I have said many times in my blog and to patients, that one of the best things about acupuncture is that it improves circulation. Circulation issues can lead to a whole range of symptoms and diseases. With poor circulation it is really harder to heal in general. Diabetic problems such as neuropathy are often circulation problems. Smokers tend to have poor circulation to their extremities. Circulation issues are common in elderly people, in fact the Chinese recognize poor circulation to be one of the most prominent causes of issues in older people. So older people really can become healthier by adding acupuncture to their health regiment. Certain body types, specifically the Vatta type in Ayervedic medicine, tend to have more circulation issues especially to the extremities. This can cause issues such as Raynaud's disease. There are several really good Chinese herbal formulas for helping with circulation. My favorite is shen tong zhu yu tong, often called the great invigorator. This is one of our most used and most effective formulas for a wide range of issues where the blood is not moving as well as it should.
The problem with using antibiotics for sinus infections is that around 90% of sinus infections are viral. So antibiotics, which treat only bacterial infections, do nothing for the majority of sinus infections and can actually be harmful. With a combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbs, this problem can be taken care of usually pretty easily. Some people get these infection over and over and antibiotics can often be the cause of this recurrence. Much like the balance of bacteria that keeps our gut healthy, there is also a bacterial balance that keeps our sinuses health. When this is disrupted by antibiotics, this healthy balance is tipped. This can lead to infections that never really do away. Chinese herbs and acupuncture can help the body achieve greater balance and better health and resist infection.
The barista at my favorite coffee shop asked me a question on finding out that I am an acupuncturist. Two questions really. First he asked me what I usually treat in my practice. This was easy and I have covered it before in this blog: I mainly treat pain but I also treat many many other things. In fact in 16 years of treating patients there are few things I haven't treated. I told him that really we are similar to your general practitioner. He then asked me why should he try it. I told him, because it can change your life. I meant that, in that Chinese medicine is a whole different way of looking at your health and healing. And for some people it can be life changing.
Chronic illness is of course challenging to treat because it usually started way before the symptoms began, and is thus lodged deep in the body. The reason that I recommend Chinese medicine to treat chronic illness is that Chinese medicine always treats the root, the deep underlying condition or cause. If you don't treat the root of a chronic illness than you really are not curing it, you are just modulating the symptoms, just keeping the patient comfortable. This is generally what western medicine is doing. If you are on western drugs for chronic illness than you will most likely be on those drugs for the rest of your life. Most likely the dosage will increase over time and/or a stronger drug will be used or added. This shows that the underlying condition is actually getting worse. In this scenario the drugs might eventually stop working. Also, as the disease is allowed to go deeper in the body (disease always starts more superficial and works its way deeper) other organs may be effected. With Chinese medicine the amount of herbs taken and/or the frequency of treatment will lessen, meaning the underlying condition is weakening. Also, we pay close attention to other lifestyle factors like diet. Diet is always critical to our health and especially so if we have a chronic condition. To read about some of the chronic conditions we treat often at our center check out our Conditions page.
I can think of many reasons to try acupuncture. Here are a just a few: 1. it works and has been proven to do so in many scientific studies. 2. there are zero side effects. 3. looking at a health issue from a different direction a different philosophy can sometimes be what is need to solve the problem. 4. it is holistic, meaning it treats the whole person and it looks at the body as a single unit. 5. it has over 5000 years of wisdom backing it up. 6. it can treat multiple issues at once. 7. we treat the root of the problem not just the symptoms, so we cure and not just control. 8. we treat the person and not the disease. If the person's health increases the disease decreases. 9. It calms the sympathetic nervous system, the fight or flight response, putting you into a deep and healing relaxation. For a list of some of the conditions we treat often at the Acupuncture Center click here.
Some patients for various reasons just want to do Chinese herbs, no acupuncture. This is fine, and we are happy to write an herbal prescription for just about any condition. We are nationally certified herbalists and we have 15 years experience writing herbal formulas. We will have patients come in and fill out paperwork and do a regular intake before coming up with a formula. We do charge $40 for an herbal consultation. What kind of things will Chinese herbs treat? We are allowed to treat any medical condition with herbs except active cancer (though they do in China). Some of the more common things we treat with herbs are: pain, acute trauma, allergies, stomach issues, common cold, infections, low energy, stress, depression, PMS and migraine. We also treat a variety of chronic conditions such as RA or fibromyalgia. Most of the herbs that we use come from Evergreen herbs who are based in California. Most of the prescribing we do are patent formulas in capsule form. Some patients opt for powdered herbs that are made into a tea. The advantage to these are their strength and that they can be modified. We might modify a formula to treat more than one condition or symptom. The disadvantage is convenience (you have to add hot water and make it into a tea) as well as the taste. Some people do fine with the taste but others do not.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition whose cause is unknown. Just the sort of job for our medicine. This is because we treat pattern of illness in the body and don't label the illness as western medicine does. This just means that we look for imbalances in the body that may lead to the illness. So how this works is: we will take your medical history and current symptoms and look at your tongue and ask you a bunch of questions and then we will formulate a treatment plan. Most of the time the underlying problem or root cause of fibromyalgia is a deficiency, or a weakness in the body that needs to be strengthened. We strengthen this weakness using acupuncture, herbal supplements (optional) and dietary recommendations. When the imbalance in the body is brought back into balance, when the weakness is made stronger, the illness should disappear.
Knees are very complicated joints. Surgery and knee replacement can mean a long recovery and the results are never a given. Some people opt to do a round of acupuncture to see if they can delay or even eliminate the need for surgery. The advantage to doing acupuncture for the knees is that there are many acupuncture points in and around the knee. Most of these points will be used in a typical session along with any points that are sore to the touch. We do often get good results with knee issues. We usually recommend starting with a 3 treatment pain package as described on our specials page.
Monte Jackson, owner Acupuncture Center of Richmond