Published in Acupuncture Today February 2020 Vol 21, Issue 2
What do we think of when we hear the word ‘healing’? For many, the first conclusion is that healing means to get better, or to heal from a disease. But what if this belief and concept about healing isn’t the whole picture? If healing doesn’t just mean to get better, then what does it mean? And how can this help us help our patients?
Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines healing as:
heal - transitive verb
1a: to make free from injury or disease : to make sound or whole // heal a wound
B: to make well again : to restore to health // heal the sick
2a: to cause (an undesirable condition) to be overcome // MEND the troubles … had not been forgotten, but they had been healed — William Power
b: to patch up or correct (a breach or division) // heal a breach between friends
3: to restore to original purity or integrity // healed of sin
Our approach in healthcare focuses on the first 3-4 aspects of this definition - to heal a wound, the sick or overcome an undesirable situation. While it is important to help our patients find recovery from the ailments that bring them into our office, in some cases, this isn’t always possible. Chronic disease, terminal illness or life situations that are permanent are not so simply overcome in the sense that we can erase them from reality entirely. It’s in this case where we have to focus on the last definition of the world healing - to restore to original purity or integrity. And while the sample of being ‘healed of sin’ takes on a different tone, what I believe this definition to point to is simply: to return to our original intention.
If you're looking for a unique, transformative and chill event to dive into acupuncture, meditation and those relaxed alpha theta brainwave states, then I invite you to join me on Sunday August 11th at 11am or 2pm for my Acupuncture and Guided Meditation event in San Rafael, Marin County at Lion's Heart!
Women today do everything, from CEO to Mom of the Year, best friend, engineer and astronaut, there’s a lot on our plates, and for many once a month (give or take) menstrual cramps are the less than desirable icing on the cake. Dull achy pain that can go from mild annoyance to crippling and debilitating has been felt by most women at some point in their lifetime and for about 10 in every 100, this pain can be so debilitating that all daily activities have to be put on hold. Painful periods aka dysmenorrhea can be caused by the feeling of the uterus tightening during menstruation or from a secondary cause like endometriosis, growths or cysts and some types of IUDs, but no matter the cause, the pain is still very real. For those wanting a more natural remedy that you can do literally anywhere, acupressure might be the answer!
What is Pediatric Acupuncture?
Pediatric acupuncture is simply - acupuncture for pediatric patients. While the treatments are similar in many ways to traditional acupuncture for adults and teenagers, there are a few differences in the treatments compared to a treatment for adults; including the time frame, method and mechanisms of the treatment.
Pediatric acupuncture appointments are appropriate for children under age 13. After age 13 the body has more fully formed the meridians and points and needling is generally well tolerated, if your child is 13 years old or older we recommend choosing a regular First Time Acupuncture treatment instead of a Pediatric First Time Acupuncture appointment. We can treat children of any age, even 1 month old babies! Treatments are adjusted accordingly to the child’s age, condition and tolerance to treatment modalities.
Acupuncture is an incredibly useful tool to treat conditions involving pain; from sports injury to arthritis to headaches and everywhere in between, but beyond pain, can acupuncture actually help to improve sports performance? Whether you’re a novice to a new sport, an avid gym goer, an amateur or professional athlete, acupuncture can be a great addition to your workout routine to help improve peak performance and elevate you to the next level of your fitness. Sports Acupuncture has been used all over the World, from treating injury to helping athletes increase performance levels. Acupuncturists are commonly employed by major sports teams all across the globe, in the bay area from the San Francisco Giants, 49ers to the San Francisco Ballet. Athletes are turning to acupuncture to not only help with pain and injury, but to help improve performance and compete at optimal levels.
So how does acupuncture help improve athletic performance? Aside from helping to treat injuries, there are many other mechanisms of action that acupuncture helps address which result in an enhanced and improved performance for athletes. Here are five key ways acupuncture helps improve athletic performance.
Athletes are under constant pressure and stress, from performing at peak levels to staying well in the off season; maintaining health, balance and preventing injury are all priorities in the life of an athlete, whether a novice fitness enthusiast or an elite olympian, staying healthy and recovering quickly are of utmost importance. As I’ve started to venture into the world of open water rowing at the South End Rowing Club, I’m quickly learning many of the possible points of injury for rowers, myself included. While rowing is a low impact sport, posture and positioning are extremely important, as is training frequency and duration when it comes to preventing injury. Overtraining can quickly lead to injury, just as poor posture and stroke technique can set up a rower for injury down the line. As an Acupuncturist, I commonly treats patients for pain related to athletic endeavors and sports injuries, and I can say that taking care of an injury when it first appears is by far, one of the most crucial points to helping an athlete heal faster and without further injury. When issues are in the acute phase, they are generally easier and faster to respond to treatment, whether with acupuncture, physical therapy, chiropractic, massage or other modalities, treating a condition sooner than later can help an athlete get out on the water more safely, and sooner than attempting to ignore a minor injury which sets up re-injury later on.
Waking up one morning to a half paralyzed face likely ranks at the top of any of our ‘worst day ever’ lists, but for 40,000 Americans each year, this is reality. Bell’s Palsy is an idiopathic paralysis of the face, usually causing drooping of the mouth and eyelid due to infringement on the Facial Nerve, symptoms mimic a stroke, but with no neurological impairment. (1) Due to the unknown causes of this condition, treatment options are limited, consisting usually of a course of steroids like Prednisone and in some cases an antiviral like Valacyclovir. Patients are sent home with these medications and told to ‘wait it out.’ I don’t know about you, but if half of my face was paralyzed, waiting it out would not be a prescription I would be on board with.
The root of the paralysis in Bell’s Palsy is the 7th Cranial Nerve - The Facial Nerve. This nerve travels through a narrow bony canal in the skull, beneath the ear to the muscles in the face and is responsible for facial movements such as blinking the eye, smiling and frowning, it also carries nerve impulses to the tear and salivary glands, and transmits taste sensations from the tongue. In Bell’s Palsy cases it is thought that the nerve has been subject to some sort of inflammation or impingement which disrupts the function of the nerve resulting in this paralysis and other facial deficiencies.(1) Because of the unknown etiology, or cause, of this impingement, the modern medical treatments for the disorder are rather limited in their scope and approach.
Growth, Transformation, Overwhelm and Confusion
The teenage years can be a whirlwind of growth, transformation, overwhelm and confusion. We’ve all been there and I’m sure you have some memories from your teen years that you wish could have gone differently, or were offered more support to help you with this time. I feel like alternative therapies are often seen as only used or appropriate for adults and small children, and the teenage years, where extra support is crucial, are often left out.
Teenagers are in a time in their life of learning who they are and how they want to be as adults in the world. There is an immense amount of learning, growth and experiences that take place during these very important years, and having support to help smooth the process is paramount. The top 10 things teens deal with as problems are: depression, bullying, sexual activity, drug use, alcohol use, obesity, academic problems, peer pressure and social media.(1) I find that almost all of these problems are rooted in the person going through the process of discovering who they are and how they interact with others in a social environment, in other words - developing a strong sense of self. When we have a strong sense of self and the self esteem and confidence to stick to that sense of self, it makes navigating these potential issues a bit easier.
The New Year has just passed and now it's time to start thinking about how you're going to not just MAKE a resolution or goal for the year but actually bring it to life! Check out my video on using acupuncture as a tool to make that happen, and a little reminder that your health insurance plan may help you pay for it!
Dr. Kim Peirano, DACM, LAc is the Owner and Acupuncturist at Lion's Heart Wellness, the San Francisco Bay Area and Marin's #1 Cosmetic Acupuncturist and #1 Holistic Healer.