Bexley Acupuncture, LLC | 2700 E. Main St. Suite 110, Bexley, Ohio 43209 | Phone 614.558.2130

All posts in Acupuncture

Overcoming Anxiety : A Mind-Body Strategy

Anxiety is a common, albeit an unpleasant feeling.

It usually has to do with a feeling of negative anticipation about something that has not yet happened. Or it can occur when we think about unpleasant past events.

It seldom has to do with the present moment.

Anxiety can be fleeting, but when severe, it can feel out of control and unmanageable.

Most of the time, anxiety resides in our mind. It’s an uncomfortable sensation when we feel anxious, but for the most part, we are able to tolerate the feeling.

When it’s chronic, or severe, however, physical symptoms can present themselves. These symptoms can include (but not limited to) shortness of breath, palpitations, sweating, shaking, chest tightness, insomnia, skin rashes, headaches, gastrointestinal disturbances.

In short, anxiety is a condition that manifests both in the mind and in the body.

{When anxiety is severe, please seek professional help immediately.}

When chronic and / mild, there are several ways to manage anxiety without taking medications.

It is helpful to seek out mind-body strategies, or techniques that can help calm your nervous system to shift the body’s response from the automatic fight-flight mode.

Some helpful strategies include:

  1. Exercise: movement releases natural endorphins which helps calm the mind and body.
  2. Meditation: slowing down your breathing will naturally decrease anxiety and allow you to focus on the present moment.
  3. Dietary changes: eating healthy, real foods and avoiding processed foods will reset your microbiome which is directly linked with your brain chemistry.
  4. Sleep: a restful body will function optimally. Sleeplessness can trigger fight-flight system regardless of what you are dealing with in your normal life. When you are sleep deprived, your body thinks you are under constant stress and will be on guard to protect you from the perceived danger. Anxiety ensues.
  5. Connection: talking or simply being with and around people you love and who understand you will make you feel at home and taken care of. Being connected with others help you feel physically safe, and emotionally nurtured.
  6. Coaching: working with an experienced coach can help you process your thoughts so you can overcome the same negative patterns. Coaching also creates clarity and provides accountability for you to move forward with ease.
  7. Mind-Body therapies like massage, tapping, hypnosis, acupuncture, cranio-sacral therapy, or biofeedback will allow your body to heal physically and emotionally, naturally.

 

 

I am offering a Group Acupuncture & Hypnosis workshop to reduce anxiety this coming Sunday at Bexley Yoga Studio.

Acupuncture is a wonderful and safe modality that allows the body’s nervous system to relax and find balance.

Hypnosis works with the subconscious mind where feelings and emotions reside.

This simple guided meditation technique will let you shift and reframe your thoughts and beliefs. Together, acupuncture & hypnosis can help you end the vicious cycle of anxiety.

The mind is powerful. Why not use what we already have to make us feel the best we can feel!

To register for the workshop, you can to this link.

 

Acupuncture for Better Sleep

At the very foundation of a healthy life, we need good food, clean water, and quality sleep.

You may hear about the recommended (mandatory?) 8-hour sleep we should get — which is not false — but are you getting quality sleep for those 8 hours?

The question is: do you feel rested upon waking up?

Are you alert and productive during the day?

Quality sleep, even if it is less than 8 hours (because every body is unique and will require different amounts), will give you the rest that your body needs to function at its optimum.

Most people in the US are walking around without adequate sleep, either because they did not get the proper amount, or the proper quality. Over time, this state of sleep deprivation can effect your immune system which may lead to undesirable long term or serious health problems.

There are so many reasons why you may be not getting the sleep your body needs. An over-scheduled life, excessive stress, imbalanced hormones, poor diet, poor sleeping habits are just some of the common causes of insomnia.

So, how can you get proper quality sleep that you need?

The body needs deep rest when the nervous system can go into repair mode while we are sleeping. All day long, when we are awake and alert, we overload the nervous system with stimuli required for the fight-flight (survival) mechanism. When healthy and in balance, the well rested nervous system works in harmony and our mind and body function well. We are energized, alert and productive. We are able to enjoy and create the life we want.

If the body does not get the rest it requires, however, we are in constant survival mode that does not turn off for that needed rest and repair mode.  The parasympathetic nervous system – our rest and digest system – can’t function at its optimum. We only get by with what is crucial for survival and end up with a tired body, a fatigued mind, and a relatively negative experience in daily life.

Recent research has implicated that impaired parasympathetic nervous function is responsible for a wide range of autoimmune diseases, including arthritis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

How can we foster our parasympathetic nervous system while we sleep?

There are lots of ways, most of them require that we decrease stress stimuli during our daily lives.

How are YOU decreasing stress in your life?

Are you prioritizing your health by allowing your body and mind to rest?

Are you taking a break from electronics, choosing healthy foods, exercising our body?

Are you pausing during the day to allow space and peace in your day?

Are you getting the support you need in your life?

Are you implementing tools that can help you further decrease stress?

 


 

Where does acupuncture come in?

Acupuncture, like other forms of natural medicine, works to help the body find its natural balance.

Research has proved that acupuncture helps reduce stress by stimulating the release of oxytocin, a hormone and signaling substance that regulates the parasympathetic nervous system. It is a safe and effective tool that helps our body find its own equilibrium for that quality sleep we all need and deserve.

Because the body knows how to heal itself, a natural form of therapy like acupuncture can put your body back into balance. When rest and relaxation can be restored, better sleep quality can be achieved.

 

Want to give acupuncture a try?

 

Come to our Group Acupuncture Workshop on August 26 @ Bexley Yoga Studio. Registration is open, and space is limited. Sign up soon, right here.

 

Top Ten surprises acupuncture could help you

As promised, here is the top ten list of (lesser known) health conditions that acupuncture could benefit you, drug – free.

I have treated all of these conditions, and have seen that acupuncture therapy improves significantly, or completely eliminates the problems.

  1. Temporal Mandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)
  2. Tinnitus
  3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  4. Vertigo
  5. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  6. Sore Throat
  7. Common Cold
  8. Hives
  9. Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
  10. Tailbone pain

Everyone responds differently to acupuncture therapy (similar to how we all respond differently to other medical treatments). For some, just a few treatments are needed to ‘fix’ the problems. For others, a series of treatments yield better outcome.

I remember in acupuncture school, we would get so excited about having a sore throat (I know – weird) so that we could test our new knowledge on each other. The treatment felt almost magical because if you do it correctly (and catch it early), the sore throat would disappear immediately. We were totally geeked out by it!

For more chronic conditions like tinnitus, it is essential to treat the root cause which usually has to do with a deficiency of Kidney Qi. Acupuncture helps restore the Qi and regain the free flow of Qi. Again, more chronic conditions tend to require a series of treatments, and sometimes lifestyle changes can speed up the progress significantly as well.

Acupuncture can be incredibly helpful for digestive issues. That was my introduction to this medicine, actually. I was dealing with GERD while under a lot of stress, and it was so uncomfortable. The acupuncturist I saw was confident that she could help me. And after a few treatments, and a few changes in my diet, my symptoms resolved.

Because acupuncture seems to have positive effects on the brain chemistry, conditions that manifest during stress/ anxiety respond well to treatments (IBS, GERD, hives, OCD, etc). It also does not hurt to take (at least) an hour out of your day, to relax, and restore. You will be amazed at what the respite (plus a few pins) can do for your health and well being, physically, and mentally.

All my best,

Kit

Top 10 reasons people get acupuncture

I have been doing acupuncture and Chinese Medicine for a while now (since 2002), and I am privileged to have seen and treated hundreds (thousands?) of people over that time. Here’s a list (after 12 years) of why people seek acupuncture with me, not necessarily in this order, but close:

1. Back pain

2. Shoulder pain/ Knee pain/ elbow pain

3. Sciatica

4. Headaches

5. Stress/ Anxiety/ Depression

6. Fibromyalgia

7. Insomnia

8. Allergies

9. Hormone imbalance (menstrual issues, postmenopausal symptoms, PMS)

10. Weight management (weight loss, food cravings)

Acupuncture is a great option for all the above. Most people respond well to a series of treatments, and in some cases, the conditions resolve completely in just a few treatments.

Next week, I will list the 10 reasons you should get acupuncture that you may not know about.

In the meantime, have a wonderful week!

Best wishes,

 

Kit

Stress: How it can harm the body, and how acupuncture can help

The word ‘stress’ as we know it today did not exist before 1936 when Hungarian scientist, Hans Selye, defined the term as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change”.  Stress can be many different things for different people (and not all stress is negative). But we all experience some degree of stress frequently, usually as unpleasant experiences.

Acute stressful situations cause the body to respond with the ‘fight-flight’ biological mechanism to protect the most vital organs by kicking into survival mode. Stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) get released into the bloodstream causing physiological changes: increased heart rate, shallow breathing, increased alertness, etc. When the stressful situation passes, the body relaxes and the hormone levels return to normal.

For people who suffer from chronic stress, however, these hormones are persistently elevated. This can result in long term serious health conditions. For instance, high levels of adrenaline can cause high blood pressure, increasing the risks of heart attacks or strokes. Chronic high levels of cortisol can increase appetite, and result in obesity.  Untreated chronic stress can also induce anxiety, depression, insomnia, muscle pain, and a weakened immune system.

Research has shown that several modalities can help combat stress: relaxation techniques, meditation, exercise, and social support to name a few. Acupuncture is one of the complementary therapies proved to be effective at reducing the stress response in the body. Up until now, we have not quite understood the mechanisms of action of how acupuncture works on stress reduction.

A recent study at Georgetown University begins to shed light. The study works with four groups of rats: one group had no stress and no acupuncture, one group was put under stress for an hour with no acupuncture, one group was under stress and received ‘sham’ acupuncture (a random point), and one group was under stress and received proper acupuncture treatments (electroacupuncture at ST-36). Stress hormones and blood proteins were measured from each group.

 

So far, the study is showing that acupuncture is effective at blocking the chronic, stress-induced elevations of stress hormones. Ladan Eshkevari, the study’s lead author confirms that “our growing body of evidence points to acupuncture’s protective effect against the stress response.”

Dr. Eshkevari recently gave an interview about this particular study. If you have sometime, I’d recommend that you have a listen here.

Even though it may be impossible to equate Chinese Medicine to Western Medicine, I think it is very exciting that we can now get a glimpse of some physiological changes as a result of acupuncture therapy.

Now we just need to figure out what is actually going on when we feel like we are ‘floating’ after a treatment…

In good health,

Kit

 

(Photos taken at Lake Tekapo, South Island, New Zealand — one of the most stress-free places on earth!)

Reflexology and Acupuncture: the perfect healing combination

Reflexology is an integral part of my practice at Bexley Acupuncture.

I was trained in reflexology before going to acupuncture school, mostly because I loved it and loved what it did for my health and well-being.

In the deep woods of downeast Maine, I would attend my one-on-one class with a master reflexologist, Janet Stetser, at her home (complete with a composting toilet). Eclectic is an understatement for this lady, and I loved every minute that I spent with her. Janet was in her 60s, with long salt/pepper hair in the back, and a mullet in the front. She had strong hands, and sharp stares. Her voice was deep and powerful.

Janet would teach me the reflexology techniques by working on my feet (how cool was that?). And then I would have to do it back on her feet. This went on for weeks until I had to take the final exam. I still wonder if I really passed because the hour-long reflexology massage exam that I did on her… well… put her to sleep within a few minutes. It was that good, I guess!

Reflexology has a long history, dated back to pre-historic times. There are Egyptian wall paintings showing people working on each other’s feet and hands. Fast forward thousands of years later, these techniques of applying pressure to specific reflex points still help heal many ailments, from anxiety to headaches to digestive issues. It is one of the most beneficial therapies, and in my opinion, the most relaxing of all!

The reflexology “maps” show us how the whole body is represented in the feet, hands, and ears. Stimulating specific points will direct the healing energy to those organs. As such, a full session of reflexology should feel as though you had a full body massage, inside and out.

Because acupuncture therapy also works on stimulating specific points and targeting specific organs and areas of the body, the two therapies complement each other very well. In my practice, I have noticed that the application of acupuncture (opening up the body’s energy fields), followed by a reflexology session (stimulating specific organs), give the best outcome.

You can learn more about reflexology and its applications and studies here.

Should you give acupuncture a try? Real facts, real benefits.

When I lived in California, being an acupuncturist was not a conversation starter (there are over 10,000 acupuncturists in that state alone, and everyone appeared to have their own practitioner).

What do you do? They would ask. Acupuncture, I would reply. Oh great!, they would say.

End of story.

When I moved to Columbus Ohio four years ago, the conversation was more like this:

Person: What do you do?

Me: I am an acupuncturist.

Person: Wow… I have always wanted to try acupuncture.

Me: You should!

Person: But, does it hurt?

Me: No, is that why you have not given it a try?

Person: Well… (the conversation goes on from here; content varies depending on the person’s relationship with sharp objects).

So, my friends, I am here to tell you in person that you should give acupuncture a try despite your needle-phobia.

In my 12 years of practice, I have given many first timers, needle haters, alternative medicine pessimists, acupuncture treatments. Ninety-nine percent of those people were pleasantly surprised that the needles didn’t bother them. Ninety-nine point five of those people returned for follow up visits. And almost one hundred percent of them enjoyed and benefited from their acupuncture treatments.

Needles can be scary, I know. If I could rename them, I would.

You have to remember that the sole purpose of the tiny acupuncture device is to help you feel better. It is to stimulate your life force (known as Qi) to be re-directed and to encourage the body to heal itself. Sensations can be felt, yes, but very few people would call in pain.

You have to also know that my sole
purpose as your practitioner is to make you feel better, in the most comfortable way possible. Most of my patients enjoy their nap during the treatments, and wake up refreshed, and pain-free.

If you would like to have a conversation such as the one posted above with me, I will be happy to engage! Send me your questions, share with me your concerns. I have a feeling that one day in the near future, Ohio will become a bit like California and being an acupuncturist will receive the response: Oh Great!

In good health,

Kit