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Things to consider before choosing a Facial Acupuncture Class

michelle gellis teaches facial acupuncture class
michelle gellis teaches facial acupuncture class

Facial acupuncture classes…lots of folks are offering them these days. The cost for typical 2-3 day class can be substantial. Before you enroll, here are a few things to consider:

  1. Is the instructor certified by the American Acupuncture Council? If AAC is your insurance company, you must be trained by an AAC certified instructor for coverage. You can contact AAC for the most current list. Even if AAC is not your insurance provider, you may switch in the future, and being trained by an AAC provider lends some credibility to your skills.
  2. What is the average class size? If the teacher to student ratio is too large, you will not get the supervision necessary to monitor new skills being taught.
  3. What are the instructor’s credentials?   What is their teaching experience, where, how long?  Are they published? Is their degree in acupuncture or another field?
  4. Is it a hands-on class? You should be able to practice what you learn, with special emphasis on new techniques and skills.
  5. Will supplies be provided or charged for separately? There should be no hidden costs. Everything you need to practice in class should be supplied. Some instructors sell their own product lines or add-ons, and classes can become very ‘product centered.’
  6. Is the system something that is easily learned? Techniques that are complicated or overly time consuming are rarely implemented after you leave the class. Speak to folks who have studied with the instructor.
  7. Is the class comprehensive? Will you need to take a follow up or advanced class before you can practice the techniques?
  8. How much time will there be to practice? There should be ample time allotted to practice new skills.
  9. What CEUs are attached to the class?How many, and for which states.
  10. What is the cancellation policy? If you cannot attend, can you use the tuition towards another class in the future or is the money lost?

    Michelle Gellis demonstrates Facial Acupuncture

Acupuncture Treatment for Facial Pain and Paralysis

Acupuncture Treatment for Facial Pain and Paralysis

By Michelle Gellis LAcMAcDiplAc

This article addresses acupuncture treatment for facial pain and paralysis which are common conditions which can be difficult to treat with western medicine.  As a practitioner and instructor of facial acupuncture I frequently get calls from individuals seeking help for various medical conditions affecting the face. Although conditions such as Bells Palsy, Stroke, TMJ, Trigeminal Neuralgia, and Ptosis are vastly different, they all affect the facial muscles, nerves, functionality and appearance of the face. Fortunately, there are many acupuncture techniques, which are extremely effective in bringing movement and normal sensory function to the face.

Facial and scalp acupuncture, facial cupping and motor points are uniquely suited to address facial pain and neuropathy. The same Acupuncture points which can be used to raise a saggy jowl or a furrowed brow can be used to treat a drooping eyelid such as with ptosis or bells palsy. The same scalp points which can help with nerve pain or motor issues can help with facial pain from trigeminal neuralgia or shingles on the face. Facial cupping, (when done with special facial cups and by a practitioner trained in facial cupping) brings blood and energy to the muscles of the face and has the potential to relieve TMJ and invigorate conditions affected by paralysis or weakness such as MS, brain injury, or stroke. http://facialacupunctureclasses.com/facial-cupping/. Lastly, intramuscular needling techniques (which are invaluable in acupuncture facial rejuvenation for relaxing taught muscles which cause deep wrinkles) can be used to relax an atrophied facial muscle as may happen with myasthenia gravis or stroke.

In Chinese medicine, not all individuals exhibiting particular symptoms of a disease will have the same treatment. Treatment is based on a thorough diagnosis of the patient’s medical history, diet, lifestyle and other factors. Once a diagnosis has been made by a licensed acupuncturist specially trained facial acupuncture, the facial concerns as well as the underlying condition, which may have caused them, are treated. I have been working with patients with these types of conditions for over a decade, and the results I have seen have been very positive. The benefit of acupuncture is that there are no side effects, downtime, or invasive procedures. Typically results can be seen after 6-8 treatments and many insurance companies cover the cost of acupuncture treatment (you would need to contact your provider for eligibility). Acupuncture needles are the diameter of a human hair and the treatment is virtually painless. Most of my patients fall into a deeply relaxed state during treatment and receive benefits reaching beyond their physical symptoms. For more information on treatments for Facial pain, paralysis and neuropathy.  Contact Michelle Gellis http://facialacupunctureclasses.com

Testimonials:

“When I contracted Bell’s palsy, I went to my doctor and was put on a 6 day regimen of cortisone to help to reduce the inflammation of the cranial nerve.

It was not until a week later, after I contacted Michelle Gellis, my acupuncturist, and had a treatment, that I experienced any improvement in my condition. The improvement was dramatic in lessening of the facial paralysis. Within a 3-week period, my facial paralysis was improved to a point, that people could not tell that I had been suffering with the condition. Originally, being told that my condition could last somewhere between 6 weeks, on the mild side, and 6 months, I was thrilled, when the regimen of treatments that Michelle performed, had helped my condition so dramatically”. -Linda B. D.

“I contacted Michelle for my ptosis condition (one eyelid sat lower than the other) because my wedding was approaching, I was desperate and even considering surgery, but after just a few sessions my eyelids were even. I was so grateful my eyelids were even for my special day-and so thankful that I did not have to go the invasive route, along with its expense and recovery time. Michelle is very skilled with her needles and definitely master of her craft.”-Steph J

Since I’ve started the treatments with Michelle for my TMJ and related migraines, I have felt great improvement. I actually have not had one migraine since I started and the overall pain in my jaw has decreased significantly. I have not been able to even chew anything on the right side of my mouth for the past few years and I am now starting to retrain myself to chew on both sides. The Improvement has been amazing, much better than I had hoped for. -Jackie M

 

 

 

7 ways Acupuncture can reverse aging

By Michelle Gellis LAcMAcDiplAc

We tend to think of Acupuncture as something that can help with aches and pains. But what most people don’t know is that Acupuncture can make you look and feel younger! Regular acupuncture treatment can make you feel more energetic and youthful, AND it can actually reduce the signs of aging

1) Stress Reduction

We all are exposed to stressful situations in our lives. When the stress is extreme, or if it lasts a long time, our physical health begins to suffer. Some common stress related illnesses are: irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, depression, insomnia, hypertension, stroke, migraine, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and autoimmune diseases. Acupuncture effectively treats stress by unblocking stuck energy and allowing it to flow properly throughout the body. As our tension is relieved, so are our symptoms. Acupuncture releases stress reducing, natural pain killing chemicals in the brain, called endorphins. The calming nature of acupuncture also decreases heart rate, lowers blood pressure and relaxes the muscles.

2) Improve sleep

Ruminating thoughts, hormonal imbalances, anxiety, depression, and overstimulation are a few of the reasons why we can have trouble sleeping at night. One of the immediate gifts of acupuncture is its ability to calm the mind, lift the spirit, reset our body clock and allow us to get our restorative “beauty sleep”.

3) Younger Looking Skin

Celebrities such as Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Demi Moore, Angelina Jolie and Julianne Moore have used Acupuncture Facial Rejuvenation as a way to maintain and improve their appearances. Cosmetic Acupuncture represents natural method to promote youthfulness and enhance natural beauty and can take 5-10 years off the look of your skin. Acupuncture facial rejuvenation requires no downtime and is safe and painless. As you age, the 57 muscles in your face gradually lose their tone causing the sagging, deep wrinkling and tired look associated with aging. Acupuncture stimulates the muscle function, and the face lifts itself; returning the face to a healthier, revitalized, and youthful appearance.

4) Better sex

Acupuncture can bring back the spark in your sex life too! The needles can help to allow for a smoother flow of energy and blood to the genital area, thereby increasing pleasure and desire. Additionally, acupuncture can balance your hormones back to a more youthful state, increasing estrogen and testosterone levels. This can result in a reduction in prostate enlargement, less vaginal dryness and many other benefits.

5) Reduce Pain

On a physical level acupuncture reduces pain by improving blood flow and releasing pain-relieving endorphins and serotonin. Pain that is chronic can be mentally and physically exhausting. Our emotions can wear us down, and cause us to be weak and unable to heal. It is impossible to effectively treat chronic conditions without addressing a person’s state of mind. Acupuncture addresses the negative emotions (such as anger, and fear), thereby decreasing stress hormones, which cause pain.

6) Stronger immune system

Acupuncture can help to naturally boost your immune system. Scientists have been able to determine that acupuncture enhances the production of natural killer cells, which is the primary defense mechanism against organisms that make us sick. It also regulates white blood cells directly linked to the fight against infections, allergic reactions, and even autoimmune disorders. Regular acupuncture treatments are a great preventative measure to ward off colds and flu.

7) More energy & vitality

Although the immediate effect of acupuncture treatment is very relaxing, the long-term effects are more energy, and vitality. The reason for this has to do with a concept in traditional Chinese medicine called Jing, the energy of the Kidneys. It is the power that keeps us going. How much Jing you have determines your energy levels, how you will age and how healthy you will be. If your kidney energy is deficient it can lead to premature aging, dried up wrinkled skin, and dark circles. Additionally it can affect your head hair and bones, so osteoporosis and premature greying are signs of kidney imbalances.

Acupuncture…anti-aging medicine for over 5,000 years.

Facial Cupping to rejuvenate your skin.

During the summer Olympics we witnessed a preponderance of athletes such as Michael Phelps receiving cupping to relieve sore muscles. Since then I have received a multitude of calls about cupping. When used to relieve pain, cupping and gua sha can be very beneficial for releasing tension in muscles and fascia. Facial cupping is a highly specialized technique, which can be employed to assist rejuvenating the skin by increasing blood flow, reduce puffiness and release toxins stored in skin of the face without the telltale “cupping marks.” As an acupuncturist and nationally certified CEU instructor of facial cupping I am thrilled to see this ancient art being brought into the mainstream.
For thousands of years the Chinese have used therapeutic cupping for asthma, fever, pain, TMJ, sinus congestion and many other physical concerns. Facial cupping can be transformative to your appearance either as a standalone treatment, or as an addition to acupuncture facial rejuvenation. The benefits include increased local circulation to the skin, drawing nutrients to the surface and enhancing absorption of lotions or serums. Facial cupping also increases blood flow, drains stagnant fluids and eases puffiness. By increasing blood flow and circulation to the skin, cupping can help the skin to regain its youthful appearance.
Facial cups are small and come in various shapes especially designed for your face. After applying a special lotion, a small cup is either “parked” for a few seconds over a deep wrinkle to increase blood flow to the area, or it is moved along the face and down the neck to drain lymphatic fluid and stimulate blood flow.
This treatment will bring collagen to the surface, reduces puffiness & dark circles, diminish lines, drain nasal sinuses and lymphatic system. Conditions such as TMJ and sinus pressure are also relieved. The increased local blood supply will bring nourishment to the muscles and skin and allow for toxins to be carried away via the veins and the lymphatic system. My patients describe feeling very relaxed and deep warmth, and tingling sensation long after the treatment has ended.
Make certain that your practitioner has been properly trained in facial cupping by a certified NCCAOM instructor.
cupping

Why Clearing Blocks Can Improve Your Cosmetic Acupuncture Treatments

By Michelle Gellis LAc MAc DiplAc
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists. Rooted in Five Element Theory, the practice of clearing blocks before initiating treatment is at the core of my facial acupuncture classes. A block is defined as a break in, or impediment to, the smooth flow of Qi. Blocks can prevent treatments from being effective or holding. They must be cleared in order for healing to take place.
There are several types of blocks. They can show up on the pulses as a disparity in the strength of one pulse in relation to another or in the strength of the left side pulses to the right. Other ways blocks can show up are in a patient’s affect, physical or emotional well-being, or appearance.
Blocks to treatment can take many forms. They can be energetic such as: Aggressive Energy, Pulse Qualities, and Entry/Exit. They can be Lifestyle blocks such as: Diet, relationships, and substance abuse. Some blocks are structural like a scar. Others blocks to treatment relate to a patients’ dependence on the illness for sympathy, or financial reasons.
Blocks vary in severity and significance. Some are dire and require immediate attention such as when the pulses on the right side are greater in quantity and quality then the left (referred to as an H/W), some are less severe and will show up from time to time, like a pulse quality or a spirit block.
One block that I address in every patient is Aggressive Energy (AE). It is created by toxic or polluted energy that moves along the K’O cycle. According to Five Element theory, Aggressive Energy is: “Qi which is contaminated and polluted and whose quality is poisonous and destructive.” AE will cause problems within the total energy of the body, mind and spirit (Worsley, 1990). AE must be cleared to prevent its spread to other officials during treatment, hence its clinical significance in Facial Acupuncture. AE can occur after surgery, emotional or physical illness or a variety of other conditions. It is drained through the Yin organs via the Back Shu points. The test for AE is also the treatment; there is no other way to diagnose with certainty that a patient has AE.
The image below shows a patient with AE. Needles are places in the Back shu points (BL13, 14, 15, 18 20, 23) and test needles are placed in each of the three Jiao, if the redness around the needles is different than the test needle, then AE is present and must be drained. If other more severe blocks (such as ID’s) are present, AE will not clear until the other blocks have been cleared.
ae
Regardless of the nature and severity of the block, its presence will impede the rate of recovery and the effectiveness of any acupuncture treatment. Without this crucial piece, treatments can progress more slowly and not have as long lasting effect. Learning the theory and treatment of blocks and how they can impede facial rejuvenation and recovery from neuromuscular facial conditions are an integral part of my Facial Acupuncture classes. For more information go to: http://www.facialacupunctureclasses.com

Cosmetic Acupuncture as an alternative to Botox® Injections

scroller_002_TabletCosmetic Acupuncture as an alternative to Botox®

Michelle Gellis, LAc MAc DiplAc

In recent times Botox has been used to treat a myriad of conditions. From wrinkles to headaches, overactive bladder to overactive sweat glands, the medical community has been finding new and innovative uses for Botox®.  Acupuncture has been used for over 3,000 years to treat many physical and cosmetic conditions as well. The benefit to cosmetic acupuncture is there are no dangerous side effects or disruption to the body’s natural functioning.

In order for a muscle to contract it must receive a chemical messenger (acetylcholine) from a nerve. This happens at the junction where the nerve ending meets the muscle. When Botox® is injected, the botulinum toxin prevents the release of acetylcholine which paralyzes the muscles, preventing it from contracting. In the case of a wrinkle, the relaxed muscle creates smoother surface for the skin to adhere to, thereby temporarily reducing the appearance of a wrinkle. Botox® is most often used on forehead lines, crow’s feet (lines around the eye), and frown lines. Wrinkles caused by sun damage and gravity will not respond to Botox®. The effect of Botox® injections last from 3-4 months, at which time they must be repeated.

The side effects of Botox® have been well documented and studied and vary from person to person. Some of the documented side effects include: allergic reactions, rash, itching, headache, neck or back pain, muscle stiffness or weakness, difficulty swallowing, shortness of breath, nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, weakness, injection site reactions (muscle weakness, bruising, bleeding, pain, redness, or swelling), fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, flu symptoms, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, ringing in ears, and increased sweating in areas other than the underarms, drooping of the eyelid (ptosis), inflammation of the cornea (keratitis), eye dryness, itchy eyes, problems with vision, tearing, and sensitivity to light, and eyelid swelling or bruising, trouble breathing, talking, and loss of bladder control. (This is not a complete list of possible side effects)*

Cosmetic Acupuncture (also known as facial rejuvenation or facial acupuncture), when administered by a certified, licensed, acupuncturist can have the same benefits as Botox® without the side effects. Facial rejuvenation acupuncture works on several levels treating the skin, muscles and underlying imbalances, which may be creating wrinkles and/or saggy appearance. To keep your skin healthy and beautiful on the outside, you must work on the inside of your body as well; Increasing the flow of energy, blood and lymph circulation improves the skin’s natural healthy color. Cosmetic Acupuncture also can increase the promotion of collagen production, muscle tone and skin elasticity; this helps to firm the skin. Acupuncture’s ability to stimulate the formation of body fluids helps to nourish the skin, adding moisture and making it softer, smoother and more lustrous.

Facial Acupuncture not only addresses the outward appearance of the effects of aging, it also can ease stress, depression, worry and frustration, which in turn can cause premature aging.  Regular acupuncture treatment helps to balance hormones, calm overactive adrenal glands, and create a sense of calm. Stress can cause chemicals called neuropeptides to flood your skin and wreak havoc by increasing inflammation, widening blood vessels, and increasing skin permeability. The calming nature of acupuncture also decreases heart rate, lowers blood pressure and relaxes the muscles. Acupuncture improves circulation of blood throughout the body, which brings oxygen to the tissues and clears out cortisol and other waste chemicals.

The needles themselves elicit a healing response to the micro-trauma caused by the needling. Collagen is produced, helping smooth out the wrinkles. Additionally, needles can be placed under muscles through a process called submuscular needling to help relax the muscle belly, and by using special points called motor points, the muscle can be reset to its normal function without the use of any toxic chemicals. The results of acupuncture facial rejuvenation are a more even-toned, healthy, youthful looking skin, a clearer complexion, and a more peaceful state of mind.

The side effects of facial acupuncture are rare and are limited to occasional temporary bruising at the site of needle insertion. The treatments take place over several weeks. Once completed the results can last indefinitely with regular maintenance.

Acupuncture is a safe, viable alternative to Botox injections. Make certain your practitioner has been trained by an AAC certified instructor.

*http://www.rxlist.com/botox-side-effects-drug-center.htm

 

Acupuncture Treats Moody Skin

Acupuncture Facial Rejuvenation
Acupuncture Facial Rejuvenation

We all know how those sagging jowls, fine lines, eye bags and lackluster skin can affect our psyche.  But according to ancient Chinese wisdom the opposite is also true. The emotions that we express each day will over time become permanently imprinted on our face.  For example, the habitual expression of worry and anger bring the brows together causing the “11’s” (deep furrows between brows.)  Depression and stress are known to cause hormonal and nervous-system activity that can trigger changes in the skin.  Unbalanced hormones can lead to premature thinning of the skin as well as dark patches (melasma) and acne.  If your adrenals glands are over stimulated (too much stress) it can lead to dark circles under the eyes.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) thinks of our internal organs as integrated systems that disperse the Qi (energy) they generate.  In that way, seemingly distant organs can have an impact on facial beauty.  According to Chinese Five Element Theory, our emotions correspond to different organs systems.  Therefore, someone who worries a great deal can injure their stomach organ. This disharmony in the stomach organ (earth element), may result in dampness by blocking Qi flow and nutrients, resulting in puffy eyes.   The knowledge of Five Element and TCM theory enables an acupuncturist to feel your pulses, study your tongue and know which of the body’s systems have been injured or are struggling and to make adjustments which can have tremendous impact on both your skin and your overall health.

Acupuncture Facial Rejuvenation not only addresses the outward appearance of the effects of aging, it also can ease stress, depression, worry and frustration which can cause premature aging.  Regular acupuncture treatment helps to balance hormones, calm overactive adrenal glands, and create a sense of calm. Points along the channels (called meridians) which correspond to different organ systems can help to provide a sense of relaxation and well-being which translates to a more relaxed, vibrant appearance.  The calming nature of acupuncture also decreases heart rate, lowers blood pressure and relaxes the muscles. In addition, acupuncture improves circulation of blood throughout the body, which brings oxygen to the tissues and clears out cortisol and other waste chemicals.

The needles themselves elicit a healing response to the microtrauma caused by the needling. Collagen is produced and disbursed, helping smooth out the wrinkles.   All of this together can take years off your face, without side effects, toxins, fillers or surgery.  Call Michelle Gellis to see if Acupuncture Facial Rejuvenation might be just what you need for your “moody skin”.

 

Why learn facial acupuncture? A blog for acupuncturists…

Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture and Your Practice

By Michelle Gellis LAc MAc DiplAc

Did you know that 5 years after graduating, 50% of acupuncturists are NOT in an active practice? For those who are in practice, the average income is less than $50,000/year.

The impact of allied health professionals practicing “dry needling” may have adversely affected your practice….

Cosmetic Acupuncture CEU classes = more patients

My guess is if you’re like most acupuncturists you are always trying to think of new ways to attract patients to your practice. Perhaps you’ve gone to seminars to learn some skills, but walk away after the weekend overwhelmed or feeling ill-equipped to incorporate these techniques into your practice.

We all know how effective acupuncture is for treating aches and pains, chronic and acute illness. But many of today’s practitioners are missing out on one of the largest growing markets, and that is: Acupuncture’s ability to reverse the signs of aging. Celebrities such as Madonna, Demi Moore and Sandra Bullock are using Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture, because it works!

With so many baby boomers competing in today’s work place, the anti-aging industry is literally exploding. Acupuncture has a unique ability to naturally rejuvenate a person’s appearance, without surgery, toxins or downtime. The treatment is very relaxing and my patients typically fall asleep before I’m done putting the needles in.

Practicing cosmetic acupuncture requires special training, and for most malpractice insurance companies, additional certification. There are many different types of training’s available, but in order to truly affect the skin, underlying muscles and underlying disharmonies you need a multifaceted approach. Additionally, skills learned can be used to treat other conditions such as TMJ and Bell’s Palsy.

My CEU classes offer techniques ranging from submuscular needling, body and face points, intradermal needing, facial cupping and facial gua sha. All of this is taught in a weekend class, in a small, hands-on, fun environment. There is lots of practice involved and you will walk away at the end of the weekend with a valuable, usable skill set that you can implement. Live and Recorded Webinars are also available.

Unsafe Practice of Acupuncture Under the Term Dry Needling

unsafe dry needling
Pneumothorax as a result of dry needling

10 Facts You Should Know About the Unsafe Practice of  Dry Needling

By: Michelle Gellis LAc MAc DiplAc

Over the past few months some of my patients have shared with me that they have been offered Dry Needling by their chiropractor or physical therapist and wanted to know what I thought about it. Here are some facts that you need to know:

  1. “Dry Needling” is Acupuncture. Inserting an acupuncture needle into the body, under any pretense, for any purpose, is the practice of acupuncture. Physical therapists, chiropractors and other allied health professionals use this term to circumvent state laws governing acupuncture practice.
  2. Tender or painful points, also referred to as “trigger points” or “motor points,” are Acupuncture points. In Chinese medicine these are known as “ashi” points. Those practicing “dry needing” will claim they are not treating acupuncture points, when in fact they are.
  3. “Dry needling” is an invasive, acupunc­ture needle intervention. “Dry needling” is not “manual therapy”.  Manual therapy is a noninvasive, hands-on intervention.
  4. “Dry needling” is not a “technique”; It is Acupuncture. The act of inserting an acupuncture needle into the body, under any pretense, or for any purpose whatsoever is the practice of acupuncture.
  5. Physical therapists and other allied health professionals who are not licensed by law to practice Acupuncture cannot legally purchase acupuncture needles. According to the Food and Drug Administration, (FDA), anyone who is not licensed by law to practice acupuncture cannot legally buy acupuncture needles. As class II medical devices mandating FDA prescription labeling on the packages, all acupuncture needle boxes state: “Cau­tion: Federal law restricts this device to sale by or on the order of qualified practitioners of acupuncture as determined by the states.”
  6. Physical therapists and other allied health professionals who are not licensed by law to practice acupuncture are using acupuncture needles to perform “dry needling’. Physical therapists and other allied health professionals who are not licensed by law to practice acupuncture would have you believe that they are not using acupuncture needles to perform “dry needling,” when they are, in fact, using acupuncture needles, which are clearly labeled as such on the package.
  7. Physical therapists and other allied health professionals who are not licensed by law to practice acupuncture are not qualified to perform “dry needling.” 16 states have outlawed the practice of “dry needling” entirely. “Dry needling” is far outside both physical therapists’ and other allied health professionals’ scope of practice and their scope of education and training. In order to become a licensed acupuncturist you must complete between 660-870 hours of hands on, supervised training in the use of needles, 1245-1755 hours of training in diagnosis, safety, biomedicine, anatomy, theory and other topics, and a minimum of 250-350 supervised patient treatments prior to graduation and licensure. Yet physical therapists and other allied health professionals are inserting acupuncture needles (up to four inches or more in length) into patients with as little as a weekend workshop in acupuncture.
  8. Patients are not safe when under-educated professionals perform “dry needling”. There are real risks associated with the use of acupuncture needles by physical therapists and other allied health professionals who lack the education and supervised clinical training of licensed acupuncturists. These real risks include, but are not limited to: blood vessel, nerve and organ injury from inappropriate acupuncture needle angle and depth of insertion or from inappropriate acupuncture needle manipulation, infection and cross infection from non-sterile re-insertion of acupuncture needles, poor hygiene in acupuncture needle handling, and inadequate skin preparation.
  9. There are documented cases of injury from the use of acupuncture needles by allied health professionals who lack the education and supervised clinical training and examinations of licensed acupunc­turists. In one such case, Emily Kuykendall, a high school teacher from Maryland, had suffered nerve damage from the use of acupuncture needles by a physical therapist. In another such case, Kim Ribble-Orr, a former Olympic athlete from Canada, had suffered a punctured lung and a pneumothorax (the presence of air in the cavity between the lungs and the chest wall, causing collapse of the lung) from the use of acupuncture needles by a massage therapist.
  10. Needling is a subtle skill that takes years to master. In Acupuncture School, we spend almost two years learning point location, and proper needle technique before we ever insert a needle into a patient. An acupuncture needle is a delicate instrument. Properly trained, an acupuncturist can tell when the tip of the needle is approaching structures such as nerves, blood vessels and the membrane surrounding bones or internal organs. The nature of the dry needling courses makes the ability to discern these subtle distinctions impossible. As a faculty member at the Maryland University of Integrative Health, one of the exercises I use to teach my students the subtly of inserting a needle is to have them insert a needle into an inflated balloon without popping it. Most students are surprised at how difficult it is.  Like many things, acupuncture looks easy when performed by an expert, but in reality, it takes many years to master.

You certainly would not see your Acupuncturist for physical therapy or chiropractic after a couple of weekend courses; why would you go to your PT or chiropractor for Acupuncture (no matter what they may call it) after just a few hours of training?

*Information on this page is used with consent from the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Society of Massachusetts for more details go to their website: www.aomsm.org.

Texters Neck…a real pain in the head.

Texters neck…a real pain in the head.

By Michelle Gellis LAc Mac

During my years in practice as an acupuncturist I have noticed a sharp increase in neck issues with my patients. This problem affects individuals of all ages, the youngest I have seen in my practice was less than two years old. When I first began in practice I noticed the correlation between sore necks/upper backs and headaches. Releasing these tense muscles through acupuncture, cupping, and gua sha, brings tremendous relief for headaches and migraines, yet I couldn’t help but wonder why is there such a sharp increase over the years, especially in my younger patients.

The answer came to me one day as I walked through the San Diego airport. As I scanned the seats, the restaurants, and the walkways, I observed everyone was looking down: Teens and adults on their phones, toddlers on iPads. I could not look in any direction without seeing people starring straight down.

The damaging effects of holding your head in a downward position are well documented. When you tilt your head forward it puts strain on the muscles which hold the head up and also the shoulders and sides of the neck which can involve the trapezius, SCM, rhomboid, levator scapula, and several other muscles. Strain on these muscles tends to result in headaches on the sides of the head and temples. Strain in the back of the neck, the suborbital region, involve the suboccipital and Splenius Capitus muscles will result in headaches referred to the top of the head. Additionally, when held in a downward position for too long, the cervical vertebrae compress the cervical discs, which can cause the discs to bulge or rupture causing nerve pain down the arm and into the hand.

Regular acupuncture treatment has proven effective to relax tight muscles and create overall relaxation and well being.  I also encourage my patients to hold their devices at eye level whenever possible, takes breaks and do stretching of the neck and upper back muscles several times a day. File Jun 07, 9 37 54 PM