Monthly Archives: January 2014

Acupuncture and Gastrointestinal Problems

By Mary Vincent, L.Ac

Some of our patients at BCA have significant digestive upset that can snowball into several days or weeks of bloating, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, gas, stomach cramps, or some combination of these unpleasant symptoms. If your one of the people who has these types of issues, acupuncture can help bring you relief.

Acute Digestive Problems
Digestive discomfort caused by overindulgence, stress, and/or travel can typically be alleviated quickly with acupuncture, particularly if the symptoms have just recently appeared. In this case, often a single treatment or two will be enough to get things back on track. If the onset if your symptoms were several weeks ago, and things “just haven’t been right since”, then 2-4 weeks of regular acupuncture should help alleviate the discomfort. In both cases, we may consider giving you herbs to take for a short period of time, if we believe they will help resolve your particular digestive symptoms faster. Also at this time of the year, we also see a fair amount of digestive problems related to acute viral and bacterial infections. As we are a community clinic, we ask that you not come see us until the infectious period has passed, but if you do end up with some lingering nausea or irregular bowel movements in the days that follow your illness, do come in for a treatment or two and the symptoms should subside.

Chronic Digestive and Bowel Disorders
Those that experience digestive problems on a regular basis from disorders such as GERD, IBS, IBD, and Crohn’s Disease can also find relief from symptoms with acupuncture. Frequency of treatments needed depends on how long you have had the problem and severity of symptoms. Dietary recommendations are herbs often [...]

BCA wins a “Business of the Year” Award for Ocean Beach

We are thrilled to say that the people of Ocean Beach chose BCA as one of the top 3 businesses of the year in the OB Mainstreet Association’s People’s Choice Award!

THANK YOU for your support and votes!! We are grateful to be here to serve you.

SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and Acupuncture

By Mary Vincent, L.Ac

It’s that time of year again, when we see an increase of people walking through the door seeking relief from symptoms related to depression. We certainly see a lot of people all year around for this as depression is, of course, not an uncommon ailment, however something about this particular time of year either brings it on or exacerbates it in many individuals. Whether it’s an ongoing, year-round problem, the change in seasons, or simply the looming inevitability of the upcoming holidays, acupuncture can help relieve many of the related symptoms of depression.

Seasonal Depression

There are many different types of depression that can affect people either temporarily or year-round. For many people, this time of year not only brings with it pumpkins, chillier weather, and holiday feasts, but also the unwelcome guest of depression. Seasonal depression, otherwise known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, typically begins with the onset of fall and persists throughout the winter months. It is thought that hormones produced in the brain shift during these seasons, related to the reduced availability of sunlight throughout these months. Many theories include the idea that less sunlight leads to less production of serotonin in the brain, a hormone responsible for producing a calming, soothing effect on human moods. Therefore in some people, this could create symptoms related to depression. In addition, as was mentioned above, those who experience depression year-round may also see a marked increase in the amount or severity of symptoms related to their particular condition during the fall and winter months. The typical symptoms of depression are as follows:

▪ Fatigue/decreased energy
▪ Difficulty sleeping/sleeping too much
▪ Overwhelming sadness
▪ Difficulty concentrating
▪ Increase/decrease in appetite
▪ Weight gain/weight loss

In [...]

Learn About the Community Acupuncture Co-op: POCA!

BCA is VERY proud to be a part of a larger movement to make acupuncture accessible to as many people as possible. We are a member clinic of a cooperative organization called POCA (People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture). As a multi-stakeholder cooperative, POCA’s goal is to make acupuncture available to as many people as possible and to support those providing acupuncture to create stable and sustainable businesses and jobs.

Community acupuncture is healthcare by, of, and for the people. YOU can join the movement to bring affordable, safe, and effective healthcare to everyone. READ ON for more on why we need you and how membership serves you.

POCA Needs YOU! Patient Membership Drive is On 🙂

BCA wants YOU to be a POCA Co-Op member! Why? Because of its many awesome benefits for you, the patient, and the co-op. Those of you who really benefit from your local Community Acupuncture Clinic will really appreciate being a POCA member as it benefits the Community Acupuncture movement as a whole!

Here’s How(straight from POCA’s website):

▪ Develop a micro-loan program to open and support more clinics.
▪ Create affordable educational alternatives to train community acupuncturists (aka punks).
▪ Support punks in successfully opening, managing, and improving their clinics.
▪ Promote legislative change to encourage and support community acupuncture.
▪ Provide a working model for sustainable, ethical, affordable community healthcare practices.
▪ Increase access to affordable acupuncture for all.

As a POCA Member, your benefits include:

▪ Free birthday treatment each year.
▪ Three “free first treatment” certificates for your friends and family. (Good at any POCA clinic.)
▪ Introduce friends and family to community acupuncture.
▪ Sticking Together – our e-newsletter.
▪ Waiving new patient fees at POCA member clinics.
▪ Access to [...]

Acupuncture for Boosting the Immune System

By Mary Vincent, L.Ac

September has arrived, and for educators and parents alike this means one obvious thing in particular—back to school time is here! And while there are plenty of viruses and bacteria to go around all year long, many people (especially parents and teachers of younger children) also view back to school time as the inevitable kickoff to cold and flu season (because, let’s face it, kids aren’t exactly known for their stellar hand washing). For this reason in particular we get lots of questions this time of year as to whether or not acupuncture can help boost and support the immune system.

Whether you have young kids, work in an office where everyone around you is sick, are undergoing chemotherapy, or simply have been feeling “run-down”, we believe that acupuncture (in addition to a healthy diet, exercise, and adequate sleep) can help strengthen the immune system and possibly stave off some of those looming fall and winter illnesses!

There have been many small scale randomized, controlled studies regarding acupuncture and the immune system. These studies typically look at cancer patients due to the fact that individuals undergoing chemotherapy often have drastic lowering of white blood cells and are highly susceptible to infectious diseases. One study of interest followed 40 postoperative cancer patients for 3 days (20 patients received daily acupuncture and 20 serves as the control group).

At the end of the 3 days, when compared to the control group, those patients who had received acupuncture had a higher instance of leukocyte phagocytosis than those who did not receive treatments. [1] Another study looked at interleukin-2 and natural killer cell activity in a group of patients with malignant tumors. Of this group, 25 patients received [...]

Successfully Treating Neck and Back Pain in Recliners

By Nicole Murray, L.Ac.

A lovely woman recently stopped into BCA. She lives right nearby and decided to come in to ask about how we would handle her neck pain. She asked a lot of questions and seemed willing to try a treatment here, but not without thoroughly checking us out. Her most pointed question was, “Where would you put the needles?” I told her that it would depend, just a little, on where her neck hurts, how deep the pain is, etc. But I said, “I won’t put the needles in your neck.”

And she smiled for the first time.

I briefly said that there are two basic approaches for treating pain. One is to needle where it hurts, and make a change right there in the local pain spot, enough to make it better.
That’s not usually what we do here, I said, in part because we can’t get to every painful spot when people are in recliners. But also because our approach works! We needle into points away from the painful area, often in the arms or legs. There are many ways to apply the system, and different acupuncturists will do different things.

She didn’t care about any of that. She was sold when I told her that acupuncture can effectively treat neck pain without ever putting a needle in her neck.

She had already given that a try. Her insurance covered a course of six acupuncture treatments. Each time, her practitioner put the needles right where it hurt. And then her neck hurt even more. And, she said, “I forced myself to go to every treatment, thinking eventually, it has to get better.” It never did. This is NOT to say that acupuncture treatments for pain are not effective when the [...]

Labor Induction…

By Mary Vincent, L.Ac., MSTOM

…(otherwise known as “Get this baby out of me!!!)

While we see a great many women at BCA for a wide variety of fertility concerns and help with conceiving, we often see these same women (and MANY others as well) at the end of their pregnancies when they are ready, or way more than ready, to get that baby OUT! Women that want to help prepare their bodies for labor or to induce their labor with acupuncture are encouraged to start coming in for treatments ideally starting around the 39th week of their pregnancy. We do see our fair share of women earlier than the 39th week in which it had been deemed medically necessary or advisable to labor earlier than the 39th week (and have been cleared by their OB/GYN or midwife), and we definitely see a huge number of women well past their due dates.

While it’s fine to wait until past your due date to come in, please try not to wait until the day before you are scheduled to be induced to come in. There definitely are women who do go into labor after one treatment, but more commonly it takes an average of 4-6 treatments in a row for most women to progress into fully active labor. In order to keep costs low and affordable for patients, BCA offers labor induction patients the option to come in twice in one day (on the days we have two shifts) for the price of one treatment. Yep, that’s right! That means Monday-Thursday you can come in once in the morning and once in the afternoon/evening for $20

Does it really work?
From personal experience as a mother who used acupuncture [...]

Acupuncture During Cancer Treatment

The National Cancer Institute provides the following information on the use of acupuncture for cancer treatment.

Acupuncture applies needles, heat, pressure, and other treatments to one or more places on the skin known as acupuncture points (see Question 1).
Acupuncture has been used in China and other Asian countries for thousands of years as part of traditional Chinese medicine (see Question 2).
Acupuncture has been used in the United States for about 200 years (see Question 2).
Acupuncture is used to treat many illnesses and ailments and in cancer patients is usually used to relieve pain and other symptoms and improve quality of life. (see Question 2).
There is strong evidence from clinical trials that acupuncture relieves nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy (see Question 8).
Acupuncture may work by causing physical responses in nerve cells, the pituitary gland, and parts of the brain (see Question 4).
Laboratory and animal studies of acupuncture for cancer treatment suggest acupuncture can reduce vomiting caused by chemotherapy (see Question 7).
Most acupuncture research with cancer patients studies the use of acupuncture to relieve symptoms caused by cancer treatment (see Question 8).
It is important that acupuncture treatment be given by a qualified practitioner who uses a new set of disposable (single-use) needles for each patient (see Question 9).

For more, go right to the source…

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Research

Take a look at this research article by Andrea Peirce, BA, Writer/Editor:

“Clinical Trials Analysis Finds Acupuncture Effective for Treating Chronic Pain”

Although acupuncture has long been used to treat chronic pain, its effectiveness remains a controversial topic among physicians and scientists. This is largely because no biological mechanism has been identified to explain how the insertion and stimulation of specialized needles at specific points on the body generates lasting effects, such as decreased pain many months after a treatment.

Now, in an extensive analysis of data from nearly 18,000 individuals involved in 29 high-quality clinical trials, Memorial Sloan-Kettering health outcomes researcher Andrew Vickers and colleagues have determined that acupuncture is an effective treatment for chronic back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, shoulder pain, and headaches.

Read the full article here.

Arthritis and Acupuncture

By Nicole Murray, L.Ac.

You don’t have to suffer with arthritis, we can help you! We want everyone out there to know that arthritis is treatable with regular acupuncture treatments! It is important to note that one treatment will not cure your arthritis. Depending on the severity we recommend 3 to 5 days in a row followed by weekly, bi-weekly, to monthly treatments-whatever works for you! Read on to learn more about arthritis types and ways to treat it.

About Arthritis

Arthritis is inflammation in one or more joints, and is characterized by pain and stiffness.
Arthritis affects an estimated 70 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Arthritis is a “complex family of musculoskeletal disorders consisting of more than 100 different diseases or conditions that can affect people of all ages, races and genders” (Arthritis Foundation).

▪ The two main types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Other arthritic diseases include gout, lupus, lyme disease, juvenile arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis in the United States, affecting an estimated 21 million adults. It’s a joint disease affecting mostly cartilage (the tissue covering the ends of the bones that form a joint). Cartilage allows the bones to glide smoothly, and absorbs shock from movement. With osteoarthritis, the top layer of cartilage begins to break down, allowing bones to rub together. Symptoms begin gradually, and become more severe over time.

There are several risk factors of osteoarthritis, including: age, weight, joint injury, and stresses on the joints from certain jobs or sports.

The most common signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis are:

▪ Joint soreness after periods of overuse or inactivity.
▪ Stiffness after periods of rest that goes away quickly when activity resumes.