Category: Acupressure

 

Essential Oils…Making Your Acupuncture Sessions More Effective

Life Change In A Bottle?

It’s not often I come across continuing education training that I am excited about.  That is until I took Aroma Acupoint Therapy (AAT) training through Snow Lotus with Tiffany Pollard.  I was excited to do the training just because it was something different.  Now afterwards, excitement doesn’t do it justice.  While the title doesn’t sound all that glamorous or even all that new, the effects I have personally experienced have been earth shaking profound.

This year has been really tough.  Stressful.  Experiencing loss.  Balancing an even busier schedule than usual and taking on more responsibilities (even if joyfully) left me worn out with no reserve.  This fall I crashed.  I was burnt out, exhausted and honestly losing focus on what was important and where I was going from here.  While I have tried to turn things around both physically, mentally, emotionally and energetically, it was happening super slow and I was losing faith.  You know that feeling when you feel that there is something better and more in store for you but you can’t see through the fog to even know what it is?  Well, that was me.  Despite all my soul searching, me who usually has her hands in 20 different projects, couldn’t even find the energy to care.  Until…

The best thing about taking training in acupuncture or body work is that you practice on each other during the training.  That means that I got AAT all weekend during the training.  And I feel great.  I feel hopeful again.  I feel like the fog is parting.  I feel renewed to tackle my day, my projects, my life.  And am I relieved.  Why?  Because I am the queen of setting goals and going after them.  I enjoy it and I thrive on being involved.

So what is Aroma Acupoint Therapy?

It is the combination of essential oils and Chinese Medicine.  Basically, it’s using essential oils on acupuncture points (instead of needles) to re-balance the body’s energy for healing.   It’s powerful stuff.  While the traditional use of essential oils definitely is used in AAT, there are also specific uses for the essential oils according to Chinese Medicine.  You use the energetic resonance from the essential oils to heal the body and you combine that with the energetic benefits of using specific acupuncture points.

So for instance if you need to move energy (qi) through an area, you use acupuncture points that move qi and you use an essential oil that is moving and relaxing.  Another example is if you want to build energy, you use acupuncture points known to tonify and nourish qi while using essential oils that are strengthening and restoring.  You get double the effects but it’s so gentle that you walk away feeling phenomenal.  Even if you have a healing crisis where you experience what I call “growth pains”, the additive nature of using both the acupuncture points and the essential oils helps you through that process quickly.  That translates into being able to let go of negative patterns that no longer serve you and move on to be the wonderful person that you are.

That’s what I experienced.  I was able to process and let go of the negativity from this year.  I was able to cultivate hope for what this next year will bring.  I had the energy again to back it up.  I was able to recognize that which was no longer serving me and let go.  Best of all, I feel clearer in what my path should be even if I don’t know all the steps right now.  That’s why I say this is so powerful.

Looking Forwards

Starting in 2017, all my treatments will include Aroma Acupoint Therapy both for humans and horses.  Just like when I started Craniosacral Therapy (CST) 10 years ago.  CST was so helpful that I had to include it in all my treatments.  I feel the same way about AAT.  So that every body can experience the power.  Of course, if you want to request AAT and no needles that’s cool too.  In fact, the essential oils with cranio-sacral therapy is very powerful.  So please don’t forget that I offer bodywork too, not just acupuncture.

I also was very impressed with the company that put on the training.  While they offered their essential oils for sale during the process, they never pushed us to buy their product.  They talked highly of other essential oil companies too.  We obviously used their samples during the training and I found them to be excellent.  Snow Lotus has organic, extremely high quality essential oils and I will be using them.  You can look them up at snowlotus.org if you want more information.  I will also be offering them for sale if anyone is interested.  Contact me directly at (410) 440-8875

So here is to a really good smelling 2017 🙂

 

Suggested Reading

Aroma Acupoint Therapy

 

Is Your Practitioner Competitive?

I was in the barn.  Quietly working on a client’s horse.  Two women were having a conversation down the isle.  I wasn’t trying to eaves drop but I couldn’t help but over hear.  “Susan is great, she has gone to Fill In The Blank School and my horses are always better after they see her.  She’s only good for massage though.  If you need anything else, you better try Jeramiah” said the one lady.  “Oh really” said the other, “My friend told me that Jeremiah was better at massage and to see Dr. Nix for other body work”.  “She said that Susan was not very educated.”  “I heard that Kathy was great at energy work although you can’t tell what she is doing.”  So on and so forth.

 

First, I know that there are good and bad trainers, good and bad therapist and good and bad farriers.  While I may have an opinion about another practitioner’s work, I keep it to myself.  In reality, no one person is perfect.  You have to find what works for you.  Honestly, most people making the judgements about a particular practitioner being good or bad usually don’t even know enough to make that decision anyhow.  Some practitioners are really good and know a lot but aren’t good at expressing it.  Some practitioners don’t know as much but have a great bedside manner.  Even others are great with horses and not with people.  You get the drift?

 

The women meant well and were only trying to share their experiences.  However, I know each of these practitioners and while it is true that each has their strengths and weaknesses, they all are good.  Public perception is the key to having a good business in the horse world.  As we know, the public can be quite fickle in how they make “rational” judgement.  In fact, there are books written on how little we actually remember the facts when things happen.  Usually we remember how we felt.  Why am I saying this?  To discredit these women… no.  To make people sound like flakes…no.  Just to open our eyes that sometimes we make decisions and we just aren’t qualified to do so.

 

Where Am I Leading You?

There is something you don’t realize.  Each practitioner out there doing bodywork or energy work is tapping into the same universal life force (or qi) to help your horse.  Each one has their twist/name/language but that is only where it differs.  How do I know this?  Let me explain.  Let’s start with definitions.

Massage: using manual techniques to release restrictions in muscles, fascia and soft tissue.

Chiropractic: using manual techniques to re-align structures such as joints and the spinal column.

Acupuncturist: using needles to regulate the qi of the body to allow the horse to heal itself.

Craniosacral Therapist: using their hands to feel changes in the craniosacral rythym and release restrictions.

Reiki Practitioner: using their hands to channel the universal qi to facilitate healing

QiGong Therapist: another type of energy work based on chinese medicine.

And so on…

Each of these modalities uses some type of touch or hand work to interact with the energy of the horse.  It is all energy work.  I don’t believe in splitting hairs here.  You can take a practitioner from each school and ask them to evaluate your horse.  They will all find the same thing but will describe it differently based on their education.  They will all be right and they all can help.  Anyone who tells you any differently is being competitive!

I speak from experience.  I do acupuncture, acupressure, craniosacral therapy, massage and reiki.  I cannot tell you where one begins and one ends.  Once I put my hands on the horse, I use all those modalities to give me feedback about the horse and use all those modalities to facilitate the horse healing itself.  I could describe what I feel either from an acupuncturists school of thought, a CST practitioners language, a massage therapist vocabulary or a reiki practitioners consciousness.  While there are many differences in each of these modalities and each of them takes many years of learning and practice to master, they all deal with the universal life force that exists in every living animal.

So next time you try and decide what modality is best, stop trying to kid yourself.  Unless you are a master of all, you won’t really know.  Give each practitioner a chance to help your horse.  And dismiss any practitioner that tries to tell you why they are best.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Solve Your Horses’ Lameness Without Invasive Treatments: Introducing New Massage Techniques!

New Massage Techniques

Over the past couple months I have been studying and practicing a new kind of massage called the Masterson Method.  This work is based on the techniques and the life work of Jim Masterson, a renowned equine massage therapist who has worked on many international horses.  For more information on the Masterson Method read this article.

What’s so great about this kind of work?  It falls in line with a host of other techniques I use everyday.  Jim’s special twist is a combination of massage, cranio-sacral therapy and myofascial release.  Although that’s not how he advertises it, that’s what it is.  Having studied craniosacral therapy, positional release and myofascial release,  Jim’s techniques made total sense to me and to the horse (you could tell by their reaction).  The Masterson Method added some cool ways to help me unlock tension in key junctions of the body from head to tail.  I am happy to now offer this work to my clients.

Key Junctions

These key junctions include the tmj, poll, withers, shoulders, neck, ribs, thoracic and lumbar vertebra, sacrum and SI joint, hips, stifles, hocks, fetlocks and feet but as you can see, all areas of the body can be treated with this method.

keyjunctions

Your Horse Will Tell You

In addition, this kind of therapy you do with a horse not to the horse.  As the practitioner, I constantly check in with the horses’ reaction and body language to determine where therapy is needed and how long to stay on a particular body part.  If you watch the horse, they will tell you everything.  Having this extra piece of communication really gave purpose to what I was feeling with my hands.

Energy

Many times I am asked how I feel what I do.  It’s all energy.  If you practice long enough you can feel where it’s flowing, stuck, too active or deficient.  Couple that feeling with a reaction from the horse and you got a great two way communication system to really help horses feel better in their body.  Often, just some simple techniques can help a horse unlock and become freer.  A full on treatment can really make a big difference.

While bodywork can’t replace veterinary care, it is a great way to accomplish four things:

  1. help the veterinarian know where to concentrate their diagnostics and work.
  2. efficiently treat compensatory pain, lameness and bad biomechanics.
  3. complement what you are doing with your vet and your horse for lasting results.
  4. address body issues that are keeping your horse from performing its’ best.

I am now including this work in every treatment.  The hardest part is finding the time!  With so many techniques now in my tool belt, I can’t fit them all in.  Luckily, I get to see my patients more than just once.  If you’d like to schedule a treatment and experience these new techniques, please call Rebecca today!

(410) 440-8875

 

TRIGGER POINTS… The One Thing Standing In Your Way to Blue Ribbons

What is a trigger point?

A trigger point is a hyper-irritable spot located in a tight band of skeletal muscle.  If you’d had an active trigger point, you know how painful they can be.  They can produce pain locally and radiate out into seemingly other unrelated parts of the body.  Inactive trigger points which often cause stiffness and decreased range of motion without pain are far more common.  While trigger points can accompany many chronic musculo-skeletal disorders, they are caused by an muscle overload either by acute trauma (fall, injury etc) by sustained, prolonged activity or by repetitive micro trauma.  Nerve compression and the decreased flow of blood and oxygen further injure the muscle.  This dysfunction of the muscle then creates further complication in the tendons, ligaments and skeleton of the horse.  The persistent pain associated with trigger points results in both a decrease function in the muscles of locomotion and in the postural muscles.  This is why it’s so important to address trigger points.

Perpetuating Factors

While factors that increase the formation of trigger points are numerous and sometimes hard to detect, they are important.  Without the proper attention they can spell the difference between success and failure in treatment.

  • Mechanical stress
    1. skeletal & postural asymetry
    2. poor fitting tack compressing nerves in the paravertebral muscles
    3. rider imbalance
    4. lack of warmup
    5. overuse of muscles causing fatigue
  • Nutritional imbalances
  • Metabolic and endocine disorders
    1. Cushings Syndrome
    2. Low Thyroid
    3. Insulin Resistance
    4. Equine Metabolic Syndrome
  • Psychological Problems
    1. depression
    2. anxiety
    3. stress
  • Chronic disease and infections
    1. ulcers
    2. allergies
    3. respiratory disease
    4. liver and kidney dysfunction
    5. heart murmurs
    6. etc.

Types of Trigger Points

Central tigger points are located in the most electrically excitable area of the muscle, also called the motor point of the muscle.  These points are usually found over the body of the muscle and dysfunction causes contraction knots, nodules and taut fibers.

Attachment trigger points are located at the attachment of the muscle onto fascia, tendons or bone.  The strain on the muscle at these attachments causes swelling, tenderness and pain.

Key trigger points is the main trigger point responsible for the activity of additional trigger points.  Clinically this becomes apparent when the release of one trigger points also causes the release of additional trigger points called satellite trigger points.   For long term affects, both the key and satellite trigger points  need to be released.

Trigger Point Treatment

There are many ways to release trigger points and different modalities of alternative medicine address them even if they don’t aknowledge them as such.  However, Janet Travell, author of the Trigger Point Manual, recognized the following successful treatments for trigger points.

  • stretching
  • warmth
  • vapocoolant spray during stretching
  • isometric contractions and voluntary contraction and relaxation of the muscle
  • percussion during stretching
  • range of motion exercises that fully lengthen and shorten every muscle treated
  • ischemic compression (best on central trigger points)
  • deep stroking massage
  • myofascial release
  • injections
  • dry needling/acupuncture

 

Acupuncture and Trigger Points

Research has shown acupuncture to be effective in treating muscle pain and releasing trigger points.  We also know that acupuncture speeds healing of injured tissue and brings blood and oxygen to the local area.  Interestingly, The Tri State College of Acupuncture calls the study of Acupuncture in the release of trigger points: Acupuncture Physical Medicine.  They have a great quote related to this very study.  “Acupuncture Physical Medicine or dry needle release of a trigger point is safer than trigger point hypodermic needling and far easier than manual trigger point release, yet as effective as either”.  Trigger point treatment via acupuncture combines Japanese meridian therapy techniques along with current knowledge in trigger point therapy.  While trigger points are (according to Travell) very persistent most of the medical community focuses instead on the injury to tendons, ligaments and joints.  We all know that acupuncture was meant to be preventative.  This is one area where it rings true.  Why not address the trigger points with acupuncture and body work before they impact the fascia, tendons, ligaments and skeletal system?

 

 

Why You Aren’t Getting the Performance Results You Want.

Performance Enhancement

Treatment Frequency

I’ve done this before, but wanted to try it again.  Dancer, my own horse, has been working really hard this spring.  He’s been doing great but hasn’t felt quite as good in his back as I know he can feel.  He’s NOT lame nor does he palpate to be sore.  Everything looks and feels as it should but he’s just not flowing in his trot.  In response, I begin the experiment.

Over a 3 week period Dancer got 4 acupuncture treatments.  About every 5 days.  WOW, what a difference it made.  He felt better after the first treatment but by the fourth he was really supple.  He is swinging over his back, easy to connect and easy to engage.  The best news… it’s been 10 days since the last treatment and he still feels wonderful.  I’m so amazed at how powerful this medicine is.

Prepping for Competition

How can this benefit you?  Think about your training.  Is there something your horse is struggling with?  Would it help if your horse felt better in his body?  Preparing for a big clinic, event or show?  Wouldn’t it be great to walk into that competition with your horse feeling amazing?

Changing Plans

Think on this.

Scenario #1 is the routine client.  I have many “routine” clients that get me out to work on their horse on a regular basis to ensure their horse feels it’s best.  This routine is usually about once a month.  I’m not advocating treating a horse every week for the rest of it’s life but too often I see us rely on acupuncture as a one time treatment.  I don’t think we are truly utilizing the power of this medicine.  Let’s try something different…Instead of once a month for several months, let’s try twice a week for 2 weeks every 3 months.  It ends up being the same amount of money but I think you will see better results.

Another schedule.

Scenario #2 is the client who calls me up to prepare for a big event.  What if instead of calling me out every 3-6 months for one treatment, we really make a big impact on the horse by doing 4-5 treatments right in a row.  Really give the horse the boost he needs.  Again, I think you will be extremely pleased with the result and you will be setting the horse up for success.

Listen Up

Research has proven that frequent treatment back to back is very effective even with long standing problems.  My horse just helped prove this.  As usual, when I listen to my horse I learn.  Dancer is teaching me an important lesson.  Frequent treatment is the key to success.  Let’s try it on your horse and see the great results.

Could your Equine Dentist be the Cause of your Horse’s Back Problems?

How equine dentistry affects performance and muscle development.

Is this why your horse lacks muscles over the back?

You may not know that although still practicing on a very limited basis, being an equine dental practitioner was my previous profession.  I had a thriving practice from 1998 until 2012 when I severely cut back on dental work to pursue other professional activities.  Over the years, I have seen a better awareness of the pros of regular dental care on horses.  However, I want to revisit the subject and how it relates to muscle development over the topline.

Years ago when I first got started, I was working with another female dentist in Virginia.  When we would arrive on the farm, we could look out in the pasture and pick out horses with hooks.  They had this quality about them.  An atrophy of the muscles in the top line, even if they were in regular work.  Despite dental problems causing weight problems and pain it also seemed to affect the carriage of their bodies.  Although there can be many reasons why a horse could have poor muscle development over their back, dental abnormalities can definitely be one of the causes.

Why?  Well, first lets describe what dental hooks are.  When the alignment of the upper arcades of teeth are rostral to the lower arcades then the first and last cheek teeth do not line up correctly.  Given that horses have a continual eruption of reserve crown over the life of their tooth, this can result in a protuberant tooth development in the areas that are not in occlusion.  Ok what does that all mean?  Basically the upper teeth are sitting forward of the lower teeth and the teeth not meeting up get too long.  At least, this is the most common presentation.

When charting this dental hook we would say the 206 had a hook.  Each tooth is numbered according to the location in the head (arcade and # of tooth).  Usually hooks are present on the 106, 206 (rostral hooks) and 311, 411 (caudal hooks).  In performing a routine dental exam and “floating” these hooks would be filed down to be in alignment with the rest of the arcade.

So what does this do to the horses mouth and jaw?  Besides being painful, inhibiting masticating and obstructing the flow of food this problem also locks the jaw from proper movement.  The horse not only chews from side to side but also has a anterior/posterior (front to back) movement to the jaw.  When else does this jaw move anteriorly and posteriorly?  Whenever the horse lowers or raises its head.

 

 

overbiteThe inability to correctly move the jaw can be exacerbated if the horse also has an overbite and it’s incisors have become over long.

Which brings me back to muscle development.  If the horse cannot lower it’s head properly to bring the back muscles up then how can it develop top line muscle?  If the horse cannot relax the lower jaw (mandible) and let it move freely, there will be tension in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), subsequent tension in the poll and neck and, of course, tension in the topline and hindend respectively.  See why we could pick them out of the herd?

How does this relate to bodywork?  Whenever I discover pain, tension or sensitivity in the top line, mandible, TMJ or poll, it’s a reminder to me to check the horses teeth.  There could very well be a structural misaligment of the teeth that is causing the issues.  It’s one of the many things to cross off the list when trying to get to the bottom of a symptom.  Have a good, certified equine dentist check your horse at least once a year just to be sure.

Equine Acupoint Touch- for better performance & optimal health

Equine Acupoint Touch

Learn to treat your horses tension, trauma, injuries and system imbalances.

It’s all about feeling the energy and structures of the equine, fascilitating the horses release of tension, trauma, stress and energetic imbalances. Equine Acupoint Touch is a combination of acupressure, trigger point release, myofascial release and craniosacral therapy.  EAT was developed by Rebecca Douglass over the past 10 years by doing bodywork on thousands of horses.  Over the years her skills have turned into their own therapy.

Now Acupoint Therapies LLC is developing a training course to help horse owners, trainers and other practitioners learn theese valuable techinques.  Topics include:

  • Palpation Techniques and How to Feel Energy
  • Point Location and Selection
  • Channel Flow
  • Yin & Yang
  • 5 Elements
  • Qi, Blood, Essence and Body Fluids
  • Organ Function
  • Emotions
  • & Much More…

While the Veterinary Board won’t allow us to say we heal or alleviate any disease, I have seen time and time again horses perform at their best because they received Equine Acupoint Touch.  Do you want to join us?  Do you want to be part of the “beta” class for Equine Acupoint Touch?  Seminars and clinics will start in the Fall of 2013.  Contact Rebecca for more information.

The Real Benefits of Acupuncture

What are the benefits of acupuncture for your horse?

With acupuncture becoming widely accepted and veterinarians literally seeing the benefits, no wonder acupuncture has spread to the four legged community.  It’s not uncommon to see veterinarians and acupuncturists working in vet offices and clinics supplying a much needed medicine to cats, dogs, horses etc.  The vet community even has an organizing body (IVAS) to certify veterinary acupuncturists.  States such as Maryland are also certifying licensed acupuncturists to work on animals.

In addition, the FEI has ruled that acupuncture can be used on competition horses without breaking FEI rules.  Studies have shown an reduction in anesthesia needed by 31% when acupuncture was used during animal surgery.  Effectiveness has been studied and documented in clinical trials.

So what does this all mean to you and your horse?  Well, we already know that acupuncture used often and that it’s effective now lets look at some real down to earth examples of how you can experience the benefits of acupuncture.

  1. Dollar savings.  how much does it cost to have hocks injected?  $500-$1000.  Many horses can forgo hock injections (and other invasive treatments) and be treated with acupuncture instead.  Not only does it reduce pain but also treats the underlying cause of why the horses hocks are getting sore in the first place.
  2. Less anti-inflammatories.  This goes along with #1 in saving money too.  Acupuncture is so effective at treating pain, anti-inflammatories are not needed.  This is even better news considering the link between NSAIDS and ulcers and Corticosteroids and their many side effects.
  3. Increases performance.  This could be just from allowing the horse to be more comfortable when performing.  Think of the consequences of making a race horse more comfortable during running.  Just shaving a second off their race time can make the difference between 1st or last.
  4. Less down time.  Acupuncture is effective in quickening healing time in muscles, fascia and bone.  I have seen it first hand with suspensory injuries with ultrasounds to validate.
  5. Happiness.  Acupuncture treats both physical and emotional symptoms.  But lets be realistic, if your horse feels better he will act better.  Chronic pain wreaks havoc.  Ask anyone.

So here’s a short list of scientifically proven diseases that acupuncture has helped.

  • colic
  • skin conditions
  • conjunctivitis
  • sinusitis
  • back pain
  • neck pain
  • behavioral problems

 

How Often Should You Get Acupuncture Treatments?

Acupuncture treatments

Acupuncture Needle Insertion

The question I am asked most often is how frequently should one receive acupuncture treatments. In the US, the common recommendation is one treatment a week for 8 weeks but it really depends on how acute or chronic the condition is. This schedule may be OK if the person is supplementing their treatment with Chinese Herbal medicine. However, I believe the above schedule is more based on economics and the current health insurances recommendations. Therefore it is seriously erroneous.

Based on a review of Chinese literature, treatments should be much more frequent to guarantee success. For instance, Wang Le Ting (a Chinese master in the 20th century) treated serious conditions daily for varying lengths of time. The following examples will explain:

  1. Patient #1 complained of dizziness, heart palpations, headache, poor sleep, poor appetite, loose stools, and painful joints. Treatments consisted of acupuncture every other day for 12 treatments. Afterwards the patient was fine and had no recurrence.
  2. Patients #2 complained of depression, anxiety, chest oppression, abdominal distention, fatigue, lack of strength and constipation. This patient was needled several times a week for 1.5 months until all symptoms were eliminated.
  3. Patient #3 had symptoms of insomnia, frustration, anger, outbreaks of crying, spasms in the limbs and worry. Acupuncture treatments were administered every other day for 8 treatments plus an herbal formula for 10 days.
  4. Patient #4 was diagnosed with acute prostatitis with burning hesitant urination, high blood pressure. He was treated every day for 5 days.
  5. Patients #5 complained of symptoms of dysmennorhea including abdominal pain, bloating before menses and delayed menstruation that was profuse, dark in color and contained clots. She also had low blood pressure, profuse dreams, loose stools and decreased strength. Treatment was administered very day for 5 days before menses for 6 months.
  6. Patient #6 had problems with infertility but western medicine could not find a reason. She sought out acupuncture with complaints of irregular menstruation, depression, worry and a cold feeling in the abdomen. Acupuncture treatments were three times a week for 40 treatments. On the 5th month the patient became pregnant and went on to have many healthy children.

With an acute condition, I would prefer to see my patients two to three times per week.  On more chronic issues once a week for 8-12 weeks is more realistic.

In the US, we want results instantaneous and often we prematurely judge acupuncture and other alternative modalities. Instead I encourage you to give alternative therapies a fair chance to show their effectiveness. Become aware of the subtle changes in your body that define health and make the necessary life changes that allow the body to heal itself. Look at is this way…

 

One acupuncture treatment $60-90

Two acupuncture treatments $120-180

Better health, holistically with no side effects PRICELESS!

WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE?

Head & NeckFind out the what, why and how of this ancient art.

Recently while working on a client’s horse, I was asked a myriad of questions about  Chinese medicine and acupuncture and just how exactly it works.  I was floored… I thought they knew.  I thought that’s why they called me.  It got me thinking.  How many other people know about acupuncture but don’t know how it works!

Well, I am here to tell you and hopefully clarify some ideas and expand your horizon.

Lets start at the basics.  The body is made of matter and energy.  All living creatures have energy in their body.  Whether you call it qi, prana, ki, or life force, it is the same.  The flow of energy through the body is constantly changing and can easily become disrupted.  Injury & trauma, poor diet, inappropriate exercise, genetics, poor sleep, toxins and exogenous pathogens can interfere with the body’s energetic balance.  Even emotions such as anger, hate, frustration, worry, stress, fear and anxiety can disrupt the equilibrium. In today’s culture, both humans and their animals have trouble staying balanced and grounded.  Once the body is off balance, problems arise.  All too often, the imbalance is prolonged until not only disease has developed but also compensatory symptoms.  For instance, unless due to direct trauma, physical symptoms develop last and indicate a prolonged state of imbalance.  And even then, one can argue that if the body was balanced it would more easily deal with the trauma and return to health quickly and easily.

Can’t these imbalances be prevented or treated?  You bet!  In fact, there are many holistic therapies used for prevention and/or treatment of disease.  Need I say… an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Ok, so where does acupuncture come in?  What is Acupuncture really?  Acupuncture is one modality which facilitates the body’s rebalancing of itself so that healing can occur physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Acupuncture is preventative medicine and has been for over 3000 years.   Most people associate acupuncture with ONLY treating pain but it is so much more than this.  I’m asked all the time what acupuncture treats.  I feel like I lose them in the lengthy list.  Basically, it can be answered in this way.  If you have a broken bone, go to the emergency room.  If you want to holistically treat ANYTHING else–from the common cold to emotions, to healing the bone after it’s set, or supportive care for a debilitating disease–go see your acupuncturist or another eastern medical provider.

Let’s discuss how it works.  In Chinese medicine, the energy flows along channels and collaterals that cover every millimeter of the body.  Along these channels, energy pools at specific acupuncture points.  The art of acupuncture lies in the selection of points and the needling techniques.  Basically knowing how and where to needle to influence the energy in an effective way is what acupuncture is all about.  This may sound easy, but it is not.  Licensed acupuncturists are highly educated and draw on their education and experience to diagnose.  Information from the client is so valuable in “getting the whole picture”.  Along with this history, the acupuncturist’s ability to palpate and feel the energy is a key component.

Often people look to western medicine for the “science” behind acupuncture.  Although scientists can measure changes in heart rate, blood pressure, endorphins, electrical changes on the skin, pain relief, fascial releases etc. in response to acupuncture, as of yet, western medicine cannot answer how acupuncture works.  Now if you ask an eastern medical practitioner, you will get a very different answer–one based on energy.  Chinese medicine is very complex and was not developed along the western medical model, it was developed long before.  Comparing western medicine with eastern medicine is like comparing apples with broccoli.  We have and use a very different language and we measure changes in the body very differently than western medicine.  Eastern medicine looks at energy, Western medicine looks at symptoms.

When trying to decide on treatment strategies, find a chinese medical practitioner that is recommended and one you trust.  Then rely on their recommendations.  Remember that licensed acupuncturists have had 4 years of college, 4 years of chinese medicine and advanced schooling in their specialty.  They will stear you straight.

Finally I want to leave you with this reality.  Rebalancing energy as it changes is no small task.  FREQUENCY is the key to rebalancing and returning to health.  In China, acupuncturists are visited 2-4 times per week!  The American health care system makes frequent treatments financially costly for most clients.  However, remember that it will usually take several treatments, spaced appropriately apart, to be effective.  Rely on your acupuncturist to help you decide on the best treatment plan.  Please don’t judge the modalities effectiveness on one treatment a month or (worse yet) a one time visit!  Because licensed acupuncturists are committed to restoring your health, I truly believe that most practitioners will lower their rates if their clients commit to visiting more often.

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