Acupuncture Myths and Misconceptions

Acupuncture Myths and Misconceptions

Acupuncture is an alternative form of medicine originating from ancient Chinese health practices. For over two thousand years, treatments have effectively alleviated pain and improved numerous types of health conditions.

This traditional Chinese method involves inserting extremely thin needles at strategic points in the body in order to restore blocked or disrupted pathways. The needles are designed to naturally fuel anatomic sites and help to bring your energy flow back to full functionality.

Acupuncture is especially recommended to treat the following symptoms:

·         chronic pain

·         stress/anxiety

·         mood swings

·         irregular

·         headaches and migraines

·         sleep deprivation

Even with acupuncture growing in popularity as an operative health treatment method, there are still a number of fallacies related to its technique and effectiveness.  To clarify, here are some myths related to acupuncture:

There is no real science behind acupuncture: MYTH

Because of its ancient, drug-free, non-invasive nature, acupuncture has often been categorized over the years as “folk medicine”. But for the past several decades, it has been widely accepted as an alternative medicine treatment option recommended by professional medical practitioners all over the world

Acupuncture hurts: MYTH

It’s fair to assume that any treatment involving needles will be painful; but in fact, acupuncture is known to be very relaxing. The needles are very thin and only sting slightly. If any discomfort is experienced in the beginning, it fades away just as quickly and leaves you feeling quite calm and peaceful.

It takes just a couple of treatments to heal: MYTH

Like any form of health therapy, the number of treatments will vary depending on the severity of the condition. Because so many patients feel instant relief after the first treatment, they believe it’s sufficient. In reality, one or two treatments alleviate the symptoms remedy the origin of the problem. It can sometimes take weekly appointments lasting several months to treat more acute, complex, or chronic conditions.

Acupuncture doesn’t attack the problem: MYTH

Acupuncture is not a Band-Aid treatment. In fact, acupuncture needles are meant to teach the body systems to heal themselves. The needles function in a way that stimulates crucial parts of the body to produce natural painkillers which reduce inflammation, improve digestive function, sleep apnea, and fight many serious illnesses. If the body heals itself, then no additional invasive treatment or pills are needed. Symptoms will alleviate as a result of a healthy, fully-functional body.

If you’re experiencing any of pain or chronic health problems, make an appointment with us today to determine whether acupuncture is the ideal course of treatment for you.


Tammy Lalonde Owner and Licensed Acupuncturist at Red Leaf Wellness

Tammy Lalonde, MSAOM BS Dipl.Ac LAc RAc Paramedic

About the Author

Tammy Lalonde is the Owner and Licensed Acupuncturist at Red Leaf Wellness in Edmonton, Alberta and has deep expertise in both ancient Eastern healing techniques as well as modern Western medicine.  She is also a Critical Care Paramedic.  Tammy earned both her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Oriental Medicine from California’s prestigious South Baylo University and her diploma in Emergency Medical Technology (Paramedicine) from Augustana University.  She holds active licensure with the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), the College of Acupuncture and Associates of Alberta (CAAA), the California Acupuncture Board and the Alberta College of Paramedics (ACP).

Acupuncture for Chronic Fatigue

Acupuncture for Chronic Fatigue

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is characterized as an excessive tiredness and fatigue. It’s considered a complex disorder because it cannot be explained by a specific medical condition. Physical and mental activity can worsen this condition while rest doesn’t seem to make things better either. So how can one tackle this? Here is a little more information about the cause and effects of CFS and how acupuncture can play a key role in addressing symptoms.

Causes

While there is very little to explain the cause of CFS, there are many theories that point to a combination of factors like viral infections, digestive malabsorption, the impacts of psychological stress on the immune system, and the exertion and malfunctioning of our adrenal glands.

Over time, stress truly takes a toll on our body. Our adrenal glands are responsible for producing a variety of hormones and steroids like adrenalin, aldosterone, and cortisol that kick in when we need them in order to handle stress. However, continual exertion and stress cause imbalances that affect…

  •      The production of corticosteroid levels — these are vitally important hormones that control our sleep/waking cycle, regulate our blood pressure, help to aid inflammation in the body, and generate energy from non-carbohydrate food intake.
  •      The production of mineralocorticoids — these regulate our fluid and mineral excretion that is directly related to our energy levels.
  •      The medulla — an area of the adrenal glands that secretes adrenalin, norepinephrine, and dopamine neurotransmitters that contribute to our stress response. They can have an effect on digestion, awareness, and blood flow to the brain and muscles.

Effects

The effects of CFS can vary person-to-person. It’s mostly known for fatigue and excessive tiredness which can also present symptoms like:

  •      Memory loss
  •      Trouble concentrating
  •      Sore throats
  •      Unexplained muscle pain
  •      Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck
  •      Headaches (different types ranging in severity)
  •      Unrefreshing sleep (waking up tired)
  •      Extreme exhaustion that lasts more than 24h

How acupuncture can help

Traditional drug treatments for CFS include antidepressants, antihistamines, anti-inflammatory drugs and so on. They unfortunately only suppress symptoms but do not actually relieve the body on a deeper level. Acupuncture works to refresh and reset your internal body. Since the adrenal glands sit above the kidneys and have a profound effect on kidney function, acupuncture treatments focus on the deficiency of Qi in the Kidney and Spleen meridians that are concerned with this region of the body. A deficiency of Qi can be found in any of the other meridians in the body, like for instance, the Lung and Liver meridians as well. There is usually not just one deficiency that connects to CFS, which is why patients always have a thorough assessment before treatment begins.

Additionally, releasing stagnation and blockages in all imbalanced meridians helps to improve blood flow to induce relaxation, address the sleep/wake cycle (for better sleep) and provide a deep and strong treatment to remedy pressing CFS symptoms. Depending on the severity of your symptoms and your health background, your acupuncturist may recommend herbs such as energizers like ginseng or Echinacea that can help to increase immune responses.

Moxibustion, a technique in which a herb is burned over specific acupuncture points, may also be recommended in addition to regular acupuncture to increase the effectiveness of the treatment. Other ways to make a treatment effective may include lifestyle changes and dietary changes.

Acupuncture is an excellent way to get a hold of CFS and improve symptoms. Maintenance of your body and mind will bring it into a state of healing and equilibrium so you can enjoy a far better quality of life! Are you suffering from any of these symptoms? Make an appointment with us today.

 

Acupuncture for Women with Endometriosis

Acupuncture for Women with Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a health condition that takes place in a woman’s body when the same endometrial cells that are found in the lining of the uterus are dislodged and begin to grow outside of the uterus and into other areas of the body. This can present difficulties to the bowels and bladder, cause abdominal and lower back pain, and affect the pelvic floor muscles; all of which are linked to a range of difficult symptoms a woman can face throughout her menstrual cycle.

Inflammatory reactions in the body, the development of scar tissue adhesions, and cysts filled with blood are all regular occurrences women with endometriosis face. This can affect how a woman feels every day, from her hormones to her energy levels. Endometriosis is also responsible for nearly half of fertility cases affecting one in ten women in their childbearing years.

Symptoms

  • Pelvic pain
  • Back pain
  • Pain during sex
  • Significantly painful periods (with heavy bleeding)
  • Emotional repercussions (anxiety, depression, sadness)
  • Weakened immune system
  • Digestion issues
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Infertility
  • Miscarriages

 How acupuncture can help

Right now, traditional Western medicine is treating endometriosis with hormone therapy to balance estrogen and progesterone levels in the body. Otherwise, pain medications are offered for all cases and surgery for those at a later stage in the disease. These are the only other options as to little known about the condition.

In Chinese medicine, the Uterus and Liver are closely linked. The Liver maintains the free flow of vital energy (Qi) throughout the body. The three meridians associated with endometriosis are the Liver, Kidney and Spleen, all of which run through the pelvis. By applying acupuncture to these areas, the stagnant Qi can be released from these meridians to reduce localized pain, distension, cramps and gas. Women who suffer from blood clots will also see a reduction in symptoms and an overall sense of relaxation will ease anxiety and help depression symptoms.

It’s very important for people who have endometriosis to minimize stress in their lives. Stress is the main culprit for these responses, especially feelings of anger and resentment, which can cause the Qi to stagnate. Qi stagnation is also the culprit for other symptoms of endometriosis like infertility, severe abdominal and back pain, irritability, depression, urinary problems, and headaches. Seeing an acupuncturist will allow your body to learn to heal itself and regain strength.

Do you or anyone you know suffer from this health condition? Please speak to your physician about complementary alternative medicines like acupuncture and get in touch with us to start the process of healing.

 

 

 

 

 

How Acupuncture Can Help You Quit Smoking

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How Acupuncture Can Help You Quit Smoking

Despite the fact that smoking is known to cause a host of health issues, it’s no easy task to curb the cravings. Did you know that acupuncture is a proven and effective method for quitting smoking? Here is how it can help.

Corresponding areas of the body

Acupuncture points on the ears are the most effective areas on the body when it comes to addressing cravings for cigarettes. The protocol in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is to use this set of acupuncture points to relieve tension build up that can contribute to cigarette cravings. The ear is a whole microsystem reflecting the entire body which includes the central nervous system. Many believe the cranial nerves, which are accessed through these points, stimulate the nervous system in a way that calms the cravings.

The relaxation response that comes from acupuncture is a main aspect of this idea. Similarly, the relaxation response that comes from working with the cranial nerves helps to address sleep and fatigue issues along with headaches – all of which are connected to smoking withdrawal. Headaches and sleep issues are all symptoms of an unstable nervous system, which is in need of relaxation. This is likely why a person feels they need a cigarette to relax.

Endorphins

Endorphins play a huge role in making us feel good. Using acupuncture to cultivate endorphins also eases cravings since you get that ‘rush’ from something other than cigarettes. This really helps with withdrawal periods and allows a person to overcome smoking more smoothly.

Combined Therapy

Acupuncture can be combined with Chinese herbs put together by a certified herbalist. Herbs can also help to support different areas of the body that may be in flux while you’re trying to quit smoking. It can decrease urges, help withdrawal symptoms, and stabilize the body in this transition.

Your dedication to acupuncture sessions along with other healthy initiatives will be significant in your journey to quit smoking. Each person takes their own time but an acupuncturist will work with you to develop a set plan that makes the most sense for your needs. Get in touch with us today to book an appointment.

 


Tammy Lalonde Owner and Licensed Acupuncturist at Red Leaf Wellness

Tammy Lalonde, MSAOM BS Dipl.Ac LAc RAc Paramedic

About the Author

Tammy Lalonde is the Owner and Licensed Acupuncturist at Red Leaf Wellness in Edmonton, Alberta and has deep expertise in both ancient Eastern healing techniques as well as modern Western medicine.  She is also a Critical Care Paramedic.  Tammy earned both her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Oriental Medicine from California’s prestigious South Baylo University and her diploma in Emergency Medical Technology (Paramedicine) from Augustana University.  She holds active licensure with the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), the College of Acupuncture and Associates of Alberta (CAAA), the California Acupuncture Board and the Alberta College of Paramedics (ACP).

 


 

Acupuncture and Cancer Care

Acupuncture and Cancer Care

In modern Western medicine, a variety of cancer treatments are generally administered to remove cancer masses, shrink tumors and rid the body of cancer cells. However, while these treatments can be effective, it is difficult to detect any free cancer cells that could still exist in the body post-treatment. These leftover cells can strike back at any time – especially if the body is weak. Keeping your body strong and balanced with a supplementary treatment like acupuncture can help to eliminate these free cells and reduce the risk of the cancer coming back.

Healing the Body

While cancer treatments can be particularly effective, they are also extremely difficult mentally, physically and emotionally. They often cause significant damage, leaving the patient feeling weak and drained. Acupuncture helps to rebuild the patient’s immunity as well as decreasing the side effects of chemotherapy. Examples of issues that many cancer patients face post-treatment are: skin disorders, urinary problems, mental and emotional repercussions, phantom limb pain, lymphedema, blood disorders, infertility and chest and heart problems among others.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)’s View

Acupuncture has 20+ herbs that work in synergy with western medicine for cancer patients pre and post-surgery. In TCM, the concept of cancer care is time-based, and aims to act as quickly and effectively as possible. Eliminating the cancer cells in the shortest time, without compromising the individual’s quality of life is the true goal of acupuncture. Revitalizing the body allows for the remaining cancer cells to be inhibited to ensure that the remission stage is sustained.

A personalized acupuncture plan can be put into place in conjunction with any medication or cancer treatments that have been recommended by your doctor and oncologist. All information indicated in the patient portal, such as the type of cancer or any post-cancer symptoms, will be taken into consideration in the creation of your personalized plan.

Acupuncture as an allied treatment for cancer has been proven to increase immunity, decrease nausea and vomiting, lower stress levels, improve mood, relieve mental distress and balance the body – all of which affect the healing process greatly. Contact us today for more information on how it can help you.

 

 

Acupuncture for Thyroid Disorders

  • Red Leaf Wellness offers Traditional Chinese Acupuncture services.

Acupuncture for Thyroid Disorders

The thyroid is one of the most important glands in our bodies. It regulates the body’s temperature, metabolism and the functioning of the muscles, liver, brain and a host of other systems. Thyroid health affects all aspects of a person’s wellbeing, and it can affect people of all ages.

Thyroid disorders can be hereditary and can also be connected to other conditions a person may be suffering from. Having a thyroid assessment early on can trace these health issues. As a preventative measure, acupuncture can be used to maintain the body’s balance and reduce the likelihood of these disorders turning into serious diseases.

Classification of the Disease

Thyroid disorders are commonly classified into the conditions known as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, which are related to Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s disease respectively.

Hyperthyroidism is the result of an overactive thyroid gland that produces too much thyroxine (T4). Notable symptoms include high blood pressure, increased sweating, moist skin, a rapid heartbeat, anxiety, an increased appetite accompanied by weight loss and digestive issues.

Hypothyroidism is the result of an under-active thyroid gland. It’s notable symptoms include a lower body temperature which makes one sensitive to cold, drooping eye lids, weight gain, dry hair and skin, slowed cognitive functions such as impaired speech, a hoarse voice and emotional and psychological symptoms such as depression.

Graves’ disease is the underlying cause of hyperthyroidism. The immune system essentially creates antibodies that cause the thyroid to grow abnormally and to make more thyroxine than the body needs. This can make controlling diabetes difficult, increase chest pain, create vision problems and a host of other symptoms of hyperthyroidism.

Hashimoto’s disease, also known as thyroiditis, is a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects the thyroid gland.  It is an auto-immune disorder, as the abnormal antibodies and white blood cells attack and damage thyroid cells. This leads to an underactive thyroid that can result in hypothyroidism. This disease typically affects women.

Acupuncture Research

A study was conducted involving 27 female patients with high thyroid stimulating hormone levels (TSH) – mostly those with Hashimoto’s disease.  20 out of 27 patients who underwent acupuncture treatment showed a prominent decrease in the severity of their clinical symptoms, as their TSH levels went back to normal. The study stated that acupuncture could very well be an alternative therapeutic substitution for the disorder.

In addition, acupuncture can also help to modulate the immune system, which this is helpful with people who have auto-immune problems. Acupuncture has been said to be a useful application in combination with other natural treatments to benefit those with auto-immune thyroid conditions. It can be a great alternative therapy to restore balance in the body.

Are you feeling dragged down by symptoms of any of these thyroid conditions? Acupuncture treatment can help. Contact us today and let us begin to address your symptoms and restore your body’s natural balance.

 

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