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.
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.
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.
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 reins, 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.
By Sara Calabro A common assumption about acupuncture is that it hurts. You are, after all, getting stuck with needles. Fear of pain from acupuncture needles is one of the most common reasons people forgo acupuncture. Often to the astonishment of those who take the plunge, acupuncture usually does not hurt. No pain, though, does not mean no sensation. There are instances where acupuncture needles are inserted without the recipient feeling a thing—this is especially common with styles of acupuncture that utilize extra thin needles, such as Japanese acupuncture. However, most of the time acupuncture produces some kind of sensation at the site of needling. This moment, when a person literally feels an acupuncture point working, is known in acupuncture lingo as de qi. It is a good thing. Another way of thinking about de qi is that the acupuncture needle has accessed the energetic material that it needs to produce movement throughout the body. When the point is activated, change is initiated.
By Erika Prinz Freed NFL quarterback Matt Hasselbeck does it. So does hockey superstar Jaromir Jagr. Olympic high-jumper Amy Acuff likes it so much that she learned how to practice it herself. New York City Ballet dancers swear by it. Acupuncture is a go-to therapy for many of the world’s leading athletes—but you don’t have to be a pro to experience the benefits of acupuncture. Whether you’re a die-hard marathoner, devoted yogi, gym rat or weekend warrior, acupuncture can enhance your performance by fortifying your overall health.
By Sara Calabro The most common side effects of acupuncture are things everyone wants: better sleep, more energy, mental clarity, better digestion and less stress. One or several of these side effects occur routinely for many, many acupuncture goers. Following the publication of an article on the most common side effects of acupuncture, AcuTake received multiple inquires from readers about certain unpleasant side effects of acupuncture and whether they too were common. And indeed, there are other, less pleasant side effects of acupuncture. These additional side effects are much rarer than the most common side effects of acupuncture, but they can and do occasionally happen. None are life-threatening and all typically are fleeting. Still, they are good to be aware of so that if you do experience them, you know they’re normal and nothing to be too concerned about. In my experience, the following seven side effects can occur after acupuncture. Acupuncturist readers are encouraged to chime in, in the comment section below, about other possible side effects of acupuncture.
By Sara Calabro Do you want to really impress your Valentine this year? Looking for a meaningful way to express your love without breaking the bank? Then forget the flowers, chocolates, and diamonds. Valentine’s Day celebrated acupuncture-style trumps them all. I don’t mean go out and buy a gift certificate for acupuncture (although, if you can swing it, that’s a good idea too). This Valentine’s Day suggestion is completely free and a sure-fire way to win your loved one’s heart.
By Sara Calabro We’ve been talking a lot about acupressure lately. In just the past couple months, AcuTake has run articles on acupressure for the flu, acupressure for stiff muscles and joints, and acupressure for post-nasal drip. Previously, we’ve covered acupressure for hangover, acupressure for asthma, acupressure for stress reduction, acupressure for low back pain, acupressure for travel and acupressure for allergies. That’s to say nothing of our ever-evolving acupressure library. We’re obsessed with acupressure!
By Sara Calabro Acupuncture strengthens natural resistance to disease. I recently came across that sentence when I was leafing through some old notes from acupuncture school. It was underlined twice and highlighted. Although I don’t remember writing it or which of my teachers said it, the words clearly resonated with me at the time. Rereading them now, especially during peak flu season, they still do. It’s a simple idea and yet profound. Forget endorphins. Forget improved blood circulation. Forget placebo. This is how acupuncture works—by strengthening our natural resistance to disease. Whether we’re talking about the flu, and hence its immunity-boosting ability, or back pain, acupuncture makes us stronger so that we can naturally resist illness and pain. This is true whether it’s happening due to fired up neurotransmitters or a practitioner with exceptional bedside manner.
Digest This: You Can Manage Extra Weight, Constipation, Bloating, Reflux and Bad Breath With Acupuncture
By Nancy Byrne We’ve all heard the saying “You are what you eat.” It’s true, but acupuncture lends further insight into our relationship with food by suggesting that we are also how we eat. On some level, we know this already. Think about the times when you’ve skipped breakfast and then gorged yourself much too quickly on a huge lunch. Chances are, you felt a little irritable and anxious before stuffing your face, after which you probably felt uncomfortably full and bloated. Low blood sugar followed by undue stress on your digestive organs is one way of looking at this scenario. However, acupuncture offers an explanation that’s much more interesting and broader in scope. Understanding this perspective is an initial step toward avoiding weight gain, constipation, bloating, acid reflux and even bad breath.
By Sara Calabro The “Why Are You Doing That Point?” series is back, this time with an easily accessible and broadly useful acupuncture point on the lower leg. Gall Bladder 34—also known as Yanglingquan (Chinese name), Yang Mound Spring (English translation) and GB34 (acupuncturist lingo)—is located just below the knee on the lateral (pinkie toe) side of the leg (see picture below). You can find this point by running your finger up the outside of your leg until you hit a bony prominence. That’s the head of your fibula bone, and Gall Bladder 34 is located just slightly in front of and below where the bone juts out. You can press this point yourself to alleviate stiff muscles, tightness along the side of the body, and to assist your Liver Qi in chilling out. Here’s why acupuncturists so often reach for Gall Bladder 34.