By Sara Calabro Summer is in full swing! From an acupuncture perspective, seasonal changes are a big deal, since humans are viewed as microcosms of the natural world that surrounds them. Weather and time of year can factor significantly into how we feel, both physically and emotionally. To help you navigate the shift, we asked acupuncturists to share some self-care tips for staying happy and healthy in summertime. Here’s what they had to say.
By Sara Calabro Insomnia is rampant. So many people are walking around exhausted, medication-dependent, or resigned to a sleepless existence. More and more—since an Ambien-induced night’s sleep just isn’t the same as a natural night’s sleep—people are turning to acupuncture and other non-drug therapies for insomnia. Insomnia is one of the most common complaints seen by acupuncturists. Regular acupuncture treatments can be extremely helpful for combatting insomnia. Acupuncturists customize treatments based on the specific brand of insomnia from which someone is suffering. Some people have trouble falling asleep while others can’t stay asleep. Some are woken from frequent dreams while others can’t stop their minds from spinning. Some wake up every single night at 1:34am. Others sleep like babies until 3:37am.
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.
By Denise Cicuto Do you, or does someone you know, suffer from period cramps? Thought so. Most women assume that menstrual cramps are normal, an inevitable monthly occurrence during their menstruating years. But here’s a secret: Period cramps are actually signs of an imbalance somewhere in the body. Once that imbalance goes away, so does the pain. Acupuncture can help shift the imbalances that cause menstrual cramps, opening up a whole new world in which having your period does not equal pain. Interested in learning more? Thought so.
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.
By Denise Cicuto The last edition of Acupuncture Success Stories focused on two women who used acupuncture to overcome fertility challenges. And indeed, acupuncture alone and in combination with in-vitro fertilization (IVF) has been shown to help women achieve pregnancy. But what about once you get pregnant? Many women and their partners have questions about acupuncture during pregnancy. Here are answers to some of the most common questions.
By Denise Cicuto Acupuncture is about more than just needles. In fact, the Chinese word that typically gets translated as acupuncture, zhenjiǔ, actually means “acupuncture and moxibustion.” So, what the heck is moxibustion? Acupuncture goers may know moxibustion, or moxa, as the smoky-smelling stuff that sometimes appears during a treatment. More specifically, moxa is an herb—known as mugwort or Artemisia vulgaris—that gets burned on or near an acupuncture point. Burned?! Stay with me. It’s not as scary as it sounds. Moxa is a soothing addition to any acupuncture treatment, and it’s especially useful for patients who are not fans of needles. At my acupuncture practice in San Francisco, I use moxa frequently with great success. I also get a lot of questions about this relatively unknown healing technique. Here are answers to some of the most common questions about moxa.
By Denise Cicuto The summer travel season is officially underway. While our away-from-home experiences often represent the high points of our summers, they also have a tendency to tax our physical and emotional health. After all, our bodies are not meant for sitting in tin cans, sometimes with hundreds of other people, while breathing recycled air for hours on end.