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Differentiating Acupuncturists and Chiropractors

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Multiracial Hands Making a CircleIn Texas, and the U.S.A. in general, there are more chiropractors than acupuncturists. Oftentimes, chiropractors practice acupuncture—or what they call dry needling—to supplement their chiropractic practice. Insurance companies, in some states, are even more accepting of acupuncture from a chiropractor than an acupuncturist.

But is acupuncture administered by a chiropractor the same as if it were administered by an acupuncturist? When is it appropriate to seek out an acupuncturist instead of a chiropractor? What is the difference in training between the two professions? In effect, what sets these two professions apart?

Education and Training

The education requirements for acupuncturists and chiropractors are similar. Each must engage in a graduate level degree program. Chiropractic students at the Texas Chiropractic College must complete 1115 clinic hours; future acupuncturists at the Texas Health and Science University must complete 900 clinic hours. Chiropractors often have an undergraduate background in biology, chemistry, or a similar degree. Currently, acupuncturists do not have such a requirement, but they do receive 420 hours of biomedical training over the course of their Masters of Science program. The total hours for a Doctor of Chiropractic degree is 3360; while a Masters of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine is 3045. In raw hours, a chiropractor has about one trimester more coursework than an acupuncturist. Chiropractors can use the title of Doctor, but acupuncturists cannot even though the degree levels are nigh equivalent.

The focus of these training programs is where they differ the most. Chiropractors are much more versed in biomedical procedures and use adjustments, primarily on the spine, to correct dysfunction in the body. Chiropractors are provided significant exposure and training with medical laboratory tests and procedures, particularly X-rays. Acupuncturists are given training on how to interpret laboratory results, but they are not allowed to administer or request such tests in most states. Acupuncturists and chiropractors speak very different jargons when it comes to diagnosis. Chiropractors, using more of a Western biomedical jargon model, can better communicate with other biomedical health professionals without translating the jargon.

It sounds like chiropractors are the better choice. Not necessarily. Chiropractors do have more Western biomedical training, and their focus is on the musculoskeletal system. This means they are quite versed at managing pain in various forms, but are lacking in other areas.  If confronted with a case that requires supplementation, a recently graduated chiropractic student has 90 hours of nutritional training.  An acupuncture graduate has 660 hours of herbal training, including nutrition, diet, and vitamins and minerals. As neither is allowed to prescribe pharmaceutical compounds as part of their scope of practice, both will make use of appropriate nutritional supplements and dietary suggestions to achieve treatment goals.

Both chiropractors and acupuncturists see the clients that have come into their office for assistance, but chiropractors do not have diagnostic tools to predict the course of a disease without sending off for lab work. An Acupuncturist can, by pulse and tongue diagnosis, determine the likely course and prognosis of a condition without sending their client out for further tests. This comparison of training can go on, even though each profession works with a considerable overlap with the other; however, they do have differences that can help an individual to choose one over the other.

How is one to choose between an acupuncturist and a chiropractor? As stated before, chiropractors are trained to assess and treat the body via the musculoskeletal system. They have knowledge and training of other areas of the body, but their primary focus is the alignment of the various bones in the body, particularly the spine. If you have back pain that is clearly the result of a vertebra out of alignment, then a Chiropractor is a good referral. Acupuncturists, through their holistic diagnostic approach, have a variety of methods at their disposal, beyond simply needling the body, to treat many conditions beyond pain management. Acupuncturists can treat for insomnia, hypertension, infertility, and several other conditions that have little to no correlation with pain. Thus, if you are in pain from a sore, tight, or pulled muscle; or it is a condition where a nerve is causing pain, an acupuncturist is a great referral.  The most common referral I have had by chiropractors is sciatica, which is a painful condition resulting from dysfunction of the sciatic nerve in the lower back and down the leg. The most common referrals I have given to chiropractors are clients who have misaligned vertebrae.

But what about all the chiropractors who claim to use acupuncture? Why not just go and see one of them if I have sciatica or some other condition? The trouble is, while chiropractors can get training in acupuncture, this by no means makes them acupuncturists. The diagnostic language and methodology for treating a client in the way an acupuncturist vastly differs from what a chiropractor is used to. This would be similar to a native English speaker claiming to know Swahili after having a four-month study course. Unless they received a Masters of Acupuncture degree, or something similar, a chiropractor claiming to do acupuncture received their acupuncture training via an elective course, or weekend seminars. This is quite different from the 645 hours of graduate level training, not including the clinic hours, which an acupuncturist receives. Likewise, acupuncturists who claim that the 30 hours of training they have in tuina makes them competent enough to perform chiropractic adjustments are treading on thin ice. That stated, there are exceptions: some chiropractors take extensive continual education in acupuncture techniques before offering it in their services; many acupuncturists, while not qualified to do adjustments, have a massage therapy license; some acupuncturists may have trained in various Oriental bodywork techniques, especially if they were trained in Japanese style acupuncture.

Politics

Like many rivalries, the issue comes down to politics. While I have had the great pleasure and privilege of working with some talented chiropractors who appreciate what an acupuncturist can do, there are several who believe they are just as good as an acupuncturist, even with minimal training in the discipline. Just as the care needed to not damage the body when one manipulates the bones of the spine is nothing to scoff at, so too is the care needed for placing sharp, although thin, needles near nerves, blood vessels, and organs. Chiropractors have a much stronger lobby than acupuncturists, and in general are more organized individuals; plus, they are more accepted by the public and medical community. This makes it more difficult to promote acupuncture as its own profession. The lack of understanding of the quality of training that acupuncturists go through, and acupuncturists’ own lack of initiative in educating the public about the nuances of their profession, means that decisions often get made for acupuncturists without the acupuncturists having an adequate voice. Insurance companies are run by administrators, not healthcare workers. As a result, without appropriate information about acupuncture, they make decisions such as to cover acupuncture treatments only if they are administered by an MD, DO, or Chiropractor (DC).  Such companies are might be unaware of the level of training that an acupuncturist (L.Ac.) goes through, and, as such, the decisions made come across narrow-minded or foolish. Many acupuncturists find the prospect of dealing with the bureaucratic minutia of insurance companies to be more costly in time and payment than it is worth; as such, they decide not to accept insurance or not process the claims and provide superbills so patients can file reimbursement claims. This could lead to further complications as universal coverage becomes more of a factor. Insurance plans vary by state and, so does the insurance parity. As of January 1, 2014, Colorado legislation went into effect to provide insurance parity for licensed acupuncturists.

Say you still want to get acupuncture from a chiropractor because you found it was cheaper and you believe they received sufficient training. Why wouldn’t you go to them?

More About Insurance

Have you met your deductible? What is the copay? How many sessions are covered by your insurance plan? While you may pay a $15-$30 copays to the chiropractor, or M.D./D.O., how much are billed later by your insurance company as a result of your deductible? $40? $60? While a visit to a standard acupuncturist costs about $60-$80, it’s all upfront. Once you pay, you’re done. Beyond that, you also get more time for your acupuncturist to review your case and give suggestions. You can pay the same amount for a chiropractic adjustment that lasts half an hour as you would for an hour-long session with an acupuncturist, and have less time with the chiropractor to review your case. There is also the treatment focus. Chiropractors are familiar with treating pain and muscles, but if you develop other symptoms, such as insomnia, the acupuncturist can immediately shift the treatment focus, if necessary, to incorporate this addition.

Wrapping It Up

In summary, every health professional has their niche. There are reasons to see one over another. You might see a chiropractor for back pain after an accident. You would see a medical doctor for a broken leg. An acupuncturist does well for preventative and maintenance, but they are also good as a combination treatment for any reason you would see a medical doctor or chiropractor. Anyone wanting the services of a healthcare worker would do well to consider what they are seeking help for, and which profession will help them best. Your options are out there, so investigate and get the best available to you.

4 Points of Chinese Medicine for July 4th

Erik Jackson, Lic. Ac. No Comments

Some may consider it bad taste to give health advice for a holiday that typically involves barbecue, beer, and fireworks. However, we at Changing Elements wish to provide some additions to your festivities that may make your holiday more enjoyable.

a.baa-Child-eating-watermelon1. Eat Watermelon

The watermelon, in Chinese medicinal herbology, is used to promote the circulation of fluids in the body. BBQ and beer can impair the flow of these fluids, so having watermelon on hand allows one to counter this impairment.

2. Drink some alcohol.

Yes, you did just read that correctly. While I certainly recommend that you have various fluids to prevent dehydration, alcohol, in moderate amounts, is good for your circulation. If you balance out your consumption of alcohol with water and watermelon, you can avoid a hangover or other damage to your body. Again, keep up with the fluids as alcohol also dehydrates the body.

3. Never say, “Hey ya’ll watch this!”

This is Texas, and July 4th is known for large gatherings, alcohol, and fireworks. The phrase mentioned, or variants of it, tempts fate. One can see the common outcomes of this on sites such as the Darwin Awards.

4. Enjoy your liSAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAfe.

We are here because of the sacrifices of others. While this means we all share a responsibility to their memory and to our society, it also means that we should celebrate the this gift of life we are given. Staying healthy better assists you to fulfill your obligations and enjoy what you have.

Enjoy your long weekend, and, if you can, enjoy it with a friend.

Pleasant Dreams

Erik Jackson, Lic. Ac. 2 comments

Many people suffer from insomnia. The mind won’t slow down. Nagging doubts and worries come to whisper in your ear. Your subconscious plays all sorts of images and you think that taco you had at dinner was a poor decision.

Fortunately, this is one of the conditions that acupuncture treats very well.

Types:
Insomnia has two primary types, difficulty in getting to sleep, and difficulty staying asleep. Each of these has different causes

Causes:
Trouble getting to sleep can be caused by:
– Anxiety, tension, or emotional arousal of any variety
– Environmental change
– Disruptions
– Pain
– Caffeine or alcohol use

Trouble staying asleep can be caused by:
– Depression
– Environmental change
– Hypoglycemia
– Sleep apnea
– Restless legs
– Pain
– Drug use (prescription or otherwise)
– Alcohol

How can acupuncture treat this?
Acupuncture addresses both types of insomnia by manipulating the body to quite the mind and body so that you can rest peacefully. It does this by regulating the nervous system and organ function. A study published in November 2009 by the Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine illustrates the effectiveness of acupuncture, and demonstrates that acupuncture is a viable treatment on its own or pharmaceutical or herbal therapy.
A study published by Neuroscience Letters in 2004 demonstrated a correlation between the types of neurotransmitters released in the body and acupuncture with electrical stimulation. This treatment was able to show that acupuncture treatments, with electrical stimulation, can release endorphins which are useful in stress management and as such would be useful in helping one to combat insomnia as well as a few of the causes of insomnia.

What you can do:
To help with your treatment of insomnia you may consider:

Sleeping in total darkness or with eye covers
Using amber glasses to start the melatonin production
Turn of electronic devices off about an hour before you go to bed.
Stop eating at least an hour before you go to bed so your body isn’t using energy to metabolize food while you are trying to sleep.
Deep breathing and conscious relaxation before you go to sleep.

Some Notes:
Insomnia is usually seen as a symptom of a larger pattern and can be related to many things. If you are suffering from insomnia there is a chance that more is going on which needs to be addressed.

Also, it is important to realize that I have as of yet to find a way to trick a person’s physiology into believing that 4 hours of sleep are just as good as 8, especially for extended periods of time, so we just need to budget our time wisely and remember that our energy stores need daily replenishment if we are to continue functioning. Getting proper sleep in alignment of your circadian rhythms is vitally important for optimum health and will allow you to have greater resistance to diseases, clearer thinking, and greater emotional stability.

Avoiding the Flames of Anger

Erik Jackson, Lic. Ac. No Comments

Somebody cut you off on your drive to work. Somebody just wasted an hour of your time on a presentation that told you nothing new. No one returns your calls or e-mails. Every time you turn around someone is wanting another piece of your time or money and giving you nothing in return. The talking heads on the TV won’t shut up and think straight. When you finally call someone out on their bullshit they label you a complainer.

Welcome to modern life.

There is a lot to be angry about. People are irresponsible, irrational, and many of them want to take more from you than they give. We are a stressed out, pissed off culture that has lost sight of how to deal with our emotions, especially the ones that we don’t like. Instead of working through problems, we run from them and this is particularly true with people who get angry.

Anger has a lot of forms from mild irritation, to apocalyptic rage, to a lingering resentment. It is a very powerful emotion that often gives one a bit of a high and it usually produces results, though not always the ones that you may wish. It is highly contagious.

And it isn’t evil.

In recent years, people have been trying more and more to remove anger from our society. We are expected to always behave rationally and politely, no matter how outrageous the behavior of the other party. We have tried to take the fangs out anger by giving it less threatening names, and by blaming the angry party for their actions.

This has not worked.

What most people do not understand about emotions is that, while they can be regulated, they cannot be controlled. Emotions are an instinctual reflex. Much like how you will jerk your hand away from a fire, unless you are expecting something to anger you, you cannot stop anger. You can, however, regulate how intense it becomes, and how you react. You can develop a swift emotional recovery mechanism that allows you to process the anger in a more productive manner.

There are a number of time management, dietary, supplemental, behavioral, and breathing exercises that I could recommend, but it is likely that if you are reading this you have heard all of that before. These will give you greater resistance to becoming angry, and will help to lower the intensity, but it is nothing new. But I do have a gem that you haven’t heard of.

Disassociate your mind from your body.

This only works before you go in to a situation that is likely to upset you. The nice thing is that this mental state can be maintained for a prolonged time. It is sort of like a walking meditation or a conscious trance if you will. Your breathing slows, tension you didn’t even know was there will relax, you think more clearly, and it is harder for you to get upset by things. If you ever watch martial arts flicks and you see the old master moving without a lot of speed but still trouncing everyone, that is what this state is on an emotional level. It requires a gentleness and conscious maintenance, but these things can both be accomplished relatively easily. It is not daydreaming or being unfocused, it just doesn’t have excess force. You can still have things that upset you in this state, but you will be able to work with them with greater clarity.

Another thought is this:

I believe that a lot of anger comes from people being overly nice to each other. This is not to say that you should be a jerk or always let people know that you are angry, especially if they are not at fault, but you don’t have to let people get away with treating you poorly just for the sake of being polite. There are times when it is appropriate to call someone out on their behavior. They have just as much responsibility for their actions as you do, whether they realize it or not. You do not have to run them over the coals, but don’t let someone who has upset you think that they can get away with poor behavior. You devalue yourself if you do, and you allow them to think they can get away with it with someone else.

Anger is a call to action. It is a way of your emotions letting you know that something is wrong. If you ignore it then you loose the lesson. If you let it control you then it is undirected power that will burn you out. If you use it intelligently, you will move mountains.

Reaching your full potential

Erik Jackson, Lic. Ac. No Comments

As some of you may have noticed, a lot of the snippets I post on my Facebook page are aimed at inspiring people to strive for their full potential. This term has been thrown around a lot in the holistic community and, to some, may not have the impact that the person giving the message would like.
So what do I mean by ‘full potential’?
Most people have an ideal self image, this usually comes in the form of a healthier, happier, individual with access to more social and financial resources. My job as an Oriental Medicine practitioner is to help people achieve these goals.
At this point you may be a bit confused. How does this guy sticking needles in me do anything other than address my physical complaints? That is what you are wondering.
Your body is basically a whiteboard with all the messages of your life being written on it. Lower back pain from sitting at a desk all day, high blood pressure, stomach troubles, and insomnia with low energy from a stressful job and not having time to make good food, all of these things are visible to a trained healthcare worker. When you carry all of this around with you, your message is one of pain, anger, and frustration, which then gets written onto everyone elses’ whiteboard.
This isn’t helpful. It is not becoming of us as human beings to throw our problems onto someone else, especially if they are not the cause of them.
It is our duty, and right, to change the message.
Striving towards your full potential is taking responsibility for your actions and living up to this duty. Failure to express your ideal self, or to not even strive for it, deprives your family, community, and the world of a shining example of the best of humanity, and that is unacceptable.
You may be thinking that this sounds more like a behavior modification article than something about acupuncture, and to some extent you would be correct, however, Chinese medicine does have a part to play in this.
The first step in fulfilling your full potential, is taking charge of your message, seeing the areas for change and improvement, and then stating ‘I will change this’.  The next step is actually changing it.
I like to know what is going well with my patient’s life and what their goals are. Not just goals like ‘getting rid of knee pain’ but where do they want to go in life. If you have a goal, then you have a target to aim at or a light house to guide you to shore, without goals, you are blind and have no direction. Once I know your goals, I can work with you towards that.
How?
I cannot give you career advice better than anyone else. I’m not going to change your marriage, or help you find a spouse. But I can help you achieve a healthy body and life. If you have a healthy body then you have more energy and confidence. More energy and confidence is more emotional resources to meet people and accomplish projects, which leads to more recognition and possibly more financial and social stability, which feeds back to a brighter message on your whiteboard. Eating better means having a clearer mind, and not having to pay as much for medical bills, which means more and better times with your friends, children, grandchildren, and community.
What value do you place on a healthy body? Would a healthy body let you feel better about yourself? Does it mean better sleep? More energy? More positive relationships?
Your health is the foundation for your life. If your foundation needs work, chances are that the life you have built on it can use some help too.
Why should should you accept what I am saying? People are going to be stupid, selfish, obnoxious, jackasses anyway and they deserve what is coming to them. Simple words are not going to change the world, nor my life.
This resistance is correct and well founded. Drive in rush hour in any city and you will see plenty of examples of the more distasteful aspects of humanity. There are many people who will not follow guidance like that laid out in this article, and it will be quite aggravating to deal with them. But fulfilling your full potential isn’t about them. It is about YOU. What is YOUR full potential? Is this other person, regardless of how much they deserve your ire, worth sending out a negative message which will be picked up on the whiteboard of everyone around you and yourself? What is they genuinely didn’t mean it? Don’t be a pushover, but don’t be the madman either. Life isn’t fair and it isn’t bliss, those who would strive to shine in this world must be aware that the rules they will play by are different, and stricter, than those of others. Simple words will not change the world, people will. If we want things to improve, we must act. If we want to come close to our ideal goals, we must act like our ideal self, no matter how difficult that may be.
Your health is the foundation for your life. Your life is your message to the world. It is your duty to those that hear your message that they gain from it. Make sure you have a good foundation.

The Joy of Movement

Erik Jackson, Lic. Ac. No Comments

In my practice, I have often seen people who are moving through their lives with tension. This can be due to stress, injury, or diet. People who have otherwise healthy bodies can often hold a lot of tension, especially weight lifters.

The human body can take a lot of stress, if you ever watch a gymnastic performance the forces and strains those athletes place on their body is immense, however, they also know how to move so as to reduce these forces.

The ways in which a gymnast reduces these forces are practices that you can develop as well, and they will allow you to move through life with less pain and stress.

1. Breath fully and deeply.
Develop the awareness to take full and deep breaths. This will get more oxygen to your blood cells which will improve your circulation, lower your blood pressure, and help to reduce inflammation processes. Consciously taking control of your breathing may, over time, allow you to take hold of your emotions and let you recover from setbacks more quickly and also address issues more rationally.

2. Being loose.
Breathing will help your body to loosen up, but having a conscious awareness of tension in your body, and being able to release it, will help to prevent injuries and chronic pain. If you have ever had a rock hit your car window, what happens? The window cracks. Being solid means that eventually a force will come along that can break you. Try punching through a piece of paper. It bends and it cannot be broken unless rigidity is imposed on it. On a higher level, if you are able to take this attitude with life you suffer less mental and emotional stress because you cannot be knocked over. The combination of this and the previous lesson will allow you to go through life, not as a Pollyana, but as someone with easy confidence and peace. You will still have to deal with life, make tough decisions, etc., but you won’t be tormented by them. In a tug of war, the object is to pull one side past the midpoint. If both sides are applying an equal amount of force, then this is a stalemate. If one side is stronger than another it will take at least some time before the other side is beaten. However if one side simply dropped their force, the other side would topple. The more force and energy you put in to something, the more resistance you encounter.

3. Natural movement and focus
Your body is supposed to move in certain ways. If you have ever walked into a wall, or ran into a tree like I did once when I was a kid, you will realize that there is a lot of power in natural movement. Using good ergonomics, body dynamics, and posture will help you. If you are working on the computer, and your body is twisted to the side, you are inducing stress on your spine, neck and shoulders. Keep what you are doing in front of you so that your body is doing the least amount of work. In life you can make use of this by setting aside distractions, other projects, and worries. Make a time to focus on one thing, commit your attention and focus to it for however long you have set aside that time, then move on. Thinking about the project at work, bills you have to pay, troubles with the spouse, etc., all take away from your time exercising if you allow your mind to run rampant. Yes, those will all need to be taken care of, but you don’t need to address everything right now. You are at your most powerful when you are focused, but not rigid, thinking and moving with fluidity in a natural manner. The truest expression of yourself can achieve incredible goals.

4. Know your limits
If you learn and correctly apply the lessons above, you will be much more resistant to physical and emotional damage. Nonetheless you will still have limits that you should be aware of. Certain situations and things you should avoid, or will take longer for you to recover from. Learn when it is time for you to ask for help.

This is your life, go out and live it.

Inching Your Way To Success

Erik Jackson, Lic. Ac. No Comments

“Once I do this, everything will fall into place and my life will never have any problems ever again!”

We have all been there, an most of us have realized that achieving that one thing requires a lot more work than we ever could have imagined. There are very few overnight successes and the ability to stand firm and keep working towards a goal is often tested with a rather uncooperative universe. Patience and determination are the two biggest factors in determining your success. If you are setting a goal for yourself that will take awhile to accomplish, this is the advice I would give.

1. Have some idea what you are getting yourself into.
The more research you do on a topic the better chance of success, and accelerated success, you have. Understand that some things may take months or years to achieve and require several hours per week of your time. It may require lifestyle changes, developing new habits, changing your schedule or diet, etc. If the goal is worth it to you, then you will make these adjustments, however it is good to be aware of them before you set off. What do you gain by accomplishing this? What do you sacrifice?

2. Do not jump in all at once.
While some people can go for the full immersion treatment in pursuit of a goal, most of us will do well taking it in baby steps. This can be very frustrating as we all want to see progress quickly, but everyone has their limits. Moving into something too quickly can cause problems and rapid burnout or loss of interest. You did not learn to ride a bike or drive a car in one day and the stunt drivers certainly were not always the phenomenal performers they are. Learn how to budget your time and avoid over scheduling yourself. No matter how much we would wish it were different, there are only 24 hours in a day and you need time to sleep, eat, talk with other people, do your job, daily chores, and deal with all the various random things that pop up from time to time.

3. Learn how to ignore advice.
Now, why am I, a person who gives advice for a living, telling you this? Isn’t taking advice good? Yes it is, and you should seek out advice and help from people who can actually help you in pursuit of your goal. However, there are probably a number of people in your life that may inundate you with advice that isn’t fully relevant to your situation, or they don’t understand your goals/learning style as well as they think they do. These people are trying to help you, but if they don’t understand where you are coming from, or why you are doing what you are doing, it is best to ignore them or take their advice with a grain of salt. There comes a point when you have absorbed all the information you can on a topic and you just need to step back and do it in the way that works best for you. I’m going to give my own advice about diets, and acupuncture treatments, and exercise. Another acupuncturist would give different recommendations. A nutritionist will have more dietary advice. It comes down to what works for you.

4. Recognize that baby steps and consistency are important.
In my workouts I am learning some gymnastics positions. To get really good at gymnastics takes years of work and progress is slow. For every glorious moment in the sun, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of consistent, slow, and often monotonous work that has to be done. Slow progress is still progress and you are not worthless simply because this is taking longer than you thought.

There is more that I could say, but this is enough for now. Go out and live your life with the mastery that you can achieve.

Moving beyond stress and finding your purpose.

Erik Jackson, Lic. Ac. No Comments

We live in stressful times.

The economy is slowly on the mend. We are working longer hours with fewer resources, and for less pay and the dollar isn’t going as far as it used to. Government is more of a mess than usual it seems and everywhere you look people are acting with less care towards others. We go home, become livid with traffic and that idiot of a driver who cut us off. Watch TV, hear about yet another travesty on the internet or news, eat dinner, and go to sleep.

And this monotony will happen tomorrow, and the day after that, and next week, and on and on until our body and mind give out and we physically can no longer function. Once there we are shuffled off into obscurity until we pass on.

So, have I painted a bleak enough picture?

Our lives are regulated in ways that we did not necessarily choose, and they are taking a toll on us. Almost all of my patients report feelings of stress, insomnia, or unhealthy eating, the last one being linked to having no time to prepare food because of long hours. And these are the ones that actually make an appointment.

So let’s step back and see what can can be done to relieve stress.

What can be done?

As an acupuncturist I can treat you for stress, insomnia, weight gain, and other symptoms associated with a stressful lifestyle. Herbal supplements can help with the symptoms mentioned above, and several others. I can offer you all of this, but what I truly want to give you are the skills to master your life.

Take some time to let this sink in:

The economy is on the mend, which will correct at least some of the discrepancies we are seeing in the work force and elsewhere.

Government and society are progressing, but like a teenager they are experiencing some growing pains.

You are more than your job or your things.

Even in the bleakest times, in most of the world, absolutely nothing is happening.

We are more aware of travesties because they are immediately sensationalized. This is a numbers game and we just have more eyes on things now. Proportionally, terrible things are happening at the same low rate they always were.

In the past century humanity has improved its living conditions dramatically, wiped out smallpox, taken the teeth out of most diseases, gone from horse and buggy to landing on the moon, peering into deep space, and scouting Mars. Imagine where we will be in another 5 years, or 10. There will always be darkness, but we are bringing light.

Skills

If you want to sleep better, turn off all the lights, and the TV, ipad, etc. Total darkness is optimal. You can use my amber glasses to let you watch TV at night without messing up your sleep cycle. If you are going to watch the news then I would suggest NPR or BBC as they are less sensational.

Check what you are watching and listening to.  Does it help you?  Do you enjoy it?  Does it inspire or infuriate you?

Practice mindful awareness. While there are people out there who are just spiteful vermin, they are a small percentage. We all have had moments that we regret. When we were the ass who ticked people off in traffic. Take hold of your actions and be kind to others. I have found this means I hit green lights more often, and that I have more pleasant drives. If we are to be wise, mature, adults who are good role models for our children, then we need to show that we can rise above our knee jerk reactions. It is unbecoming of us, as human beings, to inflict emotional damage on each other for minor transgressions that could well be unintentional.

We do have to eat, and pay the bills, raise the kids, etc. That doesn’t mean we sacrifice our essence for these things. Find something you enjoy and go do it. http://www.meetup.com/find/ is a great way to find people that you could get along with. Human interaction that happens offline and out of the office is of immense benefit.  Prepare your food in advance, look up recipes that you enjoy, find a cause and support it.  Leave an impact and live a life that you would be proud of.

There are only so many hours and your shift is only so long at the office. If it doesn’t get done today, it doesn’t get done. If you are not being paid for overtime then there is no incentive to stay. Make a prioritized list if need be, work through it, and whatever may be left is for tomorrow. Your company is only there to pay you and utilize you for your time. If you are working in a career that is fulfilling, good for you, but make sure that you have the time to be your nonprofessional self.  Our time is finite, and we should make the most of it.

Your health is more precious, and more valuable than anything else you own.  Your body will carry you, one way or another, all of your days.  You can replace some of the parts but unlike a car, you cannot get a new body when your old one stops working as well as it did.  If you are not healthy, physically and mentally, it will take a toll on your ability to care for your family, pay your bills, do your job, and enjoy living.  You can have a wonderful, ecstatic, life, but to enjoy it fully you will need a healthy body that can go the distance.

What is your purpose? What are your goals? Are you working towards them?

I can help you. How will you help the world?

The Wonders of Acupuncture

Erik Jackson, Lic. Ac. 2 comments

“So you are going to stick needles into me…and this will make me feel better?”
“Yes.”
“I’m not sure about this.”

This sort of conversation, while usually not so blatant, is typical of the daily interactions of acupuncturists and the public. Acupuncturists are sometimes viewed as witch doctors and even with a 40 year history of accepted practice in the US, acupuncturist are on the fringes of the medical community.

From a biological perspective, acupuncture is not well understood. If you ask most acupuncturists they will tell you about qi and the meridians, but most will not explain the biology of acupuncture. Most of the research being done on acupuncture is written down in Chinese, which makes it difficult to get good information.

In the book Acupuncture Therapy for Neurological Diseases, the authors show research from China, that has been translated into English, which illustrates a correlation between the various acupuncture points and lymph nodes, nerves, and blood vessels. Research conducted in 2004 in Korea as showed that there was an anatomical basis for acupuncture on a cellular level with the discovery of Bonghan ducts that exist within the cells and mimic the paths of the meridians of acupuncture.

The structures that are correlated with the points of acupuncture are part of a network with the rest of the body, and as such the method of action by which acupuncture works, is very complex. Stimulation by acupuncture has been shown to release neurotransmitters, change blood chemistry, and alter electrical current flow. As such, finding a single method of action is futile because biologically, there isn’t a single action.

The process by which acupuncture works is intertwined with all the body’s own self corrective measures. The stimulation of acupuncture is like jumping your car, your body has everything it needs, it just needs a bit of motivation.

If you find yourself in need of a ‘jump’, feel free to call:

Erik Jackson L.Ac. MAOM
chelements.com

 

1.  Xia, Ying, et al: Acupuncture Therapy for Neurological Diseases: A Neurobiological View, Tsinga University Press, Beijing, China, 2010

2.  Sup, Kwan: Bonghan Duct and Acupuncture Meridian as Optical Channel of Biophoton, Biomedical Physics laboratory, School of Physics, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea, July 2004

Painless

Erik Jackson, Lic. Ac. one comments

“You have had this condition for how long?”
“Oh, about 30 years.”

I was shocked. I was an intern at the time and my patient just told me that he was in pain longer than I had been alive.

While this is an extreme example, I saw a number of patients, even then, who were in pain, or suffering from one condition or another, for several years—fairly often there was someone who came in with a chronic condition lasting for a decade or more.

It is astonishing that so many people limp along for so long. While there are plenty of reasons for certain conditions to persist, the fact of the matter is this uninvited guest of pain can often be booted out the door—or at the very least made less onerous—with some simple lifestyle changes or minor treatments.

As a medical professional, I am aware of my own mortality and physical limitations. I strive to expand these by practicing marital arts and various exercises. However, there are things I am starting to do and be more careful about while I am still relatively young. I may not be as limber as the younger karate guys (or gals for that matter). I am more aware of how certain exercises work my back and neck, because I want to avoid the doctor’s office as much as possible. I eat paleo—with a fair emphasis on getting at least some veggies in the meal—to keep my bones strong, avoid gaining excess weight, and to avoid succumbing to a familial predisposition of diabetes.

Unless you were born on Krypton, you are not going to be Superman. You are going to age, but you can age gracefully. Having good nutrition, going in for regular checkups, getting moderate exercise, and getting treatment quickly when you need it are all beneficial practices that help you live a long, healthy, and beautiful life.

If you have a condition that has bothered you for awhile, don’t you think it’s time to get it fixed? Call me today to set up an appointment.

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