The more I treat people, the more I'm convinced that at least 50% of all illness in this country is completely preventable. When we take care of our bodies, our bodies takes care of us. How revolutionary is that?
The beginning of my work with each patient starts with a complete health history which includes an inventory of prior illnesses and surgeries, medications taken, foods eaten and exercise routines.
I find that simple life style changes lead to seemingly miraculous and lasting results. This is the beauty of East Asian medicine. Acupuncture looks at natural ways for treating diseases and has been used for thousands of years because of the body's innate ability to heal itself.
Think about it, how many things in life have the ability to repair themselves. Now think about how many times you, YES YOU, have recovered from colds, pain, sprained ankles, scraped knees. Seriously, count the many times that you have gotten ill and have rid yourself of that illness.
Personally, I've never met an illness that I could not treat. With time and intention, healing is always possible. This is the cornerstone of the work that I do.
From an acupuncturist's point of view pain is caused by either stagnation -- too much energy in a painful area of the body -- or deficiency -- too little energy. Another way to think about it is that there is a blockage either from stuck energy or lack of energy in one of the meridians that travel along the arms, legs, head and trunk of the body. Treatment consists of removing this energetic blockage or sending energy to a deficient area.
The great thing about this model is that it works with both acute and chronic pain. Even if an injured area has healed, acupuncture helps to restore movement to that area.
From a Western Medical perspective, chronic pain is often caused by a lack of movement. In a recent article from Harvard Health Publications, Dr. James Rainville, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School explains that "Movement seems to be the stimulus to normalize pain responses in the nervous system. Studies on animals with spinal injuries show faster pain resolution among those forced to exercise than among those allowed to move less."
He goes on to explain, "This is probably the result of a survival mechanism…If an animal in the wild doesn't get moving, it is eaten or starves to death. People who get moving — back to the gym, back to cleaning the house — do the best,"
If you've been struggling with chronic pain, acupuncture with its emphasis on restoring movement to the body may be for you.
About 80% of adults experience back pain at some point in their lives, and I've had a lot of experience treating it in the 20 years that I've been practicing acupuncture. I've always been curious about what contributes to the pain. Is it a pulled muscle or ligament, a weak immune system, osteoarthritis, a bulging disc, tight muscles or some combination of these? Read more about this.
Over the past few years, I've been studying a manual therapy called Visceral Manipulation that offers an additional explanation for pain and restriction. Jean-Pierre Barral, a French Osteopath, teaches that restrictions in the connective tissue around and between the body's organs cause pain, particularly chronic pain that is difficult to treat.
Releasing these restrictions can be done by first feeling the actual pull of tissue in the body, testing to see which organ is causing the primary restriction and then gently treating the organ to restore its natural rhythm.
My work has always been based on releasing restrictions. Now in addition to feeling blockages in the acupuncture meridians, restrictions and pain in the muscles, bones and ligaments, I've been looking for restrictions in tissue around each organ. Also, I've been making sure each organ has its own intrinsic healthy rhythm.
It's been an amazing journey for me and has enhanced the work that I do. It's another component of helping my patients can get lasting pain relief and a body that truly functions at an optimal level.
Bonnie Diamond, Licensed Acupuncturist