TS Acupuncture is Moving!

After two awesome years at the clinic, I have decided to move my practice to my home.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to work from home when the clinic sprung a leak; I LOVED IT! So, I have decided to listen to that wonderfully yummy feeling and start treating out of my house.

Things to Note:

    I have decided to only have one treatment room at my house. This may take some planning ahead on your part to book appointments in the desirable hours (evenings/weekends).
    I will no longer have drop in availablity.
    Please feel free to park in the drive way. In fact, I encourage it! As long as you aren’t parking behind a different vehicle in the drive way, you are good to go!
    All treatment costs and methods of payment will stay the same.
    I will not be accepting new patients for the months of April or May. I will be accepting two new patients per month from June-August.

Address: 4709-61A st, Stettler, AB

Directions: South of the GMC/Chevy dealership. If you are driving south on 61A street past GMC, the house will be on the left hand side.

Note: Sometimes google maps will take you to a Cul-De-Sac across from the house. That is why I have attached a picture of our house (and Jaxen, our hound, just so happens to make the picture that much better!)

Effective: April 28th, 2019

TS Acupuncture Hours (May-Sept)

Monday: 12:15pm -6:30pm

Tuesday: 1:30pm-9:00pm

Wednesday: 8am-12pm

Thursday: 9:30am-5:00pm

As per usual, please contact me if you have any questions.

Text: 403-741-8898

Email: info.tsacupuncture@gmail.com

Community Acupuncture – Coming Soon!

I am so excited for this! As of September 27th I will also be offering Community Acupuncture.

What is Community Acupuncture?

Community Acupuncture makes acupuncture much more accessible to everyone.

This treatment takes place in a reclined chair in a room with a five other patients. The patients will all receive treatment at the same time. The treatment consists of feet/hand/head/ear points which means you don’t have to undress for the treatment. The treatment is 30 minutes, where you get to enjoy the relaxing sensations of acupuncture. These acupuncture treatments do not include a full one on one health history intake and I would highly suggest a 90 minute Initial Acupuncture Treatment prior to you taking part in the Community Acupuncture sessions, however, it is not necessary. If you choose not to do the full initial treatment, there will be a short form for you to fill out upon your first Community Acupuncture treatment – so please show up about 5 minutes early.

Who will benefit from Community Acupuncture?

Anyone and everyone! That’s the beauty of it. However, it is important to keep in mind that this is a basic treatment. It is not intended to replace an in-depth one on one acupuncture treatment. Listed below are the people/conditions that would benefit most from a community acupuncture treatment.

  • Stress
  • Anxiety (suggested as a maintenance treatment, not a replacement for a full treatment)
  • Addiction
  • PTSD
  • Irritable
  • Overall wellness
  • People who have lower income – making it financially difficult to have regular full length acupuncture treatments
  • People who have less free time – making it difficult to schedule regular full length acupuncture treatments
  • Want to try out acupuncture but not quite ready for a full treatment – there are six chairs so you and some friends can come!

How much does it cost?

  • $20 per session
  • $30 for the initial if you have not been in for a 90 minute Initial Acupuncture Treatment

When is it?

As of right now, starting off, I will be offering Community Acupuncture once a week. Thursdays at 5:30pm at Roots Yoga.

So, if you’re feeling; tired, stressed, irritable, or are just craving your acupuncture fix – come in on your lunch break to feel recharged. Self care is important in every and any form! And just like all my other services, you can book online to reserve your spot in the comfort of your own home.

I look forward to bringing a more accessible acupuncture option to Stettler!

As always, if you have any questions feel free to text/call/email/Facebook at any time.

Phone: 403-741-8898

Email: info.tsacupuncture@gmail.com

Facebook: TS Acupuncture

Instagram: @tsacupuncture

To book online visit http://www.tsacupuncture.ca

Is a fear of needles stopping you from getting Acupuncture?

I hear ALL the time “I want to try acupuncture, but I don’t like needles.”.

When most people thing of a needles they think of being in a hospital lab, getting blood drawn. Well, good news for you, the only similarity between acupuncture needles and hypodermic needles are that they both puncture the dermis (skin). Other than that there aren’t really many similarities between acupuncture needles and the needles you dread.

1. They are not the needles you imagine

Something as simple as substituting the word ‘needle’ for ‘pin’ or ‘puncture’ for ‘place’ might help you adjust to the idea of acupuncture a bit easier. Usually, when people imagine a needle we thing of getting our blood drawn in the hospital. That memory can be accompanied by remembering the smell of the hospital, the pain you experienced, the reason you were even there. So by simply changing how you view the acupuncture instrument might help you feel more comfortable with an actual treatment.

“Needle apprehension is very common and natural, considering that we have been conditioned to associate needles with pain—think dentists, blood draws, and IVs,” says acupuncturist Kathryn Peak. “But acupuncture needles are hair-thin and nothing like the needles we are accustomed to in a medical setting.

2. No, it is nothing like the Final Destination acupuncture scene. Literally nothing like it at all.

3. You’re always in control

If at any point in time during your treatment you feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable with the needles, that is totally fine. It is your treatment and the best thing you can do is let me know! Usually, if I know a patient is uncomfortable with the idea of needles, I will start with only a few and check in and see how you are doing. If you are okay, I may put a few more in. There is no rush to the treatment and your comfort is my first priority.

4. Kids do it

I had been getting acupuncture weekly since I was 12, so I actually didn’t even realize that people didn’t like needles until I started treating people – kind of ridiculous right? But anyway, kids get acupuncture all the time! I regularly treat kids from ages 10-17 and all of them handle the needles extremely well. Kids don’t pretend to like something, if a they don’t like a needle they will say or flinch. I had a patient tell me that her daughter (who is about 12) was upset that she was going for a treatment instead of her!

5. It doesn’t hurt.

I get asked all the time “..but doesn’t it hurt…?”. No, in general acupuncture should not be painful. If it was, I would be out of business! You can feel some sensations with acupuncture, and that is awesome. But it should never be painful.

6. It’s not all about the needles.

Yes, I am a Registered Acupuncturist so my main focus is acupuncture. But that doesn’t mean that that is the only modality available to you. Part of my training includes other Traditional Chinese Medicine modalities such as cupping, moxibustion, and guasha. I also focus on lifestyle balance and proper diet as well as Running Bars for energy work. So if you have been intrigued by acupuncture but not quite ready to commit to it, you can come in for a cupping session to get used to the treatments and then we can add in acupuncture once you are ready.

“I was an acupuncture skeptic with a significant fear of needles prior to starting with Taylore. I have had problems with my calves for about 14 years. I also tore my ACL and had it replaced around that time. At this point, any sort of exercise, even just a walk, led to my calves being hard as rock. I have also had plantar fasciitis twice, the most recent being this summer and I couldn’t resolve it. Over the years I have sought help from physicians, physiotherapists, massage and physical trainers. Ultimately none made a difference with my calves or my foot. After constant pain in my foot for 4 months I decided to try acupuncture – big step for me.

Taylore was and is fantastic. She was very understanding and willing to respect my trepidation and move at my pace. We have made lots of progress, both with my comfort level – which I attribute entirely to Taylore’s ability to identify people’s needs and her calm and comforting nature, and with my pain. Since my first treatment I haven’t had a single bout of plantar fasciitis and I’m learning what regular muscles look like- they’re actually soft and malleable when at rest!! I definitelyrecommend a consultation with Taylore for any number of reasons or issues!!” -Kathryn

Why we all should eliminate refined sugar from our diets

Sugar comes in all forms, the most beneficial are those from whole foods. These are the good sugars that are beneficial and necessary to our body – in moderation. It is the refined sugars that, frankly, have no place in our diet.

Refined sugar in your body

1. Increases inflammation in the body. Ingesting refined sugar triggers the release of inflammatory messengers called cytokines.

2. Mineral imbalance. “Refined sugar passes quickly into the bloodstream in large amounts, giving the stomach and pancreas shock. An acid condition forms which consumes the body’s minerals quickly” – Healing with whole foods. An example is a loss of calcium from the system resulting in bone problems.

3. Sugar has been known to compromise the immune system. It lowers the efficiency of white blood cells.

4. Excess sweet foods (or poor quality sweets) promote unhealthy mucus conditions in the body which makes a wonderful living situation for yeast and fungi.

5. Addictive. Dopamine is released in the reward centre of the brain when sugar is consumed. “Consuming sugar produces effects similar to that of cocaine, altering mood, possibly through its ability to induce reward and pleasure, leading to the seeking out of sugar”.

Health issues related to the intake of large amounts of refined sugar include but are not limited to: obesity, hypoglycaemia, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, tooth decay, bone loss, immune deficiency, anemia, male impotence, cancer, PMS, menstrual problems, yeast infections, herpes outbreaks, negative thoughts, loss of memory and concentration, fatty liver disease… to name a few.

Other words for sugar

Anhydrous dextrose, brown sugar, cane crystals, cane sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, crystal dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose sweetener, fruit juice concentrates, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, liquid fructose, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, raw sugar, syrup, white sugar, fructose, lactose, maltose, carbitol, diglycerides, disaccharides, erythritol, fructooligosaccharides, galactose, glucitol, glucoamine, hexitol, inversol, isomalt, maltodextrin, malted barley, malts, mannitol, nectars, pentose, raisin syrup, ribose rice syrup, rice malt, rice syrup solids, sorbitol, sorghum, sucanat, sucanet, xylitol and zylose.

References:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/25/is-sugar-really-as-addictive-as-cocaine-scientists-row-over-effect-on-body-and-brain

Healing with Whole Foods-Paul Pitchford

Endometriosis and Adenomyosis

‘Endometriosis affects an estimated 176 million women worldwide regardless of their ethnic and social background. Many remain undiagnosed and are therefore not treated.’

There is no exact known cause for endometriosis, the best way it is treated in Western Medicine is with hormone therapy, pain killers, or sometimes even surgery. The general consensus is that endometriosis is worsened by estrogen, so getting estrogen levels under control will help alleviate the symptoms – this is why hormone therapy is so commonly suggested.

Endometriosis is when the endometrial tissue (lining in the uterus) which should only be found in the uterus is found in other parts of the body. It can be found anywhere in the pelvic cavity including but not limited to; the ovaries, fallopian tubes, on the pelvic side-wall (peritoneum), uterosacral ligaments, and the rectal-vaginal septum. Not only can it be found in various places in the pelvic cavity, but also in the bowels, bladder, intestines, rectum, and scar tissue (such as laparoscopy of Caesarian-Section scars). Interestingly enough, there have actually been some rare cases where endometrial tissue is found on the lungs.

When your hormones stimulate ovulation, it causes the walls of the uterus to thicken. Any endometrial tissue will be affected by this hormone signal, even when they are outside of the uterus. As the tissues grows, it can cause pressure on nearby organs or nerves. As the tissue grows/thickens, it also releases blood during menstruation which can trigger the typical pain symptoms and form scar tissue.

Adenomyosis is not as well known as endometriosis. It is the benign invasion of the endometrium into the myometrium. The myometrium is the middle layer of the uterine wall – it consists mainly of uterine smooth muscle cells. Adenomyosis occurs in 15% of endometriosis patients, and the symptoms are quite similar.

Symptoms

  • Pain: before/during/after menstruation, during ovulation,  in the bowel during menstruation, when passing urine, during or after sexual intercourse, in the lower back region
  • Diarrhoea or constipation (in particular in connection with menstruation)
  • Abdominal bloating (in particular in connection with menstruation)
  • Heavy or irregular bleeding
  • Fatigue

Lifestyle changes:

  • Exercise
  • Diet – decrease/eliminate refined sugar, decrease/eliminate alcohol, quit smoking.
  • Relaxation routine
  • Emotion management

I personally have suffered from endometriosis and not wanting/being able to have synthetic hormones in my body or to be dependant on NSAIDS, I chose acupuncture to help with the pain and nausea. I have experienced the following symptoms on a regular basis during menstruation; debilitating pain, severe vomiting, whole body muscle contractions/body shakes, blurred vision, body tingling, fatigue. I have had to cancel my day short notice because of the pain and vomiting that can seem to hit so quickly some days. So, I know how bad it can get. Regular acupuncture treatments and working on regulating hormones in a natural way works for me!

How does acupuncture help?

“Researchers find acupuncture more effective than hormone drug therapy for the treatment of endometriosis.”. At a women’s optimal health, menstruation should be a painless experience. In Chinese Medicine, the Liver and menstruation are closely connected. The Liver, Spleen and Kidney channels all flow through the pelvis and can all have an effect on menstruation. If there is a blockage or stagnation in any of these channels, a patient will likely experience menstrual abnormalities. There are a few different pathologies that can result in menstrual pain in TCM such as; Liver Qi stagnation, Blood Deficiency, Cold Invasion, etc. No matter the pathology, Acupuncture can help. By having regular treatments acupuncture will help decrease inflammation, release endorphins, and bring the body back to homeostasis – whether by promoting proper Blood and/or Qi flow, or warming the lower Jiao.

References:
http://endometriosis.org/endometriosis/
http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1770-acupuncture-beats-drug-for-endometriosis-relief
https://www.pacificcollege.edu/news/blog/2015/02/26/tcm-treat-endometriosis-symptoms
Handbook of Obstetrics & Gynecology in Chinese Medicine, An Integrated Approach – Yu Jin, M.D.

Trauma – Part 4: Therapies other than Acupuncture

I have compiled a list of some other therapies that can help someone heal from a traumatic event in their life. At the bottom of the page, there is a list of practitioners in Stettler.

  • Talk Therapy
    • “Talk therapy may be somewhat underrated as other forms of therapy, such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) most often take the forefront. Still, the benefits from talk therapy are vast and said to last even after therapy has ended. This type of therapy allows us to process events and/or situations while also learning more about ourselves. Gaining an understanding of ourselves as well as being able to work through difficult experiences or situations allows us to take what we have learnt into the future where we feel more equipped to deal and cope with difficult issues.” – Cally Strandquist, Student of Psychology.
  • Reiki/Energetic Healing
    • Reiki works quite similar to Acupuncture in healing trauma because they are both energy based. Reiki can sometimes be a nice alternative because it has a tendency to be a hands off therapy.
    • “Reiki, very simply stated, calms and stills the spirit of the person. It promotes relaxation from the outside in and reminds the body how it feels to be calm again. Reiki promotes inner peace and quiets the mind, only when that happens can the body begin its healing process. The physical/emotional/spiritual body can not heal while adrenalin is actively and consistently moving through the body. When we keep the energetic pathways open, the energy that no longer serves us has an avenue for release. When energetic pathways are closed or slow moving, the frenetic energy created by the Adrenalin is trapped within.” Antoinette Laughlin – Reiki Master
  • Chiropractic
    • “Misalignment of the vertebrae don’t only happen from physical trauma, but also chemical exposure and emotional stresses. The nervous system perceives these non-physical stresses as threat, and this causes muscle guarding- often presenting in muscle tension- in an act to protect the body. This normally does not happen symmetrically, and leads to imbalances in the spine. These imbalances can be corrected with a specific adjustment to the dysfunction spinal unit.” – Dr. Rae Roberts. DC
    • “Because of the anatomy within our spinal cord, chiropractic can help balance the nervous system within our spinal cord, chiropractic can help balance the autonomic nervous system.” – Dr. Rae Roberts. DC
  • Essential Oils
    • Bergamot
    • Juniper
    • Rose
    • Frankincense
    • Hops
    • Peace and Calming
    • Lavender
    • Helichrysum
  • Flower Essence
    • Rock Rose
    • Cherry Plum
    • Cerato
    • Trumpet Vine
    • Self-Heal
    • Star of Bethlehem
    • Bach Rescue Remedy
  • Meditation/Yoga
    • Meditation and yoga can help someone who has been through a trauma by calming the mind. Yoga can be a gentle activity to help with any physical pain you may be experiencing.
    • “In fact, brain scans confirm that mindfulness meditation is correlated with an increase in gray matter in the hippocampus, a decrease of gray matter in the amygdala, and neuroimaging studies have found that mindfulness meditation also helps to activate the PFC.” – https://www.mindful.org/the-science-of-trauma-mindfulness-ptsd/
  • Exercise
    • When a person exercises, the body releases endorphins. Exercise will not only help you feel in control of your body; it will also leave you in a better mood and able to sleep better.
  • Having a Strong Support System
    • Studies have shown that people who have experienced a trauma have a healthier/ full recovery with a strong support system .This system should include people who love you for who you are. It needs to be a safe space without abuse, being used, or boundaries being crossed.

Some Resources in Stettler:

Talk Therapy: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/findhealth/results.aspx?type=service&id=25&locationCity=Stettler&radius=50#contentStart

Reiki/Energetic Healing: Goodsense Health and Happiness

Chiropractic: Country Chiropractic (Dr. Zondag), Family Chiropractic (Dr.Smith), Lynes Chiropractic (Dr. Lynes)

Yoga: Roots Yoga, Yoga with Andrea

Exercise: Thirve 360, CrossFit Stettler

Essential Oils: Nadine Primrose (Young Living), Elm Tree

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Additional Blog posts in Trauma Series

Trauma – Part 1: What is Trauma?

  • Online February 1, 2018

Trauma – Part 2: Physical Symptoms of Trauma.

  • Online February 8, 2018

Trauma – Part 3: Trauma in Chinese Medicine.

  • Online February 15, 2018

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https://suicideprevention.ca/need-help/

https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/findhealth/results.aspx?type=service&id=25&locationCity=Stettler&radius=50#contentStart

Trauma – Part 3: Trauma in Chinese Medicine

Now that we have learnt about trauma in the last two posts. I am going to dive in a bit deeper to the Traditional Chinese Medicine side of things and explain how acupuncture can help someone who has been through a traumatic event.

There is actually a very significant overlap between Western and Eastern Medicine. Western psychologists call it ‘PTSD’ or ‘dissociative states’. Eastern practitioners call it ‘Shen disturbance’. But it doesn’t matter whether its diagnosed in Western Medicine or Eastern Medicine, the symptoms are the same.

  • Disconnected from Here and Now
  • Spacing out
  • Lack of connection to ones self
  • Memory distortions
  • Unclear mind
  • Dream disturbed sleep/ nightmares
  • Insomnia
  • Over/under reactions

In Chinese Medicine, trauma is stored in the ‘Lower Spirits’ this is the body and emotions as well as our instincts and autonomic nervous system (ANS). Many people don’t even remember a trauma, but acupuncture can help bring those memories up in a safe and healthy way. Emotions are not a bad thing, in moderation they are great – but it becomes a trauma when your body can no longer return to center by itself.

There are five spirits, each is connected to one Yin organ. They include the Heart(Shen), Spleen(Yi), Liver(Hun), Kidney(Zhi), and Lung(Po). You can think of the spirits as people; if the spirits experience fright/fear, they will scatter. And that is when a stressful event becomes a traumatic event in Chinese Medicine. Shen is the monarch of the spirits – I imagine it like a person strutting around, making sure everything is in place. When you experience a trauma, Shen leaves the Heart and then pretty much all chaos ensues. The other Spirits no longer have a guide so they don’t know what to do. They are kind of like sheep in that sense – they are comfortable following their leader, once their leader is gone no one knows what’s going on or what to do, so they go in all different directions. Once the Monarch (Shen) has left and the other four spirits have scattered, we have no sense of self and can not return to equilibrium – this is trauma in Chinese Medicine. Simply said, Shock scatters the Qi. The goal is the bring Shen back to the Heart and to return the body to equilibrium.

Acupuncture treatments can help someone work through a traumatic event in a variety of ways.

  • It “Bypasses the frontal lobes to open a direct link to cellular memory…”.
  • Balances the Autonomic Nervous System (for patients in hyperarousal).
  • Supports Adrenals.
  • Calms the Amygdalae.
  • Releases endorphins.
  • Allows energetic communication with the body through needles, sometimes talk therapy doesn’t help because the patient can’t/doesn’t’ want to recall the traumatic event. The needles can help a patient remember the event.
  • Helps patients become more aware of self care and mindful self awareness.
  • Helps patients develop positive relationship to body and touch.
  • Helps with physical symptoms resulting in trauma such as; digestive disorders, anxiety, depression, muscle tension, insomnia, etc.

I am not going to go into the different possible treatments, because it is different for each patient. But if you have more questions about what a treatment would look like for you; please call or text me at 403-741-8898 or book a complimentary 15 minute consultation to find out more information.

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Additional Blog posts in Trauma Series

Trauma – Part 1: What is Trauma?

  • Online February 1, 2018

Trauma – Part 2: Physical Symptoms of Trauma.

  • Online February 8, 2018

Trauma – Part 4: Therapies other than Acupuncture.

  • Online February 22, 2018

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Resources:

Trauma and Recovery in The Context of Chinese Medicine – Darren Tellier

Healing Trauma: A Five Spirit Approach – Lorie Eve Dechar

The Psyche in Chinese Medicine – Maciocia

When the Body Says No – Gabor Mate

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https://suicideprevention.ca/need-help/

https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/findhealth/results.aspx?type=service&id=25&locationCity=Stettler&radius=50#contentStart

Trauma – Part 2: Physical Symptoms of Trauma

Let’s talk a little about the connection between our physical bodies and trauma.

It took me a long time to make the connection between my low back pain and trauma that I experienced as a child. I was never physically harmed to cause back pain. But a series of events – mostly emotional – that made me feel unsafe are what triggered my low back pain. It wasn’t until just a few years ago that I really started to dive into the emotional healing aspect of my physical body. I had been feeling like I wasn’t able to reach the underlying issue of my back, the best way I can describe it is a glass barrier between me and the emotional trauma – I just couldn’t reach it to work through it on my own. So then, I started doing more acupuncture and energy work to help.

Too often it is thought that our mind and body are separate entities. Sometimes in the Western Medical world, if a patient has pain but there is no known pathology it can be suggested that they are ‘making up’ the pain or that ‘its all in your head’. Fortunately, this in not the case in Chinese Medicine. The mind, body, and spirit are interconnected; in order to heal one you need to be aware of all three.

Some common physical manifestations of latent trauma include:

  • Digestive Disturbances
  • IBS
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Chronic Pain
  • Muscle Tension
  • Emotional Stress
  • Hyper-vigilance

Example: I have a patient who came in for acupuncture because she was experiencing severe muscle tension. As we went through her health history I discovered that she experiences anxiety as well. So I started to dig a bit deeper about when the anxiety started, it started at a very specific time in her life. I asked if she could remember any traumatic events that happened around her teen years. And not surprisingly, she did. She was assaulted by a man when she was in her teens. So even though muscle tension was her chief complaint, it and the anxiety were merely a manifestation of a significant trauma in her life. She had suffered from anxiety for years and was only prescribed medication – it was masking the real issue. Latent Trauma.

This example is unfortunately so common in patients that come in. Now, not all physical pain is trauma related. But for that stubborn pathology that you are experiencing and having no luck healing, it might be beneficial to look back over your past and figure out when it might have started and why. Sometimes it takes a trained professional or another set of eyes to make that connection.

It is also important to make sure you remember that if you do think your physical pain is trauma related, it isn’t your fault. You didn’t create this pain. It is simply your body’s way of coping. It is common for some people to not even know/remember they experienced a traumatic event because our brain blocks it out in order to survive. So please know that you did not do this to yourself.

Acupuncture can help decrease physical symptoms related to trauma in a few ways. It depends on the pathology – chronic pain and digestive issues are treated differently – but all the treatments will include some acupuncture points to help release the trauma and calm the mind, as well as the physical issue you are experiencing. When you come in for a treatment, I will discuss with you further what the treatment plan will look like specific to you. I will dive into it a bit more next week.

Additional Blog posts in Trauma Series

Trauma – Part 1: What is Trauma?

  • Online February 1, 2018

Trauma – Part 3: Trauma in Chinese Medicine.

  • Online February 15, 2018

Trauma – Part 4: Therapies other than Acupuncture.

  • Online February 22, 2018

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Resources:

Healing Trauma: A Five Spirit Approach – Lorie Eve Dechar

Trauma and Recovery in the Context of Chinese Medicine; Interpretations of current Neuro-biological and Psychotherapy Models of the Traumatized Mind – Darren Tellier

The Psyche in Chinese Medicine – Maciocia

Broken Brain – Mark Hyman

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https://suicideprevention.ca/need-help/

https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/findhealth/results.aspx?type=service&id=25&locationCity=Stettler&radius=50#contentStart

Trauma – Part 1: What is Trauma?

Trauma.

What an intense word.

I have always been drawn to the psycho emotional aspect of people. I tend to find myself constantly asking “What situation from their past triggered this..?” I started really thinking about trauma a few years ago, and then took a couple courses related to TCM and trauma this past year. This, and the next three blogs, will be solely dedicated to trauma and everything triggered by/related to it (physical pain, PTSD, etc).

So many people experience a trauma in their life, some of which we can’t even remember. There are a variety of reasons why we might experience a trauma in our life. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t traumatic to the person next to you, if it is traumatic to you then it is a trauma. “Trauma is one of the most ignored and denied cases of human suffering, it can be masked by many things”. But let’s start with the absolute basics of trauma.

What is Trauma?

We have all heard of the fight or flight response our body automatically goes into during a stressful situation. But there is actually another response called the ‘Freeze Response’. The Freeze response is a response to a traumatic stress opposed to everyday stress which triggers the Fight or Flight Response. “When the fight or flight systems cannot be activated, escape is physically or relationally impossible, fight is not an option, or traumatic threat is prolonged…” this is when the Freeze Response comes into play. One thing I find quite interesting, is that during the Freeze Response, the victim can have a decreased sensation of fear or pain – it is almost as if our mind leaves our body at this traumatic time in ones life. Once the traumatic event is over, there may be some imprints left on the brain related to the trauma.

Essentially, the nervous system is unable to return to equilibrium after a threat. Interestingly enough, brain imaging has shown that changes have occurred in the amygdala along with other parts of the brain, body and nervous system after a traumatic event. The amygdala will actually grow new neurons, this will result in it becoming more sensitive to subtle cues that remind the person of the traumatic event they have experienced. From this, the person can experience an inability to decide on safe or unsafe situations, and even everyday decisions can become challenging. Once this change has occurred in someone’s brain, it can be difficult for them to distinguish between the event that happened in the past and an event that is separate but might trigger the past event. Simply, they are always living in a state of trauma because, to their brain, there is no differentiation in time between the traumatic event and present time. Have you ever noticed someone (or yourself) seemingly ‘overreact’ to an otherwise stress less situation – this could be a trigger for them/you and they/you are instantly back in the traumatic event.

A stressful event is most likely to be traumatic if:

  1. It happened unexpectedly
  2. You were unprepared
  3. You felt powerless to prevent it
  4. You were unable to move or do something to protect yourself
  5. It happened repeatedly
  6. Someone was intentionally cruel
  7. It happened in childhood

Some common sources of trauma are the following:

  • Physical Assault
  • Rape
  • Combat
  • Sudden, unexpected death of loved one
  • Domestic Abuse (physical/emotional/financial/psychological)
  • Childhood Abuse (physical/emotional/financial/psychological)
  • Motor Vehicle Accident

When it comes to trauma, it is important to keep in mind that the event does not have to happen to you directly in order for it to be traumatic. It can still be traumatic if you witnessed it or even learned about a traumatic event that happened to a loved one.

This is a heavy post, I know. It is a heavy subject. But the important thing to remember is that there are things you can do to help in your recovery.

Can Acupuncture help?

Yes. Very simply, Acupuncture can help. Not only can acupuncture help with the many physical symptoms of trauma but also with the actual trauma. Sometimes people experience a trauma that they don’t or can’t remember, acupuncture can help bring that trauma forward in order to work through it in a healthy way. Acupuncture can help by “bypassing the frontal lobes to open direct link to cellular memory – the wisdom and knowing of the body”.

If you have been through a traumatic event, or are recently dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic event – help is available.

Red Flags – Seek help from a mental health professional if you experience the following.

  • Serious addiction (sex/drugs/shopping, etc)
  • Eating disorders
  • Persistent severe marital and/or sexual problems (more than 5 months)
  • Severe/Chronic depression (more than 5 months)
  • Grief of loosing a loved one that affects persons capacity to function (more than 1 year)
  • Severe Insomnia/nightmares (more than 3 months)
  • Flooding of traumatic memories
  • Any Suicidal thoughts/impulses or other self destructive wishes/behaviour.

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.Additional Blog posts in Trauma Series

Trauma – Part 2: Physical Symptoms of Trauma?

  • Online February 8, 2018

Trauma – Part 3: Trauma in Chinese Medicine.

  • Online February 15, 2018

Trauma – Part 4: Therapies other than Acupuncture.

  • Online February 22, 2018

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References:

Healing Trauma: A Five Spirit Approach – Lorie Eve Dechar

Trauma and Recovery in the Context of Chinese Medicine; Interpretations of current Neuro-biological and Psychotherapy Models of the Traumatized Mind – Darren Tellier

The Psyche in Chinese Medicine – Maciocia

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https://suicideprevention.ca/need-help/

https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/findhealth/results.aspx?type=service&id=25&locationCity=Stettler&radius=50#contentStart

Frozen Shoulder

Chances are you know someone who has frozen shoulder symptoms. Frozen Shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, “… is a condition characterized as stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint. This term tends to be used when the cause of the pain and decreased range of motion is unknown. Signs and symptoms typically start gradually and worsen over time…”. Frozen Shoulder is a disorder of the connective tissue in the rotator cuff region where there is motor impairment, pain, and inflammation.

There are typically three stages in which Frozen Shoulder develops;

1. Increased pain with movement and limited range of motion.

2. Decreased range of motion to the point where it might be difficult to do daily tasks. Sometimes there can be a decrease of pain during this stage as well.

3. Increased range of motion.

Although Doctors aren’t totally sure what causes Frozen Shoulder, there are a few reasons that can increase someones chance at experience Frozen Shoulder symptoms.

  • Most commonly, it can be from simply not using it. An example of this would be after having a medical procedure and being instructed to decrease use of a specific arm.
  • It can gradually develop from over use or a series of small injuries not properly cared for over time.
  • They have also discovered that people with systemic diseases – such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hyper/hypothyroidism – have a higher chance of developing Frozen Shoulder.
  • People over the age of 40.

“The researchers concluded that acupuncture relieves Frozen Shoulder pain and improves shoulder functional ability.” Acupuncture can help with a large number of shoulder issues, including Frozen Shoulder. Acupuncture works well for Frozen Shoulder by needling a combination of motor points to help release the tight muscles, as well as specific acupuncture points that increase the flow of Qi in the affected area. You may notice that your acupuncturist is needling various spots other than your affected shoulder. Your Acupuncturist will do this because of the flow of the meridians, there are a few meridians that intersect with the shoulder. They include; Large Intestine, Small Intestine, and San Jiao. So depending on your other symptoms (if any) and the location of the pain, your Acupuncturist will make an educated decision to needle associated meridians. There is actually a point on your leg that helps with shoulder pain, so don’t be too surprised if you get a few needles placed in the lower half of your body when you come in for shoulder pain! Stretching will also be a very important key in your recovery. Similar to the motor point portion of your acupuncture treatment, the goal of stretching is to help lengthen the muscle and bring it back to its natural state.

So if you have been- or know someone who has been – experiencing shoulder issues, acupuncture might be the next step you need in your healing process.

For more information on how acupuncture can help your shoulder pain, you can email me at info.tsacupuncture@gmail.com.

References:

Acu Sport Shoulder – Matt Callison

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/sara-calabro/frozen-shoulder_b_1733786.html

http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1214-acupuncture-unlocks-frozen-shoulder-pain-new-research