Acupuncture and Opioid Addiction

The opioid epidemic in our country is very serious and over the past decades, there have been several public deaths due to opioid and other prescription drug overdoses. Celebrities such as Prince, Heath Ledger, Anna Nicole Smith, and Tom Petty, to name a few, all died of bad combinations or overdoses of prescribed medications.

According to the Mayo Clinic, in some cases, it only takes a few days of use for people to become dependent on opioids, specifically. The CDC reports that 70,980 people died of drug overdoses in the US in 2019. Of those deaths, 50,042 involved opioids. As this is such a wide-spread problem, you may have personal experience with this terrible addiction, or know someone who is currently struggling with, or has died as a result of overdosing on prescription medications.

When prescribing medications to patients, Doctors do so believing in the drug's efficacy and ability to help their patient. What they may not know is that there are out-of-the-box alternatives, such as acupuncture, that can help reach the end goal of making a patient well and/or alleviate pain without relying on highly addictive substances which for some patients can have intolerable side effect. We all want to help you and yours stay safe and healthy, and acupuncture offers an excellent alternative to many pain "killing" pharmaceuticals.

We regularly receive calls from patients asking if acupuncture treatments can provide pain relief after an operation. The answer is YES! Acupuncture certainly can and does help aid in recovery time by helping reduce inflammation, increase blood flow to the affected area, reduce pain levels, and increase mobility. Furthermore, research supports that if you receive acupuncture prior to surgery, it can significantly decrease your need for opioids during recovery! In fact, this study shows a decrease of over 50% in the amount of opioids required in the first 24 hours after surgery when acupuncture treatments have been used.

We recommend using acupuncture to mitigate the risk of opioid addiction by including treatments in your pre- and post-operative care plan. If you or someone you know is scheduled for surgery, please give us a call so we can help in prepare the body prior to surgery, and assist in the recovery. We are here for your health!

Holiday Bonus Notice

Hey Y'all-

Please remember we are closed next week for Thanksgiving. If you have an emergency, please contact your PCP or 911. Sarah will check the messages daily and return any of immediate concern promptly. If you start feeling ill and need herbs, please call and we can arrange a pick up for you.

When we get back, our Annual Holiday Bonus Packages will be available! Keep yourself and your loved ones healthy by purchasing our Health Treatment Plan 10 Pack and get a BONUS session from November 30, 2020- January 15, 2021. That's 11 sessions for the cost of 9- can't beat it. And yes, we do have gift certificates if you want to let someone know you love them by giving them the gift of health.

Wishing you all a wonderful, fun, and safe Thanksgiving!

Dr. Stefanie and Sarah

Electroacupuncture & Pain

A 2017 study from researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine helps to show how electroacupuncture can stimulate tissue repair after an injury and relieve pain through a specific neurological mechanism. Over 40 scientists at research institutions in the United States and South Korea collaborated on the study. Through a series of tests, first on horses and then humans, the final study offers the most comprehensive view yet of how electroacupuncture stimulates the release of stem cells, special cells that develop into a variety of kinds of cells and repair cells.

The first uses of electroacupuncture are attributed to a Chinese doctor, Tang She-cheng, in 1934. In the West, the term is attributed to Dr. Roger la Fuye of France in 1947. Electroacupuncture uses the same principles as acupuncture, which involves inserting fine, sterile needles at specific points on the body. In electroacupuncture, however, practitioners add a small electrical current to the inserted needles, rather than simply stimulating the points by tapping or gently twisting the needles as they’re inserted.

Through brain MRIs, this research showed electroacupuncture activates the hypothalamus – a part of the brain responsible for controlling the nervous system and subconscious functions like the heart rate. Electrical stimuli from the needles reached the brain of the subjects within nine to 22 minutes, depending on the species. From there, reparative stem cells, called mesenchymal stem cells, were released into the bloodstream within two hours. These cells can differentiate into bone, cartilage and muscle cells, among others, aiding in repairing injured areas of the body. In order to access this response, researchers administered the electroacupuncture at specific acupoints related to the immune system. The study found increases in a type of collagen that promotes tendon repair, which contributes to research looking to better understand stem cells. The collagen also produces anti-inflammatory cells known to be predictors of faster healing time. 

We treat many conditions with electroacupuncture and have great success.

Acupuncture and Kids

Most kids, as well as a lot of adults, are afraid of needles. So the pairing of acupuncture and kids might not be an obvious one. However, more and more parents are seeking alternative methods of treatment for their children, because our conventional medical system is faltering a bit. Pharmaceuticals are proving to be more harmful than beneficial for many people, especially kids, whose brains and bodies aren’t yet fully developed.

Acupuncture is gaining popularity among pediatrics. There are licensed acupuncturists who specialize in treating children and they are in high demand. These pediatric acupuncturists are helping children where others can’t and for many, it is lifesaving.

Pediatric acupuncture is commonly known as shonishin and it rarely uses needles. Instead, this form of acupuncture utilizes the practitioners’ hands and rounded tools to stimulate the acupoints of the child. The practitioner will gently and rhythmically rub, tap and press the skin to produce gentle stimulation sensations. Because children process things more quickly and with fewer blockages, the sessions can be shorter and may be needed less frequently.

Parents are turning to acupuncture because it provides a safe resolution of illness, while also preventing future illnesses. Acupuncture and acupressure stimulate the body’s ability to restore and heal itself. Our bodies are fully capable of fighting off disease and healing injuries when the right tools are provided. Acupuncture is that right tool that not only stimulates the immune system, but also relaxes the nervous system and regulates the digestive and hormonal systems. All of these things need to be in balance for the body to heal.

Many times parents are told by doctors that what their child is experiencing is just “a phase” and he / she “will grow out of it.” In many ways, this is a way of ignoring the real issues at hand. Conventional medicine doesn’t work holistically, addressing the whole body, and parents are usually sent to a dozen different specialists who never really coordinate to find the best treatment for the child. This becomes frustrating and financially taxing for the parent, not to mention how the child feels. This is where acupuncture excels. A single acupuncture treatment can address pain, anxiety, insomnia and digestive issues all at the same time.

Not only is acupuncture more cost effective when it comes to treating children, but it also is a more logical approach. Why add in the stress of seeing multiple doctors when you can have everything addressed by just one? If your child is suffering from pain, asthma, ADHD or any other type of ailment, acupuncture might hold the answer. Ask me today for more information.

Acupuncture vs Morphine for Pain Relief

In 2016, the American Journal of Emergency Medicine published a study that looked at the efficacy of acupuncture in managing acute pain for patients in the emergency room when compared to intravenous morphine. The researchers studied 300 patients who presented to the emergency room with acute onset moderate to severe pain. Half of them were treated with acupuncture and half were given intravenous morphine. To measure their pain reduction, they asked patients to report their pain score before and after the treatments, and considered a reduction of 50 percent or greater to be a significant reduction.
 
The study showed the patients who received acupuncture treatments for their pain saw pain reductions of 92 percent compared to 78 percent in the morphine group. The acupuncture also seemed to work more quickly than the morphine, lowering patients’ pain scores in an average of 16 minutes compared to 28 minutes for the morphine group. Additionally, 89 patients who received morphine experienced minor adverse side effects while only four of the patients who received acupuncture did. Overall, this study showed acupuncture worked better and more quickly than intravenous morphine for reducing pain in a medical setting.
 
This study joins a growing body of literature suggesting acupuncture is highly effective at reducing pain and/or changing how our bodies experience pain. The lack of adverse side effects associated with acupuncture treatments presents a strong argument for its use, especially as synthetic medications are associated with many negative side effects and people are often allergic to the medications.
 
Because acupuncture affects our brains, stimulating the release of natural pain-reducing hormones, it can be used for any number of afflictions that cause pain. Acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins- neurotransmitters responsible for blocking the sensation of pain. The stimulation also releases other chemicals that either change how the body experiences pain or triggers the release of other chemicals that activate the body’s internal regulating system. It is thought that acupoints are more densely packed with nerves than other points on the body, so stimulating these points sends more signals along the nerve networks in our body to cause this release of chemicals.
 
This process has a normalizing effect on nerves and hormones. By bringing the body into better biochemical balance, acupuncture promotes physical and emotional well-being and supports the body’s natural healing abilities.
 
Acupuncture and TCM also address the root causes of pain rather than just masking the symptoms. We develop treatment plans that are unique to each patient because each patient comes in with a unique body, health history and root cause behind their pain. By addressing the root causes, we create more lasting healing and bring your body back to a place where it can function optimally, using its natural healing processes to help you stay well.
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Five Reasons to Get Acupuncture for Low Back Pain

Statistics show eight out of 10 people will experience low back pain at some point during their life. Seeking medical treatment for back pain is very common. Typically back pain is fleeting and can be easily resolved with rest, heat and an occasional anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen. However, once the damage is done, the recurrence of back pain can be as high as 50 percent. Part of this is because as we age, things like muscles and tendons become less flexible and pliable. It is also very well known in the United States, people are too sedentary and this leads to excess weight gain that can create added pressure on the body, especially the low back.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a medical system that dates back nearly 3,000 years. But despite its age, TCM has a lot of validity to offer in the age of modern medicine. Thousands of studies have proven acupuncture, just one of the modalities used in TCM, can be very beneficial in the treatment of low back pain. Here are five reasons why someone should consider getting acupuncture to treat low back pain.

  1. Acupuncture has no harmful side effects. In comparison to most Western medical approaches to treating low back pain, acupuncture is the clear winner. There are no real negative side effects associated with acupuncture treatments. There can be a bruise or a little tenderness after the treatments, but that pales in comparison to the side effects from most pharmaceuticals or surgical procedures. Even regular ingestion of ibuprofen can deteriorate the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, eventually leading to ulceration.
  2. Acupuncture is personalized healthcare. One thing truly different about TCM is every patient is treated differently. There could be 10 people with the exact same Western medical diagnosis in an acupuncturist's’office, but they may all be treated differently. This is because not everybody’s root cause of the ailment is the same. This makes acupuncture treatments very personalized.
  3. Acupuncture reduces inflammation. Back pain is frequently accompanied by joint inflammation in the spinal column. Acupuncture promotes the release of vascular and immune-mediating factors that actually decrease inflammation. Usually when inflammation is decreased, so is pain.
  4. Acupuncture improves sleep. Low back pain can frequently disrupt sleep. With regular acupuncture treatments, not only is the pain and inflammation of back pain decreased, but so is the sleep interruptions due to the aforementioned pain. This is just one of the positive side effects of acupuncture.
  5. Get your life back. Regular acupuncture treatments can improve a person’s overall well-being. And when it comes to low back pain, life can be changed dramatically. People sometimes have to miss work due to the pain and lack of sleep caused by the pain. But acupuncture can change all of that, allowing people to resume regular everyday activities.

For anybody who has ongoing low back pain, the five reasons listed above should give you hope acupuncture can provide relief. We at Si Shou Acupuncture & Wellness would love help you along your path to wellness!

7 Ways Acupuncture Can Help Men's Health

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a complete medical system that has been around for nearly 3,000 years. It combines nutrition, herbs, acupuncture and other modalities to help keep the body functioning properly, while also treating any ailments that might occur. TCM has been used to treat both men and women, regardless of their age, and TCM is frequently becoming the medical choice for those who prefer to use holistic forms of medicine to heal themselves.

There are certain health issues more prevalent in men than women, and many of these conditions can be easily controlled or treated using Traditional Chinese Medicine. Afflictions such as high blood pressure, depression, urinary issues, stress and prostate problems are just a few of the issues that are more frequently seen in men than women. And these issues, along with many others, respond very favorably to acupuncture and TCM.

Prostate issues are a prominent concern for men. From enlarged prostates to prostate cancer, this area of the body gets a lot of attention. One of the most common problems facing men is benign prostatic hyperplasia or what is commonly called the enlarged prostate. An enlarged prostate often leads to bladder, kidney and urinary problems, especially urinary retention. This is very easily controlled with acupuncture and herbs because the combination of the two help alleviate the inflammation of the prostate allowing the urine to flow freely.

Cardiovascular disease is another big concern for men and it is the leading health threat to men. Acupuncture has been found to be particularly beneficial in lowering blood pressure, which often helps prevent cardiovascular disease. Acupuncture stimulates the release of natural opioids in the body, which then decreases the heart’s activity and lowers the need for excess oxygen. All of this lowers blood pressure.

Another area where men need more help is dealing with mental health issues and depression. Men are much less likely to discuss their feelings and emotions, which can frequently lead to depression and even thoughts of suicide. In fact, men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women. Acupuncture helps balance the chemicals released by the brain and the hormones released by the endocrine system. All of these imbalanced chemicals can lead to mental health issues that manifest over time.

Insomnia and sleep-related disorders are another major concern for men. Acupuncture has been shown to be beneficial at restoring balance and allowing the body to relax and rejuvenate. In fact, acupuncture often times outperforms many prescription and over-the-counter sleep aids.

Men tend to suffer from pain more than women, just because their jobs can be more physical. It is statistically shown that men are less likely to seek out help when they experience pain, as they don’t want to appear weak. This is where something like acupuncture can be a great asset for men. Regular acupuncture treatments as preventive medicine can help keep them in top shape, thus avoiding aches, pains, strains and pulls.

Fertility is not something that usually comes to mind when it comes to men’s health issues. However, stats show that 35-40 percent of all fertility issues are male conditions. Studies have shown acupuncture and Chinese herbs are very effective at improving sperm quality and the instructional integrity of the sperm. This is why many acupuncturists who focus on fertility issues treat both the male and the female as a team.

Lastly, acupuncture is a great way to combat digestive issues and this occurs more in men than it does in women. The most common digestive disorder is heartburn or acid reflux, which is usually caused by stress and poor diet. When stress levels are decreased, then stomach acid can decrease also, thus alleviating heartburn.

These are just a few of the issues acupuncture can help with when it comes to men’s health, but it is easy to see why choosing acupuncture to help keep the body in alignment is a great option!

Using Acupuncture to Treat PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is usually associated with past and present military personnel; however, PTSD can affect anybody who has had some sort of traumatic or life changing event, such as a car crash, physical abuse, natural disasters or even the death of a loved one. Any situation causing emotional, physical or mental trauma can result in PTSD. In the U.S. alone, it is estimated around 24 million people are affected by PTSD. That means there are a whole lot of people who need help coping with the disorder. Luckily, Traditional Chinese Medicine offers hope for those people.

Some symptoms of PTSD include insomnia, anxiety, irritability, flashbacks, as well as feelings of shame, despair and hopelessness. All of these can lead to problems at work and home. It can also lead to serious health problems like clinical depression and even alcohol and drug abuse. The effects of PTSD are far-reaching and can be a lifelong battle for those afflicted with it.

Acupuncture treatments for PTSD focus on specific auricular points on the ears. These points are responsible for controlling areas of the brain that help control nervous functioning while decreasing stress levels. The military is even starting to offer battlefield acupuncture for soldiers in the field before they are discharged from active duty. The Pentagon has been investigating the benefits of acupuncture for PTSD and so far, it has been found that combat veterans were relieved of most of their symptoms and their levels of depression and pain were greatly reduced.

Many PTSD sufferers are leery of opening up about their trauma and thus are reluctant to seek psychological counseling. This is where acupuncture can play a key role in helping these individuals. While acupuncturists will take an in-depth medical history, the questioning does not need to become as personal as that required when seeking psychiatric help. This makes it easier for PTSD sufferers to feel safe and relaxed. Also, acupuncture has been shown to provide rapid benefits to patients through faster healing, whereas psychological counseling can take years.

Auricular acupuncture is especially beneficial for those suffering from PTSD.  There are a multitude of auricular acupuncture points that specifically focus on different areas of the brain. For instance, there is a point located at the base of the ear, where the ear lobe attaches to the side of the head that is labeled the Master Cerebral, and the Limbic Point is located in this zone. This point specifically addresses emotional life, the formation of memories, amnesia and alcohol or drug dependency. By needling this point, the patient can get relief from one or all of the these symptoms. This is quite remarkable and this treatment requires fewer needles.

Those suffering from PTSD should consult a doctor about the proper treatment and also discuss alternative medical options like acupuncture. If you or somebody you know suffers from PTSD, please consider acupuncture as part or all of the treatment protocol.

7 Reasons to Seek Out Acupuncture

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Do you ever feel your life's a ride that won’t ever stop? How many nights do you wait for Mr. Sandman to magically appear? How often do you truly take time for yourself? Do you have aches and pains almost daily? Are over-the-counter or prescription medications controlling your life? When was the last time you actually felt at peace? If any of these questions resonate with you, then it might be time to look at Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture for an answer. People in Asian countries have known the magnificence of acupuncture for thousands of years. Traditional Chinese Medicine is growing in popularity in the United States and here are some reasons why you might want to consider utilizing it also. (more…)