Acupuncture and Surgery

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Should you seek acupuncture around surgery?

There are times when surgery is necessary, and we often get questions from our patients regarding the use of acupuncture before and after surgery. In most cases, acupuncture is a great option to help ease symptoms before and after surgery, as well as to help you heal from your procedure.

Break it down

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Here’s a little break down of how we use acupuncture to foster the most comfortable and healthy surgical experience. 

  1. Managing pain pre-procedure – The most common reason people receive surgery is because something hurts! And unless you’re receiving an emergency procedure, you’ll likely have to wait days or weeks from your time of diagnosis to your procedure. Although it won’t be able to repair the damaged structures causing your issue, acupuncture can help decrease your body’s pain signaling and tissue inflammation, which will do a lot to relieve your pain. Whether it’s from a shoulder injury, a colon issue, a car accident, or anything in between, if you’re in pain, acupuncture is a good option to help keep you comfortable until your procedure.
  2. Decreasing the side effects of anesthetics/analgesics and recovering quicker from them – Another reason we see our patients before and after surgery is to help the body process the drugs needed for anesthesia and analgesia. These drugs that “put you to sleep” during surgery can have quite a few side effects, such as nausea, constipation dizziness and confusion. Acupuncture supports your liver’s ability to process these drugs and eliminate them from your body, so that you return to feeling “normal” quicker. It can also encourage bowels to move that have been slowed by analgesics, which naturally relieves constipation. 
  3. Wound healing and procedure recovery – Acupuncture has been shown to decrease post-procedural wound healing time and increase range of motion. It decreases systemic inflammation and upregulates your immune response so that the efforts your body is making to repair itself become even more effective and quicker. This anti-inflammatory effect will also extend to any joints that have been operated on, allowing them to move more comfortably when they are ready. 
  4. Managing stress  – Regardless of the type of procedure you’re preparing for, and how your body is feeling, anticipating surgery can cause its own anxieties – about the procedure itself, the recovery, taking time off work, taking care of your responsibilities while you recover, etc. Acupuncture is especially helpful to calm your mind and body in these moments so that you can approach your procedure and the decisions surrounding it from a healthy emotional state. 

Building your healthcare team

Here at Maryville Acupuncture, we’re committed to serving as part of your healthcare team. When you’re anticipating a procedure, we always request that you inform your surgeon’s team that you’re receiving acupuncture.

We’re happy to answer any question you —  or your surgeon — may have regarding the safety and efficacy of acupuncture in respect to your procedure. 

References:

Sang In Park, Yun-Young Sunwoo, Yu Jin Jung, et al., “Therapeutic Effects of Acupuncture through Enhancement of Functional Angiogenesis and Granulogenesis in Rat Wound Healing,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2012, Article ID 464586, 10 pages, 2012. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/464586.

Jung, Se Yun et al. “Effect of Acupuncture on Postoperative Ileus after Distal Gastrectomy for Gastric Cancer.” Journal of gastric cancer vol. 17,1 (2017): 11-20. doi:10.5230/jgc.2017.17.e2

Self Guide To Topicals for Pain Relief

We love topical herbs here in the clinic! Specifically, there are two formulas we use often in treatments to treat musculoskeletal pain: po sum on and white flower oil.

Po Sum On is a proprietary blend of Chinese herbs and peppermint oil that we use to warm the muscles and joints, especially in the cases of chronic pain/injury. This oil is especially good for old back aches, neck aches, and sore arthritic fingers. 

White Flower Oil is a common analgesic liniment in China for aches and pains. In the clinic we use it when we want to cool the body – in cases of acute strain or flares of old injuries. It contains menthol, camphor, lavender, wintergreen and other oils that produce a cold sensation on the skin.

Here at Maryville Acupuncture, our practitioners utilize their years of experience treating pain of all sorts. Each visit, your acupuncturist will assess the quality, intensity, duration and frequency of your pain, as well as your current treatment regimens with your PCP and/or other physicians. We strive to be another source of excellent care as part of your integrated healthcare team. 


Forest Folk Fungi A Local Immune Boost

Maryville Acupuncture and boosting the immune system.

Here at Maryville Acupuncture we like to support and carry local products. We’re so happy to announce that we’re now carrying two formulas from Forest Folk Fungi to support your immunity during cold and flu season!

Mushrooms and their role in Chinese Medicine

Mushrooms have been treasured for thousands of years for their ability to keep us healthy, and modern science has proven their specific effects in upregulating our production of immune cells that fight infection. 

Forest Folk Fungi Products:

The Elderberry Reishi formula is a delicious way to help keep you healthy by combining the strong antioxidant properties of elderberry with the bacteriostatic and immune regulation functions of reishi. It’s got a beautiful dark red color and flavored with ginger, cinnamon, lemon and honey.

The Thrive Adaptogenic formula blends reishi and cordyceps with schisandra, milky oat seed, eleuthero, rhodiola and ginseng to help your body resist the effects of physical, emotional and mental stress. This hefty dose of adaptogens will ease your nerves, soothe your stress and allow your body to respond fully to whatever cold and flu season brings.

Check out Maryville Acupuncture for local products!

All Forest Folk Fungi products are wild-foraged, organically grown and handmade in the Chattanooga area. Don’t miss out on these tinctures this month!  

It’s important to us that you feel comfortable and informed about your treatment, so we want to make sure all your questions are answered. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us by phone or email if we can help at all!


How Does Acupuncture Treat Allergies?

Since moving to East Tennessee, I’ve heard it called “the allergy capital of the world.” It seems that most people in our area suffer from seasonal allergies of some sort. 

When we come in contact with an environmental allergen, like pollen, the immune cells in the mucous membranes of our eyes, nose and throat go into high gear, causing increased inflammation. This leads to swollen sinuses and increased mucous production – which causes all the symptoms we associate with seasonal allergies –  runny nose, watery eyes, dry cough, headache and congested sinuses.

Acupuncture has been shown to effectively treat many seasonal allergy symptoms.

In fact, a 2018 study in Germany showed that an 8-week course of acupuncture treatment was more effective than cetirizine (Zyrtec) in managing allergy symptoms during peak allergy season. 

When seeking acupuncture for the management of allergy symptoms, we recommend that you plan for 6-8 weekly treatments.

Although some people may experience immediate results on the table, it often takes a few weeks for the inflammation in your body to decrease such that you are symptom-free. Once you are feeling well, you will likely want to continue to see your acupuncturist every 6-8 weeks during the allergy “off-season.”

Whether you’re plagued by itchy eyes, runny nose, stuffy sinuses, headache, or dry cough, know that acupuncture can help. Give us a call or visit our website to schedule your first visit. 

References:

(n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nccaom.org/

Lift Chair, Increasing Handicap Accessibility For All

We wanted to announce that our clinic is becoming even more handicap accessible—

We now have a new lift chair! 

We hope this new addition will help our patients find their treatments more accessible and comfortable. 

Lift Chairs are ideal solutions for anybody who has difficulty transitioning from a seated position to standing due to limited mobility or balance issues. The benefits of being able to extend far beyond assistance by simply sitting down and standing up. 

At Maryville Acupuncture, we strive to work integratively to support the achievement of your health goals, and ensure you have access to the best possible care while we work closely with your team of doctors.

We’re honored to bring acupuncture to our neighbors here in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, and look forward to being a part of your health care team!

Acupuncture & Cancer Pain

Treating pain can be difficult, regardless of its origin, but treating cancer pain can be particularly tricky because it often has multiple causes.

According to Paley, et. al.: “Moderate to severe pain is experienced by 40% of individuals with early or intermediate stage cancer and 90% of individuals with advanced cancer. Up to 70% of all patients with cancer pain do not receive adequate pain relief, diminishing their quality of life in terms of both physical and psychological well-being.”

Tumors can compress structures, nerves can become irritated, inflammation multiplies, bones and organs can be taxed in their response to tumors or therapies – each pain is complex and often will often be prescribed a new therapy or drug in response. 

But, acupuncture provides an accessible and safe alternative to pain management without the need of added pharmaceuticals.

In a recent position paper published by the research group Evidence Based Acupuncture, a literature review showed that many studies found a moderate effect size of acupuncture on cancer-related pain, and concluded that: “…acupuncture is effective in relieving cancer related pain, particularly malignancy-related and surgery induced pain.”

Here at Maryville Acupuncture, our practitioners utilize their years of experience treating pain of all sorts.

Each visit, your acupuncturist will assess the quality, intensity, duration and frequency of your pain, as well as your current treatment regimens with your oncologist and other physicians.

We strive to be another source of excellent care as part of your integrated healthcare team.

Resources:

“Acupuncture as a Therapeutic Treatment for Cancer Pain.” Evidence Based Acupuncture, www.evidencebasedacupuncture.org/acupuncture-cancer-pain/.

Paley, C.A., Johnson, M.I., Tashani, O.A. and Bagnall, A.M., 2011. Acupuncture for cancer pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev1(10).

Acupuncture Needles

Acupuncture Needles
Acupuncture Needles

What are acupuncture needles?

Acupuncture needles have been used for many centuries. While the majority of acupuncture started with less modern materials, such as bones, sticks and bamboo.  

Acupuncture needles have advanced with new technology. Modern needles are fine, filiform (no hole down the middle of the shaft) needles made from surgical steel and come in sterile packs.

They range in thickness from 30 to 40 gauge, which is about the diameter of a hair (in contrast, the needle that a phlebotomist uses to draw your blood is between 18 and 22 guage, which is much much thicker).

 Acupuncture needles range in length from about 0.5 inches to 4-5 inches, but most often in the clinic we use 0.5-1.5 inches. 

Do acupuncture needles hurt?

Acupuncture is generally considered to be painless by most of our patients. We understand that sensitivity can be different for everyone. The majority of people would say no and that they can’t even feel them. Though, there are many different sensations associated with acupuncture. Some people can feel the “Qi” some don’t and that’s okay.

We’ll link to our article about Qi here

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What do you do with your needles?

At Maryville Acupuncture, all of our needles are single use, sterile and disposed of in a sharps container. We never reuse needles. 

These needles are left in place for 20-25 minutes while you rest comfortably.

What else should I expect during a treatment?

There are additional modalities such as cupping, electro-stimulation, lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, stress management) and traditional Chinese medicinal practices that are occasionally incorporated into your treatment to give you the best benefit.

What Happens During a New Patient Acupuncture Appointment?

I’ve heard that acupuncture can help me, but what happens during an acupuncture treatment?

When you come to our office for your first visit, you’ll be greeted warmly by one of our staff. You may have some new patient paperwork to complete – we keep all digital records – and will send you an email with a link to the paperwork or if you prefer to fill out the paperwork in office we’ll hand your our office tablet to work with.

Once your paperwork is complete, your acupuncturist will escort you back to the treatment room. She’ll begin by talking to you about the reasons you’re seeking acupuncture, as well as your relevant health history. She’ll also make sure to answer any questions you have regarding acupuncture and how it can help. Once your questions have been answered, she’ll leave the room and allow you to undress – most people choose to undress as if they were to have a massage, clothes off, underwear on – and get comfortable under the sheet on the table. If you have any questions please take the time to ask, we want you to feel comfortable.

When your acupuncturist returns, she will assess you – feel your pulse, palpate your channels, gauge your muscle tension, and other assessments to complete her diagnosis. She’ll then insert very thin, fine acupuncture needles at specific points in your body to support your symptoms. Once she’s completed the first set, your acupuncturist will leave the room so you can rest for 10-15 minutes. She’ll return, do another assessment, maybe add or take away some needles, and then let you rest for 10-15 minutes more. 

After your treatment, your acupuncturist will return to remove the needles. She’ll leave the room so you can take your time getting up and getting dressed. Once you’re ready, you’ll open the door and your acupuncturist will join you to talk about her evaluation and treatment plan, the changes you can expect and when to return. 

We usually book 1.5 hours for new patient visits and 1 hour for follow up visits. We can absolutely help you schedule your next appointment before you leave our office or you are welcome to utilize our online scheduler

Here at Maryville Acupuncture, it’s important to us that you feel comfortable and informed about your treatment, so we want to make sure all your questions are answered. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us by phone or email if we can help at all!

What is Qi?

You’ll hear us mention a term in the clinic called “qi”. But what is “qi” and what does it actually mean? Many proponents of Chinese Medicine may describe qi as the life force within any living being. This life force means there is the presence of qi and qi is necessary for life to continue. But, that answer doesn’t really allow us to fully comprehend the concept of qi, nor understand how and why we use the term around the clinic.

What does this mean?

To keep it simple, qi as an overarching label for all of the physiological processes happening in the body. From the action of the enzymes in our digestive tract, to hormones traveling through our blood stream to much more. Qi may also be compared to our breath. Breathing is the mechanism which helps assist in the exchange of oxygen at the capillary beds in our lungs, renewing and restoring chemical equilibrium. Qi is the energy, it’s the movement, it’s the descriptor of anything happening in our bodies. 

When our qi is off balance it might cause us to feel pain, tiredness, hormonal imbalances, or various other symptoms. In acupuncture, the acupuncture needle can be thought of as a messenger that helps realign the qi and helps the body return to it’s equilibrium. Research shows that acupuncture increases blood flow and circulation, boosts endorphins, the immune system and reduces pain.

So can you feel qi?

While this answer varies in each individual, most people describe the feeling of acupuncture as having a deep tissue massage but more relaxing. The nervous system reacts to acupuncture needles in the body and increases feelings of relaxation. At Maryville Acupuncture we strive to offer safe, comfortable, and effective treatments. That way, each treatment becomes a collaboration between you and your acupuncturist to move and nourish your qi to support your healing and well-being. 

How Does Acupuncture Work For Pain?

We hear a lot about how acupuncture can be helpful in treating all types of pain – back pain, knee pain, headaches, menstrual cramps – but how does it work?

Acupuncturists use many tools, but the most common are acupuncture needles. Acupuncture needles are small, thin hair-like sterile single use needles inserted into specific areas on the body.

Acupuncture points are believed to stimulate the central nervous system. This, in turn, releases chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These biochemical changes may stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being.

Whether we’re treating the acute pain of a sprained ankle or the chronic pain of a bulging disc, we know that acupuncture treats pain in three ways:

1. Neurologic Disruption

Your body processes the stimulation from acupuncture using the same part of the nervous system that transmits pain. By sending different signals – such as the message your body receives from the insertion of an acupuncture needle – your acupuncturist can “disrupt” the pain messages transmitted from body to brain and help decrease your sensation of pain

2. Local Tissue Relaxation

When a part of your body is in pain, the muscles surrounding the painful area often tense to protect and compensate. This can cause additional soreness and decrease the body’s ability to move and heal naturally. These same muscles and tissues will respond to acupuncture stimulation by relaxing, causing decreased pain and easier movement.

3. Decreasing Inflammation

Injury to any tissue causes an increase in inflammation, which in turn, causes increased pain, and can cause swelling and reduced range of motion. Acupuncture activates your innate immunity, which will work to decrease inflammation throughout your body and decrease local and systemic pain.

Currently, the World Health Organization (WHO) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) have found acupuncture to be effective for over thirty conditions and the list is continuing to grow.

If you have any questions, please call our office, email, or visit our website.