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- Jean Donati Acupuncture604 E. Joppa RD
Towson, MD 21286410-984-3700
- • Seven Healthy Fall Habits •
- • 5 Ways to Stay Fit This Fall •
- • Improve Your Mental Health with Regular Meditation •
As mental health issues have come to the forefront in recent years, many have sought more natural treatment options that don’t involve pharmaceuticals and their potentially harmful effects. Acupuncture has become a popular option for treating mental health issues, including depression. But does it work? Before we answer that question, let’s give a proper definition to both acupuncture and depression. continue reading
Reflect on Your Health!
Reflection is when an image or idea returns to us, such as looking in a mirror, rethinking an event, or reviewing an idea. We can take a closer view and reconsider our original thinking.Reflection has other connotations in acupuncture. Outer appearances reflect inner health, so a well-trained practitioner of acupuncture will observe very different aspects of your appearance than you typically study when you look in the mirror. In acupuncture, bodily observation includes looking at the face, eyes, body type, demeanor, and tongue. Two thousand years ago, when acupuncture and Chinese medicine were in their infancy, there were no X-ray machines or the very sophisticated magnetic imaging of today. These healers and diagnosticians depended on their finely tuned observational skills to assess their patients. Some of those early ideas seem simplistic today, but many elements of diagnosis persist because outer appearances provide clues to a person’s health. The new year is a perfect opportunity to reflect and use that knowledge as a catalyst for change. Acupuncture can help achieve the change you seek as it assists in illness prevention, minimizes aches and pains, relieves stress, improves energy, and helps you find yourself in better balance. This calm and clarity strengthen your resolve as you start the new year with new goals. Additionally, seasonal acupuncture treatments nurture and nourish your kidney Qi, which can greatly enhance the body’s ability to thrive in times of stress and aid in healing, preventing illness, and increasing vitality. Call for your appointment today, and let us help you prepare for the year ahead!
Releasing Stress for a Healthy New Year
The start of the new year is a time of looking forward to the future, setting goals, and putting in motion the steps necessary to achieve them. Moving directly from a busy season immediately to actively working towards achieving goals can create additional stress and pressure to do well. Unchecked stress is often the cause of illness and deterioration of health. Finding a release valve for your stress can help you stay healthy. Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of acupuncture in treating stress, and anxiety, and lowering blood pressure. Acupuncture can help achieve the changes you seek by assisting in illness prevention, stress relief, minimizing aches and pains, improving energy, and finding balance.As a normal part of life, stress enables us to get things done. Left unmanaged, however, stress can lead to emotional, psychological, and even physical problems. Stress causes a disruption in the flow of vital energy, or Qi, through the body. This can throw off the immune system and cause new symptoms or aggravate already troublesome health conditions and, over time, more serious illnesses can develop. Stressful situations that last long can create ongoing low-level stress that puts continual pressure on the nervous system and can cause the overproduction of stress hormones such as cortisol. The extra stress hormones sustained over an extended period may wear out the body’s reserves, leading to fatigue, depression, a weakened immune system, and serious physical and psychological ailments. According to Chinese medicine, stress, frustration, and unresolved anger can play an important part in throwing the immune system off and allowing pathogens to affect the body. Through acupuncture, these energy blockages can be addressed. Acupuncture points can help energy flow smoothly and alleviate not only the symptoms of stress and anxiety but the stress and anxiety itself. Acupuncture improves blood circulation throughout the body, which oxygenates the tissues and cycles out stress hormones like cortisol and other waste chemicals. The calming nature of acupuncture also decreases heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and relaxes the muscles. While it isn’t always possible to remove the external forces causing stress, the ability to effectively deal with stress is a choice. Take time to cultivate the energy you need to handle your stress more skillfully and effectively. If you or someone you know is experiencing stress or a related condition, contact us for more information about how acupuncture can help you regain peace of mind and stay healthy!
Create Lasting Resolve to Reach Your Goals with Acupuncture
Acupuncture can help achieve some common changes people seek as it assists in illness prevention and stress relief, minimizes aches and pains, improves energy, and nurtures balance. This calm and clarity strengthen your resolve as you take the next step in achieving your goals.Here are a few ways that Acupuncture can help you achieve your goals: Improved Quality of Life If pain is keeping you from living life to the fullest, acupuncture can help as it has no side effects and can be helpful for all types of pain, regardless of the cause or where it is located. Increasingly, people are looking for more natural approaches to help relieve painful conditions instead of relying on medication. In addition to reducing pain, acupuncture also hastens the healing process by increasing circulation and attracting white blood cells to an injured area. Eliminate Stress Stress reduction is always on the top ten list for New Year’s resolutions, and for good reason; it is often the cause of illness and deterioration of health. Numerous studies have demonstrated the substantial benefits of acupuncture in treating stress and anxiety and lowering blood pressure. In addition to acupuncture, Chinese medicine offers a whole range of tools that can be integrated into your life to keep stress in check. Get in Shape Renewed enthusiasm to exercise to enhance fitness levels, train for a competition, or lose weight can come at a painful price for those who try to do too much too quickly. Recent studies show that acupuncture effectively treats sports injuries such as strains, sprains, musculoskeletal pain, swollen muscles, and shin splints. Lose Weight Losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help you reach your goal weight and maintain it by promoting better digestion, smoothing emotions, reducing appetite, improving metabolism, and eliminating food cravings–all of which can help energize the body, maximize absorption of nutrients, regulate elimination, control overeating, suppress the appetite and reduce anxiety. Call today to see how Acupuncture can help you keep your resolutions and prepare for the year ahead!
In This Issue
- Reflect on Your Health!
- Releasing Stress for a Healthy New Year
- Create Lasting Resolve to Reach Your Goals with Acupuncture
- The Willpower Connection
- Stick Out Your Tongue
- Energy Renewing Ear Massage
The Willpower Connection
Is there a body/mind connection to willpower?According to the principles of acupuncture and Chinese medicine, there is. Willpower, or “Zhi,” is said to reside in the kidneys, and the state of the Kidney Qi directly correlates to the fortitude of our willpower. In Chinese medicine, disease prevention begins with a protective layer around the body’s exterior called Wei Qi, or defensive energy. If you catch colds easily, have low energy, and require a long time to recuperate from an illness, your Wei Qi may be deficient. Nourishing Qi can help greatly enhance the body’s ability to thrive in times of stress, aid in healing, prevent illness and increase vitality. According to Chinese medicine, recharging your battery and regenerating vital energy, Qi, will help you live, look and feel your best!
Stick Out Your Tongue
Chinese medicine has used tongue diagnosis for thousands of years. An experienced practitioner can look at your tongue and begin to understand your internal problems, but you can also be aware of the information that your tongue provides.Look for changes in the color of your tongue, teeth marks, shape, and coating. These changes may indicate that something is amiss. A healthy tongue is naturally the same pink-red color as your lips. Note any changes in the shape of your tongue. If it’s too pale, puffy, or red, it may indicate an imbalance. Healthy tongues have a thin white coating. If you see a thicker coating developing, you may be catching a cold or the flu. So if you see changes take precautions, rest, sleep more, keep warm, and call us!
Energy Renewing Ear Massage
Ear massage is an extremely relaxing and effective therapy aimed at reducing stress, promoting well-being, and addressing various health issues.Here is a great ear massage that you can do for yourself or your loved ones: 1. Rub, in small circular motions with your thumbs, inside the widest upper part of the ears, holding them from outside with the index and middle fingers. 2. Use your index finger to massage inside the smaller crevices if your thumbs don’t fit and along the front of your ear where it attaches to the head. 3. Lastly, massage the earlobes by gently pulling them down and making circles with your thumb and index fing
We are now in the midst of Winter. The season is cold, dark, and quiet. Winter is for us, as for all of nature, a time on internal work: meditation, containment, concentration, and storing our energy. We use this season for rest, and for the replenishing of our reserves, gathering strength for the year ahead. Like the seed that cannot sprout until it has gathered sufficient strength, our ideas and plans cannot manifest if our energy is dispersed or drained.
In Chinese medicine, the element associated with Winter is Water. Let us talk a little about water and its associations. Water can take on many different qualities in nature. It can take the form of a stagnant pond, or powerful rapids. It can be a smooth flowing stream, or water raging out of control. The water element can show up like this in all of us. When our water energy is balanced, we are a calm lake or stream. Our energy is moving, neither stagnant or overflowing. When we are out of balance, we may become a flooding river, or when immobilized with fear, a frozen creek.
The organs associated with winter are the kidney and bladder. In Chinese medicine, when we talk about organs, we are talking about the energetic aspects of the organ in an individual, not about Western anatomy and physiology. The kidney, in Chinese medicine, are the root of the life force energy or Qi. The kidneys create the fire and warmth to sustain bodily functions and to provide energy to the other organs. The bladder controls the expenditure of energy. You can look at the kidney as being the the bank account, and the bladder as the ATM machine. The acupuncture points along these pathways of energy can be used to fill the reserves and awaken that place within us where our real strength, courage and wisdom lie.
Abundant reserves within us give us the courage and strength of will. When we lack these reserves, we may feel fearful. In Chinese medicine, the emotion of fear is associated with the element of water and the season of winter. The emotion of a distressed water element is fear of not having enough of what it takes to meet the challenges that lie ahead, fear of being unable to complete what we have envisioned, or fear of not being prepared for what we might have to face. It is as if we do not have enough stored away to survive the winter.
How does an imbalanced water element show up in an individual? In Chinese medicine, the individual is viewed on levels of the body, mind, and spirit. Dis-ease often manifests on more than one level. On a physical level, one may feel fatigued, lacking energy (the energetic bank account or ATM depleted). Water also lubricates the body. We are, after all, 85% water! With lack of lubrication comes stiffness. Do your bones or joints hurt more in winter? Are you more anxious? Thoughts, ideas, muscles and joints move easier when they are lubricated.
In terms of the mind and spirit, do you feel like you want to do things but you simply cannot? That you seem to be stuck on the sofa with your mind saying “I should do this, or I should do that”, but you simply cannot get up enough energy to get it going? Or maybe you seem to be going all the time—frantically moving from one thing to another –always running about but never truly getting much accomplished.
Within the energy of water lies our will, our ability to keep on keeping on. So what can you do? My number one advice is to remember to take time to relax completely for at least 30 minutes during the day. This means to kick back, listen to music perhaps, but definitely relax your body and mind.
Acupuncture is not just for pain. It addresses the underlying condition and is used to balance the whole person. You cannot separate the body and the mind—balance one and you balance the other. Emotional blocks can be moved and physical symptoms can be cleared as a person is brought back into healthy balance. Just some of the areas that acupuncture addresses; the digestive, reproductive, immune and respiratory symptoms, anxiety, depression, that annoying “stuck” feeling and, of course, physical discomfort.
To maintain the fire of the kidney, a winter diet ideally would be warming and substantial with more whole grains, less fruit, and lots of steamed or baked vegetables, especially root vegetables. Soup is a great addition to the diet during winter as it is easy on the digestive system and keeps our inner fire warm. Warming herbs and spices like ginger, chili peppers and cinnamon are wonderful additions to your diet this time of year.
Exercise such as Tai Chi and Qi Gong are very good for inner balance, as they build strength, improve immune function and cultivate Qi (energy) through breathing, meditation and slow movements. If you have lower back pain, you may find that rest, warm foods, and activities that support that support your inner balance may supplement your water energy and diminish your symptoms. Remember, the kidneys and bladder are governed by water. Give them all the help you can by drinking more water.
Finally, if you receive acupuncture, winter is a great time for a tune up. If you do not receive acupuncture, winter is a great time to start building your reserves.
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.