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.

Acupuncture Helping San Diego's Homeless

“I was desperate. My back was so sore.”

The above was said by David Knoles, of San Diego. David is homeless, living alone in a canyon. Being homeless takes an unbelievable toll on the body. Constantly trying to create comfort in the places that most of us use for walking, traveling, hiking or other activities puts tons of strain on the bones and muscles of the homeless. David, in particular, once threw out his back while trying to move a rock that he says weighed about 150 pounds.

When you or I get injured like that, we have the benefit of seeking a number of medical care options. The homeless don’t have that luxury, if they can even receive any care at all.

But at the Pacific Beach United Methodist Church in San Diego, Knoles and the areas other homeless are being offered free acupuncture every week.

“Primarily, it’s for chronic illness and injuries,” Robin Kohler of Pacific College of Oriental Medicine and the UC San Diego School of Medicine told the San Diego Tribune. “A lot of them had injuries sustained on a job where there was no insurance.”

Acupuncture is an especially beneficial treatment for folks like Knoles because of its versatility. Acupuncture is well known for it’s effectiveness at treating physical pain, but also emotional and mental conditions like insomnia, stress and anxiety, and depression—which our homeless are unfortunately susceptible to.

“I liked it so much, I kept coming in,” Knoles said, speaking to acupuncture’s wide-ranging benefits. “I wanted to keep doing it. It was not just healing my back, but other pains I was having.”

Hopefully, other locations around the country will follow this community’s lead and help those out who need our help the most.

Acupuncture At The Zoo: The Story of Lottie The Koala

Anyone who suffers from arthritis, or is close to someone suffering from it, knows how debilitating it can be to live with. That isn’t limited just to us humans, either.

Lottie is a Koala bear that has been at the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, South Carolina since 2002. Any mother knows that raising young ones can be a physical burden, and since Lottie arrived at Riverbanks Zoo in 2002, she has given birth to 11 joeys. All that joey-rearing (Koalas use their back to carry their children) and climbing and the physical rigors of everyday life have taken their toll of Lottie, who the staff at Riverbanks found had began suffering from arthritis and muscle tension.

However, Lottie has been showing signs of improved motion and strength recently, and the credit can be granted to the veterinary staff at Riverbanks, who treated Lottie’s arthritis and muscle tension with acupuncture.

“The animal care team at Riverbanks currently performs acupuncture on Lottie once every two to three weeks,” said John Davis, the director of animal care and welfare at Riverbanks told the Free Times. “Each treatment session last about 15 to 20 minutes, with the staff veterinarian inserting at least 10 small needles (about the size of a human hair) into Lottie’s lower back and hip area.”

If you’re wondering how easily a wild animal takes to acupuncture, Lottie has her days.

“We realized that she’s okay with it some days and not OK with it on other days,” Davis says. “If she starts to retreat up the tree in the middle of a session, then we just end the session.”

But based on Lottie’s improvement, it looks like she’s been OK with acupuncture more than not.

Happy Spring! Beat Your Allergies With Acupuncture

Spring has sprung! You know what that means. The arrival of warm weather, new spring threads, trees budding, flowers blooming, the return of baseball season. But unfortunately, for many of us, that also means the return of dry, itchy eyes, sneezing, congestion, runny noses—all that comes with seasonal allergies.

Nothing can be more frustrating than when allergies hit at an unexpected time and interfere with enjoying the newly arrived nice weather and all the opportunity it brings. The good thing is, there’s time to prepare before the worst of allergy season arrives. And we’re not talking about stocking up on the over the counter allergy meds you see in those lame commercials.

This year, prevent and treat your allergies with the holistic approach of acupuncture.

Acupuncture is a reliable and lasting remedy for allergies because it does two concurrent, crucial things. 1) It treats the symptoms brought on by allergies (those runny noses and itchy throats, etc.) and, 2) it addresses the imbalances in the body’s energy that lead the body to be susceptible to seasonal allergies in the first place. Diet, exercise, pollutants, stress and more can effect the Wei Qi in our body, which is our cellular and molecular defense system. As Dr. Maureen Lamerdin writes: “Wei Qi's function is to protect and defend the body against foreign substances. When the supply of Wei Qi becomes inadequate attacks from bacteria, viruses and allergens get through our Wei Qi's defense system thereby producing symptoms.”

So this year, make sure your Wei Qi’s defense system is operating at its optimal level. An acupuncture regimen will ensure that it is, and that you can enjoy all this coming spring has to offer free from allergies.

Acpuncture For Bell's Palsy? Just Ask Angelina Jolie

422px-Angelina_Jolie_2_June_2014_(cropped).jpg

Bell’s Palsy comes without warning. One day, one side of the face becomes weak and/or numb, and within a few days the affected person may experience severe drooping and temporary paralysis. It can last up to six months, depending on the severity.

The cause of Bell’s Palsy is still not totally known, though experts have an idea—that the seventh cranial nerve, the nerve that is responsible for allowing us to make the facial expressions that we do, becomes afflicted with swelling or inflammation.

As we know, swelling and inflammation are a result of blockages in the body’s meridians, causing energy, or qi, to become stagnant. Acupuncture is uniquely suited to regulating the body’s energy by opening up the blockages, resulting in lessening of inflammation and thus the pain and discomfort associated with it.

While there is no recognized cure for Bell’s Palsy, acupuncture can help ease the symptoms and speed up the recovery. But don’t just take our word for it. Actress, director and philanthropist Angelina Jolie told Vanity Fair about how a number of stressors affected her health. “Sometimes women in families put themselves last,” she said, “until it manifests itself in their own health.” One of the conditions that Jolie got? Bell’s Palsy. However, she credits acupuncture for “her full recovery from the condition.”

While acupuncture is only a part of a healthy routine and treatment for various disorders like Bell’s Palsy, it’s a big piece of the puzzle that’s always there to help.

Acupuncture In The Media: GQ Covers Acu!

151026-F-IF502-028.JPG

It’s always good to see when a big media outlet takes a deep dive into the wonderful world of acupuncture. Though acupuncture has been on this earth for thousands of years, and in the United States for around a half a century, there still remains plenty of room for awareness around acupuncture to grow. So we were encouraged to come across a new article in GQ by Emily Abbate that breaks down how acupuncture can help folks manage pain avoid injury.

One of the interesting notes in the article is, indeed, how popular acupuncture is becoming. More than 14 million people in the US have tried acupuncture, and while we’d love to see that number go up, there’s reason to believe that it is. The article notes how the number of Veterans Health Centers that offer acupuncture has nearly doubled over the past seven years. As opioids and other potentially damaging drugs are too often prescribed to veterans, seeing that more will have access to acupuncture is a welcome sign.

The article highlights that acupuncture is effective at treating “chronic pain, including back, neck, and shoulder pain, as well as conditions like chronic headaches and osteoarthritis,” as well as helping athletes’ bodies recover quicker from soreness and improve range of motion. That’s all true, but a quick look at our blog shows that acupuncture is an effective treatment for so much more, too. It’s always worth asking us if we can help you with your specific pain management issues; acupuncture can address just about any issue in the body where the energy is out of whack.

Finally, it’s good to see that the article also took a little bit of time to speak to the preparations that a new patient should take before their first visit. Since acupuncture is foreign to many people, it’s understandable to be intimidated. But as the article states, there isn’t much one needs to do before coming. Wearing some comfy clothes and coming in with a positive attitude and ready to relax is pretty much it. Leave the rest up to us!

How Acupuncture Can Help Those With Diabetes

Approximately 1.5 million people in the United States are diagnosed with diabetes every year, with about 30 million people suffering from it across the country. Chances are we all know somebody directly or indirectly who is living with diabetes.

For those who are unaware, diabetes is a disease that causes the body to be unable to properly process food to be used as energy. The result of this inability is a buildup of sugar in the blood. These high glucose and low insulin levels can lead to a number of symptoms that affect daily life, like fatigue, frequent urination, frequent hunger and thirst, and weight loss.

There are medications available that diabetics can take to help ease the burden brought on by these symptoms, but there’s also a holistic, safe and effective way to treat many of the side effects too—acupuncture.

A study in Beijing found that consistent acupuncture lowers glucose levels, increases insulin levels, and improves glucose intolerance, which all combines to keep symptoms in check. In particular, “low intensity and low-frequency electroacupuncture could help in reducing insulin resistance and increasing insulin sensitivity,” says Medical News Today. And, in 2015, a study showed that acupuncture treatment combined with an anti-diabetic medication called metformin produced better results for patients than just taking the medication alone.

Of course, there is no cure for diabetes, and those who live with it will always have to consider the best diet and treatment options for their specific case. But acupuncture can play a role in making dealing with diabetes just a little bit easier.

Acupuncture for Weight Loss? Six Ways it Can Help

Falling a little short on that New Years Resolution to lose weight?

Or, are you realizing that summer is fast approaching (woohoo!) and you’re looking to shed a few more pounds?

Let acupuncture help.

There are a myriad of ways that acupuncture can assist you towards reaching your weight loss goals, and just last week, US News and World Report covered six of them.

Here’s how.

  • Acupuncture may affect your hormones.

    • “"The researchers concluded that acupuncture may help people with pre-diabetes lose weight by reducing their insulin and leptin resistance; both insulin and leptin are appetite-regulating hormones that can play a role in long-term weight-loss.”

  • Acupuncture promotes healthy digestion.

    • By restoring qi, acupuncture can provide improved blood flow to your stomach, hereby improving digestion.

  • Acupuncture can relieve stress.

    • Acupuncture can help to release endorphins, which are stress reducing. The article explains, "no matter how you choose to manage stress, though, doing so effectively is critical for weight loss and maintenance.”

  • Acupuncture may reduce cravings.

    • Reducing your cravings leads to healthier food choices, and weight loss will typically follow. The article quotes family physician Dr. Wayne Jonas as saying, “We know that food addictions can lead to weight gain…Acupuncture might alter brain chemicals associated with these addictions and, in this way, help with weight loss.”

  • Acupuncture can lead to better sleep.

    • By lowering stress levels and promoting relaxation, acupuncture helps restore sleep. Sleep is essential to weight loss for many reasons, including the need for proper rest to facilitate digestion.

  • Acupuncture can boost your energy.

    • “For relatively healthy folks just trying to drop a few pounds, though, an acupuncture-related energy boost can support diet and exercise behaviors that may lead to weight loss.” More engery AND weight loss? Sign us up!

What To Know About Acupuncture and Your Face

Acupuncture is a holistic method of healing and restoring the body, and that goes for the outside of it, too. After all, what’s going on inside can greatly affect how we project on the outside, and vice versa.

So it’s no shock that acupuncture can be used for cosmetic reasons. And one shouldn’t feel ashamed for seeking out acupuncture to eliminate wrinkles, dry skin and other on-the-surface issues. As with any other ailment that acupuncture treats, acupuncture is natural, safer than many medications or over the counter options, and the results are lasting.

But there’s a point of confusion for many people when it comes to acupuncture and our faces. Sometimes, facial treatments do not require any needles in the face,. And sometimes the opposite is true, too—treating a different part of the body, or trying to treat an internal issue, may require an acupuncturist to stimulate qi in the facial region.

That’s why it’s crucial to understand the difference between facial acupuncture and cosmetic acupuncture. Cosmetic acupuncture refers to receiving acupuncture in order to address surface level issues. Acupuncture can be incredibly effective for conditions like rosacea or general dryness, as well as wrinkles and other aging signs.

"Cosmetic acupuncture aims to treat the imbalance of physiological conditions that may have an effect on your appearance by using both body and facial acupuncture points, says licensed acupuncturist Stefanie DiLibero in Town & Country. For instance, body acupuncture points can be stimulated to try and alleviate wrinkles, targeting areas that cause stress.

But facial acupuncture can occur even when the problem the patient seeks to remedy has to do with somewhere else in the body. Treatments for issues with the jaw, allergies, and gut and stomach issues can include facial points as well.

Whether it’s to treat a cosmetic skin issue or something internal, acupuncture has you covered.

Pregnancy Acupuncture Fit For A Princess

If you don’t fancy yourself much of an Anglophile, you may not know that Prince Harry of Great Britain and his wife, the American actress Meghan Markle, have broken from royal tradition in many ways. The couple is expecting their first child, and the pregnancy and birthing process is no exception. One way in which the Duchess of Sussex is differing herself from past princesses is opting for a natural and holistic birth process. One of the key aspects of Markle’s pregnancy and birth plan has been regular acupuncture.

“Meghan has been having regular acupuncture sessions to help her unwind and relax,” someone close to the couple’s acupuncturist told Vanity Fair. “It’s brilliant for the blood circulation and boosting blood flow to the uterus. She plans to use acupuncture right up to her due date.”

Markle may be breaking from royal tradition, but from where we’re sitting she’s making a great call. One of the smartest things a mom to be can do throughout her pregnancy is receive acupuncture treatments regularly. While the above quote is accurate, acupuncture does far more than merely help circulate blood. It does that for sure, but so much more.

Pregnancy can place an incredible burden on a woman’s body. Not only is her reproductive system experiencing changes like never before, the rest of the body has to compensate for these drastic changes. Weight gain, body temperature changes, nausea are unavoidable. When we treat pregnant women, we’re not only helping the qi in their body flow freely to help with general stress and anxiety, but with all of the other side effects that this wonderful experience unfortunately also brings.

Acupuncture during pregnancy is fit for a princess…but it’s also fit for every pregnant woman, too.

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!

How Long Does Acupuncture Take to Work?

When you’re suffering from pain or a chronic ailment, waiting to see results can be frustrating. So often, we’re asked at the center “when will I feel better?” Or, “when will this start to work?”

Often, it depends on the specific concern you’re seeking treatment for, the level of your pain (if it is pain related, of course)

Many times, patients that are seen for chronic pain feel immediate relief when specific acupoints are utilized, and then notice longer lasting relief as days pass, and sessions continue.

Here are some general guidelines in regards to frequency, and when effects can be seen.

  • For fertility patients undergoing IVF/IUI, treatments will depend on your cycle. We recommend coming while taking your medications, before retrieval, and right around implantation. We also encourage treatments at least throughout the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

  • If you’re having terrible pain (like 10/10) daily treatments are possible until improvement is noted. For middle level pain, biweekly treatments are suggested.

  • Chronic issues that are not severe, once a week for 6-8 weeks and then we will re-evaluate.

    Really long term chronic issues, once a week for ten weeks or twice a week for 5 weeks.

  • For PMS, endometriosis, and/or menstrual cycle related issues, having treatments weekly until you have a more manageable cycle is ideal. Then, biweekly to maintain the improvements.

  • For stress or anxiety, once a week works well, but twice a week is better! These sessions will work well combined with meditation, aromatherapy, and massage.

  • For injury/surgical recovery, your practitioner will work with you to devise a plan of healing. It’s important to ensure circulation is restored and qi is balanced as your tissues heal.

Generally speaking, your best bet is to come in at least once a week in the beginning and then for maintenance treatment after that. Your acupuncturist will guide you towards a personalized treatment plan that is uniquely yours.

How Acupuncture Helped Ease A Woman's Anxiety

It is well-established, with scientific backing, that acupuncture is effective at treating anxiety. Acupuncture’s ability to regulate the body’s qi often helps those who suffer from anxiety feel more relaxed, more in control of their emotions, more present and more confident. We can go on in detail about how and why acupuncture is a valuable part of a treatment regimen for those suffering from anxiety, but we love when we come across personal stories of those who are discovering acupuncture’s benefits for the first time.

So when we saw this personal, first-person account on Popsugar from author Alexandra Hubbel the other day, we couldn’t help but smile…and of course share it with you.

Alexandra tells of how she was suffering from a number of symptoms like dizziness and inflammation, stemming from what she believed was her anxiety. When a friend suggested acupuncture, Alexandra was skeptical at first but gave it a shot.

Then comes our favorite part of the story. As Alexandra writes:

The acupuncturist actually listened. She let me cry. She sympathized. She offered advice. And she didn't make me feel crazy or overdramatic or try to blame my physical symptoms on anxiety and depression alone.

This represents something important to us that doesn’t often get talked. We can’t speak for everyone, of course, but we can promise that we’re a judgment-free zone. It is important that every patient feels comfortable coming to us and describing what they are feeling—that way we can accurately treat what is ailing them. It’s understandable that many people are apprehensive about telling an acupuncturist about something like anxiety. But we are here to help with anything you may be going through and build out a personalized treatment plan that will create lasting change.

Alexandra’s acupuncturist told her “that there's a light at the end of this painful, exhausting tunnel.” We couldn’t think of a better way to describe acupuncture’s goal.

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:

download.png

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.

What To Expect At Your First Acupuncture Appointment

So…you’ve been dealing with discomfort and pain for too long now, tried every medication and over-the-counter pill and did all the research and reading you possibly could…but still no results. Your friends and family have been urging you to try acupuncture, and you’re finally ready to give it a shot. As human beings we understandably fear the unknown, and one of the main reasons acupuncture is still growing in the United States.

But have no fear. When you’re ready to really solve the root cause of your pain and discomfort with an acupuncture treatment, you’ll have us to thank for getting you prepared. Here’s what you can expect at your first acupuncture appointment.

After you’ve checked in and been brought to your room, your acupuncturist will ask you what brought you in the door. This is the most important step, because an acupuncturist can only reliably and effectively treat a patient if they know what’s ailing them. Be as specific as you can in terms of what type of pain and discomfort you’re experiencing, how long you’ve been experiencing it, and what illnesses and/or conditions you’re battling.

Next, your acupuncturist will determine your treatment, how many needles and where to place them. And here’s one of the most important things to remember: acupuncture needles do not hurt! A fear of needles keeps many folks away from acupuncture, but those who experience the treatment are amazed at how they can barely feel the tiny needles. Once your acupuncturist has finished placing the needles in, it’s time for you to relax!

Your acupuncturist will likely leave you alone in the room for a bit while the needles do their job, opening up your pathways and balancing the energy in the body. Most acupuncturists will put on calming music or ambient noise, and/or calming scents and lights to help you center yourself during your treatment. It’s your chance to lie down and gather your thoughts, meditate, or do whatever makes you feel calm. Put that phone away!

Most times your acupuncturist will come back to check on you and make sure everything is feeling right. Depending on your specific treatment, your acupuncturist may at this time add a warm heat lamp to a certain area of your body. They’ll then leave the room again for the remainder of the treatment.

After a period of time determined by your acupuncturist, depending on your condition, your acupuncturist will return and remove the needles. This final step is a follow up, where your acupuncturist will ask you how you’re feeling and let you know the preferred treatment regimen moving forward. It’s likely that return visits will be necessary in order for acupuncture to have a lasting effect.

But now that you know what to expect, those future sessions will be a breeze.

8 Reasons Why Now Is The Perfect Time To Try Acupuncture

The holidays are in full swing and the end of the year is almost upon us. Which means it’s the perfect time to try acupuncture! Here are 10 reasons why:

  1. If acupuncture is covered under your insurance, and there’s a chance you’ve hit your out-of-pocket maximum at this point, why not try and sneak in your first acupuncture appointment before the calendar turns over? This is the perfect time of year to experience first hand the holistic healing benefits of acupuncture.

  2. The holidays means gifts, family…and lots of food. Did you overeat (and over drink!) a bit this season? Acupuncture is known to promote and aid in healthy weight loss.

  3. This time of year also brings about lots of traveling, which can be tiring, stressful, and take us off of our routines, often messing with our sleep. Thankfully, acupuncture is one of the best and most natural ways to help out with sleeplessness as well as the side effects that come with an interrupted sleep schedule.

  4. If you had the luxury of decorating or playing Santa this year—lugging gifts up and down stairs and in and out of cars, carrying heavy shopping bags, putting together your children’s favorite new toys—you may be experiencing some aches and pains. Acupuncture is clinically proven to help back pain and other orthopedic issues.

  5. New Year’s resolutions don’t have to begin in the new year. Why not get a jumpstart on your wellness resolution now? The more and more you put it off, the less likely you are to truly follow through. Get next year off on the right foot right away!

  6. Relatedly, acupuncture has preventative benefits as well. If you’re planning on working out more in the new year, beginning acupuncture now can help prevent much of the soreness that comes with working out and help you recover quickly so you can get back out there as soon as possible.

  7. Shopping, family, traveling…all of these put together can stress you out big time. Acupuncture is thankfully here to help, as one of the best ways you can naturally de-stress and relax your body and mind.

  8. Spending the holidays with family and friends is wonderful, but it can be a bit overwhelming at times to find yourself without any me-time. Acupuncture is a great way to reconnect with your body, mind and soul.

Acupuncture Found Effective For Helping Paraplegia Patients

Those who suffer from spinal injury-related paraplegia struggle everyday to perform many everyday self-care functions. Those of us who have full control of our limbs take for granted the ease and automatic nature of doing what we consider “routine” things. A recent study showed that acupuncture is effective at helping paraplegics improve at a number of tasks and functions, including feeding, bathing, grooming, dressing, bowel and bladder control, transfers and mobility.

Researchers at Dangyang City Chinese Medicine Hospital conducted a study on 85 patients who suffered various spinal injuries that resulted in either full or partial loss of control of their limbs. The participants were split into two groups, a control group who received usual care and another group who received usual care plus acupuncture and herbal medicine.

The great news is that both sets of patients experienced significant improvements in daily living, limb mobility and neurotrophic factors. In each case, however, the acupuncture and herbal medicine group experienced an even more significantly greater improvement. The outcome of the study showed that thirty eight percent of the acupuncture group fell under the classification of either cured, highly effective or effective after the treatment, while the control group experiences a 30% combined rate.

That acupuncture helps paraplegia patients take steps towards more control of their limbs and improved quality of life is, in some ways, not a surprise. That’s because of acupuncture’s ability to regulate the qi in the body. As HealthCMI writes: “According to TCM principles, paraplegia involves qi stagnation and blood stasis preventing proper circulation to the limbs, leading to atrophy. This may be coupled with kidney yang deficiency or depletion of yin and yang. The primary treatment principles are to warm the channels and promote circulation.”

Opening up our pathways and eliminating qi stagnation can do wonders for all sorts of ailments and associated pain. It’s great to think that those among us who suffer from life-altering injuries may be able to regain some quality of life through safe, natural and effective treatments like acupuncture.

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.