Acupuncture

Benefits Of Incorporating Acupuncture In Your Pre & Post-Marathon Training Program

Acupuncture has been shown to speed up recovery time in athletes, as well as treat orthopedic issues and internal conditions such as, fatigue, interrupted sleep, and digestive disorders.  Some of the ways in which acupuncture does this is by increasing circulation, decreasing inflammation, and improving quality of sleep. Cupping can also be beneficial. 

Common race training conditions we see and have treated:

  • Fatigue
  • Digestive Problems (by getting ahead of the curve we can make sure there are no hiccups to regularity on race day)
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep Disorders (trouble falling and/or staying asleep)

Common musculoskeletal problems:

    •    Tight, sore or strained muscles
    •    IT Band syndrome and pain
    •    Plantar Fasciitis
    •    Calf tightness
    •    Achilles Tendonitis
    •    Knee pain
    •    Hip pain
    •    Back pain

So, when should you come in for a treatment?

Come in on your rest day, after a short run, or on your cross-training day.  Many people feel very relaxed after a session, so you may not feel like running long distances afterward. 

Contact the office by phone, email, or schedule your first session online.

 

An Introduction to Cupping

Cupping

With all the recent buzz over cupping on many Olympic athletes, I’ve been fielding a lot of curious questions. Here are the answers to what most people are asking.

What is cupping?

Cupping utilizes small glass cups to create suction over specific areas of the body to increase blood flow, disperse stagnation, and relieve pain.

Why do you do it?

We use it on patients for chronic and acute pain, muscle soreness and knots. Its also great at the initial onset of a cold- when someone feels like they are coming down with something, or to relieve congestion. I like to explain it as pulling the stagnation up to the surface for your body to fight and push out, rather than having it sit deep in the tissues.  It improves circulation to the area so that fresh qi and blood can enter and relieve pain.  

What conditions is it helpful for?

  • Asthma
  • Chest Congestion
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Muscle and joint pain

Where do you do it?

Cups are most commonly placed on the back.  For muscle soreness and tightness, we would place the cups over the tightness, and often over related organ points to help the body rebalance and heal (think: treating the surface, while balancing any underlying cause— so that it doesn't continue to be a bother in the same area). The meridians that run down the back have points that correspond to each organ.  For example, if you came in for a cold, we’d likely put cups at the height of your scapula.  

Do you use those fire cups?

In our practice we use the suction cups, with the suction created by a pump rather than fire (as seen in the photo). We find patients to be less fearful to try and therefore reap the benefits with this method. 

What does it feel like?

We often to describe it to patients as a reverse massage, it doesn't hurt, and many feel relief as soon as the cups are on.

How long do the marks last?

This varies from person to person, for some people only a day or two, for others it can last closer to 5 days. The darker the stagnation or circle left, the longer it can take to clear.

When isn't it recommend?

  • If a patient is deficient (think overly fatigued)
  • during a woman's cycle 
  • Over broken skin

 

 

Settle Your Qi: Quick Tips to Help Calm Anxiety In-Between Sessions

Anxiety can sneak up on people for myriad reasons.  For some it's more of a chronic state, for others its related to life events- races, presentations, and major life changes (moving, wedding, home purchases) are just a few examples. (See complimentary posting titled, Treating Anxiety with Acupuncture)

Two common ways that patients describe their anxiety: shortness or shallow breath, or rapid and unclear thoughts in their head.   

Here are some of my go-to points that I teach my patients to use on the run and in-between sessions, one for each of the common symptoms.  If I know someone is in the midst of an anxiety provoking event, I will often send them off with seeds, or magnets on the points for stimulation.  Press these points for a few seconds at a time while focusing on your breath.

Pericardium 6, Neiguan (Inner Gate) 

This point opens the chest and relaxes the diaphragm for deeper fuller breaths, and calms the mind. It's also a great point for nausea and for that reason I teach it to many of my pregnant patients.  Easiest way to locate it: three finger breadths from the wrist, and in-between the two tendons.


Kidney 1, Yongquan (Bubbling Spring) 

Think of this point like an anchor.  It works very well for anxiety yielding sensations of thoughts rushing to the head, possibly with tingling or cold feet.  The emotional feeling might be reported as feeling ungrounded.  Easiest way to locate it: divide the sole of the foot in thirds, and follow a straight line down from between your second and third toes.

Treating Anxiety with Acupuncture

A documented 3% of the US population suffers from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).  Common symptoms include excessive worrying, difficulty focusing, sweating, trouble sitting still, disrupted sleep, and irritable bowel.

While pharmaceutical options certainly have their place in treating anxiety, they often come with side effects like fatigue, easily bruising, headaches, changes in blood pressure, and digestive disruptions.  

A 2013 study on the treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder with acupuncture confirms the efficacy of two points that are commonly needled in our practice, LU7, and KD6.  The combination of both points encourages the body to disperse qi and blood so that a patient can feel at ease on a deep level.  Read more about the point functions.

Effects of acupuncture treatments are cumulative, and we often say that for every year someone has had an imbalance, we need a month to treat and reverse the imbalance. At 8 Point Wellness we have worked with many patients with a history of anxiety.  Whether that anxiety has affected digestion, sleep, caused heart palpitations, or created migraines (to name a few) we have had great success reducing intensity and frequency of symptoms with acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas.

For a few quick tips, see related article, Settle Your Qi

References:

Acupuncture Calms Anxiety Disorder Research. (2014, February 23). Retrieved June 12, 2016, from http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1256-acupuncture-calms-anxiety-disorder-new-research

Observation on the mechanism of acupuncture treatment for generalized anxiety disorder using Lieque (LU7), Zhaohai (KI6) as the main acupoints. Lin, Chuhua; Zhao, Xiaoyan; Liu, Xing; Fu, Wenbin. Bioinformatics and Biomedicine (BIBM), 2013 IEEE International Conference on. 18-21, 12-2-13.

Fashionable Acupuncture at David Barton Gym

 

Ready for Calm?

I had the opportunity to partner with David Barton Gym for an event they were doing with Glam & Go, the express styling service they offer at the gym. 

I did my best to compliment the work of the team with fashion-friendly Swarovski crystal ear seeds. As an acupuncturist, I often place these bejeweled, medicinal seeds over a point called Shen Men or "The Gate of Heaven." This popular point helps to calm stress, ease anxiety, increase energy, and improve sleep.

In Chinese Medicine, the ear represents a microsystem of the entire body, with regions and points that correspond to specific organs, systems and emotions. The seeds were traditionally made from Vaccaria seeds, but have been modified over time to include gold, silver, metals and crystals. They are often complimented as jewelry, making them both visually appealing and medically relevant. 

There are many benefits of ear seeds. For starters, they are not needles, so patients can wear them home and leave them in anywhere from a few days to two weeks. In my practice, I like to use them to extend the duration of support between treatments. You can massage the seeds into your ears for convenient symptom relief throughout the day, and they have versatile implications including pain, stress, addiction, and more. 

To get your ear seed game on, contact Molly to set up an acupuncture appointment today!