Monday, February 1, 2010

Acupuncture is More Than “Being Stuck with a Bunch of Needles”

What comes to mind when you think about acupuncture.  “Getting poked with lots of needles”? 

If so, then it may be a little confusing you when I start talking about things like food, energy work, and massage.  When I say “acupuncture” I am referring to the whole treatment process that an acupuncturist (or more specifically, what I) would use if you came in to the clinic. 

The word “acupuncture” so aptly encompasses everything to do with what we do as physicians of Chinese medicine, that no one says they are going to see their “Chinese medicine practitioner”.  They say that they are going to see their “acupuncturist”.

This acupuncturist will use all the tools that she has in order to facilitate health and vitality within her patients.  That means that some of my patients will go home wearing ear magnets and some will be put on a strict food plan. Not everyone gets stuck with needles.

And just what do I do? I utilize acupuncture and Chinese medicine to:
  • Trigger the body to self-heal
  • Improve digestion
  • Increase energy
  • Stop hunger
  • Stop cravings
  • Decrease Inflammation
  • Stop pain
  • Regulate hormones 
  • Improve mood and help you to relax
So, even though not everyone “gets” why I call what I do "acupuncture" weight loss.  I still defend it wholeheartedly and believe that it is the very best name for my work.  And I am sticking to it!

    Monday, January 4, 2010

    5 Ways Acupuncture Creates Lasting New Year's Resolutions

    By Diane Joswick, L.Ac., MSOM

    New Year's Rejuvenation

    It is the beginning of a new year and, once again, a time to reflect on what changes we can make to improve our lives. If you are intent on improving your health this year, acupuncture and Chinese medicine may be the very thing you need to "stick" to those resolutions.

    Here's how acupuncture can help you achieve your goals:

    Resolution 1: Reach Target Weight and Stay There

    Losing weight is the #1 most common New Year's Resolution. Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine can help you reach your goal weight and maintain it by promoting better digestion, smoothing emotions, reducing appetite, improving metabolism, and eliminating food cravings.

    From an Oriental medicine perspective, the acupuncture points, foods and herbs that are chosen to assist with weight loss directly influence the Qi of the Spleen and Liver systems to treat the root imbalances that are causing the weight gain.

    From a Western perspective, acupuncture and Oriental medicine have been shown to have an effect on the function of the nervous system, endocrine system, digestive system, food cravings, and metabolism. All of which can help to energize the body, maximize the absorption of nutrients, regulate elimination, control overeating, suppress the appetite, and reduce anxiety.

    The beauty of acupuncture is that each treatment is catered to the needs of the individual patient. Acupuncture points on the body will be chosen for overall well being with the objective of increasing circulation of the blood and Qi (stimulating the metabolism) and calming the nervous system.

    Acupuncture and Oriental medicine are powerful tools for healthy weight loss, by themselves or as a supportive treatment in conjunction with other weight management programs.

    Resolution 2: Stay Sharp

    Your New Year’s resolution may be to learn a new language or take a class at the local college. How ever you choose to exercise your brain, acupuncture can help. Numerous studies suggest that acupuncture can help improve memory, mental clarity, concentration and cognitive function.

    One recently published study showed how acupuncture can be used to help patients with vascular dementia. Cerebral functional imaging before and after acupuncture treatments showed a significant increase in the cerebral glucose metabolism of the brain which is associated with improved cognitive function. Other studies have looked at how acupuncture affects the performance of student taking an exam, Alzheimer's disease and memory impairment induced by diabetes and cerebral ischemia. All results, thus far, have been positive.

    Resolution 3: Relieve Pain Naturally

    If pain is keeping you away from the gym, acupuncture can help.  Increasingly, people are looking for more natural approaches to help relieve painful conditions instead of relying on medications. Acupuncture has no side effects and can be helpful for all types of pain, regardless of what is causing the pain or where the pain is located. Some studies have shown the pain relief it provides can last for months.

    Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain before and after acupuncture treatment for pain shows dramatic decreases in brain activity -- up to 70%. This decrease in brain activity in certain areas of the brain is thought to be the reason for the reduction of pain caused by the acupuncture treatments.

    In addition to reducing pain, acupuncture also hastens the healing process by increasing circulation and attracting white blood cells to an injured area.

    Resolution 4: Eliminate Stress

    Stress reduction is always on the top ten list for New Year’s resolutions and for a good reason. Stress is often the cause of illness and the deterioration of health. Numerous studies have demonstrated the substantial benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of stress, anxiety and lowering blood pressure

    In addition to acupuncture, Oriental medicine offers a whole gamut of tools and techniques that can be integrated into your life to keep stress in check. These tools include Tui Na, Qi Gong exercises, herbal medicine, dietary therapy, meditations and acupressure that you can administer at home.

    Needless to say, if the stress in your life is throwing you off balance, consider coming in for a treatment to regain peace of mind and stay healthy.

    Resolution 4: Quit Smoking

    Acupuncture has turned a growing number of cigarette cravers into permanent ex-smokers. In fact, researchers say that acupuncture is a promising treatment for all types of addiction from cigarettes to heroin.

    In one study, a team from Yale University successfully used auricular (ear) acupuncture to treat cocaine addiction. Results showed that 54.8% of participants tested free of cocaine during the last week of treatment, compared to 23.5% and 9.1% in the two control groups. Those who completed acupuncture treatment also had longer periods of sustained abstinence compared to participants in the control groups.

    The acupuncture treatments for smoking cessation focus on jitters, cravings, irritability, and restlessness; symptoms that people commonly complain about when they quit. It also aids in relaxation and detoxification.

    Stay tuned to see how Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you with your New Year’s Resolutions!