Thoughtful & effective care for... 

*PAIN, HEADACHES, INSOMNIA, DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, ATHLETIC INJURIES, COLDS & FLU, ALLERGIES, DIGESTION, HOT FLASHES, NIGHT SWEATS, WEIGHTLOSS, QUIT SMOKING, FERTILITY, PMS --

*My practice is not limited to this list. If you have a specific question or concern you'd like to address, feel free to contact me here or call or text me at (207) 266-8633.                             

*For a longer list of what acupuncture treats, published by the World Health Organization (WHO), click here.    

*Many people pursue acupuncture to treat these conditions, because the results and medical research are well established. 

Offices are located:

in Brunswick, Maine:                            54 Cumberland St, #2: Map (parking in front) at HS-ACUPUNCTURE

in Portland, Maine:                             773 Congress St, West End, Map           at Health Resonates

in Asheville, North Carolina:
247 Charlotte St, R#3: Map      at White Pine Acupuncture  

"One who eats Qi will attain enlightenment and prolong life."
-- Tao Hong Jing (456-536 C.E.)

Elements of understanding sometimes seem lost in translation. This quote may be such an example, but what it attempts to convey is how basic, pervasive, and all-encompassing the concept of qi is to every aspect of life. Read more here.

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Thursday
Jan012015

"Healthy," But...

Have you ever been to your doctor, been told that you were healthy, and yet known that something was not quite right?

In Chinese medicine, the level of intervention can be well before a disease process occurs -- at that moment when you begin to notice that something feels just a little off, in fact. For example, the optimal time with Chinese medicine to catch a cold from developing is when you first feel chilled or a tension in your throat.

As acupuncturists, we identify patterns that are out of balance in our patients (and ideally oursevles) and seek to restore optimal equilibrium or homeostasis, potentially long before a real problem arises.

Put another way, if you were driving down the highway and your car pulled to the right, chances are you would pull over and have a look at your right tire. That's how acupuncture works, before your tire blows out on the highway. Doctors and hospitals are great when your tire blows out. Chinese medicine with acupuncture and herbs can help prevent it from happening in the first place.

At the same time, Chinese medicine can also offer lasting healing within the context of disease once it has already evolved. To do so, the underlying pattern must be addressed. For example, a cancerous tumor can be cut away in an allopathic setting such as a hospital, but if the pattern that gave rise to the tumor in the first place has not changed, it could grow back.

In short, illness is an invitation to change. Whatever we have been doing that resulted in the condition needs to be done differently. Illness is the body's notification system that tells us we need to do things another way. Often this can relate to our lifestyle, diet, exercise, sleeping, stress, relationships, work and how we find meaning in life and meet life's challenges. Looking honestly at these circumstances can be the hardest part of true healing and yet can also offer the greatest reward.

The last time I went to the doctor's, I was struck by how the focus is in such a different place. According to the doctor, I was a picture of health, but from a Chinese medical perspective I knew I had plenty to work on, whether in the realms of treament, prevention or optimization of good health. There are always stagnations to treat, the immune system to bolster in order to overcome the unknown elements we face in a day, as well as the opportunity to become the best version of ourselves.

What interests you more: the treatment of something that is bothering you, the prevention of a particular condition, or the realization of your fullest potential?

 

Monday
Dec012014

The Many Styles of Acupuncture

Classical Chinese Medicine vs Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) vs 5 Element vs Korean Style vs Japanese Style Acupuncture....

What's the difference?

The unique traditions of Chinese medicine have much to do with the history of China, with its ever evolving social, intellectual and political influences.

Books could be, and have been, written about this development, as multi-layered as its dynasties. I recommend these two books from my shelf, if you are interested in learning more about Chinese medicine's journey to the Western world:

 Click images for links.

 

While I am by no means a scholar on the topic, here is a thumb-nail sketch of some of the basic differences among these various styles of acupuncture:

*Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM): I once heard said that a more accurate name for Traditional Chinese Medicine might be Modern Chinese Medicine, in that its origin dates back to the 1950's, when Chairman Mao had the medicine simplified in order to serve an expanding Chinese population and to be able to export some of the medicine's basic tenets to the West. In order to mirror Western medicine, many of the mental and spiritual elements were peeled away. Most acupuncturists in the USA know or practice some form of this tradition.

*Classical Chinese Medicine: Classical Chinese medicine is what had been practiced prior to the 1950's, with its rich philosophies and various schools of thought and traditions. An understanding of the mind and body as part of one integrated whole is essential to a Classical medical perspective. Whereas TCM works mostly within the 12 primary meridians, Classical Chinese medicine includes five meridian systems, resulting in 70 meridians with which to work, enabling the practioner a greater level of precision and application.

*Five Element Acupuncture: JF Worsley (1923-2003) also sought in more modern terms to reunite the spirit with the mind and body in the medicine, with focus and attention on the Five Phases or transitions in the cycle of life.

*Japanese Style Acupuncture: is often meridian based, relying on palpation, and with its gentle needle insertion techniques can be considered a refinement of the Chinese tradition.

*Korean Style Acupuncture: is well-known for specializing for microsystems such as the hand.

Within each tradition, there is also variation based on the individual practitioners and their own unique collection of training and continued education as well as personal cultivation.

I hope this overly brief synopsis can provide you with at least a framework for appreciating these traditions.

Contact me if you are curious about any other style of acupuncture you know about or have experienced and would like to see discussed. 

Thursday
Sep182014

What Is Qi?

"One who eats Qi will attain enlightenment and prolong life."
-- Tao Hong Jing (456-536 C.E.)

The Chinese character above represents "qi." But what is qi?

The quote below the character may not seem to do much by way of clarification. On its own, as it's written, it might even strike the reader as slightly odd. What does that statement mean?

Elements of understanding are sometimes lost in translation, and yet, what I think this quote can illustrate is how basic, pervasive, and all-encompassing the concept of qi is to every aspect of life.

I didn't know much about the concept of qi before starting Chinese medical school. I have a much greater understanding and appreciation of what it encompasses now.

With that, I offer you a few elaborations:

Qi is the quality differentiating a fresh leaf of lettuce just picked from the garden and the wilted leaves forgotten at the back of your refrigerator.

Qi is a steaming pot of rice, fully cooked and awaiting to be eaten, in turn renewing your body's energy with its sustenance.

Qi is breath. Qi is the spark at the start of a life or a twinkle in someone's eye. 

Qi is even sold in China as the air with which to pump bicycle tires.

We can cultivate qi with our bodies and minds, through exercise and meditation. Qi gong and tai qi (alternately spelled, chi gung, tai chi or tai ji) are physical exercises that are often described as "moving meditations," designed to consolidate, or move, or expand one's internal and external qi.

When qi is out of alignment or blocked, illness or pain or dis-ease can arise.

In an acupuncture treatment, qi is what we seek to balance and realign and encourage to flow when it becomes stagnated.

This list is but a sampling of all that qi infuses with its life-giving force. Are you beginning to get a feel for it?

If you're interested in reading more about qi, I recommend the book, A Brief History of Qi. And certainly, use your own experience to give you insights. May you enjoy exploring the qi within and around you!

The above calligraphy has special significance to me, as it's the very image that Jeffrey Yuen, the much respected Chinese medical teacher and 88th generation Daoist priest, brushed and presented to me at my graduation from Chinese medical school. It was a humbling honor that brings me pleasure to share with you here on this website, and with its spirit into my practice.

Wednesday
Sep102014

Helpful Baby Hand Massage - For Those Common Baby Health Concerns


Chinese medicine may be most known for acupuncture and herbs, but it also includes many other modalities, including massage called tuina, and exercises known as qi gong.

I recently gave a talk and demonstrated a few massage techniques that are most effective for children under 5 years of age, although they can be safely applied to infants and children of any age.

Because this info is in follow up to my demonstration, please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions.

I'll be covering the other techniques I mentioned in my talk in follow-up posts. So stay tuned....

***

Tuina for infants and children is a natural extension of our instinct to help soothe and care for our little ones.

The techniques are safe, gentle and effective. They are also repetitive, so using a little olive oil or almond oil can be helpful.

-For babies under 2 years of age, use 100-200 repetitions.
-For children ages 2-5 years, use 200-300 repetitions.
-For children ages 6-12 years, use 400-500 repetitions.

The easy way, instead of counting, is to time your technique from 1 to 3 minutes according to the ages above, or based on the severity of the condition, using more repetitions for more stubborn conditions. Similarly, these techniques can be done 1 to 3 times per day.

In the picture above:

In the green circles, we are kneading the child's finger or thumb between our own thumb and forefinger. This is called the "kneading" technique.

For the yellow circle, we are using just one of our thumbs to make circles in the direction indicated.

For the purple arrows, we are using our index finger to trace the sides of our child's finger in the direction and location indicated.

The "pink eye finger" can also be used to treat irritability.

For the "cough/upper respiratory finger," you can also include the second joint (from the tip), and then move up to the finger pad, kneading along the way. 

Likewise, for the "vomit/hiccups thumb," you can begin kneading the joint closer to the hand, and move up the pad, for more therapeutic effect.

I plan to revisit the teething point at the center of the baby's wrist crease in another post, but I've included it here as well. 

While these techniques are effective, and can really turn a situation around, parents are encouraged to seek medical attention for their children when necessary.

In the meantime, have fun practicing and applying these easy massage techniques. And please do let me know if you have questions. I am easy to reach and happy to help.

Tuesday
Feb042014

White Pine Acupuncture, Asheville, NC

 

Heather Spangler, L.Ac., is as delighted to be a part of White Pine Acupuncture in Asheville, North Carolina, as she is caring for patients within the rich variety and framework of Classical Chinese medicine. 

With gratitude, she earned a Master's degree in Classical Chinese medicine from Daoist Traditions College also in Asheville, where she had the invaluable opportunity to pursue in-depth study with 88th generation Daoist priest Jeffrey Yuen. His vast knowledge combined with his inspiring and gentle spirit serves as a continuing touchstone for Heather in her life and practice. 

While still in school, Heather organized and benefitted deeply from the teachings of Five Element acupuncturist, teacher and author, Lorie Dechar, L.Ac, helping Heather in her process of further integrating what it means to practice a mind, body and spirit medicine. 

Indeed, one of the most satisfying aspects of practicing Chinese medicine for Heather is being able to treat such a wide range of health concerns so effectively and with genuine care for the individual. 

As Heather works seasonally at White Pine, please contact her for the dates she will next be in town.