Addiction

A study from the University of Oslo in Norway concluded that acupuncture treatments may help motivated smokers to reduce their smoking, or even quit smoking completely, with the effect lasting up 5 years.  Test subjects reported decreased cravings and a loss of taste for tobacco.*

The mechanism of addictions is primarily tied to two neurotransmitters:  dopamine and serotonin.  Dopamine is a chemical of craving.  The higher the levels of dopamine, the greater the craving, until we are barely able to resist it.  Once the craving is satisfied, serotonin is released.  Serotonin is the chemical of reward and pleasure.

Typically, this system is designed to help keep us and our species alive.  Dopamine drives us to eat and procreate.  Serotonin ensures that once we accomplish these tasks, we are rewarded with pleasure.

With people predisposed to addiction, this anticipation/reward cycle becomes tied to a substance that is unnecessary for survival – but which the brain believes is.  The brain releases high levels of serotonin in response to smoking, drinking, gambling, cocaine, etc., establishing a high reward mechanism.  Consequently, the body produces extremely high levels of dopamine to compel us to re-engage in the addiction.  If we resist, the withdrawal symptoms can be so powerful that we feel like we are dying – because, in fact, the brain is responding as if something vital for our survival is being withheld.  The brain is telling the body that this substance MUST be obtained, or we risk death.

In these terms, it is easy to see how painful and debilitating addictions can be.

Acupuncture has been clinically shown to regulate the release of dopamine and serotonin.  By inserting thin, sterile needles in to the ear, signals are sent directly into the brain, bypassing the spinal column.  CT scan imaging has shown acupuncture stimulation affecting the limbic system, the reticular formation, and the substantia nigra – brain structures typically targeted in pharmaceutical treatment of addiction.

Acupuncture, when used in conjunction with a comprehensive treatment plan, has been shown to help patients manage their cravings and withdrawal symptoms.  Please contact us to learn more about designing a customized treatment plan.


 * http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11676576

 

Allergies

Conventional medicine tends to rely on relieving the uncomfortable symptoms of allergy sufferers with the use of medications. While this approach may provide temporary relief, there are often unpleasant or even intolerable side effects. Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine believe that the best way to control allergies is to address their causes by treating the whole person and balancing the immune system.

 What are allergies?

In the spring, budding trees, flowers, weeds and grasses release pollen, which is spread through the air by wind. This natural occurrence can trigger an allergic reaction, known as hay fever (allergic rhinitis). Tree pollens are at their height in early spring, while grass and weed pollens arrive in late spring and summer. Aside from these seasonal offenders, other common allergens such as dust, dust mites, mold and animal dander trigger symptoms year-round. Exposure to the allergen results in symptoms such as itchy eyes and throat, sinus congestion and sneezing, asthma, and even diarrhea. What occurs physiologically is a massive release of IgE antibodies, which attach to white blood cells known as mast cells. These cells are mostly located in the lungs and upper respiratory tract, the lining of the stomach, and the skin. When these cells are stimulated, they release a number of chemicals, including histamine, which produce the allergic reactions. This is a misplaced immunity, and a learned response by the immune system.

Of course, not everyone has this reaction. Geographic location plays a role, as it dictates the type of foliage present. There can also be a family history that predisposes sensitivity to certain allergens. An estimated 22 million Americans suffer from allergies, and spend millions of dollars on medications and allergy shots.

Conventional Medical Treatment of Allergies

It is important to understand that symptoms are signs of a malfunctioning immune system. In the case of allergies, things that are normally harmless, such as pollen, present a threat. The allergens are not actually the problem. The problem is the person's reaction to the allergens. The histamine produced when attempting to fight off allergens is what causes the symptoms. Basic medical therapies, such as antihistamines, rely on inhibiting the allergic response. Other types of drugs used to treat allergic rhinitis or asthma include those that act on the nervous system (Albuterol, epinephrine), while cortico-steroids (prednisone) and decongestants focus on suppressing the symptoms of allergies.

Western medicine also emphasizes the importance of avoiding the allergen. The use of air filters to decrease exposure is encouraged. When avoidance or elimination is impossible or impractical, the next level of treatment may be desensitization, which involves injecting small amounts of the allergen in gradually increasing doses in order to neutralize the number of antibodies present over time. While pharmaceutical medicine is effective in treating the allergic response, side effects such as drowsiness, immune system suppression.

Allergies and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Eastern Medicine, including a combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbs, is a safe, natural and effective option for treating allergies. Treatment using TCM can dramatically lessen allergic reactions, or in some cases help the sufferer tolerate what caused the symptoms. It also enables most people to reduce or eliminate their dependence on allergy medication. We like to use a two-phased approach when treating seasonal allergies. First, during the pollen season, the focus will be to treat the acute symptoms.   Treatments can be given to alleviate nasal congestion, cough, and throat and eye irritation.

Second, after the pollen season, or when the symptoms have cleared, our focus is on treating the underlying problem by regulating the immune system.   It has been well demonstrated that everyday stress can adversely impact the immune system.  Acupuncture, perhaps via its ability to calm the sympathetic nervous system, has been shown to boost Killer T Cell counts and B-Lymphocyte counts, vital components of your immune system.  It is also believed that Acupuncture can help modulate an over-active immune system, which is the case with allergy sufferers.

 

Digestion

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Constipation, Diarrhea, Acid Reflux,
Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome

 IBS
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a functional bowel disorder, meaning that the small and large intestines do not function appropriately, although there is no structural damage. The condition is characterized by abdominal pain, gas, bloating, and changes in bowel habits.  IBS is fairly common, and makes up 20-50% of visits to gastroenterologists. Women are affected three times more than men, with the average age of onset being between 20 and 40.

IBS is typically categorized as diarrhea-predominant (IBS-D) or constipation-predominant (IBS-C). The primary symptom of IBS-D is diarrhea immediately after waking or immediately after eating, along with pain, bloating, urgency and urinary incontinence. Constipation-predominant (IBS-C), also known as "spastic colon" manifests with pain over at least one area of the colon and periodic constipation. This pain may be continuous or it may come in bouts, and is frequently relieved by moving the bowels. IBS with alternating stool pattern (IBS-A) is either constipation alternating with normal stools or constipation alternating with diarrhea. The stool often contains mucus. Associated symptoms include bloating, gas, nausea and dyspepsia. These symptoms are typically exacerbated by stress.

Western Medicine and IBS

The cause of IBS is not well understood in medical terms.  It is well understood, however, that the emotions can greatly impact the functioning of the digestive system.  Periods of anger, stress, and anxiety effectively shut down the digestive system, preparing the body instead for fight or flight.  Your body needs to spend time in a relaxed parasympathetic state (rest & digest) for the proper amount of stomach acid and digestive enzymes to be secreted, for smooth and rhythmic intestinal contractions, and for sufficient blood flow to assimilate nutrients.

Acupuncture and IBS

Acupuncture has been shown to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, and indeed several clinical studies have shown acupuncture to be effective for treating functional digestive disorders such as IBS, constipation, diarrhea, gas, and bloating.  Customized herbal formulas also incorporated into the treatment to augment the digestive system and regulate the gut.

The World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health have cited Acupuncture as a suitable treatment for: Abdominal pain, Muscle cramping, Constipation, Diarrhea as well as for these common triggers for IBS: Anxiety, Insomnia, Nervousness, Menstrual Cramps, and Premenstrual syndrome.

Other Treatment Options

Additionally, there are several lifestyle changes that have been shown to help IBS, including diet, exercise, stress relief, and dietary supplements.  We would be happy to assist you in implementing these changes in your life.

Links:

http://www.helpforibs.com/footer/acupunct.asp

http://www.irritable-bowel-syndrome.ws/acupuncture.htm

 

Acid Reflux

Acid reflux or GERD, gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a digestive disorder where the stomach juices and bile regurgitate back up into the esophagus. The physical cause for acid reflux is a relaxation of the sphincter muscle that separates the stomach from the esophagus. The most likely cause of this is an overly full stomach. However, acid reflux can be triggered by many things including alcoholic or carbonated beverages, eating too fast or too much, eating fatty or spicy foods, drinking too much caffeine, or eating too much high-fiber foods. Heartburn has also been shown to be worsened by anxiety and depression.

How Can Acupuncture Treat Acid Reflux?

In addition to treating anxiety and depression which may trigger acid reflux, Acupuncture has been shown to inhibit the relaxation of the gastro-esophageal sphincter, preventing acid from splashing into the esophagus.  An article published in the journal Autonomic Neuroscience by the University of Texas Gastroenterology Divison showed that Acupuncture, given in conjunction with a proton-pump inhibitor was more effective than doubling the dose of the PPI in reducing the symptoms of heartburn.

Dietary Therapy

Modifications in what you eat and how you eat can be very helpful.  Simple things like chewing well, taking more time to eat rather than rushing, eating smaller portions, eliminating acidic foods and alcohol temporarily, etc are often used to manage reflux. Your acupuncturist can also come up with some sample menu items or grocery lists if diet changes are needed. Healthy digestion also depends on overall good health habits such as moderate regular exercise and at least the minimum amount of sleep.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s
Crohn’s and UC are chronic gastric inflammatory diseases with unknown causes.  Symptoms can include pain, chronic diarrhea which contains pus and blood, bloating, and fatigue to mal-absorption of nutrients. Because there is no known cause for ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s, western medical treatment focuses on relief of symptoms.
Eastern Medical treatments for IBD focus on decreasing the inflammation.  Recent studies have shown that stimulation of the Vagus nerve, via its close relationship with the GI tract, can have a marked calming effect on the intestines.  Additionally, Vagus nerve stimulation has shown to have a strong inhibitory affect on the inflammatory process, which could help alleviate IBD symptoms and help speed healing. Herbal medicine is also used to treat intestinal inflammation and irritation, regulate intestinal spasms, and help relax the mind.

 

Gynecological

PMS, Dysmenorrhea (Painful Periods), PCOS

PMS

PMS is a disorder characterized by a set of hormonal changes that trigger disruptive symptoms in a significant number of women for up to two weeks prior to menstruation. Of the estimated 40 million suffers (between 50% and 70% of women, or more than 1 in 2), more than 5 million require medical treatment for mood and behavioral changes. Often symptoms tend to taper off with menstruation and women remain symptom-free until approximately two weeks prior to the next menstrual period. These regularly recurring symptoms from ovulation until menses typify PMS.

It is believed that there are about 150 physical and emotional symptoms that women may experience. However, the most commonly reported symptoms are:

Physical Symptoms of PMS:

  • Abdominal Cramps

  • Breast Tenderness

  • Generalized Aches and Pains

  • Joint Swelling

  • Weight Gain

  • Intense Food Cravings

  • Bloating

  • Headaches

  • Skin Problems

  • Fatigue

Emotional Symptoms of PMS:

  • Sadness, Tearfulness

  • Anxiety

  • Anger

  • Mood Swings

  • Irritability

  • Depression

  • Panic Attacks

  • Poor Concentration

 

The number, type and severity of symptoms experienced can vary from woman to woman, and from month to month. Symptoms increase about 7-10 days before the onset of the period, then immediately decline. Symptoms are not experienced throughout the menstrual cycle. If a woman reports experiencing symptoms throughout the menstrual cycle, it is not PMS.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) occurs in about 2-5% of all women. PMDD is when the symptoms are so severe that they interfere with normal daily activities.

Causes of PMS

There are various theories as to the cause of PMS. These include:

  • Hormones - PMS symptoms can be triggered by menstrual hormones such as estrogen and progesterone

  • Metabolism - Some PMS symptoms may be caused by the inability to properly metabolize fatty acids

  • Calcium - Some researchers believe the cause of PMS may be linked to a calcium deficiency

  • Environment - Factors such as the increased use of chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides may be linked to an increase in rates of PMS

  • Combination - PMS symptoms are possibly brought on by a combination of diet, stress, and mineral and vitamin deficiencies

 

Acupuncture and PMS

Acupuncture offers a natural approach to treating PMS and it is a low-cost option for a woman that produces virtually no side effects. A November 2002 study in the medical journal Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics showed that the success rate of acupuncture in treating PMS symptoms was 77.8% whereas it was 5.9% in the placebo control group. Studies show promising data that acupuncture affects the menstrual cycle by having a neuroendocrine affect on the body. This means that the different combinations of acupuncture points play a role in the release of hormones responsible for regulating the cycle. By establishing a regular cycle and balancing the many hormones involved, the PMS symptoms decline. The symptoms that are caused by high levels of estrogen in the luteal phase of the cycle will disappear as the progesterone and estrogen levels become more balanced and regular with each cycle.

Dysmennorhea

Dysmennorhea refers to pain that is typically felt at the start of the period. This is caused by the prostaglandins produced in the uterus. Prostaglandins cause muscle contraction, blood clotting, blood vessel constriction and pain. Many women notice that the pain is there for the first couple of hours or days of bleeding. Sometimes it is the day before, or an ache during the week before and sometimes it lasts several days into the bleeding and is more prominent when clots are passed. Women with higher levels of pain and clotting will tend to have higher levels of prostaglandins.  The amount of prostaglandins in the body is related to the thickness of your endometrial lining. The thicker the lining, the more prostaglandins you need to help make sure you cramp and clot sufficiently during the period and control the bleeding.

Aside from the pain that accompanies this condition, the long term effects of maintaining high estrogen levels can cause fibroids, endometriosis, cysts and even certain types of cancers. Thus, it is important to acknowledge that pain is our body’s signal that something is wrong, and that by balancing the body’s hormones levels, we can more likely avoid these potentially serious complications.

Western Treatment of Dysmennorhea

In addition to pain medications such as Aspirin and Ibuprofen, which block the production of prostaglandins, birth control pills are typically prescribed to keep the endometrial lining very thin.

Acupuncture and painful periods

As with treating other types of pain, Acupuncture helps alleviate menstrual pain by increasing endorphin levels (our body’s natural pain killer).  Acupuncture is also used for hormone balance. Its affect on the endocrine system works to regulate the hormones our body produces so that the amounts of estrogen and progesterone stay within normal and complimentary ranges.

A study of 649 women published in the February 2008 American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology showed that acupuncture was effective in treating menstrual pain when compared with usual medical care alone.

How many treatments will I need?

Improvement of symptoms is usually seen within the very first month of treatment and improvement continues and is maintained over successive menstrual cycles. It is usually recommended to come once a week for the first menstrual cycle and then a patient can come less frequently based on their response.

PCOS

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, PCOS is also known as Stein-Leventhal Syndrome. This syndrome is becoming increasingly common among women of reproductive age. The first sign many women will notice before a diagnosis is made is a longer than normal menstrual cycle that may or may not include ovulation. This happens because instead of normal follicular development in which an egg is released, cysts develop because the egg growth is stunted. When evaluated by ultrasound, ovaries in women with PCOS appear to have a thick, waxy coating and many rows of cysts. These cysts secrete androgens which are male hormones such as testosterone. The increased levels of androgens prevent ovulation and are responsible for the side effects that some, but not all, women experience such as an increase in facial hair, weight gain, acne and an increase in body hair.

Another endocrine imbalance also exists for many women with PCOS and that is impaired glucose tolerance and insulin abnormalities which lead to increased weight gain and sometimes obesity. The higher levels of insulin circulating in the body also contribute to androgen production within the ovary.

Today doctors do not know what causes PCOS and thus treatment strategies have not been as effective as women struggling with the syndrome would like. Currently western treatment focuses on stimulating ovulation and normalizing insulin levels with drugs such as glucophage. Stimulating ovulation alone does not address the poor health state of the eggs which have been maturing in the androgen-rich environment.

Acupuncture and PCOS

Acupuncture seeks to address the hormonal imbalance at its root. A study in the medical journal, Biology of Reproduction, illustrated acupuncture’s effects. The scientists were able to induce PCOS in rats by increasing stress on the ovaries. More specifically, they increased the activity of the sympathetic nervous system and concentrations of nerve growth factor in the ovaries and the adrenal glands. The group treated with electro-acupuncture restored ovulation by reducing this stress on the ovary. The study also showed that acupuncture influenced neuroendocrine and endocrine parameters found in PCOS such as LH/FSH ratios and testosterone concentration. The bottom line is that because of the effect acupuncture has at relaxing the sympathetic nervous system (the part of our nervous system that reacts to stress), normality could be restored to ovaries.

Herbal medicine can also be a helpful adjunctive treatment in treating PCOS. There are different herbs which can help to dissolve the waxy coating found on the ovaries and also to encourage normal ovulation. Each individual woman is evaluated and then treated according to her particular pattern and unique features and symptoms of PCOS. You should always check that your practitioner has had full training in the use of herbal medicine and experience working with your disorder before taking herbs.

 

Lyme Disease

The successful treatment of Lyme Disease via antibiotics relies on early diagnosis and treatment.  Unfortunately, the standard tests to diagnose Lyme disease (western blot test) usually are negative even when infected until about week 3, because it takes that long for the body to make antibodies for the bacteria. By then the spirochetes have burrowed into the system and joints and treatment is no longer an easy one. Many patients infected with Lyme are reassured by their doctors that they are negative for Lyme disease and that they have nothing to worry about. This can be problematic because if left untreated can be become resistant to antibiotics and become a debilitating and even fatal disease. 


Chronic Lyme disease is much more complicated to treat and can hope for complete resolution well beyond the period of antibiotic treatment which may last anywhere from 21-30 days. The options at this point are aspirin and other NSAID’s for symptomatic relief, harsh pharmaceuticals like Neurontin which have severe side effects and/or long term antibiotic treatment both in oral or IV forms.

 

Modern Chinese Medicine, which blends traditional herbal formulae with modern research is an effective option for treating this very difficult infection. In particular Chinese herbal medicine can be very effective at leaching out all the spirochetes bacteria that borrow inside the body, and which are a challenge to eradicate by antibiotics alone.  Additionally, herbal medicine is milder allowing for long term treatment (typical treatment length can range from 6 months to 3-5 years).  Acupuncture is also typically employed to manage the often debilitating side effects of the disease, such as body pain, digestive disorders, and emotional stress.

Mood/Sleep Disorders

Depression, Stress, Anxiety, Insomnia

In Eastern Medicine there is no separation between body, mind, and spirit.  Imbalance in the body can cause mental and emotional disturbances and vice versa.  Acupuncture recognizes a wide variety of circumstances that can influence the symptoms of emotional disorders.  Lifestyle choices such as diet, exercise, work habits, sleep habits, sex life all have an effect on cognitive function and emotional well being.

Typically, in western science terms, emotional health depends on the proper operation of the neurotransmitter system.   These chemicals influence feelings of anger, sadness, anxiety, desire, joy, satiety, etc.  Changes in the creation or elimination of neurotransmitters such as Dopamine, Norepinepherine, Serotonin, GABA, and Melatonin can affect our sense of emotional wellbeing in profound ways.

Acupuncture has been clinically shown to influence the metabolism of these chemicals.  In keeping with its traditional function of relaxing the body and restoring balance, acupuncture is believed to calm the nervous system and facilitate a rebalancing of the emotional centers of the brain.

Depression

An estimated 19 million Americans suffer from major depression.  It is a legitimate medical condition marked observable changes in brain function that cause very real symptoms.    In addition to psycho-therapy, standard pharmaceutical treatments commonly focus on regulating serotonin and norepinephrine.  In people who feel happy, energetic, and fulfilled, these chemicals are abundant and there are sufficient receptors for them to bind to.  In depressed individuals, this is not the case, and medications are designed to increase the amount of these chemicals in the brain. 

It is believed that acupuncture can not only positively affect the levels of these chemicals in the brain, but also your brains sensitivity to them.  Acupuncture, however, is virtually free of side effects.  In fact, the Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics found that using acupuncture to treat depression in pregnant women was just as effective as anti-depressant medication, but without the risks to the fetus.

Stress

The human body has a built-in mechanism to handle stress, designed to keep us alive in dangerous situations.  When we feel threatened, our blood pressure elevates, sugar is dumped into our blood stream, heart rate increases, our pain response decreases, and we become hyper-vigilant.  This “fight or flight mechanism” is intended as a short term boost to help us to run from a hungry tiger.  In our modern world, however, our stresses are not short term.  Consequently, many people suffer from the affects that long term stress puts on our system:  hypertension, diabetes, poor memory & concentration, frequent illnesses, irritability, insomnia, acid reflux, constipation & diarrhea; and quite commonly:  anxiety and insomnia.

Anxiety

Many of the psychological symptoms of anxiety and insomnia are treated pharmacologically with barbiturates and benzodiazepines.  These drugs are used to sedate the central nervous system and reduce the excitability of the neurons in the brain.   Alcohol exerts a similar affect, which explains why it is frequently used for self-medication.

Again, similar to this function, but without the side effects, acupuncture has been shown to produce a sedative effect on the central nervous system.  Acupuncture has been shown to increase the actions of GABA, an neurotransmitter that calms brain activity.

Insomnia

In the treatment of insomnia, acupuncture has also been shown to increase the secretion of melatonin, a chemical which helps to govern our sleep-wake cycle.   There are also several herbal compounds that have been used for centuries to encourage a restful sleep: all without side effects or the risk of dependency.

 

Chronic/Acute Pain Conditions

About Pain

There are two primary types of pain. Acute pain is caused by repetitive stress or injury and is marked by tissue damage, inflammation, redness, warmth, and swelling. Acute pain usually ends after the underlying cause is treated or has been resolved.

Chronic pain may persist for weeks, months or years. It disrupts systems throughout the body and may become a self-aggravating and self-perpetuating condition.  Many people suffer from chronic pain in the absence of any past injury or evidence of illness. The most common type of chronic pain is from an abnormal function in the nervous system, described as "neuropathic pain."

Chronic pain often causes depression and irritability, which can affect appetite and sleep cycles, in turn exacerbating emotional distress and pain. This vicious cycle is called the "terrible triad" of suffering, sleeplessness and sadness.

 Western Medical Treatment Options

  • Heat and Cold Packs. Cold packs are effective in constricting local blood circulation, and are typically used for acute swelling due to injury or trauma. Heat is the opposite of cold; it relaxes muscles and improves blood flow to the area, speeding tissue repair and aiding in the removal of metabolic waste.

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) medications.  Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen chemically disrupt the inflammatory process by blocking the production of chemicals called prostaglandins. Used long term, these drugs have been shown to cause gastric irritation and liver damage.  Additionally, by blocking prostaglandins, NSAIDs also constrict blood circulation, which effectively delays the repair of damaged tissue. 

  • Prescription Pain Medications. Stronger the OTC anti-inflammatory drugs, prescription drugs are typically opiate derivatives similar to morphine.  Used long term, many patients will develop a tolerance to these drugs, risking dependence and addiction.

  • Cortisone Injections. A targeted injection of cortisone (a powerful anti-inflammatory medication) can often effectively treat localized pain.  The duration of relief is variable and repeated cortisone injections have been linked with a weakening of tendons and cartilage.

  • Prescription antidepressants.  Antidepressants, such as SSRI class of drugs, affect the metabolism of serotonin and have been shown to affect mood and lessen the perception of pain.  Side effects of antidepressants range from constipation to decreased libido and weight gain.

  • Mind/Body treatment.  Psychotherapy, meditation, hypnosis, biofeedback and behavior modification teach the patients techniques to alter brain chemistry and modulate the body’s response to chronic pain and its associated conditions. 

  • Surgery. Surgical interventions are generally a treatment of last resort for chronic pain conditions.  Depending on the procedure, lasting relief is often not achieved, and as with any surgery, there is the potential for complications.

 

Eastern Medical Treatment Options

Acupuncture offers an effective multi-layered approach to treating chronic pain that is virtually free of side effects.  In contrast to Western Medicine, Eastern Medicine embraces the integration of body, mind, and spirit.  This is Acupuncture’s main advantage in treating a condition like chronic pain, which has such a powerful and inseparable emotional component.

 

Treating the Body

Our first objective is to stop the pain.  Acupuncture stimulation has been shown to disrupt signals from nerves carrying pain signals to the brain.  Acupuncture can also stimulate the release cortisol, your body’s natural anti-inflammatory chemical, directly into the affected area.  In this way, Acupuncture helps to stop the pain so healing can begin.

Our second objective is to facilitate repair of any damaged tissue.  Acupuncture, Massage, and Herbal Medicine can help increase blood flow to the area, bringing nutrients and eliminating waste.

Treating the Mind

Pain can be a helpful condition; it alerts us that something is wrong and we need to stop what we’re doing before we make it worse.  A sprained knee, for example, will practically yell at you to stop skiing.  Chronic pain, however, creates a cycle in the body in which your brain inappropriately perceives pain and in doing so can actually create more damage by habitually tightening muscles to “guard” tissue that your mind believes is damaged.  This mechanism is self defeating, since tight muscles impede blood flow.

By influencing neural pathways, it is believed that Acupuncture can help reset your brain’s pain relay station, the hypothalamus.  By blocking long-standing pain signals, Acupuncture allows your brain is able to re-assess the situation, to relax guarded muscles, and allow for blood to flow.

Treating the Spirit

Acupuncture stimulates nerves that travel directly into the limbic system of the brain, affecting the release of Serotonin, Dopamine, and Endorphines (your body’s version of morphine).  These chemicals influence feelings of satisfaction and well-being.  Chronic pain is known to inhibit the release of Serotonin, leading to feelings of depression and anxiety. By affecting the metabolism of Serotonin, Acupuncture can alleviate the severity of these symptoms. 

National Recognition

In 1997, the National Institutes of Health (U.S.) officially recognized acupuncture as an effective treatment for pain. According to the 1997 NIH panel, clinical studies showed that acupuncture therapy is helpful in treating many types of chronic pain, including headaches, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, neck pain, low back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. Recent studies also suggest that topical herbal compounds like those used in Traditional Chinese Medicine are very effective for reducing chronic pain.

 

Weight-loss

Acupuncture has become increasingly popular treatment option for those trying to lose weight.  In a study from the University of Adelaide in Australia, 95% of participants receiving acupuncture for weight-loss experienced decreases in appetite and increased weight-loss after 4 weeks.*

Acupuncture has been shown to decrease the activity of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite -- as well as increasing leptin, a hormone that inhibits appetite.  Acupuncture also has been show to effect levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that encourages fat storage.

Acupuncture treatments for weight-loss focus on boosting metabolism, improving digestion, and appetite suppression.  When used in conjunction with a nutrition and exercise program, acupuncture is clinically proven to help you shed pounds.  Learn more about our approach to health and fitness...

Here's more information than you ever wanted to know about acupuncture and weight-loss:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4877795/


https://www.acufinder.com/Acupuncture+Information/Detail/Acupuncture+for+Weight+Loss

* http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9679359

Testimonials

 

Mark's goal is not only to heal but to educate his patient's on how to avoid future injury.  Listening and questioning are two of his greatest skills.  He genuinely cares about each person and wants to find the root of any ailment in order to administer the right treatment.  An incredible acupuncturist as well as a massage therapist, I am grateful he is in the area!

Mavis, Brownsville VT

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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