Today someone wrote a review of me on Facebook, calling me “this tiny little ball of Acupuncture-y goodness,” a “floof of pokey awesome,” and a “cinnamon bun.” BEST REVIEW EVER!!!!
Purely coincidentally, I’ve had two patients in the past two days with the exact same complaint: Lightheadedness / confusion / disassociation from the body. One had gone to get an MRI and X- rays, but everything came back fine. One had severe neck pain, one didn’t.
Both had had dental work recently. Imagine lying back at an awkward angle for a long time, while tense…. Sure enough, both had upper cervical (neck) vertebrae out of place. The bones were cutting off the blood supply to the brain!
I treated both with acupuncture and medical massage, relaxing the muscles and gently easing the vertebrae back into place. Both patients reported instant improvement. Please remember this next time you have a headache / confusion following dental work, or any other stress on your neck.
Note: Chiropractic would have jammed the bone back in place, but not treated the cause of the problem – the tight muscle pulling on that bone – so the misalignment would be likely to return. I prefer to work upstream, on the neurological and muscular system. My method also avoids that whole risk-of-stroke thing (!).
Last weekend was a full two days of continuing ed – 5 classes! Two were based in Chinese philosophy: Ghost points (used here to treat intrusive thoughts, or “haunting” memories) and Korean 4 needle technique, which is based on the elements. Those two weren’t really clicking with me, but I thoroughly enjoyed the three on Sunday. One covered the energetics of food, and how to adjust your ingredients to match your health needs and the seasons. One covered important legal aspects of running a practice (HIPAA, security, malpractice, etc). But the best one covered my favorite topic of all – the nervous system. Keep an eye out for a followup post that will explain in detail, but the short version is this: In chronic pain conditions, the brain thinks you are being continually damaged, and amplifies its reporting of pain above what’s physically happening in your body. By understanding the how and why of this, we can stop the ramping up and quiet the alarm bells. This both reduces the amount of pain you perceive in the moment, and allows the movement you need to heal. I’m really excited about incorporating this into both my practice and my personal life.
I’ve put this off for a long time… I’ve only raised my rates once (6 years ago) since I started practicing 15 years ago. I prefer to stay accessible to *all* people, but my rent keeps going up and my student loans are still horrific. So, starting July 1st, my new rates (which remain on the low end for my industry) will be as follows:
An hour of acupuncture and medical massage: $100
4 pack of hour sessions: $360 ($40 off)
A half hour of acupuncture OR medical massage: $60
5-pack of half hours: $270 ($30 off)
Birthday hours will retain their $20 discount, for $80. Smoking cessation and Returning Veteran treatments will still be free.
Any packages purchased at the old rates will be honored. In fact, feel free to stock up before July 1st, if you like. Thank you, and I look forward to serving you all for the next 15 years!
Tinnitus (ringing or roaring in the ears) is one of the few things I can’t reliably treat with acupuncture. It can be mildly irritating or absolutely maddening, depending on the frequency, volume, and pitch.
Here’s a use-at-home method that just requires your hands. I can’t test it personally since I don’t suffer form tinnitus, but two of my friends who do reported this gave them temporary relief. I suspect it has to do with the impact affecting the vagus nerve. Anyway, here’s the video: Good luck!
Explaining your PhD thesis with interpretive dance sounds like a joke, but every year, the American Association for the Advancement of Science hosts the contest and doles out $2500 worth in prizes to the winners in four categories: physics, chemistry, biology and social sciences. This is a lovely visualization of the magic that happens inside us… The others are wonderful, too, and you can see them here.
NOTE: I am not getting paid by Instant Pot (or Amazon), nor do I have any other reason for this post other than to make it quicker and easier for you to cook healthy food at home. I work long hours, and sometimes I lack the energy / time to cook a traditional dinner. The Instant Pot ensures we eat out less, which saves us both cash and calories.
An Instant Pot is a digital pressure cooker. It’s well engineered to be safe and simple to use, unlike the terrifying stove pressure cooker my Mom used to make jelly when I was a kid. There are a few other brands out there that make similar machines, and if you have one of those you can use these same recipes with minimal changes in fluid amount and times.
The IP can:
- Make hard boiled eggs that peel like a dream, even when fresh.
- Make bone broth / stock in an hour, not a day and half!
- Make yogurt (some models have a specific button, others require more attention)
- Make rice
- Steam perfect veggies (just set it for 0 minutes!)
- Cook tender roasts in 1.5 hours or less
- Saute in the pot to reduce your dishwashing load
- Caramelize onions in half an hour (make a bunch and freeze some for later!)
How to beat a cold with acupressure:
In the past, when people called me with a cold, I told them to come in. Acupuncture is great for the immune system! In the last few years, I have changed my policy. I now prefer you stay home if you’re contagious (how long is that?). I have patients who are immune-compromised*. This means I want to prevent their exposure, and also that I can’t work if I am sick at all – and losing a week or more of income is pretty rough (despite all the kitty snuggles).
So – here are some handy dandy acupressure points you can use for yourself. In all cases, press firmly with a fingertip for a few seconds, on both left and right sides. Continue reading
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?
Despite 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 bleeding under the skin. 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 blood vessel trauma.
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.
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.
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 (UPDATE 2018: She’s now pregnant!) (SECOND UPDATE 2019: Look at this cute baby bear she made!)
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.