I am sooo excited about this post! It’s the first in my Healthy Back Series.
If you read our blog then you know I suffered from some pretty bad back pain starting in May. I eventually had some x-rays done and discovered my lower back had lost it’s natural curve from sitting too much and bad posture :(
Before I went to the doctor, I had no idea what the problem was and was looking for anything that would get me out of pain.
One thing that came up (and I tried) was Acupuncture. I had tried it before, and I didn’t really think it helped, so I was skeptical about trying it again (my brain was saying “this won’t work for you”).
Eventually I broke down and gave it a try and took Peter with me (cause we’re buddies like that!)
We did community acupuncture at Indigo Dragon Center, and that’s where we met Talia (and I’m so happy we did!).
After that, Peter was so into it. I was still on the fence but was a big fan of Talia, she really cared about my back and was willing to do research on things that might be wrong with my back (via the web) while I was resting, as well as give me this really awesome methanol patch for my back (those things are a lifesaver!)
So long story short: I went back for a full hour-long session and it was amazing! I felt the pain disappear, and was so relaxed… Talia even did some cupping at the end that was like the cherry on top;)
I asked Talia to explain a little about acupuncture: How it works, what it helps with and a little bit about herself… seriously, you’ll want to go see her after this!
Acupuncture with Talia (and how it works!)
1). What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is part of an ancient system of healthcare that has been around for over three thousand years. Chinese Medicine has been utilized to diagnose and treat an array of diseases longer than any other system of healthcare.
It involves the use of single-use, sterile, solid needles that are inserted at various acu-points throughout the body. They are used in combination with each other to help balance the flow of qi and blood, in effect, preventing disease and stopping pain. As part of a complete health system, it is used alongside herbal medicine and other modalities, such as cupping.
2). How does it work?
According to traditional Chinese medical theory, acupuncture works by balancing the life energy, or qi (chee), that flows through the body.
Qi is influenced by stimulating specific acu-points on the body in combination with others, which are all located on channels of energy (or meridians). These meridians connect all of the major organs and extend to the tips of the limbs.
When qi is not flowing properly through the channels or is blocked, illness or pain may arise. Acupuncture is then used to restore the proper flow of qi, as well as increase blood circulation, reduce inflammation, and stop pain.
3). What got you interested in acupuncture?
Since my teens, I have been interested in herbal medicine and nutrition. I frequently turned to Western herbal remedies to help treat minor ailments I encountered, such as the common cold, sunburn, digestive discomfort, etc.
When I was seventeen, I became vegetarian (not a strict one, however). Unfortunately, I was not educated enough on how to make sure I was receiving the nutrients I needed. As a result, over the years some health problems arose from being too deficient, such as heart palpitations (premature ventricular contractions), anxiety, hair loss, and sensitivity to gluten.
I began receiving treatments from an acupuncturist, as well as taking an herbal prescription. It took some time, but along with diet change (I began including meat into my diet and eating more balanced meals that correlate with Chinese Medicine principles of nutrition), my health made a 180˚ turn. It didn’t happen instantaneously, but looking back over six months of treatment, I felt like a new person. I fell in love with Chinese Medicine!
It was amazing to me how it worked on balancing and treating certain symptoms that Western Medicine has no way of resolving (or an inefficient way at best). I subsequently began my amazingly intense journey through school to earn a Master’s Degree and become a licensed acupuncturist in order to help people with the amazing tools that helped me.
4). What do you tell people who are afraid of needles or afraid it’s going to hurt?
I see this a lot.
Western Medicine’s use of hypodermic needles (which have a fairly large diameter and are hollow) has made many people afraid of needles. I like to show my patient’s exactly what an acupuncture needle looks like before I start.
I show them how tiny they are, about the size of a single strand of hair. I explain that they are not hollow,but are solid, and designed to minimize any sensation of pain. Most people rarely feel them being inserted. If there is a sensation experienced, it’s a good sign! It means that the point is activated, and your treatment will be that much more effective!
5). What are some of the most common reasons people come see you?
I find that acupuncture is mostly known for its amazing effect on pain. I focus in treating sports injuries and chronic pain; therefore, my practice, Dahms Acupuncture, is aimed at treating pain in general, and that is mostly what I see.
6). You work at the cutest, very Zen, Indigo Dragon Wellness Center in Encinitas, how long have you been working there and what is your favorite thing about working there?
I have had the pleasure of working with Indigo Dragon Center for over five years, and practicing acupuncture under my practice, Dahms Acupuncture, since the beginning of the year.
I cannot say enough amazing things about the practitioners who work in this space. It radiates with positive energy, and it feels so good to work at a place where everyone loves their job! Not only is the space peaceful, with beautiful gardens accompanied by the soothing sounds of a fountain and singing birds, but it presents an unpretentious, cozy, and welcoming space for healing that really sets it apart from other clinics in San Diego.
Why does acupuncture always make me fall asleep?
After a unique selection of acupuncture points are chosen and needles are inserted, the body does something amazing.
All of those little needles activate the nervous system. They communicate through channels to the spinal cord, then to the brain, telling it to slow down. It is at this time that people begin to feel sleepy, and the body can really begin its work at healing.
I tell my patients that if you reach a state where you feel like you’re resting in between wakefulness and sleep, you are in the “parasympathetic zone”, where you’ll get the most remarkable results from your treatment.
Can acupuncture help with headaches? If so how?
Acupuncture can help amazingly with headaches. The great thing about acupuncture is that it gets to the bottom of why you’re having headaches in the first place.
Whether you suffer from migraines, cluster headaches, sinus headaches, or any other type of headache, acupuncture and herbal medicine together balance the body, so that the cause of the imbalance is resolved, often permanently (unlike allopathic medicine that simply “covers up” the symptoms).
How many visits does it take before I can see improvements?
The amount of visits needed varies greatly on what condition is being treated. Generally, acute musculoskeletal disorders have a quicker healing time, ranging from 3 to 10 visits.
Other disorders, such as hormonal imbalances, sleep, menstrual, emotional, or digestive disorders require a longer treatment time. I like to talk to patients in the realm of a timeline.
If you think about how long it took you to get into the chronic state of imbalance that your body is currently in, you need to be able to devote a similar amount of time to re-balance your body and heal. Acupuncture is generally not a quick remedy for some disorders. It takes time and effort.
Thanks so much Talia!
…Seriously, if you’re suffering from any of those things or you just want to try acupuncture… You Should!
Have you tried Acupuncture? What was your experience? If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below.