When someone asks me, “Will acupuncture fix me?” I never lie and say that it will get you better right away. It takes some time. It really does. Sometimes, as few as a couple of treatments for one chief complaint will provide relief. However, the truth for most of us is that health is a consistent result of our habits. So, once you are feeling better, what’s next? What if you’re trying acupuncture for something like allergies, high blood pressure, stress, or chronic low back pain? You get to this crux, this fork in the road. Do you stop treatment once you’re feeling better or come in when your symptoms return? I see a ton of success with my patients who follow a maintenance program. They come in on a scheduled, routine basis to minimize symptoms from returning to full strength, or at all
Pre-coronavirus, I would give patients the option to do whatever they felt was best, both for their schedules and budgets. Post-coronavirus, I have learned some important lessons, both personally and professionally, about maintenance schedules. Practicing acupuncture is similar to dentistry, massage therapy, grooming, or playing music, where you spend enormous amounts of time with your head down, executing repetitive fine motor skills. So, for me, self-maintenance is vital to keeping myself healthy. I have a dual perspective after the stay-at-home order about the patient side and healthcare provider side of why maintenance and routine self-care are so important—more so than I ever realized.
Have you ever heard of a prescription supplement? Prescription supplements are high-quality vitamins, minerals, and herbs that have passed FDA standards of CGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practices). They certify that supplements have passed a rigorous series of testing to ensure safety, ingredients, and potency. Not everything that is sold over the counter at Natural Grocers or Whole Foods meets these requirements. In fact, very few do. Amazon and Walmart were recently caught in several schemes where supplements they sold had fillers like rice powder or contained heavy metals. GNC, Walgreens, Target, and many more all have been accused or caught selling fake supplements. GNC has even agreed to pay millions in fines because of this! Some of their supplements had nothing close to the dosing they claimed on the label! Just type into your internet browser, "supplement scams" and see for yourself! Supplements prescribed by healthcare practitioners are the direct reaction to the rise in supplement scams.
Thankfully the FDA is going to war on these supplement scammers. They are regularly cracking down on 1,000 supplement companies a month. They have recognized what a danger this is to consumers. Here is the FDA's statement, "Bogus dietary supplements: Many supplements offer health benefits, but claims to treat or cure diseases are unproven and not allowed by law. Increasingly, so-called “dietary supplements” are found to contain hidden illegal drugs and other chemicals that could cause serious harm. This is especially true for weight loss, sexual enhancement, and bodybuilding “supplements.”
First, let’s recap what Medical Acupuncture is, before going into how it can help treat allergies. Both traditional and Medical Acupuncture consist of the insertion of needles into specific points on the body to treat disease. The difference is how the needles are inserted (depth, gauge, type of needle) and, most of all, the reasoning for location.Traditional acupuncture is often superficial needling with tiny needles and very little emphasis on depth or varying types of needles. Point location is based on a complicated energy diagnosis (where the practitioner thinks your energy needs to be balanced). Medical Acupuncture emphasizes various types of needling. Larger needles can affect certain types of nerves, while smaller needles can stimulate certain areas of the brain. The methods used in Medical Acupuncture are backed by scientific evidence. The location of needling is based on a scientific choice, not based on energy or mysticism at all.
When it comes to allergies, the evidence says that needling into areas where we know there is a higher number of eosinophils and neutrophils (types of white blood cells) activates the immune system. We use a certain type of needle that doesn’t damage those white blood cells, but alerts them and wakes them up. This wake-up call to the white blood cells stimulates anti-inflammatory cells to help with allergy symptoms. My saying is, “If I can’t back something with scientific evidence, there’s little reason to do it.” So, now that you understand that Medical Acupuncture has a profound foundation to treat allergies (and, of course, many other conditions) you can become an expert on how it treats allergies.
I think I say the word “Breakfast” more than any other word in my clinic. The most common pamphlet I give patients is my, "How to Eat Breakfast" pamphlet. I had a day of 20 patients. All 20 came in with various symptoms. My recommendation to all 20 was - Eat Breakfast! I couldn’t believe it! I said to my intern, "Well, we have another one that needs breakfast!" Now, breakfast isn’t for everyone. I completely understand that most of us hardly have time to slam a microwaveable breakfast burrito in the morning. I get it, but if you're serious about your life and your health, you need breakfast! However, I do recommend that some patients don't eat breakfast and do a true fast instead. These are patients who are obese (not just stomach fat, but obese), they suffer from sleep apnea and high blood pressure. In these cases, a fast is better because fasting does not spike your blood sugar. So fasting allows obese individuals to regulate their insulin more easily.
Phyto-Multiplex is a unique combination of Multivitamins + Phytonutrients + Trace Minerals. This highly concentrated mix of plant-rich in bioactive secondary Phytonutrients. What are phytonutrients? Phytonutrients are chemicals produced by plants. Foods with phytonutrients have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. PhytoMultiplex’s science-based spectrum of phytonutrients—enhanced with quality vitamins and minerals—is designed to recharge, nourish, and defend your cells. It’s intelligently designed to support well-being and the health of multiple body systems:*
Clinical Study Outcomes*
This is one of the most common questions I get for any given condition. In general, acupuncture works on a large variety of conditions with few contraindications or side effects. Many insurance companies are now starting to pay out, as they are seeing the benefits of it, but researching acupuncture is very difficult.
Have you been wanting to do a detox, but you don’t know where to start? If you’re looking for a simple yet effective way to detox, my clinic is offering a true functional medicine cleanse. No matter whether you want to do a quick detox, or an intense custom cleanse, we have an easy way to detox with some very helpful information about healthy eating and how to feel better. The goal of this cleanse is to rid the body of the bad choices you’ve made, introduce good nutritional habits, regulate your blood sugar, decrease inflammation, and most importantly, help you identify what foods could potentially be causing problems. We help people learn about what fats are good to cook with and why, what fruits and veggies are good to eat, chemicals that can cause inflammation, and tricks to help eradicate common ailments.
One of the most common questions we get is, “Can acupuncture treat and cure cancer?” At first, I thought my malpractice insurance was sending spies to test me. The answer is, of course, NO! Acupuncture can not cure cancer! Then, I realized these were real people asking real questions, probably based on something they read online. Anyone who knows me or who follows me knows I’m brutally honest. If you read something like: cupping is practically acupuncture and it can cure your cancer, please walk away; no... run away. Because you know not only are these people disingenuous, but they are incompetent. When we are talking about cancer, the big “C” word, the most important factor you should consider when choosing your team of providers is competency.
Autoimmune conditions are characterized as diseases where a person’s immune system attacks cells that aren’t harmful. The immune system attacks its own bodily tissue which does not need to be messed with in the first place. The immune system basically gets confused about what is foreign bacteria and what’s not. Some of the most common autoimmune conditions include the following: type I diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, inflammatory bowel disease, Addison’s disease, Graves’ disease, Sjogren’s, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, andceliac disease.
Before you get your pitchfork out, not all cytokines, even the ones listed above, are bad. They are our body’s way to signal that something is wrong; there is an infection that we need to do something about. These signaling cytokines are like our gas lights, engine lights and emergency lights on our cars. We don’t just pull out the light bulb when its flashing! We pay attention when the gas light comes on head to the mechanic, right?
Many men and women spend years trying to avoid pregnancy only to be frustrated later in life to find out how difficult it really can be to start that dream family. When troubles with fertility arise it can be shocking, devastating, confusing, and frustrating. Luckily, medical acupuncture and functional medicine offer numerous ways to address difficulties with becoming pregnant and maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Infertility and miscarriage can be an isolating experience. According to the CDC, about 10% of women in the US between the ages of 15 and 44 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant. If you are in this 10%, remember you are not alone!
There are numerous reasons for inhibited fertility and in many cases, Westen medicine can’t offer an actual diagnosis. But that’s ok because Chinese medicine has many ways of diagnosing and addressing the causes of fertility problems. Over the next few weeks, we will talk about some common issues that many women experience and how acupuncture helps in those instances.
One of acupuncture’s greatest therapeutic gifts that I tend to overlook is stress relief. I am so focused on treating a long list of my patients’ ailments that I have kind of disregarded the one thing that all of us suffer from stress and anxiety! According to the American Psychological Association, 75 percent of adults reported moderate to high levels of stress. Stress is a top health concern for U.S. teens. This is an epidemic that has been normalized by our way of life.
Stress can ignite our fight or flight response, or it can subtly nag us daily until we blow up. This “sympathetic” activity is meant to help us respond to catastrophe, danger, or any other disaster. Have you ever reacted to something minor in an extreme way? This stress response is often due to an imbalanced brain. The brain, much like us as a whole, with practice, becomes better. If you continue to practice being “good” at stress, your brain makes more pathways for the stress response to continue with little effort. I see this far too often. When people practice what I call "stinkin thinkin" it becomes a daily habit, a way of life, and the repetition of negative thoughts becomes a chronic determine to their health. But the good news is, this can change.
Traditionally Western Medicine has identified a handful of major minerals that the human body requires: calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and magnesium. All of the remaining elements in the human body are called "trace elements" or "trace minerals". Thanks to new technology and new research methods, science is beginning to uncover the importance of these "trace minerals". One trace mineral I often recommend is called boron. Nothing is boring about boron!
Boron affects the body the same way other vital minerals do we just don't know as much about it. Boron plays an important role in helping your body absorb magnesium. Magnesium is a vital mineral. Fortunately, these two minerals work hand-in-hand to keep you feeling your best. Boron also impacts how your body uses calcium and phosphorous. Of all the functions boron has in your body, it is most well known for providing aid to joints and bones. Boron induces the mineralization activity of what’s called osteoblasts. Osteoblasts are a type of cell that creates crucial new material to rebuild bones. Boron activates these cells by regulating gene expression. This is only the beginning – there are many other surprising health benefits of boron.
I primarily write these articles to educate the community about acupuncture. Acupuncture is an amazing therapy that is underutilized and largely unknown to most people. I strongly believe that through education, I can help lead people to a healthy lifestyle and maybe even acupuncture. But, in this article, I am going to do something different. I am going to share with you why you get the best bang for your buck at my clinic.
Slowly but surely acupuncture is being recognized for its therapeutic effects. A growing number of people around the world are using acupuncture to combat current health problems and to decrease future health risk. A recent study from Italy displayed the potential of using acupuncture to improve psychological and pain symptoms coming from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a natural disaster. I found this study to be very interesting because when most of us think of PTSD we don't associate it with natural disasters.
One of the most frequent questions I hear is, “How long will it take for me to get better?” If you know me, one thing you know is, I’m not a liar. Probably to a fault, I am going to tell it just like it is, whether you like it or not. When asked this question, I never give a prognosis (a guess of how long treatment will take) until I see how someone did with acupuncture or functional medicine first. After I get a small sense of whether someone is a “high responder” or “low responder,” I give them a prognosis with a caveat; that they participate in their own health and do their honest best on their homework (I always give homework!). Most importantly, I tell people to track their symptoms. Now, not everyone wants to do all the heavy lifting in their own health. And truly, I’m okay with that because some people are so fatigued, they need someone to do it for them until they regain enough motivation to help themselves again. I sympathize with this. I’m here for what you need, not to dominate or scold you for how you live your own life.
Buying a new home or putting your house on the market can be an exciting process, but it can also cause an unhealthy level of stress and anxiety. Acupuncture is a natural way to treat the symptoms associated with stress, it works faster than therapy, and is a drug free solution. Here are five ways acupuncture can help reduce stress when home buying or selling:
Have you ever received conflicting advice from two or three different medical professionals? One of the most common conflicts I find in the medical world today is wheather an injured paitent should ice or heat? Previously the common thought was that ice is critical for helping an acute injury or a chronic one. Inflammation causes swelling and ice helps with that hot inflammation, right?? Not always. Think of heat like lava, it moves blood, vasodilates your blood vessels, meaning it makes them bigger. Ice, on the other hand, decreases blood circulation, it vasoconstricts, meaning it keeps blood vessels small and it decreases the amount of blood that gets through. Both Ice and heat stimulate tiny receptors in our skin which sends a signal to our brains to help stimulate more endorphins and pain-relieving substrates.
Detoxing is all the rave nowadays. But what exactly is a detox? Often times detoxes are marketed as diets where you drink some nasty concoction that magically cleans out your system like draino down your sink. Well, I have some bad news for you, our system isn’t like a simple drain that gets clogged with hair and debris. Toxins don't build up in your liver, kidneys, or any other part of your body, and you're not going to get rid of them with the latest detox wonder. The only type of detox diet that is worthwhile is one that limits processed, high-fat, and sugary foods, and replaces them with more whole foods like fruits and vegetables.
One of Acupuncture's greatest theraputic gifts that I tend to overlook is stress relief. I am so focused on treating a long list of my paitents ailments that I have kinda disregarded the one thing that all of us suffer from, stress and anxiety! According to the American Psychological Association, 75% of adults reported moderate to high levels of stress. Approximately 1 out of 75 people experience panic disorder. Stress is a top health concern for U.S. teens between 9th and 12th grade. This is an epidemic that has been normalized by our way of life.
Do you know how an ecosystem operates? Without ALL the working parts NONE of the animals or plants survive. The big predators feed on smaller prey. It's not pretty but if we didn’t have the large predators, there would be an overpopulation of small animals that would obliterate vegetation. If we didn’t have any trees there would be no home for many small insects or oxygen for every living organism to breathe. Without the plants, animals, and insects we would have no food. Without the bees and insects to pollinate the flowers the trees couldn’t exist. On and on the cycle continues!
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Any and all information found on this website DrChristinaFick.com or ChristinaFick.com is for general educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be used as medical advise. Medical advise can only be given to an established patient where a medical examination can be made and a treatment plan is discussed. Dr Christina Fick is not a primary care physician and any and all concerns should be discussed with your primary care physician. We are not liable for any self treatment. © 2012 by Evergreen Medical Acupuncture, LLC. All rights reserved.