Welcome to the Rose City Acupuncture blog!

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1) To the left are the “top articles” that people read the most.

2) Below that, you’ll find articles categorized by topic. I’m big on self-care, so one of the topics is “Acupressure YOU can use.”

3) Use the SEARCH bar (upper left) to seek for something you’re curious about.

4) Please feel free to leave comments/questions!

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition that makes your feet hurt, especially with the first few steps after being off of them for a while. What’s happening here? First, we have to understand fascia. It’s a system of connective tissue that holds us together. 

Each muscle fiber has connective tissue, called fascia, surrounding it like a layer of Saran wrap.

Connective tissue (white) and muscle fibers. When fascial adhesions form, it can cause unexplained pain.

Connective tissue (white) and muscle fibers. In plantar fasciitis, those fibers get tight and brittle.

It may help to picture a muscle fiber as a new drinking straw in a paper wrapper. The straw is actually the muscle cell, while the white paper is fascia. At each end, that flap of fascia becomes our tendons. It attaches to bone – or, more precisely, to the fascia surrounding bone. These sheaths of fascia are supposed to slide past each other as muscles move. With long periods of no movement, if the muscles are tight, or if there’s an injury, they can stick together and form a fascial adhesion.

When the plantar fascia (the fascia on the bottom of the foot) doesn’t move, it gets stiff and brittle, causing plantar fasciitis. When you do move, it hurts like crazy! The immediate answer – the one most old-fashioned podiatrists give – is to stop the movement. They prescribe stiff orthotics and walking-boot-type shoes that prevent your feet from flexing. That approach does give short-term relief, but in the long run it just sets you up for more pain.

Instead, advanced podiatrists like Dr. Ray McClanahan recognize that our feet evolved to be mobile. For millennia, they were a wide, stable base for our bodies that responded to uneven ground. Most modern footwear is too stiff and constricting, which restricts both toe movement and foot flexing, and reduces us to balancing on a solid block. The best long-term fix for plantar fasciitis is to get things moving again!

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The entire bottom of the foot can hurt, although pain is usually focused in the heel.

That means:

1) Gradually changing to more minimal, flexible footwear. In some cases, toe spreaders will be useful. 

2) Strengthen the feet with exercises. The muscles that create the arch of your foot are actually in your lower legs (they have long tendons down to the bones in the foot). Myofascial release for your legs will be helpful, too. With a little work, your legs and feet will support you as nature intended.

3) Break up the adhesions in the feet, using any combo of myofascial massage, acupuncture, rolling with small balls, etc. You have to do this a little bit at a time. Some people like to get in and dig the adhesions apart, deep-tissue massage style. That works well in the short term, but it also causes inflammation… which causes scar tissue and fascial adhesions to form… putting you back where you started. Myofascial release uses a more subtle massage approach to slide the layers apart. I love doing this type of work because the result is immediate freedom of movement and no boomerang side-effects.

The bad news: This is the only treatment I do that hurts.

The good news: It stops hurting immediately, and the relief is powerful and swift.

NOTE: This is how to treat the underlying problem – stiff fascia. If you are in a painful flare right now, we need to treat the “hot” injury first. That means (just as with any tendonitis) rest, ice, acupuncture and anti-inflammatory help via the diet or a topical medication.

Come see me and let me treat your plantar fasciitis. Won’t it be nice to go for a walk without pain again? I’ll be happy to help you assess your current shoes (sometimes there are tweaks we can make to give you more space in them) or pics of those you are considering on the internet!

 

 

 

Cupping

You may have seen the news coverage of Michael Phelps and other Olympic athletes getting cupping. What the heck is it and how does it work?

cupping therapyDespite what that ridiculous article says, it IS ancient Chinese traditional medicine. The Chinese have been using heated cups for millennia. Practitioners warm the air inside the cup, then place it on the skin. A seal is formed. As the air cools, a vacuum is created. Standing cups are left in place. Another technique, moving cupping, involves sliding the cups around without breaking the seal. In both cases, the point is for the vacuum to separate the layers of skin and muscle and break up fascial adhesions.

Yes, it absolutely works! The reason I don’t do it in my office is that the dark circles are actually bruises – they are visual proof of broken capillaries. The vacuum created in cupping is strong enough that it does a little damage along with the good. I personally prefer to use myofacial release to break up the adhesions, sticking to the rule of “First, do no harm.” I get the same great results without any bleeding under the skin.

Next time you’re in the office, ask to see the cupping equipment. I keep a few cups around because they’re great conversation starters and they are beautiful, but sometimes modern innovation can provide a better solution.

 

Acupuncture for Fertility

I’ve been using acupuncture for fertility and pregnancy support with my patients for years. My success rate is fairly high – I like to joke that “I get girls pregnant like a boss!” – due in large part to a brilliant set of classes I had at OCOM, the #1 acupuncture school in the nation. We learned about all the different ways bodies can slip out of balance, and how to correct them. In the OB/GYN focused classes, we looked at how to coax the menstrual cycle back to regularity. We studied methods to encourage uterine wellness and the father’s vitality, too. We learned how to support a pregnant woman’s body, and treat any pain she might have, without using the moving* points that could bring on a miscarriage. Of course, we learned the points we shouldn’t use with a pregnancy, and the one to bring on a “Precocious Baby” – that one you needle at the change of each trimester. As the due date approaches, we can turn a breech baby. We can even evict an overdue one – something that’s helped a few of my patients avoid a medical inducement.

Acupuncture for fertility is less expensive and less invasive than IVF and IUI!

Acupuncture for fertility is less expensive and less invasive than IVF and IUI, and highly sucessful.

But before we can worry about maintaining the health of a pregnancy, sometimes we have to use acupuncture for fertility to get us there. My patients have ranged from young, healthy women who were just eager to start their families, to older ladies who had endured unsuccessful IVF. In 10 years of practice, I’ve only ever had two women fail to get pregnant. One turned out to have fallopian blockages. The other is still trying (after taking a year-long break), but has some complications we’re working with.

Part of being a good practitioner is constant learning. I am taking a Continuing Education class now on acupuncture for fertility, and one of the big takeaways for me is how early you should start. I generally like a few months to even out the hormones and regulate the cycle, but this latest class pointed out something interesting about our eggs. They start to stir from their life-long slumber about 5 months before they are released. To truly give them the best blood flow and hormonal support, treatments should be ongoing during this ramp-up period.

“The dormant follicle is awakened from it’s primordial state of rest about 5 months before it will be selected for ovulation. It is at this time that the egg will start reacting with its environment. […] Hormone regulating factors in the ovary start to influence the content of the follicular fluid. Blood flow, nourishment and hormonal cues within the body influence the state of follicular fluid. Regulatory proteins, hormones and growth factors begin to appear about the time the egg starts to undergo division 3 months before it is released. If nourishment is poor, hormonal cues have been interrupted, or if the blood flow has been compromised the egg has less chance of being healthy. The egg’s health is determined during the growth phase when protein synthesis occurs.” Treatment of IVF and IUI with Acupuncture & Herbs, Sophie Butcher, LAc, FABORM

I’ve also learned a fantastic massage technique to shunt more bloodflow to the reproductive system. I can teach you this, so your partner can do it for you every day.

So… if you are looking to make a new human, think ahead. Stop smoking and drinking (yes, BOTH parents) a little earlier than expected. Clean up your diet so that egg gets all the vitamins and minerals it needs. And of course, if you need some help, acupuncture for fertility is a great option. It’s both less expensive and less invasive than IVF and IUI.

I’d love to help you grow your family!

*Chinese medicine considers most pain to be a form of energy (Qi) and/or blood stagnation. Points that move Qi and blood to clear that stagnation are extremely useful – but can be dangerous while carrying a child.

Minimal shoes on sale at Soft Star

Hey all you heathy feet fans – Soft Star (a soft leather shoe company in Corvallis) is having their annual clearance sale! Check their sizing charts and read carefully – no returns on these!AdultCategoryLanding

I am not associated with Soft Star in any way. I just like their style. :)

Update: I bought these two! The moccasins are fleece-lined. :)

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The “Dash”

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The “Moccasin”

 

I’ll grant you that they aren’t the most professional looking, but they ARE comfy (after about 20 min of breaking them in) and good for your feet. The brown ones have the advantage for me of sort-of working for my historic habit. My persona is a Roman matron in 50 BC, and her clothes are supposed to cover most of her feet. The toes peeking out are exactly like a period Roman shoe!

The perfect Valentine’s gift…

heart rosesI have pretty gift certificates to give to your sweetie… or hint to your sweetie that’s what you’d love… or just to treat yourself! Available in any denomination or for any service – the perfect Valentine’s gift!

To make it extra easy, I can email you an invoice that’s secure and payable by credit card. Or you can swing by the office!

Returning Veterans Project

I just submitted my Returning Veterans Project stats for the year (they get government funding based on our hours). I treat vets suffering from PTSD, TBI, and other mental and physical injuries that prevent them from returning to a happy, productive life. This is a free service provided by healthcare practitioners like me in WA and OR who feel we need to do more to support out troops *after* they come home. Honestly, the VA isn’t equipped to help these kids and I feel like somebody has to!

This year I donated 76.5 hours, for a total of 359 since I started in 2011. That makes me really happy. If you want to help, too, contact them directly or use the donation box in my waiting room. :)

Daith piercings

I’m getting a lot of questions about daith piercings that supposedly help you lose weight or stop migraines. These are a bad idea.

1) Piercers are NOT licensed to practice medicine. There is a reason we go to school for all those years, have to pass national tests, and maintain state licenses. They don’t know how much they don’t know.

2) They are using the WRONG points! Here’s an actual map of the ear:

There are about 100 points on the ear, so I can treat nearly anything. Ear seeds are quick, portable, and give you a few days of acupressure.

There are about 100 points on the ear. Millimeters matter  – sloppy “daith piercing” placement by an inexperienced piercer is asking for trouble!

Here’s that migraine article again. It contains a better set of acupressure points you can use yourself.

3) Metal piercings will cause more stagnation and problems long term. Read this.

This is why you’ll see articles online talking about mixed results with daith piercings. The problem isn’t with acupuncture…. it’s that they aren’t using acupuncture! Even professional piercers admit they are not a legitimate treatment method.

Free Class: Acupressure for Digestive Health

PC-6, excellent for nausea, heartburn, gastritis, or emotional upheaval causing stomach distress.

PC-6 – excellent for nausea, heartburn, gastritis, or emotional upheaval causing stomach distress – one of the many points we’ll be learning about in the free class.

I’ll be teaching a free class on self-care – Acupressure for Digestive Health – Saturday, Oct 3rd at the Natural Grocers at 12155 SW Broadway St, Beaverton, OR 97005. The class is 11-12:30. Come join us!

“Learn about digestion from the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine. We’ll discuss some handy acupressure points you can use at home to deal with reflux/ heartburn, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, IBS, Crohn’s disease, gastroparesis, gastritis, and blood sugar variations.”

 

New location!

The office is moving on September 7th to the Cascade West building:

12655 SW Center Street, 
Suite 530
Beaverton, OR 97005 
The new space has generous parking, is air conditioned and ADA accessible, close to bus and MAX lines… it even has a gorgeous view, and I don’t just mean the lovely massage therapist, Sally Leonard, who will be working with me!

Until the construction is finished, I will be seeing patients as usual in my SE office (3806 SE Belmont St).