Let It Go

Blog post by Austin Dixon L.Ac.

My wise friend, Mischa Decker, recently posted the quote “We cannot become what we want by remaining what we are.” I saw this post on Instagram and scribbled it down on a sticky pad next to my computer. I am not one to collect quotes, in fact, I am not one to collect anything at all so it surprised me that I took the time to write it down. Over the last couple weeks I have thought about this quote many times. I was not quite sure why I kept coming back to it then it dawned on me…it is Fall! Now, this took me a second to realize because it is still so hot here in North Carolina, but it is in fact the Fall season. Nature is in the process of changing and dying and shifting to prepare for winter. It is only natural that we humans feel that same pull to shed what is unnecessary, let the parts of us that are holding us back die off and prepare for a more harmonious future.

So. Yeah. Duh. It makes sense. We are part of nature. Nature is making these changes. I guess it is time for us to do the same.

Ok. So how do we do that?

Listen. I am no expert on this but I do know the only way we will ever see improvements in our lives is if we open ourselves up and allow change to come in and rearrange some things. I know it sounds scary and sometimes easier said than done, but if you are willing to put in the work the reward is so worth it. We have to start with our thoughts.

“We cannot become what we want by remaining what we are.”

What I find most often holds my patients back from creating real change is the idea that they are who they are (or have what they have) and there is little they can do about it. This kind of definitive thinking holds us back and blocks change from coming in. I often hear patients say things like…

“I am a perfectionist, it’s just how I am.”

“I am type A, I can’t help it.”

“I have XYZ.”

I am sure we can all identify with these types of excuses, I mean, declarations (hint hint). But what happens if we don’t hide behind excuses? What happens if we don’t own these declarations as our present self? What if we change the way we tell our story? What if we start by saying…

“I have had perfectionist tendencies.”

“I have behaved in a type A way.”

“In the past I was like that.”

“I am living with XYZ.”

“I have experienced XYZ.”

By changing a couple words in each sentence we have shared our experience without allowing it to define us. We do not have to be the person we were in the past. Becoming a better version of ourselves means letting go of who we think we are and allowing space for new thoughts and ideas about ourselves. It opens us up for the possibility that we might one day become what we want to be.

Image (c) Gajus Dreamstime.com

What do you want to let go of this Fall season?

 

Our Integrative Treatment of Chronic Menstrual Pain

Gynecological conditions require treating the whole woman, taking into account her emotions, the situations in her life, the phase of life she is in, her physical state of health, her mental state, the stressors in her life, how much motivation she has to improve and heal her condition and all the details of her symptoms. That is why we provide an integrative treatment to care and to take into account all these aspects of a woman, it takes time. The therapist inquires about many aspects of the woman and she herself needs to be able to communicate freely at the same time. Does this sound like being in an intimate relationship?    Because it is.   

Here I share the story of one of the women who came first with me, Li-Lan, and has taken advantage of the resources we offer at Armonia Health LLC over the past two years. She is Hispanic and I thank her for telling us her story:

My first sessions when I first met Li Lan were to treat my anxiety because having just arrived in this country everything was new and the lifestyle was very different. I also faced the diagnosis of multiple fibroids to which I was proposed a hysterectomy in my country, a solution too extreme at my age of 28 years, which led me to look for other alternatives. The symptom that worried me about my fibroids was throbbing pain that hit me in the lower pelvis beginning one or two weeks before my period, those pains were so strong, though momentary, that they made me bend in pain and I had to stop my activities until the pain would pass. I needed to take very strong prescription painkillers during my menstruation so I could go to work.

When I came to the US I was worried that I would not find someone suitable to treat my fibroids in a natural way. A short time later I met Li Lan and I felt very happy to meet her and I still am, I loved that she spoke Spanish and realized the great human being that she is. She recommended me to receive acupuncture sessions and Dr. Rosita Arvigo’s Mayan abdominal massage, both of which I did not know much about.

I felt that the Arvigo® abdominal massage would have a direct impact on my reproductive organs since one of its focuses is the womb. As part of my treatment I have maintained my Arvigo massage sessions once a month and it has been two years since I started. I have come to acupuncture when I experience allergies, mainly during the winter and spring months, and I have also treated my left shoulder and arm, because when I am very stressed, I unconsciously sleep with my fist closed and tensed during the whole night which causes me pain the next day. I have taken herbal formulas regularly for a year and a half for my fibroids. Li-Lan has taught me the Arvigo abdominal massage to do it myself along with the use of topical castor oil to soften the fibroids and she also suggested trying the pelvic steams.

Another recommendation that Li Lan made was for me to modify my diet: remove dairy products and cow’s milk products, which has not been easy. She explained to me that dairy products produce phlegm and contribute to the congestion of the reproductive, digestive and respiratory organs. I have noticed a better functioning of my body to have replaced cow’s milk with almond milk, to integrate more vegetables, to pay attention to the consumption of bread and flour and in general to balance what I eat. With these dietary changes, I have noticed better digestion: less bloating of my abdomen, less constipation and less phlegm when I catch a cold.

I also took coaching sessions to help me get better organized and be consistent with taking supplements and herbal formulas. Raquel gave me several techniques to remind myself of taking my herbs and supplements, and I noticed I could easily implement them. I also received Reiki with Raquel, it was a unique and different experience to be able to feel the flow of energy in my body and my mood changed immediately after the session: if I arrived sad, I felt more cheerful or if I felt depressed, I left with more energy .

Over time I discovered the changes in my body, one of the symptoms that disappeared were those stabbing pains that I had in my womb area one or two weeks before my menstruation and in recent months I have noticed that just a relaxing body massage with Jess days before my menstruation has helped my menstruation to flow red within a few hours and not brown and dry for the first 24 hours and with less pain the first day. Li-Lan has explained to me that everything I have done for myself: eating healthier, using herbal formulas, coming to the sessions and paying more attention to my body and thoughts have resulted in healing not only menstrual cramps, but also harmonized my body, mind and emotions.

Today, having a more tranquil lifestyle, I have been very alert of all the changes that are in my body and of each sensation, which I did not have before because I lived such a hurried lifestyle that I was not aware of how I was eating or how my body was reacting to what I ate.  I have learned to listen more to my body and to know how it reacts when I have anxiety, anger, worry, rage or any other feeling that does not do me good. I have learned to discern which foods I do not like and which ones help my body a lot. One result of all these dietary changes and lifestyle has been weight loss, although it was not my main motivation to go to these natural therapies.

I liked taking several of the workshops at Armonia Health LLC in which I learned a lot about the female body and about my body. An example is the book club of Chinese medicine in Spanish where we read the book by Dr. Xiaolan Zhao Traditional Chinese Medicine for Women. Through the book and the discussions, I have realized how a negative opinion at the cultural and family level towards the changes and natural stages of a woman’s life can affect one’s body and psyche.

I am very grateful to be able to find Li-Lan and what he has created at Armonia Health LLC. It is a great contribution to the Hispanic community and the community in general.

Nuestro tratamiento integrativo para dolores menstruales

Condiciones ginecológicas requieren tratar a la mujer de una manera completa, tomando en cuenta sus emociones, las situaciones en su vida, la etapa en que se encuentra, su estado de salud física, su estado mental, cuanta motivación tiene ella misma para mejorar y sanar su condición y todos los detalles de sus síntomas.  Es por eso que proveemos un tratamiento integrativo y para tomar en cuenta todos estos aspectos de la mujer, se requiere tiempo.  Hay que conocer a fondo a la mujer y ella a la vez se comunica libremente.  ¿Esto suena como estar en una relación íntima, no?  Es por que lo és.  Aquí te comparto la historia de una de las mujeres que acudió primero conmigo, Li-Lan, y ha aprovechado de los recursos que ofrecemos en Armonía Health LLC por el transcurso de dos años.  Ella es hispana y doy gracias que nos cuenta su historia:

Mis primeras sesiones cuando recien conoci a Li Lan fueron para tratar mi ansiedad ya que al haber recién llegado a este país todo era nuevo y el estilo de vida era muy diferente.  También me enfrentaba a la idea de un diagnóstico de múltiples fibromas al cual me propusieron una histerectomía en mi país, una solución demasiado extremo a mi edad de 28 años, lo cual me llevó a buscar otras alternativas.  El síntoma que me preocupaba de mis fibromas eran dolores punzantes que me daban en el vientre comenzando una o dos semanas antes de mi periodo, esos dolores eran tan fuertes, aunque momentáneos, que me hacían doblarme del dolor y tenía que parar mis actividades hasta que pasara el dolor.  Necesitaba tomar analgesicos muy fuertes de prescripcion durante mi menstruacion para que pudiera ir al trabajo.

Al venir a EUA me preocupaba que no encontrara a alguien adecuado para seguir mi tratamiento para los fibromas de una manera natural; poco tiempo despues conoci a Li Lan y me sentí muy contenta de conocerla y lo sigo estando, me encantó que hablara español y darme cuenta del gran ser humano que es; ella me recomendó tomar sesiones de acupuntura y del masaje abdominal maya de la Dr. Rosita Arvigo, el cual no tenía idea de que se trataba.

Sentía que el masaje abdominal Arvigo® tendría un impacto directo en mi organos reproductivos. Como parte de mi tratamiento he mantenido mis sesiones de masaje Arvigo una vez por mes y ha sido dos años desde que comencé.   He acudido a la acupuntura cuando traigo muy fuerte una alergia principalmente durante los meses del invierno y primavera y también me he tratado mi hombro y brazo izquierdo, ya que por temporadas cuando estoy muy estresada inconscientemente duermo con el puño cerrado y lo tenso durante toda la noche lo cual me provoca dolor durante el dia.   He tomado fórmulas herbales regularmente por un año y medio para mis fibromas. Li-Lan me ha enseñado el masaje abdominal Arvigo para hacermelo yo misma junto con el uso del aceite de ricino tópico para suavizar los fibromas y también me sugerio probar el vapor pélvico.

Otra de las recomendaciones que me hizo Li Lan fue cambiar mi dieta: quitar los lácteos y derivados de la leche de vaca, lo cual no ha sido fácil. Ella me explicaba que los lácteos producen flemas y que contribuyen al congestionamiento de los órganos reproductivos, digestivo y respiratorio.  Yo he notado un mejor funcionamiento de mi organismo al haber sustituido la leche de vaca por la de almendra, al integrar más verduras, al poner atención al consumo de pan y harinas y en general a balancear lo que como. Con estos cambios dietéticos, he notado mejor digestion: menos inflamacion de mi abdomen, menos estreñimiento y menos flemas cuando me resfrío.

También tome sesiones de coaching para ayudar a organizarme mejor y estar pendiente de tomar mis suplementos y fórmulas herbales.  Raquel me dio varias técnicas de recordatorio para mí misma que pude implementar fácilmente. También tome Reiki con Raquel, fue una experiencia única y diferente al poder sentir el fluir de energía en mi cuerpo y mi humor cambiaba inmediatamente después de la sesión: si llegaba triste, me sentía más alegre o si me sentia deprimida, salía con mas energia.    

Al pasar el tiempo he descubierto los cambios en mi cuerpo, uno de los síntomas que desaparecieron fueron esos dolores punzantes que me daban en el vientre una o dos semanas antes de mi menstruación y en los últimos meses he notado que un masaje corporal de relajación con Jess días antes de mi menstruación ha ayudado que mi menstruacion fluya rojo dentro de unas horas y no café y seco por 24 horas y con menos dolor el primer dia. Li-Lan me ha explicado que todo lo que he hecho por mi misma: comer más sano, usar fórmulas herbales, venir a las sesiones y poner mas atencion a mi cuerpo y mente han resultado en sanar no solamente los cólicos menstruales, pero también armonizar mi cuerpo, mente y emociones.

Hoy en día al tener un estilo de vida más tranquilo he estado muy alerta de todos los cambios que hay en mi cuerpo y de cada sensación, lo cual antes no tenía pues vivía tan acelerada y apresurada que no estaba consciente de cómo lo que comía o pensaba me provocaba una reacción.  He aprendido a escuchar más mi cuerpo y saber cómo reacciona cuando tengo ansiedad, enojo, preocupación, ira o cualquier otro sentimiento que no me hace bien; he aprendido a especificar qué alimentos no me caen bien y cuales ayudan mucho a mi organismo. Un resultado de todos estos cambios alimenticios y de estilo de vida ha sido la pérdida de peso, aunque no fue mi principal motivación de acudir a estas terapias naturales.

Me ha gustado tomar varios de los talleres en Armonía Health LLC en los cuales he aprendido mucho del organismo femenino y a conocer más mi cuerpo.  Un ejemplo es el club de lectura de medicina china en español donde leímos el libro de la doctora Xiaolan Zhao Medicina Tradicional China para la mujer.  Por medio del libro y las discusiones, he realizado como un concepto negativo a nivel cultural y de la familia hacia los cambios y etapas naturales de la mujer pueden afectar el cuerpo de uno mismo al crecer, escuchar y absorber esas opiniones y pensamientos.  

Estoy muy agradecida de poder encontrar a Li-Lan y lo que ha creado en Armonia Health LLC.  Es un gran aporte a la comunidad hispana y a la comunidad en general.

Cupping Therapy / Ventosas

written by Li-Lan Hsiang Weiss L.Ac. and Jess Taylor LMBT

Cupping is a form of therapy widely used in Chinese Medicine and now is commonly incorporated into bodywork sessions.  Cupping has a long history. The Ebers Papyrus, written c. 1550 BC, considered one of the oldest medical textbooks in the Western world, describes how the Egyptians used cupping to help cure some frequent medical issues and how it was also used by people in the Saharan. Hippocrates, a Greek physician (400 BC), also used this technique to treat internal disease and some structural problems.

Ge Hong (281-341 A.D.), a southern Chinese official during the Jin Dynasty, wrote about it. He was interested in alchemy, herbalism and techniques of longevity. Ge Hong popularized the saying “Acupuncture and cupping, more than half of the ills cured.” Later on, this method found its way throughout Asia, Europe and is commonly known in Mexico and Central America.

In the dry cupping procedure, practitioners place specialized cups on the skin, they can be glass, bamboo, porcelain, plastic, or silicone. They then use either heat, an air pump, or manually to create a suction between the cup and the skin. As a result, a vacuum is created on the patient’s skin to draw out toxins from the tissues, dispel stagnant blood and lymph, and soothe muscle pain thereby improving the flow of Qi (energy) and blood.

Armonía Health’s licensed massage therapist Jess Taylor offers cupping therapy in conjunction with the massage session.  She uses silicone cups that easily create a suction over the skin without the use of additional fire vacuum or hand pump.  They are washed in hot water, soap, and disinfected after each use.  Following is her feedback on her use of the silicone cups and a more detailed explanation of cupping:

“For the past few months I have started to incorporate cupping therapy into my massage sessions and have been finding great success.  A few examples where this modality increased my effectiveness during sessions has been with clients experiencing shoulder and neck pain with limited range of motion, lung congestion and/or restriction, plantar fasciitis, habitual postural patterns from years of repetitive activity, edema, softening scar tissue and the ability to access deeper tissues and trigger points.  If any of this sounds familiar, let’s incorporate cupping into your next massage.

In these sessions, silicone cups are placed on areas of the body by squeezing the cups to create a vacuum pressure which then lifts the tissue, pulling out toxins, metabolic waste and bringing stagnant blood to the surface.  Fresh blood flow can then enter the tissues, rejuvenating them with nutrients and oxygen. When incorporated with massage, cupping can help to sedate the nervous system, decrease chronic muscle tension in specific areas, decrease inflammation and increase range of motion.  Essentially, this form of therapy is effective for helping stuck areas in the body to become unstuck.  Muscles and fascia are left feeling more supple with less tension and a sense of deep relief. These are just some of the many benefits of cupping therapy.

Please note since cupping pulls toxins and stagnant blood up to the surface of the body, this may sometimes cause a ring or purplish red discoloration to appear on the skin.  These marks usually dissipate within 1-5 days of treatment and are a normal part of the the healing process. Generally, these marks will only be experienced during the first few treatments or in areas of great restriction. I am available Tuesday afternoons for massage and cupping,

Maybe it’s time to try something new in your healing regimen if you haven’t had cupping before!”

 

Tratando dolor despues de un accidente de motocicleta

¿Qué es la medicina integrativa o la salud integral?

“Es una medicina orientada a la sanación que toma en cuenta a toda la persona (cuerpo, mente y espíritu), incluyendo todos los aspectos del estilo de vida, enfatiza la relación terapéutica y hace uso de todas las terapias apropiadas, tanto convencionales como complementarias” Andrew Weil 2011

Permítame darle un ejemplo personal de una manera integrativa para el tratamiento del dolor que incorpora el tratamiento médico, el apoyo de la comunidad, la sanación energetica, la acupuntura y la terapia nutricional:

 

Mi esposo sufrió un accidente de motocicleta en 2009, se fracturó 9 costillas, tuvo un pulmón parcialmente colapsado, se fracturó ambas muñecas, y su tobillo derecho recibió el impacto del camión que lo atropello cuando lo estaba pasando. Estuvo en la unidad de trauma por 4 días. Su dolor era tan intenso que cada respiración era dolorosa, estaba agradecido de haber recibido un goteo automático de morfina que lo mantuvo en menos sufrimiento esa primera noche. Nuestra amiga homeópata trajo un remedio esa primera noche que ayuda con el susto del trauma, cada vez que Alex recibía una gota, sentía una inmediata sensación de alivio. El segundo día se le permitió automedicarse con goteos de morfina, amigos y familiares nos llamaron y nos visitaron, incluyendo nuestro bajista, que vino con dibujos de sus hijos gemelos que conocíamos desde los dos años y Alex recibía Reiki cada vez que teníamos un tiempo a solas entre todas estas pruebas, chequeos y visitas del personal del hospital.

Al tercer día tomó oralmente opios para el dolor, muchas oraciones llegaron de nuestra comunidad cuando se supo acerca de su accidente de motocicleta. Fue entonces cuando sentí un cambio obvio de no sentirme sola, que no era la única peleaba por Alex que no queria cirugía. Había rechazado que le pusieran una placa de metal para estabilizar el pecho porque su pulmón estaba parcialmente colapsado, Alex no podía imaginarse yendo directamente a una cirugía la primera noche de su accidente. Sus pulmones no empeoraron el segundo día y Alex tosió y respiró hondo como le ordenaban para mover el líquido de sus pulmones para prevenir una infeccion bacterial. Se negó la cirugía en ambas muñecas porque el cirujano nunca le había puesto alfileres en las muñecas a un musico profesional de congas, así que no pudo darle ningún comentario al respecto y lo peor que le pasaría si no se sometiera a cirugía era artritis, a la cual ambos le dijimos que la acupuntura podría ayudar a prevenir y tratar eso.

Para el cuarto día, Alex completó una caminata alrededor del piso del hospital, ¡fue como terminar una maratón! ¡Casi se desmayó por el esfuerzo de caminar, pero lo hizo! El cirujano que lo atendia lo vio caminando de regreso a la habitación y le dijo que según sus radiografías del tórax y el líquido en sus pulmones, no podía ver cómo podía caminar. Estaba yo tan frustrada a este punto por el aparente impulso de querer hacerle cirugía y la falta de apoyo motivacional de parte de los medicos, que le respondi: “Doctor, ¿está tratando a la persona o está tratando una radiografía?” A lo que él respondió: “Trato a la persona. Te vamos a dar de alta hoy porque ya no hay nada que podamos hacer por ti. Eres más susceptible a una infección grave si te quedas más tiempo”. Aunque estamos agradecidos de que el hospital tenga una buena unidad de emergencia y estuvieron minuciosos con sus pruebas para asegurarnos de que todo se habia chequeado, era un desafío estar allí constantemente haciendo preguntas y teniendo que defender los deseos de Alex.

El siguiente desafío era volver a casa y descubrir cómo ayudarlo a mejorarse. Estos eran los aspectos claves que Alex necesitaba: 1) Apoyo inmunologico para que sus pulmones no tuvieran una infección respiratoria, ya que la tos causaba un dolor insoportable con las costillas fracturadas, existía el riesgo de que el líquido en sus pulmones pudiera albergar una infección bacteriana 2) Ayudar su energía y glucosa de la sangre para que su circulación sanguínea sea lo más eficiente posible y los nutrientes lleguen a sus órganos, tejidos lesionados y huesos y sus adrenales pudieran recuperarse. 3) Apoyo emocional de su comunidad y familia y filtrado de noticias o situaciones mundiales que le causaba ansiedad 4) Asegurándose de que su popo y pipi fueran eficientes para eliminar la inflamación que se producía naturalmente en su cuerpo por las lesiones

Nuestra comunidad de amigos practicantes se unió para traernos caldo de huesos y comida, le dieron sesiones de sanación de energía y recibió acupuntura casi todos los días. Tomó hierbas para su trauma pulmonar y para evitar que el líquido se acumule, suplementos y remedios homeopáticos para ayudar con la cicatrización de tejidos, nervios y huesos. Mi madre vino a ayudar a cocinar y ayudarle a Alex que yo tenía que empezar a ver clientes después de dos semanas. Alex no bebió cerveza ni vino durante más de un mes y comió una dieta antiinflamatoria de muchas verduras, sopa de pollo, pescado y granos integrales. Él desafiaba su cuerpo todos los días para ver cuánto podía moverse: pasó de ser feliz por solo poder levantarse de la cama de masaje en la que dormía, hasta poder llegar al baño sin que yo me preocupara que se iba a caer. hasta salir a traer el correo de la casa a las dos o tres semanas después del accidente. Cada semana, mi madre lo invitaba a comer a Hong Kong y la salida reflejaría para él cuánto estaba mejorando. Su terapia física no comenzó hasta un mes después de su accidente, por lo que este primer mes fue crucial y sentí que él y nuestra comunidad realmente hicieron todo lo posible para ayudarlo a sanar rápidamente. También hizo diferencia de que estaba físicamente activo y comia bien y esta de buen salud antes del accidente y su corazón era fuerte. El cirujano asistente de la unidad de trauma le había dicho: “Si tuviera dos años más y su corazón no fuera tan fuerte, estaría en una situación mucho peor”.

Durante este primer mes, tomó el analgésicos de opio y medicamentos para inflamacion, así como hierbas y homeópatia para el dolor que funcionan de manera diferente a los opiáceos. Lo que fue fascinante para mí descubrir fue que los opios solamente tapan la percepción del dolor, el dolor todavía esta allí, pero el cerebro no lo percibe. Descubrimos que cuando el efecto del medicamento opiáceo para el dolor se estaba disminuyendo después del almuerzo, yo le daría acupuntura auricular  y con el primer punto, ShenMen, inmediatamente sentía un alivio en sus niveles de dolor “como un aire fresco”. A medida que pasaban las semanas, sus niveles de dolor comenzaron a disminuir y pudo moverse más. Nadie podia decirnos cómo o cuándo dejar los opiáceos, así que continué tratando su dolor con acupuntura y hierbas. Cuando detuvo los opiáceos, pasó por una noche de intensa ansiedad, síntomas de abstinencia e insomnio que persistieron después. Tomó una píldora de opiáceos unas semanas más tarde después de un largo día de actividad y se sintió tan terrible esa noche que nunca quiso volver a tomarlas. Los opiáceos habían funcionado exactamente como debían funcionar: aliviaron el dolor durante la fase aguda y las primeras semanas de recuperación y ayudaron a conservar su energía para el proceso de curación, pero una vez que el dolor no fue tan fuerte, dejaron de funcionar. Su recuperación continuó durante varios años con la terapia física que hizo por su cuenta, masajes, sanación con energía, acupuntura y sanación espiritual.

Espero que este ejemplo te haya dado una idea de las posibilidades de incorporar la medicina natural con intervenciones médicas. Su acupunturista, naturópata, terapista Arvigo, terapista de Reiki, homeópata o nutricionista integral estarían encantados de ayudarle si usted o alguien querido se encontrara alguna vez en una situación similar.

Mi próximo blog presentará un tratamiento integrativo para el dolor crónico y las condiciones que lentamente progresaron internamente en el cuerpo. Hablaremos sobre cómo la medicina china, la terapia abdominal maya Arvigo, el masaje, la nutrición y la sanación energética juegan un papel importante.

Saludos, Li-Lan

Para saber mas sobre nuestra acupuntura comunitaria lea este blog Acupuntura para Dolor: Nuestra clinica comunitaria

Part 3: An Integrative Approach to Pain after a Motorcyle Accident

What is integrative medicine or integrative healthcare?

“It is a healing-oriented medicine that takes into account the whole person (body, mind, and spirit), including all aspects of lifestyle,  emphasizes the therapeutic relationship, and makes use of all appropriate therapies, both conventional and complementary”  Andrew Weil  2011

Let me give you a personal example of an integrative approach to the treatment of pain that incorporated medical treatment, community support, energy healing, acupuncture, and nutritional therapy:

My husband was in a bad motorcycle accident in 2009, he fractured 9 ribs, had a partially collapsed lung, fractured both wrists, and his right ankle/fibula received the impact of the truck that turned into him as he was passing it.   He was in the trauma unit for 4 days.  His pain was so intense that every breath was painful, he was grateful that he received an automatic morphine drip that kept him in as much ease as possible that first night.  Our classical homeopath friend brought a remedy that first evening that helps with the shock of trauma, every time Alex got a drop, he would feel an immediate sense of relief.  The second day he was allowed to self medicate on that morphine drip, friends and family were calling and visiting, including our bass player who came with Get Well pictures drawn by his twin children whom we had known since age 2 and Alex was receiving Reiki from me whenever we had some alone time between all this tests, check ups, and hospital staff visits.

By the third day he was on oral opiate based medication and lots of prayers had come in from our community as word got out about his motorcycle accident.  That’s when I felt an obvious shift of not being alone, that I wasn’t the only one advocating for Alex not wanting surgery.  He had refused his chest being plated to stabilize his partially collapsed lung because he couldn’t imagine going straight into such major surgery the first night of his accident.  His lungs didn’t get worse the second day and Alex coughed and breathed deep as he was instructed to challenge his lungs to clear the fluid.  He refused surgery in both his wrists because the surgeon had never put pins into the wrists of a professional conga player so couldn’t give him any feedback on that and the worst that would happen if he didn’t get surgery was arthritis, to which we both told the surgeons that acupuncture could help prevent and treat that.

By the fourth day, Alex completed walking once around the hospital floor, it was like finishing a marathon! He nearly fainted from the effort of walking but he did it!  The attending surgeon that saw him walking back to the room this fourth day told him that according to his chest X-rays and the fluid in his lungs, he couldn’t see how he could be walking already. I was so frustrated by this point at the apparent push for surgery and lack of motivational support on their part that I retorted, “Doctor, are you treating the person or are you treating an X-ray?!”  To which he replied, “I’m treating the person.  We are going to discharge you today because there is nothing we can do for you anymore.  You are more susceptible to a bad infection if you stay longer”.  Though we are grateful the hospital has a good emergency unit and were thorough with their testing to make sure no rock was left unturned, it was a challenge to be there constantly asking questions and having to be his advocate.

The next challenge was coming home and figuring out how to best help him heal.  These were the key aspects Alex needed: 1) Immune support so his lungs wouldn’t get a respiratory infection as coughing caused excruciating pain with the fractured ribs, there was a risk that the fluid in his lungs could harbor a bacterial infection  2)  Energy and blood glucose support so that his blood circulation would be as efficient as possible and the nutrients would get to his organs, injured tissues, and bones and his adrenals could recuperate  3)  Emotional support from his community and family and filtering from world news or situations that caused anxiety  4) Making sure his pooping and peeing were effective to flush out the inflammation that was naturally occurring in his body to deal with the injuries

Our community of practitioner friends came together to bring him bone broth and food, gave him energy healing sessions, and he got acupuncture almost every day.  He took herbs for his lung trauma and to prevent the fluid from accumulating, supplements and homeopathic remedies to help with tissue, nerve, and bone healing, my mother came to help with cooking and bandaging as I had to start seeing clients after two weeks, Alex didn’t drink beer nor wine for over a month and ate an anti-inflammatory diet of lots of veggies, chicken soup, fish, and whole grains.   He would challenge his body every day to see how much it could move: he went from being happy for just being able to get up from a reclined massage table that he slept on, to being able to make it to the bathroom without me freaking out that he’d fall, to walking out to get the mail two-three weeks after his accident.  Each week my mother would invite him to Hong Kong Dim Sum and the outing would reflect for him how much he was improving.   His physical therapy didn’t start until one month after his accident, so this first month was crucial and I felt he and our community really did everything possible to help him heal quickly.  It also made a difference that he was physically active and ate well before the accident, so his heart was strong.  The attending surgeon at the trauma unit had told him:  “If he was two years older, and his heart wasn’t as strong, he would be in much worse shape.”

During this first month, he took the prescribed opiate painkiller and NSAIDS as well as herbs and homeopathics for pain that work differently from opiates.  What was fascinating for me to discover was that opiates mask the perception of pain, so it’s like the pain is still there but the brain doesn’t perceive it.  We found out that when his opiate pain drug was wearing out after lunch, I’d give him ear acupuncture and with the first point, ShenMen, he would immediately feel an overall relief in his pain levels “like a breath of fresh air”.  As the weeks progressed, his pain levels started to decrease and he was able to move more.  No one could coach us on how or when to get off the opiates, so I continued to treat his pain with acupuncture and herbs.  When he did stop the opiates, he went thru a night of intense anxiety withdrawal symptoms and insomnia that persisted afterwards.  He took one opiate pill a few weeks later after a long day of activity and performing and he felt so terrible that night that he never wanted to take one again.  The opiates had worked exactly how they were meant to work:  they eased the pain during the acute phase and the first few weeks of recovery and helped conserve his energy for the healing process but once the pain wasn’t as bad, they stopped working.  His recovery continued for several years with physical therapy he did on his own, massage, energy healing, acupuncture, and spiritual healing.

I hope this story has given you some insight to the possibilities of incorporating natural medicine with medical interventions.  Your acupuncturist, naturopath, Arvigo practitioner, energy healer, homeopath, herbalist, or functional nutritionist would be happy to help if you or someone you cared about were ever in a similar situation.

My next blog will present integrative treatment for chronic pain and conditions that slowly progressed internally rather than from an external accident.  We will be talking about how Chinese medicine, Arvigo mayan abdominal therapy, massage, nutrition, and energy healing play an important role.

Best wishes, Li-Lan

For more details on our community acupuncture model, visit our blog Acupuncture & Chronic Pain Part 2: The community acupuncture experience

To see a short video on the difference of using acupuncture for treating low back pain and medical treatment using pain medications, visit our blog Acupuncture & Chronic Pain Part 1: Experience the Difference

Acupuntura para Dolor: Nuestra clinica comunitaria

Community Room

escrita por Li-Lan Hsiang Weiss Licencia en Acupuntura en Carolina del Norte, Diplomado Nacional en Medicina Oriental

Poco después de graduarme de mi Maestría en Medicina Oriental en Nuevo México en 2005, regresé a Durham y sentí que esta era un buen área para comenzar mi práctica. Desde el principio tenía dos cosas claras: quería trabajar con la comunidad de habla hispana y tenía que yo ser buena para tratar el dolor.

Fue todo un desafío comenzar una práctica por mi cuenta, en ese entonces no había muchas clinicas que contrataran acupunturistas. Tuve que consultar a mis profesores con muchos casos, tenía límites no muy buenos con mi horario de trabajo y cuánto cobraba, tuve que crear mi propio material de promocion y estrategias y sobre todo esto tenia una extraña reacción en mis dedos cada vez que alguien gritaba de dolor al ponerle la agujita! ¡Cómo podría ayudar a otros cuando les causaba dolor! Tuve que superarlo, lo que hice, después de mucha auto-sanacion. Lloraba en desesperación durante la cena con mi esposo “¡Otros acupunturistas saben mucho más!” Él me aseguró que no me preocupara, que a lo largo de unos años sabría mas.

Así que para mejorar el tratamiento del dolor, estudié la acupuntura del cuero cabelludo, el método de equilibrio del Dr. Tan, mejoré la toma de pulso para el diagnóstico de la medicina china, la técnica maya de Arvigo para evaluar las caderas, el sacro y el cóccix y trate cientos de personas con dolor.  Hace un mes, Austin y yo estudiamos una forma de acupuntura china clásica llamada acupuntura Yuan Qi y nunca me entusiasmó tanto una técnica de acupuntura. Esta técnica, al encontrar la ubicación exacta del punto, obtiene una disminución instantánea en la intensidad del dolor con movilidad incrementada el 90% del tiempo. Hemos estado muy entusiasmado con la rapidez con que esta técnica de Yuan Qi afecta el cambio.  Lo que estamos evaluando ahora es qué condiciones y con quién esta técnica funciona mejor y cuánto duran los efectos de una semana a otra.

Retrocediendo un poco a mi deseo original de ayudar a la población de habla hispana y a aquellos con recursos limitados, que tambien incluia a mi, me pregunté a mí mismo: ¿cómo puedo crear un modelo de acupuntura en el que también pueda yo pagarlo? Un artículo de mi escuela de medicina china describió la acupuntura comunitaria y eso me llevó a encontrar detalles específicos sobre cómo comenzar una clínica de acupuntura que cobra entre $ 20 y 40. Eso fue en el 2007. Ofrecí miles de tratamientos de acupuntura un día por semana, con 4-5 mesas de masajes en Health Touch NC LLC y también atendí clientes en privado de 3 a 4 días por semana. Detuve la acupuntura comunitaria en 2014 principalmente porque estaba muy agotada de tener que arreglar el cuarto cada semana, pero en 2016 la demanda volvió y, por lo tanto, me despedi de Health Touch y encontre el local en que nos encontramos ahora.

Al contar con Austin Dixon en Armonia Health LLC, que ha trabajado en acupuntura comunitaria durante casi 9 años, tenemos la posibilidad de ayudar a más personas de las que yo podría hacer sola. La acupuntura comunitaria es la mitad de costo de la acupuntura individual y ahora podemos ver a unas 35 personas por semana durante 1.5 días. Nuestra recepcionista agiliza el proceso de citas, tenemos un sistema de citas en línea del que todavía estamos aprendiendo, y tratamos de crear un ambiente relajado en el que lo más importante es que nosotros, como acupunturistas, estamos completamente presentes con todos y cada uno de nuestros clientes durante su sesión y los ayudamos a sentirse lo más cómodos posible en un entorno grupal.  Algunas personas eligen la acupuntura comunitaria porque es más asequible, algunas personas se sienten cómodas en un grupo donde todos están allí por una causa común, algunas personas disfrutan de recibir acupuntura en la misma habitación que sus familiares, algunas personas disfrutan incorporando regularmente la acupuntura en su rutina de autocuidado y el modelo de comunidad lo hace accesible.

En el artículo de investigación original de Kligler B, Nielsen A, Kohrrer C, et al. Terapia de acupuntura en un entorno grupal para el dolor crónico. Medicina para el dolor. 2017 (0): 1-11:

Se encontró que la acupuntura en grupo semanal para el tratamiento de dolor crónico de cuello, espalda, hombro y osteoartritis en la que sufrian por lo menos tres meses en 113 participantes en Nueva York durante ocho semanas, disminuyó estadísticamente y clínicamente la gravedad del dolor, la interferencia del dolor y la depresión incluso 16 semanas después de la finalización del curso del tratamiento.

Creo firmemente que la acupuntura debe ser conocida como una opción para los analgésicos, especialmente los opios. La acupuntura no está cubierta por la mayoría de los planes de seguro en Carolina del Norte y muchas personas no tienen seguro. No deje que el dolor espere seguro medico o que el dolor se ponga tan mal que la acupuntura se use como último recurso antes de considerar la cirugía. No es necesario “resistir” cuando se trata de dolor, el dolor es un buen mensajero para nosotros que algo tiene que cambiar o ajustarse. Siga aprendiendo sobre dolor y en que formas se puede mejorar la salud total cuerpo y mente.

La Parte 3 de esta serie sobre acupuntura y dolor crónico se enfocará en cómo en Armonia Health LLC estamos construyendo un enfoque integrativo dentro de nuestra práctica para condiciones de dolor más complejas, asegúrese de revisar nuestra lista de nuevos cursos y eventos que complementan las terapias que ofrecemos.

Acupuncture & Chronic Pain Part 2: The community acupuncture experience

Armonia Health LLC’s Community Room

by Li-Lan Hsiang Weiss L.Ac

Shortly after I graduated from my Masters in Oriental Medicine in New Mexico in 2005, I moved back to Durham and felt this was a good area for me to start my private practice.  Two things were clear to me from the beginning:  I wanted to work with the Spanish speaking community and I had to get good at treating pain.

It was quite a challenge to start a practice on my own, back then there weren’t many practices that hired acupuncturists.  I had to consult my teachers with a lot of cases, I had poor boundaries for my work schedule and how much I charged, I had to create my own marketing material and strategies, and above all this I was getting this strange skin reaction on my fingers whenever someone cried out in pain from my needling technique! How could I help others when I was causing them pain!  I had to get over it, which I did, after much self-healing. I would cry out in despair over dinner to my husband “Other acupuncturists know so much more!”  He assured me not to worry, that over a few years I’d get better.

So to get better at treating pain, I studied scalp acupuncture, Dr. Tan’s Pain balancing method, got better at pulse taking for Chinese medicine diagnosis, the Arvigo mayan technique of assessing the hips, sacrum, and tailbone and treated hundreds of pain cases.   A month ago, Austin and I studied a form of classical Chinese acupuncture called Yuan Qi acupuncture and I have not been this excited about an acupuncture technique EVER! This technique, by finding the exact point location, I have gotten an instant decrease in pain intensity with increased mobility 90% of the time. I have been pretty excited at how quick this Yuan Qi technique affects change and so is our acupuncturist Austin Dixon.  What we are assessing now is which conditions and with whom this technique works best and how long the effects last from week to week.

Rewinding a bit back to my original wish to help the Spanish speaking population and those with limited resources, which included me, I asked myself: How can I create a model of acupuncture where I can afford it too?  An article from my Chinese medicine school described community acupuncture and that led me to find specific details on how to start a community-supported acupuncture clinic which charged $20-40. That was in 2007.  I gave thousands of acupuncture treatments just one day per week setting up 4-5 massage tables at Health Touch NC LLC and also saw clients privately 3-4 days per week.  I stopped the community acupuncture in 2014 mainly because I got burnt out from setting up and breaking down the massage tables and room every week, but by 2016 the demand was back and thus I moved out of Health Touch into the space we are now.

With having Austin at Armonia Health LLC, who has worked in community acupuncture settings for close to 9 years, we have the possibility of helping more people than I could do alone.  Community acupuncture is 1/2 the price of individual acupuncture and we can now see about 35 people per week over 1.5 days.  Our receptionist streamlines the scheduling process, we have an online appointment system that we’re still learning from, and we try to create a relaxed atmosphere where most importantly, we as acupuncturists are fully present with each and every one of our clients during their session and we help them feel as comfortable as possible in a group setting.  Some people choose the community acupuncture because it is more affordable, some people feel comfortable in a group where everyone is there for a common cause, some people enjoy receiving acupuncture in the same room as their family member and can carpool, some people enjoy incorporating regular acupuncture into their self care routine and the community model makes this accessible.

In the original research article by Kligler B, Nielsen A, Kohrrer C, et al.  Acupuncture Therapy in a Group Setting for Chronic Pain. Pain Medicine. 2017(0):1-11:

Weekly group acupuncture for the treatment of chronic neck, back, shoulder, and osteoarthritis pain of at least three months on 113 participants in NYC over eight weeks was found to statistically and clinically decrease pain severity, pain interference, and depression even 16 weeks after the completion of the course of treatment. 

I feel strongly that acupuncture should be known as an option to pain medications, especially opioids. Acupuncture is not covered by most insurance plans in NC and a lot of people don’t have insurance.  Don’t let people’s pain wait for insurance coverage or for pain to get so bad that acupuncture is used as a last resort before considering surgery.  It’s not necessary to “tough it out” when it comes to pain, pain is such a good messenger to us that something needs to change or be adjusted.

Part 3 of this series on acupuncture and chronic pain will focus on how we at Armonia Health LLC are building an integrative approach to care within our practice for more complex pain conditions, be sure to check out our What’s new list of courses and events that support our therapies and teach life long tools that enhance well-being.

Acupuncture & Chronic Pain Part 1: Experience the Difference

View the above video of 2 state employees suffering from chronic pain.

One is using prescription drugs to manage pain. One is using acupuncture.

Patients Deserve the Choice of Their Medical Treatments.

“The United States spends much more money on health care than any other country. Yet, Americans die sooner and experience more illness than residents in many other countries…health trajectory is lower in success and higher in cost than it should be. The cost of inaction is high.”
– Harvey Fineberg, President of the Institute of Medicine

IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT ACUPUNCTURE

Acupuncturists are experts in administering less invasive, low-cost treatments that support the body while it heals itself, and that serve as effective substitutes for riskier modalities such as prescription narcotics.

Acupuncture plays an important role in helping patients with pain avoid more expensive, higher risk interventions. A 2012 British study found that one-third of total knee replacement candidates who received acupuncture instead of conventional treatment experienced long-term pain relief and were able to avoid surgery two years later, at a cost savings of $8,100 per patient. In the U.S., where 719,000 knee replacement surgeries were performed in 2010, the savings could total $1.9 billion.*

Acupuncture reduces pain, reduces inflammation, and increases blood flow and circulation.

The efficacy of acupuncture and traditional Asian medicine for pain, cancer, and many other health conditions is proven. Forward-thinking American health care and insurance systems will support and incentivize visits to acupuncturists because they treat effectively and are cost-effective.

There is no risk of addiction or abuse, as there is with prescription narcotics.

There are no side effects, as there are with many prescription drugs.

Acupuncture is the fastest growing medical service in the United States and the world.

Many NFL teams use Acupuncture services to help their football players perform at their peak and help injuries heal faster.

Acupuncture services are being included as one of the medical services at the 2015 Special Olympics in Los Angeles.

Acupuncture services are helping U.S. servicemen and women on the battlefield as well as veterans at home.

The top 5 U.S. cancer centers, ranked by U.S. News and World Report, have licensed acupuncturists on staff and fund and conduct acupuncture and Oriental medicine research.

*Inpatient Surgery: National Hospital Discharge Survey; 2010. Atlanta, GA; 2010. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/inpatient-surgery.htm.

Part 2 of this blog post Acupuncture & Chronic Pain will focus on how we at Armonia Health LLC treat pain with acupuncture and Chinese medicine.

Part 3 of this blog post Acupuncture & Chronic Pain will focus how we at Armonia Health LLC are working towards an integrative approach to treating pain that addresses the physical symptoms, as well as the impact of pain on relationships, self care, and personal goals.

 

DATOS IMPORTANTES SOBRE LA ACUPUNTURA

Los acupunturistas son expertos en la administración de tratamientos menos invasivos y de bajo costo que apoyan al cuerpo mientras se cura a sí mismo y que sirven como sustitutos efectivos de las modalidades más riesgosas, como los narcóticos recetados.

La acupuntura juega un papel importante para ayudar a los pacientes con dolor a evitar intervenciones más costosas y de mayor riesgo. Un estudio británico de 2012 encontró que un tercio del total de candidatos de reemplazo de rodilla que recibieron acupuntura en lugar del tratamiento convencional experimentaron alivio del dolor a largo plazo y pudieron evitar la cirugía dos años después, con un ahorro en los costos de $ 8,100 por paciente. En los EE. UU., Donde se realizaron 719,000 cirugías de reemplazo de rodilla en 2010, los ahorros podrían ascender a $ 1,9 mil millones. *

La acupuntura reduce el dolor, reduce la inflamación y aumenta el flujo sanguíneo y la circulación.

La eficacia de la acupuntura y la medicina tradicional asiática para el dolor, el cáncer y muchas otras condiciones de salud está comprobada. Los sistemas de seguro y atención de salud estadounidenses con visión de futuro apoyarán e incentivarán las visitas a los acupuntores porque los tratan de manera efectiva y son rentables.

No hay riesgo de adicción o abuso, como ocurre con los narcóticos recetados.

No hay efectos secundarios, como ocurre con muchos medicamentos recetados.

La acupuntura es el servicio médico de más rápido crecimiento en los Estados Unidos y el mundo.

Muchos equipos de la NFL utilizan los servicios de Acupuntura para ayudar a sus jugadores de fútbol a rendir al máximo y ayudar a que las lesiones cicatricen más rápido.

Los servicios de acupuntura están siendo incluidos como uno de los servicios médicos en los Juegos Olímpicos Especiales 2015 en Los Ángeles.

Los servicios de acupuntura están ayudando a hombres y mujeres militares de los EE. UU. En el campo de batalla, así como a veteranos en el hogar.

Los 5 principales centros oncológicos de los EE. UU., Clasificados por Noticias de EE. UU. Y World Report, tienen acupunturistas con licencia en el personal y financian y realizan acupuntura e investigación de medicina oriental.

 

Spring is Here! Practical tools

written by Austin Dixon L.Ac.

Spring is here! Even if the weather still has random wintery moments (welcome to NC), the energetic shifts that come with the season change are in full effect. So even on days when we reach for a scarf, things are changing. We tend to feel the physical and emotional changes more moving from Winter to Spring than other season changes. Spring’s energy is a bit chaotic and more noticeable than the subtle changes we experience when we transition to other seasons.

In Chinese Medicine Spring is associated with the Wood element. All the trees start to bloom and grow. We see baby animals and beautiful flowers everywhere. Everything is alive! Everything has a newness and the energy around us feels a little like a young child set free on a new playground. It can be both exhilarating and exhausting. It’s important to recognize the chaos but not get caught up in it. Take time to meditate or just sit quietly. As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer we can easily find ourselves committing to too much, saying yes to everything, resulting in getting run down quickly. Make sure to build in breaks and be conscious of overbooking. Trust me. Say no. Take some breaks and you will be able to do the stuff that really matters without burning out.

Spring is associated with the Liver and Gallbladder channels. These channels provide the body with a smooth flow of Qi which is essential to balance. Our Liver Qi has a tendency to get stagnant due to stress, overwork, and emotional upset. Needless to say, a lot of us have Liver Qi Stagnation. Liver Qi Stagnation can present as anger/irritability, headaches, stiff or painful joints, tension, excessive sighing, or issues with the eyes just to mention a few. Symptoms of Liver Qi Stagnation can be more prominent and persistent during the Spring. It is very important to move Liver Qi before it wreaks havoc on the other channels. Acupuncture, meditation, and regular exercise are great ways to move Liver Qi. Something to keep in mind while choosing an exercise routine for the Spring is that the Wood element governs the tendons and sinews (you may notice a flare up of tendonitis). Focus on exercises that are less rigorous and more stretching and strengthening like yoga, pilates, walking, swimming. Tai Qi and Qigong are also great for this time of year.

I hope this has been helpful in explaining a few of those Springtime symptoms you may be experiencing. Just like the trees we are always growing. Spring is a great time to refresh your self care routines (or finally create one) and create new health habits. Pro tips: get acupuncture, maintain regular exercise, build in breaks, and enjoy your Spring!    

Austin 

For more information on the Wood Element, it’s associations, and other signs and symptoms of a Liver and Gallbladder meridian imbalance, check out our Spring 2017 blog post