Thursday, March 10, 2016

How to use Moxibustion Sticks to turn a Breech Baby

Please do not attempt the following unless you are under the supervision of a registered acupuncturist and you have permission from your doctor or midwife. 

Preparation:
Moxa sticks are made from the leaves of a plant (Artemisia argyi) and used in traditional Chinese medicine to stimulate acupuncture points. The moxa you will most likely be given has undergone a charcoal process to produce a stick that produces less smoke, making it ideal for use at home. 
Before using moxa you will need to prepare the following:
  • A cigarette lighter and a candle
  • A small ceramic or glass dish to place any ash in that may form on the moxa stick during treatment
  • A small old towel to place under the area being treated in case any ash is dropped
  • A glass screw-top jar to with a layer of rice in the bottom to extinguish the moxa when the treatment is finished


How to use the moxa stick:

  • Simply light one end of the moxa stick by holding it over a candle. With smokeless moxa it may take several minutes to light. When the stick is correctly lit, you will be able to hold the lit end two to three centimeters from the back of your hand and feel a pleasant radiating warmth. Hold the lit end of the stick over the area to be treated, maintaining a distance of at least two to three centimeters so that there is never any direct contact with the skin. The moxa stick is then moved slowly over the area being treated, this will begin to feel pleasantly warm.
  • When using to turn a breech or posterior positioned baby, the therapeutic time for moxa use is 20 minutes for each acupuncture point. During this time the moxa is briefly lifted away from the point Zhiyin BL- 67 (found on the outside corner of the nail on the little toe) each time it becomes hot, before resuming treatment (the pecking technique).
  • Suggested sitting positions
 

  • When treatment has finished, place the moxa stick in a glass jar lined with dry rice to prevent the heat from cracking the glass bottom. When the lid is screwed on firmly, the moxa stick is deprived of oxygen and cannot continue to burn. The moxa stick can then be re-lit for repeated treatments.
  • Some women feel an increase in the baby's activity after treatment.

Treatment:


  • Repeat treatment once a day for ten consecutive days. This is one course of treatment. If baby does not turn, take a few days rest and then begin another course of treatment. If baby turns before the ten days are finished, continue with treatment until all ten days are complete. Baby will more likely remain in an optimum position if the ten days are completed.
  • It is best to start treatment as early as possible once it is known that baby is breech. Best results are seen at 34-37 weeks while there is still room for baby to turn. However, I have seen babies turn last minute just before an induction is scheduled. 
  • Durning the ten days, see your acupuncturist as often as possible. She will needle other points to help turn baby as well.
Source: "The Essential guide to Acupuncture in Pregnancy and Childbirth" by Debra Betts © 2010

Acupuncture and Prengnacy

Acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment for many common issues that may arise during pregnancy including:

Morning Sickness

Nausea and vomiting, commonly referred to as morning sickness, occurs in approximately half of all pregnancies. Its onset is usually in the 5th to 6th week of pregnancy and subsides by the 14th to 16th week, however, it can appear as early as a woman’s first missed period and last well into the second trimester. As the body changes, hormone levels as well as blood sugar levels fluctuate contributing to the nausea. In addition to this deficiencies of B Vitamins and zinc can be causative factors. Other common triggers include stress and fatigue. Although nausea and vomiting are common experiences in early pregnancy they are still not pleasant. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help ease this period by decreasing the sympathetic nervous system to reduce stress and calm the mind. By relaxing the body and returning it a more “rest-and-digest” state where our parasympathetic is more active, blood circulation is improved to the digestive system allowing the stomach to calm and settle.

Bleeding and Threatened Miscarriage

Bleeding, low back pain and cramping occur in about 40% of pregnancies in the first trimester but can also happen at any stage of a pregnancy and should always be taken seriously. Most women who report bleeding but have a closed cervix and a fetal heartbeat are simply sent back home and told to ‘wait and see’, this often leaves women feeling helpless, lonely and anxious. Research has shown that having continuous support as well as reduced stress levels helps to significantly reduce the chances of miscarriage when bleeding is present. Acupuncture helps by promoting relaxation and balancing hormone levels as well as inhibiting uterine contractions. For many women in this situation just being able to come in and have someone listen to them and provide lifestyle advice as well as relaxation methods is enough to make a difference.


Sciatica, Pelvic and Hip Pain

As your pregnancy progresses your body releases the hormone Relaxin, which helps your tendons and ligaments loosen to allow widening of the hips and the pelvic outlet. This process can often lead to sciatica and hip pain which can be debilitating and reduce the mothers mobility as well as her sleep. With acupuncture we can target the specific muscles involved in sciatica and hip pain and help them relax, reducing inflammation and pain and allowing women to resume their daily activities.


Heartburn and Constipation
 

Two of the most common digestive disorders we treat in pregnancy are heartburn and constipation, both unpleasant and difficult to treat with western medicine. Acupuncture combined with dietary changes offers relief of both of these conditions, quite often overnight. Women do not need to suffer with these symptoms during their pregnancy. When properly treated both heartburn and constipation are easily improved.

Urinary tract infections

Urinary tract infections are more common during pregnancy due to the increased production of progesterone which relaxes the bladder. This combined with increased pressure on the bladder from the uterus prevents the bladder bladder from emptying fully and allows bacteria to flourish more easily. If left untreated, bladder infections may cause a miscarriage or early onset of labour. Acupuncture helps by strengthening the kidneys and the immune system and clearing heat from the bladder. It is effective as a preventative measure or in combination with antibiotic treatment.


Breech Babies and Malpresentation

Around weeks 28-34 babies will generally start to settle into a head down position in the pelvis. Baby’s can turn at any time however it occurs less often passed 34 weeks as the baby grows leaving it with less space. The ideal position for the baby in labour is one where the baby’s head is down; chin tucked towards its chest and the spine is facing outwards towards the mother’s abdomen.
In a breech presentation the baby’s bum or feet sit above the cervix rather than its head. This presentation often results in C-section due to the risks of laboring with the baby in such a position. Another common occurrence is a baby can descend head first into the pelvis but have their spine aligned with the mother’s spine. This position can often prolong labour and create more back pain as the baby’s spine is pressed against the mother’s.
For centuries Chinese Medicine has been addressing these complications with a technique called moxibustion. A Chinese herb is used to heat certain acupuncture points which influence the mother’s hormones and result in increased fetal movement that encourage the baby into a better position. Its efficacy has most recently been published in a 2010 study in Complementary Therapies in Medicine.

Pre-birth Acupuncture (Cervical Ripening)

Pre-birth acupuncture consists of a set of weekly acupuncture sessions beginning around 36-37 weeks and continuing until the commencement of labour. They are intended to prepare a woman for a harmonious birth and positive experience. By balancing hormones, calming the sympathetic nervous system and improving blood flow to the reproductive organs this series of treatments is beneficial to ripen her cervix, calm her mind, and strengthen her blood and energy in order for her mind and body to be ripe and ready for a smooth labor and birth.
In addition, pre-birth treatments are an ideal time to safely treat many other pregnancy complaints such as heartburn and hip pain. It is also the perfect time to ensure baby is in the best possible position for an easy journey.
Studies show some very promising statistics on the positive effects of cervical ripening and we see this confirmed on a daily basis in our personal practice. These positive effects include shorter duration of labor, 35% reduction in medical inductions, 32% lower cesarean rates and even a 31% reduction in requests for epidural with an overall increase in natural normal vaginal deliveries.
In our experience our clients find these sessions deeply relaxing and enjoyable. It is also a wonderful time for prenatal education as well as an opportunity for answering questions, and offering lifestyle and nutritional counseling and support.
We strongly encourage all women to have pre-birth acupuncture and be proactive and educated in their pregnancy and childbirth choices. 

Above information is written by Debra Betts. Please visit her website for additional information  http://acupuncture.rhizome.net.nz/acupuncture/

Monday, February 29, 2016

Dry Needling vs Acupuncture

Here at Gathered Roots Community Acupuncture many people have been asking about dry needling and how it differs from acupuncture.  Usually I try to stay away from such debates but I feel this article from Meridian Acupuncture sums things up quite nicely. 

"What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is a technique developed in the late 1970s by a physician who noticed that injections into painful muscles relieved pain irrespective of the analgesic used. With this in mind, he started using empty hypodermic needles from syringes to poke areas of knotted muscle tissue, or trigger points. Needling these trigger points causes a local "twitch" response: the muscle will involuntarily contract or "jump" due to reflexive signals sent from the spinal cord. This is believed to allow the muscle to relax and thus relieve pain, although the insertion of the needle and the local twitch response can themselves be quite painful.

Dry needling is presently performed by physical therapists and chiropractors, depending on state laws. Many have gotten smarter over the years, realizing that patients generally don't like syringes inserted into their muscles, so they've started using the same solid, filiform needles that we acupuncturists use.

What's the Difference between Dry Needling and Acupuncture?

Essentially, practitioners using dry needling are performing rudimentary acupuncture. The technique of needling directly into an area that is painful upon palpation is outlined in the earliest foundational text about Chinese medicine and acupuncture, the Huang Di Nei Jing (黄帝内经), written around the 4th century BCE. Acupuncture has been further refined over the centuries to high levels of sophistication; dry needling represents, at best, the crudest and most elementary form of acupuncture techniques and, at worst, non-acupuncturists attempting to rebrand an ancient medical technique for modern insurance billing purposes.

Here are some of the advantages of acupuncture over dry needling:
1) Dry needling aims for trigger points and knotted muscle fibers whereas acupuncture employs and is based on the meridian system. As discussed in previous blog entries (here and here), the meridian system maps out the flow of Qi throughout the body - to the various organ systems and body tissues. We are able to relieve pain by stimulating points along specific meridians, and often the site of the needling is far away from the painful area. Dry needling does not take into account this fundamental aspect of Chinese medicine.

2) Dry needling treats symptoms while acupuncture address underlying causes of pain. Pain in your shoulder can stem from an issue in your elbow or a problem near your spine. Essentially, Qi stagnation in a meridian can cause pain anywhere along that meridian, so it's not always useful to needle the site of the pain. Furthermore, what is causing the stagnation of Qi? Is there heat in the meridian? Cold? Blood stagnation, as well? Are you frequently straining muscles because they are not properly nourished by Blood and Yin? Is emotional constraint preventing the Qi from flowing properly? Dry needling isn't going to be able to treat Yin deficiency or Liver Qi constraint, nor can it be used as preventative medicine. That's why the effects of acupuncture tend to be stronger and longer-lasting.

3) Dry needling is only used for orthopedic complaints, generally muscle pain. Acupuncture is awesome for pain, but of course it also treats conditions which would fall into the category of internal medicine such as digestive problems, high blood pressure, infertility, anxiety, flu, and on and on.

4) Dry needling tries to excite the muscles into twitching, which can be uncomfortable or painful. Acupuncture is generally painless and very relaxing.

5) The level and quality of training is very different. PTs and chiropractors can perform dry needling with as few as 23 hours of training. This is basically a course or workshop in an adjunctive therapy very unlike the main techniques of these professions. The acupuncturists at Meridian Acupuncture undertook a 4-year Master's program in acupuncture and oriental medicine, learning many different needling techniques. More importantly, we have gained a full understanding of traditional Chinese medicine theory, allowing us to practice acupuncture needling within the context in which it was created, develop a diagnosis and treatment plan, and incorporate herbal medicine when appropriate.

How Does this Affect the Medicine?

That's a tough question to answer. On the one hand, I personally don't agree with the principles and treatment philosophy behind dry needling. Compared to acupuncture, which has grown out of an established system rooted in 5000 years of tradition, dry needling just doesn't have as much to offer. The effects aren't as strong or long-lasting, and the root cause of the problem isn't even considered. Worse yet, the minimal training required for dry needling practice leaves me wondering if it isn't potentially dangerous to perform on a large patient base. Every patient who has told me about their dry needling experience always had a lot of criticism of the treatment, whether in regards to how painful it was, how limited the effectiveness was, or how uncomfortable they were with the practitioner.

On the other hand, surely there must be patients who get some, temporary pain relief, otherwise therapists would not be out there attempting to perform this type of acupuncture.  Presumably, then, some might leave thinking they've had good results with real, Chinese medicine-based acupuncture. This could make them more open to visiting an actual licensed acupuncturist for future problems. Dry needling practitioners can then potentially become unwitting ambassadors for Chinese medicine. My hope is that patients who receive dry needling and aren't completely turned off by it will then want to take the next step and consult the Chinese medicine experts."

From: http://meridianlouisville.blogspot.ca/2012/11/acupuncture-vs-dry-needling.html

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Reactions to Reiki

People experience Reiki in many ways. When I give Reiki, for example, physically, my hands get very hot, like little ovens, and I get hot flashes, sometimes mild, sometimes not. I can come out of a session dripping with sweat because of the intensity of the heat I feel. And,spiritually and mentally, I always feel at peace. This feeling of peace can vary widely too, sometimes I feel the peace in a mellow,relaxed kind of way and sometimes I feel it in an “I can rock the world” kind of way. Physically, most people feel the energy as heat or warmth; however, sometimes, the energy can be felt as cool or cold. People have even reported feeling tingling or waves of energy or heat passing through and over their bodies, some people feel the energy as spirals, continuously spinning, some feel light headed and dizzy,some feel nothing at all. This can all happen during the session and it’s important to note that this call all happen after the session as well.
I always tell my clients to be aware of how they feel after their session and to listen to their bodies because the effects of the Reiki energy may not initially be apparent. Reiki first and foremost does no harm, it allows you (and your practitioner) to tap into what’s already going on in your body, mind and spirit and it makes you aware of it and asks that you pay attention to it. I’ve had a few clients tell me after their first and/or second session is when they really noticed the Reiki energy at work. Some clients said they felt tired, enough to have had to stay home from work/in bed, sad and emotional, bringing up buried feelings that have been forgotten or weren’t readily apparent, while others have said they felt refreshed, lighter and happier, and so full of energy, they could run a marathon. Your reaction to Reiki may take you on a journey through all of these emotions and intense feelings or it may not. Reiki can help you release emotional, spiritual, mental and physical blocks in your body. It’s important to know and to understand that Reiki feels different for everyone and however you feel it (or don’t feel it),is exactly right for you at that time. It’s also important to know that your Reiki experience can feel different every time; you may feel tingly, spinning sensations with heat the first time and deep, intense emotions with coolness the second time and you may feel nothing but an overall pleasant dreaminess the third time. All of these reactions are normal and part of your healing process with/through Reiki.
Marni Banks- Radiant Journey

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Patient's First Ever Acupuncture Session

In January of 2014, Maddison McKitrick from Downtown New Westminster BIA stopped by for her very first acupuncture treatment.  Here is here blog post about her experience:

"If you are anything like myself, the thought of voluntarily having someone tap needles into your skin, without the result of a beautiful piece of art (I myself have 4 tattoos), isn't high on my 'to-do list'. When I started at the BIA I never imagined I would be hypnotized (see article here), massaged (see article here) or acupunctured all in a day's work. All three therapies were quite foreign to me, especially hypnosis and acupuncture but I was pleasantly surprised with all sessions!

photoGathered Roots Acupuncture is a community style acupuncture clinic on Columbia Street. They provide affordable acupuncture treatments in a warm and welcoming multi-bed atmosphere. Other services include Reiki sessions and Cupping Therapy (both of which I am curious to try, ahem Fiona, *cough *cough).


Not having a specific issue to treat, Fiona took an overall well-being approach to my session. Placing two needles in my forehead, one in each hand, four in each knee, one in each shin and two in each foot, my first thought was 'human pin cushion'. Once I was used to the lightweight yet foreign objects, I settled in quite nicely under the portable infrared heat lamp and closed my eyes. After a relaxing half hour, Fiona removed the needles, which was even less noticeable then the initial insertions.

Fiona is a master at her craft but also brings a calming energy to an intimidating form of therapy (the name has puncture in it!). Scary as it may sound, acupuncture alleviates pain and inflammation, cold and flu symptoms, stress, anxiety and depression (the list goes on).

Visit Fiona at 328 Columbia Street, because for the sake of sounding corny, I'm sure glad I did!"

Maddison McKitrick- January 2014
For full article and photos: http://www.downtownnewwest.ca/index.php/articles/latest-news/125-gathered-roots-acupuncture-clinic

Saturday, July 19, 2014

DIY Reiki


One of the things that surprises people most about Reiki is that you can give it to yourself. The other day I was chatting with my neighbour and had mentioned that I was going to do some Reiki to my sore throat. She looked at me and said “you can give yourself Reiki?!” She was genuinely surprised. I smiled and assured her that not only can you do Reiki for yourself; you should do Reiki for yourself. I explained that every time you are attuned to a different level of Reiki, your body goes through a 21 day adjustment period where it is getting used to the new energies and the new flow within and around the body. I told her that my Level 1 & 2 Reiki Master had said that I had to do Reiki on myself for at least a month before I was to do it for others so that I would know what the energy and the experience felt like.

I LOVE doing Reiki for myself. I love playing with the energy and strengthening my bond with the symbols. Reiki feels amazing and when I’m stressed or tired or just need a little comfort, Reiki is the first thing I turn to. Reiki is also the first thing I turn to when I’m feeling good because it makes me feel even better! After doing client sessions, I feel pumped and bursting with energy. I often will do Reiki at my “9 to 5” at the start of my day to bring in balanced & peaceful energy to see me through my work and half way through my day, around lunch, to give me midday boost. I will bring in Reiki anytime I feel I need a shot of energy to keep me going through the day or help keep me calm and “on top of my game”. I place specific Reiki symbols on the head and foot of my bed before going to sleep so that I can have a restful sleep without my brain going into overdrive about things I did or didn’t get done during the day. I will quite often do Reiki on my head, heart chakra and solar plexus chakra to help me fall asleep. Doing Reiki for myself is equivalent to receiving a hug or petting my cats (both things that I love and make me feel good). It is also a great way to maintain my physical health. I have recently been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in both of my big toes and both of my knees and I’m fairly certain it’s in my pinky fingers and whenever I have a bad bought of achiness or pain because of the arthritis, I do Reiki on the achy spot(s) and it feels better.

Giving myself Reiki has also helped my intuitive abilities to grow and develop further. I am now able to intuitively see auras, chakras, emotional, mental and spiritual blocks in my body and my client’s bodies. Reiki has helped me with my self-confidence and my overall happiness and health. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I LOVE Reiki and I’m excited to see where this journey will take me. I’d love you to come along with me!

Marni Banks- Radiant Journey

Thursday, November 14, 2013

NextUp 2013 Award Recipients Video


Check out Fiona in the NewsLeader's NextUp New Westminster award recipient video:





The NewsLeader's NextUp New Westminster shines the spotlight on 25 of the best and brightest people who are expected to play a significant role in shaping the community's future.

These emerging professionals are turning heads and making waves in their chosen fields, from boardrooms and baseball diamonds to the stage and science labs.