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New Holistic Center in Glens Falls

Posted on December 17, 2016 at 10:41 AM Comments comments (1)
This beautiful house on upper glen street is getting a makeover...which means Acupuncture NIrvana will be moving come spring! It's going to be a holistic cente...r with a special kind of yoga that's super relaxing, called restorative yoga. Acupuncture Nirvana will be on the 2nd floor with private rooms, and eventually an herb shop. We are so excited!!! Thank you, Stephanie Kayalar for making this possible! We are so happy to be part of your dream of starting a holistic center in Glens Falls. May the good vibes flow!


Anxiety

Posted on December 15, 2016 at 6:44 PM Comments comments (0)
A lot of people suffer from anxiety, especially during the holidays.  Sometimes you are missing someone you love.  Sometimes you are overwhelmed by the people you love.  ; )  But one thing that can help is acupuncture.  There are points to calm the mind, points to calm the spirit, points to strengthen the adrenals, points to open the heart, points to sooth grief, and points to calm down the sympathetic nervous system.  I know these work because I do them to myself at home in front of the television when I get anxious, and it really calms me down. Guess what I'll be doing tonight!

But also, Acupuncture Nirvana is a place where we take care of you.  We keep you warm and comfortable and safe.  Beautiful music is playing.  We want you to just relax and nirvana out a while.  Like I'm doing now...


yoga

Posted on December 11, 2016 at 2:51 PM Comments comments (2)
Why I want to be a yoga teacher (and other things).  From Kat

I was watching the Perks of Being a Wallflower the other day.  I love how Charlie says, I can’t take it, the way they are all in pain.  It’s why I chose my career.  It’s depressing to see myself and the people around me make mistakes, live in fear, and settle for the wrong choices.  Why do we do that?  I want to laugh.  I’ve met plenty of people who wanted to die.  But death isn’t the end.  Our soul goes on, it wants to experience and understand, and so it tries this life again.  So death is really an illusion.  You can’t escape this life.  You have to try to live fiercely.  You can’t give up on love or friendship, or wonderful moments.  When I’m making a difference with my acupuncture practice and as a yoga teacher, I can feel how I’m making the world the way it should be, filled with light and love.  I really want to be that beacon of light for people who are in the dark, or sad and alone and fearful.  Because It doesn’t have to be like this.  It’s a choice.  Chose every moment to live more fiercely.  Roar a little.  Let it out.  Don’t stiffen up and try to shut love and joy out in order to protect your heart.

A lot of people talk about enlightenment, but I think many of us don’t understand what that means.  In the Perks of Being a Wallflower, Charlie asks his English teacher,” Why does everyone I know chose people who treat us like crap?”  The teacher says, “we accept the love we think we deserve.” 
But I think it goes deeper than that.  When we accept less in our lives…when we settle for things that aren’t right for us…when we don’t follow our passions or open our hearts…we are letting the darkness in.  These things do profound damage to the soul and to the body.  I was talking only yesterday to a patient about how pain starts on the emotional level.  The people who are healthier are often doing things to release the pain of this life.  They may have transformative experiences in a yoga class, or find themselves releasing tension and tearing up at the relief.  They may talk it out with friends who love them.  They may come in pain for acupuncture, and find themselves finally relaxing and falling asleep when they have not been able to rest their minds or their bodies the whole week. 

As a society, we cut ourselves off constantly.  We wear invisible metal shields to prevent ourselves from feeling, from experiencing, from getting hurt.  We tighten up the moment pain comes.  We try to stop it, to push whatever might cause pain away.  I do this, but I see it in everyone.  We are a society in crisis.  Life is hard, relationships are hard, and too often, rather than open up to the pain of what the difficult moments are teaching us, and thus transforming, we shut down and close ourselves off.  This damages the people we interact with.  But it also damages us, creating disharmonies and disease.  It cuts us off from love and light.

So what does enlightenment really mean? 

I think it means having a heart fully open.  You accept the experiences you encounter.  You laugh.  You find joy.  You make jokes with even raw moments, because it is good to play and not take the dramas too seriously.  But you are also honest.  Totally honest.  No BS.  You open to all the love and light that the universe will give you.  You don’t push away love or kindness from anyone, and you give the same back freely.   You cry when you are sad, rather than trying to push away the emotions.  You are not shut down. 

By doing all of this, you begin to transform.  It changes you.  Your vibration becomes one less in line with all the fear and the darkness, and instead becomes one more in line with love and light.  You become a beacon of light, and in the process, you set on fire all the people around you, so that they too can become beacons.  This is what getting acupuncture treatments is really all about.  This is the journey that having a regular yoga practice is all about. You work these things out, and work on staying open, and not shutting down.  It is a practice, but it is one that can truly change us, and everyone we know.  Working this stuff out is why we are on this earth.  It’s why we are here. 
So why do I want to be a yoga teacher?  Because I want to be a beacon.  But I also think it’s really important to have the physical practice of yoga in order to open up the soul.  By not letting ourselves tighten up, by twisting and bending and opening, we keep our soul open and flexible to everything around us.  This practice helps us change into the people we want most to be.   I want to help others on this journey, just as I have people who help me with my journey.  Let’s light up the dark and roar.  Live fiercely, baby! 

Favorite moments

Posted on November 22, 2016 at 2:18 PM Comments comments (0)
One of my favorite things is the text I got yesterday from someone who came in to turn her breech baby.  She sent a photo of this beautiful baby and a thank you.  It made me pause in wonder.   Definitely a favorite moment as a practitioner!

What do I treat most often?

Posted on November 16, 2016 at 7:42 PM Comments comments (3)
So a lot of people keep asking me what I treat most often.  Pain I say, and they want to know what kind.  So here are some answers.  Today I saw 2 cases of shoulder pain, 1 fibromyalgia patient with severe migraines, 1 knee problem, 1 arthritic hand, 1 carpal tunnel, 1 raynauds, 3 neck pain cases, 1 anxiety and allergy case, 1 stress case, 2 low back pain and 1 sciatica.  That's an example.  Every day is different.  Some days are 2 hot flashes from menopause, with 3 allergies patients, with a plantar fasciitis patient, with a chronic pain patient, with an insomnia and depression patient, with anxiety and fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, ankle, hip pain and neuropathy.  It varies a lot, but basically, I treat a ton of low/mid/upper back pain, sciatica, shoulders and knees, necks, ankles, wrists, plantar fasciitis and carpal tunnel, along with anxiety, depression, allergies, asthma, hot flashes, migraines, etc.  Every now and then I get fun new cases, like a trigeminal neuralgia patient, or an RSD patient, or a post-stroke rehabilitation patient, or Bells Palsy patients.  I love a challenge, and the change to research a new case and see if I can help.  I try to be very honest about it.

Hope you enjoyed the answers! : )

Learning experiences

Posted on November 11, 2016 at 5:39 PM Comments comments (1)
So recently I was treating someone in chronic pain and I was spouting facts about what happened when you detox (detox reactions).  I admit I was rambling, because I've said it often.  But this person visibly tensed up.  I could tell they were upset, but I couldn't tell why they were upset. 

Finally they looked up and said that they needed me to be more positive for them, because it was so hard not to sink into a depression.  It's so hard not to let the negative thoughts win.

I said I was sorry.  I told them I struggled with health issues too, and you really just can't give up and let them rule you.  You have to stay positive.

But it was a real learning experience.  I try to give the facts so people know what to expect.  But in this case, stating the facts wasn't as important as paying attention to the heart of the moment - what was really happening.  This person needs me to be hopeful for him - that is, after all, something people need when they come to acupuncture in chronic pain. 

I'll do better next time, but I was really thankful they told me why I'd upset them.  It's the only way to become better at helping people.

Great results: Using scalp acupuncture for RSD

Posted on November 9, 2016 at 6:07 PM Comments comments (1)
So recently I've been treating a new disorder with good results that I learned about called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD).  It was first discovered in the civil war after a soldier with a gunshot wound had terrible burning pain beyond what was expected for the wound itself. 

According to RSDGuide.com, Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) is a medical condition that affects the patient’s sympathetic nervous system. RSD is characterized by severe chronic pain in an affected region, such as a patient’s arm or leg. After the onset, RSD will continue to worsen as time passes.  RSD is a debilitating and painful condition that has a significant impact on the patient’s daily life. While there is no cure, a number of treatments may be administered to relieve RSD symptoms. If treated early, patients typically have a better outcome.

According to Medicine.net, symptoms include pain (often "burning" type), tenderness, and swelling of an extremity associated with varying degrees of sweating, warmth and/or coolness, flushing, discoloration, and shiny skin.   The way a lot of people seem to describe it is that you're on fire.  It can be triggered by a variety of different events, for example, a gunshot wound as noted above.

When I first encountered this, the issue was on a distal area of the body and I wasn't allowed to needle there.  I looked up RSD and discovered it was basically the sympathetic nervous system gone wild.  I had been working with Zhu's scalp acupuncture quite a lot at that time, which are known to affect the way the brain sends signals to the nerves throughout the body.  It had worked amazingly well for a new case of post stroke rehabilitation.  The idea is that the brain sends both motor and sensory information to the body.  So I worked on both upper and lower motor points, as well as the sensory points.  Then I did some hand points, because the hand has nice points for the spine, low back, digestion, and calming the spirit.  Then ear points for calming the sympathetic nerve system, and working through the ear as a microsystem to treat the distal body points.

So far the results have been amazing. Despite lowering dosages of pain meds the patient is doing well.  I was actually reading about RSD on Dr. Zhu's scalp acupuncture website, and he has a great testimonial and case study on there - really interesting stuff: http://www.scalpacupuncture.org/phenomenal-results-for-reflex-sympathetic-dystrophy-rsd/

If you know anyone with RSD please refer them so I can help them as well!




How the emotions affect pain managment

Posted on November 8, 2016 at 6:56 PM Comments comments (3)
Lately I've been thinking about holding patterns in the body.  The way that our emotions effect different parts of the body.  My teacher, Mark Seem, used to call this holding patterns, because once you release them, not only is the patient in significantly less pain, they are also allowing themselves to let go of the stuck emotions.  The easiest way to think of this is when you see really tight upper backs and someone is hunching their shoulders, and they tell you its where they hold all their stress.  They mean it too - it will look like the weight of the world is on them, sitting on top of their shoulders, because they are carrying that feeling of the weight of the world being on them all day.  And it hurts.

Because I saw this so much, I started adding in calming points to every treatment.  Sometimes, just those points was enough to dramatically improve the pain.  Sometimes, they would calm the person enough that they could begin to work through the holding patterns.

I notice this in myself as well.  For example, my shoulders keep collapsing forward in a hunchback position because I am working through issues in my personal life.  The hunched shoulders reflects a profound need to protect the heart.  Which is valid. But opening the heart is very important - connecting with those around you, opening yourself to experiences, letting go of the fear of being hurt..those are all important parts of being alive.  On the other hand, you want to protect and nurture your heart, and not allow negative people and situations into life.  Become open and fearless but not naïve.   You want to allow yourself to empathize with the people you meet, even if it means being vulnerable.  This is a work in progress for me, and the more I open, the more I feel short of breath and panicky, more asthmatic.  That's something I'm working on all the time with needling myself, and with the practitioners I go to, and in my yoga practice.  I want to live fearlessly, with a heart open and loving to the people around me and the people in my life, and so I have to work on not hunching my shoulders, because that is closing myself off.  So not only is there emotional work to be done, but I am doing a lot of yoga and pushups to push the shoulders back.

Why am I sharing this? 

Because everyone has this. 

Pain is always showing up in the body, reflected in holding patterns that are both emotional and physical.  Part of healing is owning up to it and allowing yourself to heal whatever gunk you've got going on.  Sometimes that also involves getting a therapist, or hitting a yoga class to work it out as well...there's a lot of practitioners that I refer to for working this out in addition to acupuncture.  But if you want to heal, this is the work you've got to do.  Just know that I'm here to help you with it.  You're not alone, and you can heal.


Shoulder pain

Posted on October 12, 2016 at 10:06 AM Comments comments (0)
Shoulder Pain
Acupuncture treats shoulder pain

The shoulder is a marvelous joint, and a pain in the butt. Fortunately for us, the complex structure of the shoulder joint allows for an incredible range of motion. We are able to move arms the way we do largely due to this flexibility. Unfortunately, the shoulder joint has relatively poor blood supply, so it is slow to heal when it is injured. Prevention is the best medicine for shoulder injuries.

Another checkmark in the “fortunately” column is that acupuncture is really good at improving circulation wherever it is applied. In Chinese medicine speak, we say acupuncture promotes the circulation of Qi and Blood. Qi and Blood are the healing regenerative forces of the body. Free-moving Qi and Blood also stops pain. Regardless of how you phrase it, acupuncture treats shoulder pain by invigorating the area, relaxing muscles and promoting healing.

What are the different types of shoulder pain treated by acupuncture?

Shoulder bursitis

Shoulder bursitis is inflammation of the bursa in the shoulder joint. Bursa are small sacs filled with fluid that cushion the joint and allow for smooth movement of the bone, tendons, and muscles. The causes of shoulder bursitis include injury, repetitive motion (athletics or manual labor), and impingement syndrome leading to inflammation. The symptoms of shoulder bursitis include pain with overhead activities, pain while sleeping at night, joint stiffness, swelling and redness. Pain from shoulder bursitis is often felt over the outside of the shoulder/upper arm.

Rotator cuff tendinitis

The rotator cuff refers to all the muscles and tendons in and around the shoulder that work to stabilize the shoulder joint (glenohumeral joint). The four muscles of the rotator cuff are the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis muscles keep the bone of the upper arm (humerus) in the shoulder socket (glenoid fossa). Rotator cuff tendinitis is the swelling and inflammation of the tendons of these muscles. Some of the causes of rotator cuff tendinitis include overuse, especially through athletic (throwing sports, tennis) or other physical (overhead lifting) activities. The symptoms of a rotator cuff injury are pain at rest or at night, especially upon lying on the affected shoulder, pain when raising and lowering your arm in specific ways, weakness when lifting and turning your arm, noises in the shoulder joint when moving in certain ways.

Shoulder impingement syndrome

Shoulder impingement syndrome is the combination of shoulder bursitis and rotator cuff tendinitis. Typically, both causes of shoulder pain are present, but the degree of one versus the other may vary. Regardless, the swelling and inflammation of the tendons and bursa cause a narrowing of the space of the shoulder joint. This leads to pain and restricted movement. Supraspinatus tendinitis is another part of shoulder impingement syndrome.

Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)

Connective tissue forms a “capsule” around the bones, ligaments, and tendons of the shoulder. If this capsule thickens or tightens, frozen shoulder can occur. The inflammation associated with frozen shoulder causes severe pain and restricted range of motion. Most of the time, there isn’t a cause of frozen shoulder, but it has been noticed that people with cervical spine (neck) injuries, diabetes, those who have had shoulder or open heart surgery, and hyperthyroidism are at an increased risk for frozen shoulder. The symptoms of frozen shoulder are ranged by stage:

  • Stage One (painful stage): pain with movement, decreased range of motion
  • Stage Two (frozen stage): less pain but more stiffness, further decrease in range of motion
  • Stage Three (thawing stage): improved range of motion

Shoulder instability

If the ligaments and tendons that hold the shoulder together become stretched out or weakened in any way, the shoulder may easily separate or dislocate. This is called shoulder instability, and the shoulder can be partially (subluxated) or fully dislocated forward or backward. The causes of shoulder instability include direct injury, post-traumatic instability, joint laxity (hypermobility, as seen in the very flexible and pregnant women), and overuse, especially through swimming or throwing. The symptoms of shoulder instability include frequent dislocations or separations without direct trauma.

Shoulder arthritis

One of the ways our body has to protect its joints is to cover the ends of bones in cartilage. This prevents the bones from directly rubbing together. When the protective cartilage breaks down with age, osteoarthritis results. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and swollen joints. Direct injury may also be a causative factor in the development of shoulder arthritis. The symptoms of arthritis include pain, tenderness, stiff and inflexible joints and possibly bone spurs.

Biceps tendinitis

The biceps muscle connects to the shoulder bones to the arm via tendons. When this tendon become inflamed, irritated, or torn, pain can result. The pain of biceps tendinitis is felt in the front of the shoulder. The causes of biceps tendinitis include overuse (especially due to overhead activities like swimming, tennis, and baseball) and an underlying rotator cuff injury. The symptoms of biceps tendinitis disorders include pain and swelling in the front of the arm.

Labral tear

The labrum of the shoulder lubricates and absorbs shock within the shoulder joint. If it detaches from the tendons and tears, pain will occur. This is also known as a glenoid labrum tear or informally as a shoulder joint tear. The causes of labral tears are overuse, especially in athletes using overhead motion (throwing, swimming), falling on an outstretched arm, direct trauma to the shoulder, and sudden pulling motions (a dog pulling on a leash or lifting a heavy object). The symptoms of labral tears include pain on overhead activities, catching or locking of the shoulder joint, popping or other sounds in the shoulder joint, shoulder instability, decreased range of motion and loss of strength.

How is shoulder pain diagnosed by my doctor?

Your doctor will diagnose your shoulder pain after evaluating your shoulder by:

  • Taking a medical history
  • Performing physical exam
  • Imaging tests, including X-ray, MRI, or computerized tomography (CT)

How does my doctor treat shoulder pain?

Your doctor will likely prescribe some of the following treatments for shoulder pain:

  • Icing and resting the shoulder
  • Drugs to ease pain (analgesics and NSAIDs)
  • Drugs to decrease inflammation
  • Physical therapy and stretching
  • Steroid injections
  • Surgery and/or joint replacement

How does an acupuncturist evaluate and treat shoulder pain diagnosis?

On my About Chinese Medicine page, I talk about how the body is covered by a network of acupuncture meridians. When a patient is experiencing pain, my first step in evaluating that person is to determine which of the meridians is affected, that is which ones cross over the areas of pain. Pain from an acupuncture perspective, is a blockage in the meridian, so acupuncture is applied to remove those blockages. I can also use herbal medicine to help unblock the meridians from the inside out.

In addition to acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, I use Tuina medical massage, cupping, Guasha and other adjunct techniques.

I also take time to evaluate a patient’s overall health. By improving general health, so Chinese medicine theory says, problems like shoulder pain are less likely to arise. From another perspective, you can fix the shoulder, but if the shoulder pain is being caused by something else, the pain will come back when treatments are stopped. So, it’s important to treat the symptoms, but also treat the underlying root cause. This is why we always treat the whole person in Chinese medicine.

Source: http://dylansteinacupuncture.com/acupuncture-pain-management/shoulder-pain/























Acupuncture for sports injuries

Posted on September 23, 2016 at 3:38 PM Comments comments (1)
Acupuncture for Sports Injuries

Playing sports is a wonderful way to stay in shape and have fun with friends. Whether you are a casual sports player, a weekend warrior or someone who trains hard everyday, acupuncture can be extremely valuable for you: it assists both acute and cumulative injury recovery, helps prevent future injuries and enhances athletic performance and endurance.

Many acupuncture techniques were born from the needs of the martial arts traditions in China. Acupuncture played an important role in keeping ancient fighters in peak condition and it continues to keep modern athletes healthy and active. Some recognizable sports names who use acupuncture regularly are Maria Sharapova, Martina Hingis, Carl Lewis, Charles Barkley and Jim McMahon. Also, many professional sports teams employ acupuncturists to treat injuries and keep players in top condition.

Acute sports injuries

Sports are competitive in nature. When we are competing, we push ourselves beyond our normal limitations, which can result in traumatic injury. No doubt, when this happens, you will want to get back out on the court, field, rink, course or trail as soon as possible and acupuncture can help.
When traumatic injury occurs, first check with an urgent care doctor to be sure that it isn’t serious; fractures, dislocations, ruptured tendons and serious internal injuries should be treated by a medical doctor or hospital. But, after you are released to rest and recuperate, acupuncture is the perfect therapy to augment recovery, reduce pain, and speed healing time.

Common traumatic injuries that acupuncture can treat are:

  • shoulder rotator cuff tears and strains
  • wrist sprains and strains
  • ankle sprains and strains
  • knee ligament and meniscus injuries (these are especially common in sports that require a lot of sudden starting, stopping and direction changing)
  • vertebral disc inflammation in the neck or back
  • strains (pulls) and tears of any muscle or tendon (i.e. hamstring, groin, Achilles tendon)

Cumulative over-use injuries

Some sports injuries are not sudden, but slowly build-up over time due to repeated over-use of a particular joint or muscle. Usually, these types of injuries start out as a nagging dull ache. This is the best time to start getting treatment for these injuries. If you ignore them, they will build-up to become chronic and debilitating problems. Once advanced, these injuries often require more recovery time than acute, traumatic ones.
How do you distinguish between the nagging ache of a cumulative over-use injury and the typical soreness that accompanies working out? Here are 3 general guidelines to help you determine what your ache may be telling you:

  1. Cumulative injuries are often felt more in joints: shoulders, knees, elbows, wrists, hip joints. Conversely, typical “working-out” soreness is felt more in the muscles.
  2. With a cumulative injury, the nagging soreness occurs during or very shortly after playing your sport, whereas, typical muscle soreness from training doesn’t begin until 24 to 48 hours later.
  3. Cumulative injuries will repeatedly occur in the same area week after week, but soreness from working out usually will not.

Common cumulative, over-use injuries that acupuncture can treat are:

  • tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow and elbow bursitis
  • shoulder tendinitis, bursitis, arthritis and impingement syndrome
  • wrist tendinitis
  • Achilles tendinitis
  • hip bursitis
  • illiotibial band syndrome
  • knee arthritis

How does acupuncture help?

From the Chinese medical point of view, the body is an energetic collection of functions, not just a mechanical collection of parts. That is to say, we contain Life Energy, also known as Qi (“chee”). One is said to be in perfect health when this energy is flowing unimpeded, and in an adequate amount throughout the entire body. Qi is the basis for the proper functioning of all body processes: it provides structural integrity and stability, physiological efficiency and the potential for healing.

When you sustain an injury, the flow of energy in and around the area becomes disrupted, causing stagnation and pain. This energy stagnation also inhibits the proper circulation of blood and lymph to the area, extending healing times, prolonging swelling and bruising and increasing the need for pain medications.

Acupuncture works directly to free the flow of Qi through these areas of stagnation. This serves 3 main functions to assist healing and speed recovery:

  1. Increased circulation of Qi decreases pain, inflammation and swelling (all of which are signs of stagnation).
  2. Enhanced circulation of energy also brings increased circulation of blood and lymph. This means that fresh vital nutrients are more readily available to tissues that need them in order to mend.
  3. Enhanced circulation also carries dead cells and cellular waste products away from the injured site.

When Chinese herbal medicine is added to the acupuncture treatments, the healing and pain relieving effects are even greater. Herbs for injuries may be applied topically and/or taken internally, depending on the nature of the injury. Massage techniques may also be incorporated after the initial stages of recovery.

Enhancing athletic performance

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine focuses on regulating the flow of energy (Qi) throughout the entire body, to create optimal circulation and function.
What could be possible when your heart, lungs, muscles, tendons and joints are all receiving fresh vital nutrients and being flushed of waste products quickly and efficiently? Better physical performance, enhanced endurance, quicker recovery times and fewer incidents of injury. When added to a proper physical training program, acupuncture is extremely valuable for improving your game. This is what many professionals already know, and why they use acupuncture for injuries, injury prevention and enhanced performance.

(article by Dawn Balusik, AP, DOM, published in Tampa Bay Wellness, Sept 2008)

For more info on booking an appointment to treat your sports injury:
http://www.genbook.com/bookings/slot/reservation/30245179?bookingSourceId=1000

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