3 Ways Acupuncture Supports Fertility

Acupuncture has been used for gynecological issues for thousand of years, including irregular or absent menstrual cycles, painful periods, PMS, fertility issues, and menopausal symptoms. If you and your partner have been struggling to get pregnant, acupuncture is an important and effective option to explore to support your chances of conceiving. Here’s why:

  1. Acupuncture helps to regulate the menstrual cycles. For optimal chances of conceiving, you first have to have a regular cycle each month. Ideally, cycles should be about 28 days in length. However, exact cycle length does vary from person to person. By focusing on the reproductive and endocrine systems, acupuncture helps to support a healthy monthly cycle.
  2. Increased blood flow increases egg quality. One of the ways that acupuncture is helpful for so many conditions is by increasing the blood flow to an area of distress or disease. Increased blood flow to the reproductive organs brings fresh blood, oxygen, and nutrients to developing eggs. Eggs with optimal blood and oxygen supply have been shown to have higher rates of fertilization and developmental potential.
  3. Acupuncture helps to reduce stress levels. Trying to conceive should be an exciting time. However, when things don’t progress as expected, it can be incredibly stressful. Acupuncture helps to reduce stress levels so that your body can focus on fertility rather than coping with stress.

If you’re struggling to get pregnant, consider adding in acupuncture. If you’ve moved into IUI or IVF, acupuncture can still help! Please reach out and let’s talk about how acupuncture can help you.

Natural Treatment of Low Back Pain

Low back pain is extremely common, with 80% of people having at least one episode of low back pain in their lifetime. Most back pain is not a serious medical problem. However, it can majorly impact day to day activities and overall quality of life.

Many treatment options exist for back pain, some more effective than others. Treatment often depends on the cause of the back pain. More than 85% of low back pain patients are classified as having “nonspecific” low back pain, meaning the pain is not coming from any specific cause or serious injury. Clinical guidelines recommend first line treatment using non-pharmacological options including massage, acupuncture, and spinal manipulation.

More and more research demonstrates the effectiveness in acupuncture in all areas of pain relief, especially back pain. There are three main ways that acupuncture effectively treats pain. Acupuncture treats pain by increasing circulation to the area which brings fresh blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the area so it has the resources to heal and function properly. Secondly, it reduces inflammation in the area, and lastly, it encourages tight muscles to relax and release.
Often, acupuncture will be combined with cupping. Cupping also encourages increased circulation to the area as well as helping to relax tight muscles. The combination makes for an awesome treatment for pain, and the cupping feels amazing!

Sources:
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28192789/
https://www.uptodate.com/contents/low-back-pain-in-adults-beyond-the-basics?search=low%20back%20pain&topicRef=7782&source=related_link


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nerve pain, neuropathy, acupuncture for neuropathy relief

Suffering From Neuropathy?

Suffering from neuropathy? You’re not alone. Read below to find out more about neuropathy and an important treatment option that you need to try.

What is neuropathy?
Neuropathy describes disease or dysfunction of nerves, which often causes intense pain and other sensations. Neuropathy can occur for a variety of reasons, including due to diabetes, chemotherapy, nerve damage, or unknown causes. Different people and different causes lead neuropathy to present with a wide variety of symptoms.

People often experience intense pain, numbness, tingling, or a swollen type sensation. Often, symptoms tend to be worse at night and interfere with normal sleep.

Are you struggling with neuropathy?
If you’re experiencing numbness, tingling, pain, or weakness often a trip to your doctor is needed to determine a cause and help decide the best course of treatment. Frequently, treatment involves medications to help manage symptoms, such as gabapentin, as well as managing any underlying contributing factors. If you’re struggling with diabetic neuropathy, managing your diabetes is an important piece of treatment.

Many other treatment options exist to help manage your neuropathy as well, including acupuncture. Acupuncture provides powerful relief for neuropathy. Here’s 3 ways acupuncture helps:

  1. Increase circulation: Acupuncture promotes increased circulation so that the affected area has the blood, oxygen, and nutrients needed to heal, repair, and function optimally.
  2. Regulate and rehabilitate the nervous system: Acupuncture works on the nervous system to regulate and rehabilitate proper functioning.
  3. Manage underlying conditions: Acupuncture addresses the entire body to get it back to a healthy state and maintain that improved health. By working on the entire system, underlying causes of neuropathy can be addressed and managed in order to decrease symptoms.

Call today to set up a consultation to see if acupuncture may be able to help you: (406) 272-0474

stress, acupuncture, acupuncturist in billings montana

Holidays Got You Stressed?

Holidays got you stressed? There’s acupuncture for that!

When the body feels stressed, physically or emotionally, the ‘fight or flight’ response kicks into full gear. The ‘fight or flight’ response comes from the sympathetic nervous system and causes our body’s heart rate to increase, the pupils to dilate, and the body to prepare for the worst. The body’s natural reaction to stress aims to protect us from imminent danger. However, long term stress isn’t healthy for our bodies. Long term stress can manifest in a wide variety of ways including muscle tension, pain, headaches, and digestive issues. It’s the body’s way of saying, “hey, something isn’t right!”

So this holiday season, make a conscious effort to listen to and take care of your body. Acupuncture provides an excellent tool for reducing that fight or flight response, reducing stress, and increasing overall wellbeing! Make some time for you and take care of your body.

Happy holidays!

 

Secrets to a Good Night’s Sleep

For some, a good night of sleep comes naturally. For others, sleep can be a constant battle, but all of us struggle with sleep at one time or another.

Sleep is an important time for your body to recover from the day and prepare for the next. It’s recommended to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night.

Here’s some “secrets” to a good night’s sleep:

  1. Get outside and get some exercise. Even a short walk around your neighborhood can be a great way to work in some easy exercise on your lunch break, after work, or after dinner. The fresh air and exercise helps our stress levels too, which can be a contributor to poor sleep.
  2. Cut out nicotine, caffeine, and other stimulants at least 4-6 hours before bed time to allow your body plenty of time to start winding down.
  3. Find a healthy night time routine. Avoid tv, phones, computers, and other screens 1-2 hours before bed. The light from screens is stimulating to the brain. Try some relaxing activities before bed like taking a hot bath, reading, or meditating.
  4. Try to keep the same sleep schedule. Your body’s sleep-wake schedule is regulated by your circadian rhythm, which is your body’s internal clock. With a consistent schedule, your body learns the appropriate time to get sleepy at night and when to start waking up for the day. Even if you’re struggling to sleep, make a consistent effort to get into and out of bed around the same times everyday.
  5. Try melatonin or magnesium. Melatonin is a hormone naturally released in the body to signal time for sleep. The release of melatonin is triggered by exposure to darkness, so the use of bright electronics can disrupt this signaling. Magnesium is one of my favorite supplements for its calming effects on the body, making it a great night time supplement to help calm the body and mind. I like using Benesom from Metagenics because it has melatonin as well as magnesium.
  6. And of course, get acupuncture! Acupuncture is super calming to the nervous system allowing it to help calm stress and anxiety levels as well as addressing any other issues that may be going on in your body.

With these simple “secrets,” you’ll be on your way to a better night’s sleep. Remember sometimes it takes time to create new habits in the body, so stay consistent and be patient!

 

References:
https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency

How Many Treatments Will I Need?

One of the most common questions I get asked is, “how many treatments will I need?” The answer to this question depends on many different factors.

  1. How long have you had this issue? For new or acute problems, only 2-4 treatments may be needed to fully resolve the problem. However, if you’ve had an issue for decades, don’t be surprised that it may take 10+ treatments.
  2. How is your general overall health? If you’re generally pretty healthy overall, your body has the resources to appropriately heal and repair itself in a timely manner. But, if you’ve got numerous health issues going on simultaneously, your body’s resources are more easily consumed. In this case, it may take some more time to heal.
  3. How responsive is your body to acupuncture? Some people are super responders to acupuncture and others may respond a bit slower. Most people fall somewhere in the middle. The best way to see how your body responds to acupuncture, is to GET ACUPUNCTURE! After a few treatments, we’ll be able to have a better idea of how many treatments you’ll need.

frequencygraphic


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5 Immune Boosting Tips to Stay Healthy

With all the unknowns in the world right now, it is important to focus on things you can control – like self care. It’s more important than ever to make sure you’re taking care of your body, including emotionally and physically.

To stay healthy, focus on boosting and supporting your immune system. Try these immune boosting tips to stay healthy!

  1. Drink lots of water. It is recommended to drink about half of your body weight in water every day. For example, if you weight 120 lbs, you should be drinking 60 oz of water daily. Water is important to support healthy mucous membranes, which are the first line of defense for the body.
  2. Keep stress low. Stress puts added pressure on the immune system. Focus on shifting your perspective and taking the time to enjoy each day. Take a break from news and media. Try taking a walk outside or starting a new project around the house!
  3. Get enough sleep. The body needs rest to recover from the day and prepare for the next day. Turn off the screens and start winding down a little earlier.
  4. Support healthy digestion. Focus on eating a nutrient dense, whole foods diet. Avoid inflammatory foods such as sugar, processed foods, and alcohol. Add in foods rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that plays a vital role in immune function. Vitamin C can be found in many fruits and vegetables, such as oranges or red peppers. Try adding in a probiotic to support digestion and give the immune system an added boost. My favorite, high quality probiotic is UltraFlora Balance by Metagenics.
  5. Supplement strategically with powerful immune boosters. An important vitamin for immunity is vitamin D which supports the immune system by stimulating the expression of anti-microbial peptides in immune cells and in epithelial cells lining the respiratory tract. Many herbs also have powerful immune strengthening functions. Ask about a custom herbal recommendation to help support your specific immunity and health concerns.

With these strategies, you are well-equipped to stay healthy during this pandemic and future cold and flu seasons. Stay healthy, my friends!

 

References:

Vitamin C: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals
Vitamin D and Immune Health 


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OPEN FOR BUSINESS AGAIN – FINALLY!

After FOUR long weeks of closure due to COVID-19, the office is finally open again!

The past few weeks have been difficult as I have so missed seeing all of my wonderful patients and being able to offer my help. However, I have been using my time wisely and have lots of exciting new updates!

  1. Website updates! Lots of new updates and info, including Services and Products pages. You can now purchase high quality supplements and eGift Cards through affinityacu.com. Check it out here.
  2. New hours! I have taken some time to re-evaluate what works best for me, my clients, and my family in regards to scheduling. I will be adding Mondays to my schedule, which I know will be exciting to many of you! Additionally, I will be discontinuing Saturday appointments. I know this is a major bummer BUT I will continue to offer evening appointments on Mondays and Wednesdays! Also, look for some “bonus” hours in the next few weeks as I try to get everyone rescheduled in a timely and safe manner. Check out the new schedule and set up your next appointment here.
  3. New knowledge! I’ve been spending the past few weeks taking more continuing education and doing lots of research in order to better serve all of you. I just completed training in advanced techniques for more effectively treating and assessing back and hip conditions. I completed this training with Whitfield Reaves, one of the leaders in sports and orthopedic acupuncture.

I’m so excited to be back in the office! I can’t wait to see all of you!

There are a few changes that will be in effect for the next few weeks.

  1. Typically, I will treat those suffering from the common cold or other respiratory issues because acupuncture is great for the immune and respiratory systems. However, I’m asking at this time that you please call and reschedule your appointment if you are sick AT ALL.
  2. Additionally, I am asking that if at all possible, please come to your appointment alone to limit the number of people in the office.
  3. I will be scheduling extra time around appointments to allow more separation between patients, which may make it trickier to find appointment times. If you have difficulty finding a convenient time online, please call or text me at (406) 272-0474 and I’ll do my best to work with you!

Of course, I will be continuing to disinfect treatment rooms and office spaces frequently. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the office for your use.

Thank you so much for your support and patience with all this chaos. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to me at (406) 272-0474 or jacy@affinityacu.com.

3 Reasons to Try TCM for Your Digestive Issues

According to the National Institutes of Health, 60-70 million people in the United States are affected by digestive issues including chronic constipation, gastroesophageal reflux disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and IBS. It doesn’t help that we all tend to live stressful lives and eat the Standard America Diet (SAD).

Digestive issues are bothersome alone. However, a weak digestive system can lead to many other health issues as well such as fatigue, brain fog, skin issues like eczema, inflammation, and headaches.

Here’s 3 reasons why you should try tradition Chinese medicine (TCM) for your digestive issues:

  1. Personalized Approach: TCM includes acupuncture, herbal medicine, and nutritional and lifestyle recommendations, and by combining all of these tools, we can effectively come up with an effective treatment plan for your unique condition.
  2. Regulate Digestive Function: Acupuncture has been shown to regulate gastric acid secretions, decrease inflammation, and regulate gastrointestinal motility.
  3. Lower Stress: Stress is one of the major contributors to many digestive issues, especially IBS. The combination of acupuncture and herbal medicine supports a healthier response to everyday life stressors.

With the support of TCM, you can find relief for your digestive issues. With a whole body approach, your digestive will likely not be the only area that sees improvement.

References:
https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/digestive-diseases

 


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Research Update: Moxibustion and Dysmenorrhea

A study conducted by Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has determined that the use of moxibustion at specific days during a woman’s menstrual cycle can decrease pain associated with menstruation. Dysmenorrhea or painful menstruation is a big problem for many women. This study used moxibustion, an accessory modality of TCM, to treat the pain associated with menstruation. The study and its systematic review showed moxibustion treatments were more effective at relieving pain only when the moxibustion began prior to the onset of actual menstruation. This is also the theory behind Traditional Chinese Medicine, that it should be used as preventive care. The efficacy of using moxibustion during the premenstrual time period holds great promise for those who are debilitated by dysmenorrhea.

What is dysmenorrhea?

Dysmenorrhea, or painful menstruation, is experienced by more than half the menstruating women in the world. It is one of the most commonly encountered gynecologic disorders and for those suffering from severe dysmenorrhea, it can mean they are incapacitated for up to three days or more every month. The main cause of dysmenorrhea is increased or abnormal uterine prostanoid production and release, which then gives rise to abnormal uterine contractions and pain. The treatment of dysmenorrhea usually involves some sort of pain medication and rest, but there are alternatives.

TCM Treatment

TCM is a medical system that incorporates numerous methods for treating disease and illness. One of the tools found in the toolbox of the Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner is known as moxibustion.

Moxibustion is a technique that involves the burning of mugwort, known as moxa, which is an herb that facilitates healing. The purpose of moxibustion is to stimulate the flow of blood throughout the body. Moxibustion creates a pleasant heating sensation that penetrates deeply into the skin, but does not create any discomfort or pain. To perform moxibustion, a practitioner lights one end of a stick of moxa and holds it close to the acupuncture point for several minutes until the area warms.

Moxibustion can be used to treat dysmenorrhea because it stimulates the flow and release of the hormones that cause uterine contractions. By stimulating the release of these hormones, the body can then expel them which leads to decreased pain. Moxibustion is also great for women who suffer from fibroids, which is a stagnation and buildup of blood in the uterus. The warmth from the burning mugwort actually increases blood flow and this can help decrease the size of the fibroids over time.

 

As with acupuncture, only a licensed practitioner should be called upon for treatments such as moxibustion. If you believe moxibustion may be helpful with your dysmenorrhea, be sure to discuss it with your acupuncturist.

 

SOURCE: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2016/6706901/