As I have mentioned before, many of our regulars come to us for many or even most of their health issues that come up during the year. And most of them know that we are good at helping them get over colds and flu faster and easier and more naturally. An acupuncture treatment can help get you feeling better quickly. Add some Chinese herbal formulas and your symptoms and the infection itself can lessen much quicker than expected. Chinese herbal formulas are antibacterial as well as antiviral whereas antibiotics are just antibacterial. So with Chinese herbs all the bases are covered. Around 80% of colds and all flues are viral in nature so antibiotics don't help. We also have formulas that can be taken prophylactically to boast your immune system.
Just like people, animals are relying more and more on acupuncture and Chinese medicine to stay healthy. I often get asked if we work on animals and the answer is no. In Virginia at least you must be a veterinarian to treat dogs and cats and horses (horses get lots of acupuncture). But just as we get referrals from happy patients, animals indirectly refer us to their owners. I have had many patients who never though of acupuncture for themselves until their dog or cat or horse got great results from their acupuncture treatments. When I was still in acupuncture school I took my dog who was having terrible seizures to her vet who also used Chinese medicine. She suggested some acupuncture and the Chinese herbal formula ban xia bai zhu tian ma tang. The seizures went away. This formula also was a tonic, so my dog actually got stronger from it. If I had put her on phenobarbital the seizures might also have stopped. But lacking the tonic effect of the Chinese herbs, the underlying condition most likely would have gotten worse. Most animals, like most of us, find acupuncture unusually relaxing. I've never seen it in person, but I hear when horses get acupuncture that almost immediately their heads will bow as they relax.
Chinese medical practitioners have to be good at figuring out what is wrong. We will very often see patients who have been to every type of doctor to answer this question and they still do not have an answer. Sometime they have spent thousands of dollars in tests and specialists and no guess. So, since the tests have been run and the results are negative, someone must still be able to figure it out. Often we are able to to do this, because that's just how our medicine works - 5000 years of observing how a human works (not how mitochondria work but how humans work). Also, and I have mentioned this before, sometimes what is needed is a different perspective, a different angle to look at the problem. Our regular patients all know that it's probably best to at least 'bounce' a new health problem off us - before the testing begins. Most issues have a simple solution, so its always best to look for that solution first. And common ailments are by definition the ones that will turn up the most.
Thanksgiving is next week and it's almost mandatory to overeat. I am not going to say anything negative about that because I think its OK. There is a part of many diets nowadays that recommends a cheat day. A cheat day is a day where you break your diet and eat the way you really want to eat, to enjoy it, to celebrate that you did so well sticking to your diet for six days in a row. To me this makes sense because eating is something that contributes a good amount to our happiness. If we are trying to lose weight then we have to make sacrifices, just like with any goal that doesn't come easy. But if you never get a break from that sacrifice then it will wear you down and you will most likely quit (unless you have amazing willpower). One thing about most Americans is that we want immediate or near immediate results from our actions. But diets take time. It takes time to change the composition of your body. It doesn't, cannot, happen overnight. It is best to learn to be patient with ourselves and the process and try not to get discouraged if we stray from the path. So eat as much as you want for Thanksgiving, because one day does not make or break a diet.
Acupuncture I feel is one of the best ways to treat TMJ. There are really not many effective ways to treat it with conventional western medicine. Because of this we get a good number of referrals from western docs for this common issue. Often there is neck tightness associated with TMJ, so that needs to be addressed as well. Acupuncture points in the area as well as some light cupping can be very effective is releasing the pain from the joint. Of course the root cause of this issues is most often the holding of stress in the neck and jaw, and usually involves grinding of the teeth while sleeping or even during the day often unconsciously. Because of this, we will often prescribe Chinese herbs to relax the jaw before bed (or even during the day). I like xiao yao san for doing this, or if sharp pains are involved tong qiao huo xue tong works well.
Many of our patients who come in for acute or chronic conditions end up staying. We hope that patients who come in for acute conditions will be impressed enough with us and our medicine to come back for other conditions that come up over the months and years. This seems to be the case much of the time. After 12 years in private practice a large percentage of our patients are return patients and referrals from them. Chronic conditions, such as back pain that has been around for 25 years or MS or rheumatoid arthritis, may be much better after a round of treatments. But some conditions will persist at a lower level, so often these patients will come in for maintenance treatments or tune ups. Some of these patients will come in as needed, if things flare up. Some will come in for instance once a month or even every 6 weeks to keep the symptoms at bay. Because we also work on your general health with each visit, patients often report that their overall health gets better.