Category Archives: Acupuncture

Posts related to acupuncture, it’s uses or current research

Come Celebrate Open Day with Acupuncture!

opendayflyerNational Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day is October 24, and October 1 marks Stillpoint’s 15th Birthday!  To celebrate we have a full day of events planned for you in our Greensboro office:

Community Acupuncture Clinic will be open 10a-3p, all visits are $30, with proceeds going to support our state organization in its efforts to bring awareness to this important, effective medicine.

Open House/ meet your practitioners from 4p-6p- light refreshments, door prizes, Q&A opportunities. We all love seeing you, and this is a wonderful chance to hang out with our delightful staff.

 If you can’t attend, but want to support Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, there are more options this month:

  1. You can purchase raffle tickets here to enter to win many wonderful prizes including:

*Skin Like Rissa’s- Skin Couture Vitamin A Peel

*Mimi’s Soaps- selection of handmade soaps and skin care products

*Mary Ann Karlok, LMBT- Massage

*Envy Salon- selection of hair and skin products plus scarf!

*Kneaded Energy- 2 opportunities for half-price massage

*Terri Aprile- Horse Massage- yes, you heard that right!

*Stillpoint Acupuncture- Gift Certificate for $120- new or established patients – great gift for someone you love!


Number of Tickets



2) On October 29 we will have another special Community Clinic, to coincide with the Walk-a-Thon in Raleigh.  Did we mention there is a Walk-a-Thon in Raleigh on October 29?

https://secure.qgiv.com/event/862314/register/

 3) You can become an ambassador for acupuncture by going here to join the State Acupuncture Association (only $25!) and/or to offer your comments and testimonials:

http://ncaaom.org/Acupuncture-Ambassadors

Thank You Amira and Welcome Jesse….

This week we bid farewell to Amira Glaser, L.Ac. Amira was gracious enough to help us keep our Greensboro Monday night community clinic available to patients this summer, but now she is returning to her private practice in Carrboro. We are so appreciative of her ability to join our team so seamlessly, and to share her considerable skills. She is truly a gifted practitioner. We wish her all the best! Amira can be reached at amira@welcomewellbeing.com.

At the same time, we welcome our newest practitioner, Jesse Andreas, L.Ac. Jesse will take over the Monday night community clinic as well as see private patients by appointment. Jesse graduated from Southwest Acupuncture College in 2014, studying under several of the same teachers as Diane Gross, L.Ac.

From a young age, Jesse had a profound appreciation for eastern philosophy, exploring Taoism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. He studied Chinese martial arts as a child and was fascinated with the concept of Qi and its capacity to improve health and treat disease. While still in his twenties, Jesse cured himself of a number of chronic diseases using acupuncture and herbal medicine, as well as diet and lifestyle modifications. This led to years of study of natural healing methods, both in and out of school, as he realized this was to be a lifelong calling.

Jesse feels there is no greater way to serve other people than to help them restore their health. He specializes in treating pain, anxiety/depression, digestive issues, men’s and women’s health, and is particularly skilled in treating more complex and challenging medical cases. “My belief is that anyone can be well, and no one should feel hopeless.”
We are excited to welcome Jesse to Stillpoint. You can reach him at jesse@stillpointacupuncture.com, or call the Greensboro office at 336-510-2029 to schedule an appointment.

 

 

Chinese Medicine treats more than you think!

By now, most people know that acupuncture has been shown to work as well or better than conventional medicine for things like back pain and osteoarthritis of the knee. Many people have even heard about using Chinese Medicine to improve fertility. However, I am still surprised to find folks who have no idea of the depth and breadth of conditions and ailments that can be helped by Chinese Medicine.

Chinese Medicine is a complete system of medicine in the sense that it defines an internally consistent understanding of physiology (how the body works), patho-physiology (what can go wrong with the body), diagnosis (how to figure out what’s wrong) and treatment (how to fix what’s wrong). Although the language of Chinese Medicine is strange and often sounds frankly ridiculous, the concepts behind that language can be both simple and profound. It is this broad metaphoric language which accounts for the ability of Chinese Medicine to treat many issues that conventional medicine doesn’t manage as well.  This descriptive language allows the practitioner of Chinese Medicine to understand a patient’s complaint at a level deeper than a lab test or an MRI would reveal. Because of this, Chinese Medicine can be very helpful in treating complaints that are vague and difficult to nail down from a conventional medicine standpoint.  The following are a few examples of this:

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS):

 IBS is a term used to describe several different digestive symptoms which could include abdominal cramping, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation. While there are some medications that can manage the symptoms of IBS, they are not considered curative, and come with the risks of side effects.  From the perspective of Chinese Medicine the symptoms that categorize IBS can be grouped into very specific diagnostic categories and therefore treated specifically as well. For example, one IBS patient who has alternating loose stools and constipation that is worse with stress, accompanied by TMJ, poor appetite, PMS, depression and insomnia might be diagnosed with something we call Liver overacting on Spleen.  However, another patient might have predominantly loose stools and urgency.  His symptoms might be exacerbated after eating rich or spicy foods, making it difficult to go out to eat with friends.  His diagnosis might be called Damp Heat in the Intestines. Both of these patients would receive different acupuncture treatments and different herbal formulas. In my experience, once we determine the correct diagnosis, IBS is often cured or improved to such a level that it becomes only a minor distraction.

Menopausal Syndrome:

For some women, the cessation of menstrual cycles is no big deal. For others, they become overwhelmed with a cascade of symptoms that disrupt daily functioning. Hot flashes, anxiety, and insomnia can combine to make a woman feel as though she is losing her mind. With the controversy surrounding hormone replacement, Chinese Medicine offers a safe and usually effective alternative treatment.  Of course Chinese Medicine may not solve the problem overnight, but over 1-2 months, most women find their symptoms have become very manageable. Again, each woman is assessed individually and acupuncture, herbs, diet and lifestyle suggestions are all tailored to her particular situation.

Emotional Issues / Stress:

Chinese Medicine is truly a holistic medicine. In fact, there is very little differentiation in Chinese Medical Theory between physical and emotional problems. When reading about a particular diagnostic category, for example, you might see “poor appetite, fatigue, bruises easily, shortness of breath, depressed mood.”  When treating folks for any emotional upset, I am always interested in what kinds of physical issues they have, as that helps me determine how to diagnose the depression, anxiety, ADHD or mania appropriately.  Studies have shown acupuncture to be as effective as anti-depressants in treating moderate depression. Acupuncture can have a profound effect on reducing mental stress. Often after only one visit, people say things like, “I just don’t react to the little things like I used to.”

Fibromyalgia:

Modern medicine is still working on exactly what causes this painful and debilitating illness. While curative treatment may very well be on the horizon, treatments often involve experimentation with many different pharmaceuticals. Acupuncture has been shown to be especially helpful in lessening the pain of fibromyalgia.  It can also help treat the fatigue and memory problems that sometimes accompany the disease.

In each of the above cases, different patients will exhibit different signs and symptoms, and will therefore require different treatment strategies. There is no “one size fits all” in Chinese Medicine. That individualized therapy is what makes Chinese Medicine so fascinating.  Diagnosis and treatment can be profoundly simple or mind-bendingly complex.  We practitioners don’t always get it right the first time. But when we do, this medicine appears to work miracles.

Acupuncture as Affordable Health Care

As health care costs continue to rise, more and more people are looking for ways to prevent major illness and take more control over their own well-being. Treatment with acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can be used to treat pain, digestive problems, menstrual problems, headaches, emotional issues, insomnia, menopausal symptoms and more. Such treatment can also complement traditional therapies and help manage more serious concerns such a diabetes, hypertension and cancer. However, even acupuncture has been too expensive for many of us, since it is only sometimes covered by health insurance. Community Clinics have provided one answer to this and are beginning to provide many people with affordable health maintenance options.

Many people are aware that acupuncture is part of a system of medicine developed in China over the past 3000 years. However, it isn’t as commonly recognized that during the early 19th century (after missionaries had introduced Western medical concepts to the Chinese) acupuncture fell from favor in China and was actually banned from official Chinese medical schools. Acupuncture theory and practice had evolved through the millennia through observation and experience, and the language it used was rich with metaphor and the influence of “ghosts.” With the emphasis on scientific method adopted during the Qing dynasty, China’s authorities were loathe to be perceived by the outside world as backwards or superstitious. It was declared that acupuncture was “not suitable to be applied to the Emperor.”

The study of acupuncture continued, but remained underground until the communist party took control of China in the 1940s. Realizing that acupuncture provided a low cost option for providing medical care to many people , especially those living in the country with little to no access to Western care, the authorities sought to standardize and systematize the principles and practices of acupuncturists. While the essential metaphorical language was retained, all reference to ghosts and most of the more spiritual aspects of various traditions were dropped. Lay persons were trained with basic acupuncture skills and were sent into rural areas to treat farmers and laborers. They treated infectious disease, injuries from trauma, pain, paralysis and malnutrition among other things. Zhu De wrote in 1950, “Chinese acupuncture treatment has a history of thousands of years. It is not only simple and economical, but also very effective for many kinds of diseases”I hope that the doctors of both Western and traditional schools should unite for the further improvement of its technique and science.”

Indeed, Chinese physicians are now routinely trained in both traditional and Western medical practices. Acupuncture is used during many surgeries as an anesthetic. Herbal formulas (cooked in the basement pharmacy) are prescribed in hospitals along with Western pharmaceuticals. Acupuncture has again become an important part of the Chinese medical system, which is truly one of the most integrated in the world.

So isn’t it ironic that a medicine revived in China to treat the masses has become in this country an elite treatment associated with spas and health clubs? At an average of $60-100 per session, it is difficult for working class and many middle class folks to be able to afford enough treatments to address their problems adequately. The good news is that more and more insurance companies are recognizing the cost-effectiveness of acupuncture performed by licensed acupuncturists. The bad news is that more and more people are having insurance benefits cut or simply doing without insurance altogether.

In response to all of this, Stillpoint Acupuncture has joined with a national movement seeking to create ways for acupuncture to become more accessible to more people. For the past seven years, Stillpoint Acupuncture in Greensboro has been providing sliding scale treatments for patients seeking help with everything from allergies to back pain. In October, 2010 we finally opened a community clinic in Siler City as well, which is available every Wednesday afternoon.

When you visit the community clinic, you will see that we treat 5-6 people at a time. Most people sit in reclining chairs, and there are some tables available for those who need them. There is soft music playing and the lights are dimmed. While the setting is decidedly less private than most acupuncture offices, there is a certain atmosphere that is created when people come together for the purpose of improved well-being. People have commented, “I feel better just being here.

This style of treatment more closely resembles how acupuncture is administered in China, with patients coming for treatment 3-5 times per week and receiving treatments in a large room along with several other patients. Because patients remain clothed in this setting, we rely on points in the arms, legs, ears and head. However, these points can be used to treat all kinds of conditions, including back pain, hot flashes and digestive problems.

For example, Chris began coming when a friend told her about the clinic. She had suffered from daily headaches for years. She commented on her first visit that she had always wanted to try acupuncture, but knew that she couldn’t afford it, and her insurance did not cover it. She came every week at first and within two months, her headaches became the exception rather than the norm. She began coming twice per month and her headaches continued to improve, becoming an occasional nuisance. Now I see her about once every 4-6 weeks because as she says, “I didn’t realize until I quit coming so often, but the acupuncture was controlling my joint pain too!”

–Heather McIver, L.Ac.

 

Coping with Allergies

Coping with Allergy Season…

    by Heather McIver, L.Ac.

When I moved back to NC from attending acupuncture school in Colorado, I was shocked to find that I could no longer function from about Mother’s Day until mid June.  If I tried to venture outside I was immediately struck with drippy nose and eyes so red, swollen and itchy I wanted to pay someone to rip them out of my head. Apparently, I had developed an allergy to hay…and lucky me, I lived on a hay farm.  So, after trying a couple of the standard Chinese “allergy” formulas with only minimual success, I broke down and took the big guns. I tried Claritin, Zyrtec and Allegra. They all made me sleepy and none of them controlled my symptoms enough that I could even hold a conversation. I remember being so mad! “I finally take that stuff and then it didn’t even work!”

There was nothing to do but to go back to my training. I sat down and re-assessed my symptoms from the perspective of Chinese Medicine. I tried to think as simplistically as possible. It was springtime and spring is associated with the Liver in Chinese medicine. My primary symptom was my red, itchy eyes. The eyes are also associated with the Liver. I was really irritated and frustrated…also Liver. The “standard” allergy formulas focus more on the Lung and Spleen, so maybe that’s why they weren’t helping. Of course the Lung was also affected…my drippy nose and constant sneezing could attest to that. However, there is a diagnosis in Chinese Medicine called, “Liver overacting on the Lung” in which you can see both Liver and Lung symptoms.

Seemed a good place to start. So I started with a very common Liver formula called, “Free and Easy Wanderer”  Then I added herbs to dry up my congestion and herbs to specifically target my red, itchy eyes.  And guess what? It began to work instantly. Over the next few days, I added and subtracted herbs to further focus the effects of the formula. Within a week or two, I was fully functional. I wasn’t ready to go running through the hay fields, but I could walk outside and do my job and have fun with friends again.

The point of this story, is not really about my allergies, but rather to illustrate the importance of the individual diagnosis. In some of my patients, the “standard” allergy formulas work beautifully. But that is because their pattern of symptoms, their “diagnosis,” match the diagnosis that the formula was designed to treat.

Just as in the research study described in the sidebar, while standard protocols can be helpful for a lot of people, they treat only the middle of the bell curve. To really get at the root of an individual’s problem, we need to actuallly look at the individual. We need to define exactly how a particular body is becoming out of balance, in order to restore balance.

There is a saying in Chinese Medicine, “Same disease, many treatments. Different disease, same treatment.” This is precisely why 4 different patients with infertility may receive radically different treatments. Or why the formula I used to treat my allergies might also be used to treat PMS or hepatitis. In my mind, this is what separates Chinese Medicine from other modalities. Of course, comprehensive individualized diagnosis is much harder than treating everyone the same. It takes more investigation, more observation, more discernment and more trial and error. Sometimes we fail. Sometimes Chinese Medicine alone is simply not powerful enough. But sometimes, when we get it right, this medicine can produce quick and amazing results. And this is why I love my job!