Castor Oil: An Ancient and Versatile Wellness Treatment

CastorOilCastor oil is known as an effective hair and skin treatment, but it can also be used for a wide range of medicinal purposes. I first incorporated castor oil into my acupuncture practice when I was confronted with a young adult patient who was writhing in pain from kidney stones. I took a piece of flannel and folded it over several times, and then I saturated its center with enough oil to cover her belly from the diaphragm down to the top of her thighs. Directing the beam of the infrared lamp to her abdomen, I then proceeded with the acupuncture, choosing points to help her with pain while moving Qi and blood.

Determining that the castor oil pack treatment would be most effective in softening the kidney stone if allowed to sit in place for at least an hour, I left my patient to rest and lie there with the heat on her belly. It worked amazingly well. Her doctor surmised that the stone might have moved back up into her kidney, but an ultrasound later revealed that the stone was no longer there. I’ve since used this treatment several times for kidney stone pain, with the same results.

I will sometimes incorporate castor oil packs into treatment if the immune or lymphatic systems are compromised, or if the liver and gallbladder are deficient or distressed. Castor oil was known throughout much of the ancient world, including India, China, Egypt, and Greece, as a therapeutic poultice. Edgar Cayce, who recommended the packs for a number of ailments, popularized the treatment once again in the 20th century.

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Giving Love Through Acupuncture

victorian-valentineValentine’s Day is fast approaching and it’s a perfect occasion to celebrate love in all its forms. If you’re half of a couple, you might decide to give each other flowers and chocolates on this day. You might also join in the time-honored tradition of writing a love letter to your beloved, expressing your deepest passion and admiration for them.

But there are many other ways to honor that special someone in your life—or to show yourself some love!

If you’re looking for a Valentine gift, acupuncture is a perfect choice. A lot of us are battling the February blues, waking up to what seems like endless blustery and dreary days. Some of us might even be struggling with winter colds that make us feel lethargic and unwell. As our immune systems are compromised and we feel under the weather, it may be harder to find the magic or the romance in the season. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can reverse these winter doldrums by applying thoughtful and restorative care to the body and mind.

Acupuncture provides a wonderful immune boost, which is much needed this time of year. Such protection can help remedy ailments from which you or your loved one may be suffering. It also engenders a sense of calm and tranquility that allows people to better notice and appreciate the positive, joyful things in their lives. Acupuncture treatment also creates a deep rest state, promotes circulation, stimulates connective tissue, and is very restorative overall.

Treating yourself (or your loved one) in this way heals both body and spirit, resetting the body’s energy and one’s state of mind. This ancient form of care makes it easier for patients to let go of unnecessary stress and feel contented, opening the door to feelings of happiness and desire. It also loosens muscles, releases endorphins, and places the body in a state of relaxed bliss.

Valentine’s Day is a great reminder that we need to pause the stress of our busy lives to intentionally show our sweethearts and ourselves some love and devotion. It’s even more essential to do so when we are feeling stressed or anxious, which is more likely to happen when the days are short and the weather feels unfriendly. With thoughtful attention to our well being, we can open the door to experience love in all of its beauty and grace.

 

 

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The Journey to Wellness

labyrinth-chartresEvery illness tells a story. Every illness presents a challenge. We desire wellness and when we are afflicted with pain, discomfort and illness we want to change that. In order to affect change, something in us — our lives, our routines, our habits — must change. Dis-ease presents us with a unique opportunity to take a journey on an unknown path toward a desired, but unknown, destination.

When patients come to me seeking treatment for a variety of health concerns (everything from back pain to rotator cuff injuries , chronic conditions or even mystery illnesses) they are embarking on a journey to their very center to find healing before they can return. I chose the labyrinth for Rivertown Acupuncture’s logo because it represents that inner quest by the patient; I am simply the catalyst for healing.

The journey to recovery from an ailment is not a straight line, and a holistic approach is key to lasting success. Whereas medical specialists may sometimes take a compartmentalized approach, sending a patient down one narrow path, acupuncture stimulates our own bodies to move toward their desired destination. For this reason, acupuncture can help point the way toward healing in situations when a patient is feeling unwell but has not been presented with a clear path toward wellness from a medical professional.

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How Acupuncture Can Help Point the Way Toward a Diagnosis

Insomnia and Acupuncture | Rivertown AcupunctureWhen a patient is feeling ill but can’t obtain a clear diagnosis, it can be very challenging to know how to move forward with the proper treatment. At times, seeing so many doctors can cause even more confusion. Specialists typically only look for issues that relate to their specialty, and they may not perceive a broader mandate to treat the patient beyond that specific area. As a result, specialists may not look at other aspects of a patient’s health that could shed some light on the issue.

With this compartmentalized approach to health care it can be difficult to uncover the underlying condition, much less treat and resolve it. This can be very frustrating for the patient, who only wants to solve the problem and get better as soon as possible. Acupuncture takes an entirely different approach when assessing a patient’s condition and identifying the possible cause of any health concerns they may be experiencing. An hour spent with an acupuncturist, who scrutinizes a patient’s body more carefully and holistically, can sometimes help determine what medical problem should be addressed and point the way toward a course of treatment.

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What to Expect at Your First Acupuncture Treatment

Acupuncture relieves stress | Rivertown AcupunctureIf you’ve never received acupuncture treatment before, you may have many questions about what to expect at your first session. Here’s an overview of how the first consultation at Rivertown Acupuncture typically goes, along with a brief explanation about my philosophy regarding holistic acupuncture treatment.

Before coming in for your initial appointment, we’ll ask you to fill out the necessary preliminary forms, such as documents related to HIPAA and your health and medical history, and send them to me. You can find these forms on both the Home Page (following the fourth paragraph) and the Contact/Directions section of our website (on the right hand side of the page). This gives me a chance to review your medical history before you arrive and offers me some insight when we meet to discuss your primary complaint. If you’re experiencing pain and it’s muscular in nature, then our first in-person Q&A is typically very brief.

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Suffering from Back Pain? Acupuncture Can Help.

Acupuncture for Back Pain ReliefIf you’ve ever thrown your back out, you know it’s a pretty frightening and acutely painful experience. It can happen suddenly and without any warning, and when it does you may be unsure of what to do. Sharp, agonizing back pain can show up when you’re engaged in heavy lifting, like carrying boxes from one room to the next, but it can also hit when you’re doing something simple and routine, like bending over to pick up a pen. Not only does back pain hurt, but it can affect your range of motion and quality of life as well.

So what should you do when your back goes out? Get yourself to the acupuncturist. Specifically, get yourself to the acupuncturist who knows trigger point (dry needling) therapy. Nearly 8 out of 10 people will experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. In fact, back pain is one of the top conditions that lead patients to seek medical treatment, which can often offer no more than pain-killers and anti-inflammatory drugs. When it comes to diagnosing back pain, it’s important to note that there are several potential causes with different remedies to match. Back pain could arise from a muscle spasm or a disk injury, for example. Less commonly, an infection or a tumor might be to blame.

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How to Get Relief from Rotator Cuff Injuries

torn-rotator-cuffRotator cuff injuries can result in severe shoulder pain, sending stabbing pangs into your shoulder area every time you raise your arm above or behind your head. Although rotator cuff ailments are most often observed in people over 65 years of age, they can occur in younger people as well. They typically happen in cases where someone overuses their shoulder with overhead motions, like pitching a baseball or lifting heavy equipment. This can result in partial or complete tearing of the muscles or tendons in the shoulder.

Sometimes the pain is so intense that it can wake you from your sleep at night. You may also experience difficulty performing simple tasks like combing your hair or reaching behind your back. Or, you may encounter weakness in your arm or dullness in your shoulder. A rotator cuff injury tends to worsen the longer that it goes untreated, particularly if you repeatedly use or place pressure on the shoulder, which may further agitate and inflame the injury.

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Acupuncture’s Holistic Approach to Wellness

Acupuncture’s Holistic Approach to Wellness | Rivertown AcupunctureMany acupuncture patients initially seek treatment for a serious illness, to remedy acute pain or to help treat a mystery illness. However, acupuncture’s greatest benefits can often be found in its holistic approach to wellness. In the care of an experienced practitioner you can alleviate short-term ailments while also improving the long-term foundation of your overall well-being.

There are myriad ways in which acupuncture can benefit a patient’s overall health. This form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) helps ameliorate allergies (such as the fall allergies from which many people have suffered so acutely this year), improves the body’s native immune response, reduces fatigue, boosts energy levels, and heals the damage caused by stress. Although each of these benefits is valuable when considered individually, when understood as part of a whole they form a more complete picture of wellness that allows people to better enjoy their lives.

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