Cupping is a technique used in Traditional Chinese Medicine that’s exploded in popularity in recent years. Many people remember seeing Michael Phelps with purple circles on his back and shoulders during the 2016 Summer Olympics, and since then scores of athletes (from professional to weekend warriors) have been “spotted” with the cupping marks. Read more
Posts Tagged: Low Back Pain
In my practice, I see a lot of women who are experiencing either sciatica or lower back pain in pregnancy. It’s a very common condition, and it’s actually one of my favorite things to treat using acupuncture because it works so well! Acupuncture can help you to take the focus off of being in pain, and instead enjoy the last few months of pregnancy while gathering your strength for the birth.
Sciatica refers to pain which is usually in the glute and to some extent radiating down the back of the leg. Read more
Over the years I’ve gotten many calls from frantic women (and sometimes their husbands) who are 40 or 41 weeks pregnant, some who are even scheduled for medical induction in a matter of hours. They all want to know- can Acupuncture help you go into labor in order to avoid induction? The answer is yes… and no. Read on, I’ll explain.
The ideal situation is when a woman comes for regular acupuncture (1-2 times a week) beginning at week 36. I call this “Labor Preparation Acupuncture”. I have a few goals with these sessions:
- To help with any pregnancy related discomforts such as low back or hip pain, insomnia or swelling.
- To use acupuncture points which get the woman mentally and emotionally relaxed and in a place where she feels ready and optimistic about giving birth.
- To stimulate acupoints which aid in relaxing and opening the pelvic region as well as influence cervical ripening (dilation and effacement). I also focus on getting the baby into the optimal position, if not already there.
In my experience, women who follow this schedule tend to go into labor more or less on time (and avoid needing a medical induction) and have shorter labors with fewer complications. Acupuncture treatments gently and gradually send your body a message to get ready for labor. Your body is doing this all on its own, but acupuncture helps it happen more seamlessly and helps you to feel more relaxed and ready when the time comes. And YES being mentally relaxed has a HUGE and very real effect on the progress of labor (see this book for more information).
But what about those women who were mere hours away from being induced- can acupuncture help them? I’ve certainly had many cases where I’ve been able to use acupuncture at the last minute to help women go into labor- it’s powerful stuff! However I’ve seen much greater success, by far, with 3-4 weeks of regular sessions leading up to the due date. Rome wasn’t built in a day my friends, and acupuncture is not the same thing as Pitocin (thankfully!).
I’d also like to take this opportunity to encourage all women to utilize a birth doula as well as a postpartum doula. Read more about doulas and what they do here and here. And, the best way to avoid unnecessary interventions in labor (such as c-sections and episiotomies) or to achieve a VBAC? Choose your hospital based on its maternity procedure statistics. In New York State, they are found on the Department of Health’s website here.
I was the kid who couldn’t run a mile in gym class. Remember the fitness awards in elementary school? You had to reach a certain goal in tests like the v-sit, pull ups, sit ups, and of course, the dreaded mile. My 13 minute mile time always held me back from getting an award, so from elementary school until my early 30’s, I pretty much despised running. However just a few years ago, my boyfriend started to drag me out for mile runs. It was torture, but my endurance gradually improved. I’m still a novice, but now run about 12 miles a week and absolutely LOVE it! Nothing gives me more energy, and it’s a great way to spend more time outside.
Although I am relatively new to running, I have been working with runners my entire acupuncture career. I now get why runners are absolutely hell-bent on returning from an injury quickly- it’s a totally addictive sport! Acupuncture is fantastic for treating a multitude of running injuries, ranging from plantar fasciitis to runner’s knee to IT Band pain and tightness.
These are the most common issues I treat for runners: Read more
Acupuncture is a safe, effective method of treating pain and soreness from athletic endeavors. In my office I most frequently see things like plantar fasciitis and IT Band pain, but have also successfully treated shin splints and aided patients recovering from surgeries such as ACL reconstruction. Thermal imaging has shown acupuncture decreases inflammation, doppler ultrasound shows that it increases blood flow to needled areas, and neuroimaging studies show that it decreases brain activity involved in registering pain and increases brain activity involved in healing. I love treating sports injuries because patients are able to see results from the treatments so quickly and are able to stay active and pain-free. Studies have also found that acupuncture causes your muscles to release a substance called adenosine, which stimulates tissue repair and decreases inflammation. It also releases endorphins, which are your body’s natural pain relievers. Read more