Are Trigger Points Affecting Your Athletic Performance?

By Ginna Ellis

Trigger points cause real problems for athletes.

Not only are trigger points exquisitely painful, but they also affect movement. Trigger points inhibit range of motion by keeping muscles short and stiff. They also weaken muscles, causing them to tire quickly and recover slowly. They produce excessive muscle contraction that can partially disarticulate joints or cause nerve entrapment.

That’s the bad news: Trigger points can seriously inhibit athletic performance. The good news? Acupuncture can help. So can self-care (see tips at the end of this article!).

September 7th, 2015|Acupuncture resources, Specific conditions|2 Comments

Healing Benefits of Watermelon

By Kendra Lay

August is prime time for watermelon. From salads to desserts, BBQs to gourmet restaurants, watermelon is showing up everywhere this time of year.

In Florida, where I grew up, watermelon was around all summer. Almost every week, my father would stop at a roadside stand and carefully select one of the heavy, green melons. There would be thumping, weighing, and sniffing—and finally he would select his prize.

When we got home, he’d cut off the watermelon in large rounds, place it on a plate, and eat it with a spoon—leaving behind just an empty, cylindrical rind and seeds floating in sweet juice. He would always cut me off a piece, and I’d enjoy this summertime ritual with my dad.

August 10th, 2015|Acupuncture resources, Specific conditions|0 Comments

How to Give Yourself Ear Acupressure

By Denise Cicuto

You should get into acupressure.

Acupressure is a free, easy, safe, and convenient way to alleviate symptoms and stay healthy. It can help with everything from stress reduction and boosting immunity to soothing travel ailments and getting rid of hangovers.

In addition to acupressure points on different parts of the body—many of which are covered in AcuTake’s Why Are You Doing That Point? series—there’s a whole microcosm of points inside your ear!

Similar to how foot reflexology targets points on the feet that correspond to body parts, in acupuncture, there is a map of the body inside the ear. Acupuncturists use these points for treating pain, digestive problems, smoking cessation, weight loss, generalized stress and anxiety, and other things.

While many acupuncturists use needles to treat points on the ear, another common method for treating ear acupuncture points is with ear seeds. You can use ear seeds on your own, so they’re a great DIY way to give your ears a little acupressure love.

July 27th, 2015|Acupuncture resources, Specific conditions|0 Comments

Digital Meridian Imaging Accelerates Acupuncture Diagnosis

By Sara Calabro

In the ongoing debate over whether and how acupuncture works, detractors lean heavily on the claim that you can’t actually see qi and therefore it must not be real. That’s no longer true.

AcuGraph, an imaging technology made by Miridia Acupuncture Technology, measures electrical skin resistance at acupuncture points to determine how well electricity, or qi, is flowing through the body. Based on those measurements, the AcuGraph software identifies potential patterns of disharmony and generates treatment recommendations to help correct the imbalances.

I recently met with Miridia’s founder and the inventor of AcuGraph, Adrian Larsen, to see AcuGraph with my own eyes. I was impressed.

June 1st, 2015|Acupuncture resources|3 Comments

5 Common Running Injuries and How Acupuncture Can Help

By Ginna Ellis

Acupuncture and running are a well-suited pair.

Whether you’re a casual runner or a qualifying entrant in Monday’s Boston Marathon, acupuncture can help you stay on top of your running game. From knee and hip pain to plantar fasciitis and fatigue, many ailments suffered by runners can be helped by acupuncture.

Here is how acupuncture addresses the 5 most common causes of running injuries.

April 22nd, 2015|Acupuncture resources, Specific conditions|7 Comments

Why Are You Doing That Point? Gall Bladder 30

By Sara Calabro

This edition of Why Are You Doing That Point?, an ongoing series that explains popular acupuncture points, is about Gall Bladder 30, a key point used in treatments for hip and leg pain.

Gall Bladder 30—also known as Huantiao (Chinese name), Jumping Circle (English translation) and GB30 (acupuncturist lingo)—is located between your sacrum and greater trochanter.

In normal-speak, Gall Bladder 30 is usually found smack in the middle of your jeans back pocket (see picture below).

February 21st, 2015|Acupuncture resources, Popular acupuncture points|3 Comments

Have You Heard of Gua Sha?

By Denise Cicuto

It’s not all about needles.

Gua sha is one of several non-needle tools in an acupuncturist’s arsenal. It’s often used in combination with needles, but gua sha is a therapy in its own right.

Gua sha is an East-Asian technique of scraping or stroking the skin using a device made of metal, bone, or horn. The scraping can be done on various parts of the body, and most often it’s done on the back and neck.

Here are answers to some commons questions about gua sha.

January 29th, 2015|Acupuncture resources|3 Comments

15 Ways to Incorporate Acupuncture Into Your Life in 2015

By Sara Calabro

What are your hopes for 2015? Want to feel healthier? Eat better? Get in shape? Try new things? Have better relationships? Me too! And I’m planning on using acupuncture to achieve all of it!

Not literally. I’m not going to go for an acupuncture treatment and walk out with glowing skin, a six pack, and resolved childhood issues. But, I am going to allow the tenets of acupuncture to influence my attitude and actions so that I can live optimally in 2015.

In the same way we talk about practicing yoga or practicing meditation, you can practice acupuncture. You can use the theories of acupuncture to help guide the decisions you make every day that ultimately determine your physical and emotional health.

Here are 15 ways you can incorporate acupuncture into your life—and soar to new heights—in 2015.

January 2nd, 2015|Acupuncture resources, Acupuncture theory|7 Comments

What to Eat in Fall and Winter (Recipe Included!)

By Tara Akuna

Hot apple cider, chunky sweaters, and crackling fireplaces. It’s that time of year again, when we pull out our cozy-time favorites and huddle indoors to stay warm. As we approach winter, cold dark days urge us to slow down, conserve energy, and rebuild our strength for the coming spring.

According to Chinese-medical theory, people should live in harmony with nature. The colder months are perfect for slowing down, resting, and becoming introspective. The food we eat also plays a key role in the conservation and rebuilding of energy this time of year.

When you think of fall and winter, think warm food.

Soups, roasted veggies, and slow-cooker meals are some of the mainstays necessary for building energy and a healthy immune system. In addition to warming your food through preparation, all foods contain certain energetic properties, so eating foods that are warm in quality is just as important as how they are prepared.

November 18th, 2014|Acupuncture resources, Acupuncture theory|1 Comment

Here Comes Change. Acupuncture Can Help.

By Sara Calabro

Here we are, about a month into fall. We’re a few days away from Halloween, about to officially enter the holiday season. This weekend we’ll turn back the clocks. Change is afoot.

As the days get darker and the holiday engine kicks into high gear, you may discover your body and mood shifting. Lower energy, higher stress levels, changes in sleep patterns, and digestive disturbances are all common this time of year.

If you notice yourself and the people around you changing in these or other ways in the coming months, remember: Change is good.

It doesn’t always feel that way. Change actually can be quite difficult, and many of us struggle with it. Whether it’s a big lifestyle change or slight alteration in routine, having to adapt sets us off our games.

I’m a champion change resister myself. I love my routines and tend toward situations I can predict and control. But acupuncture has been a big help to me in letting go of the reins a little bit.

In acupuncture theory, change is the primary ingredient for becoming a healthier person. Recognizing this allows us to approach all situations, regardless of how challenging, with greater hope and flexibility.

October 27th, 2014|Acupuncture resources, Acupuncture theory|4 Comments

Peek Inside These Acupuncture Clinics

By Sara Calabro

The experience of getting an acupuncture treatment can vary widely, depending on where you go. Not all acupuncturists are created equal—and nor are their work spaces.

Acupuncture is offered everywhere from luxury spas and physical-therapy offices to minimalist community clinics and 1970s Airstreams. Some acupuncturists outfit their spaces with Buddha statues and artwork of Chinese characters while others hang anatomy posters and foster a Western-medical vibe. Regardless of your preferences, there’s an acupuncture space out there for you.

Take a tour of the wide world of acupuncture clinics. Which one feels like you?

June 24th, 2014|Acupuncture resources|12 Comments

Top 3 Surprises About Acupuncture

By Sara Calabro

As someone who’s an acupuncturist, who runs a website about acupuncture and talks to other acupuncturists on a daily basis, it’s easy to become convinced that everyone is an educated acupuncture junkie. But lately, I’ve been reminded that this is not the case.

In recent months, I’ve found myself having more frequent conversations with people who have never had acupuncture. It’s been a great reminder of how foreign acupuncture—the experience of getting a treatment as well as the underlying theory—still is to the majority of Westerners.

Myths and misconceptions about acupuncture are rampant in a society whose medical culture is dominated by pharmaceuticals, surgeries, and other quick-fix interventions. In my recent encounters with the uninitiated, three themes come up again and again.

Here are the top three things that surprise people about acupuncture.

April 1st, 2014|Acupuncture resources|13 Comments

14 Things Acupuncture Can Help You Achieve in 2014

By Sara Calabro

Happy 2014! The new year is officially underway, so it’s time to get serious about any changes or improvements that you’ve committed to making in 2014. How are you going to be healthier? In what ways will you be different at this time next year?

Acupuncture can help you get to that desired place. It can make you healthier and happier—in ways you probably never imagined.

Through receiving acupuncture, becoming aware of its principles, and incorporating acupuncture-inspired self-care techniques into your life, you can enjoy physical and emotional benefits that may have eluded you in the past.

This is your year! Here are 14 things that acupuncture can help you achieve in 2014.

January 6th, 2014|Acupuncture resources, Acupuncture theory|6 Comments

Stop Bloating: 11 Tips from Acupuncturists

By Sara Calabro

Thanksgiving is this Thursday. In previous years, we’ve written about the similarities between acupuncture and Thanksgiving. We’ve also talked about what acupuncture can teach us about gratitude and change.

This year, we’re honoring Thanksgiving with tips for battling the holiday’s most common nemesis: bloating.

Often, the meals we share on Thanksgiving are memorable for more than just good times with family and friends. Bloating and indigestion can be epic on Thanksgiving, and they can put a major damper on otherwise joyous celebrations.

We asked acupuncturists from around the world for do-it-yourself recommendations for reducing bloating. Here are 11 tips for staying comfortable this Thursday, in the days that follow, and whenever else you experience bloating.

November 26th, 2013|Acupuncture resources, Specific conditions|9 Comments

The Benefits of Acupuncture Before and After Surgery

By Denise Cicuto

Have you seen Iron Man 3? At the end, there’s a scene when main character Tony Stark is undergoing surgery. If you look closely, you can see acupuncture needles in his chest.

That’s Hollywood, but historically, acupuncture actually has been used, mostly in China, for anesthesia during surgery. It’s no longer standard practice, but with acupuncture becoming increasingly present in mainstream medical settings, we may see it make a comeback in surgical procedures.

In the meantime, acupuncture can go a long way toward keeping people healthy before and after surgery. You don’t have to be a superhero to reap the combined power of acupuncture and surgery.

November 12th, 2013|Acupuncture resources, Specific conditions|7 Comments

How to Escape the Busy Trap

By Stephanie Worth

Do you ever (often?) feel like a slave to your calendar? Feel cornered by a schedule packed with appointments, projects, and social engagements? Do you find yourself saying—or at least thinking—”so busy” when people ask how you’re doing?

An overwhelming sense of busyness is one of the most common things patients talk to me about, and it’s one of their biggest sources of stress. As we close in on fall, the season of buckling down and getting back to business, the busy trap is about to kick into high gear.

Although many of us crave a break from the busy trap, it’s unlikely to release us from its grasp—the calendar alerts and text messages and Facebook posts won’t miraculously disappear.

So, in order to counteract the emotional and physical toll that perpetual busyness takes, we need to proactively build balance into our lives. Acupuncture can help.

September 10th, 2013|Acupuncture resources, Acupuncture theory|4 Comments

Acupuncture Works for Kids, Really!

By Melissa B. Light

Kids and needles—bad combo, right? After all, kids hate getting shots. So, how is it possible that acupuncture is a good idea for helping your children stay healthy?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) techniques, including acupuncture, can be amazingly effective at treating a variety of childhood ailments.

Common complaints like ear aches, respiratory infections, digestive troubles, bedwetting, ADHD, and much more can be resolved with pediatric TCM techniques such as acupuncture and tuina bodywork. I see it happen every day.

August 27th, 2013|Acupuncture resources, Specific conditions|5 Comments

5 Best Complements to Acupuncture

By Sara Calabro

Imagine a world where people get acupuncture every day. We’d be less stressed, suffering through fewer addictions, and experiencing less pain. Unfortunately, acupuncture on the daily is financially and logistically impossible for most of us.

The good news is, there are several therapies that serve as great complements to acupuncture. They are free, available to almost everyone, and effective at prolonging, enhancing, or mimicking the effects of acupuncture.

While daily acupuncture may be idealistic, you can use other activities to cultivate some of the same benefits that acupuncture provides. Here are five things that are easy to incorporate into your life right now.

July 29th, 2013|Acupuncture resources, Acupuncture theory|6 Comments

Acupuncturists Pick: Best DIY Acupuncture Points for Lowering Stress, Part II

By Sara Calabro

This is part two of a series on acupuncture points for reducing stress.

In part one, we explain how we gathered these points, and introduce the first 10. If you haven’t read part one, do that first.

Then, check out the remaining 11 points below. They are all located on the head!

June 4th, 2013|Acupuncture resources, Specific conditions|9 Comments

Acupuncturists Pick: Best DIY Acupuncture Points for Lowering Stress, Part I

By Sara Calabro

Everyone has a go-to stress response. Some people escape to sunny beaches. Others reach for wine. Many buy things they don’t need. Many more ignore it.

All stress responses, assuming no one gets hurt or goes bankrupt, have their merits. Whatever works! However, many common coping mechanisms for stress are unrealistic, inconvenient, or unsustainable. After all, how many of us can jet off to the Caribbean every time life gets stressful?

Acupuncture treatments, as well as the theoretical tenets of acupuncture, have much to offer in the way of long-term stress reduction. But what about in-the-moment stress relief? You’re about to give a big presentation. You’re waiting to hear about test results. The turbulence on your flight won’t let up. Several acupuncture points can help calm you down.

We asked acupuncturists, what is your all-time favorite acupuncture point for stress reduction?

A key criteria was that the point had to be accessible for performing self-acupressure, so neither acupuncture needles nor an acupuncturist are required to benefit from these points. They can be pressed anywhere, any time for immediate stress reduction.

May 28th, 2013|Acupuncture resources, Specific conditions|14 Comments

How To Know When Acupuncture Is Working

By Sara Calabro

Acupuncture is not a one-shot deal. It works cumulatively, meaning one treatment builds on the next.

There are certainly instances of acupuncture producing immediate results. However, this is more an exception than the rule—and when it happens, the results tend to be short lived.

If you want lasting results from acupuncture, especially for a chronic condition, you must commit to the process.

This approach to healing is unfamiliar for Westerners, who are accustomed to instant gratification in most aspects of life, including healthcare. Being forced to adopt a long-term, cumulative perspective can be confusing and frustrating.

Sometimes us instant-gratification junkies need to be thrown a bone! Fortunately, there are several indications that acupuncture is taking effect—even if your primary symptoms have not yet resolved. When these signs appear, symptom relief typically is not far behind.

Here are six signs that your acupuncture treatments are working.

April 30th, 2013|Acupuncture resources|6 Comments

Acupuncturists Spill: The 12 Health Tips They Wish Everyone Would Remember

By Sara Calabro

Acupuncturists do more than just poke people with needles. They use non-needling techniques, such as moxibustion and cupping, and some prescribe herbs. They also offer advice—acupuncture-inspired tips that can help you feel healthier and happier.

Some people heed this advice and others ignore it, often to the chagrin of acupuncturists. There are many simple practices that, when committed to, can drastically improve a person’s symptoms and overall quality of life. If only everyone remembered to do them!

Now you have them in writing. We asked acupuncturists from around the country, what is one thing you wish all of your patients did to be healthier?

Here are 12 do-it-yourself health tips that acupuncturists wish everyone would remember.

April 16th, 2013|Acupuncture resources, Acupuncture theory|8 Comments

It Is Time To Break Up With Your Acupuncturist

By Sara Calabro

We’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: not all acupuncturists are created equal.

Acupuncturists differ on everything from how they were trained to the conditions they treat to the kind of music they like. Where your acupuncturist falls on these variety of spectrums can determine whether he or she is right for you.

On more than a few occasions, readers have emailed me asking how to know if their acupuncturist is any good. Usually, it’s not a matter of good or bad. It’s a matter of fit.

If your acupuncturist is not a good fit for you—the condition you need help with as well as your personality, financial situation, and personal tastes—you’re unlikely to achieve optimal results from acupuncture.

It’s okay. It happens. You’ll both be better off. But it may be time to break up with your acupuncturist.

March 26th, 2013|Acupuncture resources|3 Comments

7 Signs That You Need Acupuncture This Spring

By Sara Calabro

Spring is here! Yes! Except for the fact that many people don’t feel so hot this time of year.

The flu is—knock on wood—mostly behind us. Allergies have not quite exploded yet. So, why do so many of us feel off in the early days of spring?

You can kindly thank your Liver!

In acupuncture theory, humans are viewed as microcosms of the natural world that surrounds them. Seasons—particularly the transitional periods, when we move from one season to the next—factor significantly into how we feel.

Each season is linked with an organ system in the body, and spring’s system is Liver. This means that the Liver, as it adjusts to taking over the seasonal reigns, is especially vulnerable.

When the Liver is vulnerable, the functions throughout the body for which the Liver is responsible have a tendency to get out of whack.

March 19th, 2013|Acupuncture resources, Acupuncture theory|5 Comments
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