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Acupuncture during the COVID-19 pandemic

Acupuncture COVID-19

Acupuncture and important COVID-19 safety updates

This blog post shares how our acupuncture office visits have been updated to best serve you and your safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. In these challenging times, we know that now more than ever people are needing help easing their body, mind, spirit back into balance. We’re here for you!

 

We are thrilled to share that we are re-opening the HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine office in Lumina Station in a phase-in fashion in early June. Telehealth appointments are still available for those who prefer to continue treatment at home. Click this link to learn more about Telehealth appointments.

 

We are following the CDC, OSHA, and Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM) infection control requirements and advisories.

 

Appointments will be scheduled to allow for spacing, cleaning, and a comfortable healing environment.

 

New patients

We are pleased to welcome new patients to our practice. New patients can click this link to learn what an acupuncture treatment is like. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we will conduct the initial interview over the phone or through our HIPAA-compliant Telehealth platform, and then patients will come into the office for their treatment.

 

Acupuncture COVID-19 form

We have a new Acupuncture COVID-19 Informed Consent to Treat form. We will email the form to you through Docusign so you can review and sign it before your appointment.

 

Masks

Masks are required for everyone, and you must be wearing a face mask before you enter the treatment room. Ericca will be wearing a medical procedure mask. Patients are welcome to wear cloth or homemade masks.

 

Arriving for your appointment

Please arrive no earlier than 5 minutes before your scheduled appointment or wait in your car or outside until your appointment time. Anyone accompanying you will need to wait outside or in the car.

 

When you arrive, we will meet you at the door and take your temperature and provide you with hand sanitizer. There will be no waiting in the waiting room.

 

In the treatment room

When you enter the treatment room, you’ll place your personal belongings on a hook and / or shelf and go directly to the treatment table and sit or lie down.

 

The treatment table will continue to have sheets for you to lie on and to cover yourself. If you enjoy being cozy during your treatment, you are welcome to bring your own blanket.

 

EPA-approved disinfection

The treatment room is cleaned thoroughly between patients, with sheets changed and surfaces cleaned with an EPA-approved botanical disinfectant.

 

Medical-grade air filtration

We have upgraded our air purifier to a new medical-grade filtration H13 true HEPA system that removes 99.97% of particles down to 0.1 microns. For reference, the average size of the SARS CoV-2 particle which causes COVID-19 is about 0.125 microns.

 

Intake and treatment procedure updates

Ericca will sit 6 feet away from you during the intake and discuss how you’re doing and your treatment goals. The intake can also be done over the phone while you’re sitting in your car if you prefer.

 

We will send instructions on how to take a picture of your tongue with your cell phone prior to your appointment.

 

Ericca will be within 6 feet of you for a limited time when she feels your pulses and also during your acupuncture treatment.

 

Contactless payment

We will be using contactless payment and will ask for your credit card information when booking your appointment. Your card will not be charged until after your appointment. We will still accept checks, and if you prefer to pay with cash please bring exact change.

 

Important notes

We ask that you please reschedule your appointment if you have any sign of a respiratory disease such as fever or cough, or even a common cold. If you are unsure about whether to come in, please let us know and we can assess and decide together.

 

While we cannot provide a 100% risk-free guarantee, we hope that the procedures we have put in place that follow the CDC, OSHA and CCAOM requirements and guidelines will help you feel safe.

 

Thank you!

Supporting your health and well-being is our top priority and we are honored to be a part of your path. Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you in the office or in a Telehealth session!

 

-Ericca

 

Have questions or want to schedule? Please and email me through our website or call or text 910-622-6960. 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. HAVEN now offers Telehealth in North Carolina. Click this link for contact information and directions. Click this link for a listing and description of services offered.

 

Telehealth now available to patients in North Carolina

Telehealth in North Carolina

HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine is now offering Telehealth in North Carolina

People often ask me, “How can you practice acupuncture and Chinese medicine in North Carolina through Telehealth? What do you do when you can’t use needles?” People are surprised to learn that Chinese medicine covers much more than acupuncture. Telehealth is a great option for someone who is scared of needles or reluctant to try acupuncture. One of the techniques used during a Telehealth session is acupressure. Acupressure is the application of gentle pressure to acupressure points. Many people don’t know that acupressure can be just as effective as using needles on acupuncture points. It is easy to learn and do.

 

Telehealth is a great option for people who cannot or do not want to leave their home. This is beneficial to parents when childcare is not available, and they don’t have an option to leave the house. Sometimes personal protective equipment is not available, and people don’t feel safe leaving their homes. With Telehealth, you do not need to go into an office. Instead, you relax comfortably in your own home during a session. Another benefit of Telehealth is that patients can be located anywhere in North Carolina. You don’t have to travel to Wilmington. You can still get a customized treatment without leaving your home.

 

How it works

All you need is a computer, tablet or phone, and an internet connection. Just like in an office session, we’ll go through a comprehensive health history. This includes the medications and supplements you are taking, and previous and current conditions. We’ll discuss your primary concerns and goals.

 

Patients send me a picture of their tongue and ears before their appointment. This sounds weird, and it is! It’s also really easy to do. The pictures give me a lot of information about what is going on in the body.

 

When I review tongue pictures, I look at the size, shape, color, and qualities of the tongue. The tongue shows the status of  the major organs in the body. Looking at the tongue gives insight into how the organs are processing energy.

 

The ear is a microcosm of the body. This means that the different areas of the ear represent all of the parts of the body. For example, issues with the head can be seen on the earlobe. When I review ear pictures, I look for areas of redness, swelling, and dark or white patches. Recently, when reviewing ear pictures, I noticed markings on a patient’s ear that coincide with lower back pain. The patient had not mentioned lower back pain. During our appointment, I asked them if they had any trouble with their lower back. The answer was a surprised “Yes!” Patients are often amazed at what I am able to see just by looking at the ears.

 

Finally, I can also see what’s going on in your body by examining your face over the camera during a Telehealth session. Chinese face reading and facial diagnosis can be a very powerful tool. Various colorings, markings, and lines can give clues about overall health and what’s going on in the body.

 

Telehealth can help with many health concerns

The Telehealth sessions I offer can address many of the conditions commonly treated with acupuncture. This includes pain, headaches, digestive, respiratory, dermatological, neurological, reproductive and sleep issues. Sessions are also very effective in supporting emotional well-being, including stress, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction. Sessions can also focus on boosting immunity.

 

A customized treatment plan is developed during a Telehealth session. This may include acupressure, ear seeds, gua sha, moxa, qigong, as well as nutrition and lifestyle advice. Any tools needed are delivered or sent to the patient for home use. Detailed instructions are provided.

 

Available treatment modalities

Here’s a quick overview of the different modalities that are available:

  • Acupressure is the application of pressure to acupuncture points. This is done through gentle massage or tapping on acupuncture points.
  • Ear seeds are small seeds that are held to acupuncture points on the ear with adhesive tape. They can treat conditions throughout the entire body and often have a very calming and relaxing effect.
  • Gua sha is a gentle massage technique that incorporates a smooth-edged tool that stimulates blood flow, removes stagnation, improves circulation, produces an anti-inflammatory effect, and increases immunity to promote healing.
  • Moxa is a Chinese herb that is lit like incense. Moxa burns close to the surface of the skin and stimulates acupuncture points. It is a great tool for building immunity. It helps relieve pain, and also warms and encourages the flow of blood and “qi” (energy) in the body.
  • Qigong refers to gentle exercises that help smooth and strengthen the body’s energy.
    “Qi” means energy and “gong” means work. Qigong is a practice of working with the body’s energy.
  • Nutrition and lifestyle: We’ll discuss your current diet, exercise, stress-reduction and sleep habits. I’ll share advice on what foods may help balance your energy from a Chinese medicine perspective. I’ll give lifestyle recommendations to support you and your goals.

 

Telehealth for facial health and beauty

With so many offices and salons closed, people are excited to learn that facial procedures can easily be practiced at home. This includes lifting, toning and brightening the skin and minimizing wrinkles. I offer a facial gua sha protocol that I teach you during a Facial Gua Sha Telehealth session. I’ll give you instructions and the tools you need to practice at home. Read more about facial gua sha by clicking this link.

 

Are you located in North Carolina and interested in Telehealth? Call 910-622-6960 to learn more.

 

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. HAVEN now offers Telehealth in North Carolina. Click this link for contact information and directions. Click this link for a listing and description of services offered.

Healing yourself with the relaxation response

relaxation response

Relaxation is key to reduce stress and improve immunity

The world is experiencing an unprecedented increase in stress and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since stress has been shown to weaken immunity, it is important now more than ever to find ways to manage stress. Because of the pandemic, I have temporarily stopped practicing acupuncture in my office as I transition to telemedicine. I am eager and excited to share ways that people can work on managing stress and building immunity from their own homes, like learning to practice the “relaxation response”.

 

The “relaxation response” is an amazing practice that can be done anywhere. I first heard about this term in a TedX talk given by Dr. Lissa Rankin called “Is there scientific proof we can heal ourselves?”. In her talk, Dr. Rankin gives numerous examples of the power of the mind and its ability to heal the body, including the relaxation response. Dr Herbert Benson, a pioneer in mind / body medicine, created the relaxation response term and practice. The relaxation response counters the fight-or-flight stress response that is activated quite frequently in our modern lives.

 

The relaxation response works by slowing down the rate of breathing, reducing blood pressure, and relaxing muscles. And, there is no one right or perfect way to practice this. Rather, there are many possibilities that people can consider based on what works best for them. As I studied the relaxation response, I realized that this is one of the many benefits that an acupuncture treatment can bring to patients.

 

How to practice the relaxation response at home

Dr. Benson has created a simple, nine-minute Youtube video where he guides you through the relaxation response process. Click here to watch “Relaxation Response: Dr. Herbert Benson Teaches you the Basics” on Youtube. Dr. Benson states that only two things are necessary to practice the relaxation response:

  1. A repeated word (like “peace”, “love”, or “calm”), sound, prayer, phrase, or movement
  2. Disregard other thoughts when they enter your mind and come back to the repetition

You can sit or lie down in a comfortable position to practice. Close your eyes and breathe slowly. It’s helpful if you can focus your breathing in your lower abdomen, though this isn’t necessary. Repeatedly say your word, sound, prayer, or phrase on your exhalation. If other thoughts come into your mind, Dr. Benson advises you to tell yourself “oh well”. Then, bring yourself back to the repetition and continue. Dr. Benson recommends daily practice for 10-15 minutes. Finish your practice, and take your time getting up and returning to your day.

 

If you think that this sounds a lot like meditation, you’re right! This is a powerful form of meditation. If the recommended daily 10-15-minute practice feels too long for you, start slowly. Even as little as one minute can be beneficial. Take your time, and gradually build up to a longer practice. Ultimately, having a regular daily practice of at least 10 minutes will be very effective at building immunity and countering daily stress.

 

Additional ways to practice the relaxation response

One great option to practice the relaxation response is through guided visualization. This can bring the same benefits as the meditation described earlier, but it may feel more doable because all you have to do is sit or lie down in a quiet place and listen to someone else speak. One of my favorite creators of guided visualization tools is Belleruth Naparstek. She has made over one hundred recordings available on iTunes as well as in CD format. Topics range from Immunity to Insomnia & Restful Sleep, Stress, Grief, and Anger & Forgiveness as well as number of condition-specific titles like Headaches, Menopause, and Cancer.

 

Another favorite is the 21-day medication experience collections created by Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey. Many of these collections are offered for free. Each daily audio program starts out with an inspirational message from Oprah. Deepak follows Oprah with his own words of wisdom. Deepak then suggests a meditation phrase and guides the listener in a 10-minute meditation. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Oprah and Deepak created a series called “Hope in Uncertain Times” which is available for free until May 15th, 2020. After that, it will be available for purchase. The programs last for 21 days because it has been shown that it can take 21 days to create a new habit. I have followed several of these 21-day meditation experiences, and I have purchased some of them. I will often restart a program from day one to start a new 21-day cycle of meditation.

 

Physical options

While I am a huge proponent of stillness, I also love to experience movement in a meditative form. As mentioned earlier, Dr. Benson states that movement can also elicit the relaxation response. What’s important is having a way to break the train of daily thoughts and stressors. This can be accomplished through repetitive exercise where you become immersed in the movement. Examples include yoga, tai chi, qigong, running, rowing, or even knitting or playing a musical instrument.

 

Overall, what’s most important is that you find what works for you and commit to a regular daily practice. I think you’ll be thrilled with the benefits you experience!

 

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.

What to Expect During an Acupuncture Treatment

acupuncture treatment wilmington nc

Acupuncture treatment at HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine in Wilmington, NC

Many people are curious about what an acupuncture treatment is like and feel more comfortable when they know what to expect beforehand. This blog shares what it’s like to receive an acupuncture treatment at HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine in Wilmington, NC.

Medical history and goal setting

The majority of the initial visit is actually spent talking. We’ll go through your health history. This includes what medications and supplements you are taking, and previous and current conditions. We’ll discuss your goals for the treatment. I often ask people to imagine that I have a magic wand. With this wand, I can grant them wishes that would improve the quality of their life. I ask them to share their top three wishes. I ask this because people are not usually aware of the wide range of areas that acupuncture can positively affect. Often people will bring up something that they think would be impossible to help. They might mention things like PMS or hot flashes, difficulty concentrating, or constipation. They are thrilled to learn that we can work on those areas.

Pulse reading

After our discussion is complete, I will check your pulses. The pulses are felt on the wrist just as a western medical practitioner would take pulses. In Chinese Medicine, we feel the pulses on both wrists, and we actually feel or “listen” to the pulses in twelve different positions. The twelve different positions correspond to the twelve different organ systems in the body. The way the pulse feels gives insight into how that particular organ system is functioning.

Tongue diagnosis

After the pulse taking, I’ll examine your tongue. I’ll ask you to stick out your tongue at me (yes, you read that correctly!). I’ll look at the size, shape, color, and qualities of the coating on the tongue. The major organs are also represented on the tongue. Looking at the tongue gives additional insight into how the organs are processing energy.

How big are those acupuncture needles?!

Next, I’ll show what the acupuncture needles look like. They come in sterile, single use sealed packages. They are safely disposed of after use. People are often surprised to see how tiny the needles are. They are generally about the width of a human hair. Depending upon the size of the acupuncture needle, anywhere from 20 – 40 acupuncture needles can actually fit inside a standard hypodermic needle used to draw blood or administer medicine. We’ll also discuss if other modalities are to be used. For example you are afraid of needles or you think needles might be too intense for you or your child, we might use ear seeds, moxa, or tuning forks instead of acupuncture needles. You can check out the Services page for a description of all modalities offered in addition to acupuncture needles.

Getting comfortable and preparing for treatment

At this point, I will leave the treatment room and let you get comfortable on the treatment table. You can snuggle up in blankets and enjoy the table warmer if you like. I then analyze the information we discussed and design a treatment plan to help restore the proper balance of energy in your body and address your concerns. Every person is unique and receives a treatment customized specifically to their needs.

After I finish my treatment plan, I’ll wash my hands, knock on the treatment room door, and then enter the treatment room to start the treatment. I’ll explain the various types of sensations you might feel during the treatment. I will ask for feedback on how you are doing. When you’re ready, I’ll leave the treatment room and let you relax comfortably for a specified period of time. This is about 20 minutes on average. Don’t be surprised if you are so relaxed that you fall asleep! After the treatment, I’ll recommend a follow-up plan and answer any questions. I love questions, and I love it when people get involved and invested in their treatment and health.

If you have questions, please reach out and email me through our website or call or text 910-622-6960. 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.