Every time something awful happens in the world, it makes its way into my clinic. This week Roe v Wade was overturned and it’s been the topic of every patient’s mind and heart. I often hear the words ‘you’re not my therapist but….’ while my patients explain to me their emotional or spiritual troubles. This happens so often that it’s now one of the main things I treat in my clinic - emotional pain, upset and trauma, and it’s also why I’ve become a transformational Jungian Life Coach, so that I can truly help you in the entire process of body, mind and spirit. You might think heading to an acupuncturist to deal with your break up doesn’t make a lot of sense, but the truth is, emotional pain goes far beyond just the mind, it affects our body and our spirit, and Chinese medicine is especially equipped to bridge between these three aspects of our lives: body - mind - spirit. Feelings are called feelings for a reason - they are literally felt in the body, actual sensations that we feel caused by neurotransmitters, hormones and enzymes - it can be tingling, numbness, tension, heat, the list goes on, but every time we have an emotional reaction, before it came a physical reaction. The world we currently live in is rife with reasons to be upset - wars that are never ending, political upheaval, an economic system on the brink of collapse, domestic terrorism, pain and strife is parmount every time we turn on the television or open up TikTok, and that doesn’t even include our personal life’s ups and downs.
It’s incredibly important that during times of stress, change or upset we find support, you may get that from friends and family, a therapist, the gym, and yes, an acupuncturist. Body work can be profound to help the mental and emotional healing process. We have to help the body process and move the energy (and neurotransmitters, hormones and enzymes) that is associated with emotional responses so that we can feel clear and like ourselves again, so that we can move forward and make choices out of response instead of reaction. If you’re still wondering ‘how on earth can acupuncture really help me with my emotions?’ let’s dive right in…
How’s life going for you?
Do you feel like something is missing? A lack of inspiration perhaps? Feeling closed off from others or even yourself? A sense of despair or an absence of the ‘heart and soul’ of life? Maybe you’ve been having trouble sleeping? Feeling anxious? Restless? Difficulty concentrating?
If this sounds a little too familiar read on… it might be a disruption or disturbance of your Shen.
Let me explain…
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) the way we look at our mental, emotional and spiritual health is by looking at the Five Spirits - these spirits are aspects of our complete animation as a human on Earth from our Divine spiritual nature to our animal instincts to the connection with the collective unconscious. These spirits all serve different aspects of the self and our interaction and experience on Earth, as such we can address issues that arise in the psyche by addressing these spirits. As goes with all illness and disorder in TCM these issues with the spirits can be experienced in a range of severity and intensity and also duration - meaning we can have a mild and brief Shen disturbance that lasts a day or two or we can have a more severe and chronic presentation that lasts for months, years or a lifetime, there are many causes and reasons why which I’ll get into later on.
I love chocolate, I just… love it; it’s delicious, it’s gorgeous, it’s fun to work with and create from, it makes you feel good, what’s not to love? As an artist I also love working with chocolate as a medium - there is so much more than just the visual nature of it - there’s the art of flavors and combinations of textures, it’s a full spectrum sensory experience if you ask me, and this is just a part of why I love it. As an Acupuncturist and Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine I also know that chocolate isn’t only a love affair for the senses either, it actually has some medicinal and therapeutic qualities that can help balance and nourish the body and mind. In Chinese Medicine we think of all food as medicine, all foods have certain properties and qualities that affect the body in specific ways, when we bring more awareness to these properties we can turn our entire diet into a nourishing experience directed at what parts of us need direct healing. It’s this love affair with chocolate and Chinese medicine that brought me to the intersection of combining the two - making high quality chocolates that are flavored to work with the spirit, elements and organs of the body.
I hear it often from my patients: ‘sometimes I pee a little when I laugh,’ ‘I wouldn’t dare try to do jumping jacks or it would be a mess,’ and ‘I just know that I have to use the bathroom before I leave to go anywhere or I might pee my pants.’ Overactive bladder, leakage and incontinence aren’t anything new, but in my practice I’ve gotten the impression that patients think that having these conditions is just a part of getting older, from giving birth or prostate enlargement and it’s something you just have to live with. Treatments for overactive bladder (OAB) leave a lot to be desired, patients don’t want to undergo invasive surgery, but medications have high rates of undesirable side effects which leaves most patients thinking there isn’t a viable treatment option and that urinary leakage is just something they’ll tolerate. While kegel exercises may provide some relief and help for many patients, not everyone notices a difference with doing them, pressing the point home again that OAB is just something we live with, untreated.
Overactive bladder (OAB) is a condition that affects adults and children worldwide and can be caused by numerous underlying factors or traumas like childbirth, prostate enlargement, poor pelvic floor muscle control, bladder prolapse and more. It goes without saying that this condition can create a significant psychological burden on patients and symptoms range from urinary urgency to incontinence, while this condition can be incredibly bothersome, surgery often seems a drastic approach and medications may have limited effect and side effects (de Wall, L. L., & Heesakkers, J. P. (2017.) So what’s the good news? Acupuncture is actually an incredibly effective treatment for OAB, working better than most medications with fewer side effects, it is so effective in fact, that medical doctors use acupuncture and electrostimulation in order to address the tibial nerve and improve its functionality which addresses the innervation of the bladder and helps with OAB, they call it Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation (PTNS). Studies on PTNS have shown improvement in bladder symptoms of over 50% improvement and up to 80% improvement in quality of life studies, this therapy is also minimally invasive and does not pose traditional risks or side effects associated with medications and surgeries (de Wall, L. L., & Heesakkers, J. P., 2017).
In my acupuncture practice in San Rafael, California I provide patients PTNS treatments with acupuncture for with overactive bladder it is a simple adjusted acupuncture treatment to address the innervation of the bladder and improve the regulation of information from the brain to the bladder called Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation and Sacral Nerve Stimulation. While for some patients, the cause of OAB lies in the musculature of the pelvic floor, for many it can be an issue with the nerves that bring information from the bladder to the brain and vice versa, and no amount of kegel exercises will provide relief, for most it’s a combination of both! In addition to treating the issues of the bladder directly, as an Acupuncturist my aim is to always get to the root of an issue, and that doesn’t mean just what’s going on in the body as a cause of an issue, it also means the bigger picture in the body - mind - spirit connection. Acupuncture treatments for OAB will consist of a direct treatment to address the symptoms of overactive bladder and leakage, but also addressing the patient as a unique individual and their constitution so that they can embody more strength and health throughout all aspects of their life, not just the symptoms at hand.
Looking our best can come with a high price tag in today’s society, we have tons of choices; from topical care infused with gold and diamonds, to medical treatments and surgery, holistic treatments and any one of thousands of facials, for some these are the Holy Grail of anti-aging skincare and looking great, but for others treatments fall short time and time again. I see this in my clinic in San Rafael, some patients respond very well to their Cosmetic Facial Acupuncture treatments whereas some might not see results or the results are too little. Some patients come in complaining that anything and everything they've tried hasn't worked, so helping my patients gauge whether the treatment will work for them is part of my intake process, so that I can help decode what might be going on that could hinder the results, it's why holistic skincare is so important!
The skin is the largest organ in our body, and as many are aware by now: what goes in and what’s going on in our body becomes our body, and this includes the skin. Anything from stress to digestion can have an effect on the appearance of our skin, and this also plays a role in why and how our skincare routines work, or don’t. Here are 5 common reasons your skincare isn’t producing a satisfying result, and what you can do to solve it!
“Qigong and acupuncture will not only make you smarter, but also make you sexier and get better dates” touted the late Dr. Daju Suzanne Friedman to her students. They always laughed at this joke, but also knew there was definitely some merit to it, because after practicing qigong or receiving an acupuncture treatment the results were obvious; feeling better, a clarity of mind and an improved overall appearance. When a person completes a meditation retreat it’s not uncommon for their peers to see them as not just looking more clear and relaxed, but also looking more youthful and more present. Mindfulness works, it helps us to relax, let go of stress and actually takes the body into a regenerative brainwave state, and doing this has an incredible anti-aging effect throughout the entire body, from improved clarity of mind, to preserving telomeres and visible improvements in the skin and appearance.
In the same way meditation helps to take the brain and body to a restorative state, acupuncture does so as well; it’s part of the reason why patients get off the table feeling great, looking relaxed and talking about how incredibly relaxing the treatment was. There are different types of brainwaves the human body experiences, they affect different levels of consciousness and serve different purposes - all relevant and important. In today’s society, the stressed out sympathetic nervous system is ever dominant, so taking time to wind down and drop in to a regenerative state is incredibly important, although it can often be difficult for some to get into that relaxed state. Acupuncture can help almost anyone drop in to a relaxed state without the effort, making acupuncture a great tool, like mindfulness meditation to help people experience renewal and healthy aging.
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!
It's been a long time coming and I'm thrilled to announce that starting in 2020 I will be offering a 3 Day Workshop for licensed Acupuncturists to learn my method of integrative Cosmetic Acupuncture! The first course will be held at my alma mater The Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine College in Berkeley, CA the last weekend of January 2020. Details are still being worked out but the course is currently pending for 23 CA CEUs and will also be applied for NCCAOM units as well.
I'm looking forward to offering this course as I think it really bridges together what other courses are missing and takes on an approach that helps students understand the WHY of cosmetic acupuncture from a physiological perspective as well as a spiritual perspective. Over a decade of practicing this art has led me to some unique understandings of how and why it works and how to work with patients to get the best results possible.
Please see more information on my website: integrativecosmeticacupuncture.com for upcoming course dates and more!
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.
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.
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