acupuncture

Treating PTSD with Acupuncture

by Nicole Murray, L.Ac.
At Beach Community Acupuncture, we treat the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on a regular basis. Acupuncture regulates the nervous system response and lowers stress. At BCA, our patients with PTSD report reduction in symptoms like: obsessive thinking, insomnia, panic attacks, and nightmares. To be most effective, we prescribe daily treatments for 10 days, then maintenance as needed.
About PTSD
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that some people may develop after living through or witnessing a dangerous event. When facing danger, it is natural to feel anxious and fearful-the nervous system “fight or flight” response is designed to help keep us safe. When these symptoms persist long after the danger has passed, PTSD is the likely diagnosis. In essence, the signals become damaged and the person experiences fear even when there is no danger.
We hear a lot about combat veterans with PTSD. Aside from the trauma experienced during war, people may develop PTSD after an accident, assault of any kind, natural disaster, or any terrifying event. The sudden death of a loved one or other strong emotional shock may also trigger PTSD.
The National Institute of Mental Health classifies the symptoms of PTSD in three categories: re-experiencing symptoms, avoidance symptoms, and hyperarousal symptoms. Symptoms are outlined below.
Re-experiencing symptoms
* Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
* Bad dreams
* Frightening thoughts.
* Re-experiencing symptoms can be triggered from within-according to the person’s thoughts or feelings. External reminders of the event can also trigger re-experiencing (think of a car backfiring after a person has heard gun shots).
Avoidance symptoms
* Staying away from places, events, or objects that [...]

Hypertension

by Mary Vincent, L.Ac.
Hypertension (high blood pressure) is one of the most common disorders seen today. The harder the heart has to work to pump blood through the arteries, especially if those arteries are clogged or narrowed, the higher your blood pressure will be. This can ultimately damage the heart.
The blood pressure is read by two specific measurements, the systolic pressure (greatest force of blood during contractions when the heart beats) and diastolic pressure (the least force occurring when the heart relaxes between beats). A normal, healthy blood pressure reading at rest would be between 100-140 mmHg for systolic pressure and 60-90 mmHg for diastolic pressure. In other words, healthy blood pressure is anywhere from 100/60 mmHg to 140/90 mmHg.
There are two types of hypertension:
Primary hypertension (also called essential hypertension):
This is the most common type of hypertension, accounting for 90-95% of cases. There is often no known cause found in the individual, and it tends to develop slowly over many years. Primary hypertension goes easily undetected, as individuals typically display no symptoms, even while damage is occurring to their heart and vessels (including vessels of the eyes, brain, and kidneys). Often referred to as the “silent killer,” it is important to check your blood pressure regularly (every year or two for those with past healthy readings, and more often if you tend to border on the high end of a normal reading). Risk factors that make a person more likely to develop hypertension include:
▪ Age: The arteries tend to harden as we age
▪ Genetics: Men, African Americans, and those with a family history of hypertension are at greater risk.
▪ High stress levels
▪ Obesity: Excess weight means excess blood volume to [...]

Acupuncture for PMS

By Mary Vincent, L.Ac.
    Most women experience at least some form of PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) at some point in their lives. It is estimated that 3 out of 4 women experience symptoms of PMS with each menstrual cycle. This means that the majority of women are all too familiar with a variety of uncomfortable physical and emotional symptoms occurring before every single menstrual cycle we have. The symptoms of PMS typically take place in a predictable fashion, presenting at about the same time (7-10 days) before each menstrual cycle, and then disappearing with the onset of or shortly thereafter the onset of menstruation. Signs and symptoms can vary from month to month in intensity, and typically include a handful of the following emotional or physical presentations:

Mood swings (especially irritability and/or anger)
Depression and/or increased bouts of crying
Anxiety
Insomnia
Increased appetite and/or food cravings
Acne
Breast tenderness/pain
Fatigue
Headaches
Weight gain/bloating (usually due to water retention)
Diarrhea or constipation (sometime alternating)

    There is no clear understanding of what causes PMS to occur. Some of symptoms are thought to be caused by:

Cyclical hormonal changes–Changes in the balance of estrogen and progesterone lead to mood changes,     anxiety, and irritability. PMS symptoms disappear during pregnancy and with menopause.

Stress–Signs and symptoms are intensified during times of stress.

Poor nutrition–Inadequate levels of vitamins and minerals are thought to lead to some PMS symptoms. In addition, poor diets that include high intakes of sat contribute to water retention.

Cyclical changes in brain chemistry–a cyclical decrease in the neurotransmitter serotonin is thought to contribute to premenstrual depression, fatigue, and insomnia.

    If you are one that experiences PMS symptoms every single month (particularly if they are severe enough to negatively impact your [...]

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 and Sciatica Relief

By Mary Vincent, L.Ac.

Many people think of acupuncture in relation to helping ease general low back aches and pains, but did you know it is also incredibly effective in reducing and easing symptoms associated with sciatica?

Sciatica [sahy-at-i-kuh] is caused either by compression or irritation to one of the lower lumbar
or sacral nerves that lead directly to the larger sciatic nerve (located in the buttocks), or by compression or irritation directly to the sciatic nerve itself. Symptoms of sciatica often include low back or hip pain but will also consists of all or some of the following complaints:

▪ Deep gluteal pain
▪ Pain that radiates down the side or back of the leg, sometimes past the knee and/or into the foot
▪ Paresthesias–otherwise known as “pins and needles”, tingling, burning, or numbness in the leg or foot

The main causes of sciatica are as follows:

▪ Spinal Disc Herniation: This occurs when the gelatinous substance within the spinal disc protrudes out and presses on the surrounding spinal nerves, causing pain to those nerves directly and to associated nerves (such as the sciatic nerve).
▪ Piriformis Syndrome: A less common cause of sciatic pain, it is caused by the spasm of the piriformis muscle (which runs from the sacrum into the buttocks). The spasm of this muscle then compresses or squeezes the sciatic nerve.
▪ Pregnancy: Pressure caused by the weight of the growing fetus can lead to compression of the sciatic nerve.

How can acupuncture help sciatic pain?

▪ Acupuncture may change and improve circulation in blood flow leading to the sciatic nerve (Inoue, 2008).
▪ Acupuncture stimulates the nerves, thereby leading to a release of endorphins in the body. This then changes how the brain perceives and [...]

Natural Help for Sinus Problems

By Mary Vincent, L.Ac.

We see a substantial amount of patients at BCA that, with acupuncture, receive considerable relief of some or all of the following uncomfortable symptoms of rhinitis (inflammation of the nasal cavity) and/or sinusitis (inflammation of the nasal cavity):

▪ general swelling of the nasal or sinus cavity
▪ mucus and fluid retention in the sinuses
▪ post-nasal drip
▪ headaches
▪ ear, face, and/or jaw pain

About acupuncture and sinusitis:

Rhinitis and sinusitis can be caused by a number of factors, but the most frequent cases stem from allergies or viral infections. When subsequent swelling and congestion occurs within the sinus cavity, the pressure exerted in the facial region not only leads to difficulty in breathing and smelling, but can cause frontal headaches and referred tooth or jaw pain. Many of our regular patients come in with acute symptoms due to allergies or a common cold, but we also see many new faces in clinic with chief complaints of the above symptoms that have persisted months past the initial trigger and are trying acupuncture for the first time as a last ditch effort to find some relief for their residual discomfort.

After treatment

with acupuncture in both acute and chronic cases, we typically see patients leave with decreased pain/pressure, and an increased ability to breathe and smell. In cases with mucus or fluid blockage the sinuses will often open and begin draining soon after the needles are in place. As someone who suffers from chronic rhinosinusitis (say THAT ten times in a row), I personally use acupuncture successfully to keep the passages open and minimize the beating they take every year during allergy season.

Studies Prove Acupuncture for Sinus Issues Effective

A recent pilot study conducted by Dr. [...]

Acupuncture for Addiction

By Nicole Murray, L.Ac.

At BCA we strive to give you the best treatment for your ailments. What we also want to do is provide you with other resources that you can practice outside of BCA. We want you to be the best possible version of yourself! That is why we will be giving you informative articles (written by your favorite L.A.c.s) pertinent to many conditions our clients may face. This week is addiction. Next week…well you’ll just have to wait and see!

Patients at BCA and other clinics successfully use acupuncture to aid in detoxification from:

▪ alcohol
▪ cigarettes and other tobacco
▪ street drugs
▪ prescription drugs
▪ sugary and processed foods

What to Expect During Treatment

In most cases, the practitioner will use the proven NADA (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association) protocol to help in detoxification and continued support of the patient. Five needles are inserted in each ear, for a total of 10 needles. Upon insertion, there may be a stinging or warm sensation that quickly subsides. After all the needles are inserted, most patients report that they feel very calm and relaxed. This can be explained by the traditional functions of the points, and also by modern studies showing that stimulation of ear acupuncture points appears to cause the systemic release of endorphins. The needles are retained for 45 minutes. It is most helpful, especially during detoxification, to get treatment as frequently as possible.

About Acupuncture and Addictions

The treatment of addictions with acupuncture is a modern application of an ancient medicine. In 1974 at the Lincoln Recovery Center in the Bronx, clinicians started using acupuncture to help people get relief from symptoms associated with methadone withdrawal. Dr. Michael Smith of Lincoln Hospital developed a basic, [...]