Sunday, October 28, 2012

POCA! No, not the dance..

This week we're taking an in-depth look at POCA. 

What is POCA? It stands for the People's Organization of Community Acupuncture. 

It all started when Working Class Acupuncture was founded in Portland, Oregon, in 2002, by acupuncturists Lisa Rohleder and Skip Van Meter. Lisa realized as an acupuncturists that the difference in her patient base was black in white-literally her patients were either extremely wealthy people who could afford the $60-75 price per treatment, or they were impoverished drug addicts she served while in rehab. There was no in between, no middle class, no working class patients. 

According to the POCA site,

"The community acupuncture (CA) business model they developed is based on many of the traditional community styles of treatment often practiced in Asia. In setting up the first CA clinic, the founders asked some simple questions: 

What were the barriers to people getting acupuncture? 

What is really necessary for acupuncture treatments? 

How can acupuncturists make a sustainable income providing treatments to more people?

In 2006, the Community Acupuncture Network (CAN, a non-profit) was formed by Lisa, Skip, and several others and by the end of 2006, 11 clinics had started practicing as community acupuncture (CA) clinics. Within two years, 32 clinics were in operation and the CAN forums were bursting with discussion as people continued to simplify and refine the CA model. Growth continued to increase: by 2009, 115 clinics were open, and Lisa, along with several CAN members, published Acupuncture is Like Noodles. The 200th CAN clinic opened in 2011; practitioners and acupuncture students turning to this affordable sliding-scale community model generated a critical mass of energy that propelled the CA movement into its next stage of growth and development.
On March 18, 2011, POCA formally incorporated in the state of Oregon to meet the growing demand for more clinics and support. POCA offers membership and leadership to community acupuncture patients, licensed acupuncturists, and those in training programs, community acupuncture clinics, and organizations who support their mission and members. "

When Lisa first started her CA clinic, she treated 12 patients a week. Today, she serves upwards of 850 a week and has more than 20 employees to help with the growing demand for affordable treatment-how incredible!

Today there are over 200 CA clinics in the United States, with clinics also in Canada, Europe, and Australia. I think it's absolutely amazing how much and how quickly Community Acupuncture has grown in the US, I believe it shows how large of a need for it there is . Alternative medicine is usually shunned by the mainstream or discredited, however, thankfully it's becoming more and more accepted. Is is both incredibly fortunate and unfortunate that Maplebrook is the only CA clinic in the state of Oklahoma, hopefully that will change soon. The more people we can treat as soon as possible, the better. 

Until next week,


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Battlefield Acupuncture

Battlefield Acupuncture

Battlefield acupuncture was developed in 2001 by Richard C. Niemtzow, MD and retired Air Force Colonel, in hopes of finding a more effective treatment for our servicemen and women.

According to a publication by Niemtzow:

“Military use of this technique centers about the pain-free period when a narcotic cannot be used that would produce lethargy and as a result, would cancel a critical mission. Because these points are most likely dealing with pain processing at the central nervous system level, a general quick response to all pain patterns occurs; simple and complex etiologies. Because the ears are most always accessible, this method is very convenient and simple to practice without undressing the patient, especially during combat situations.”

In a newsarticle from the US Department of Defense, Dr. Stephen Burns (a retired Air Force Colonel and full-time Air Force acupuncturist) states:

“He [Richard Niemtzow] localized five points and prioritized them into a protocol that any provider can use…It will take you five minutes or less and chances are you’re going to drastically reduce that patient’s pain.”

Many patients “have complicated medical problems and traditional medicine hasn’t helped them. They’ve been to the orthopedic surgeon, to traditional pain management clinics, to neurologists and dermatologists and they’ve taken drugs for pain relief,” he said.

“The majority of patients come to our clinic seeking relief from pain. The pain medication they’re taking has not been satisfactory or they’ve not responded well,” Niemtzow said.

“For many patients it is a last resort, but our success rate is very high here, which is very rewarding for the patient and also for myself and Doctor Burns,” he [Niemtzow] added.
I think it’s very exciting that now, even the Military is using acupuncture! It is clear that acupuncture is powerful and while it’s acknowledged that it is not a cure all, it is still a very effective and cost efficient alternative.

Until next week!


Here are the links I referenced if you would like to read each article in it’s entirety:

Friday, October 12, 2012

Qi: What on Earth is it?

This week we’re looking at Qi (Pronounced, Chee), the ever mysterious force that acupuncture balances so as to bring good health. But, what is it? explains what Qi is below:
“What Is Qi (Chi)?
Central to Taoist world-view and practice is qi (chi). Qi is life-force -- that which animates the forms of the world. It is the vibratory nature of phenomena -- the flow and tremoring that is happening continuously at molecular, atomic and sub-atomic levels. In Japan it is called “ki,” and in India, “prana” or “shakti.” The ancient Egyptians referred to it as “ka,” and the ancient Greeks as “pneuma.” For Native Americans it is the “Great Spirit” and for Christians, the “Holy Spirit.” In Africa it’s known as “ashe” and in Hawaii as “ha” or “mana.”
Balanced & Free-Flowing Qi = Health
The fundamental insight of qigong and Chinese Medicine (acupuncture and herbal medicine) is that balanced and free-flowing qi results in health; while stagnant or imbalanced qi leads to disease.”
I also found an article on by Yin Lo, PhD who offers a scientific approach to Qi: 
“What Is Qi?
By Yin Lo, PhD
The standard explanation in the ancient text is: When qi does not flow, pain occurs. When qi flows, pain disappears. Pain is treated to enable the flow of qi. But what is qi?
Normally an acupuncturist will have to wave his arms to explain to his patients with words like, "Qi is a sort of energy that flows in the meridians and carries some information from one acupoint to where the pain is." Can we say something more precise than that now, in scientific terms? Yes. The answer is:
Qi is vibration.
Qi is oscillation of the meridians. More precisely, qi is quantum oscillations on the system of meridians.
Qi is what carries the effect of acupuncture from one acupoint to other parts of the body.

            The oscillations on the meridians are like oscillations on a piano wire. When we hit the piano wire, the wire oscillates, and we hear the sound. We cannot see the propagation of sound from the piano wire to our ear, but we feel the oscillation of the piano wire if we use our hands to touch the wire. The sound in the air is the oscillation of air molecules. We cannot see the oscillation of air molecules, but when sound hits our eardrum, we hear the sound. Sound has energy, and carries a type of message to the ear.
A meridian acts like a pipe guiding qi along its path to various parts of the body. We can understand the above phenomena simply by using the analogy to sound. If we hit a piano wire, we hear a beautiful sound, but if we hit a stone, we hear an ugly sound. If we hit cotton, we hear no sound.
The analogy to sound actually goes further. The smallest lump of sound energy is called a phonon, which is described completely by quantum field. The idea of the phonon is extremely powerful, and goes beyond our daily understanding of sound. It is essential for the establishment of the field of solid-state physics, which is the basis of semiconductors, transistors and computer chips. For example, the energy of phonons accounts for most of the heat energy of a solid. The warmth of a solid is due to the flow of phonons inside the solid. The interaction of phonons with electrons at low temperature is instrumental to bring about superconductivity as first shown in the Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer (BCS) theory more than 40 years ago.
The smallest lump of qi energy is defined by us to be qionQion is like phonon and is described as completed by quantum fields. The idea ofqions would become extremely powerful. Qions would be important to human life. Without the flowing of qi or qions, a warm, living human body would become cold and dead.
The only physical theory at the moment that deals with creation and annihilation of anything is quantum field theory. The quantum field theory was originally created to describe the creation and annihilation of light, and then used to describe the creation and annihilation of sound, electrons and other substances. To use quantum field theory to describe the creation of life and death is very natural, because creation and annihilation operations are intrinsically incorporated in each quantum field.”

I personally have often thought of Qi as more of a science than a spiritual force. When I think of Qi, I think of the Law of Conservation of Energy; which states that energy cannot be created nor destroyed. Humans are energy, so perhaps if you have an imbalance of energy (Qi) in one area of your body, this is what causes stagnation and leads to disease? I’m no Physicist, and I find the matter quite mind-boggling, but it is definitely interesting to delve into all the possible explanations.
Until next week!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sciatica: A Real Pain in the Behind

This week our focus is Sciatica. I want to start by acknowledging that I did pull a lot of information from other sites, however, I feel that rather than ramble on I would rather give you something of substance and give you information from the people most knowledgeable on the subject.

What is Sciatica? According to various medical sites, Sciatica is nerve pain from irritation of the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the body. Sciatic nerve pain is typically felt from the low back to behind the thigh and radiating down below the knee.

I found the best information on acupuncture and Sciatica from Dr. Mario Dube, DOM, AP who is a Nationally Board Certified Doctor of Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture Physician. I wanted to share a piece from his blog on the matter below, because I feel it gives the best short, to the point, condensed explanation of how acupuncture helps heal Sciatica:

“Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicine that balances energy or Qi, which rebalances harmony in the body removing illness and injury. It treats the body as a whole instead of just treating the sick parts. Acupuncture can relieve sciatica by reducing inflammation, which reduces pain. It stimulates the nerves in the affected muscles also relieving pain through the release of endorphins. It also improves circulation. This in turn improves joint mobility, relaxes muscles and helps to regenerate the sciatic nerve, enabling the patient to become more active. This activity then leads to healing and increased mobility. Acupuncture also increases serotonin and noradrenalin levels. This improves the patient’s sense of wellbeing and overall attitude. All of which are beneficial to healing…For many who find that traditional western drugs are unsafe or unwise, this is a great alternative. Acupuncture can also be used in conjunction with western medical treatment, greatly enhancing its effectiveness.”

I also wanted to share some info from Joseph Alban, a New York State Licensed Acupuncturist, gives some great information on how Chinese medicine views and deals with Sciatica:

“ How Does Chinese medicine view sciatica?

Chinese medicine states that the body is interconnected; no one part can be separated from another.  The diagnosis and treatment is based upon identifying specific imbalances in the muscles and the body as a whole.  Correcting the imbalance does not just treat the symptoms or mask the condition, but rather corrects the root of the problem by encouraging self-healing of the body.  The most common imbalance in acute sciatica is qi and blood stagnation in the back channels.  But it is also important to treat the underlying imbalance, which may be causing the qi and blood to stagnate.

Qi and blood stagnation in the channels often affects the soft tissue of the lumbar, hips, and pelvis.  This is what causes the muscle spasm and tension that triggers the intense shooting pain of acute sciatica.

Some common underlying imbalances are kidney qi vacuity, spleen qi vacuity with dampness, and liver qi stagnation.  By treating the underlying imbalance, you can prevent the sciatica from returning.

Kidney Qi Vacuity: If your back feels very weak and it does not get better with a lot of rest, the underlying imbalance may be kidney qi vacuity.  Other symptoms include weakness of the knees, extreme fatigue, ringing in the ears, dizziness, and a weak pulse.  

Spleen Qi Vacuity with Dampness:  For those with spleen qi vacuity with dampness, you will also have fatigue and weakness, but the back feels better with rest.  Your body may feel very heavy and you may have poor digestion.

Liver Qi stagnation: Liver qi stagnation causes your muscles to be very tight and in spasm when you become angry or frustrated.  Also, you may suffer from frequent headaches and, in women, painful menses.    

How Does Chinese medicine Treat Sciatica?

It is best to approach sciatica using combination style treatment.  An effective therapy many include acupuncture, Tui Na (Chinese medical massage,) cupping, electric stimulation, and stretching.  The back, hip, and pelvis are very interconnected and the treatment should incorporate all of them.  Overall, the treatment should relax and stretch the tendons and fascia while strengthening the muscles.  This will help release the spastic muscles and strengthen them, allowing the back to naturally heal.  It can even encourage an out of place disc to go back into place, depending on severity. Acupuncture will help to reprogram the muscles to stay relaxed.  In effect, this is working to help the body heal itself.”

I do believe that blood stagnation causes illness. I had felt really physically and emotionally crappy for a looooooong while, not realizing that poor (not just poor, plain awful) diet and lack of exercise was to blame. I started drinking Beet juice and with NO other dietary or lifestyle changes, I lost 20 pounds. That may sound irrelevant, but the beet juice purified my blood and got things moving and my body was able to function properly again, hence the weight loss. If I hadn’t made changes, I can almost assure you that my body would have slowed down to the point that it would have stopped working altogether, and I have no doubt I would have developed Diabetes, Heart Disease, and who knows what else. Acupuncture has given me the same result, with added benefits. Since I have been getting treatments things in my body are moving again and flowing properly, my wellbeing has improved exponentially, I have an immense amount of energy I didn't have before, and I know for a fact that my body is healing itself because I have never felt so great.

If you have Sciatica, please do not let your pain dominate you any longer.  Deana has several patients afflicted with the problem and they have had great and long lasting results. If you mention this blog, you can get your first treatment for FREE! What do you have to lose?

Until next week,