Acupuncture: much more than just pain relief
If you have never had acupuncture before, the thought of a “needle” being inserted into your body may be scary. Let me put your mind at ease, we can insert an acupuncture needle into the hole of a blood draw needle. They are extremely small in comparison and do not cause as much pain, if any at all. Also a personalized acupuncture protocol can help you with so much more than just muscle pain relief.
Why would you get acupuncture?
The most common reasons people receive acupuncture is for pain: headaches/migraines, muscle pain, arthritis, menstrual cramps, TMJ syndrome. Once your personalized protocol has been made acupuncture can even help with stress, anxiety, sleep issues, GI issues, high blood pressure, nausea, vertigo, strengthen immune system, and addictions.
What to expect in each appointment?
In your initial appointment a guided examination surrounding your complaint will take 20-30 minutes. This will allow the practitioner to make an informed Chinese Medicine diagnosis and prepare your personalized protocol. During the initial appointment you will also receive your first treatment, which will last roughly 20 minutes. Follow up appointments are roughly 30 minutes, which will only include your treatment unless something new has come up. In each treatment you will have the choice to talk with the practitioner or simply relax and listen to some music. The number of treatments vary depending on the complaints and severity but the average is 1-2 visits per week for 4-5 weeks.
What to expect during the treatment?
Each protocol is customized to your specific diagnosis and severity. There are 361 points that follow 12 meridians along the whole body. There are also Aschi points which are trigger points that form in muscles. A protocol can consist of 10-20 needles, and can be located anywhere from the forehead to the foot/hand or where the pain is located. Each needle is inserted to specific depths, depending on the location, this is done to activate Qi, when the right depth and location is achieved, you may feel a dull ache. Shooting or severe pain should not be felt. Once the needles have been inserted, they will remain in place for an initial 10 minutes. After this the practitioner many manipulate the needles, twist or move the needle to reactivate the Qi, there again they will remain for another 10 minutes. After the full 20 minutes the needles will be removed, it is not uncommon for a little blood to come out, but there is no reason for concern, especially for some protocols, bleeding will help resolve the issue.
What to expect after the treatment?
After the treatment most patients feel relaxed or energized, it depends on the protocol and the goal. It is suggested after a treatment to not lift anything heavy, to relax, stay away from stimulants and depressants for 12 hours, The practitioner may also make diet and lifestyle recommendations that go along with your diagnosis. A key to success with acupuncture is open dialogue, be open with your practitioner and give feedback so that he can make and adapt your protocol to be right for you. If you do not start to see improvements after a couple of weeks, the protocol may need to be changed or acupuncture may not be right for you.
Book your initial acupuncture appointment with Dr. Matthew Pace, ND
Weight loss: the larger picture
For every 5 points on the BMI scale above 22.5-25 BMI you have a 30% increased chance of mortality. That means if you have a BMI of 35-40 you only have a 60% chance of reaching the age of 70. This is due to all the comorbidities associated with obesity. The most common associated complications include: Type 2 Diabetes, sleep apnea, asthma, joint degeneration, fatty liver, high blood pressure, acid reflux, incontinence, depression and gout. The OMA has listed 57 comorbidities of obesity.
Here’s the most common situation for my weight loss patients: a patient sits across from me and I ask them “What brings you in today?” and they reply “My doctor told me to lose weight”. Unfortunately, they are then left to figure out how to lose the weight, which is a big feat on its own. Not only are you trying to do one of the most difficult things: lose weight! But you are also trying to navigate the expanse of literature on weight loss. Which diet?… Which exercises? And far too often people just give up.
What I want to tell you is that each person is different! What worked for your bestfriend may not work for you. There are so many other factors to weight loss that these diets and plans do not account for. Here are some other important factors we need to look at when wanting to lose weight:
- Sleep – a good night of sleep causes 25% less cravings and you will be 25% less hungry. Sleep allows your body to reset all the hormones associated with weight including insulin, leptin, growth hormone and cortisol. Good sleep consists of getting enough sleep, creating a sleep routine and getting the right kind of sleep.
- Stress – did you know hidden infections, blood sugars imbalances, food intolerances, nutrient deficiencies and gut bacterial imbalances are all chronic stressors on the body. When you think of stress, most people think of the perceived stress, such as a busy lifestyle. There are so many other things that will cause stress in our body and have negative impacts on pathways that will cause weight issues.
- Insulin resistance – insulin is necessary in the storage of sugars, and these stores are necessary for times of fasting. Insulin resistance is when the body no longer recognizes insulin and we then start to produce a lot of insulin. When we have too much insulin, fat gets trapped!
- Thyroid – the thyroid hormones regulate your metabolize, someone who produces less of these hormones will have a slower metabolism and will burn calories slower therefore will start to put weight on or may have issues losing weight
- Food sensitivities – intolerances to food unlike allergies can cause a wide range of symptoms, inflammation in the gut is one of the most common, this inflammation can cause you to improperly digest food, it also starts an immune response where the body recognize food particles as a foe and attacks it causing stress in the body and stress makes it harder to lose weight
This is just a short list, there are so many other factors that can play into weight loss issues, but these are the most common after diet and exercise. Your Naturopathic Doctor does an extensive intake to go over all the potential factors that are preventing you from losing weight. They will send you for pertinent lab work and then make a personalized plan with you which may include dietary/lifestyle changes, herbs/supplements and potentially acupuncture.
By Dr. Matthew Pace, N.D.