This is really basic, but I want to get the word out that many people I see in my practice are having real health problems because they do not drink enough water. I even saw a prominent physician recently who, when I asked him how much water he drinks he replied - not enough. In Chinese medicine there is the all-important concept of yin and yang. Everything in the universe has a yin side and a yang side. And our bodies can be described in simple terms using this concept. So the heat that is generated by us being alive is yang, and the fluids in our body that act as a coolant are yin. The coolant and the heat balance each other, balance of yin and yang. When yin and yang are balanced in the body everything works well and we are well. When this balance is tipped is when things break down. Most people have plenty of the heat part but are lacking in the coolant part. A coolant that you can add to your built-in coolant is the water we drink. You can easily imagine what could happen if we have too much heat in our body and not enough coolant - we will overheat. And if something, say your car, is overheated, it is in danger of breaking down. Also, heating up things dries things out. A body that is dried out does not work as well. If your bowels dry out, you are in big trouble. If your lungs are dry you develop a chronic cough. Even your cells, which are mainly water, if less than optimally hydrated will not function as well. We are almost 60% water, so if you are low on water you are pretty dried out. I like to tell people, and I do this myself, to wake up to water (after all we have had 8 hours with very little or no water intake). One of the first things you do each morning should be to drink a glass of water. It's really the little things that we do every day that make the real differences in our health and really in our lives.
I heard from a patient that Michael Phelps was seen in pictures getting an acupuncture treatment and in an interview talking about how it has helped keep him going during the competition. With all the talk about cupping it isn't hard to figure out that they are also doing acupuncture on the athletes. There are a few good reasons why they might want to have some acupuncturists traveling with our national team (which they do). First of all acupuncture is excellent for treating pain. This is no surprise to anyone who has tried it. Secondly, acupuncture is excellent at helping an injury heal faster. This is important in a competition, where something must be done to get the athlete back in the race as soon as possible. I often treat patients that are amazed at how quickly their body starts healing an injured ankle or how the healing after surgery will suddenly be sped up dramatically after a few acupuncture sessions. This works because acupuncture enhances the body's system of healing. A third reason they are using acupuncture in the Olympics is that they have to be careful what drugs they give to the athletes. There are many drugs that if used could get the athlete disqualified. But acupuncture is not on any banned lists. There are also no side effects to acupuncture so they don't have to worry about any adverse effects of giving a pill. Most (upwards of 90%) of our pain patients take advantage of our pain special. To get more info on the pain special please click here.
I am often asked especially by new patients how acupuncture works. It's a bit hard to explain in the few minutes that I am inserting the needles, but I try because people are curious about it. I like to say in a nutshell that acupuncture uses the energy of the body to heal the body. The energy of the body, called Qi by the Chinese, travels in channels sort of like blood does. Most of the channels originate and end in an organ such as the kidney or the liver. The energy channels run the length of the body and this energy keeps us healthy and pain free. The acupuncture points give us access into these channels of moving energy and allow us to do things to that energy such as strengthen it, drain it, or make it flow faster; and also to effect the function of the organ associated with that channel. As you can tell it is very different from the way western medicine looks at things. I, having a western mind, have many times been amazed at how accurate this eastern model of how the body works is. What I really like about it is that it has a deep respect for the body's innate ability to be healthy and when necessary to heal itself. I now find the eastern way of looking at health and healing much easier to grasp and much more eloquent. After doing this medicine for 15 years I often find myself looking at western medicine, which granted did get a 2 or 3 thousand year later start, as actually less advanced than eastern medicine. As I read about new discoveries in western medicine, I usually end up thinking - that's what Chinese medicine has been saying for a thousand years!
What do I treat mainly at the Acupuncture Center? I get asked this a lot by patients. Because I have been doing this for over a decade, I think I can truthfully say that I have treated almost every health concern out there. But the question is what I mainly treat. My main specialization is in treating pain (I also specialize in anxiety, depression and weight loss). I see a lot of back pain, but I also see a lot of migraine pain and I see a lot of shoulder and neck pain. In Chinese medicine it doesn't really matter where the pain is, we always treat it roughly the same way. When I first started out treating I didn't want to necessarily treat mostly pain. But I knew someone in our practice really needed to cover pain so I took it on. And it really grew on me over time. And most people experience pain, so it's needed. I think I am good at it. I think Chinese medicine is good at treating pain. I see more and more patients who have been referred by a doctor. I see more and more doctors come in. There is of course an issue with pain medications in our country and people are really starting to look for alternative methods. Acupuncture has zero side effects. And the herbal pain formulas also have zero side effects. My method of treating pain is simple: I use acupuncture, cupping, and if needed Chinese herbs. This combination usually works really well and fast. Most people are better after even one treatment. That is my goal, to get you feeling better as quickly as possible. I'm usually able to do so. I would truthfully say that over 90 percent of my patients get better. If they don't I take it personal. Most patients who have pain issues will buy our pain package. Click here to learn more about the pain package.
We treat patients with migraines several times a week at the Acupuncture Center. As many of our patients will tell you, acupuncture and herbs can often be very effective for this condition. I find that if we combine acupuncture and herbal formulas that patients will usually be much better in a few visits. This can be life changing and many patients have told me that. The pharmaceutical drugs that are given for migraines are not really treating the root cause, and if the cause is not treated then, even though you might dull the pain, the condition is really getting worse and more ingrained in the body. Illnesses start more superficial in the body and move inwards with time. So its best to address a problem before it gets deeper and more permanent in the body. With Chinese medicine we always go after the root cause. This is just how Chinese medicine developed over many millennia. If the root of the problem is addressed the issues goes away, its over. If the root is not addressed the illness usually will become more severe and harder to eradicate.
Monte Jackson, owner Acupuncture Center of Richmond