Acupuncture Political Action Update

Last year you may remember our efforts to educate our patients about the threats the profession of acupuncture was under regarding dry needling and an uncertain future for our licensing board.  We are happy to report that we have had a good year so far as the 2017 legislative session comes to an end. 

The lobbyist representing the NCAAOM has been hard at work and continues to monitor bills that affect the licensed acupuncturist’s scope of practice.  There have been several opportunities throughout the year to meet with committee chairs and bill sponsors to explain the importance of acupuncture within our health system and how it needs protected.  

Acupuncturists have also been meeting one on one with their local representatives and senators.  This solid personal connection between the acupuncturists and their legislators offers a prime venue to explain the issues affecting our profession in NC and garner their support.

Most recently on May 24th, NC acupuncturists volunteered to promote acupuncture awareness and educate the legislature on our medicine and it’s benefits at the annual Acupuncture Awareness Day at the NC legislature.  With chairs and tables set up in the hall, many acupuncture treatments were provided to legislators, staff members, aides and lobbyists.  It was a great success and provided an awesome introduction to those who work in the legislature.

We just wanted you all to know that progress was made this year and the network of friends and supporters of acupuncture within the legislature is growing.   Thank you for your continued support of the acupuncture profession in North Carolina!

The Breakfast Taco

The new hero of your summer is the breakfast taco!  With just a little prep on the weekend you can start your day with a delicious spin on the morning meal.  Too many of you skip breakfast – let’s spice it up and make it something to enjoy!

The gist of it is, you need to plan out a couple proteins, fillings and toppings on Sunday so your breakfast taco is ready in minutes each morning.   Here is what you need:

  • Tortillas:  taco size soft corn or whole grain flour tortillas
  • Proteins:  turkey bacon, regular bacon, crumbled sausage, eggs (eggs are best made day of and not prepared ahead of time on Sunday). 
  • Fillings:  Sauteed peppers and onions, sautéed spinach, kale or chard with garlic, black beans
  • Toppings:  salsa, guacamole

You can prepare everything on Sunday except the eggs, you’ll want to do those the morning of, and just store in the fridge.  Then assemble and reheat, creating new combos every day.    Play around with different types of salsa – green, fruity and spicey.  Making guacamole from scratch will bring a smile to your face all week as it jazzes up your breakfast taco and is a simple healthy snack.   Here is a super quick and easy recipe:

3-6 ripe Avocados

1 big clove garlic

salt

2 limes

Peel the clove of garlic and chop on a cutting board.  Cover with ¼ teaspoon of salt and using the flat side of the knife blade, smash the garlic.  You want to form a garlic paste so push down with the knife and drag/scrape the garlic across the cutting board in short strokes.  After about 30 seconds you will see you’ve broken the garlic down until it’s a liquidy paste.  Put this in your bowl.  Open your avocados and dump the flesh in the bowl, add the juice of 2 limes.  Mash it all together and adjust salt to taste.  Store in fridge with a layer of plastic wrap pressed up against the top of the guacamole, this prevents it from turning brown. 

P.S.  A breakfast taco bar is also a great twist on the usual carb-heavy brunch and makes a fun way to entertain!

Acupuncture for Nausea & Morning Sickness

Pregnancy is such a blessing, but first trimester nausea is definitely not.   Acupuncture has long been used to successfully alleviate morning sickness, or all-day nausea accompanying pregnancy.  In fact, acupuncture treatment for nausea of any kind is one of the most well-studied conditions. 

Many of the patients we treat at Triangle Acupuncture Clinic have struggled with infertility and are cautiously excited when they receive the news they are finally pregnant.  Fast forward a couple weeks into the first trimester and many are feeling guilty for how miserable pregnancy is making them feel.  The thing is, nausea for an evening or couple of days is bearable.  Nausea that lasts for 6+ weeks is very hard.   Preparing or shopping for food is almost impossible and sometimes, even drinking water is difficult.   

We suggest our pregnant patients come in once/week from week 6-12 to temper any morning sickness or nausea issues.  Acupuncture for nausea is very gentle, and the treatments are usually very successful.  While the nausea may not go away completely, you can expect to have more good days than bad and to have more time during the day when you feel like eating. 

We recently treated a patient who was on her third pregnancy, and she had severe nausea with the first two that lasted until the third trimester.   Within two acupuncture treatments she was fully functioning, had much less nausea and could go to work and care for her two children.   Like this patient, we do see that acupuncture for nausea should have an effect within the first couple of treatments. 

Here are some other tips to remember if you’re struggling with morning sickness:

  • Avoid dehydration – becoming even slightly dehydrated makes nausea more intense.  Try having small sips frequently, eat soups, take warm teas or iced teas and experiment with what flavor tastes best.  Carbonated drinks are good if you have a lot of burping but usually make nausea worse otherwise. 
  • Eat to keep your blood sugar steady – you need to avoid getting an empty stomach so small snacks every 1 ½ to 2 hours is a must.  Avoid sugary foods and focus on breads, pasta and potatoes which are more slow-releasing carbs.  
  • Shop for groceries online and pick them up rather than spending time in the grocery store.  Frozen waffles or other healthy frozen entrees are a good trick for having a quick meal when you’re starving but unable to cook. 
  • Poke some holes in a lemon and wrap it in a cloth to carry around with you and smell it when you come across unpleasant smells. 

Liver detox soup

Spring is a time for growth and renewal and our bodies crave it too.  In Chinese Medicine terms, juice cleanses and other similarly deprived diets are depleting.  Instead, eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables supplemented with small amounts of protein and fat is the way to go.  It gives you a chance to detox from all the sugar and chemicals we are subjected to and that gives your liver a boost.

I came across this delicious broccoli soup on “hello glow,” a website and blog devoted to health and wellness.  I've made it several times and it is so delicious and green!  Broccoli and the cruciferous vegetables are fantastic at helping the liver stay clean.  The ginger warms it up and nourishes your digestive fires and the sneaky avocado adds healthy fat and creaminess.    Enjoy!

Restoring Broccoli Cream Soup

(you will blend at the end so don’t worry about chopping everything perfectly)

 

1 head of broccoli

½ inch ginger piece peeled

½ rip avocado peeled

2 garlic cloves crushed

1 small onion diced

1 small parsnip, peeled and cubed

2-3 mint leaves

½ cup fresh spinach

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 cup vegetable broth

1 tsp coconut oil

pinch of cayenne pepper

 

1. In medium saucepan heat the coconut oil, adding onion, ginger, garlic and cook for 2 minutes over low.  Add broccoli, parsnip and vegetable broth and bring to boil, then simmer for 7 minutes over low heat.
2. Transfer to a blender or use an immersion blender and add the spinach, lemon juice, mint, avocado and cayenne and pulse until creamy. 

Vote TAC for the Indy Best Acupuncture

It's that time again!  We are honored to be in the running for the 7th year in a row for the Indy Best Acupuncturist award!  Vote now through May 8th!  You can find us in the category Health and Body, Best Acupuncturist.  

Click here to Vote!  

Thank you, we are so grateful to be part of this wonderful community.  We couldn't be the best without you!  

Welcome Patrick!

Our team of acupuncturists is growing again!  We are thrilled to share the news that Patrick Marron is joining the team at Triangle Acupuncture Clinic!  He will have hours in both our Raleigh and Chapel Hill offices starting May 1.  We couldn't feel luckier having found such a wonderful person and acupuncturist, we know you'll love him too!  To read a short interview with him read on:

Kim: Where are your roots? What brings you to NC?

Patrick: I grew up outside Annapolis Maryland. After being away from the East Coast for 6 years, I was eager to move back closer to family and be near mountains and the ocean again. NC was an easy choice!

Kim: Why did you choose to pursue acupuncture?

Patrick: After being in the massage therapy field for a few years, I knew I was excited to partner with people to improve their health and wanted to find additional ways to do that. I began exploring other parts of the health field. At one point during a particularly stressful period in my life, I decided to try out acupuncture. After a few sessions, I noticed that even though I didn't know how or why it worked, I found my anxiety was remarkably improved and things just seemed to happen easier in my life. From then on I was hooked and wanted to share that with others.

Kim: What are your top 5 favorite things?

Patrick:

1) Nature

2) Netflix

3) Good Food

4) Comedy shows (especially improv) 

5) Travel

 

Kim: What do you do to stay healthy?

Patrick: I like to get a box of organic vegetables from a local farm on a weekly basis which has been a great way to eat a variety of foods pretty consistently. Without this, I would probably eat the same vegetable at every meal for the rest of my life. smile 

Kim: What's the one thing you wish each of your patients knew?

Patrick: It can be easy to feel like everything needs to be perfect in order to reach a health goal. Genuine effort over time really does create change and it doesn't take perfection.

Kim: How would you describe your treatment philosophy and style?

Patrick: I'm very practical and results driven. As I work with patients, I like to help brainstorm with them what health habits realistically makes sense to add into their already busy life and start from there. Adding some key health habits to regular acupuncture visits can usually help reach the goal a little faster.

Kim: Fertility is a big part of your practice. What draws you to that specialty? 

Patrick: While many people struggle with fertility, it can be very isolating at times. I really enjoy not only seeing the strong impact chinese medicine can have on fertility but also creating a safe space for patient to talk about their experiences along their journey. 

Kim: Who have been some of your best teachers, in personal and professional life?

Patrick: There is a variety of people I have looked up to in my life. The common thread among all of them is that they approach the world with kindness, compassion, humility, humor, and a strong work ethic. 

 

Here are what just a few of his patients have to say:

"I couldn't be more grateful for my experience working with Patrick and receiving Chinese medicine. Patrick is knowledgeable and professional while empathetic and caring. After going through the pain of losing a pregnancy, Patrick made me feel so comfortable & taken care of. He was able to get my body right back on track with pain free, regular menstrual cycles and shortly after, the success of a healthy pregnancy. Now, 15 weeks along I am enjoying this pregnancy with no excessive nausea or fatigue. Thank you Patrick for your positivity and dedication to your work. It has truly changed my life."

-Patient: C.O.

 

"Going through IVF was a stressful and scary time in my life.  I was full of questions that ranged from legitimate health questions to the downright ridiculous and embarrassing, all in the hopes of understanding my body better.  Patrick Marron walked patiently and compassionately with me through my IVF journey.  He would actively listen to my worries, concerns, and questions and was extensively knowledgeable about the body and fertility.  I knew I could trust Patrick to always do what was best for me to reach our goal of conceiving.  I did reach my goal and I am currently pregnant with twins!  In addition to being pregnant,  I feel healthier than ever and I am confident that having a knowledgeable acupuncturist played a vital role in my overall health.

 

Even after our acupuncture journey ended (because we were no longer in the same city), I would still seek Patrick's guidance.  And, because Patrick cares so much about his patients, he consistently checks in on me as I am entering my 3rd trimester."

-Patient: D.B.

 

"Patrick is 'the other guy' who got me pregnant. When my husband and I decided to start trying for our first child, I wanted do everything I could to have a healthy pregnancy. Coincidentally, when I went in for my first treatment with Patrick, I was having an early miscarriage. He treated me with so much empathy and helped to quell my fears and anxieties through that loss. Every single visit, I was reminded that Patrick has much more experience with pregnancy than I do, and his calm reassurance got me through every step. My periods had always been like clockwork, until I had an IUD. After sixty days of working with Patrick on a regimen of acupuncture and Chinese herbs, I was back to my 28-day cycles. After four months, I was successfully pregnant! I can't recommend Patrick enough. His expertise and guidance has been invaluable to me."

-Patient: E.M.

 

"As a clinician Patrick is outstanding and unmatched in my mind! He is so personable, compassionate, knowledgeable, and efficient. He gets remarkable results with a very reasonable and manageable treatment plan. He is the best listener and so passionate about his work.  Patrick would take my questions and health topics of interest and not only address them with his phenomenal  knowledge but also research them further and go above and beyond at our next visit to provide resources for me, some of which were even books from his personal library. He is so kind, gentle and forgiving, and without a doubt would always ease my worries and calm my emotions.  He as a clinician, person and expert in Chinese medicine was so instrumental and crucial to my health puzzle. Because of his superb care and treatment I was able to overcome and effectively manage several aspects of deficient health issues, including lifestyle changes that Patrick coached and guided me on for diet, sleep and stress management to disease healing with Chinese medicine for my conditions of autoimmune disorder, headaches, back pain, thyroid dysfunction, allergies, asthma and sinus infections to the biggest one for me fertility.

 

After 3 years of western medicine approaches only with no success with fertility, with the addition of Patrick's care I am happy to state I am 5 months pregnant. Under his care I have more energy, am the healthiest I have ever been and can respond and react to stress calmly. Not only do I feel the best I ever have due to Patrick's care, support and motivation, but because of his education I also have a new found understanding of my health and positive attitude long-term for.my health.  I highly recommend Patrick to my dear friends and family for everything from headaches to allergies and adrenal issues. I  am forever thankful to Patrick and the life changing care he provided to me and extended to my family."

-Patient B.R.

Does acupuncture rewire the brain for pain?

The research on acupuncture for pain is heading in an exciting new direction!  The latest breakthrough study published in the medical journal Brain this year showed promising data that took into account acupuncture’s local effects for pain as well as acupuncture’s effect on the brain.   Acupuncturists have been frustrated for years by studies that focus on just one effect of acupuncture, ignoring the holistic nature of the medicine that treats the mind and body together.   It is very important that research has finally turned a corner and is looking at multiple effects of acupuncture during treatment. 

To briefly summarize, the researchers used before and after MRI of the patient’s brain to compare sham acupuncture controls (non-insertion needles) with real acupuncture to treat carpal tunnel pain.  The study concludes that real acupuncture at the affected hand led to measurable improvements in outcomes both at the affected wrist and in the brain.  Additionally brain remapping immediately after real acupuncture was linked to long-term improvements in carpal tunnel pain.  No physiologic improvements resulted from sham acupuncture. 

So what exactly is happening to the brain during acupuncture in this study?  The somatosensory cortex area in the brain has specific points that correspond to the wrist and these were assessed as having undergone neuroplastic changes associated with decreased pain.  This means that acupuncture stimulation directed the brain to rewire its pain memory of carpal tunnel wrist pain, allowing it to respond to local treatment and heal more efficiently.  This is an incredible find, and points the direction clearly for where future research on acupuncture and pain needs to concentrate.  

At Triangle Acupuncture Clinic we see many cases of chronic pain that have a neurologic component where essentially the brain can’t “forget” that there was once an injury to the back for example.   This leads to lifetimes of suffering and the overuse of opiods and painkillers.   The fact that acupuncture is being shown to deal with this component of pain management is a very big deal indeed!   It could have truly groundbreaking implications in the future of medicine should hospitals and doctors choose to utilize acupuncture more frequently.   

Massage to Enhance Fertility

In addition to acupuncture and herbal medicine to enhance your fertility, we like to recommend other complementary modalities that can benefit women trying to conceive.  This month I interviewed Ashley Talarico, the massage therapist and owner of Women’s Wellness Massage.   She has been trained and certified in Fertility Massage and provides individualized plans for a woman’s specific needs.  Read my interview below:

Katherine:  What sparked your interest when you initially decided to focus on Women’s Health Massage?

Ashley:  My passion is to help guide women through the stages of a healthy pregnancy with the assistance of massage therapy. In my own experiences with conception and pregnancy, I have personally utilized the techniques that I now implement.

 

Katherine:  What is different about fertility massage vs. regular massage?  

Ashley: Fertility Massage is a specialized and effective protocol that includes cranial sacral holds, castor oil packs, reflexology, pelvic techniques, uterus re-alignment and shiatsu points. This is a perfect therapeutic massage for women who are trying to conceive.

 

Katherine:  What are the biggest benefits your patients get out of the fertility focused massage?

Ashley: Many benefits!  These are the top 6-

Deep relaxation and stress reduction 
Pain and tension relief 
Cleansing of the digestive system with castor oil packs 
Balancing the alignment of the body with cranial-sacral holds 
Balancing hormones through 
Reflexology techniques Increased circulation through the entire body, including the pelvis

 

Katherine:  Do most clients follow a series of appointments or how often do you recommend they come to get the most support when trying to conceive? 

Ashley:  I always recommend that clients schedule as many Fertility Massage sessions as possible between menses and ovulation for optimal results. Timing can vary depending on their cycles and assisted treatments (IUI, IVF, etc). I tailor my schedule and availability to be as flexible as possible, in order to accommodate the needs of my fertility clients. 

 

There you go!  Another great way to support yourself while trying to conceive.  You can reach Ashley at womenswellnessmassage.com and (201) 258-0505.

Take Back Valentine’s Day for Yourself

We all need to feel loved, right?  Relying on someone else to buy you roses and chocolate – to appreciate you and love you – that is a tall order.  What if we turned the tables and made Valentine’s Day about loving ourselves?  I am encouraging you to pick out your own awesome chocolate and flowers to celebrate yourself this month. 

My days in the clinic are filled with people who are struggling with health issues while balancing a myriad of work, family and community obligations.  Usually there is very little time in the day to think about nurturing oneself.  When I ask, “what do you do each day to relax and take care of yourself?” The most common answer is a blank stare or “bootcamp class.”  This is unacceptable!!

It is time to quiet the worried, negative voice in our minds and to start intentionally having time each day where we focus on love for ourselves.  To get you started, this is a short meditation that you can do before you get out of bed in the morning and before you go to sleep at night, and anytime in between when you need a quick boost.

  • Close your eyes
  • Take three slow deep breaths
  • Take three more deep breaths: inhale “More,” exhale “Love”
  • Visualize another “you” walking up to you and giving you a big warm hug
  • Hold this feeling and stay there as long as you like
  • Thank the other “you” for showing up
  • Take three slow deep breaths

This type of loving meditation when practiced daily will start to shift your relationship with your self.  It will bring more attention to the need to be nice to yourself, to take care of this person – you. 

Happy Valentine’s Day to each of you, may you find your love for you this February. 

Treat Stress with Acupuncture

By Rick Oberg

Treating Stress with Acupuncture isn’t a new concept. Stress has been a common factor in the majority of my patients. However, stress has become a more predominant and overwhelming theme recently. The beginning of a new year always tends to be a stressful period for people. Patients are dealing with lingering holiday season stress, worrying about expenses due to holiday spending, businesses are hitting their slower season, taxes are needing to be filed, and patients are feeling the pressure to also fit in their New Year resolutions into their already busy schedule. No matter what side patients align with in the current political landscape, it seems that political fatigue from the election is causing extra stress now as the country tries to adjust.

Everyone experiences stress differently. Some people can handle great amounts of stress (and maybe even thrive on it) while others struggle and feel overwhelmed with even the smallest amount of stress. What seems to be the one constant is that everyone will reach a point when the stress becomes too much for them to deal with and causes negative effects on the mind and body. Stress can weaken the immune system, cause higher blood pressure, fatigue, inflammation, anxiety, depression, and even heart disease. In fact, we are still learning about all of the various impacts stress has on the body.

What signs should we look for and how do we know we are experiencing too much stress?

Here are some of the more common symptoms of stress:

  • Inability to concentrate or complete tasks
  • Getting sick more often with colds
  • Body aches
  • Other illnesses like flare ups of autoimmune diseases
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Trouble falling sleeping or staying awake
  • Changes in appetite
  • More angry or anxious than usual

Stress is an inevitable part of life, but Acupuncture is an effective treatment for patients dealing with the effects, which is good news. A new study from Georgetown University Medical Center, published in the Journal Endocrinology, studies how Acupuncture works to treat stress. In this study, it proves that Acupuncture targets the same key pathways that are effected by stress. The study found Acupuncture can block the NPY sympathetic pathway and the chronic, stress induced elevations of HPA ( Hypothalamus - Pituitary- Adrenal axis ) which is involved in the production of the stress hormone, cortisol. The study also confirms that acupuncture is not only an effective treatment for stress, but it also confirms its effects on treating anxiety and depression.

With over thirteen years experience in treating stress, anxiety, and depression, I can confirm the benefits in clinical practice. My Patients feel more relaxed immediately and feel as though they have just finished deep meditation. Patients report not only experiencing a reduction in the symptoms, but feeling a newly revived lease on life. They are more successful in their work environment, happier in their home lives, feel healthier (mentally and physically), tend to eat better, and they start taking better care of themselves. Stress can be overwhelming, but Acupuncture can effectively treat and bring about the positive changes patients need to really enjoy life again.