further rehabilitation, more and more anecdotal evidence as well as research supports . the notion of trying acupuncture first, or in conjunction with more traditional therapies.

Acupuncture Found to be Safest Option for Treating Osteoarthritis

 

Osteoarthitis is the most common form of arthritis, and it can occur and create damage at any joint in our bodies. What happens is the cartilage in our joints that separates bones from one another gradually deteriorates. In the early stages, the cartilage becomes rough, which causes pain and stiffness in joints. But if untreated, eventually the cartilage can be removed completely, causing bones to run right up against each other.

 

This condition occurs most commonly in our major joints, like our hands and knees, and especially our hips. Hip Osteoarthritis affects anywhere from 3 to 11% of the population in Western countries, which means millions of people suffer from this nasty degeneration. Since there is no cure for osteoarthritis, there are a number of ways doctors generally treat the condition. Physical therapy is popular, and surgery could be performed in the worst cases, but in the meantime the use of painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs is often prescribed to deal with the pain.

 

Thankfully, studies are beginning to be performed to show what acupuncturists have known for decades—that among all the treatments available for those suffering from a condition like hip osteoarthritis, acupuncture isn’t just on par or superior, but it’s by far the safest, with the fewest potential negative side effects.

 

Researchers in the US and China went back and looked at studies done historically on how to treat osteoarthritis and judged the combined findings. In all the studies, none of the subjects reported any adverse side effects.

 

As for acupuncture’s ability to heal those who are suffering, the strongest of the studies that were reviewed found  “that acupuncture plus routine physician care was more effective than routine care alone at decreasing pain, improving bodily function and increasing physical quality of life.”

 

We know that acupuncture is effective for treating disorders such as osteoarthritis because its goal is not to simply mask pain, but treat the root causes of pain brought about by unbalance in the body. If you think you suffer from any form of osteoarthritis or are beginning to feel pain and stiffness in your joints, we’re here to help.

 

Ostearthitis Treatment

Breech Baby? Try Acupuncture!

Saying that giving birth can be stressful is a major understatement. An expectant mother will try just about anything do to make the process physically or emotionally easier.

One thing moms-to-be have to worry about is whether their baby is in the breech position when they go into labor.

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Breech position describes when the baby is bottom down. This can be problematic during the delivery, causing a number of potential difficulties. Ideally, the baby will be head down, otherwise known as the anterior position. Many babies will naturally move to the anterior position in the 7th or 8th month of pregnancy, but some finicky holdouts stay breech. Thankfully for mothers of these stubborn babies, there is a natural practice that has been turning breech babies into the preferred position successfully for centuries.

Katie, 34, found out at 34 weeks pregnant that her baby was in the breech position. Luckily, that falls right in the window of time that acupuncture and moxibustion become a viable way to safely turn the baby into the correct position. Katie had undergone acupuncture when trying to conceive, with positive results. So she decided to try again to see if it would help her baby move from the breech position.

Katie saw her acupuncturist who performed both moxibustion and acupuncture.  “The increased placental oestrogen caused by the heat from the moxa stick increases the baby’s heart rate and, in turn, encourages the baby to move around,” said Fiona Wolfendon, the acupuncturist.

As acupuncture helped Katie get pregnant, it also helped her delivery become much less stressful than it could have been.

“The baby stayed the right way round and there were no problems with the birth,” Katie said. “There were no complications and I only had a 12 hour labour.”

Sometimes babies just need a little help to make things a lot easier on mommy. Acupuncture has been providing the gentle but effective nudge successfully for a very long time, and will continue to do so in the future for moms everywhere.

 

 

Acupuncture Effective for one of the Most Common Disorders Facing Men

Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) is one of the most common health
issues facing men, and it can greatly affect quality of life. Worldwide, it affects anywhere up to
16% of the male population, and it can often go undiagnosed for years. Some men may just think
the symptoms they experience are normal or untreatable—increased urination frequency, pain in
the pelvis, fatigue, and more.

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Making matters worse, many people who suffer from prostatitis only treat the problem with medications, whether it’s antibiotics  (because the cause is bacteria), or alpha blockers and anti- inflammatory medication. But these only treat symptoms. The root causes go deeper. Often prostatitis is brought  upon by stress in the body.


That’s why acupuncture is one of the most effective ways to safely and completely treat
prostatitis. Over the years, a number of studies have confirmed that acupuncture is an effective
treatment option. A study done in Turkey showed that acupuncture was more effective than
narcotics in dealing with acupuncture. But for some people, narcotics are not effective at all. In
Canada, a study was done on 12 men suffering from CP/CPPS who had tried narcotics but did
not find them affective. The men all received acupuncture treatments, and all 12 reported
improved pain and urinary symptoms.


“Acupuncture appears to be a safe, effective, and durable treatment in
improving symptoms in, and the quality of life of, men with chronic
prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome refractory to treatment,” the
study concluded.


Chances are, you or someone you know suffers from CP/CPPS. While
medications can help, acupuncture is the best way to relieve the
symptoms and treat the root causes of this very common disorder.
Anyone who has had their quality of life affected by the pain and
unreliability brought upon by CP/CPPS will find acupuncture as a
lasting solution.

Can Acupuncture Be an Antidote to Addiction?

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Life can be stressful. And when things are a little hectic, it’s understandable to want to unwind a bit with a drink or other substance. But for many among us, the ability to control those impulses is much more difficult. Alcohol and many drugs are designed with addictive properties in mind. For many, a brief dalliance can soon turn into full-fledged addiction. One in seven people in the U.S. will experience a problem with alcohol or drug use in their lifetimes, and approximately 20 million people currently have substance abuse issues. Sadly, 78 people die of overdose every day.

What compounds the problem is that the far majority of people suffering from addiction don’t receive any help towards recovery. Many rehabilitations and recovery centers can be expensive and difficult to access. What if there were a relatively inexpensive, safe, and effective way to treat substance addiction? Recent research from Daegy Haany University and Qiqihar Medical University in China suggests that acupuncture may be just that solution.

They studied acupuncture as a means of suppressing addiction related to self-administration of intravenous methamphetamines. The controlled experiment tested two specific acupuncture points, HT7 and LI5. “Acupuncture at the specific acupoint HT7, but not at the control acupoint LI5, markedly suppressed the methamphetamine self-administration behavior,” the study determined.

The researchers chose these points for a reason. HT7, specifically is a yuan source point for the heart channel and is a target for treatment of many neurological disorders, including addiction. Thankfully, research suggests that treatment of this point has wide-ranging benefits when it comes to misuse of substances:

“The researchers cite eight independent investigations finding HT7 effective for ameliorating the effects of drug addiction. The investigations found acupuncture effective for ameliorating the addictive effects of nicotine, methamphetamines, morphine, alcohol, and cocaine.”

Nobody should suffer from alcohol and substance addiction. Thankfully, it appears as though there’s a safe, effective and accessible step to take in the road to recovery.

 

 

Aches and pains? Ditch the Ibuprofen.

We all know the feeling. Maybe you slept in the wrong position, or upped your physical exertion in an effort to exercise more. Maybe you banged a knee or elbow playing a sport or stretched too far while horsing around with your kids. Or maybe you’re just getting old (it happens!). Worse off, those who complain about consistent aches and pains may suffer from arthritis.

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It’s almost like second nature for many of us to head straight to the medicine cabinet and grab for the ibuprofen bottle. Pop a few in and go on with your day. The problem is that medications like ibuprofen only address the symptom and don’t have any regenerative ability. While tears and serious injuries may require surgery and/or physical therapy, the root cause of every day aches and pains can get worse if only treated with something like ibuprofen and physician prescribed pain killers (not to mention the addictive properties of the latter).

Thankfully, there is another way—acupuncture. And a recent study performed in China has put some data behind what is becoming more commonly known; that aside from being the safer, natural alternative, acupuncture is more effective at treating arthritis than ibuprofen.

Researchers at Yueyang Hospital sampled 80 patients who suffer from arthritis, administering either ibuprofen or a combination of acupuncture and tui na massage. The second group received acupuncture treatment daily for 20 minutes for 20 days, followed by a 20 minute massage treatment. The acupuncture and tui na treatments were successful in 90% of patients as opposed to 87% in the ibuprofen group – a small but meaningful difference given the safety and holistic differences in the two approaches.

A further study showed that of acupuncture and tui na, acupuncture was the more meaningful and effective of the two treatments for arthritis. We figured!

 

 

 

Incorporate Acupunctue in to your Pre-Wedding Routine

Congratulations! You're getting married!

While an engagement is undoubtedly one of the happiest times in your life, it's not always smooth sailing for most. 

Brides-to-be often find themselves jam packed in the weeks leading up to their wedding - with days filled with beauty treatments, hair and makeup trials, spa treatments, dress fittings and workouts.

While on a quest to be your bridal best, there is one thing that might be missing from your pre-wedding  to-do list, and that's acupuncture. With physical, mental AND cosmetic benefits, here’s why you should schedule an acupuncture appointment stat.

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Cosmetic

Aside from the wellness benefits that will leave you glowing from within, acupuncture has some pretty significant cosmetic benefits, too. From AcuScupltÔ to anti-aging treatments, acupuncture treatment can help you to slim, tone, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and appear more rejuvenated.

As explained in detail in this Vogue article, acupuncture “facials” can help to eliminate facial puffiness, clear up acne, soothe rosacea, brighten, tighten and tone the skin. Before splurging for expensive, often invasive facials that may utilize harsh chemicals, give this holistic treatment a try.

Wellness

There’s no doubt that planning a wedding is stressful, and all that stress can leave you feeling exhausted, tense, and anxious. To help calm and restore the mind, tiny acu-needles can pack a serious punch. In fact, in as little as one treatment you can leave feeling more balanced and calm, and improve your sleep. Oh, and those annoying tension headaches that just might pop up anytime someone mentions a budget or seating arrangements? Acu can help those, too.

Health

By restoring the flow of qi, acupuncture and accompanying targeted massage can help to soothe sore muscles and release tension by improving blood flow and releasing adhesions that might be causing pain. With improved circulation and less pain, you’ll be ready to tackle your walk down the aisle, first dance, and party all night long while being pain free.

Before your first appointment, be sure to explain your goals for treatment with your practitioner. Then sit back, relax, and enjoy.

 

 

Having Trouble Going? Acupuncture Can Help

We all know the saying, “When you gotta go, you gotta go”.

But for many among us, having to go can be an unpleasant and painful process. Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS is the most common gastrointestinal disorder, affecting nearly 15% of the population. However, IBS is also one of the most underreported disorders in the country, as many people don’t even recognize the symptoms of IBS, or think that they are a problem than can be treated. IBS can cause recurring abdominal pain and discomfort, along with irregular frequency of bowel movements and consistency of stool.

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There are a number of medical treatments that can help aid the symptoms, but thankfully one alternative method has been proven to be most effective against one of the most common forms of IBS.

A recent study performed in China at Yiwu Central Hospital has shown acupuncture to be an effective treatment of IBS-D, the form of the disorder associated with diarrhea. Along with receiving herbal medicines, the test group was administered acupuncture at 7 key points, with the needles remaining in place for 30 minutes. The points were chosen because they’re known to benefit the liver and spleen—in particular, soothing the liver and strengthening the spleen. This helps firm the intestines, which prevents diarrhea from occurring.

The treatment was found to be effective and improve the symptoms in over 90% of the patients; in addition, it was found to completely cure the symptoms in nearly 35% of patients! If you or anyone you know is suffering from the symptoms of IBS, acupuncture could be the solution. Balancing the energy in the body helps in all facets of life, even the ones we don’t talk much about.  

Acupuncturists Without Borders

You may have heard of Doctors Without Borders, but what about Acupuncturists Without Borders? 

Acupuncturists Without Borders (AWB) was founded by Diana Fried  immediately after Hurricanes Rita and Katrin in 2005. According to this Valley Advocate article the AWB, "provided free community acupuncture treatments to 8,000 people in Louisiana, including evacuees, residents, first responders, emergency personnel, volunteers and other care providers."

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Most recently, AWB has now been helping Puerto Rican evacuees help to manage and treat their trauma. 

After the devastation that Hurricane Maria brought to Puerto Rico, many individuals lost everything, and have had to flee the country for safety. 

AWB member Verena Smith, an Amherst based acupuncturist, explained, “people who were directly hit by hurricanes – and their families and friends from Western Mass – surely are experiencing serious acute traumatic stress.  Folks may be having flashbacks, panic, insomnia, suicidal ideation, or any number of symptoms that can be relieved with simple treatments.“

Since acupuncture has been shown to help with anxiety, insomnia, depression and other symptoms, acupuncturists and AWB members Nancy Edwards and Dede King brought their services to a Springfield clinic to offer treatment to stressed evacuees within a shared treatment setting. The results?

The report explained, "people seemed a bit more jovial, perhaps the result of a positive shared experience or perhaps a result of the treatment. Regardless, the general mood seemed lighter; smiles spread across faces for the first time that evening."

It has been long known that acupuncture treatment, specifically targeted for trauma, can help to heal both physical and emotional pain, while balancing qi. 

 

Acupuncture for Your Furry Friends

If you’ve given acupuncture a try for yourself, you know the incredible benefits of the ancient practice. By balancing the energy in the body, acupuncture has proven to be a beneficial treatment for a wide array of human ailments and conditions. But did you know that humans aren’t the only animals who can benefit from acupuncture? That’s right—if you’ve got a furry friend who is struggling with their own ailments, veterinary acupuncture may be just what you’re looking for.

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Veterinary acupuncture has been around since the 1970s, but didn’t really gain popular acceptance until nearly two decades later. While many people are still opting for medicinal treatments to treat the health issues ailing their dogs or cats, acupuncture works on many animals at nearly zero risk. Acupuncture is a beneficial treatment option for many types of pets, including ill pets, animal athletes, geriatric pets, cancer patients, surgical and post surgical pets and more.

One recent story is evidence of the treatment’s success (and a real heart-warmer, too!) Dan, a rescue cat located in Columbia, South Carolina, was treated at Seven Oaks Animal Hospital late last year for hind end paralysis—leaving him unable to use his legs and walk. But after three months’ worth of acupuncture treatment, coupled with medical therapy, Dan was once again able to walk.

And veterinary acupuncture is not just for cats and dogs—Seven Oaks says they’ve also treated non-venomous snakes as well as chickens, too!

While we only treat humans here, it’s always good to know what options can be out there, whether it’s you or your furry friend who is in need of pain relief. Knowing what we do about its efficiency and benefits, it’s no wonder that the lovely animals we share the earth with have also found acupuncture to be a reliable, low-risk treatment that seriously improves quality of life.

 

Acupuncture in the Age of the Opioid Crisis

Dealing with any type of pain can be frustrating. When pain is chronic, it becomes more than simply frustrating, but life-changing.

When in pain, many people’s first instinct is to go for medication. Pharmaceutical companies have created a number of medications meant to lessen pain. However, many of these medications, particularly opioids, have proven to be very harmful to the people who take them because of their addictive properties. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 90 people in the United States die from overdosing on opioids each day.

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When Brandy Golden of Columbus, Ohio had two daughters who both were suffering from amplified musculoskeletal pain syndrome, luckily acupuncture was there to help. Thankfully the nearby Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Comprehensive Pain Management Clinic treated 13-year-old Gloria and 11-year-old grace without prescribing any medications.

Sharon Wrona, the administrative director of the clinic, says: “I think in the pediatric arena for chronic pain, we’ve always been more about minimizing medications and maximizing [treatments] like acupuncture.”

One of the roadblocks to acupuncture becoming more readily available for children and adults alike in the U.S. is insurance. Many insurance carriers didn’t cover acupuncture, leaving patients fewer, more dangerous options to treat their pain. As we learn more and more about the serious state of the opioid crisis and the harmful potential these drugs can have, availability of acupuncture is becoming more widespread.

In the fall of 2017, the National Association of Attorneys General sent a letter to America’s Health Insurance Plans urging insurers to prioritize coverage of non-opioid pain treatments like acupuncture. In response, Ohio’s Medicaid program in 2018 will start covering acupuncture treatments for certain types of pain, and hopefully will be expanding it to a larger range of pain management treatments. Let’s hope that more and more carriers follow in these footsteps.

Acupuncture is something that all people should know about as one of the safest, most effective pain management treatments. If you know anyone dealing with chronic pain, be sure to recommend a holistic treatment, especially if the alternative is a pain medication.