Making the Most of Your Acupuncture Treatment

Rivertown Acupuncture | Dobbs Ferry, WestchesterAcupuncture can be a powerful treatment for a wide range of health concerns. Some patients come to me for help with everyday ailments brought on by our stressful modern lifestyle such as fatigue, headaches, and insomnia. Others consult me for expert care with serious issues like gastrointestinal disorders, back pain, and side effects of cancer and its treatment.  Often, people turn to acupuncture after countless visits to other doctors and practitioners. Whatever the reason behind their decision to seek acupuncture treatment, however, patients should understand beforehand how they can get the most out of it.

If you come to acupuncture after trying to address your ailment with medicine and other forms of treatment, it will be unrealistic to expect acupuncture to fix your problem in one visit. Acupuncture, an ancient form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), takes a holistic approach to resolving illnesses in the body. As such, depending on the situation, it may require time in order to fully address the underlying issues that are impacting a patient’s health. Only in that way can acupuncture treatments be optimally effective and restore the patient to a state of balanced wellness.

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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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Acupuncture’s Role in Reducing Stress and Preventing the Spread of Cancer

As we recently discussed here on this blog, stress can have a profound impact on our health in a myriad of ways from minor to serious. Left untreated, chronic stress over a long period of time can affect not just our spiritual and emotional well-being but also our physical health. It’s not often appreciated how much stress can weaken our immune system and prevent our bodies from healing themselves. And when it comes to cancer, stress can be a silent or even unexamined background factor that contributes to the development of the disease.

As cancer patients and their loved ones know all too well, one of cancer’s most dangerous aspects—and the part that doctors rush to try and mitigate or halt as quickly as possible—is metastasis, when cancer cells break away from the area in which they originally formed, use the blood or lymph system as transport to new areas of the body, and form metastatic tumors there as well, sometimes compromising entirely new systems. This is when cancer is at its most threatening, and it’s also known metastatic cancer (sometimes also Stage IV cancer).

The role of stress in facilitating metastasis may not be commonly appreciated or well understood, but it is important to be aware of. Stress promotes the spread of cancer, since it releases the adrenal chemicals that allow cancer to metastasize and travel throughout the body. So, for cancer patients wanting to reduce the likelihood of this occurring, it is wise to pursue stress reduction therapies that can be of value.

Acupuncture reduces stress in a holistic manner, gently guiding the body not only to a balanced state but also to a position of a healthier stress response. It is shown to reduce cortisol levels, improve breathing, lower the heart rate, and relax the patient through the release of endorphins. This is beneficial for cancer patients, as acupuncture can triage the stress of the moment while improving the body’s fundamental capacity to handle stress on an ongoing basis. In this way, it improves the patient’s overall well-being while also serving as a preventative bulwark against potentially worse impacts of the disease.

As more cancer patients and medical professionals begin to understand how acupuncture can help treat cancer, they are beginning to include it in their treatment plan. If you or someone you love is suffering from cancer, it may be worth your while to discover how acupuncture can help prevent cancer from developing further, improve the body’s immune response, and return you to a place of calm and centered well-being.

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