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The value of regular acupuncture treatments

regular acupuncture treatments

An early case for preventative medicine

Regular acupuncture treatments are a great form of preventative medicine. This is the way medicine was practiced in ancient times as documented in the classics, which are ancient Chinese medical texts. “The sage does not treat those who are ill but those who are well.” This is a quote from the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, the oldest surviving book on Chinese medicine. Legend has it that ancient Chinese doctors were paid to keep patients well, and they would not be paid if patients became sick.

 

Routine acupuncture treatments help manage stress

Stress is a major cause of disease. The research paper Inflammation: The Common Pathway of Stress-Related Diseases in the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience Journal states that “Stress is the common risk factor of 75%–90% diseases”. The paper lists the most common overall stress-related diseases as follows:

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Metabolic diseases like diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Psychological and neurodegenerative disorders like depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease

 

Additionally, a report shared in the National Library of Medicine states that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 75% of doctor visits are stress-related with complaints including:

  • Headache
  • Back pain
  • Heart problems
  • Upset stomach
  • Stomach ulcer
  • Sleep problems
  • Tiredness and accidents

 

Furthermore, the Occupational Health and Safety news and the National Council on compensation of insurance have an even higher estimate, stating that up to 90% of all doctor visits are for stress-related complaints. Stress reduction is key to maintaining well-being and preventing disease. Acupuncture treatments promote the relaxation response and are very effective in managing stress. Please see my blog Healing yourself with the relaxation response for details about the relaxation response.

 

Maintenance

Regular acupuncture treatments promote wellness and help reduce stress. By comparison, it is well understood that regular exercise maintains muscle tone and cardiovascular fitness. We can start an exercise program where we go to the gym for eight weeks and achieve the results we want. If we stop going to the gym completely, over time our bodies will return to the way they were before. We know that we need to shift into a maintenance exercise routine to maintain our overall muscle tone and cardiovascular health.

 

Similarly, patients find it beneficial to continue with maintenance acupuncture treatments on a regular basis to maintain their results and prevent symptom recurrence. I typically recommend monthly treatments for maintenance, but even every two or three months can be beneficial.

 

Additional benefits of regular acupuncture treatments

Please consider regular acupuncture treatments as investment in your well-being. I share personalized lifestyle recommendations with my patients.  They are often inspired to create positive changes that enhance their longevity and health. This might include nutritional considerations, mindfulness, and even qigong exercise. The better we feel, the more motivated we are to choose healthy habits.  When we balance our body, mind, and spirit, we feel wonderful and fulfilled.

 

Want to talk about how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help you? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Reach out and email me through our website or call or text 910-622-4269.

 

About the Author

Ericca Burke is the owner of HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine where she provides acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments in Wilmington, NC. Click this link to read more about Ericca. 

 

About HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine in Wilmington, NC

HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine is an acupuncture and Chinese medicine practice located in Wilmington, NC just minutes from beautiful Wrightsville Beach. Click this link for contact information and directions. Click this link for a listing and description of services offered.

Balance your energy this spring

balance your energy this spring

Spring is a great time to balance your energy

This is the time of year when many people are feeling a little off. They may experience allergy symptoms, headaches, irritability, or even problems with muscles, tendons and ligaments. Women might have menstrual or fertility issues, and people may find it more difficult to make decisions. Are you sighing more than usual? This may be your body’s way of releasing stagnant liver qi. “Qi” is the Chinese word that means life force or energy. Spring is a great time to support your liver and gallbladder and enhance your vitality.

 

In Chinese medicine, the organs are associated with phases or elements. The liver and gallbladder are the organs that belong to the wood element that is dominant in the spring.  Frequently, symptoms that people experience are right in line with the energetic shift of the changing seasons.

 

Alignment with the seasons and phases

People are often fascinated to hear about how their organs are associated with the different seasons and how this relates to symptoms they experience in their bodies.

 

In Chinese Medicine, there are five phases of transformation: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. While Traditional Chinese Medicine calls these the five elements, Classical Chinese Medicine refers to them as phases because they develop and change into one another. The five phases or elements correspond to the seasons spring, summer, fall, and winter. In Chinese medicine, summer further divides into summer and late summer. Late summer refers to the transformation between the warmer summer weather and cool fall weather. The seasons and phases (or elements) are associated as follows:

 

  • Spring: Wood. This is when nature starts stirring from winter’s dormancy. Trees and plants blossom. New branches grow out of old wood, and new growth begins.

 

  • Summer: Fire. This is the time of warmth and activity. Nature is moving actively, and as a result is growing and flourishing.

 

  • Late summer: Earth. This is the time of harvest. It is also is the pause between the rising of the warming and active phases of wood and fire and the declining and cooler phases of fall and winter.

 

  • Fall: Metal. This is when nature lets go of what is not needed, as seen in the falling leaves from the trees. Compost from the dead leaves enriches the soil so it can prepare for the next cycle of growth in the spring.

 

  • Winter: Water. This is a time of rest. Animals hibernate, the days are shorter, and nature gets still and goes within to build up reserves.

 

How spring affects the liver and gallbladder

As I shared earlier, the liver is the organ that is associated with the wood element and spring. In Chinese medicine, the gallbladder is paired with the liver, and it is also part of the wood phase or element. Like the new shoots of growth in plants, similarly, our energy rises up in the spring. When too much energy rises up too quickly, we can get headaches and feel irritable.

 

When this uprising energy gets stuck or is not balanced, we can experience issues with our muscles, tendons and ligaments. For example, this is often a time of year when people experience knee problems. When the liver energy is not flowing smoothly, it can also result in PMS symptoms or fertility issues.

 

The eyes are the sensory organ associated with the liver. This is a time of year where people frequently experience itchy, red, painful eyes or blurred vision.

 

Sometimes the energy of these organs can be deficient, and people may experience twitching in their muscles, or find that they have trouble making decisions or gathering the energy to move forward in life.

 

 

Support your liver and balance your energy this spring

Every individual is unique, and no two people will experience the same symptoms for exactly the same reason. When I see a new patient, I make the time to ask a lot of questions and review their health history. This allows me to determine what is going on with their energy. For example, it is important to determine whether their energy is rising up too quickly, getting stuck, or is deficient. I develop a customized treatment to address their specific needs and restore the balance of energy. This might involve acupuncture needles, ear seeds, qigong exercises, and diet and lifestyle advice.

 

Want to talk about how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help you balance your energy this spring? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Reach out and email me through our website or call or text 910-622-4269.

 

About the Author

Ericca Burke is the owner of HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine where she provides acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments in Wilmington, NC. Click this link to read more about Ericca. 

 

About HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine in Wilmington, NC

HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine is an acupuncture and Chinese medicine practice located in Wilmington, NC just minutes from beautiful Wrightsville Beach. Click this link for contact information and directions. Click this link for a listing and description of services offered.

Hot or cold? Why acupuncturists love warmth

hot or cold

Hot or cold?

Is hot or cold best while recovering from an injury? Typically, people choose cold. It’s instinctual. Remember when you were a child, and the school nurse gave you an ice pack when you got hurt? Many of us have been conditioned to reach for ice as soon as we have an injury. Later, if an injury is lingering, people start to wonder if hot or cold would be better.

 

Cold therapies

In addition to using ice to treat injuries, people are using ice for overall wellness. Many health-conscious people turn to cold therapies to promote their health and vitality. Cold therapy is becoming increasingly popular, with options like cold plunges and cryotherapy popping up everywhere.

 

What does cold do?

Cold contracts. It stops movement. It tells the body to “freeze”. So, if someone has an injury with swelling that hurts, ice will stop or limit the swelling. The cold numbs the injury. The pain lessens. Because the swelling and the pain appears to be better, people think that the ice was beneficial.

 

What does heat do?

Heat, and warmth in particular, creates gentle movement. It loosens and softens. It promotes circulation. In Chinese medicine, we look for balance. Not too much one way or the other. When we’re looking to help heal cold conditions, we don’t want to go too far in the other direction with extreme heat. Warmth is a gentle medium. A temperature that feels comforting and good. I emphasize this point because often people think that if a little bit of something is good, then more must be better. In this case, warmth is the middle ground that can greatly support healing.

 

What the experts say

Dr. Gabe Mirkin, the doctor who wrote the Sportsmedicine Book, coined the term RICE. Rice stands for rest, ice, compression, elevation. It was the gold standard for the treatment of athletic injuries. In the past 10 years, Dr. Mirkin has reversed his recommendation in an article called Why Ice Delays Recovery. In this article, he shares that ice may actually delay healing. Ice causes blood vessels to constrict. This prevents the body from bringing healing cells to the injured area.

 

Anne Cecil-Sterman, an expert in Chinese medicine and one of my favorite teachers, wrote a fascinating blog called Cold Plunge, Cold Shower, Hot Mess. Anne is very straightforward and calls things like she sees them. In this blog, she shares how the body responds to the shock of cold and moves the cold into the joints to protect our organs, often resulting in chronic joint pain and arthritis.

 

Consider warmth instead of ice

When patients have an injury that is slow to heal, I’ll ask what they have been doing. Frequently, they’ll tell me they have been icing it for weeks or even months. They can’t figure out why they’re not getting better.

 

I often have new patients call asking for help because they woke up in pain one day, and they don’t know what happened. Usually, their neck or shoulder is stiff and sore. I’ll ask them if they went outside in the cold with wet hair, or if they slept with a window open or a fan that blew cold air on them. Usually, the answer is yes.

 

In all of these cases I ask if a hot shower or bath helps them feel better. Most times, patients will say yes. I suggest that patients try to avoid cold air blowing directly on the injured area. Maybe even take a break from ice and consider warmth instead. Patients are often pleasantly surprised to find they start feeling better.

 

Consider a topical liniment like Zheng Gu Shui

Right after an injury, support the body’s natural inflammatory and healing process. Consider using a topical liniment instead of ice. Zheng Gu Shui is a 500-year-old topical Chinese herbal analgesic formula that is also known as “rectify bone liquid” or “royal bone water”. From a Chinese medicine perspective, it disperses blood, fluid, and energetic blockages to facilitate healing. It increases circulation, eases pain, strengthens connective tissues, speeds bone regrowth, and shortens injury recovery time. Learn more in my blog How Zheng Gu Shui can help you.

 

Use a warm neck wrap

neck wraps

I frequently recommend to patients that they apply gentle warmth at home to facilitate healing. A neck wrap is the perfect size and shape for many parts of the body, and it can be heated in the microwave. I recently found an artist in Wisconsin who creates small batch handmade neck wraps. These wraps are made from the softest flannel and filled with rice and lavender. They smell heavenly, especially when warmed up. Our patients love these neck wraps!

 

When to see a Doctor

Please note that the information in this blog is to support you when you’re healing from an injury and considering hot and cold therapies. It is not a substitute for medical advice. It is important to see a doctor to have any injury evaluated as soon as possible after the injury occurs and rule out any serious conditions.

 

Want to talk about how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help you? I’d love to hear from you. Reach out and email me through our website or call or text 910-622-4269.

 

About the Author

Ericca Burke is the owner of HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine where she provides acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments in Wilmington, NC. Click this link to read more about Ericca. 

Happy Chinese Lunar New Year – Welcome the year of the dragon!

year of the dragon

The year of the dragon

The Chinese Lunar New Year starts on the first day of the first moon of the lunar calendar. This is why the date varies each year. 2024 brings in the year of the Yang Green Dragon on February 10th. Celebrations continue through the first 15 days of the first month of the lunar calendar until the full moon arrives.

 

The most well-known aspect of the Chinese lunar new year is animal from the Chinese zodiac. The Chinese zodiac contains 12 animals: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Follow this link to read about the great race that explains how these animals earned their places in the Chinese zodiac. Each year also associates with one of the five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, or water. It is also either a yin or a yang year.

 

The dragon Chinese zodiac symbol

The dragon is auspicious in Chinese culture. It symbolizes freedom, transformation, and connection. April is the month associated with the dragon. April is a month ripe with the transformations of spring, which is right in line with dragon energy. The dragon is also associated with the time 7:00a.m. – 9:00a.m. on the Chinese organ clock. Check out my blog on the Chinese organ body clock to learn more about this fascinating aspect of Chinese medicine. The 7:00a.m. – 9:00a.m. time period is “stomach time”, and it is the optimal time to have breakfast and prepare our bodies for the day.

 

The wood element

Wood is the element associated with this Chinese Lunar New Year. The color of the wood element is green, and this is why the year is called the green dragon. Wood is also associated with the spring, which is a time of change, action, and transformation. This is an important year to take action and follow through on plans. When we do not activate our wood element energy, the wood can express itself internally instead, resulting in frustration and depression.

 

The yang nature of the year

This year is a yang year. Yin and yang are one of the most fundamental concepts in Chinese medicine. Yin is nurturing, cooling energy. Yang is warming, quick energy. Yin and yang complement each other. Chinese medicine defines yin and yang in comparison with one another. Since this year will have more yang energy, the year favors action. While the wood dragon is already quite yang in nature, this year the dragon will have even more momentum to move forward and shine.

 

Connection with the digestive system

As mentioned earlier, the dragon has a connection with the stomach and digestive system. Since this is a wood year, the emotions of anger and frustration associated with the wood element more easily arise. This can result in issues like indigestion, reflux, decreased appetite, and slow digestion. It is important to be aware of this and manage these emotions, so they do not disrupt the digestive system. It is important to note that we digest information as well, which includes things like news, TV programs, and social media. Be mindful about the types of information you take in, especially before bed.

 

Focus on healthy movement in 2024

Exercise is important in 2024, and dragon energy needs movement. At least 30 minutes of movement exercise is recommended several times per week. This could include strength training, cardiovascular workouts, walking in the woods, yoga, and qigong. If you have not heard of qigong, you can read more about it in my blog Enhance your vitality with qigong. Certainly, movement is very important to support and smooth the wood element energy. Additionally, keep in mind that balance is key. Balance movement and activity with rest and regularity. Eating and sleeping at regular times can help achieve this balance.

 

Want to talk about how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help you support you in the year of the yang green dragon? I’d love to hear from you. Reach out and email me through our website or call or text 910-622-4269.

 

About the Author

Ericca Burke is the owner of HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine where she provides acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments in Wilmington, NC. Click this link to read more about Ericca. 

How Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can support your New Year’s resolutions

A new approach to support your New Year’s resolutions

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are a great option to support your New Year’s resolutions. When our energy is not flowing smoothly, then physical, mental, or emotional pain, discomfort, and illness can result.  Acupuncture and Chinese medicine help restore the optimal flow of energy so the body can heal itself. Therefore, it is effective in helping with a multitude of challenges people face. This includes supporting New Year’s resolutions.

 

Top New Year’s Resolutions

Below are some of the top New Year’s resolutions for 2024 and how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help.

 

Lose weight

This is usually the #1 New Year’s resolution, especially after all of the holiday eating and drinking. People gain weight over the holidays, realize they don’t feel well, and want to shed the extra weight. Check out my blog How acupuncture and ear seeds can help you lose weight for help with this resolution. Not surprisingly, the weight loss ear seed kit is the #1 most popular ear seed kit sold.

 

Quit smoking

Many smokers want to quit, and find that they don’t have the support and resources they need. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help with the cravings and withdrawal symptoms, and even the motivation to quit. Read more in my blog How acupuncture and ear seeds can help you stop smoking.

 

Drink less alcohol

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are great for helping with additive behaviors, including excessive alcohol consumption. There is a proven ear acupuncture protocol that is very helpful for addiction. As with smoking and weight loss, treatment can also help reduce cravings.

 

Eat healthier

This is a particularly interesting resolution because not all healthy foods are beneficial for everyone. For example, eating cold raw salads for dinner every night in the winter can actually cause loose stools and low energy in some people. In acupuncture and Chinese medicine, we look at the patient’s overall constitution and energetic balance to understand what is going on specifically with their body. From there, we can make recommendations for what foods would best support their health.

 

Reduce stress

The Mayo Clinic’s article on stress management shares that stress can have a negative effect on the body, mood, and behavior. It can lead to a variety of health issues including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Reducing stress can have a huge effect on overall health and well-being, and is an excellent choice for a New Year’s resolution. See more in my blog Acupuncture for stress and anxiety.

 

Get better sleep

Quality sleep is so important to our health. A lack of sufficient sleep has been linked to weight gain, cognitive decline, and an increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. We do our best healing when we sleep. Learn how to create healthy sleep habits in my blog: Improve your sleep with acupuncture

 

Can’t decide? Acupuncture & Chinese medicine can help with that too

Having trouble deciding what you want to focus on in 2024? There are so many exciting and important things to learn and focus on that it can be difficult to narrow it down and prioritize. That’s where gall bladder energy comes in. In Chinese medicine, gall bladder energy is responsible for decision making. Strengthening gall bladder energy can make decisions much easier.

 

Do you have a resolution or health concern you’d like support with that you don’t see here? Have a look at my blog What acupuncture can treat- it may surprise you! to learn more about common conditions treated.

 

Want to talk about how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help you support your New Year’s resolutions? I’d love to hear from you. Reach out and email me through our website or call or text 910-622-4269.

 

About the Author

Ericca Burke is the owner of HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine where she provides acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments in Wilmington, NC. Click this link to read more about Ericca.