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Lexington, KY 40509

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Balance Method Acupuncture

Many new patients are visibly surprised when I tell them which points I will be using to treat their condition.  More than one person has asked, “why are you putting needles in my ankle if it’s my shoulder that hurts?”  Honestly, I can’t say that I blame them for their confusion.  In America, we are used to symptomatic-based treatment- if your low back hurts, therapy is applied directly over the low back.  Whether it’s massage, ice/heat, physical therapy, cortisone injections, or surgery, you’d be hard pressed to find a practitioner who doesn’t go anywhere near the problem area itself.  That is, until you visit an acupuncturist using the Balance Method.  So, what is this newfangled idea, and how does it work?

 

The Balance Method is actually not “new” at all.  In fact, it is based on a very classical form of acupuncture.  Many of you have by now read or heard of the meridian system acupuncturists use.  For those who haven’t, the meridians can be thought of as highways that connect every part of our body, much like the interstate system does in the US.  It is through these highways that our body’s energy flows.  Because every part of the body is connected, there are multiple ways to treat any given body region (just like you can take multiple routes to get to the same place).  The Balance Method, based on the works of Dr. Chan and Master Tung but popularized but Dr. Richard Tan, capitalizes on these connections.

 

Returning to our highway example, if there is a wreck on a road, traffic will often be detoured onto other routes until the wreck is cleared.  With Balance Method acupuncture, pain is like a “wreck-” there is a “blocked” region of the body that healthy blood flow and energy cannot reach.  Instead of allowing blood, inflammation and energy to create a “traffic backup” in the area, alternate routes are opened.  The chosen routes are based on a mirrored view of the body.  We already know that our bodies have matching right and left halves.  However, the Balance Method also views the body as having a mirrored top and bottom.  This makes sense when you consider that not only do we have two limbs on top and two on the bottom, as well as two hands and two feet with ten digits each, but also that our body’s main openings occur in only two places- our heads (top) and our genitals (bottom).  Keeping this in mind, to open an “alternate route,” we need simply look to the opposite region of the body.  So, to treat the Right Ankle, we would treat/”open” a meridian/”highway” on the Left Wrist.  For another example, to treat Erectile Dysfunction, we would use points on the head.

 

The beauty of Balance Method is that results are immediate.  Classic Chinese texts state that “when you stand a pole under the sun, you immediately see its shadow.”  In other words, as soon as an acupuncture needle is inserted, changes should be felt.  Often times pain is decreased by 50% or more with the insertion of only 1-3 needles.  This also makes it an excellent choice for people sensitive to needles, or for whom access to the painful part of the body is difficult.  Multiple treatments are necessary for sustained pain relief, with acute cases of pain often resolving in as few as 1-4 treatments.  Jacqui has undergone many hours of training on the Balance Method, and it is often her first choice for treating joint pain, back pain, neck pain, menstrual cramps, and headache.

 

Wondering if Balance Method can help you or someone you know?  Feel free to contact us or set up a free consultation today!

Using Acupuncture on Zoo Animals

As many of my patients know, I was originally introduced to acupuncture by seeing how it worked on animals.  I’m a natural born skeptic, so I’ve always considered myself lucky to have witnessed its effects this way.  While the existence of a placebo effect in animals is debated, it’s unlikely that animals believe being stuck with needles will help their infection heal faster or lessen their arthritic pain.  Therefore, at least to me, successful veterinary acupuncture helps prove that it is a viable form of medicine.  It is so effective, in fact, that various zoos all over the world have begun incorporating acupuncture into their regular care routines.  Here are some recent examples:

 

Philadelphia Zoo Experimenting with Acupuncture

Donna Ialeggio, a staff veterinarian at the Philadelphia Zoo, has been trying to cure a black-necked swan’s bumblefoot for 31/2 years.

She’s finally found something that seems to be working: acupuncture.

“The speed with which this is healing is just phenomenal,” she said Wednesday as she watched Christina Fuoco, a vet in private practice with training in acupuncture and canine rehabilitation, prepare to treat Jackson, a nine-year-old swan.

The back of his pale pink foot – what would be a heel in humans – had a hard, swollen lump that was once badly infected and three or four times larger. He’s had surgery three times and is on anti-inflammatory medicine, but he’s made his best progress since January, when Fuoco started doing weekly acupuncture and laser treatments.

“This is the first time we have been able to watch healing happen week by week,” Ialeggio said.

Full article here

 

Camel Pins Down Pain Relief

(Chicago Brookfield Zoo)

Jewel has been having trouble with her arthritis for some time. It limits the mobility of her front legs and seems to cause a lot of pain in her joints. Her doctor has tried a variety of drugs and therapies with varying success. But the pain she was enduring pushed Jewel’s doctor to try something a bit unconventional—acupuncture. 

Now, every two or three weeks, a trained acupuncturist makes a house call to painlessly insert needles into specific parts of Jewel’s body. And it seems to be working! She seems to be more active, and she is moving better after her treatments. This would not be particularly unusual, except that Jewel is a Bactrian camel and her doctor is zoo veterinarian Dr. Tom Meehan.

 

Singapore Zoo Heals Animals with Herbs, Acupuncture
Acupuncture for a limping elephant? Herbal tea for a constipated orangutan? The Singapore Zoo has tried it all, and it works.

 Around 200 animals, including giraffes, elephants, horses, pythons and sea lions, have successfully been treated with acupuncture and traditional herb-based Chinese medicine in the past decade, although Western medicine remains the first line of treatment in the zoo.

 “The Western medicine did not always work, so we had to find other solutions,” Oh Soon Hock, a senior veterinarian at the zoo told Reuters on Friday.

 Earlier this week the zoo received a S$30,000 ($19,700) grant for further research into traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for animals from a Singapore-based firm that produces TCM.



Clearly, animal acupuncture is growing in popularity right along with acupuncture for humans. It is so exciting to see this therapy work for all sorts of species! Hopefully the positive effects of acupuncture on animals will help pave the way for more scientific understanding of its vast healing potential.

Acupuncture Relieves Pain from Fertility Treatments

New research finds acupuncture effective for relieving pain associated with transvaginal oocyte retrieval (TVOR), an egg collection procedure used in fertility treatments.  TVOR enables fertilization outside of the human body. In this study, application of acupuncture point LI4 (Hegu) was compared with a control group and a placebo group to determine the efficacy of using acupuncture as an anesthetic. The control group and the placebo group showed no significant post-operative benefits, however, the acupuncture group showed a significant reduction of post-operative pain.

A sample size of 90 participants were randomized into three groups. Group A received acupuncture at LI4 bilaterally, group B received placebo needles and group C received only routine oocyte retrieval. Pain intensity levels immediately after the operation and one hour later were significantly lower in the acupuncture group.

Objective testing revealed that acupuncture promoted significantly higher levels of NPY (neuropeptide Y) in the follicular fluid whereas the control and placebo groups did not. NPY is involved in reducing anxiety, stress and pain levels. Increase NPY levels can lower blood pressure, control epileptic seizures and affect circadian rhythms. The researchers concluded, “The analgesic effect of acupuncture at Hegu in transvaginal oocyte retrieval using ultrasonography may be related to the increase in the NPY level of the follicular fluid.”

This type of research is not isolated. In a randomized, controlled study of 150 women, researchers at Goteborg University studied the effects of needling Hegu (LI4) and concluded that electroacupuncture “may be a good alternative to conventional anesthesia during oocyte aspiration.” Another randomized, controlled acupuncture study concurred with the most recent research and measured increased NPY concentrations in follicular fluid in women undergoing oocyte aspiration. The researchers noted that the pain relieving effect of acupuncture, in this case electroacupuncture, were “as good as those produced by conventional analgesics.” The researchers also noted that increased NPY levels promoted by electroacupuncture “may be important for human ovarian steroidogenesis.”
References:
Zhang, Jianwei, Xiaohua Wang, and R. Lü. “Analgesic effect of acupuncture at hegu (LI 4) on transvaginal oocyte retrieval with ultrasonography.” Journal of traditional Chinese medicine= Chung i tsa chih ying wen pan/sponsored by All-China Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine 33, no. 3 (2013): 294-297.

Stener-Victorin, Elisabet, Urban Waldenström, Lars Nilsson, Matts Wikland, and Per Olof Janson. “A prospective randomized study of electro-acupuncture versus alfentanil as anaesthesia during oocyte aspiration in in-vitro fertilization.” Human reproduction 14, no. 10 (1999): 2480-2484.

Stener‐Victorin, Elisabet, Urban Waldenström, Matts Wikland, Lars Nilsson, Leif Hägglund, and Thomas Lundeberg. “Electro‐acupuncture as a peroperative analgesic method and its effects on implantation rate and neuropeptide Y concentrations in follicular fluid.” Human Reproduction 18, no. 7 (2003): 1454-1460.

-Original article at HealthCMI.com

Acupuncture- Why You Need a Professional

Today I came across an especially disturbing article about a woman who suffered a pneumothorax, or punctured lung, after receiving acupuncture performed by her massage therapist.  Unfortunately, this is not the first case of damage caused by a non-acupuncturist, nor will it be the last.  Stories such as these highlight the dangers of allowing lesser trained professionals to perform what is, essentially, a highly specialized form of medicine.

 

So, why am I linking to an article that discusses a possible danger of acupuncture?  As horrible as Kim’s story is, it illustrates why it is so important to visit a Certified Acupuncturist.  In the last two years alone, I have seen physical therapists and massage therapists be granted the ability to use acupuncture after only minimal training.  While I feel that allowing other practitioners to use acupuncture can only be beneficial in the long run (more practitioners= more people helped!), it is imperative that anyone using acupuncture undergo full training on the subject.  Let’s compare the differences in education:

 

In the article above, Kim’s massage therapist “did the acupuncture program at McMaster University, provided over five three-day weekends, plus 174 hours of ‘self-directed home study.‘”  The entry-level of education for a certified acupuncturist is a 3-4 year Master’s degree consisting of over 2000 hours, including 600 hours of clinical practice.  Acupuncturists must also pass 3-4 National Board Examinations before becoming licensed in the state of Kentucky.  Finally, 60 hours of continuing education are required every 4 years in order to maintain Board certification.

 

The difference here is obvious.  Acupuncturists do not advocate against others using acupuncture because we are being selfish, but because of the dangers involved in letting an unskilled practitioner insert needles into patients’ bodies.  We undergo countless hours of training in both western and eastern medicine in order to prevent situations exactly like what Kim experienced.  A 2001 study found “no serious adverse events were reported after 34,407 acupuncture treatments” by professional acupuncturists.  If you or a loved one are considering undergoing acupuncture, please take the time to find a licensed practitioner who has obtained at least a Master’s degree in acupuncture.  It’s simply not worth putting your health at risk.

 

For a list of Board-certified acupuncturists in your area, visit http://www.nccaom.org/find-a-nccaom-certified-practitioner.

Acupuncture for PCOS

From HealthCMI.com:

New research demonstrates that acupuncture reduces both depression and anxiety in women with PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome. The researchers hailed from State University of New York, University of Gothenburg and the Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine. The findings show that acupuncture helps with the emotional component of PCOS. Overall, the researchers note that acupuncture improved the health related quality of life for the patients. Scores for social functioning, energy and vitality, and general health improved for the patients receiving acupuncture. In addition, the control group did not show any improvements in anxiety and depression, however, the acupuncture group showed significant improvements.

Acupuncture was applied 2 times per week for 2 weeks followed by 1 time per week for 6 weeks and another session of 1 acupuncture treatment every other weeks for 8 weeks. The total was 14 acupuncture treatments over a period of 16 weeks. Acupuncture points were selected on the abdomen, lower leg, hand and arm, bilaterally. Manual stimulation and electro-acupuncture were applied to the needles. All patients received the same acupuncture point prescriptions for their treatments.

In a related study, acupuncture successfully induced ovulation in women with PCOS. Acupuncture successfully normalized sex steroid and hormone levels while simultaneously increasing ovulation frequency. In yet another study, electro-acupuncture and manual acupuncture were shown to “improve menstrual frequency and decrease circulating androgens in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).” Moreover, the electro-acupuncture group demonstrated effects in the central brain opioid receptors indicating that electroacupuncture may be “mediated by central opioid receptors….” The manual acupuncture group showed changes in brain steroid receptors indicating that acupuncture “may involve regulation of steroid hormone/peptide receptors.”

 

Study Backs Acupuncture For Reducing Dental Anxiety

Especially poignant seeing as our space is directly below a dentist’s office!

“A study has supported the use of acupuncture for treating dental anxiety.

Research carried out by teams in Sweden, Denmark and the UK, claims that acupuncture is an effective treatment for dental anxiety, a problem that affects a high proportion of dental patients.

The study involved a group of 20 people, including four men and 16 women in their 40’s. All the participants suffered from dental anxiety and had been looking for ways of dealing with it for between 2 and 30 years. The participants were questioned about their anxiety levels through a questionnaire, which was carried out prior to and after acupuncture treatment. Dentists treated the patients with a 5 minute acupuncture session, which involved using two acupuncture points on the top of the head.

Anxiety levels were measured before and after acupuncture treatment and levels fell from 26.5 to 11.5 after treatment; the reduction in anxiety enabled all patients to undergo the treatment they needed. This was a huge improvement from before the study when only six patients were able to have dental treatment.

The researchers have called for further studies in this area to provide more evidence to support the efficacy of acupuncture treatment for dental anxiety; the results of this study were very positive, but it was only a small study and further research is required.

Research suggests that around 1 in 20 people suffer from severe dental anxiety, which often prevents them from having routine dental treatment. Acupuncture could be a safe, simple and inexpensive means of treating dental anxiety, which would enable people to have regular dental treatment and cut their dental bills significantly in the long-term.”

Cosmetic Dentistry Guide UK

Bitter Foods Help Asthma

Yet another western medical confirmation of Traditional Chinese Medicine’s long-standing principles. New research from the University of Massachusetts Medical School shows “bitter tasting compounds, such as bitter melon… may help in the treatment of asthma.”  Click here to read the full research article.

In TCM, all foods and herbs are divided into five main flavors: salty, sweet, bitter, pungent and sour. Each flavor has certain effects on different organs. Bitter foods, such as papaya, quinoa, romaine and asparagus, have long been prescribed by acupuncturists to strengthen the lung-kidney system in cases of asthmatic breathing. They are especially useful for purging phlegm-heat and draining dampness, as well as moving the energy of the body downward- all important effects in resolving asthma!

I love when modern medicine and ancient practices support one another, don’t you?

Acupuncture for Infertility- Better than Clomid?

New research shows regular acupuncture may be more effective than Clomid for some types of infertility!  Read the article here.

Call Sustaining Health Acupuncture in Lexington, KY today to discuss how we can help you  increase your chances of getting pregnant!

Acupuncture for Acute Pain

As spring sets in with all its sunshine and glory, many of you will probably find yourselves outside more frequently.  Whether it’s riding bikes, hiking, or watching the horse races in Lexington, warm weather beckons us from the homes we’ve been cooped up in all winter.  Unfortunately, more activity can sometimes mean more opportunities to hurt yourself, especially if you overdo it.

Say you are playing basketball and drive hard to the basket, twisting your pivot ankle.  Or imagine you’re playing golf for the first time this season, and when you wake up in the morning you can’t move your shoulder.  Maybe your child hurts their neck at soccer practice and can’t look to either side.  In all of these cases, most people’s first reaction is to treat the pain with some combination of ice, pain medication, and/or a trip to the doctor.  While a home treatment of Ibuprofen and ice can sometimes clear up the issue quickly, many times further intervention is required.  In our culture, this often means a prescription for pain medication or muscle relaxers.

Pain meds and muscle relaxants do have their place in healthcare.  However, these drugs only cover up the discomfort of an acute injury instead of actually promoting healing.  They also come with a large number of side effects, some of which include: blurred vision, fatigue, nausea, diarrhea or constipation, dry mouth, sweating and itching.  Sounds fun, huh?  Fortunately, there is a natural solution to acute pain that has virtually no side effects and works in a matter of seconds (yes, seconds!).

Multiple studies have shown that acupuncture is effective for various types of acute pain, including: acute dental pain, frozen shoulder, acute low back pain, whiplash, etc.  One of the reasons acupuncture is so effective is that it can do what typical pain medications can not: increase blood flow to the affected area.  Add to that acupuncture’s ability to calm muscle spasms, decrease pain signals from the nervous system, and cause relaxation of the body and you have a perfect recipe for pain relief.  It works very quickly, too.  Typically needles are not used in the area of acute pain, but rather in places like the ear, hands and feet.  A well-trained acupuncturist can increase range of motion and decrease pain by at least 50% with the insertion of only 1-4 needles.

Next time you or a loved one suffers from a bout of acute pain, give us a call at 859-475-6841.  We’d love to help get you out of pain faster than you ever thought possible!

Research Shows Acupuncture Treats Fibromyalgia!

New research confirms what myself and many of my patients already knew… acupuncture is a successful treatment for fibromyalgia!

From healthcmi.com:

New research concludes that acupuncture reduces pain sensitivity for patients suffering from fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). The study also showed that patients receiving acupuncture had significant reductions in anxiety and depression. Further, the overall quality of life score improved for FMS patients receiving acupuncture therapy.

The treatment method was the application of five acupuncture points at a rate of once per week. The points were located in areas of discomfort near the occipital bone, rhomboid and trapezius muscles and in the region of the upper chest and lateral epicondyle. The results were published in the Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies.

Fibromyalgia is a pain syndrome affecting the soft tissues and often involves sleep disturbances, tenderness at specific points, muscle pain, fatigue and depression. A literal translation of the term is pain of the muscles and fibrous tissues. Fibromyalgia is distinguished from most other forms of pain because it is non-nociceptive. Nociceptive pain involves inflammation and is triggered by pain receptors in the skin, muscles, joints and other tissues. FMS and other non-nociceptive types of pain conditions do not inherently involve inflammation and is a result of a disruption in central processing. Examples of non-nociceptive pain include irritable bowel syndrome, migraine headaches and FMS. It is estimated that FMS affects up to approximately 4% of the US population. In Chinese Medicine, FMS is due to Liver Qi stagnation, Bi syndrome, dampness with Wei Qi  obstruction, Qi deficiency and Yin deficiency. Acupuncture and herbal medicine are commonly used to treat FMS. Biomedical treatments for FMS include anti-depressants, serotonin reuptake inhibitors, sleep drugs, pain medications and nutritional supplements.

More Research
Another recent study published in Clinical Rheumatology concludes that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome. The researchers concluded that acupuncture demonstrates definitive “beneficial effects” in the treatment of fibromyalgia. Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore also conclude that acupuncture is significantly effective in the treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome in their new research. Other research performed at the prestigious Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester concluded that acupuncture is effective in treating fibromyalgia and showed specific efficaciousness in its ability to reduce pain, fatigue and anxiety.

Contact us today to discuss how we can help you experience more pain-free days!