Diagnosis – The REAL Superhero of Choosing Herbs and Supplements

Have you ever been sucked into buying a really neat, nifty, and new supplement or herb because of its benefit claims? 

Improved energy levels, performance and vitality? Add to cart. 

Better stress tolerance? It’ll take three, please.

Increased overall happiness and decreased sadness, AND SUPERPOWERS? Take my money!

I know, I know, the promise of superpowers is REALLY tempting. It’s common to read the effects of certain herbs and supplements and want to take them for their advertised benefits, however without proper diagnosis and context of your lovely, individual self, you could be just creating expensive urine, or causing more harm than good.

Doctor Pee GIF by I Heart Guts

While there are some supplements that are definitely great for many conditions based on where we live (Vitamin D for Albertans during the Winter), or boosting your immune system during cold and flu season (Cordyceps); we have to be wary of HOW these supplements are working and WHY we are taking them, especially when treating specific symptoms or conditions.

Understanding the mechanism of action for herbs and supplements is essential when choosing what you are going to be taking. For example, some herbs stop bleeding by creating a clot, while others stop bleeding by treating an underlying weakness elsewhere in the body.

The second, but definitely most important part of choosing the right herb or supplement, is understanding YOUR INDIVIDUAL BODY CONSTITUTION AND PATTERN. This means knowing what your individual body and condition need, because we’re all different!

Where is your body deficient or needing help, specific to you?

For example, one person’s immune system might be low from stress or environmental factors, where another person’s immune system could be weak because of poor absorption of nutrients in their intestines. It might even be a combination of the two!

Both of these people may be looking to boost their immune systems, but they should approach it differently with their herbal and supplement choices!

This is where your TCM practitioner comes in!
*Insert cheesy superhero music*

superman flying GIF

TCM practitioners and acupuncturists are trained to view the body holistically, not just treating the symptoms. This means they find the root of the problem, and create a treatment plan for your individual needs.

Another set of powerful tools that many TCM practitioners have in their arsenal are patent formulas, supplements and Chinese herbal formulas. These not only work with your TCM diagnosis and pattern, but they are also customizable in our herbal apothecary, which is opening this Spring!

Your TCM practitioner or acupuncturist can also tailor supplement, diet and lifestyle recommendations based on your specific constitution. They can even help review your current supplements, and let you know what is good to continue taking, and what isn’t necessary for your goals and health needs.

So next time you are reaching for the next vitality boosting, super-power generating, super duper elixir, be sure to seek out professional assistance. Otherwise you might just be making some expensive pee!

Want to know more about our apothecary, supplements and herbs? Have questions about your own herbal needs? Contact Us!

Treating Anxiety and Depression with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

Whether you have been formally diagnosed, or you are experiencing a stressful time in your life, anxiety and depression can affect us all at some point, and on a varying spectrum.

While some people have awesome success with managing their depression or anxiety with medication, many still suffer from mental illness symptoms; even while taking prescriptions and seeking help from psychologists and psychiatrists. This is where alternative treatments such as acupuncture and herbal therapy shine!

 

So how does acupuncture help anxiety and depression?

Acupuncture can help out those suffering with anxiety and depression in many ways. First and foremost, it has a direct effect on your nervous system.

Our nervous system is super handy at sensing if our bodies are being threatened, and has a “Fight or Flight” mode. This is great for when you’re being chased by an angry goose (Hey, we’re in Canada, it could happen!) and you need that adrenaline spike to either fight it with your bare hands, or run away as fast as you can.

Image result for canada goose run for your life

However, when our nervous system is constantly in “Fight or Flight” mode, we can end up feeling either too stimulated (more anxious), under stimulated from “burn out” (more depressed), or both. With treatment, our nervous system becomes more malleable and able to handle daily stressors more appropriately, and our bodies don’t send us into “run away from an angry goose mode” when we’re just stuck in traffic.

Another factor with anxiety and depression is our hormone secretion and regulation. If our cortisol levels (stress hormone) are always ramped up, we can get burnt out. Our adrenals then suffer, leaving us with no gas in the tank, leading to mood disorders and extreme fatigue (cortisol is what gets us up in the morning!). This can also affect the proper secretion and regulation of oxytocin and serotonin (feel good hormones), which are vital for keeping our moods level and even.

Acupuncture, herbs and lifestyle changes can all have a positive effect on regulating these systems. When these systems are balanced, our tolerance to physical and mental stressors becomes much more manageable, and we don’t wear ourselves out over minor stressors accumulating.

 

That seems WAY too simple…

 

While this is a very brief overview of the mechanisms of anxiety and depression, there are many different and complicated circumstances for different individuals, including trauma, genetics and lifestyle.

Chinese Medicine and acupuncture address the underlying root to the issue, according to the individual as a whole and their own personal pattern. This allows treatment plans to flex with your mental state and where you fit on the spectrum of anxiety and depression.

 

So let’s get out of “run from the goose” mode, and start feeling better!

 

Have more questions about what how acupuncture can help with your mental health?

 

Contact me! I love answering questions!

 

It Boils Down to Your Noodle (Disclaimer: Not Pasta Noodles) – Acupuncture and Concussions

As the weather begins to warm up, more people are heading outside. Whether it be for walks, bike rides, backyard shenanigans, and sporting events, everyone is starting to move. This also includes everything speeding up, no need to worry about slipping and sliding on ice, so why not pick up the pace and put the pedal to the metal?

This is where our brain comes in. It loves excitement, it likes going fast in vehicles with the windows down, it likes the rush of adrenaline your body receives when you go in for a tackle, but you know what it doesn’t like? Concussions.

 

Concussion? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

 

Concussions are a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) which can occur from motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries and falls. Common symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • feeling out of it
  • feeling nausea
  • poor memory
  • irritability
  • being more emotional than usual
  • hypersensitivity to light and noise
  • poor concentration
  • troubles sleeping and balance issues (to name a “few”).

Concussions can take a long time to heal from, depending on how well you are able to look after your noodle. Sleep is important, staying away from physical activity is crucial, and limiting screen time and “heavy “thinking is a must. Any of these can cause your symptoms to worsen and set you back to square one and symptoms may last for months if not taken care of properly. Then we start to get into the post-concussion syndrome issues and that’s a whole other ball game that no one wants to play in (debilitating pain, tremors, insomnia, memory loss).

 

So how can Acupuncture help?

We already know (hopefully) that acupuncture can be effective in the treatment of nausea, dizziness, headaches, poor memory, changing emotions, sleep difficulties and balance issues, so why would we view the potential helpfulness in the treatment of these similar concussion symptoms any differently?

A usual treatment geared toward concussions may include some scalp acupuncture points along the cranial sutures and scars with electrical stimulation and works wonders to reduce physical stress and increase blood flow.

 

How can I help myself?

  • REST
    • We need to sleep at night for a reason, sleep is the brain healing and recharging
  • AVOID STRENUOUS PHYSICAL AND MENTAL EXERTIONS
    • Would you run a marathon on a broken ankle? See my point?
  • STAY AWAY FROM CONTACT SPORTS/ACTIVITIES
    • Your brain is already hurting, don’t risk more harm to it. You only have one.
  • SLOWLY RE-INTRODUCE YOUR ACTIVITIES
    • Same principle as “I used to be able to eat a full pizza, now I can only eat two slices”. Slowly add slices.
  • WATCH WHAT YOU PUT IN YOU BODY
    • Alcohol, drugs and caffeine may elongate your healing time.
  • DO ONE THING AT A TIME
    • Your poor brain is barely handling that.
  • GO GET SOME ACUPUNCTURE
    • I’m not too sure, but I think this post was about how acupuncture can help with this kind of stuff?

Extra Self-Help Goodies

Facts about Concussion and Brain Injury

https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/pdfs/providers/facts_about_concussion_tbi-a.pdf

Acupressure Self Care

http://www.neurokinetics.com/conc-acupressure/

 

Want to learn more about acupuncture and it’s use in concussions?

Feel free to Contact Us

 

References