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- Jean Donati Acupuncture604 E. Joppa RD
Towson, MD 21286410-984-3700
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PTSD and Acupuncture
Those who have experienced trauma including, physical, emotional and sexual trauma can experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for months to years after the initial event. Traumatic events can include physical events such as experiencing or witnessing a car accident or near-death experience, physical combat such as faced by veterans in war, and sexual trauma in the form of incest, rape or unwanted sexual encounters. Individuals can carry the remnants of those events with them for a long time. These remnants often continue to affect them in profound ways, disrupting their relationships, their overall mental health, and their daily lives. Acupuncture is one of the modalities which can address the physical and emotional aftermath of traumatic events and assist on the path of healing.
What is PTSD?
PTSD is a physiological disorder that can result from being exposed to any traumatic event. The disorder results in symptoms that can be different for each individual.
Possible symptoms include:
- Some PTSD sufferers relive the traumatic event over and over. Flashbacks, memories, and nightmares are common. Often, sounds, smells, and sights can trigger a flashback.
- Avoidance is also common. Individuals with PTSD avoid people, places and events that remind them of the event.
- Numbing is another self-preservation mechanism. Numbing can include difficulty expressing emotions, loss of interest in enjoyable activities, and the loss of memory of parts of the traumatic event. Certain memories may resurface yeas after the event took place. This is a common occurrence.
- Arousal can be exhibited by anger, irritability, trouble concentrating or sleeping, feeling on guard and being easily startled or surprised.
The effects of post-traumatic stress disorder in someone’s life can be wide ranging. An individual with PTSD may have feelings of hopelessness, shame and despair. There may be problems at work. Relationships may be strained. Serious health conditions such as depression, anxiety and drug or alcohol abuse are not uncommon. Other health issues include insomnia, stress, anxiety, depression, digestive disorders, anorexia, bulimia, difficulty with concentration and focus, and headaches.
How Can I Help my Friend or Relative with PTSD?
There are many ways you can help your friend or relative with PTSD.
- Learn everything you can about PTSD. Knowledge is power. The more you know about the disorder, the better you can understand what your friend is going through and why they are responding the way they are to specific triggers.
- Offer your assistance. This may be going to physician visits with them, keeping track of medications, or going with them to therapy. If your friend is learning new techniques to cope with stress try learn the new techniques with them. Be supportive as possible.
- Be available and fully present to listen. Listen with a compassionate open heart. Don’t judge, argue, or problem-solve. Your friend my not be willing or able to talk. That is ok, just sitting with someone in silence may be what they need.
- Plan fun activities to get them out and about. Be aware of events or environments that are difficult and plan events to be as stress-free as possible.
- Pay attention to any comments about hurting themselves and report them to the therapist or doctor. If necessary, call 911.
- Sometimes supporting someone with PTSD is challenging. Get support for yourself so you are able to help your friend or loved one. Seek safety and help immediately if your friend or relative becomes violent or threatening.
PTSD Crisis Resources
If you or your loved one is in crisis:
- Call 911.
- Go to your nearest Emergency Room.
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in Spanish/Español 1-888-628-9454.
- Go to the veterans crisis website at https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/ to chat live with a crisis counselor at any time of day or night.
- Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or chat online 24/7 at https://www.rainn.org/resources
There are many new treatments available for people who have experienced physical, emotional or sexual abuse, assault, and trauma. Acupuncture can foster a safe environment for healing and growth. Jean Donati Acupuncture has experience in treating patients with PTSD. For more information, please call 410-984-3700 for a confidential discussion.
Over the past few days, I have had several patients ask me …”I am coming in for neck pain or back pain or shoulder pain…where are you going to put the needles”? Or if I have been seeing the patient I am asked “when are you going to treat my pain… why don’t you just put the needles where my pain is?”
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the flow of energy or Qi, moves in specific pathways called meridians. There are 14 major pathways, and these pathways interact with each other. Initially, when I first see a patient, I like to make sure that the overall energy is clear, so I do a few “clearing treatments” before I focus on shifting any energy in a specific pathway.
Your energy is like a garden. I want flowers or crops to grow, so I need to make sure the ground is ready for planting. This means removing any unnecessary weeds, or rocks or debris. This is what the clearing treatments do. They make the energy channels clear and ready for shifts in energy. The clearing treatments are generally on the front, or back of the body and can consist of 2-4 treatments if necessary. This is to ensure that the energy is moving in the proper direction, not being contaminated. It is like removing a kink form a hose so you can let the water flow.
There is another important thing to note. Say you come in for wrist pain, there are 6 pathways that encompass the wrist area. These include the heart, small intestine, triple heater, pericardium, lung and large intestine pathways of energy. They all start at the fingertips and go up the wrist, to the forearm. Some of these pathways diverge to the chest, face and back. So, needles may not be placed in the wrist for wrist pain if there is a blockage of energy along a pathway is say the small intestine at the level of the scapula or shoulder blade.
Traditional Chinese medicine takes all of this into account. So, when I am asked “When are you going to treat my pain?” My answer is… I already am…I started with the first session. Sometimes clearing the general energy blocks (which can include internal and external factors such as emotions, heat, cold, wind, damp, excess or deficiency, side to side energy pathway balance) can make a profound change in the symptoms you came in with and others you were not aware of such as sleep, mood, digestion and concentration.
My treatment protocol consists of the following…
Clear general energy blocks -Internal Dragons, External Dragons, Aggressive Energy, Alkabane (side to side balance). 1-4 treatments if needed.
Clear local pathway energy blocks form one pathway to another (Entry/exit blocks) if needed
Treat meridian root cause with local and distal points at each treatment after the clearing treatments
Ashi points or painful points not specifically on an energy pathway.
As a team, we are teaching your energy how to stay open and clear, but sometimes life gets in the way, and blockages can reoccur. Each part of this protocol may need to be done, or just one part, or perhaps several at the same time to shift the energy when it needs to shift. Each treatment builds on the one before, so it is important to have regular and frequent treatments early in your treatment course. As your symptom resolves, the length of time between treatments can be increased as long as you remain symptom free. Once we get to this point, I generally like to have my patients come back monthly for a tune up so that we can continue to keep their energy clear and keep them symptom free.
How many of us today are feeling like we are being pulled in many different directions and doing so many things at once but not feeling like we are doing any of them well? We are multitasking but not happy with the effects it has on the outcomes or on our physical energy.
You may not be aware that acupuncture can help with creating clarity, improving concentration and mental focus. Acupuncture can center your mind and body, and keep you on task.
I bring this up, because it affects all of us. You may have noticed an error in my Mother’s Day gift Certificate email newsletter. I made a typo, a simple mistake…but this is my point. In my attempt to juggle work, home, and life in general, I wasn’t focused completely on the task in front of me. My concentration lapsed for a moment. Can you find the error?
Since I know that acupuncture can help with mental clarity, concentration, keep people centered and on task, I have already scheduled my next follow up appointment for an acupuncture session.
If you want to feel focused, centered, and more efficient give me a call. Feel you need improved concentration and clarity? Acupuncture can help with that!
Give Jean Donati Acupuncture in Towson a call today. 410-984-3700 or schedule online at https://www.east2westmedicine.com