PREPARING FOR YOUR FIRST ACUPUNCTURE TREATMENT

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  1. EAT SOMETHING.   Don’t come on an empty stomach. No need to guzzle down a huge T-Bone, but a light meal is perfect. Once those endorphins start pumping, it will be helpful to have some sustenance in your belly. Otherwise, you may feel like you’ve had one too many glasses of champagne. I know that may sound appealing to some, but remember- you have to drive home afterwards. As much as we love to hear our patients say they wish they could hang around and have a nap or a good meditation sesh when their acupuncture treatment is finished, this is not the Hilton.
  1. DO NOT COME UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL OR DRUGS.  You don’t need to!   Do your best to come au naturel. Let the acupuncture do it’s thing and you’ll be feelin’ just fine!   Licensed Acupuncturist Warning: Having acupuncture under the influence of recreational drugs confuses your qi and may not have the desired effect on your body, mind and spirit. Don’t waste your time or your money.
  1. WEAR LOOSE COMFORTABLE CLOTHES.  You always have the option to wear one of our fashionable hospital gowns during treatment – they are stunning and provide ample air circulation for your backside. However, many of our patients prefer to stay in their own comfy clothing for treatment. So wear something loose, that leaves access to your arms and legs and the other areas that may need treatment.
  1. GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK.     Acupuncture treatments can take anywhere from 1 – 2 hours. Yes, you heard it right. We are the fine dining of the treatment world.  No 10 minute drive-thru for us. You need to hang out for a while to let the needles do their thing.   There’s nothing worse than achieving that “I’m Floating On a Cloud” feeling only to fall off when you are late for your next commitment.
  1. SKIP THE COFFEE.  I know it’s your morning ritual and you think it makes you feel alive and ready to conquer the world. But think flow, not conquer. You will find the treatment much more relaxing if you’re not jacked up on caffeine. Coffee is a stimulant which scatters your qi flow. Your acupuncturist needs a true reading of your energy and coffee gets in the way of that. If you have your acupuncture later in the day and you need that cup of joe, give yourself 3 hours to metabolize it before you get your needles on.
  1. TURN OFF YOUR CELLPHONE.  This is your downtime.   Don’t interrupt it with letting the outside world invade into this time you have scheduled to take care of yourself. Nothing is as important as your good health. Also, be considerate to others. Remember my fine dining reference in #4? Would you like it if the dude at the next table at Tavern on the Green was talking loudly on their cellphone? Probably not.
  1. FILL OUT YOUR PAPERWORK BEFORE YOUR INITIAL CONSULT /INITIAL TREATMENT.  Complete your new patient paperwork when you can carve out some time to really think about the information we are asking for. Try not to leave areas blank as each section is helpful for our diagnostic process. You may wonder why certain questions are on there. Remember that Traditional Chinese Medicine is a holistic medicine, so we take into account all aspects of the Body Mind & Spirit. Make sure to write down or bring a list of any supplements and medications you are taking. Come in with completed paperwork in hand so you are not rushing through it during the time you are supposed to be receiving treatment. As my little Asian mama would tell me, do your homework!

STAVE OFF THE COLD OR FLU WITH THIS FASHION FORWARD TIP

 

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Top TCM style tip. WEAR A SCARF. It hides any unwanted neck hair and looks faaaabulous with this season’s Boho chic style. That’s not the real reason why, silly! Wear a scarf to cover up your wind points.

You probably never knew you had wind points. According to TCM, wind is how pathogens can enter our body. It disrupts the balance of the body, leading to illness. (And you thought wind was something that could just exit your body.)

Think of your body as your home. If there are cracks in the windows and walls, wind can enter and make it difficult to regulate the temperature and the environment inside of the home.   Wind does the same thing to your body. External wind can bring on the common cold or flu. Have you ever noticed a stiff neck and/or upper back when you are starting to feel sick? It’s at the location of these points.

“The Yellow Emperor’s Classic”, the authoritative text on Chinese Medicine dating back over 2,000 years, says that “Pathogenic wind is the root of all evil.” Wind is also called “the thief of a thousand disguises, and the Chariot for One Hundred and One Evils.” This wind is a serious thing! That’s because it is how illness can enter the body.

Here are 3 acupoints, know as the “wind points,”  that are used to expel pathogenic wind.  They are also the points that should be protected by a scarf to avoid attack of wind.  You can massage these points when you exposed to germs or feel like you are coming down with something.

San Jiao 17 (SJ17)- Shielding Wind – In the indentation behind the ear lobe.Dispels wind and cold, clears heat, transforms phlegm, clears sensory orifices, benefits ears.Treats ear disorders, hypertension, heaviness of head, blurred vision, temporomandibular pain,

Gallbladder 20 (GB 20) – Wind Pool- Run finger from behind ear to base of skull, after the first prominent bump, your finger will fall into a hollow, which is between 2 major neck muscles.Releases exterior conditions, dispels wind, subdues liver yang.Treats hypertension, common cold, body aches, insomnia, vertigo, dizziness, stiff neck and shoulder, trigeminal neuralgia

Du 16- Wind Palace – In the hollow at center of the back of the head, just below the base of the skull.Benefits and clears the brain. Dispels wind.Treats common cold, sinusitis, headache, dizziness, seizures, mania, aphasia due to stroke, neck stiffness. (IFp. 286)

And I like to add one more point in there that I have found to be clinically relevant when treating illness:

Gallbladder 21 (GB21)- Shoulder Well – Located at the highest point of the shoulder muscle, halfway between the midline and the highest point of the shoulder joint. 1-2 inches from the side of the lower neck.Benefits the shoulder, Clears heat, dispels wind and cold.Treats vertigo, headache, cough, chest pain with fever, difficulty breathing with profuse mucus, shoulder and back pain.

Wrap that scarf around your neck to cover up these important wind points. Especially when you’re feeling tired or vulnerable. Wrap up after an acupuncture treatment – your wind points may have been needled leaving them more open to external qi.  I like to keep a pashmina size scarf or some sort of wrap with me when I travel. Traveling is taxing on the immune system, especially if you are switching climates which leaves you more vulnerable.    I was so excited when scarves became a statement in every season. Scarves…they’re not just for winter anymore! Who knew a scarf could be so good for your health.