Much of what we do at BCA is women’s health centered, however, we do not ONLY treat women’s health. Think of us as your holistic primary care provider. Here are a few things we often see in the clinic:
- Menstrual Disorders
- Infertility for any reason
- Perimenopausal/Menopausal symptoms
- Abnormal bleeding
- Painful periods
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
- Pain in any location, from any cause
- Stress, anxiety, emotional issues
- Sleep disorders
- Urinary Problems, including incontinence
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Asthma/Allergies/Sinus Issues
- Headaches, including migraines
- Digestive Difficulties
- Pain due to injury, arthritis or other factors
- Chemotherapy side effects, including fatigue, nausea, headaches, digestive upset, and emotional support before, during, and post-treatment
The best part about Chinese Medicine is that you don’t have to be sick to reap the benefits of a treatment. In an ideal world, we would go to acupuncture in order to keep from getting sick in the first place…preventative treatment is the best medicine, so keep yourself well!
Don’t let our women’s health-centered specialty scare you away! We absolutely see men for a variety of issues, including but not limited to, male factor infertility, pain, headaches, depression/anxiety, digestive disorders, and erectile dysfunction. Often when working with fertility issues, we need to see both partners to increase your chances of success.
An acupuncture treatment feels different for everybody: there is no right or wrong way to receive acupuncture. When we think of needles, we usually think about the ones our doctors use to do a blood draw or give us a shot. Eek! Nobody likes those! Acupuncture needles are in a whole different league! They are extremely fine, about the size of a hair, literally!
Acupuncture itself can be full of sensations that we are not accustomed to. Some people report feeling a warmth around the points, buzzing, fullness, distention, or general movements throughout their bodies. Some don’t feel much at all, some feel strong sensations. Some feel more emotionally, some more physically. People feel different things on different days. Acupuncture should not hurt, although you may feel a sensation at the insertion of some needles. Communication with your practitioner is key: if you are uncomfortable at any time during your treatment, tell your practitioner immediately and she will make adjustments to make your experience a positive one. Overall, most people find that acupuncture treatments are a relaxing experience: this is one of the few times in our busy lives when you are allowed to just stop, and be still.
In the western world, the jury is still out on this question. There have been several studies into this question, and researchers have found that acupuncture influences endorphins and neurotransmitters, as well as bioelectrical fields on and around the body. It makes sense that we as westerners would try to figure out how acupuncture works from a scientific point of view. However, it is far more interesting and mind-expanding to try on a new perspective for size. According to Chinese medical scholars, acupuncture works by affecting the movement and amount of qi in the body. Theory holds that the body is made up of qi, a vital life force, that flows throughout the entire body in meridians. Sometimes these meridians get blocked and the qi doesn’t flow properly; sometimes there is too little qi to begin with and there is a deficiency that needs to be nourished. Ultimately, your body knows how to be well. It is through asking detailed questions and prescribing acupuncture & herbal medicine that your practitioner detects the root of the imbalance and begins the process of reminding your body back into a state of wellness.
Qi is rather hard to define, yet it is one of the most important concepts guiding your Chinese medical treatment. Simply put, qi is our life force. What does that mean, exactly? In a meditation class of Chinese medical scholars, the students were asked to write a paper defining qi. 30 papers were written with 30 different definitions. Does this mean that some were right and some were wrong? No, it just means that Chinese medicine is comfortable with contradiction, and that there is more than one answer to a problem. Any way around it, qi is considered the basic substance of life. Some people say it’s our “life force,” others call it “matter-energy”. Some students’ papers defined it as “that which connects all things”, or “inner power”. It seems that qi can be both material and immaterial, perceptible and imperceptible. In the body itself, qi plays an important role. It defends the body from external pathogens, keeps us warm, and regulates the flow of vital substances throughout our bodies. The more you receive acupuncture, the more you will learn about your qi!
The beauty of Chinese medicine is its ability to provide a completely individualized treatment for a patient in a particular moment. At each visit, your practitioner will go over a complete review of your system to see what changes have occurred and come to a diagnosis for that day. In the case of menstrual or fertility issues, your practitioner will often create a treatment based on where you are in your menstrual cycle.
This question has no exact answer because everyone’s bodies are so different. As a rule of thumb, acute conditions tend to resolve more quickly than a chronic or degenerative condition that has been evolving over many years. If this imbalance has taken 20 years to get where it is today, then most likely, it will take some time to get your body back to a state of wellness. Chinese medicine may not represent a “quick fix”, but you may be surprised to find that it can provide you with simple tools with which you can make lasting changes for a long and healthy life. Generally, even if your condition does not simply go away after the first treatment, you will still see some changes over the course of 6-8 weeks. These changes may be a decrease of symptoms, or you may find that you notice changes in your energy level, quality of sleep, or amount of pain. Acupuncture has a cumulative effect: this means that the more regularly you receive acupuncture, the longer the effects of each treatment tend to last.
Yes. It is not at all uncommon for many patients to be taking western medications prescribed by their doctor, as well as a Chinese herb formula. Most of our patients are taking some sort of pharmaceutical, vitamins, or supplements. There are few circumstances where this would be a problem at all, and your practitioner has had training in drug-herb interactions as well as in the pharmacology of western pharmaceuticals. However, it is important that you provide your Chinese herbalist with a complete, updated list of your western medications, their doses, and how often you take them. Be sure to include vitamins and supplements, including weight management supplements, on this list. The more your practitioner knows about your medication routine, the better she can help you to avoid any unwanted side effects.
Weight loss and maintenance can be so challenging. There are many ways your practitioner will be glad to help support your weight loss in a healthy, safe manner. Acupuncture and herbs can help strengthen your digestion, improve absorption of nutrients, balance metabolic hormones, reduce stress and improve sleep, all of which can affect weight maintenance. We will also give you dietary and lifestyle recommendations. Change does not come overnight, but small changes do make a big difference. We can support you on your mission towards wellness!
One of the more modern uses of acupuncture has been its use in detox/addiction recovery programs across the United States. Patients in these recovery programs report that daily acupuncture makes a significant difference in their treatment and recovery. When used in conjunction with a recovery program, acupuncture has been shown to calm nerves, improve sleep, and reduce cravings. Acupuncture can be used to help a person recover from a variety of substances, including smoking, but it is very important to note that acupuncture should never be used as a substitute for an addiction recovery program. It is when both are utilized simultaneously that patients report lasting recovery outcomes. For more information, ask Lindsey about BCA’s smoking cessation program.