WHAT IS AURICULAR ACUPUNCTURE?
When you walk into my office the one thing that is most commonly commented on is the giant poster of an ear on my wall. Usually the first comment is “wow, there are a lot of points on there!” The ear is a microsystem of the body. The points are located on the ear based around an image of an upside down fetus, with the head staring at the lobe and then the spine and limbs wrapping around and the internal organ in the center.
This in itself I think is incredible, but what an auricular acupuncture treatment can do is even more amazing. Often I use auricular acupuncture in conjunction with body points, but it can be used as a primary treatment. The main way I use auricular acupuncture though is as a continuation of the treatment. I place the ear seeds on specific points at the end of the session and the patients can then stimulate the points in between our treatments. This helps carry on the effects of the session and gives the patients control in their own healing process. Something that I feel is very powerful!
WHAT CAN AURICULAR ACUPUNCTURE TREAT?
The short answer to this is everything! Auricular acupuncture has been proven to be a great way to treat a variety of conditions, ranging from, addiction, pain, headaches, and allergies. It is said to hold all of the body acupuncture points and then some! So going back to the initial comments of people walking through my office doors, Yes! It is a lot of points!
The points are chosen in the same way we chose body points in TCM, but the ear also contains points that are used based on Western medical concepts. Once a set of points is chosen the ear is then examined and the points are pressed on to see if they are tender or active. The physical look of the ear can also be used to choose points and to diagnosis. When we use the ear this way we are looking for the texture, color, and veins around the ear.
After the points are selected, either ear seeds of small needles are used to stimulate the points. The signal is then sent from the ear to the brain, and then to the corresponding body part. Some patients will feel immediate relief with the use of ear acupuncture, while others it take a few days to feel the full effects.
Auricular acupuncture is used most as a stand alone treatment in community acupuncture settings, or disaster settings, where you are trying to treat as many people as quickly as possible. NADA (National Acupuncture Detox Association) is the most common ear acupuncture protocol utilized and is a quick and effective way to treat, stress, anger, depression, pain, and addictions.
CAN AURICULAR ACUPUNCTURE BENEFIT YOU?
Most likely yes, but I do have patients where auricular acupuncture is too strong for them, and they prefer body needles instead. The seeds can be triggered while sleeping if you roll onto the side that they are on, and if you have a more sensitive ear this can be more painful then helpful. Also, I have had patients say that they feel like they just have too much energy moving through them with the ear seeds, which makes it hard to relax.
I personally love ear seeds though and often use them as a way to give myself a quick treatment, generally for pain or allergies. And I have patients who swear by them and love to use them between every treatment!
The only way to find out if auricular acupuncture is right for you though is to give it a try! What is great is if you don't love them the way I do you can always just take the ear seeds out and throw them away, there is no need to come in to get them removed since the seeds do not enter the body the way needles do!
Anxiety and Depression are two very common emotional disturbances that I see in my office. And often my patients are seeking to find a better way to manage without pills. With technology there has become endless ways to connect and yet, we are feeling more and more disconnected, making anxiety and depression much more prevalent.
So where does Acupuncture come in?
Acupuncture is a great complimentary or in some case even stand alone treatment for anxiety and depression. Traditional Chinese medicine looks at the mind and body as one, meaning that the emotions can have effects on our physical bodies, and it aims to treat both.
Anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses worldwide, and is especially common in our Western world. Anxiety includes the emotions of fear and worry, which are two of the seven emotions recognized in TCM. The symptoms of anxiety can range from manageable symptoms to severe, debilitating symptoms. Physically people can experience irregular heartbeats, trouble breathing, and digestive issues. Cognitively, negative or obsessive thoughts can be present. And behaviorally aggression or restlessness and insomnia can be present.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine anxiety is related to the organs Heart, Liver, and Kidney, and can be a mix of either Excess or Deficiency patterns. When anxiety is caused by a deficient pattern the symptoms are more mild in comparison to when is it caused by an excess.
Depression is also very common and it is estimated that one in five people will experience depression at least once in their life. Clinical depression is different than the sadness or grief that you may feel after experiencing loss of any kind. Depression is a long lasting and intense state that effects you emotionally, physically, and cognitively. It can effect day to day living.
Symptoms include lack of interest, depressed mood, loss of appetite, irritability, agitation, exhaustion, negative thoughts, changes in sleep pattern, and hopelessness.
In TCM depression is always due to a stagnation, where the Qi cannot circulate freely through the body. Stagnation is an excess pattern, but with later stage depression deficient patterns can also be present. The Liver is the organ most often associated with depression.
The Liver houses the Ethereal Soul in TCM, which is responsible for our life’s dreams, plans, ideas, sense of purpose, and relationships with others. When there is lack of movement of the Ethereal Soul, such as in Liver Qi Stagnation the person becomes depressed lacking all the things the movement of the Ethereal Soul provides.
With the rise in both of these metal illnesses it is important to know that alternative therapies such as acupuncture are available to better help get to the root of the cause of anxiety and depression, and to help relieve the symptoms associated with both.
Acupuncture treatments for anxiety and depression vary from between 6-10 treatments depending on how severe and chronic the illness is. After treatments are then more of as needed basis.
I can’t believe it but it is that time of year again… School is just around the corner and for some schools it starts this coming week! Where did summer go?! Going back to school can be a stressful transition for kids, parents, and even the teachers! The change from summer to routines, early mornings, and homework can feel chaotic. With this stress, also comes a decrease immune system, leading to all of the dreaded back to school sicknesses! But there are ways to help make the transition smoother for everyone involved! So teachers this post is for you too, not just for the families getting ready for Back to School season!
As adults we are better equipped than children to handle changes and stress, and often children don't even know that is what they are feeling, but Back to School can even be a challenge for the most equipped!. Below are some too for families and teachers to help their children and themselves through this transitionary period.
1. Parents and teachers this one is for you: Self Care! Yes that’s right when children see you taking care of yourself to manage your stress they learn better habits to handle their own. This can be done through taking time for yourself either through meditation, exercise, or acupuncture to help manage your stress levels. You can’t give with an empty cup!
2. Spend time outside and play: this is great for kids and adults as we start the transition from summer into fall, while it’s still warm enough after school spend time outside. This can be spending 30 minutes to an hour playing games, eating dinner, or just taking a walk as a family outdoors! The vitamin D will help boost the immune system too!
3. Get enough sleep: With more stress and less sleep our bodies hormones cortisol and adrenaline get elevated and our immune response is decrease. If you have read any of my previous blogs you know that acupuncture is great for regulating hormones and decreasing stress. Adrenaline and Cortisol are part of the bodies “fight and flight” response and when this response is active the “rest and digest” response can’t happen, making it harder to sleep and digest food.
4. Eat the Rainbow: what this really means is making sure you and your family are eating a balanced diet. This may be hard to do with homework and after school activities, but it is also best to eat at a time when you can actually sit and eat without distractions, no TV, phones, grading or doing homework, and not in the car while driving, it makes it easier to digest and our body can better extract the nutrients we need from the food. Regular meals and snacks also help to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. And of course eating more fruits and veggies help boost our immune system and make it easier to handle stress, because a hefty body leads to a health mind!
5. Acupuncture: you had to know this one was coming;) Acupuncture can help decrease stress by slowing down the bodies stress hormones, and helping the body reach and stay in the “rest and digest” system longer! Also the down time on the table is a perfect way to take a break from the day when you can’t find the time to do it on your own! Acupuncture can also help to boost the immune system, making it easier to fight off those pesky back to school germs.
Other stress relieving activities for teachers, parents and children: breathing techniques, qi gong or yoga, coloring, guided meditations, taking walks.
As a wife of a special education middle school teacher and as an Acupuncturist, I really have a strong passion for the amazing benefits of acupuncture as preventive medicine! It is so much easier to boost your immune system and reduce stress, then it is to fight once you are already sick!
To get yourself or your kids in for a treatment! Call 720-593-8218 or book online at DenverMindBodyEssence.com!
Teachers! To thank you for all you do I am offering 20% off your first treatment, just show your school ID! Valid through September 28th!
At this point we all know some of the amazing benefits of acupuncture, but did you know acupuncture can also aid in weight loss? Yes you read that right. There have been more and more articles proving the reduction of BMI and weight with the continual treatments of acupuncture.
So how does acupuncture help with weight loss?
First off, acupuncture can balance hormones. It stimulates the production of both serotonin and beta endorphins. These hormones suppress appetite, reduce cravings, and increase the breakdown of fat. Endorphins also make you feel more positive.
Acupuncture also decreases the hormones that can tribute to weight gain, such as leptin and insulin. Both levels of these have been shown to decrease after acupuncture. Leptin is the hormone that makes us feel full, it regulates metabolism and fat storage. So why is it good if this is reduced if this is the hormone that makes us feel full? Because if leptin levels are too high other cells can become immune to the effects, and you can no longer tell when to stop eating. Leptin is often found to be excessively high in people with obesity. Insulin regulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism and the absorption of glucose from the blood.
And last, acupuncture can of course aid in your weight loss by reducing stress. When you are stressed the hormone cortisol comes into play. Cortisol is our stress hormone, it escalates our “fight or flight” response, where acupuncture promotes “rest and digest.” When our body is in fight or flight our digestion is put on hold, because when a tiger is casing you the last thing you want your body to be trying to do is digest your food. But, our body is in “fight and flight” much more throughout a day, a tiger does not have to be chasing you for cortisol to be released, disruption or digestion and often leading to depression. This makes it more likely for binge meals to take place.
Some examples of points that can be used in acupuncture for weight loss often starts with points on the abdomen and also points on the ear. I will be doing another Blog post soon about the benefits of auricular acupuncture but for now I will just discuss the four I primarily use for weight loss. The hunger point, Shen Men, the stomach point, and the endocrine point. Often I will needle one side of the ear in these four points and then put ear seeds on the other side that are meant to be worn after the treatment for 3-5 days to help with cravings. I also use points on the abdomen, particularly around the navel, and often even hook up the points to electrical stimulation. These points can been seen in my blog post about digestion!
But acupuncture isn’t the magic cure for weight loss, diet and exercise are also very important. And with finding which organs in TCM are out of balance and which patterns are present, a custom diet can be formed for each patient. This will make sure the right foods are being at the right time in the right ways. For example eating while working, driving, or even watching TV can make it harder for the digestion process to begin. And eating cold foods such as raw veggies, can be great for someone, and harmful for another, who has a cold body and already has trouble digesting, because raw cold veggies are often harder to digest and process.
Each season and through each step in the weight loss journey, the diet can continue to be refined to make it easiest on your body to maintain your goal weight!
Please feel free to reach out if you have any more questions about acupuncture and weight loss!