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Archive for the ‘Natural Medicine’ Category

By Lindsey Lawson MS EAMP, Acupuncturist, Clinic Director

An estimated 3 million American adults receive acupuncture treatment each year, 1 and chronic pain is the most common presentation.2 I’m an acupuncturist and clinic director at Glow Natural Health Center and I treat pain every day. So it was no surprise to me when research revealed acupuncture’s effectiveness in treating pain in 2012. The great thing about this study is that it looks at 29 randomized, controlled trial studies and analyzed the outcomes. In all, there were nearly 18,000 people who participated, suffering with chronic pain from headaches, osteoarthritis, back and shoulder pain.

There are lots of ways that research can be done to test acupuncture’s effectiveness. These studies looked at “true” acupuncture vs. either “sham” acupuncture or “treatment as usual.” The conclusion was that true acupuncture was statistically better than sham needling and usual care. The authors concluded that acupuncture was an effective and reasonable treatment for the conditions studied. The large sample size and the rigorous nature of the studies make this the best evidence to date of acupuncture’s effectiveness for pain.

1 Barnes PM, Bloom B, Nahin RL. Complementary and alternative medicine use among adults and children: United States, 2007.  Natl Health Stat Report. 2008;(12):1-23
PubMed

2 Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC, Eisenberg DM, Erro J, Hrbek A, Deyo RA. The practice of acupuncture: who are the providers and what do they do?  Ann Fam Med. 2005;3(2):151-158
PubMed   |  Link to Article

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Why is it that so many of us are so stressed?  It is the minority of patients who come to me and say, “My stress level is very low.”  Most feel overwhelmed juggling the responsibilities of work, family, finances, relationships and home.  Especially the most caring and giving folks tend to overextend themselves and put themselves last.

Our adrenal glands do lots of things, and one is to react to stress.  Our bodies are supposed to react to stress- that’s a good thing.  But when it is daily or almost daily for years, we just wear out.  This process, termed the General Adaptation Syndrome, happens in three phases over time.

  • In the first, we are “wired” or “high-strung”.  We have adrenaline (you know- fight or flight) pumping into our blood stream, which leaves less stored up.   During this phase, you might be underweight/undernourished, develop ulcers, experience insomnia, anxiety, or have frequent colds due to decreased immune function.  You might start to see problems with female hormones, thyroid and blood sugar because stress hormones directly interfere with these.
  • In the second, you seem to adapt to the stress.  You make more reserves of adrenaline and the other adrenal hormones and seem to coast through.  You may gain weight during this time.
  • In the third, you become exhausted.  Your adrenal glands don’t react like they used to, and fatigue is extreme.  You may find yourself to be more irritable and jumpy, depressed, anxious, less able to handle conflict, unpredictable things, or even daily responsibilities.  You may have insomnia even though you are exhausted.  You may find that you have gained weight over the years that the body was in survival mode.  “This is an emergency.  Better store all the fat possible,” says the lizard brain.

What do I do? (more…)

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