Every patient who I speak with over the phone always wants to know, “So, How often do I have to come in for Acupuncture?”.
Let’s answer this for a few scenarios. I’ll tell you what I suggest for my patients which may be different than for Oscar’s or Jenny’s patients… currently all of my new patients are coming because they need help conceiving, need help staying pregnant, or need help with post partum care. I’ll tell you what to expect if you are coming in for pain management and finally tell you how this frequency developed here in the United States, because people in China definitely come more frequently
Remember we treat many different conditions at Buckhead Acupuncture & Herbal Center not just pain and infertility so have a look at our conditions treated page at……………………………………………… if you don’t see your condition here…give us a call…. there’s a good chance we may be able to help you too.
FYI, the blog below started out being what I had intended to be a short reply to a journalist for the Wall St. Journal asking for medical and nutritional experts to submit their credentials and take on memory. A patient of mine gave me the heads up and I scrambled to put something together on short notice and tight deadline. I ended up really enjoying the research I did and ended up writing way too much on the subject. In the end, it was a day late and a page too long for the WSJ, but hopefully, you’ll enjoy the result….
As a nutritionist and practitioner of Chinese Medicine, I
know treating memory problems has to be understood and treated with a systems
approach rather than trying to find one cause and one magic bullet.
Both modern Functional Medicine (FM) and ancient Chinese
Medicine (CM) view cognitive ability as the result of a complex interplay of
various organs, somatic constituents (humos), diet, environmental factors, and
lifestyle.There is no one universal
cause, etiology, or treatment in both systems of medicine.
In Western medicine, impaired memory could be caused by
traumatic brain injury, seizures, cerebrovascular accident, chronic alcohol
abuse leading to Korsakoff’s syndrome, illicit drug use, PTSD, dissociative
identity disorder, and chronic vitamin B deficiency. All of these have nutritional implications,
but the last one is of particular interest to someone like me because it could
be caused not only by insufficient B vitamin intake, but by problems with
digestion and absorption of these important brain nutrients.For example, adequate B12 levels are
contingent upon enough stomach acid (HCl). The Framingham studyin 1994
(Lindenbaum et al ) showed that 40% of the elderly subjects were b12
deficient, compared to 17.9% of the younger controlled subjects.Insufficient HCl would also potentially lead
to amino acid insufficiencies.Amino
acids are critical in the formation of both neurotransmitters and hormones
which can have dramatic impacts on memory. Adequate intake and absorption of B vitamins and amino acids (protein)
are all heavily influenced by dietary habits—not just what you eat, but how you
eat it and what you combine it with as well as adequate intestinal
In addition to the basic brain nutrients, there is a
plethora memory helping phytonutrients in foods such as blueberries (anthocyanins andpterostilbene), grapes (resveratrol),
grape seeds, rosemary, ginkgo biloba, periwinkle (Vinpocetine),
ashwagandha,and many others. Also available to help cognitive and memory
function are over the counter supplements such as L-alpha
glycerylphosphorylcholine, phosphatidylserine, tyrosine, taurine, pregnenolone.These can help by modulating inflammation,
increasing circulation, mitigating cortisol and the stress response, increasing
neuronal communication, and preventing free radical oxidative damage.
The Chinese Medical view on memory is also complex.There are 3 main viscera involved in memory:
the Kidneys, the Heart, and the Spleen. Note these organs (capitalized) are the Chinese medicine version of the
viscera distinct from the biomedical version of them.For example, Western medicine directly
associates kidney function with glomerular filtration rate or blood urea
nitrogen (BUN).CM directly associates the
Kidneys with, among many other things, the emotion of fear, season of winter, and long term memory.The Spleen is central in the roles of digestion,
absorption, mental focus, and what biomedicine dubs metabolism.Anxiety, cognition, communication and
circulation fall within the purview of the Heart in CM.There are at least 5 distinct patterns of disharmony or diagnoses in
CM for impaired memory.The differential
diagnosis is based on a complex array of signs and symptoms involving the whole
body, emotional factors, environment, lifestyle, and diet.Each treatment involves varying degrees of
treatment with acupuncture, herbal formulas, as well as diet & lifestyle
Despite thousands of years of empirical evidence and
literate chronicles of success using the techniques of CM to treat memory
problems, there are several factors making it difficult to conduct large scale
clinical studies.Besides the lack of
big money funders like Big-Pharma, the very nature of CM makes it difficult to
isolate one problem—impaired memory, and one variable, say, like a polyphenol in fruit.The one problem, impaired memory, could be
any one or two of the 5 patterns.The
treatments usually consist of several acupuncture points, herbal formulas
consisting of more than 5 different herbs, and several diet and lifestyle
modifications.Isolating one herb or one
acupuncture point for the purposes of a rigorously controlled clinical study
would completely misrepresent an actual CM treatment and ignore the synergistic
properties of these herbs and treatments together.
Some common herbs, foods, and formulas used in Chinese
Medicine to treat/prevent impaired memory include:
Gou Qi Zi aka Goji berry, wolfberry, lycium fruit
Shi Chang Pu, acorus gram.
Hu Tao Ren, walnuts
Ling Zhi, Reishi mushroom, Ganoderma
Bai Zi Ren, Arbor Vitae, Biota Seed, Semen Pladycladi
Gui Pi Tang—“Restore the Spleen Decoction” for Spleen
related memory deficiency
Bu Nao Pian—“Augment the Brain Tablet” for Kidney related
Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan—for Kidney and Heart related memory
Whether using Eastern or Western medicine, the key to
success in treating memory issues is a good differential diagnosis taking into
account the whole body and its various systems. Modern Functional medicine uses sophisticated lab tests to measure
nutritional status, intestinal permeability, neurotransmitter levels, stress
response, oxidation levels, and hormone balance.Chinese Medicine uses very low-tech
diagnostics to measure the equally complex balance between the Kidneys, Spleen,
Heart, environment, lifestyle, and diet. In both cases, the expert practitioner treats the person rather than the
disease and the root of the problem, rather than the symptom.
Hi folks please take a look at my friend and colleague’s email below. Local Atlanta celebrity and business owner Dr. Nicole LaBeach has a big big dream. Oprah Winfrey is holding a video contest. The prize: your own show! You can help by visiting Oprah’s site below, viewing Dr. Nicole’s video and voting for it….Vote often. Share this with your family, friends, and colleagues. Post the video on your Facebook page. Dr. Nicole, Life, Relationship and Executive Coach, owner of Volition Enterprises: http://www.volitionenterprises.com/ AND author of A Woman’s True Purpose:
Live Like You Matter
Has helped many realize their personal dreams and ambitions…here is our chance to help her realize hers!
Let’s all help bring a little more fame to Atlanta, Georgia, Spelman College, and Brooklyn…..
OK, here’s a little secret, on May 16, 1993 – I declared that I would be mentored by and work with
Oprah before my 20thClass reunion from Spelman College. Now I’ve been in the same room and arms distance form her 2 times in the past 2 years but this opportunity may be it. Well, I just submitted my video to the Oprah Winfrey’s contest, “Your Own Show”, because it goes back to my ultimate and
unchanged dream of using my gifts with a national audience in radio and television. I am truly hoping this is my shot, but I need your help – more specifically, I NEED YOUR VOTE. You can vote as many times as your fingers will afford but all votes must be in Saturday, July 3rd at 11pm.
I need your vote, your kids (and their friends), your family, your friends, your cuzin them, and your
dog’s vote (OK maybe not the dog). And, if you would be sooooo kind to forward this
message to your address book, it would really help a whole lot– Surely, this will probably be
the only time you will ever hear me make this kind of request but its Oprah so I need all the help I can get!
Many are concerned about this question: Acupuncture, does it hurt?
Often you will see acupuncture needles described as hair-thin. That is actually not very accurate. The needles are very thin indeed though. If you have a friend who is a doctor or nurse, you can ask them about our needle size. Our needles are generally either 32 or 36 gauge, and we do have thinner needles available. I promise if you ask your doctor what they think about this size needle, she is going to smile…they are really really thin.
So what is it supposed to feel like? I usually tell my new patients the following joke:
If you go for acupuncture in Japan, they think if it hurts at all, that the doctor is no good. However if you go for acupuncture in China, they think if it doesn’t hurt at least a little bit, not only is the doctor no good, but he’s just taking your money!
Point here, that among many Japanese acupuncturists it is thought that you put the needle in and let it be. They think your body knows what to do with it. Chinese acupuncturists, however, think putting the needle in and then gently manipulate it is the preferred methodology. The thought here is we move the needle and this causes a response in the body which calls upon the function of this acupuncture point. When we move the needles we are seeking what we refer to as De Qi or “the arrival of Qi.” Qi is the body’s natural electrical life force. If you are not ready to believe in Qi, that is alright…you can think of the body’s naturally occurring positively and negatively charged ions, another kind of Qi. This De Qi or Qi sensation feels like a dull ache, distension, soreness, pressure, or tingling. We experience the world through our hands and feet, so some points here may be a little more sensitive. You may occasionally experience a “Zing,” where a strong sensation is felt and travels down a finger or toe or from one place to another. Stronger Qi sensation, it is not a mistake. This Zing usually passes instantly in a second or two. If a point is uncomfortable let us know immediately, and we will adjust or remove the needle immediately.
So what do I do? Generally, if a patient is coming in for pain, I may elect to use a slightly thicker needle and manipulate the needle more strongly than say, if they were coming in for infertility or stress or anxiety. Why? Because I have found that a stronger Qi sensation is going to relieve your pain more quickly. For folks coming in for pain, the degree of discomfort experienced from the acupuncture treatment is still relatively mild compared to the pain they want to get rid of.
Nearly everyone can receive acupuncture. Even if you are afraid of needles, we can nearly always select the best needle size and manipulation style to suit your needs and make you comfortable. We do not always manipulate the needles and if you find the sensation unpleasant we can avoid the manipulation all together. Great results are gotten using acupuncture in both China and Japan, so there is always more than one way to give you an effective treatment.
In general, most people leave acupuncture treatments feeling extremely calm and centered. The experience is similar to the feeling you have after a wonderful massage, but uniquely different….the only way to know what I mean is to give it a try! Believe it or not some of our patients even fall asleep on the table.
Keep an eye out for Liz’s video as she talks about how well she has done with Oscar’s gentle acupuncture treatments despite her phobia of needles.