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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.

Acupressure for the holidays

Keep yourself healthy this holiday season by practicing acupressure

Acupressure can be a great way to boost your immunity this holiday season. Acupressure is the application of gentle pressure to acupuncture points. This is an at home treatment that can be done simply and easily using just your fingers. In this blog, I’ll provide instructions for how to perform acupressure and share information on some points you can try at home to boost your immunity.

 

How to perform acupressure

  • Use your index and / or middle fingers to apply a downward pressure with small circular motions (about a quarter of an inch) to the acupuncture point.
  • Feel for painful areas or areas of tightness or emptiness.
  • Massage for at least ten seconds, and up to a few minutes.
  • Stimulate points at least two times per day, for example, once in the morning and once at night.

 

Try acupressure to boost your immunity with these acupuncture points

 

Kidney 27

The Chinese name of this point is Shufu. It means “Shu Mansion” or “Storehouse”. It is the last point on the Kidney channel.

  • Location: Slide the finger below the clavicle from the shoulder toward the sternum. The sternum is the bone at the center of the chest. Stop about two finger widths before you reach the sternum.
  • Uses: In addition to boosting immunity, this point is also helpful for unbinding the chest, transforming phlegm, alleviating cough and wheezing, and harmonizing the stomach. It is especially useful for people who are experiencing upper respiratory symptoms.

 

Large Intestine 10

The Chinese name of this point is Shousanli. It means “Arm Three Miles”. This point is the 10th point on the Large Intestine channel. It is considered to be one of the master immune points in Japanese acupuncture.

  • Location: Bend the arm at the elbow and on the radial (thumb) side of the bent arm, place the finger(s) at the bed of the elbow, then slide the fingers about two finger widths down the arm toward the hand. Feel for a tender spot.
  • Uses: In addition to boosting immunity, this point can also help with disorders of the arm and stiffness of the neck.

 

Large Intestine 4

The Chinese name of this point is Hegu. It means “Joining Valley”. Hegu is the fourth point on the Large Intestine channel. It is a principle point used with any issues of the head and face, including headaches.

DO NOT USE THIS POINT IF YOU ARE PREGNANT. This point has a strong downward action and is contra-indicated in pregnancy.

  • Location: Slide the finger from the joint of the index finger towards the wrist stopping in the depression where the thumb and index finger bones meet.
  • Uses: In addition to boosting immunity, it is a master point for headaches. It is useful for headaches in the front of the head, toothaches, pain, cold symptoms, as well as constipation.

 

Stomach 36

The Chinese name of this point is Zusanli. It means “Leg three miles”. It is the thirty-sixth point on the Stomach channel. This point is the leg version of Large Intestine 10, the “arm three miles” point. This point is so powerful that in ancient times, it was said that stimulating this point would give a dying person enough energy to walk another three miles.

  • Location: Place the finger below the knee on the outer side of the leg. Feel for the curve of the curve of the tibia, the bone in the center of the lower leg. Alternatively, place the fingers on the outer edge of the tibia on the lower leg and follow the tibia up the leg toward the knee and stop where the bone starts to curve. As with the other points, feel for a tender spot.
  • Uses: In addition to boosting immunity and energy, this point helps harmonize the stomach and spleen, nourishes blood, calms the spirit, and relieves pain.

 

Questions?

If you have any questions or trouble locating any of the points, please reach out and email me through our website or call or text 910-622-4269. I’d love to hear from you!

 

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.

The benefits of acupuncture and therapeutic massage

therapeutic massage

Acupuncture and therapeutic massage

Acupuncture and therapeutic massage are a powerful healing combination. Over the years, many patients have asked me about massage, and I recently decided to expand my practice to include therapeutic massage. I am a strong believer in complementary healing modalities, and I personally love massage. It’s a wonderful tool to include in your self-care toolkit.

 

Therapeutic massage

Therapeutic massage is a type of massage that involves focused work on soft tissues of the body, specifically, the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It is sometimes referred to as a medical massage. Therapeutic massage helps release tension, improve range of motion, and heal injuries. This type of massage can also help relieve pain, elicit the relaxation response, reduce stress, and improve your mood. Each individual receives a massage customized to their specific needs.  Many pioneering medical institutions like the Cleveland Clinic advocate the benefits of massage, as shown in this Cleveland Clinic article titled Why You Should Try Medical or Therapeutic Massage.

 

Chair massage

 As I was brainstorming on massage offerings, the licensed massage therapist who joined my practice suggested offering chair massage in addition to the traditional 60- and 90-minute full body massage sessions. I was excited to find a variety of research articles detailing the benefits from a 15-minute chair massage. Specifically, research has shown that just 15 minutes in a massage chair has many benefits including reducing tension, stress and anxiety, lowering blood pressure, increasing blood circulation, and strengthening the immune system.

Here are links to a sampling of research studies showing the benefits of a 15-minute chair massage:

 

How a chair massage works

A chair massage is a massage performed while you are seated in a specialized massage chair that is ergonomically positioned. Your face rests in a comfortable headrest, and special arm rests support your arms. This allows the body to relax, and the massage therapist focuses on relieving tension in the neck, shoulders, and back. The massage is done through the clothes, so there is no need to change or shower after the session. It’s a very efficient way to get quick tension relief.

 

How to combine acupuncture and massage

I have found many conflicting recommendations on how to best combine acupuncture and massage. Some suggest massage first, then acupuncture. Some suggest the opposite. Others suggest separating the two by varying amounts of time.

 

In my Classical Chinese medicine training, we were taught to recommend separating treatments by at least 24 hours. This is because our energetic body follows a schedule called the Chinese organ body clock. Every two hours a different organ system is either at its peak function of activity or its lowest activity or time of rest, just like the tides in the ocean. There are 12 different organ systems that follow this schedule over a 24-hour period. You can learn more about this topic in my blog about the Chinese organ body clock.

 

Waiting 24 hours after an acupuncture treatment or a massage gives your body time to fully take in and process the energetic message you received from your treatment. I often suggest to patients that they consider alternating weekly acupuncture and massage treatments. For example, they have an acupuncture treatment one week and then a massage treatment the following week. This is not to say that following a different schedule will not be effective, rather, it’s a way to ensure the body fully processes the benefit from the specific treatment with no other influences.

 

Want to talk about how acupuncture and therapeutic massage 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. 

 

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 directionsClick this link for a listing and description of services offered.

Acupressure for immunity

acupressure for immunity

Keep yourself healthy this winter by practicing acupressure for immunity

Acupressure can be a great way to boost your immunity this winter. Acupressure is the application of gentle pressure to acupuncture points. This is an at home treatment that can be done simply and easily using just your fingers. In this blog, I’ll provide instructions for how to perform acupressure and share information on some points you can try at home to boost your immunity.

 

How to perform acupressure

  • Use your index and / or middle fingers to apply a downward pressure with small circular motions (about a quarter of an inch) to the acupuncture point.
  • Feel for painful areas or areas of tightness or emptiness.
  • Massage for at least ten seconds, and up to a few minutes.
  • Stimulate points at least two times per day, for example, once in the morning and once at night.

 

Try acupressure to boost your immunity with these acupuncture points

 

Kidney 27

The Chinese name of this point is Shufu. It means “Shu Mansion” or “Storehouse”. It is the last point on the Kidney channel.

  • Location: Slide the finger below the clavicle from the shoulder toward the sternum. The sternum is the bone at the center of the chest. Stop about two finger widths before you reach the sternum.
  • Uses: In addition to boosting immunity, this point is also helpful for unbinding the chest, transforming phlegm, alleviating cough and wheezing, and harmonizing the stomach. It is especially useful for people who are experiencing upper respiratory symptoms.

 

Large Intestine 10

The Chinese name of this point is Shousanli. It means “Arm Three Miles”. This point is the 10th point on the Large Intestine channel. It is considered to be one of the master immune points in Japanese acupuncture.

  • Location: Bend the arm at the elbow and on the radial (thumb) side of the bent arm, place the finger(s) at the bed of the elbow, then slide the fingers about two finger widths down the arm toward the hand. Feel for a tender spot.
  • Uses: In addition to boosting immunity, this point can also help with disorders of the arm and stiffness of the neck.

 

Large Intestine 4

The Chinese name of this point is Hegu. It means “Joining Valley”. Hegu is the fourth point on the Large Intestine channel. It is a principle point used with any issues of the head and face, including headaches.

DO NOT USE THIS POINT IF YOU ARE PREGNANT. This point has a strong downward action and is contra-indicated in pregnancy.

  • Location: Slide the finger from the joint of the index finger towards the wrist stopping in the depression where the thumb and index finger bones meet.
  • Uses: In addition to boosting immunity, it is a master point for headaches. It is useful for headaches in the front of the head, toothaches, pain, cold symptoms, as well as constipation.

 

Stomach 36

The Chinese name of this point is Zusanli. It means “Leg three miles”. It is the thirty-sixth point on the Stomach channel. This point is the leg version of Large Intestine 10, the “arm three miles” point. This point is so powerful that in ancient times, it was said that stimulating this point would give a dying person enough energy to walk another three miles.

  • Location: Place the finger below the knee on the outer side of the leg. Feel for the curve of the curve of the tibia, the bone in the center of the lower leg. Alternatively, place the fingers on the outer edge of the tibia on the lower leg and follow the tibia up the leg toward the knee and stop where the bone starts to curve. As with the other points, feel for a tender spot.
  • Uses: In addition to boosting immunity and energy, this point helps harmonize the stomach and spleen, nourishes blood, calms the spirit, and relieves pain.

 

Questions?

If you have any questions or trouble locating any of the points, please reach out and email me through our website or call or text 910-622-4269. I’d love to hear from you!

 

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.

Enhance your vitality with qigong

Qigong

What is qigong?

Qigong is a practice of cultivating energy. The word “qi” refers to energy or life force, and the word “gong” in this case refers to work or practice. Qigong is a combination of gentle movements with mindful breathing that balance and move energy. Qigong can be practiced by anyone at any age or level of health.

  

Why I love it

I love qigong because it is so simple and effective. It can be practiced anywhere. I don’t need any equipment or to go to the gym. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining outside or too hot or too cold. I can practice if I am sick or injured. I can tailor and recommend qigong movements to every one of my patients regardless of their age or level of health.

 

Benefits of qigong

Practicing qigong has been said to be like recharging your battery. It gives you energy. Qigong balances your energy, and it can help calm and disperse uncomfortable energy like stress and anxiety. The body is then able to use this energy to heal anything that may need to be healed. Qigong benefits mental, emotional, and physical health. It can also be very helpful in boosting immunity.

 

How I incorporate it into a treatment

In addition to offering telehealth appointments with customized qigong exercises, I will often recommend qigong exercises to my patients who come in for acupuncture treatments. This is especially useful for people who want to continue to enhance their vitality and well-being at home. At the end of an acupuncture session, I will teach patients a simple exercise or two. We’ll practice it together to make sure they can feel the sensations and ask questions if needed. Here are two  examples of simple qigong exercises that can be done at home:

Shaking:

  • Stand with feet shoulder with apart.
  • Start at your hands and begin a shaking motion that moves up your arms and through your body. Include your head, torso, legs, etc.
  • This moves energy and stuck emotions.
  • Let yourself exhale deeply to release tension.
  • Open your mouth and make a sound if you like. This could be a sigh, a grunt, or whatever feels right to you.
  • This exercise is great for stress relief.

 

Calming:

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart.
  • Inhale and raise arms with palms facing up over your head, and then exhale with the palms facing each other and gently let them float down.
  • When your palms pass in front of your face, turn the palms down to face the ground and continue lowering your palms in front of you until they reach your hips.
  • Repeat at least three times.
  • During the last time, let your hands rest on your lower abdomen with palms facing in, and take a few more slow breaths into your abdomen.
  • This exercise is also referred to as “waterfalls”. It can be helpful to envision gentle water washing over you, easing away tension and invigorating you as you practice.
  • This exercise smooths, calms, and grounds your energy.

 

Resources

There are so many wonderful books, DVDs, and even free videos on Youtube dedicated to qigong practices. Some are tailored to areas like stress and anxiety, headaches, back pain, insomnia, digestion, and immunity to name a few. Others focus on certain populations, like chair-based qigong for elderly or injured people.

 

Here are links to some of my favorite teachers and videos: 

 

Want to learn more about qigong and get customized exercises just for 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. 

 

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.