Traditional Chinese Medicine

Research Update – Acupuncture for Pain Management

Multiple studies have shown acupuncture can be very effective at managing pain. But a study performed by Albrecht et al, is probably one of the most frequently referenced studies. The researchers studied the effects of acupuncture on 424 patients who suffered with chronic shoulder pain. The analysis of the results showed acupuncture as an effective treatment, the participants reported decreased pain and increased range of motion and that it was even superior to the results achieved using conservative orthopedic treatments. This, as well as many other studies, show hope for the future of acupuncture becoming mainstream medicine in the battle against pain.

THE PAIN METRIC


Pain. Who hasn’t dealt with it? It is so common in the United States that it affects more people than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined. Pain is the most common reason people go to see their doctor and also why we are currently experiencing an unprecedented opioid epidemic. Chronic pain is the most common cause of long-term disability according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Approximately one in every four Americans have suffered from pain that exceeds 24 hours. The type of pain and location of the pain will determine how it is treated when you go to see your doctor. And typically, the doctor will prescribe over-the-counter or prescription pain medications and they may also order more tests to determine if there is something more serious going on.

ACUPUNCTURE AND PAIN

This is where acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can work in conjunction with your primary care physician. Multiple studies have shown acupuncture can be quite effective at treating pain, both acute and chronic. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration is now urging doctors to obtain information about alternative treatment methods like acupuncture and chiropractic care. This came about in response to the opioid crisis occurring in the U.S. and killing thousands of people, including the rich and famous.

Since acupuncture has no real adverse side effects when performed by a qualified and professionally licensed practitioner, pain relief can begin the very first time a patient is treated.

Acupuncture treatments are very customizable because as a medicine, it’s not a “one size fits all” type of solution. This means that as the pain shifts and changes, the patient will receive customized treatments that not only address the pain and inflammation, but also work on resolving the root of the problem. Most patients who are dealing with pain also have added stress, insomnia and depression or anxiety. Acupuncture is great at treating all of these conditions. So the patient gets more than just pain relief.

THE EFFECTIVENESS OF ACUPUNCTURE

The stimulation of acupuncture points triggers the brain to release endorphins, which are painkilling chemicals that saturate the brain and decrease pain signals, both short-term and long-term. Acupuncture is so effective at treating and relieving pain it is now showing up in hospitals and emergency rooms. In fact, Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota is now successfully using acupuncture in its emergency room to treat conditions ranging from car accident injuries to kidney stones. Their initial results show that pain scores are just as low with acupuncture as they are with those given analgesic painkillers.

With these kinds of recommendations, it is hard to believe only about 10 percent of Americans have ever tried acupuncture. But that statistic is slowly changing as more and more people are seeking natural and alternative methods of dealing with pain and disease. If you suffer from pain of any kind and you are located in Duluth Minnesota, give us a call at (218) 724-3400 so we can give you the relief you’ve been seeking.

SOURCE: Science Direct Article

Research Update: Acupuncture and TCM for Motivation

A study published by the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine looked at the holistic effects of acupuncture treatments. The study looked at how acupuncture treatments were conducted and evaluated. One of the areas this study looked at is how acupuncture influences the function of the brain. By using functional MRI imaging, the researchers were able to see certain areas of the brain were stimulated during the acupuncture treatments. The study confirmed acupuncture on specific points can activate motivation centers in the brain, thus leading to increased physical motivation in the participants.

Everybody experiences times where they have no motivation. Lack of motivation can be caused by many things: weather, depression, nutritional deficiencies, rejection, and even not exercising.

Lacking motivation can be detrimental to your health. Even though everybody knows they should be exercising and eating right and getting proper sleep, many of us choose not to. This becomes a bad habit that can actually develop into depression, fatigue, insomnia, and even nutritional deficiencies that can cause even worse physical problems. We tell ourselves we don’t have time or we have no motivation or willpower. These are just stories we tell ourselves. EVERYBODY has time to care for themselves. It’s just a choice we have to make.

Acupuncture can help put the “pep” back in your step when it comes to motivation. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), lack of motivation is considered some sort of blockage along the energetic pathways that run throughout the body. Over time, this lack of motivation frequently develops into depression. When the body is depressed, nothing seems possible. But the fact of the matter is that there are underlying causes of depression that begin with the lack of motivation.

The reason TCM works so well at addressing and correcting motivation problems is that it addresses the body holistically. When people go to their doctor and tell them that they have no motivation, they are frequently prescribed antidepressants. But the problem with antidepressants is they don’t address the underlying causes of the issue. TCM looks at everything: the body, the mind, the environment, and the emotions. This allows for treatments to be customized to the needs of the patient instead of a one size fits all approach.

One of the first things to happen when then emotions become involved, our body begins to send signals to the digestive tract. This is why those who lack motivation or become depressed often have no appetite. Energy comes from eating healthy foods. When we have no appetite, we tend to reach for those things like sweets and carbohydrates. These foods give us the quick “emotional high” that temporarily sedates the depressive feelings. But the excitement quickly goes away, leaving us right back where we started.

If you or someone you love is lacking in motivation, why not give us a call, acupuncture and self-care techniques may be able to put the “pep” back in your step!


CITATION: Hindawi Journal

Eastern vs. Western: How the Medical Practices Differ

Almost everybody knows there are two very unique ways of treating disease and maintaining health. But not everybody knows how these two methodologies differ from one another. And depending on where you live in the world, there may be one that is more prominent than the other. Both systems have their pros and cons. So let’s differentiate between the two. This is the battle between Eastern and Western medicine. Let’s get ready to rumble!

To begin, we have to look at the history of both systems. Eastern medicine has been around for nearly 5,000 years and began when ancient herbalists experimented with plant substances and their effects on humans. There are substances that have been found to enhance health, beauty, energetics of the body, and the mind. Western medicine has only been around, in its current form, since the 19th century, although the roots began in ancient Greece and Egypt. It wasn’t until World War II that the development of synthetic drugs really began. This is also when the current Western medical system discovered it can manipulate certain actions in the human body through the use of synthetic pharmaceuticals. This difference is huge, as Eastern philosophy uses whole food formulas to nourish the body’s ability to heal itself, while Western philosophy isolates and forces therapeutic actions throughout the body by utilizing laboratory modified medicines.

Next, we compare the examination methods. Eastern medicine is much more holistic in this regard, as it takes every aspect of the body into account. Because the body cannot be compartmentalized based upon the disease, it makes sense to consider how each bodily system is affecting the others. Eastern medicine does not evaluate an illness purely based on the symptoms a person is showing, but rather, on complex patterns of disharmony in the body.

The process of determining a person’s diagnosis begins with an evaluation according to the Eight Principles, which describe the basic qualities of a disease – Yin/Yang, Interior/Exterior, Hot/Cold, Deficient/Excess.

Western medicine compartmentalizes a person’s diagnosis, looking at each system individually rather than how they work together. This could be why there are more specialists in Western medicine, such as a psychiatrist, an endocrinologist or an orthopedic surgeon. Also, Eastern medicine practitioners are trained to listen with the whole body and pay attention to every ounce of sensory input. This is quite different from Western medicine, where the focus is generally only on the system affected. Because of this way of thinking, pharmaceuticals and surgical procedures are based on how they affect each individual organ or organ system, instead of considering how the systems are intertwined with one another.

Another difference is the ultimate goals of each medical system. As Western medicine is all about fixing the physical body, the mind is also considered an organ, the brain. If the body is missing a substance, the Western medical approach is to supply that substance. And while things like nutrients may be necessary to be supplemented sometimes, most man-made pharmaceuticals have far too many adverse side-effects.

The Eastern medical approach is to engage and support the body’s own self-healing mechanisms. This is done by balancing the energetics of the body and ridding the body of energetic blockages. If the body is missing a substance, the Eastern approach is to stimulate the body to create it, thus allowing the body to heal itself. However, when the body is severely compromised, as with trauma and severe illness, the body is undermined and the capacity to heal itself may be impossible.

Obviously, there are several differences between the two medical systems. But if the two can work together, then humans will be ultimately better off. However, since Western medicine focuses so heavily on physical proof and Eastern medicine is more subtle focusing on the energetics of the body, the two systems have a long way to go until meeting eye-to-eye and working alongside one another. In the meantime, it is the decision of the patient to decide which route he or she will take. But it should be noted that the two systems can and do work very well together.

Coronavirus and TCM: Staying Healthy at Home

 

Navigating stay at home orders, working from home, schooling from home and the myriad other new things that are now a daily part of life is stressful. It can be easy to get overwhelmed with each new development and all the unknowns that surround our lives because of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Traditional Chinese medicine offers something old and grounding to turn back to during this time.

The idea that supporting mental health is a significant factor in supporting physical health is a central tenet of traditional Chinese medicine. Beyond acupuncture and herbal remedies, TCM takes a holistic approach to health that includes simple things you can do each day to foster physical health through supporting that mind body connection. Here are six things you can incorporate into your daily routine to mitigate stress and stay healthy right now.

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It’s possible to get acupuncture again, here’s what to consider

 

As the country moves toward reopening, reintegrating acupuncture treatments into your life will become an option again.

Just as businesses and community members in Minnesota are weighing their own personal choices amidst changing state guidelines, it is a personal choice whether or not you feel safe to visit an acupuncturist. If you’re interested in receiving treatment again in Duluth, please reach out to me to see what policies I’m adopting as I integrate the ongoing nature of the coronavirus pandemic into my business.
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