Acupuncture: Not Just Needles

Cupping AcupunctureMost people have heard of the field of acupuncture by now, but did you realize the scope of the practice encompasses Chinese medicine, which includes so much more than needles? Let’s explore this ancient therapy.

First of all, the practice of Chinese medicine starts with a diagnosis. The practitioner asks many questions to build a history; this includes the answers to digestion, appetite, diet, sleep patterns, bowel movement urination, pain, lifestyle, and stress level, for example. The acupuncturist will also be noting the voice pitch, hair luster, skin color and tone, as well as posture and mood of the patient and any significant odor. After that, there is a pulse and tongue analysis to determine where the pattern and root are, primarily. Finally, blood pressure is measured and other applicable tests done, including palpation of the body. After this history, a diagnosis and treatment plan is determined. What might be included in this plan? continue reading »

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TCM for Common Injuries: Ankle Sprain

by Qineng Tan, L.Ac., PhD., O.M.D.
A sprained ankle is one of the most common injuries. It can happen to kids and adults of all ages. It can happen when you’re actively playing a sport, or just walking around in your own home.
A sprain can be one of three severity levels:
Grade I
A minor sprain can occur when you are just walking. The ankle turns in sharply, causing the muscles and ligaments to pull and tear slightly.
Grade II
A moderate sprain might happen when running, or because of a fall. In this case, the ankle is twisted further in, causing a partial tear of the ligament.
Grade III
A severe sprain happens because of significant impact—such as a fall at great speed or from a height, or a fall compounded by someone’s else weight, such as might happen while playing a sport like football, soccer or baseball. In this case, the ligament might be torn completely. In very severe cases, it may also cause some fracturing of the ankle and/or even dislocation.
The ankle is a wonder of design; it is a very stable joint that not only carries your body weight, but withstands a lot of pressure and impact when you run and jump. It is really made up of two joints; the true ankle joint is formed by the meeting of three bones–the tibia, fibia and talus—and works like a hinge to create the up and down movement of the ankle. The subtalar joint is formed by the talus and the calcaenus, and allows for the side-to-side motion of the ankle. Ligaments are the soft tissues that connect bones to bones, while tendons are the soft tissues that connect muscles to bones; both are made up of small fibers of collagen. Cartilage is the tough yet soft, slippery tissue that creates cushioning and slip between the bones. A sprained ankle can result in torn tissues in the muscles, tendons or ligaments, damage the cartilage, and in severe cases, may involve fractures in the bones.
The pathology of a sprain begins in the acute stage—the first 1-2 days–with internal bleeding at the injury site. Fluid builds up in the tissues of the joint, which leads to swelling. After a few days, the active bleeding stops and inflammation begins to exert pressure around the area, compressing the blood vessels and slowing down the flow of fresh blood. This results in blood stagnation.
When blood has built up in the joint and stopped moving freely, it has a negative effect on the healing process. Incomplete healing can mean that the ankle loses some of both its stability and flexibility. The tendons and ligaments can become fragile, which means the joint is now more susceptible to re-injury.
For immediate home care of a sprain, follow the Universal Rule of RICE. (see box below) Do not massage the area during the first week of recovery. After that, gentle self-massage between the knee and ankle, focusing on releasing tightness in the shin and calf, is best. Don’t walk or put any weight on the foot for 3-7 days, depending on the severity of the injury. When you are ready to being exercising the ankle, begin with gentle, non-weight-bearing movements.
A good exercise to try is the “A to Z Exercise”:
Lift the injured leg, or cross it over the other leg so the ankle and foot can move freely. Using the big toe as the point of your “pencil,” draw the letters of the alphabet in the air, using at first very small, circular movements of the ankle joint. Gradually, work up to making the letters larger.
After 2-3 weeks, you may be ready begin engaging in activities that increase the range of motion, yet still keep most of your weight off the ankle, doing exercises such as pedaling a bike, swimming, or walking through water.
Gradually, after 4-5 weeks, you will be able to resume walking on a flat surface.
It is good to see your acupuncturist as soon as possible after spraining an ankle. The treatment will focus on stopping the internal bleeding and reducing the swelling of the joint. Minimizing inflammation and maximizing the constant circulation of blood will speed healing and help to ensure that the injury does not become a chronic one.

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Seven Ways Acupuncture Can Help Mothers

One of the best gifts you can give your mother this Mother’s Day is the gift of acupuncture. Acupuncture can help with an abundance of health problems and get you feeling one hundred percent again. Mom’s make the world work, it’s a known fact. So this holiday season you should give your mother the gift of acupuncture, here are seven reasons why.


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Acupuncture for Addiction

Addiction is defined as the compulsive physiological need for and use of a habit-forming substance, which means addiction can come in a lot of different forms.  People can be addicted to illicit drugs like heroin just as easily as they can be addicted to sugar. But for the purpose of this article, let’s stick to illicit drugs and alcohol.

According to the Health Services Administration, 23.5 million people ages 12 or older have needed treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. And the treatments provided aren’t guaranteed, nor are they always easy. Luckily, there are alternative treatment options that can help. continue reading »

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Wisdom Story – Wealth, Success & Health

by  Qineng Tan, L.Ac., Ph.D.

 

One windy Winter day, a woman looked out her window and saw three elderly men sitting by the side of the road in front of her house. A generous lady, she went out and asked them, “Would you like to come in from the cold and have something to eat?”

The men smiled gratefully, but asked, “Is the rest of your family at home?” When the woman replied that they were not, but would be home a little later, the men said, “We will wait, then.”

Later, when the woman’s husband and child had returned, she went outside again and said, “Please, come in and have some dinner with us.”

But one of the men explained, ‘Only one of us can come in. This man is named “Wealth.” And that one is named “Success.” My name is “Health.” Go in, talk with your family, and decide which of us you would like to invite into your home.

When the woman told her husband and daughter about this, her husband said, “Let’s ask Wealth to come! That way, we won’t have to work anymore.” But the woman said, “Shouldn’t we ask Success to come? Surely that would be the best choice.” Then the couple’s young daughter spoke up, “Why don’t you ask Health to come in? That way none of us will ever get sick.”

So the woman went out again and asked Health to come in. When he got up and began walking towards the house, Success and Wealth followed him.

“But–I thought–” said the woman. Then Health explained, “Wherever I go, Success and Wealth will follow.”

Lesson: Health is our most precious commodity. When we start making room for healthy habits, we will be able to enjoy the success and wealth that comes our way.

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