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

Nightshades; everything you need to know.

Have you heard of Nightshades before? Nope, it actually isn’t a window covering specific to the night – surprising, right…?

Nightshades, also known as Solanaceae, are a family of flowering plants. They include a variety of plants such as; perennials, annuals, lianas, epiphytes, shrubs, trees, weeds, spices, medicinal plants, and ornamentals. Nightshades are unique because of the potent alkaloids they contain, some are so high they are actually toxic. ‘Alkaloids are nitrogenous organic substances produced by plants as a secondary metabolite and which have an intense physiological action on animals even at low doses’.

Some of the common house hold nightshades include but are not limited to;

  • Tomatoes
  • White Potatoes
  • Egg Plant
  • Bell Peppers
  • Chilli Peppers
  • Tobacco
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne Pepper

Note: Neither Sweet Potato nor Black Pepper are Nightshades, even though white potatoes and various peppers are. This is simply because the plant is different.

To humans, alkaloids can be desirable or toxic. A large portion of the population will not have an issue with nightshades, however, nightshades can have a negative impact on people with autoimmune diseases or even people with a sensitive digestive system.

Why?

Evidence has shown that people with Rheumatoid Arthritis have experienced increased joint pain and/or stiffness associated with Nightshades. Although there is not a singular reason as to why nightshades can increase joint pain, there are a few studies that explain it well. A study was done on mice with IBS (Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome), when the mice were fed potato skins the inflammation increase substantially. The higher the alkaloid content in the potato, the worse the inflammation.

This theory suggests that Nightshades were designed specifically to contain alkaloids for the simple reason that it is poisonous. It truly is an ingenious design. Nightshades contain alkaloids at different quantities that act as their very own pesticide. With this ability, they are able to preserve themselves longer and are less likely to be overtaken by mold or insects. The higher quantities tend to be in the leafs and stem; since we don’t eat that part of the plant and we are bigger than insects, the alkaline quantity tends not to bother most people. However, a connection between higher alkaloids in a plant and increased inflammation in autoimmune diseases is quite prevalent.

Another theory suggests it has to do with Vitamin D absorption. Although Vitamin D is a necessity, Nightshades can have a very potent quantity of Vitamin D3. This can actually prevent proper calcium metabolism, therefor causing the body to deposit calcium in the soft tissue.

I can’t stress enough that Nightshades do not have a negative effect on everyone. The people that will notice the negative side of nightshades are mostly either individuals with autoimmune deficient and/or digestive disturbances. Nightshades can be extremely high in nutrients and vitamins, therefor being beneficial to individuals who don’t suffer from an autoimmune disease. So, if you don’t have an autoimmune disease or digestive sensitivities, then just keep on doing what you’re doing with Nightshades. If you do have an autoimmune disease or digestive sensitivities, then I would highly suggest cutting out night shades for about two weeks completely, and then slowly introduce one at a time back into your diet. By doing this you will be able to notice if one particular item increases inflammation/stiffness/pain/digestive issues. Once you have identified the culprit, you can confidentiality have a positive impact on your own health.

My experience with Nightshades:

As you may know, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune immune disease when I was twelve. I learnt about Nightshades about six years ago and it was such a relief to be able to help pin point what caused stiffness and pain in my body. I totally eliminated Nightshades and then introduced them back into my diet one at a time. I have noticed that potatoes and peppers are the main culprits in the Nightshade family – I have an increased discomfort and stiffness within the hour after eating them. Whereas, with tomatoes, I notice no such thing. So feel free to play around and listen to your body, it will tell you which (if any) Nightshades should be eliminated.

References:

Healing with Whole Foods – Paul Pitchford

Plants of Canada

Paleoleap.com

Diagnosis diet.com

My Gratitude Practice

As you may have noticed, over the last month I have been posting my daily gratitude on social media. The definition of gratitude is “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”. I think the main thing to take away from the definition of gratitude is readiness to return kindness. This is such a huge thing, especially in our world right now. I feel like there is so much negativity and anger in our world, it is so easy to get wrapped up in it. I’ve noticed that we (people in general) are so programmed to only talk about the negative, that if we talk about what is going well in our life it is considered ‘bragging’. In my opinion, this needs to change. Celebrate the positive in your life, be conscious of why you love what you love. I promise you, you can find something to be grateful for – everyday.

Ever since I started consciously thinking about what I am grateful for, I have noticed I am much happier over all. You can’t help but be happy when you think about all you have to be grateful for. Daily gratitude can be something as simple as dinner, or going to bed at night. Below, I have listed my daily gratitudes along with any that anyone shared with me over the past month. I hope enjoy and feel the Love!

  • I am grateful for my wonderful friend who happens to be an amazing practitioner.
  • I am so grateful that we have had the opportunity to grow our own heard over the past three years.
  • I am grateful for the signs the Universe sends me daily. Thank you Universe.
  • I am so grateful for our dogs.
  • I am so grateful for my education.
  • I am grateful for nature. 21430096_1468973756517288_1040462895756903189_n
  • I am grateful for my yoga mat and my 6:30am class.
  • I am grateful for all my teachers.
  • I am who I am because of my teachers too numerous to mention.
  • I am grateful for my four fantastic daughters that are there through good and bad.
  • I am grateful for my clinic space.
  • I am grateful for the rain.
  • I am grateful for good health.
  • I am grateful that I have been able to take Sundays off over the last few months.
  • I am grateful for a professional community that not only works to make lives stronger, happier, better, but that in doing so affects me and my life the same way.
  • I am grateful for sunshine and warm temperatures.
  • I am grateful for family dinners and laughter with kids, big and little.
  • I am grateful for my ginger tea.
  • I am grateful for friends and family.
  • I am grateful for getting back into routine.
  • I am grateful for everyone who has participated with me so far in this gratitude practice. 21729030_1472062226208441_7422045076642503509_o
  • I am grateful for the rain.
  • I am grateful for the beautiful rain.
  • I am grateful for my patients.
  • I am grateful for you.
  • I am grateful to see posts about gratitude.
  • I am grateful for your talent and knowledge.
  • I am grateful that I have you in my life.
  • I am grateful for the ability to disconnect from technology.
  • I am grateful for my sisters and mom.
  • I am grateful for my head hitting my pillow.
  • I am grateful for my body.
  • I am grateful for this 16 minute video.
  • I am grateful for Garret.
  • I am grateful for self care.
  • I am grateful for the smile on my face and that I get to share that smile with others who may not be able to smile.
  • I am grateful for experts who share their understanding and change lives with intelligent, meaningful, powerful work.
  • I am grateful for your inspiring gratitude posts inspiring all of us to take a small moment out of each day to be mindful and present.
  • I am grateful for my three children.
  • I am grateful for this beautiful day.
  • I am grateful for these nourishing, organic, garden veggies.
  • I am grateful for setting goals and hitting them.
  • I am grateful for my Ninjia.
  • I am grateful for garden grown vegetables.
  • I am grateful for this community.
  • I am grateful that on days I work late, I come home to dinner ready and waiting.
  • I am grateful for my Wednesdays.
  • I am grateful to have you and garret as such awesome friends.
  • I am grateful for my friends and family.
  • I am grateful for my vehicle.
  • I am grateful for my meditation process.
  • I am grateful for having so many things to be grateful for.

Thank you to everyone who contributed. To anyone having a hard time finding something to be grateful for – I hope this helps.  Love and gratitude to you all. Let’s share the love and positivity. 

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P.S. I shortened my posts, for the long version of my gratitude posts visit my Facebook page at TS Acupuncture.

Why I’m in love with Ginger.

gingerFresh Ginger Root (Sheng Jiang) is a commonly used herb in Chinese Medicine. The reason I am so in love with ginger root is not only because of its many health benefits, but also because of the accessibility of it. Unlike multiple other TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) herbs, ginger root can be found at pretty much any and every grocery store. It is also wonderfully easy to cook with, juice and/or apply topically. Ginger’s properties in TCM include; pungent, warm, effects the Lung, Spleen and Stomach meridians. It warms the Lung to stop coughing, warms the middle to stop vomiting and energizes the middle. And lastly, it disperses wind-cold (common cold).

Stimulates Digestion

Ginger helps to stimulate digestion, therefor helps ease digestive discomforts. It is not just that ginger stimulates digestion, but that it aids in assimilation of nutrients making them more “bioavailable” in the blood stream. Also, with it being warm and pungent in nature, it helps to unclog the channels.

“Fresh ginger is used to break down high-protein foods… and lessen the effect of uric acids in the body from eating these foods.” (Healing with Whole Foods). Adding ginger, cumin, and coriander with bean dishes diminishes problems with flatulence. You can also add ginger to mucus-forming foods, such as milk, yogurt, sour cream, kefir, etc. to help with digestion.

IMG_0687Nausea

Ginger also has the ability to combat nausea, which can range from morning sickness to the flu, and even chemotherapy. Fresh ginger is so effective at decreasing nausea because it helps regulate the direction of Stomach Qi. The stomachs natural direction of Qi is downward, so when vomiting begins that can mean Rebellious Stomach Qi, by introducing ginger into you tea or diet during that time it will significantly help decrease vomiting and nausea. Because fresh ginger root is pungent and warming, which is downward, it is a popular kitchen medicine in the east for nausea and vomiting.

Disperse Wind-Cold Invasion

A wind cold invasion, also known as the common cold, is almost defenseless against ginger. As stated above, ginger helps to warm the lungs and disperse phlegm. I don’t know about you, but I love anything that helps me get over a cold in a natural way and quickly!

Anti Inflammatory

As you may know, from discussion or previous posts, I have had a bit of experience personally with inflammation in the past. Reason #174 why I love Ginger – drum roll please…. Ginger has anti-inflammatory agents. It also has been known to treat hypertension, although must be avoided if there are heat signs.

Reduce Toxicity

In Chinese medicine fresh ginger root is used to reduce toxicity, both medical and seafood. That is why it is common in Chinese culture to steam fish with ginger root and green onion, because ginger is an antidote to fish poisoning. It is also why Japanese eat pickled ginger and horseradish/wasabi with sushi, also because raw fish has such cold energy, it needs balance by warming.

Cold Signs

 

IMG_8871If you are similar to me and you love anything warm and tend to shy away from cold ginger root is for you. I for one, use ginger to help with PMS symptoms including muscle aches and nausea. I also use ginger in my komutcha to help warm my body. I am chronically yang deficient, as I learnt more about ginger; it quickly became my best friend.

 

Cautions

Ginger should not be used in excess if you experience a lot of heat signs.

Fresh Ginger Root Tea

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Place a few fresh ginger slices or diced fresh ginger into 12 oz of water.

Bring to a boil.

Steep till cool enough to drink.

Sweeten with honey.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

References:
Healing with Whole Foods – Paul Pitchford
Acupuncture Desk Reference – David J Kuoch
The Foundations of Chinese Medicine – Maciocia

Spring is a Time for Change

In Chinese Medicine, Spring is connected with the Liver. It is a time of waxing and waining. Regrowth comes to almost everyones mind when you hear Spring. That is why it is extremely fitting for all of this to be happening when it is.

This spring is also a time for TS Acupuncture to continue to grow. Drum roll please…..

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Micheal Scott Drum Roll. The Office.

TS Acupuncture is moving!

This is a very calculated and exciting step that I can’t wait to share with all of you! *The address, online scheduling system, and opening date are posted at the end*

Now that this move is out there, let me tell you a little of my vision and how I came to decide to pursue my own space.

I have always wanted to have my own clinic, even before I had graduated from the Acupuncture program. Granted, at that time I thought my clinic would be a hut on a beach somewhere – but unfortunately, thats not a very clean clinic space and sunburns17757608_1322817867799545_6933591682794457368_n don’t tend to make treatments more comfortable. Anyways, getting back to my point, I feel so fortunate to be able to educate people in this area about Traditional Chinese Medicine. I have been thinking about this opportunity long and hard, I had found a space and was contemplating the pros and cons of a move. That is until I was making myself some tea one day and got this sign from the universe – “Do what you Love” and “There is pleasure in the pathless woods”. From that point on everything has been moving wonderfully smooth and the new clinic will be open Monday, May 29th, 2017!

It has truly been an honour treating in Stettler, acupuncture has been so well received that I would love to make it so more people are able to experience its benefits. In my new clinic I will have my regular 60 minute acupuncture treatments but will now also be offering a 90 minute acupuncture treatment for more musclo-skeletal issues where we need a bit more time to do a front and back treatment. Along with that I will be extending my cupping therapy to 45 minutes instead of 30 minutes.

One more thing that I will eventually be adding, is Community Acupuncture. This is an awesome opportunity for people to still get acupuncture but at a lower price. Let me explain Community Acupuncture a bit here. So there will be about 4-5 comfortable chairs in a room, people will come in and relax for 30-40 minutes. I will do needling predominately in the feet, hands, and ear. This is an awesome alternative to a traditional 60 minute 1 on 1 treatment for people who;

  • Don’t have the time or funds
  • Came in for treatments for stress and just need a tune up
  • Are feeling stressed and need to disconnect for a few minutes

Once I get this part of the clinic rolling I will have a post explaining Community Acupuncture more in depth, so stay tuned!

The-Big-Organic-BoxAnd lastly, the new TS Acupuncture clinic will be the pick up spot for Organic Box – on Thursday evenings. Organic Box is a wonderful organization that offers fresh, local, organic produce. If you’d like to learn more you can visit www.theorganicbox.ca. *If you are interested in Organic Box prior to the opening of the new clinic, that is awesome! The pick up location is currently at my house – contact me for more details*

What’s New?

What’s the Same?

  • Phone: Call/Text 403-741-8898
  • Website: http://www.tsacupuncture.ca
  • Hours:
    • Sunday 11am – 6pm
    • Monday 1pm-9pm
    • Tuesday 11am – 5pm
    • Wednesday 7am – 10:45am
    • Thursday 11am – 8pm

And like always, if there are any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me. Thanks for being a part of this journey!

My Meditation Process

I have been having quite a few patients ask about my meditation routine lately. So I thought I would write a bit of a break down of my process. Remember, this is what works for me, it might not work for you and that’s okay.

So, I have meditated off and on for years, mostly in yoga, and then here or there for five(ish) minutes. It wasn’t until probably about a year ago that I started to honestly have meditation as a regular practice in my life. It takes a while, or at least for me it did, to actually get to the point of seeing how beneficial meditation can be. I knew the benefits for a long time, but it wasn’t until I really started craving meditating that I started to feel and experience the benefits.

I learned to meditating in silence, and that is what I always go to. I am fortunate because I am a very visual person and can see my breath traveling though my body. From my head to my feet, down into the roots that are grounding me to the earth. It wasn’t until I was in Victoria in September, that I did a guided meditation. It was wonderful! I can see how it is a really nice way to start meditating. But for me, silence is still my favourite.

So, to start, I sit on my meditation mat and burn some sage and then ring my singing bowl. These two rituals have just started up since I moved into our new home and I have a specific meditation space. I find this to be a nice way to start the meditation process, both sage and the singing bowl help to clear any negative energy.

Now, I sit cross legged with my spine straight/core activated/shoulders down and take about 5 nice deep breaths. As I take these 17777014_10212524140999130_529392115_obreaths, I invite only the highest and brightest to guide me. This helps to get me centred and release any stress/worries/pain, etc. From this point I begin to watch my breath travel up and down my body. As I exhale, I watch the air and negative energy travel down my body into the ground. When I inhale, I watch the clean, bright, positive energy travel from the ground up through my body to my head.

I do a combination of diaphragm and thoracic breathing.

  • Diaphragm breathing is when your belly pushes out with the inhale and in with the exhale. Usually we only use Thoracic breathing in our every day lives so its nice to take time to focus on diaphragmatic breathing.
  • Thoracic breathing is when the diaphragm doesn’t descend when we inhale, therefor the chest must expand to accommodate.

I have found a huge part of of my meditation practice is gratitude. If I feel a pain in my shoulder while I am meditating (and actually in my everyday life now) I thank it and give it permission to leave. If my mind wanders off to a thought or task that needs to be accomplished, I give it gratitude and release it. I then bring myself back to my breath, back to centre. As I’m writing this I know it can sound kind of “hokey”, but I tell you it works really well for me. Everything we experience is for a reason, so I have come to appreciate the fact that giving it gratitude is extremely important – in my opinion.

In a world where we are always connected, I strongly suggest everyone take up a meditation practice. We all have that ability to connect to our higher self, we just need to take advantage of it. If a silent meditation isn’t for you, there are other types of meditation such as walking meditation or guided meditation. Find whats best for you. If you are looking for a guided meditation, there are lots of podcasts or on iTunes that you can test and see what works.

Good luck and don’t be upset if you aren’t really focused when you start meditating. Spoiler–you likely won’t be. But, just let your ego go. You know the one telling you you’re doing it wrong or not “good enough”. Put your thoughts, ego, and phone on the shelf for ten minutes and enjoy the process!

Peace and love,

Taylore

nelson

-Herniated Disc-

I’m sure we all know someone who has a herniated disc or perhaps you have herniated a disc yourself. Unfortunately, in our society with the lifestyle we lead, disc issues are far too common.  I will focus primarily on herniated disc syndrome in the low back.

What is a Herniated Disc?

A herniated disc can sometimes be referred to as a slipped disc or a ruptured disc. But really they all mean the same thing. A disc is the rubbery cushion between the vertebrae, it’s there to help with impact from our day-to-day lives as well as make it so we can easily move without having our vertebra grinding on each other as we move. If you imagine the disc as a jelly donut, the outside (annulus) is harder than the inside (nucleus). With repetitive strain and impact the jelly from the donut will eventually protrude out one side of the donut. This is the same for a disc. There is not one specific direction in which a disc jajawill herniate.

Once the disc has herniated, it can irritate near by nerves, and that is when you will have numbness or tingling sensations. Fortunately, not all people who have a herniated disc will experience numbness and tingling. “A study showed that as many as 1/3 to 1/2 of healthy asymptomatic young men consisted of having a disc bulge or herniation”.

Where does it happen? 

You can herniate a disc anywhere along the spine. There are 23 discs in the human spine: 6dddd in the neck (cervical region), 12 in the middle back (thoracic region), and 5 in the lower back (lumbar region). Although neither the Sacrum nor the connection between the skull-C1 and C1-C2 have discs.

Are you at a higher risk?

  • People who spend a lot of time sitting and leaning forward. Studies show, the highest amount of pressure measured within the intervertebral disc occurs while sitting.
  • Years of repetitive motion can gradually break down the annulus fibrosis, which will make it more vulnerable. Unfortunately, at that point any minor stress can induce a disc herniation or bulge.
  • If you are over weight your chances of a herniated disc can increase. In the body, the discs are partially supported by the pressure created by the abdominal muscles and organs; this pressure helps to keep the discs in place. Carrying around extra weight constantly strains your back— you’re practically doing heavy lifting all the time!

Can Acupuncture Help?

Acupuncture has been known to help alleviate pain, numbness, or tingling associated with herniated discs. The beauty of acupuncture is that the way the meridians flow, there are points that can actually help with back pain on your feet and hands. So for a severely acute case, the distal (hand and feet) points would be predominantly used to help alleviate pain.

In order for a disc to become herniated, there tend to be an imbalance between specific muscles. By addressing the motor points of the anterior and posterior muscles, it will help realign the spine. By properly realigning the spine, it will take any unnecessary pressure of your disc. Also, when you do come in for acupuncture, it is extremely important to let me know if you have a herniated and if you know which way it has herniated. This lets me know if I am able to needle along the spine as well.

 

Seeing your doctor, diligent acupuncture treatments and specific exercises can help you recover much quicker than if you were to just lie around. So, I have put together a little video of exercises to help with a herniated disc. Enjoy!

 

Resources:
Sports Medicine Acupuncture Manual
SpineUniverse.com
The Acupuncture Handbook of Sports Injuries and Pain
Yoga Body

 

What is the Meridian System?

If you have been in my treatment room, you have seen my model on the counter with the meridians all over it. A lot of the time people will think that the meridians are actually the

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Nervous System

nervous system, and thats why I get the common question ‘so you are hitting the nerve, right?’. Actually no, not at all. If I hit the nerve with an acupuncture needle it would be quite uncomfortable. I needle along the meridian system.

But what exactly are meridians?

The word ‘meridian’, as used in Chinese Medicine, is roughly translated to “to go through”, “a net”, or “something that connects or attaches”. Meridians are channels or pathways that carry Qi (Energy) and Blood through the body. It is important to keep in mind that even though meridians carry Blood, they are not vessels. They are an invisible system that links the body together. The simplest way to visualize the meridian system in the body is like a highway,

meridian-system

Meridian System

and the cars are Qi. So now that you see a highway on your body, we can move a little bit deeper.

“The Meridians move the Qi and Blood, regulate Yin and Yang, moisten the tendons and bones, benefit joints” Nei Jing.

Meridians connect the exterior of the body to the interior, this is the basis of acupuncture theory.

There are twelve regular meridians in the body. Six of them travel up and down from your toes to your head. Then the other six travel between your fingers and torso/head. The meridians are located all over the body – anterior, posterior, medial and lateral. Meridians flow deep within the body, not just superficially on your skin.

From the twelve regular meridians, there are six yin and six yang meridians. They are divided even further by three of each on each arm or leg. From those six, they are paired with each other. I know this might seem a little tricky so here is an example.

The Large Intestine meridian  is yang in nature,  it runs from the pointer finger up the arm and neck and ends at the nose. Its paired meridian, the Lung meridian, is yin in nature and runs from the chest to the thumb. So you can see that they travel similar pathways but begin and terminate at opposite sides.

So this is why if someone has back pain, there will likely be needles in your hands and feet along with your back. The points along specific meridians are indicated to help with back pain.

Unfortunately the understanding of the interconnections between fundamental connections, organs and meridians is a couple text books longer than this blog. But hopefully now you have a little bit of insight into what exactly meridians are. Feel free to ask me further questions.

Each meridian is a certain element, but we will dive into elements in the next blog. So stay tuned!

 

Resources: The Web That Has No Weaver, The Foundations of Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture, it is part of me.

I recently had a patient who has decided to enroll in the Acupuncture Diploma program- at Grant MacEwan – after experiencing the effects of acupuncture herself. This mIMG_7363.PNGade me so excited! I am in love with acupuncture and the theories behind Chinese Medicine, and that another person is going to experience that makes me so pumped! But it also brings me back to how much I appreciate my education, acupuncture and all my patients.

Don’t get me wrong, not every day is rainbows and butterflies, but I can’t imagine doing something everyday that I did not love. And the acupuncture experiences shared by my patients brings me back to that place of pure appreciation that I was able to come into a career I feel so passionately about.

As some of you may know, I thought it all started when I was twelve. I was initially introduced to acupuncture in the treatment of  Ankylosing Spondylitis. Regular treatments, exercise and a regimented diet brought me to where I am today – according to blood work and MRI results I no longer have Ankylosing Spondylitis! So that is where my intrigue towards holistic medicine and energy began.

However,  when I look back on my life as a young child, I already was aware of energy and the healing powers from the earth and my body/mind. I just didn’t know how to interpret it yet. I remember sitting outside at the farm I grew up at, just sitting in silence focusing on my breath – little did I know I was meditating. Its simple memories like this that confirms that I am doing exactly what I need and want to be doing in life.

Every day I walk into the clinic is a new day of problem solving and getting to spend time and help so many wonderful people. I love that I am able to facilitate in someone’s health, whether it is physical, emotional or psychological.

I feel so fortunate to be on the life path that I am, and I urge you to find something you love. Something that makes you excited to get out of bed in the morning. Something where you don’t feel drained when you get home at night. Something that you want to do in your spare time.

I had a patient come in Sunday for a treatment and she proceeded to tell me that she was having a conversation with her sister prior to coming in. She had to hang up because it was fe52f6b863988de3c1853ca26b2fbb91time for her to leave for her acupuncture appointment and her sister said “Really? On a Sunday?”, my patient replied, “She is accommodating”. My patient wasn’t telling me this for any reason other than making conversation, however, its words like those that make me feel excited that I am able to provide for my patients. Because, you see, I don’t mind working Sundays or late on Mondays and Tuesdays because most the time it just doesn’t feel like work. I love it so I don’t mind coming in on a day off to treat someone if their schedule doesn’t fit my schedule and they are leaving on a trip soon.

I love what I do and it just so happens I get to help people while I am at it. So I guess what I am trying to say is I felt I needed to express to all my patients and anyone reading this how grateful I am towards them. If it weren’t for all of you there is no way5d82718862128153420ecdaeb146f9c0 I would be able to have a career I am so very passionate about.

If you would like to share your acupuncture experience please feel free via Facebook (Taylore Stuckey, Registered Acupuncturist), Instagram (@TSAcupuncture), or Website (https://tsacupuncture.ca/testimonials/).

Peace and love to you all.