You wouldn’t know it to look outside (the picture to the right is from last year), but spring is finally here—well, technically at least. And after Vancouver’s unusually long cold snap, many are anxious to shake off the dark dreariness of winter. If you’re feeling a little funky trying to gear up for the warmer months ahead, now is the perfect time to consider getting some springtime acupuncture.
Here are some reasons why you need acupuncture this spring.
With the start of a new season, we also run the risk of getting sick. As the weather changes, it can take a while for our bodies to adjust. But for so many Vancouverites, the first sign of the springtime sun is like a long lost friend, tempting us to prematurely shed our scarves and gloves. If your body hasn’t had the chance to properly acclimatize, you could wind up getting sick. Getting some preemptive acupuncture will help boost your immunity and prepare you for the seasonal change.
Ahhhh…spring! Blossoming flowers, budding trees, sprouting grass—what a wonderful time of year. That is, of course, if you aren’t one of the many that suffer from seasonal allergies. For allergy sufferers, springtime means itchy watery eyes, a runny nose, sneezing, congestion, and headaches. Don’t let allergies keep you indoors this year. Acupuncture has been shown to treat allergic reactions. Just make sure to get treatment early, before springtime pollen has a chance to send your immune system into overdrive. You might also ask me about biopuncture allergy treatment.
Spring is all about change. And while many of us welcome it, the change in season does come with its own set of stress-inducing challenges. Final exams, adjusting to the time change, and taking on more work to prepare for summer vacation are all things that can send our stress levels through the roof, thus opening the door to a wide range of symptoms, including muscle pain, digestive issues, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, and hormonal swings. Treating yourself to some calming acupuncture will help you control your stress before it controls you.
Deal with Sports Injuries
Cycling, running, softball, and hiking— spring is a great time to get active again and enjoy the great outdoors. Unfortunately, after a long winter of inactivity, it’s also the time of year when sports-related injuries start popping up. If you are looking to prevent injuries (or treat them when they do), acupuncture will help keep you active all season long.
Yes, you need acupuncture this spring
Now that spring has finally sprung, there’s no time like the present to get some acupuncture. You’ll be better equipped to meet the challenges of seasonal change head on and enjoy everything this marvellous time of year has to offer.
You know the commercial. The one with the person pointing to his or her rear end, indicating that it hurts. The doctor then says that he cannot help with that, as it’s tax pain. Yes, it’s tax season. And no, I can’t help you with that. But I can help you with actual pain in the buttocks.
The most common cause of back side pain is sciatic nerve irritation. This kind of pain can originate in the low back or buttocks and travel down the back of the leg, even travelling as far as the foot. The cause can be a herniated disc, but any irritation of this nerve can create sciatica.
Sciatica is often sourced to an issue called piriformis syndrome, created by inflammation, scar tissue, adhesions, or tightness of the piriformis muscle, a small muscle that is located deep, under the larger gluteus muscles.
Acupuncture is one of the most effective ways of relieving sciatica. As you can see from the image here, there are many acupuncture channel points traditionally found on the buttocks. But, there are also extra points that we call “ashi” points (directly translated as “ah, yes” points—points that hurt when pressed), trigger points (specific points located in a tight ball of muscle found in a tight band of muscle), and motor points (a point where a motor nerve enters a muscle). Distal points—points away from the problem area—are also important, and chosen based on your particular symptoms and constitution.
In addition to relieving your pain by relaxing tight muscles, improving local blood flow, and supporting the healing of damaged tissues, acupuncture can also be very stress-relieving. So, though I can’t crunch numbers for you, I may be able to help you feel better about doing your taxes by reducing at least one pain in the butt.
Come in and try acupuncture—and ask me about biopuncture—to relieve your sciatic pain.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been in practice for thousands of years, but is ever-evolving, encompassing new modalities to continue to grow our methods of treatment. One of the decades old methods I use is called biopuncture or acupuncture injection therapy. Injections of small amounts of natural remedies can be done superficially under the skin or into muscles to stimulate the body to heal itself.
In the case of allergies, I use an ultra-low dose natural solution that is both safe and powerful, called Pascallerg, as the main remedy. A small amount of this remedy is injected into specifically chosen acupuncture points.
For a personal perspective, I’ve asked a recent patient to write about her experience:
“I’ve had asthma and allergies since I was a child and had been on corticosteroid inhalers for 20 years. I’m allergic to pretty much everything: dust, mold, trees, grass, feathers, animals- and I couldn’t function normally without taking a preventative inhaler daily. Recently, I decided I couldn’t be satisfied with the conventional medicine attitude that my health would never improve and that I would have to depend on pharmaceuticals the rest of my life. Starting to see Dr. Carr this past year was a turning point. My treatment focuses on acupuncture with biopuncture using Pascallerg, and is complemented by a good diet and other holistic methods. I have seen great results! In the course of a few months, I have been able to progressively reduce the use of my preventative inhaler down to zero! This was the first time in my life since childhood that I had a medication free week and been wheeze-free! I have also become much more resilient to colds, which used to have me wheezing for weeks afterwards. My friends and family are thrilled that I have seen so much progress as they know how frustrating my struggle with my allergies and asthma has been.”—S.F.
Anyone following the NFL—and many who don’t—know that Peyton Manning is one of the best quarterbacks in history. Last year he set single-season records for touchdowns and passing yards, and of course this year his team is playing in the Superbowl against Seattle.
I am a Peyton Manning fan. But the reason that I am writing about him is because of his recovery—a resurrection, really—from a neck condition that resulted in four surgeries and would have ended the career of most professional athletes.
So, what did Peyton do to have one of his best years yet, at age 37, following such physical trauma? I don’t know the details of his rehabilitation, but there are some pieces that we do know.
- Peyton sought help from the experts and his athlete friends. He found out what he could about his condition, though he recognized that every individual heals differently.
- He rested. For almost three months after his fourth surgery (a second vertebral fusion) he did not pick up a football.
- He started slow and built himself up patiently. He was forced to listen to his body, and with the guidance of his trainers he started with minimal movement and minimal weight, throwing darts instead of footballs, lifting only five-pound weights, and sitting in front of a mirror practicing his throwing action.
- He changed the way he plays. His right arm is still weaker than his left, so he had to relearn and alter his game to match his new body.
- He put it all into perspective. His older brother Cooper was a promising wide-receiver who had to quit football at a young age because of spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spaces within the spine, putting pressure on the spinal cord). At age 16 Peyton was told by his doctor that his neck curvature was a potential problem, but he was fortunate to be able to play without major injury for 20 years, and he didn’t take his talent for granted. He also became a proud father of twins and said that though it was hard to be fighting for the return of his physical gift, the gain of having his kids was an equalizer. “I would take that trade any day of the week,” he said.
I don’t know if Peyton received acupuncture or biopuncture, but I do know that these therapies would have helped improve local blood flow to support the healing of the injured tissues. They can also reduce inflammation, release tight muscles, and relieve pain. But you know that already, right? 😉
This past weekend I did the Tough Mudder in Whistler. My last race prior to this was a Terry Fox run when I was in grade 6. When I started getting ready for this, a few months ago, I was concerned that my knees wouldn’t make it. I’ve mentioned in the past that I don’t like running. A large part of that is that it used to really hurt my knees to run. So, just as I avoid poking myself in my eye with my finger in order to avoid stabbing pain to my eye, I avoided running. But the Tough Mudder was almost a half marathon distance, plus obstacles, so I needed to make running a major part of my training.
How do you practice running when running hurts?
I started by choosing my terrain. I knew that running on pavement, particularly on sidewalks, is the worst for painful shock impact. So, I chose to run mostly on a chip trail circuit.
I also started with a run/walk combo. I have a hard time allowing myself to slow down or stop, but I knew that if I pushed too hard, my knees would give out.
I tried to listen to my body. At the beginning, I paid attention to pain. But, I also discovered that certain kinds of pain would go away. They were not actually true pains, but more like discomforts. I could push through those, keep running, and be fine.
But, a couple of times I misread pain/discomfort and suffered afterward. As a result, I made sure to ice my knees following my runs, so as to take down the inflammation I was causing.
Since I knew that running was the most injurious, I did other forms of training that didn’t involve running, but would continue to build strength and endurance. Snowshoeing, climbing the Grouse Grind, and yoga were my choices.
I also made sure to get treatments. I had massage, chiro, and acupuncture. I did my own biopuncture in my knees, using a combo of Traumeel, Zeel, Lympdiaral, and procaine once a week to build up my knees and take down the inflammation. This was definitely a huge part of my healing and strengthening!
Most Tough Mudders I spoke with were worried about one obstacle or another–overcoming fears of heights, electrocution, water, etc. I was most worried about the running. At the beginning I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get past 5K of running. Because at the beginning my knees hurt at just 3-4K. I also had problems with anything downhill.
But, I love reading about the power of the mind. So, one day I did the snowshoe grind and decided to run down the mountain with the thought of strong knees that would carry me down with ease. Indeed they were strong that day and I suffered no pain. Unfortunately, not every training after that meant no pain. But some did, so that was encouraging.
It was those “some” moments that allowed me to believe that no knee pain would be possible.
Now, just 2 days after Tough Mudder, I’m happy to have happy knees. They didn’t hurt at all on event day. They didn’t hurt the day after. And they don’t hurt today. Well, except for the bruises.
So, if you have pain, perhaps there is a way around, to do the things that you strive to do.
This new report states that current flu vaccines are “sub-optimal”.
But vaccines aren’t the only way to avoid getting sick. In fact, boosting your immune system and keeping your body strong is the best way to avoid colds and flus or at least limit their frequency, duration, and severity. It is important that our immune systems practice mounting a defense. But of course we don’t want to get sick!
I recall a book from my childhood that showed immune cells as little French soldiers in neat little uniforms, carrying bayonet guns. When a virus or bacteria attacks the body, these little immune cell soldiers must mount a counter attack. If the viruses or bacteria are more numerous and stronger, they win. If the immune cells outnumber and overpower their attackers, our bodies win.
There are many ways to recruit more soldiers! Here are some:
1. Vitamin C: Supplements or vitamin C rich foods, including citrus foods, peppers, papayas, kiwis, dark leafy greens, and broccoli.
2. Zinc: Supplements (50 mg, not more than 100mg in a day) or zinc rich foods like oysters, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, and sesame seeds.
3. Mushrooms: All cooked mushrooms help, but the best are maitake, rieshi, and shiitake.
4. Ginger, garlic, honey, oregano, and onions.
5. Echinacea, oregano, astragalus, goldenseal, and so many more herbals…
6. Sleep: Get enough sleep. Your body needs this time for recovery and repair.
7. The usual: Wash your hands. But you know that already!
8. Biopuncture! Yes, biopuncture. Pascoleucyn contains echinacea in herbal quantity and a mix of homeopathic herbals. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it works!
Want to know more? Ask me!