Ready To Get Some Sun? Acupuncture Is Here If You Get a Little Too Much

Bust out the umbrellas, bathing suits, flip flops and pool toys—summer is just around the corner! A week from now Memorial Day Weekend marks the unofficial start of everybody’s favorite season. But one of the things that can hold you back from enjoying your summer to the fullest is a result of one of the things that makes summer so great.

Getting some sun is great. Getting too much of it is…well, not so great. In fact, it can be downright terrible.

You know the deal. Burning, scratchy, itchy and peeling skin that can take days to heal, all the while any movement or clothing touching the skin causes you to wince. There are some topical remedies that can help, but many of them are chemical based and can even dry out your skin even further.

When you’re sunburned, your body needs to be able to release heat and inflammation. Acupuncture is the best and most natural way to do both of those things.

We can hear you: the last thing I want to do after being badly sunburnt is to have needles inserted into my body!

The good news is that there are many acupuncture points that we can target to treat sunburn, and many are located in areas where sunburn is incredibly rare or not nearly as painful. Specifically to treat sunburn, acupuncturists can utilize the point UB 40, which is located on the back of knee and helps circulate cool blood. Additionally, GB 20 points on the base of the skull also help reduce body heat.

So if you plan on heading to the beach or pool this summer, you should always take the proper sunburn prevention precautions. But sometimes the best laid plans go awry. If you don’t want one fun day to ruin the next few, know that acupuncture can help you recover quickly and safely.

Recovering Addicts Getting Help For Withdrawal From Substance Abuse

The road to recovery for those who suffer from substance abuse disorder is a difficult one to navigate. Addiction takes a toll on both the mind and the body, and while cutting out the offending drug cold turkey is the most direct solution, it wreaks havoc on the person going through it. When the body is used to ingesting a drug regularly, it gets used to it—and when that substance is no longer entering the body, the reaction is not kind.

In West Virginia, recovering addicts are thankfully now able to use acupuncture to treat their withdrawal symptoms. Particularly, auricular (ear) acupuncture has now been greenlit by the government as an accepted practice for treating recovering addicts.

Points in the ear are correlated to many of the body’s most important energy and self-healing centers. Acupuncturists are able to specifically target the key areas that will alleviate the symptoms the patient is suffering from. “For patients, these simple pricks can help alleviate the physiological effects of withdrawal, such as headaches and nausea, or sedate cravings for those in long-term recovery,” Barbara Werner, a nurse practitioner involved with the passing of the bill says.

The beauty of acupuncture is that it spurs the body on to heal itself. That has a significant meaning for those who are in recovery from addiction. Many mental and physical exercises and treatments can be combined to create a patient solution, and acupuncture is a big piece of the recovery puzzle.

Feeling Down This Winter? You May Have Seasonal Affective Disorder...And Acupuncture Can Help

It’s cold. You wake up and it’s dark, you head to work, and before you even leave work it’s dark again. Repeat over and over again.

Depending on where in the country or world you live, the above description hits close to home. Winter can be fun for the holidays and those who like cold weather activities, but for many, the short daylight hours can take a real toll on one’s emotions. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that is linked to the seasons, with susceptible people experiencing it most commonly during fall and winter months. Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder include depression, intense fatigue, difficulty concentrating, consistent negative thoughts and decreased social interaction.

Anyone who thinks they may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder should seek out mental health care. But in lieu of any medication, those who are looking for relief should consider acupuncture a major part of your care plan, too. That’s because acupuncture is uniquely suited to treating mood disorders, including depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder. Through acupuncture, we can address the root causes of SAD, targeting specifically the areas of the brain and body that respond to light and seasonal changes. Alleviating qi stagnation in the liver can also be a priority, as the liver is a key part of the body that acts as a mediator between our internal and eternal environments.

Most medications for mood disorders only temporarily treat symptoms, not root causes, and they do so by inputting potentially harmful chemicals into our bodies. Acupuncture is a natural, holistic and lasting treatment. For those who suffer from Seasonal Mood Disorder, acupuncture can help you get through the doldrums of the winter months and leave you feeling energized, happy, and ready to take on the day!

Don't Get It Twisted—What Your Tongue Says About Your Health

If you go to an acupuncture session and your acupuncturist asks to look at your tongue, don’t worry. They’re not about to plunge a needle into your mouth! The fact of the matter is that all healthcare professionals should ask their patients the same request. That’s because you can tell a lot about somebody’s health simply by looking at their tongue and knowing what to look for.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, a general map of the tongue is drawn that corresponds to different parts of the body, important organs that our health depends on. The very tip of the tongue corresponds with the heart and lung; the two side edges to the liver and gallbladder; the back (near the throat) to the kidney, bladder, and intestines; and the center corresponds to the spleen and stomach. Issues on those areas of the tongue could lead an acupuncturist to treat a specific area of the body that can be the root cause of the pain or discomfort the patient is experiencing—even if it might be different from what the patient is physically experiencing. See the image below via Village Wellness:

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In general, what practitioners would be looking for is the color and texture of the tongue. A healthy tongue is pink with a thin white coating, and should be proportionate to the person’s body. If a tongue is larger than it should be, swollen or puffy, that means there is likely a qi deficiency. A dark or blue/purplish-ish tongue may indicate stagnation as well, from heat or cold, while a reddish tongue indicates the body temperature is running high. A thick coated white tongue, as many people know, usually relates to some sort of cold/sinus/respiratory issue, and likely means there is extra fluid in the body.

While it won’t tell us everything, the tongue gives a good high level indication as to what is going on in the rest of the body. If the body’s energy isn’t regulated, it will show in the most unlikely of places. So if you can’t quite articulate what’s brought you to seek out acupuncture, your tongue can do some of the talking for you.

Interested In Acupuncture? Watch These Documentaries

Though it is increasing in popularity around the country, awareness of acupuncture and its effectiveness for various pain management and treating illnesses is still a bit lacking. Spreading the word is something we’re deeply invested in, as so many people out there remain who can still discover how acupuncture can safely and lastingly better their quality of life.

Though it’s an endlessly interesting subject with a rich history, acupuncture isn’t too often the subject of much entertainment. However, there are a some documentary films that have been made about acupuncture or feature the treatment in some way that we’d like to highlight.

The brother of documentary filmmaker Doug Dearth, Devin, is a former bodybuilder whose years of competing took a toll on his body—eventually causing him to undergo a massive stroke When he was unable to find proper, lasting treatment in the United States, Devin headed to China to seek out Eastern medical cures—and Devin took his camera along to document the experience. Out of it came the film 9000 Needles; made in 2009, the documentary featured at many major film festivals.

“This is helping to improve awareness in parts of the country where acupuncture is not well known,” Doug Dearth said about his intentions in documenting his brother’s story. “I wanted to open up people's eyes a little bit.” The film can be viewed on Amazon Prime video.

In 2012, the film “Escape Fire: The Fight To Save American Healthcare” came out to very positive reviews. The film largely focuses on the American Health care system, particularly how it seems designed to get people into hospitals and medical facilities and treat them with drugs, not necessarily to cure their illnesses in the best possible ways. One of the stories featured in the film is of a military veteran suffering from PTSD and chronic pain whose conditions improve after he receives acupuncture and other holistic treatments. In his review of the film, the famous critic Roger Ebert notes “We learn that acupuncture has been tested and approved by the Air Force for more than 20 years, though few for-profit hospitals make it part of their practice.” That sad truth remains, although we are now seeing the tides shift slightly.

“Escape Fire” can also be viewed on Amazon Prime Video, and we highly recommend checking out both films to learn more about how acupuncture can effectively treat many ailments.

Vocal Issues? Let Acupuncture Clear Those Pipes

You yourself may not be a singer, actor, or have to speak publicly as part of your career, but our voices are super important to us nonetheless. And one in 10 adults will at some point be effected by some sort of voice disorder caused by overuse. Polyps, lesions and other conditions brought upon by overuse and strain on the vocal chords can be painful to deal with, and also take a toll on our public lives. You don’t realize how essential your voice is to everything until it starts being taken away.

Most voiceover can only be treated through a surgical procedure, which is costly, invasive and can lead to post-operate scarring and other side effects. Thankfully, it’s not quite true that these disorders can only be treated by surgery. That’s just what most folks think.  

A study led by the University of Hong Kong and in collaboration with McGill Univeristy and the University of Pittsburgh explored the use of acupuncture to treat voice disorders rather than the patient receiving surgery.  Specifically, the study says: “…acupuncture has short-term anti-inflammatory effects on patients with vocal nodules – a disease caused by phonotrauma, where the vocal fold is injured due to phonation.”

Unsurprisingly to us, acupuncture was deemed to be effective at treating these nodules and potentially eliminating the need for surgery. Why was this unsurprising? Vocal disorders from overuse are usually caused by inflammation in the vocal chords. Acupuncture is known to be one of the most safe, effective and long-lasting natural treatments for inflammation of all kinds. Just because the inflammation happens to be in the throat doesn’t change that fact. The same can be said for wound healing, for lesions on the vocal chords.

So don’t wait until you’re struggling through your big gig, presentation, maid of honor speech or karaoke night. If you’re struggling with voice issues, think about how acupuncture can help you return to vocal clarity.

Acupuncture Effective For IBS And Other Stomach Issues

They say when you gotta go, you gotta go, but for many people out there this is nothing to be coy about. Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is a very common disorder that affects the large intestine. Those who suffer from IBS will often feel bloating, cramping and other more intense abdominal pain that can be eased or relived with a bowl movement. But in addition, IBS can cause either diarrhea or constipation, as well as excess gas or mucus in the stool.

What makes IBS difficult to treat for many folks is that there isn’t one consensus cause for the disorder. Among the contributing factors are muscle contractions in the intestine, issues with the nervous system, inflammation and bacterial changes in the gut. Medications can be given to alleviate symptoms and attempt to solve one of these causes, but for most people medication will only be a temporary reprieve.

Thankfully acupuncture is available to treat a condition like IBS. Regardless of the cause in the patient’s body, acupuncture’s ability to regulate the qi in the body and promote self-healing will help an IBS sufferer begin to feel better in a short amount of time. Recently, an independent study concluded that acupuncture in conjunction with herbs and moxibustion has been reliably proven to provide relief from IBS. The study found that this holistic treatment improved symptoms and pain significantly. Umbilical pain, bloating and the frequency of bowel movements all dropped in those studied who received the treatment.

“Participants in the cured group showed a complete resolution of umbilical pain and bloating, and had their bowel movements reduced to once daily,” the study said, while even those who were not fully cured saw marked improvement.

Living with the unfortunately common ailment IBS can really effect quality of life. Acupuncture is uniquely suited to improving IBS symptoms naturally, safely and with lasting effects.

An Acupuncture Skeptic Gets Converted on the High Seas

Cindy Leyland was excited for her vacation. Ten days away with her husband on a cruise was just what the doctor ordered. But unfortunately for Cindy, the day leading up to her vacation were stressful and hectic, and her fibromyalgia and associated pain began to ramp up. Cindy’s heel was suffering from plantar fasciitis, and her right knee was bothering her from a recent hip operation.

Cindy made it on the flight, but she knew her vacation wasn’t going to go as planned with the amount of pain she was in. She tried her best to enjoy herself, but right away she knew her pain was going to put a damper on the proceedings. Luckily, her cruise ship had a solution, one that her husband urged her to try: acupuncture.

Cindy had tried acupuncture once before, a single session many years ago, but didn’t think that it was for her. So while she wasn’t very optimistic, she gave it a shot anyway. After inserting needles into Cindy’s knee and ankle, the acupuncturist followed up. “The doctor declared that my chi was blocked from my waist down in both legs and he put in more needles!” Cindy wrote. “He pounded a bit on the back of my left leg and put a needle in the inside of my right wrist, which he then twisted a bit. YOUCH! It felt like I had been electrocuted.”

Of course, Cindy wasn’t electrocuted, but she was indeed feeling the unblocking of her chi. While acupuncture doesn’t always work immediately and follow up sessions are always recommended, Cindy instantly felt better.

“I walked out of that spa with less pain than I had had in months, if not years. WOW!” Cindy said.  “And the next seven days were seven of the best days of my life.”

Fibromyalgia is one of the most common disorders ailing adult women, and Cindy’s resulting pain is too often treated with painkillers and other medications. These temporary fixes merely mask pain, wile acupuncture creates lasting relief because of its ability to balance the body’s energy. Cindy is just one of many folks who can benefit from consistent acupuncture. And her experience taking one more chance on acupuncture to save her vacation has converted her into a believer.

“I feel like my mind has been opened to an especially helpful treatment that I formerly ignored because of the cost and my own skepticism.”

Losing Weight One Of Your Resolutions? Add Acu To Your Plan

Thanksgiving is upon us, and that means the Holiday Season has officially begun. It’s a time for family, friends, parties and plenty of eating. It’s no wonder that the number one New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight.

Before you head out to the sure-to-be-packed gym on January 2nd, it’s important to know that eating well and exercise aren’t the only things you should do when hoping to shed off some extra pounds. Those are both paramount, but sometimes our getting in shape process need an extra boost.

It just so happens that acupuncture is a safe, effective supplement to eating well and exercising when it comes to losing weight. In fact, a study in China has recently shown that those who receive acupuncture treatment for weight loss in addition to a healthy eating and workout-led plan. Conducted by the First Teaching Hospital of Tianjin University, the study determined that acupuncture enhances weight loss efforts. Acupuncture “reduces body fat and adiposity, decreases serum triglycerides and total cholesterol, reduces harmful low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and raises beneficial high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels.” The study was broken into two groups, with one receiving acupuncture on top of a dietary plan and the other just receiving the dietary plan. The acupuncture group received warm needle acupuncture in 7 distinct acupuncture points. While both groups saw decreases in BMI, body fat and cholesterol, the acupuncture group saw a more significant decrease.

The acupoints are chosen carefully and help open up energy pathways associated with areas of the body that contribute to weight gain. Specifically, these points address the endocrine system and kidneys, which are related to retention and nerve and hormonal rebalance. In addition, the spleen and thyroid gland are also targeted, which will help the body rebalance sugar and hormones, leading to more efficient and rapid weight loss.

Always consult with your doctor to map out a safe exercise and diet plan. But once you do, make an appointment with us to kickstart your weight loss journey!

New Study Shows Acupuncture's Effectiveness At Easing Pain From Cancer and Cancer Treatments

As the medical world continues to research and fight for a cure for cancer, millions of patients around the world have to deal with the daily discomfort of the insidious disease. What makes dealing with cancer so difficult is that not only do the direct symptoms cause pain and discomfort, but so often many of the treatments, like chemotherapy, bring with them a whole other host of side effects.

We don’t pretend that acupuncture is a some sort of cure-all. However, we do know that acupuncture has wide-ranging benefits for all of our health and wellness needs, is non-invasive, and is effective mainly because it naturally spurs the body on to heal itself. While acupuncture will only be a part of any cancer patient’s treatment, we’re learning more and more that it should be a key complementary part of every cancer patient’s treatment, as the recently released results of a new study show.

A 2016 study conducted by researchers at the University of Texas determined that acupuncture “was associated with immediate and longitudinal significant improvement across a range of symptoms commonly experienced by individuals during cancer care.” Among the symptoms that the 375 patients reported the best improvements in after receiving acupuncture were dry mouth, nausea, and spiritual pain. But that wasn’t all — every symptom observed in the study showed some level of improvement, including hot flashes, numbness/tingling, and overall fatigue.

Whether its symptoms from cancer itself or from the direct treatments for cancer, acupuncture proved once again to be an effective way to reduce pain and discomfort. It’s imperative that we get the word out about how effective acupuncture is at helping cancer patients live as best of a life as they possibly can. The fight against cancer is a difficult one, and while acupuncture won’t be a cure all, it will definitely help.

Thaw Out Your Frozen Shoulder With Acupuncture

It’s getting dark earlier, and winter and all the colder weather that follows is on its way. When things freeze over, you’ll need a little help thawing out—while acupuncture can’t help you clear your steps or driveway, it can certainly warm things up for those suffering from frozen shoulder.

What, exactly, is frozen shoulder? You may not have heard of this ailment, but it affects over 200,000 Americans each year. It’s more common in women than men, and usually affects those aged 40-60. Additionally, those who suffer from diabetes are more susceptible to it. Frozen shoulder is when the shoulder capsule becomes so thick and tight that the shoulder becomes incredibly painful and can be difficult or even impossible to move.

If not treated, frozen shoulder can heal on it’s own…but it can take a very long time. The frozen stage, where the shoulder is very limited in movement, can last anywhere from 4-12 months, while the thawing stage, the gradual return of movement and elimination of pain, can last 6 months to 2 years. That is far too long.

Thankfully, acupuncture is known as an effective holistic remedy for speeding up the thawing process and healing frozen shoulder. An study conducted in Guangdong, China, revealed that acupuncture alleviates pain and restores range of motion to the shoulder for patients with frozen shoulder. Subjects receiving the local acupuncture points had a 71.8% total effective rate, showing improved pain and better range of motion in the shoulder. Patients receiving abdominal acupuncture had a 92.4% total effective rate. 

Specifically, the study concluded, “This underscores acupuncture’s ability to provide anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and recuperative effective actions.”

So if you or someone you know is suffering from frozen shoulder, let them know that cozying up to the fire this winter won’t help them out. Acupuncture will!

Why Acupuncture Should be Offered in the ER

Chances are that, unfortunately, either you or someone you know has visited the emergency room recently. Visits to the ER have become incredibly common and are continuing to rise. A study released last year showed that in 2014, ER visits spiked to 141 million in the United States, a record-high. And the University of Maryland School of Medicine estimates that nearly half of all medical care in the country is delivered by emergency room departments. That number is even higher for women and minorities.

The stark fact is that ER visits are all too common. And there are a few things that are just about consistent across all emergency rooms—the use of NSAIDs and painkillers, and a lack of choice for patients. Slowly but surely, a welcoming change may be on the horizon.

For 4 years, Adam Reinstein, LAc, has been administering acupuncture in the ER of Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. Five days a week, Reinstein operates in the busy, hectic environment that doesn’t seem well suited for acupuncture. But Reinstein, who used to practice communcity acupuncture, has adapted by offering shorter sessions (15-20 minutes), focusing on points in the hands, arms, ears, head, feet, and lower legs, and sees patients only once. The ER can be a stressful place, and Reinstein often focuses on helping patients to feel more comfortable.

"By and large, patients get some relaxation and decrease of anxiety or discomfort. Others get some pain relief or nausea relief...What I do just fits in with everything else that is going on [in the ER],” Reinstein said. “One talks a lot about patient-centered care but usually patients have little or no choice.”

We wholeheartedly agree with Reinstein, and would love to see more emergency departments offer acupuncture to their patients. In addition from it being a better treatment for pain, anxiety, and nausea than medication, acupuncture could also help patients recover more quickly, which allows ER staffs to work more efficiently and cut down wait times.

Acupuncture in the ER? It’s a win-win.

College Football Team Using Acupuncture To Stay on the Field

It’s that time of year—the leaves are changing, the temperatures dropping, pumpkin spice lattes are being drank, and of course football is in high season.

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Football is one of the most physically demanding sports for its participants, and it’s understandable that many players are often seeking as many different types of treatments to deal with their injuries and overall pain. And while most college and all professional teams employ big medical staffs that include doctors, trainers, and massage therapists, not too many have a team acupuncturist on staff. Boise State University is one of them.

 

A few years ago, a player on the Boise State team was dealing with a hamstring issue. The team medical staff had an idea—the player should try acupuncture to see if his injury would heal faster. They called on local licensed acupuncturist Dana Logan.

 

“They were flying out the next day, and I thought, ‘If this doesn’t work, acupuncture isn’t happening again.’ I had that session to make an impression, and it obviously worked,” Logan recalls.

 

The treatment was a success, and that that moment was the beginning of a fruitful relationship between the team and Logan. Logan’s treatment regiment isn’t just about helping heal players’ one-off injuries. She has developed treatments that help players with everything from improving range of motion, to properly functioning muscles, to helping players’ bodies be better prepared for post-football life, something we know many former football players struggle with after their playing days are over.

 

“Acupuncture in football is going to become more and more mainstream,” Logan said. “I think it’s awesome Boise State is ahead of it and has given it a chance.”

 

Many individual athletes utilize acupuncture to help stay on the field. As acupuncture gets more popular, there’s no doubt that more teams and organizations will encourage their players to seek it out.

 

 

An Argument for Acupuncture use in the Emergency Room

It’s hard to watch the news these days without hearing of the crippling opioid epidemic that is sweeping our nation. With stronger prescription pain medication regulations and the high risk of addiction and/or overdoes, people are swiftly turning to other resources and options when it comes to pain management. While many may already know the benefits of acupuncture for chronic pain, it is now considered an option for acute moderate to severe pain, as well.

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In emergency rooms (where people typically go for sudden or concerning pain) doctors are becoming increasingly cautious about the use of prescription pain medication administered orally or intravenously. Instead, according to a recent article in Forbes, a recently published study out of Australia has found that acupuncture is a safe and alternative option to opiates; depending on the patient, of course.

Dr. Marc Cohen, the lead investigator behind the study, said to Forbes, "Our study has shown acupuncture is a viable alternative, and would be especially beneficial for patients who are unable to take standard pain-relieving drugs because of other medical conditions. But it's clear we need more research overall to develop better medical approaches to pain management, as the study also showed patients initially remained in some pain, no matter what treatment they received.”

Dr. Sergey Motov, M.D, a specialist in pain management, and an attending ER physician at Maimonides in Brooklyn was also quoted in the article as saying, “I am very supportive for use of acupuncture in the ED as an adjunct to opioid analgesics with a hope of opioid reduction and to non-opioid analgesics as a part of multimodal approach.”

We find these results and support incredibly valuable, as holistic methods are often effective yet overlooked.

If you find yourself suffering from chronic pain, acupuncture is sure worth giving a chance. And while acupuncture can provide relief- as always-  any concerning pain or symptoms should be addressed with your physical as soon as possible.