Tagged: Acupuncture

Attune to Spring with Traditional Chinese Medicine

Melissa Hawboldt, Dr. TCM

Have you noticed any changes in your health and energy in the last month or so? Spring is in full bloom here in Victoria, BC. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory, each season has it’s own unique connection with all aspects of our wellbeing – mental, emotional and physical. Spring is associated with the Wood element, the East, wind, the colour green, and the Liver-Gallbladder system. The Earth’s, and our energy is moving up and out – bringing all sorts of things to the surface, from flower buds to skin rashes and old emotions. 

Emotional & Physical Balance 

Spring is associated with the emotion of anger. When the Qi (pronounced “chee”) or vital energy in our bodies is not moving smoothly, it can stagnate. This leads to feelings of frustration, irritability, and anger. When the Liver -Gallbladder system is out of balance you may also experience vivid dreams, depression, indigestion, sciatica, discomfort and tension around the ribcage and neck and shoulder area. 

To keep the Qi moving in your body, try brisk walks, shaking your arms and legs wildly for a minute or dancing to your favourite song. Acupuncture and cupping are also wonderful ways to get the Qi circulating, calm the mind, and relax body tension. 

The Liver-Gallbladder system is also connected to the eyes, and in turn, our vision for the future and our ability to gain a fresh perspective or outlook. Spring is an opportune time for journaling, goal setting, and creative pursuits. Spring is the season of movement, change, transformation, new beginnings and new ways of looking at the world. 

Eating for the Season 

Do you change your eating habits from season to season? According to TCM food therapy, for optimal health and wellness it is best align your food choices to your individual constitution and pattern first (you can talk to a TCM practitioner about this) and to the season second. 

The season of spring is traditionally a time to cleanse from a heavier winter diet. However, be cautious if you tend to have digestive problems. Raw, frozen, cold temperature and cold natured foods (such as fruit juices, cucumber, avocado and tomato) can weaken ‘digestive fire’ resulting in bloating, abdominal pain and loose stool. Ease into seasonal salads and smoothies if you tend to these symptoms. 

Time to transition from the slow and low cooking methods of winter and begin to use shorter cooking times and higher heat; poaching, blanching, steaming, sautéing and stir-frying are ideal. 

To give your Liver-Gallbladder system some love, avoid greasy, deep-fried foods, alcohol, peanuts, processed foods and limit your intake of dairy and spicy foods.

Foods that support and cleanse the Liver-Gallbladder system include: greens, sprouts, fennel, beets, carrots, onion, garlic, mushrooms, radishes, beans, quinoa, seaweed, blackstrap molasses, lemon, lime, plums, blackberries, raspberries, basil, sage, anise, nettles, turmeric, chamomile, and chrysanthemum herbal teas. 

Seasonal Allergies 

This is the time of year where I start to get my seasonal allergy patients back in clinic. Acupuncture, cupping and food therapy are used to reduce the frequency and severity of allergy symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, headaches, and a foggy head. 

Do you have allergies or are you prone to catching colds in the fall? This is an opportune time to get preventative treatment, as in TCM theory, it is best to treat seasonal issues two seasons before. 

Acupuncture, cupping and food therapy can be extremely helpful during seasonal and life transitions. If you have any questions please connect with the wonderful team of acupuncturists at Pure Body Health. 

In health and happiness, 

Melissa Hawboldt, Dr. TCM 

Ear Acupuncture – What?

Author: Diana Alvarez, R.Ac.

There are many ways to understand the body and your health, one of which is by using a microsystem. You might have heard of such approaches as foot or hand reflexology. Well, in Chinese Medicine, we use the microsystem of the ear as a representation of the whole body. The use of a microsystem allows each part of the body to be accessed with a corresponding point or area on an external part of the body – in this case, the ear.

Source: acu-clinic.com

Why the Ear?

The ear is directly connected to some of the 12 cranial nerves stemming from the brain, so it is quick to relay a message back to the brain and create a change. The ear also has a unique capacity (because it is such a thin membrane of tissue) to access and stimulate the nervous system. Specifically, the sympathetic nervous system, related to our “fight or flight” response, and the parasympathetic nervous system, related to calming responses. Yes, this is an intelligent sense organ!

How Is Ear Acupuncture Done?

To stimulate the ear point, an ear seed, magnet, or very thin acupuncture needle is placed in a specific spot which relates to the area of the body or internal organ function that needs to be addressed. There are 90 ear points listed that relate to limbs, head, bodily function and senses to treat conditions internally and externally. 

Source: gpcacupuncture.com

However, ear acupuncture is not just for physical pain. It also stimulates emotional and mental wellness, as one of the most common points used is to calm the mind and reduce anxiety and stress.

What Does It Help Treat?

Ear acupuncture is commonly used to treat sciatica, low back pain, OCD, smoking and other addictions, digestive disorders, brain trauma, chronic pain, hormonal conditions, migraines, insomnia, and depression. All of these conditions and more can be effectively assessed and treated when using the ear.

Modern Day Use of Ear Acupuncture

The United States is known for an approach called the NADA protocol. It is an ear acupuncture approach used for trauma, addiction and stress. The five points used in the ear immediately stimulate the body to shift from being on high alert to a less agitated state. It is widely put into practice in high stress aid relief situations. For example, after people have witnessed something traumatic such as an earthquake, where a whole community may be affected. Ear acupuncture is being used as a first aid response, and is a helpful way for those affected to find their way back to balance.

In Europe, Germany is especially well known for it’s research and use of Auricular Acupuncture (ear) to treat pain and break the pain feedback loop. Used by over 14,000 German physicians, it has been shown to work so well that body acupuncture is actually the less common approach used in Europe!

My Own Experiences With Ear Acupuncture

As an acupuncturist, I have seen ear acupuncture work well for anxiety, obsessive thinking, insomnia and depression. One of my clients who suffers from panic and racing thoughts was transformed in just one visit. His mind calmed down, his physical fidgets reduced and facial skin tone shifted. Seeing him for consecutive sessions really helped get him back to a more peaceful place.

Another client came to see me due to her stressful job and a lifetime of living with both depression and anxiety. After the session she looked rejuvenated, a quiet overcame her mind and her body, and she was no longer holding the tension she came in with. Ear acupuncture is a safe, effective and accessible approach and is being used all over the world with good results.

Come into Pure Body Health and book in with myself, Melissa or Brook and see what ear acupuncture can do for you! Hear hear to good health!

Facial Acupuncture: The Answer to Healthy, Glowing Skin

Author: Brook Paulin, R.TCM.P

Are you looking for support in maintaining or reclaiming a vital and radiant appearance? Perhaps you’re already taking steps to live a healthy life and are seeking some assistance in making those efforts manifest outwardly in your physical appearance, to glow from the inside out? You may have heard that acupuncture can be applied as a cosmetic procedure without the risk of toxic chemicals or having to go under the knife, but you might also be wondering how it works, or if it will be effective for you?

It’s no secret that a healthy mind and body is a beautiful thing. Your natural beauty is something that you can harness when you take care of your body and allow your inner radiance to shine through. So, how can facial rejuvenation acupuncture help?

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the state of the physical health, emotions, and spirit is reflected on the skin of the face. You look your best because your internal health is reflected on your face. Cosmetic Acupuncture is an exciting alternative to plastic surgery and potentially unhealthy ‘non-invasive’ techniques, because it not only focuses on the face but on the whole body as well.

What cosmetic results might people expect from Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture?

  • Improvement in the fine lines and tone of the face.
  • Diminishing effect on deeper wrinkles by relaxing facial muscle tension.
  • Moisturized, radiant, and softer skin.
  • Improved muscle tone and firmer jaw line, as well as reduction in the beginning of jowls.
  • Reduction or elimination of rosacea and acne and scar tissue.
  • Brighter and clearer eyes.
  • Diminishes and improves the presence of deep winkles and puffiness.

General Health Benefits include:

  • Relaxation and Overall Well-being.
  • Improved Sleep and increased energy.
  • Reduction of Hot flashes and Night sweats
  • Reduced Depression and Mild Anxiety.
  • Benefit to Digestive Symptoms.
  • Pain relief.

How Does it Work?

Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture utilizes a needling technique that is very superficial. The needling brings increased Qi and blood to the face and can improve or increase the production of collagen and elastin. Since this system is based in Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture points on the body are also selected based on your unique presentation to address underlying imbalances and complete the balancing of energy. This results in an overall rejuvenating effect of body, mind, and spirit.

There are two beneficial aspects to this treatment. One is a “root” treatment, which regulates the flow of energy (qi) and removes blockages in the meridians (channels of qi and blood) to improve overall health and restore balance to the body. This constitutional treatment addresses underlying causes, like digestive problems, hormonal imbalance and emotional stress, which become reflected in the face. The other is a local treatment, which directly affects facial appearance. Since many of the meridians begin or end on the face, there is an increase in circulation of blood, lymph and qi to the face that aids in moistening and creating a radiant colour and glow to the skin.

What is the recommended treatment frequency?

Recommended treatment frequency involves 2 treatments per week spaced 2 days apart for a series of 10 cumulative treatments, followed by maintenance appointments that are scheduled every 2 – 4 weeks to optimize results. Commitment to adequate and regular treatments is very important as the matrix of collagen and elastin takes 4 weeks to become fixed.

Since each individual is unique, the response to treatment will vary depending on your age and lifestyle. Generally, results are noticeable after 6-7 sessions, although a radiant complexion and brightness in the eyes may be seen after the first treatment. The recommended course of treatment is 10 sessions, and should be done 2 times a week. A treatment lasts about 90 minutes.

Book a free consultation to find out if Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture is right for you!