Acupuncture for Fertility, Anxiety, Back Pain & Other Conditions

For thousands of years Chinese Medicine has been evaluating, diagnosing and effectively treating a wide variety of health conditions. Below are lists of common conditions and my specializations.

Common Treatable Conditions

Pain: Muscle pain and cramping, headaches and migraines, back, shoulder and joint pain, arthritis, sports injuries, strains and sprains, sciatica, dental pain, TMJ, frozen shoulder

Digestive complaints: Diarrhea, constipation, bloating, abdominal pain, food allergies, irritable bowel, colitis, acid reflux, nausea, indigestion, morning sickness, peptic ulcer, gallstones

Cardiovascular: High blood pressure, high cholesterol, poor circulation, palpitations, angina, atrial fibrillation, anemia, edema

Respiratory: Common cold and flu and prevention, allergies, hay fever, asthma, sinusitis, rhinitis, cough, bronchitis, sore throat

Women’s health: Hormonal imbalances, PMS, infertility, menstrual disorders, pregnancy and fertility enhancement, breech presentation, nursing issues, menopause symptoms, fibroids, cysts, endometriosis, UTI’s, interstitial cystitis, incontinence, urinary dribbling, frequent urination, gynecological syndromes

Men’s health: Sexual dysfunction, BPH, infertility, prostatitis, erectile dysfunction, incontinence, urinary dribbling, frequent urination

Emotional/Psychological: Stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, bi-polar, OCD, ADHD, PTSD, mood swings, nervousness, addictions, chronic fatigue

Neurological: Headaches, migraines, neuropathy, shingles, vertigo, tremors, post stoke residuals, facial pain

Skin: Hives, acne, dandruff, dry skin, psoriasis, eczema, rashes, scars

Other benefits: Autoimmune diseases, endocrine issues, children’s health, adjunctive cancer therapy, increase energy, smoking cessation and other addictions, ear and eye health

Specialized Care

While Chinese Medicine is holistic and many practitioners excel at general medicine, there is a strong need for specialists with great depth of knowledge in particular fields of study. My passions lie in the following areas:

The biggest threats to women’s health are often preventable. Oriental medicine has always addressed the special needs of women throughout their lives and many health issues women face respond extremely well to acupuncture treatments. Taking small steps to improve your health can make a difference.

Characterized by a decrease in bone mass and an increased likelihood of fractures osteoporosis is not simply a calcium deficiency. As a complex living tissue, bone is made of many different components and is influenced by many variables including the body’s use of calcium from the bone to balance pH levels in the blood. Osteoporosis threatens 44 million Americans, of which 68% are women, reports the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

Osteoporosis is largely preventable.  The behaviors that women develop in their childhood, in their adolescence, and in their early adult years really play a significant role in the development of the disease.  That’s because bodies build up most of bone mass until age 30. Then new bone stops forming and the focus switches to the maintenance of old bone.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine coupled with a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise, have much to offer in improving the quality of life for those who suffer from bone and joint problems.

Gynecological conditions including Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), fibroids, endometriosis, and infertility along with menopause are some of the most successfully treated problems by acupuncture and Oriental medicine. Oriental medicine has long recognized that health and vitality can be sustained over a woman’s lifetime by restoring balance within the body and supporting the natural production of essential hormones.

Menopause is a transitional period marking the cessation of ovulation in a woman’s body. Symptoms vary from mild to severe, and are brought on as our bodies try to adapt to decreasing amounts of estrogen. Symptoms can include hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, fatigue, mood swings, memory loss, dryness, headaches, joint pain, and weight gain. Menopause patients are encouraged to maintain a healthy weight, stabilize blood sugar, and eliminate stress, tension and anxiety or learn new techniques to cope with them to diminish the effects they have.

Oriental medicine does not recognize menopause as one particular syndrome and aims to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual using a variety of techniques such as acupuncture, herbs, bodywork, lifestyle/dietary recommendations and energetic exercises to restore imbalances found in the body. Therefore, if 10 women are treated each will receive a unique, customized treatment with different acupuncture points, different herbs and different lifestyle and diet recommendations.

With support from Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine along with small changes in lifestyle and diet, menopause can be a time of a revival of vital energy and an opportunity for personal growth

As the number one threat to women’s health, cardiovascular disease is not just a man’s disease. In women, the condition is responsible for about 29% of deaths, reports the CDC. Although more men die of heart disease than women, females tend to be under diagnosed, often to the point that it’s too late to help them once the condition is discovered. By integrating acupuncture and Oriental medicine into your heart healthy lifestyle, you can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as eighty percent.

Steps to prevention include managing high blood pressure and cholesterol, quitting smoking, eating healthy, maintaining a healthy weight, physical activity, reducing stress and improved sleep – all of which can be helped with acupuncture and Oriental medicine. Acupuncture has been found to be particularly helpful in lowering blood pressure. By applying acupuncture needles at specific sites along the wrist, inside the forearm or in the leg, researchers have been able to stimulate the release of opiods, which decreases the heart’s activity and its need for oxygen. This, in turn, lowers blood pressure.

There have been many advances in the early detection and treatment of cancer. While the standard medical care for cancer is effective, the treatments are aggressive and cause numerous unwanted side effects as well as a lowered immune system. The three most common cancers among women are breast, lung and colorectal cancer. While breast cancer is the most common cancer in women it is second in the leading cause of cancer death. Early detection screenings and recommended self examinations should be taken seriously.

Acupuncture has received much attention as an adjunctive therapy in cancer treatments for its use in pain relief, reducing side effects, accelerating recovery and improving overall quality of life.

From a preventive approach Oriental medicine works to restore imbalances in the system with a variety of treatment modalities including acupuncture, herbal therapy, tui na, qi gong in addition to food, exercise and lifestyle suggestions. Seasonal acupuncture treatments just four times a year serve to tonify the inner organ systems and correct minor annoyances before they become serious problems.

Depressive disorders affect 10%-25% of women at some point in their lives. The body’s immune system is compromised and symptoms reduce functioning, impair work performance and social relationships. Common symptoms of depressive disorders include: a decreased interest in most activities, insomnia, fatigue, and feeling empty and worthless. At its worst, hopelessness sets in and suicide becomes a desperate option for approximately 15% of people who suffer from severe depressive disorders.

Oriental medicine does not view people as a collection of segmented parts to be treated independently but rather addresses the link between the body, spirit and mind. The goal of Oriental medicine is to bring all the human systems into a healthy balance, insuring that both the mind and body feel well and when used in conjunction with psychotherapy acupuncture has a positive and holistic effect on depressed patients. If you suffer from depression, consider acupuncture therapy in conjunction with your treatment plan to regain peace of mind, regulate your immune system and stay healthy.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that some people get after seeing or living through a dangerous event.  When in danger, it’s natural to feel afraid. This fear triggers many split-second changes in the body to prepare to defend against the danger or to avoid it. This “fight-or-flight” response is a healthy reaction meant to protect a person from harm. In PTSD, this reaction is changed or damaged. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they’re no longer in danger.

How does PTSD develop?

Most people who are exposed to a traumatic, stressful event experience some of the symptoms of PTSD in the days and weeks following exposure. Available data suggest that about 8% of men and 20% of women go on to develop PTSD, and roughly 30% of these individuals develop a chronic form that persists throughout their lifetimes.

The course of chronic PTSD usually involves periods of symptom increase followed by remission or decrease, although some individuals may experience symptoms that are unremitting and severe. Some older veterans, who report a lifetime of only mild symptoms, experience significant increases in symptoms following retirement, severe medical illness in themselves or their spouses, or reminders of their military service (such as reunions or media broadcasts of the anniversaries of war events).

Who is at risk for developing PTSD?

PTSD can occur at any age, including childhood. Women are more likely to develop PTSD than men, and there is some evidence that susceptibility to the disorder may run in families.

Anyone can get PTSD at any age. This includes war veterans and survivors of physical and sexual assault, abuse, accidents, disasters, and many other serious events.

Not everyone with PTSD has been through a dangerous event. Some people get PTSD after a friend or family member experiences danger or is harmed. The sudden, unexpected death of a loved one can also cause PTSD.

Is PTSD something that only affects combat veterans?

A significant number of veterans suffer from PTSD: up to 20 percent of those who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and up to 30 percent of those who served in Vietnam.1 But PTSD can result from a variety of traumatic or life-threatening incidents such as sexual assault, child abuse, accidents, bombings, or natural disasters such as tornadoes, for example. Even witnessing a traumatic event can cause PTSD.2 In the United States, about seven or eight out of every 100 people will have PTSD at some point in their lives. During a given year, some fi ve million adults are coping with PTSD.

What are some PTSD risk factors?

  • Living through dangerous events and traumas
  • Having a history of mental illness
  • Getting hurt
  • Seeing people hurt or killed
  • Feeling horror, helplessness, or extreme fear
  • Having little or no social support after the event.
  • Dealing with extra stress after the event, such as loss of a loved one, pain and injury, or loss of a job or home.

What are some resilience factors for PTSD?

  • Seeking out support from other people, such as friends and family
  • Finding a support group after a traumatic event
  • Feeling good about one’s own actions in the face of danger
  • Having a coping strategy, or a way of getting through the bad event and learning from it
  • Being able to act and respond effectively despite feeling fear.

Not every traumatized person develops full-blown or even minor PTSD. Symptoms usually begin within 3 months of the incident but occasionally emerge years afterward. They must last more than a month to be considered PTSD. The course of the illness varies. Some people recover within 6 months, while others have symptoms that last much longer. In some people, the condition becomes chronic.

A doctor who has experience helping people with mental illnesses, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, can diagnose PTSD. The diagnosis is made after the doctor talks with the person who has symptoms of PTSD.

To be diagnosed with PTSD, a person must have all of the following for at least 1 month:

  • At least one re-experiencing symptom
  • At least three avoidance symptoms
  • At least two hyperarousal symptoms

Symptoms that make it hard to go about daily life, go to school or work, be with friends, and take care of important tasks.

PTSD is often accompanied by depression, substance abuse, or one or more of the other anxiety disorders.

In addition to the main treatments for people with PTSD (psychotherapy and medications), patients may supplement their care with acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. Everyone is different, so a treatment that works for one person may not work for another. It is important for anyone with PTSD to have an integrated care team – primary care physician, mental health care provider, and acupuncturist – all of whom are experienced with PTSD. Some people with PTSD need to try different treatments to find what works for their symptoms.

If someone with PTSD is going through an ongoing trauma, such as being in an abusive relationship, both of the problems need to be treated. Other ongoing problems can include panic disorder, depression, substance abuse, and feeling suicidal.

Pain tends to come in two varieties: acute and chronic. Acupuncture treatment can be very helpful for both, but the treatment goals are different. It is helpful for patients to understand the difference.

One of the advantages of acupuncture for pain management is that acupuncturists don’t need to diagnose the cause of the pain in order to start treating it – rather it is important to know where and how intense the pain is. Also, while acupuncture is often effective at reducing pain, sometimes even when it isn’t, it still improves a person’s quality of life. Acupuncture generally reduces stress, benefits sleep, lifts and stabilizes moods, and improves energy. All of these effects might be helpful to someone who is pursuing a multi-pronged approach to managing chronic pain.

Needling affects the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) concentrations of the naturally occurring opiate substances: dynorphin (acting at spinal level), endorphin (acting within the brain), and encephalin (acting both in the brain and at a spinal level) and these are some of the mechanisms thought to be responsible for pain reduction. Endorphins and enkephalins are potent blockers or modulators of pain arising from the musculoskeletal system. Dynorphin is a powerful modulator of visceral pain; it has a weaker effect on musculoskeletal pain modulation.

Acute pain is the simpler variety. Acute pain is what results when, for example, you sprain your ankle: your nervous system sends you a signal that tells you something is wrong, and you need to stop doing what makes your ankle hurt. Acute pain is like a functioning alarm. You need to limit additional injury to the affected part in order to give it a chance to heal. For reasons nobody really understands, acupuncture speeds up the healing process; it reduces inflammation and swelling and also provides pain relief. Generally, for acute pain, frequent treatments over a relatively short period of time are recommended.

Chronic pain can be very difficult to treat; there is very rarely a silver bullet or a single solution. Most patients who manage their pain successfully approach the process as if it were a jigsaw puzzle, with different pieces contributing to the larger whole – and the larger whole is the patient’s quality of life – but no one piece provides “the answer”. At this time, there is no one answer for the problem of chronic pain. Acupuncture is a piece of puzzle which may also include medication, exercise, diet, physical therapy, massage, meditation, yoga, and counseling. Every patient’s puzzle is unique, and successful pain management is often the result of painstaking trial and error. The goal of pain management is not to eradicate the pain – that is not realistic for most chronic pain patients – but to support the highest possible quality of life.

Both western medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine recognize two categories of headaches: primary and secondary. A primary headache is a clinical condition, not a symptom of another disorder. Primary headaches include tension headaches, migraines and cluster headaches. Secondary headaches are caused by other medical conditions such as sinus disease, allergies, dental disorders, head injury or brain tumors. Acupuncture is used to effectively treat primary headaches, namely tension and migraine, which are the most common.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has an effective, philosophically based framework for headache etiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis and treatment. Specifically, acupuncture has been used to treat headaches for thousands of years. The greatest advantage of acupuncture over western medicine is that it does virtually no harm. Unlike synthetic drugs, acupuncture has virtually no side effects, and the procedures for treating headaches are much less invasive.

In addition to needling treatment, I may recommend lifestyle changes, such as suggestions for specific breathing techniques, qi gong exercise, and changes to your diet.  I may also suggest herbal remedies known to reduce migraine symptoms such as butterbur, feverfew, dong quai, ginger and willow bark.

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