Posts by LeCarly

How we became “Punks”

Posted by on Oct 25, 2013 in acupuncture, Blog | 4 comments

If you have read our 5 Things post, you know that we originally believed that community acupuncture was for hippies and communists. You see, throughout acupuncture school, we were taught that the best way, the only way, to run a practice is to spend countless hours with each patient, in a private room, doing boutique style acupuncture. Here, the acupuncturist is not just an acupuncturist, but a nutritional counselor, herablist, homeopath, naturopath, beauty consultant, and often a psychotherapist. The patient is often required to disrobe and is left alone in the room once needles are put in. Generally, the treatments cost between $65 and $125 each. Honestly, there is nothing wrong with this style of acupuncture; it just was not ours.

Almost 4 years ago, we opened Good Medicine Home Acupuncture. We were going to provide acupuncture in the comfort of the patient’s home in Fort Myers, Naples, Cape Coral, Punta Gorda- you name it, we would be there. A few months in and business was just okay. We dropped our prices (we started charging $95 for a house call, which is less than some acupuncturists charge for office visits). We became discouraged; our patients were not getting the results we knew acupuncture could produce. We began to resent our profession- to feel emotionally drained, to feel lost and apathetic.

Around the same time the resentment set in, an opportunity arose. We were looking for ways to be more involved in the service aspect of church and since our schedules were pretty flexible, we decided to offer free, group acupuncture to the food pantry our church helped to run. We decided to give two to three hours, twice per month. After the first week, we never stopped being busy. In the 2.5 hours we were there, we would each see between 20 and 30 patients. They would all sit comfortably in the church’s parlor talking, laughing, swapping stories and healing strategies, and just sharing their lives while receiving acupuncture. The real kicker? These patients were getting WAY better results than our house calls. What was even more amazing was that, at the end of an incredibly busy shift (we would literally be dripping sweat), we were not tired, but invigorated; we did not feel emotionally drained, but passionate and as if we had a purpose.

From there, things started moving quickly. We had heard about community acupuncture while in acupuncture school (we had friends who were hippies and communists) and began researching. We read Noodles and looked into the coop. Guess what? While there were definitely some hippies and communists, that is not what made the community acupuncture coop special. They are all phenomenal people with hearts two sizes too big who want everyone they come in contact with to benefit from what acupuncture has to offer.  We barely had to discuss the decision- we KNEW this was what we wanted to do. We made the decision to provide affordable acupuncture to as many people as possible. So, we changed business names, we found office space, we bought recliners, and we opened our doors as Good Medicine Community Acupuncture on March 1, 2012.

Since then, not a day goes by that we are not thankful for that decision. In our first month of community acupuncture practice, we saw more patients than we had seen the entire time we did house calls. Our patients can receive the treatment they need because of our sliding scale. Our patients never have to be alone, to be isolated, during treatment; they can nap in the recliners, chat with those around them or with us, or just be still and enjoy the group healing environment. We wake up every single day excited about going to work. We have awesome patients who inspire us to always make the clinic better.

So here we are now, “punks” (that’s the affectionate term for those who practice community acupuncture). We belong to the People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture (POCA), a mulit-stakeholder cooperative that allows practitioners and patients to be involved in shaping the future of community acupuncture. We love our jobs, we love our patients, and we love sharing life and acupuncture with our community.  Thank you!

 

By the way, if you aren’t yet one of our awesome patients, you should be. You can even schedule online!

 

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Acupuncture for Anxiety

Posted by on Oct 4, 2013 in acupuncture, Blog | 0 comments

We have all experienced anxiety to some degree or another. Generally, anxiety is normal and a mechanism that our body uses to cope with a stressful situation. However, anxiety can become excessive, resulting in a disabling disorder that interferes with daily life. There are several common types of anxiety: generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias. All may range from mild to severe and can be caused by an emotional trauma, severe and/or chronic stress, an imbalance in brain chemistry, a genetic predisposition, or as a side effect from medical treatment or drug use. General symptoms of anxiety include muscle tension, sweating, cold and clammy hands, nausea, jumpiness, stomach upset, irritability, fatigue, and insomnia. In cases of anxiety including panic, the person will feel a need of imminent doom or need to escape, may have palpitations, sweating, trembling, a feeling of choking or smothering, dizziness, chills or hot flashes, and intense fears. In cases of post traumatic stress disorder, the person may also experience flashbacks and become increasingly paranoid of their surroundings.

No matter the type, anxiety can become a burden on everyday life. The good news is, acupuncture can help provide relief. A study published in March of 2013 in the Journal of Endocrinology, showed promising results in the use of electro-acupuncture for anxiety treatment; the stress hormones in the rat subjects were lower after receiving treatment. A  review of research published in CNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics shows that the results of acupuncture in anxiety treatment are at least comparable to those achieved using cognitive behavioral therapy. Remember the NADA protocol we talked about earlier this week? That’s one of the possibilities to calm the mind (we have seen great results with it in cases of PTSD). There is another treatment that finds its roots in Japanese acupuncture called the “Valium Treatment” (it does, indeed, feel as good as it sounds). The point combinations vary depending on your symptoms, but our goals and the results are the same. Acupuncture is even safe and effective if you are already utilizing medication to control your symptoms and, if you ever decide to wean off, acupuncture is a wonderful option (to be done in conjunction with your doctor) to aid in that process.

Like any other treatment option, remember that acupuncture is a process. The more severe and chronic your symptoms, the more treatments you will need to get relief. In the case of anxiety, the current research shows that a minimum of 10 treatments produces the best results (our experience agrees with the research). Remember that acupuncture is cumulative, so each treatment will leave you feeling better and better. Come see us (and in the meantime, check out how acting like Wonder Woman is an awesome treatment as well!)

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The NADA Protocol

Posted by on Oct 1, 2013 in acupuncture, Blog | 0 comments

The NADA Protocol

In the 1970s, a drug treatment clinic began in the Bronx, New York. It was run by the community, using methodone to treat drug addiction. As the program at Lincoln Hospital (now Lincoln Recovery) progressed, there arose a need for completely drug free treatment. By 1974, the clinic began implementing acupuncture in place of methodone for treatment. Their treatments were based on research from China showing acupuncture’s success in treating heroin addiction.

The original research used electrical stimulation of the Lung point in the ear. Experience later determined that no stimulation provided longer lasting results. Further study and experience by Dr. Michael Smith (one time director of Lincoln Recovery) led to the development of the 5 point, auricular protocol we are familiar with today.

 

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The NADA protocol is also known as acu detox, acupuncture detoxification, five point ear acupuncture protocol, 5 point protocol, and 5NP. It uses the sympathetic, Shen Men, kidney, liver and lung points in the ear to promote detoxification, curb cravings, and create a feeling of overall wellness. The needles are generally inserted in both ears and retained for 30-45 minutes. Following treatment, ear seeds are often placed on the points to continue the treatment’s effects.

The efficacy of the protocol is well documented and the benefits of utilizing NADA include: increased retention in drug treatment programs; a more optimistic attitude regarding treatment from the patient; less episodes of sleep disturbance; a decrease in anxiety; and a decreased dependence on pharmaceuticals. Of course, NADA is not the only facet of treatment in cases of addiction, but it can be a hugely beneficial one. Through its years of use, NADA has been proven effective in treating addictions of all kinds (hard drugs, in addition to cigarettes, alcohol, food, etc.) and can also be used in cases of psycho emotional trauma (post natural disaster, PTSD, depression, ADHD, etc.).

In 1985, Dr. Michael Smith and the staff at Lincoln Recovery founded NADA (the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association). Their mission is to promote “community wellness through the use of a standardized auricular acupuncture protocol for behavioral health, including addictions, mental health, and disaster & emotional trauma.” They offer training in the protocol for various practitioners and encourage the use of NADA treatment worldwide.

You can read more about NADA’s background here and learn more about NADA from their website.

If you or a loved one is interested in utilizing acupuncture in the treatment of addiction or emotional trauma, please contact us. NADA protocol only treatments are only $5 each and we love being able to work with you on your road to wellness!

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Acupuncture and Pregnancy

Posted by on Sep 27, 2013 in acupuncture, Blog | 0 comments

Acupuncture and Pregnancy

Having just come back from the birth of our second son, I’ve been thinking a lot about the ways that acupuncture has helped me through two pregnancies. Since becoming a mother, I have heard horror stories of the trials of pregnancy that other mothers have experienced, many of which I was able to avoid thanks to regular treatments.

For many women, the first indicator of a pregnancy is morning sickness. Some mothers have an even more severe form called hyperemesis. Acupuncture, especially frequent acupuncture, can calm the stomach and eliminate nausea, even in cases of hyperemesis. The real key is frequency. If a pregnant patient can make the time to come daily for several days, the results and relief will be quick (this is where our sliding scale comes in handy; you can feel better without going broke).

Headaches are another common complaint and often begin in the first trimester. Again, the key is frequency of treatment, but acupuncture is able to effectively reduce the prevalence of or eliminate these headaches all together. Next on the list of aches comes the hips and back. As the baby grows, the mother’s pelvis expands. Supporting ligaments are made loose and less stable. All of this results in pain, often described as sciatica. Depending on the severity of the pain and when the mother begins treatments, frequent treatment is not as important here. Most pregnant patients experience relief after one or two treatments and return only for maintenance as their symptoms return (also, what saved my hips and back during both pregnancies, was the Leechco All Nighter Total Body pillow; your significant other may not have room in the bed, but you will be much happier!). Later in pregnancy, acupuncture can help relieve heartburn, swelling, and dizziness. Is the baby presenting breech? Acupuncture can help with that as well. Overdue and hoping to avoid chemical induction? There are points for that.

What about after baby arrives? Acupuncture can help with milk supply, post partum anxiety and depression, aches and pains, c-section recovery, mastitis, and plugged ducts. We can even give you more sleep as you take a well deserved nap in one of our recliners.

Acupuncture is completely safe for both mom and baby. There are a few points which are not to be used while expecting, but any trained and licensed acupuncturist will know to avoid them during treatment. We firmly believe that pregnancy should be a joyful time.

So, if you’re expecting, congratulations! Now schedule an appointment so you can be sure to enjoy everything this time in your life has to offer.

 

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Patience with the Process

Posted by on Sep 24, 2013 in acupuncture, Blog | 0 comments

How many a man has thrown up his hands at a time when a little more effort, a little more patience would have achieved success.” -Elbert Hubbard

I have some bad news- acupuncture is not an overnight, one shot, miracle cure (I can hear your collective gasp through the computer). In fact, sometimes, acupuncture is not even a 10 treatment miracle or 20 treatment remedy. Acupuncture is a process.

One of the most beautiful things about acupuncture is that it treats the individual. But every individual is different (thankfully, because how boring would our lives be otherwise?) and so each patient responds to acupuncture in their own, unique way. For the lucky few, the healing from acupuncture is almost instantaneous. They come into our office barely walking or in horrific pain and leave dancing a jig. For most it takes a series, usually somewhere around 10, of treatments to experience relief. Then, there are the other patients that, it would seem, healing alludes. For these patients, I suggest patience.

More often than not, patients that are not experiencing great relief have a condition that has been troublesome for years. What has been building for years will not be gone in days. Sometimes, their bodies are just behind the curve; it takes longer for their system to accept the treatments and to begin to heal. Occasionally, a patient may engage in self sabotage, wittingly or unwittingly (i.e. “My back feels so much better, I’m going to go lift boulders!”). And sometimes (this may come as a shock), we are wrong. Maybe we have left out that one point a patient’s body absolutely needs. Maybe we have done too many needles or too few needles. Whatever the reason for delayed or slow progress, remain patient and do not give up hope. If the treatments you are getting are not resulting in progress, we can adjust. Maybe add more needles, take some away, use electrical stimulation, try point injection therapy, add herbs or homeopathics.

I heard a great analogy earlier today about progress and conditioning- when you decide to get in shape, you don’t work out once and be done, in shape for the rest of your life. It is a process, each work out building on the one before, making you stronger, faster, and healthier. Healing is also a process and acupuncture can play a vital role in improving your well being. Each treatment will build on the one before and sometimes adjustments are needed to help you feel your best.

So, don’t throw your hands up in despair if you feel like you’ve hit an impasse. Stay persistent, stay patient, and stay hopeful- healing is just around the corner. 

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