Acupuncture for Neck Pain

Neck pain is, unfortunately, an extremely common consequence of our modern lifestyle. Between car accidents, our computer habits, and our stress level, it’s something almost everyone experiences at least occasionally.

Our necks have a tough job: they have to hold the weight of our head (about 10% of the body’s weight), and still be flexible enough for all the finely tuned head and neck movements required as we interact with our world. Actually, the lower 5 neck vertebrae account for about 50% of the flexibility in the entire spine!

And, the neck is where we stash a lot of tension. It’s instinctive, actually, to tense and protect the neck whenever we’re feeling threatened in any way. Continue reading

Six Ways to Be Nice to Your Neck

At the Computer: Make sure you have a good ergonomic setup. The keyboard should be at about waist level, and the monitor should be at eye level. If you spend a lot of time on a laptop, it may make sense to plug in a separate keyboard when you are at home or the office. And, take breaks once in a while to reset the forward creep our head tends to do when looking at the same thing for a long time!

While Driving: Be conscious of keeping your head in alignment with the rest of the spine. If your headrest forces your head into a forward position, consider placing a pillow behind the back to correct for the curvature this causes. Continue reading

Acupuncture for the Eyes

It’s quite easy to take our eyes for granted, most of the time — we rely on them so continuously as we move around, take in information, and relate to others. If the eyes function beautifully, we tend to forget about them until they complain somehow; and if we have problems, we correct them as best we can, and then adjust to whatever blurriness or eyestrain remains.

Spring is a good time to enjoy and take care of your eyes. The Liver organ system, which nourishes and “governs” the eyes, is most active this time of year. And, there is so much more to see and for the eyes to do! Continue reading

Give Your Eyes a Rest: “Palming” Exercise

Try this simple exercise to rest and restore your eyes:

* find a position where you can support your elbows, breathe fully, and relax your body (at a desk, with pillows on the couch, or in bed)
* gently cover your closed eyes with your cupped hands; avoid touching the eyes or putting too much pressure on the face
* relax: let go of your usual planning and worrying thoughts. focus on the deep velvety blackness of your closed eyes; or visualize yourself in a warm, relaxing place

Do this for 10 minutes each day (before bed is nice); smaller palming breaks during the day are also very restorative! Continue reading

Acupuncturists Respond to Chile Earthquake

Acupuncturists Without Borders (AWB) has recently arrived in Chile to help with the aftermath of the the earthquake there just two weeks ago.

It’s hard to even take in after the earthquake in Haiti, but the damage in Chile is monumental, and life has changed dramatically. A neighbor of mine, whose family is in Chile, writes that there continue to be small quakes, and people are still in shock, and still looking for missing family members. Large parts of the country have been badly damaged, and roads and phone lines are out of commission, making travel and communication difficult. Large numbers of people are struggling with loss, displacement, and physical injury. Continue reading

Feeling Grouchy?

Irritable lately? Or a little depressed, lethargic, or restless? That’s a sign of spring on its way.

Winter is ruled by the water element: deep, cool, and still. Spring is ruled by the wood element, which represents growth, change, and movement. As we begin to shift from winter to spring, that dynamic energy starts to stir. But because it’s really still winter, it’s hard for that energy to flow well, and we may feel pent-up, frustrated, or inexplicably tired.

To help smooth this transition, try doing things that help move your energy and “soothe the Liver” (the Liver organ is associated with spring, and the movement of energy in the body, as well as emotional flow). Continue reading

Acupuncturists Respond in Haiti

The first team of acupuncturists is back from its exploratory trip to Haiti, where they were enthusiastically and gratefully received. The three acupuncturists visited General Hospital and treated over 100 patients suffering from amputations, crushed limbs, and emotional trauma. Many reported a significant decrease in pain and other symptoms; one man asked if they would come back every day!

Acupuncturists Without Borders (AWB) has also received requests to train local health care providers in the use of ear acupuncture for trauma and pain. This is the model used by the Pan African Acupuncture Project for many years, and has the advantage of empowering local communities to provide for their own health care needs, rather than relying solely on foreign volunteers. Continue reading