“You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.”Mary Oliver, Wild Geese
What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic Medicine is a style of medicine that focuses on preventative healthcare and comprehensive diagnosis and treatment. Naturopathic doctors (N.D.s) are trained to identify and treat the underlying cause of disease rather than just the symptoms. As an ND, I offer clinical and laboratory diagnostic testing, nutritional medicine, botanical medicine, targeted bodywork (including craniosacral therapy and visceral manipulation), counseling, and hormone replacement therapy.
For more information about naturopathic medicine principles and scope of practice, please visit: https://naturopathic.org/page/AboutNaturopathicMedicine
What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a set of knowledge and practices that dates back to 3,000 BCE. It is based on a holistic understanding of the world and the human body that incorporates 5 elements (Earth, Metal, Water, Wood, Fire) and yin and yang.
Each element is associated with an organ and imbalances in each organ lead to a distinct set of mental and physical symptoms. Qi is a dynamic, animating force that fuels the proper transformation of the different elements as well as all bodily functions. When qi is not flowing freely, organ imbalances and pain can result. The goal of traditional Chinese medicine is to maintain balance of the 5 element and yin and yang, and to keep qi moving freely.
The TCM practitioner uses a variety of diagnostic techniques, including tongue and pulse diagnosis, to identify the organs and qualities that are out of balance. These qualities include, heat, cold, dampness, dryness, deficiency and excess. For each condition, the character of the symptoms in addition to the tongue and pulse provide clues about how to treat it. For example, a patient with diarrhea may be assessed with a number of different TCM diagnoses, and each diagnosis has a different treatment. While one patient may have diarrhea due to damp heat, another may have diarrhea due to qi deficiency. Accordingly, the first patient would be treated with herbs and acupuncture points that clear heat and dry dampness, while the second patient would be treated with those that tonify qi. In this way, practitioners can create highly individualized treatment plans and can often offer new insights into chronic conditions.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a technique in which practitioners insert small needles at distinct points on the body in order to affect either specific pain patterns or the body as a whole. From a modern scientific standpoint, acupuncture is thought to act on opioid systems, affect brain chemistry and neural signals, and alter blood flow.
In TCM, acupuncture is based on a system of meridians. Each organ is paired to meridians that extend from the organ to distal parts of the body.
For example, the lung meridian is connected to the lung organ and extends from the shoulder, down the inside of the arm, and to the thumb. By placing a needle in different locations along this meridian, the acupuncturist can help reduce pain along this meridian, as well as help their patient with deep coughing, asthma, shortness of breath, and many other conditions associated with the lung.
Acupuncture is most well-known for treating acute and chronic pain conditions, such as:
- Low back pain
- Peripheral neuropathies
- Bells Palsy
- Shingles and post-herpetic neuralgias
- Muscle tension
- Headache (including Migraines)
In my practice, I also use acupuncture to treat a variety of womxn’s health and digestive, and psychological conditions, including:
- Menopausal hot flashes
- Chronic pelvic pain
- GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
What is Chinese herbal medicine?
Chinese herbal medicine is a complex medical tradition that has been well-preserved through millennia of practice. It incorporates over 400 herbs from China and other parts of the world, each of which is categorized by their taste, energetic characteristics, and effects on the body. As a large body of scientific research has been conducted on Chinese herbal medicine, many modern Chinese herbalists draw from both traditional and modern scientific knowledge bases.
Chinese herbal formulas are highly specific and individualized. For example, there is one formula that is most commonly used for treating menopausal hot flashes, called Liu Wei Di Huang Wan. However, herbalists can choose from a number of variations on this formula, and can add specific herbs based on the specific symptoms a patient presents with. For instance, one woman may have stronger heat signs, including extreme sweating and hot flashes, while another may have more signs of yin deficiency, with mild hot flashes, but significant eye dryness and insomnia. The Chinese herbalist can therefore choose herbs that more strongly clear heat for the first patient, and can choose herbs that more strongly tonify yin for the second patient. In this way, Chinese herbalists are often able to tailor formulas to the specific needs of our patients.
In my practice, I offer a peaceful environment that helps patients relax and release the pressures of the outside world. In addition to acupuncture, I use a number of holistic bodywork techniques, including Tui Na, Cupping, Craniosacral Therapy and Visceral Manipulation.
Tui Na is a form of bodywork based on the acupuncture meridians. Instead of needles, Tui Na practitioners use massage to activate the channels and alleviate pain.
I like to describe cupping as a reversed massage, in which cups are used like vacuums to break up adhesions and enhance blood flow in areas of tension. It is most often performed on the back, and is excellent for relieving muscle tension and pain.
With each breath, your each of your organs have a natural movement that helps them function to their full capacity. With injury, surgery, and chronic disease, restrictions to this movement can develop and lead to pain and organ dysfunction. Visceral manipulation is a bodywork technique in which practitioners identify these restrictions and use gentle touch to restore organ movement and function. It is particularly useful for addressing conditions like a hiatal hernia, irritable bowel disease, post-surgical scarring, and endometriosis.
Craniosacral is a gentle form of bodywork in which practitioners use light touch to observe and influence subtle movement patterns in the body. It is particularly useful for insomnia, chronic headaches, post-concussive syndrome, anxiety, and chronic pain conditions including fibromyalgia.