Why Do Acupuncturists Want to See Your Tongue?

A colleague of mine helped run a study on the use of acupuncture to treat depression. As part of the record-keeping, each patient’s file included photos of their tongue, along with other information from the intake and follow-up assessments.

This acupuncturist found herself at a table with a bunch of researchers, psychiatrists, and medical doctors, who were puzzled by this. My friend picked up a tongue photo without looking at the file, and said: “She has a weepy, sad kind of depression, with lots of worry and obsessive thinking that keeps her awake at night. She also has fatigue, a heavy, stuck feeling where it feels physically hard to move. Continue reading

Dealing With Setbacks in Healing

I remember this well: I was in my mid-30’s, nursing a neck injury that ultimately took years to heal. That summer I was staying with friends while I found a new apartment, enjoying their swimming pool, their cooking, and the company of their children.  I was having a pretty good week, neck-wise, which was a huge relief — and then their 4-year-old dove across the room into my lap, clocking me squarely in the jaw with the top of his head.  And just like that, I was back to square one.

It’s one of the toughest things about healing: those times when you think you’re getting better, and then suddenly you backslide into a place you hoped and prayed you would never experience again. Continue reading

How Does Acupuncture Work? Perhaps by Sending Signals Through Connective Tissue

Usually when people ask me this question — how exactly does acupuncture work, in biological terms? — I just give the honest answer.  We really don’t know.

Acupuncture points and channels do not seem to follow any of the physical body structures we’re familiar with — the nervous system, the circulatory system, or the lymph system.  In fact, points are generally located away from these structures.  After all, sticking a needle directly into a nerve or a blood vessel would not have happy results.

Studies have documented a number of changes in body chemistry and brain function with acupuncture treatment (see sidebar), but scientists are generally at a loss to explain the mechanisms involved. Continue reading

How to Get the Most from Your Acupuncture Treatments

As many of you know, getting acupuncture treatment can be a wonderful investment in your quality of life and long-term health.  People who get acupuncture often report better energy and emotional balance, a stronger immune system, and less susceptibility to stress, along with relief from specific symptoms.

In general, those who get the most benefit from acupuncture are people who cultivate balance and health in their daily lives, and are willing to make changes that reinforce the effects of acupuncture treatment. During these times, especially, all of us are concerned with using our money and time efficiently and wisely.  To that end, there are definitely things you can do to make your acupuncture treatment more effective and make sure you are getting the most out of each session. Continue reading

What Conditions Can Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Treat?

 Below is a partial list of conditions that can be successfully treated with Chinese Medicine. 

·        Headache, migraine
·        Back pain, sciatica
·        Carpal tunnel syndrome
·        Knee, hip, ankle, shoulder and elbow pain or injury
·        Fibromyalgia

·        Indigestion, heartburn, ulcer
·        Constipation, diarrhea, gas, irritable bowel
·        Nausea, morning sickness

·        Asthma, bronchitis, sinus infection
·        Colds and flu, cough

·        Depression, anxiety
·        Irritability and tension
·        Insomnia

·        Cramps, irregular periods
·        PMS
·        Menopausal symptoms
·        Infertility

Chinese Medicine is effective for many other conditions, including cardiovascular, urinary, and nervous system issues. Continue reading

What is Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Traditional Chinese Medicine, which includes both acupuncture and herbs, is a complete system of medicine that has been practiced for over 3000 years. Today it is widely used in China, Japan, Korea, Europe, and the United States, and is being continuously refined and modernized through the experience and innovations of its many practitioners worldwide. Chinese Medicine is a natural and gentle way to enhance the body’s ability to cope with stress and heal from injury or illness.

Acupuncture works with a complex system of channels in the body called meridians. The energy that flows through these meridians is referred to as Qi (pronounced “chee”). Continue reading