How Do I Choose An Acupuncturist?

You’ve been reading testimonials about acupuncture in the press and online. Your sister in Idaho is raving about her acupuncture treatments and thinks you should try it too.  You have decided to give this different kind of medicine a try. Now, you wonder, how do I find the right person? Are all acupuncturists the same? My physical therapist offers dry needling, is this acupuncture?  You honestly do not know what to expect or where to begin.

One factor to keep in mind is that no two acupuncturists are alike. There are acupuncturists that are generalist and those that specialize. There are also acupuncturists that are warm and interactive and those that are cold and direct.   This is not unlike physicians. Some acupuncturists have a specialty with advanced training and years of experience. When searching for a provider, it is important for you to ask about the level of training and education and if they are trained in Oriental Medicine. Licensed Acupuncturists are required to have a minimum of 1800-2400 hours of education and clinical training. In most states they must be certified by the NCCAOM and state licensed. Online you can search for a trained acupuncturist at the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) at http://www.nccaom.org

Catherine Travis, M.Ac., Dipl.Ac., L.Ac.

Catherine Travis, M.Ac., Dipl.Ac., L.Ac.

When searching for an acupuncturist we also encourage people to ask about the style of needling technique used. Acupuncture can hurt. There are many styles of acupuncture techniques. Often when a new patient  experiences acupuncture here at ilumina, they often assume this is how acupuncture treatments feel in all clinics. Our style is extremely gentle and mindful.  There are actually many different approaches to needling. Traditional Chinese acupuncture believes in needling to get “De Qi” (strong stimulation). The French and Korean styles also have a stronger needling technique. Here in the U.S., there is a needling technique used to release trigger points and is a very strong needling.  We can provide these stronger needling treatment as well. Then there is  Japanese style acupuncture which can be very gentle and almost without any sensation.

Dana Price, DOM, L.Ac., Dipl. OM, FABORM

Dana Price, DOM, L.Ac., Dipl. OM, FABORM

Here at ilumina, we are happy to answer new patient’s questions about who we are and the kinds of treatment we provide. We want to understand your needs and help match you with one of our experienced practitioners. We also offer a free 15 minute consultation. If the idea of needles is stressful, we can provide treatment with gentle needling or without needles. Your comfort is our priority.

Also, when searching for an acupuncturist, keep in mind the atmosphere of the clinic.  It is a medical practice but it doesn’t have to feel cold and sterile.  Our owner, Dana Price, aimed from the beginning to create an atmosphere that is truly healing in itself.  Our mission is for ilumina to be a healing sanctuary.  It is a peaceful space with compassionate staff that sees our vision with every interaction, ensuring that you have a safe, comfortable, and healing experience.

Massage Therapy Can Improve Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia affects millions of Americans, many of whom are women. The main signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia include deep muscle pain, painful tender points, and morning stiffness. Other symptoms may include sleep problems, fatigue, and anxiety. Regular Massage Therapy sessions have been proven to decrease pain levels, muscle stiffness, and improve sleep quality.

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In a study conducted by the Touch Research Institute, 30 adult fibromyalgia subjects were randomly assigned to a massage therapy, a transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TENS), or a transcutaneous electrical stimulation no-current group (Sham TENS) for 30-minute treatment sessions two times per week for five weeks. The results showed the massage therapy subjects reported lower anxiety and depression, and their cortisol levels were lower immediately after the therapy sessions on the first and last days of the study. The TENS group showed similar changes, but only after therapy on the last day of the study. The massage therapy group improved on the dolorimeter measure of pain. They also reported less pain the last week, less stiffness and fatigue, and fewer nights of difficult sleeping. Thus, massage therapy was the most effective therapy with these fibromyalgia patients.

Audrey Blanchard, LMT has successfully treated fibromyalgia pain syndrome with Massage Therapy here at ilumina. A customized massage session is developed specifically for each individual to reduce muscle pain, fatigue, and increase the quality and quantity of nightly rest.

Ten Reasons to Meditate and Practice Mindfulness (and how to do it)

Ten Reasons to Meditate and practice Mindfulness (and how to do it)

1) Increases blood flow, lowers respiration rate, slows heart rate 2) Decreases heart rate 3) Reduces stress, anxiety and aggression 4) Enhances the immune system 5) Harmonizes the endocrine (hormonal) system 6) Relaxes the nervous system 7) Improves brain function and electrical activity 8) Reduces stress and balances hormones to stimulate ovulation 9) Improves learning ability and memory and increases productivity 10) Improves relationships with others

Mindfulness Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh

This exercise is very simple, but the power, the result, can be very great. The exercise is simply to identify the in-breath as in-breath and the out-breath as the out-breath. When you breathe in, you know that this is your in-breath. When you breathe out, you are mindful that this is your out-breath. Just recognize: this is an in-breath, this is an out-breath. Very simple, very easy. In order to recognize your in-breath as in-breath, you have to bring your mind home to yourself. What is recognizing your in-breath is your mind, and the object of your mind—the object of your mindfulness—is the in-breath. Mindfulness is always mindful of something. When you drink your tea mindfully, it’s called mindfulness of drinking. When you walk mindfully, it’s called mindfulness of walking. And when you breathe mindfully, that is mindfulness of breathing. So the object of your mindfulness is your breath, and you just focus your attention on it. Breathing in, this is my in-breath. Breathing out, this is my out-breath. When you do that, the mental discourse will stop. You don’t think anymore. You don’t have to make an effort to stop your thinking; you bring your attention to your in-breath and the mental discourse just stops. That is the miracle of the practice. You don’t think of the past anymore. You don’t think of the future. You don’t think of your projects, because you are focusing your attention, your mindfulness, on your breath. It gets even better. You can enjoy your in-breath. The practice can be pleasant, joyful. Someone who is dead cannot take any more in-breaths. But you are alive. You are breathing in, and while breathing in, you know that you are alive. The in-breath can be a celebration of the fact that you are alive, so it can be very joyful. When you are joyful and happy, you don’t feel that you have to make any effort at all. I am alive; I am breathing in. To be still alive is a miracle. The greatest of all miracles is to be alive, and when you breathe in, you touch that miracle. Therefore, your breathing can be a celebration of life. An in-breath may take three, four, five seconds, it depends. That’s time to be alive, time to enjoy your breath. You don’t have to interfere with your breathing. If your in-breath is short, allow it to be short. If your out-breath is long, let it to be long. Don’t try to force it. The practice is simple recognition of the in-breath and the out-breath. That is good enough. It will have a powerful effect.

This meditation instruction excerpted from the Shambhala Sun website. http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=3490

Breast Cancer and Acupuncture

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are known to improve the quality of life for women with breast cancer. They can aid in the treatment of nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and the flu like symptoms associated with chemotherapy. In addition, they help with the side effects of radiation, including healing burns, and significantly improve pain levels, healing post lumpectomy, mastectomy and reconstruction.A recent study from the UK found that acupuncture performed once a week for 6 weeks is effective at managing cancer-related mental and physical fatigue as well as activity levels, motivation, and quality of life is increased. The authors speculate that the benefits of acupuncture in treating fatigue may be in part mediated by its effect on pro-inflammatory cytokines. (Acupuncture for Cancer-Related Fatigue in Patients With Breast Cancer: A Pragmatic Randomized Controlled Trial. J Clin Oncol. 2012 Oct 29.) This week a pilot study was published online, out of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Center in New York City which showed that acupuncture significantly reduced limb circumference in patients with breast-cancer-related lymphedema. Lymphedema affects 30% of breast cancer survivors and up to this point did not have a safe and inexpensive intervention. Acupuncture was performed twice a week for four weeks and produced up to 30% reduction in arm circumference. Dr. Cassilith, who conducted the study, emphasized the importance of using a trained acupuncturist for lymphedema treatment. We concur not only for lymphedema but also for any type of cancer related acupuncture support. Both Catherine Travis and Dana Price are highly trained and experienced practitioners who use gentle, effective, and safe techniques.

Massage Therapy Can Improve Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia affects millions of Americans, many of whom are women. The main signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia include deep muscle pain, painful tender points, and morning stiffness. Other symptoms may include sleep problems, fatigue, and anxiety. Regular Massage Therapy sessions have been proven to decrease pain levels, muscle stiffness, and improve sleep quality. In a study conducted by the Touch Research Institute, thirty adult fibromyalgia subjects were randomly assigned to a massage therapy, a transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TENS), or a transcutaneous electrical stimulation no-current group (Sham TENS) for 30-minute treatment sessions two times per week for 5 weeks. The results showed the massage therapy subjects reported lower anxiety and depression, and their cortisol levels were lower immediately after the therapy sessions on the first and last days of the study. The TENS group showed similar changes, but only after therapy on the last day of the study. The massage therapy group improved on the dolorimeter measure of pain. They also reported less pain the last week, less stiffness and fatigue, and fewer nights of difficult sleeping. Thus, massage therapy was the most effective therapy with these fibromyalgia patients. Audrey has successfully treated fibromyalgia pain syndrome with Massage Therapy here at ilumina. A customized massage session is developed specifically for each individual to reduce muscle pain, fatigue, and increase the quality and quantity of nightly rest.

Massage Centered Information for Massage Awareness Week

In honor of massage awareness week, our Licensed Massage Therapist Audrey Blanchard will be sharing with us helpful information all week. 10/22

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome in which the person experiences long term, body-wide pain and tenderness in the muscles, joints, and soft tissues of the body. It has also been linked to fatigue, sleep problems, headaches, depression, and anxiety. Fibromyalgia most commonly affects women between the ages of 20 and 50. A new study showed that massage myofascial release techniques improved pain and quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia. Patients in the massage group received a 90 minute massage for 20 weeks. The study found reduction in sensitivity to pain in tender points in patients with fibromyalgia. Immediately after treatment and one month after the massage program, anxiety levels, quality of sleep, pain, and quality of life were still improved.

We have seen similar results with patients that suffer from fibromyalgia here at illumina Healing Sanctuary. Our Massage Therapist has many years of experience treating fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions. She will tailor the massage therapy session to meet the needs of each individual, including myofascial release techniques, trigger point therapy, and gentle stretching to relieve pain and tension in the muscles and joints of the body.

References: Castro-Sánchez, A.M., Matarán-Peñarrocha, G.A., Granero-Molina, J., Aguilera-Manrique, G., Quesada-Rubio, J.M., Moreno-Lorenzo, C. (2011). Benefits of massage-myofascial release therapy on pain, anxiety, quality of sleep, depression, and quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011:561753.

10/24

Mayan Abdominal Massage is beneficial in treating a multitude of menstrual and digestive disorders, can increase blood flow to the uterus and ovaries, and decrease pain in the lower back. Here is a link to a great article in Care Healthy Living magazine about the benefits of Mayan Abdominal Massage. If you haven't tried this type of massage modality yet, you don't know what you're missing.

Practitioner Story

From time to time, the practitioners will share some amazing experiences they have had practicing acupuncture. This one is from Catherine Travis, M.Ac., L.Ac. A Medical Director of a hospital in Seattle called me requesting that I come to the Intensive Care Unit to treat a 34 year old female patient who had been admitted for Gulliaun-Barre syndrome. She had been there for three months and her medical insurance wanted her placed in a nursing home as she was not improving. At my first visit, the patient was connected to many tubes and only able to blink her eyes on her own. She had not been out of bed since being admitted. After three acupuncture treatment visits, the nurses had her sitting in a chair for the first time since she was admitted. I continued to treat her 4 days a week. They were then able to remove the tubes. She then progressed to rehabilitation for standing and walking on her own. The insurance company was pleased with her progress and continued to cover her hospital expenses. She eventually did walk out with the aid of leg braces. She continued with acupuncture home treatments and was then able to return to work in the financial district. The patient reported that as soon as I placed the first few needles she felt like “someone was finally talking to me.”

Acupuncture and Cancer Pain

The recent study, at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, suggests that acupuncture relieves cancer pain due to the side effects of medications. Some cancer treatments cause Peripheral Neuropathy, a condition that is due to damage of the peripheral nerves. This study found that acupuncture can be helpful in treating Peripheral Neuropathy pain.

Our practitioner Catherine Travis, L.Ac. has many years of experience treating cancer patients with peripheral neuropathy, fatigue, and nausea. Her acupuncture treatments are safe, gentle and effective.

Ilumina is a calm, nurturing and uplifting environment for all patients and especially for those experiencing the side effects of cancer treatment.

http://www.healthcmi.com/index.php/acupuncturist-news-online/620-acupunctureceucancerpainbaltimoremaryland

Acupuncture: Another Option When Facing Depression

A recent study in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry suggests that acupuncture, as a stand-alone therapy, may be quite effective for mild to moderate depression. This particular report was a compilation of several different studies looking at the effectiveness of acupuncture at relieving the symptoms of mild to moderate depression. Our practitioner, Catherine Travis, L.Ac. was part of the University of Arizona 's National Institute of Health's funded study "Acupuncture and the Treatment of Depression " and is quite familiar with the research on this subject.

Read the complete article.. http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20120903/entlife/709039967/

Q. I have had recurrent shoulder pain for 2 years. I am a tennis player and at times I am unable to play due to the pain. Can acupuncture help me?

A. Yes. The shoulder’s muscles, tendons and ligaments are prone to a variety of repetitive stress, trauma and degenerative problems. Pain and restricted range of motion are the most common symptoms. There is now evidence that shows acupuncture treats pain. Dr. Bruce Pomerantz, a neurophysicist, holds the theory that acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s own natural painkiller. For treating shoulder pain, we give a series of acupuncture treatments that work together to build the release of these endorphins. Along with the acupuncture, we often include Chinese medical massage for tendinitis; cupping for myofascial release, and needling trigger/motor points.

Our goal is to find the shortest route to your full recovery.

Acupuncture can reduce post surgical pain

The latest powerful addition to ilumina is Catherine Travis, L.Ac.  Catherine brings with her a commitment to helping individuals be the best they can be given their current strengths and challenges.  She listens to the individual’s concerns and history; designs a treatment plan; and teaches and empowers the individual in their own healthcare.  One of the areas she specializes in is pre-surgical preparation and post surgical healing and recovery.  

She recently shared and article by Will Dunham, which validates the fact the acupuncture, can cut post-surgical pain.

“Researchers at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina analyzed the results of 15 clinical trials on the effectiveness of acupuncture—“

“The 15 trials showed that patients getting acupuncture before or during various types of operations had significantly less pain afterword than patients who did not get acupuncture.”

 

They not only reported less pain, but also decreases in nausea, dizziness, and urinary retention.

 

http://www.reuters.com/assets/print?aid=USN1620285920071016

 

Catherine has many years of experience with acupuncture for this purpose and we are so pleased to have her.