Most patients who come to me for treatment suffer from musculo-skeletal problems including back, neck, shoulder and limb pain and headaches including migraines. Others come for a variety of complaints including digestive, respiratory and gynecological conditions including infertility, eye disorders, stress, fibromyalgia and chemical dependency including nicotine. Some seek energy or performance enhancement, detox, wellness advice or energy balancing and a tune up.
To help you succeed in achieving your health and wellness goals, from pain relief to more ambitious lifestyle changes, Columbia Acupuncture’s wellness program utilizes acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine as well as tools, techniques and products from all corners of the world.
I have personally investigated many of these, always on the lookout for the best quality available on the market. I have used many of them with patients and customers as well as myself and my family over thirty years that I have been in practice.
“The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” Thomas Edison
Services and Products
Acupuncture – with or without electrical stimulation
Far-infrared heat therapy – promotes healing and ‘normalizes biological processes’.
Chi Machine – for relaxation, energy circulation and pain relief, among other things
Gua sha – is a friction technique often providing dramatic and immediate relief of pain
Cupping – is a cousin technique to ‘gua sha’ that also moves blood and ‘qi’ energy stagnation for relief of pain or respiratory illnesses.
Magnetic devices – to relieve pain and promote healing, in office and for home use
Herbs and supplements – ancient and modern, from medical traditions around the world
Shiatsu massage – useful on stiff, painful areas like neck, and hands, feet and face for relaxation.
Reiki – may be used during acupuncture treatment to enhance outcomes.
Liniments, creams and essential oils – applied on skin for healing and stress relief
Specially selected music – to enhance your healing experience
Diet and nutritional evaluation – you are what you eat, so eat well.
Water Purification products – by Multipure for home, office and travel.
Each of these techniques and products is discussed below in more detail
When most people walk in the door acupuncture is what they are expecting to receive. It has been approved and recommended by numerous organizations including the World Health Organization (WHO). Points on the torso, limbs and head may be selected, depending on the particular condition being treated. Needles are very thin, made of sterile surgical grade stainless steel, and are inserted with little or no discomfort in most cases, then left in place for about half an hour while the patient relaxes on a table or chair.
Far Infra-red (FIR) Heat Therapy
Far-infrared is a band of light energy that is capable of deep penetration into the body to warm diseased or injured tissues, providing significant healing benefits. These benefits include increasing metabolism and blood circulation; stimulating beneficial inflammatory processes essential for healing injured tissues; raising core body temperature; stimulating cell growth, DNA synthesis and protein synthesis and potentiating functions of white blood cells that in turn strengthen the immune system. FIR may be provided either by specially designed heat lamps or fabrics composed of FIR emitting ceramic fibers (see ‘Magnets’ following).
The most common response from patients to sessions of the Chi Machine is simply “WOW”. This device briskly oscillates the feet side to side, creating a gentle internal massage throughout the entire body. I use the Chi Machine frequently for back or neck pain, general body pain and tension as well as stress disorders due to its reported benefits as well as my own clinical observations. I have, for example, personally spoken to and worked with people who have experienced dramatic healing in cases of multiple disk herniations, ruptures and fracture. The Chi Machine is the only device of its kind that is FDA certified medical device proven effective in the treatment of muscular ache, pain and tension, and increasing blood circulation. The Machine may also be purchased from the manufacturer for home use.
Gua Sha and Cupping
‘Gua Sha’ is a simple technique involving friction applied to the skin with a ceramic spoon is the most effective technique I have used to date for relief of upper body pain and stiffness. On occasion I apply it to the low back or sacroiliac area, as well as arms and legs. Cupping, utilizing glass or plastic cups, placed on the skin, from which air is removed, is another technique to achieve the same outcomes. A bright red rash will appear in places where the ‘sha’ has accumulated. “Sha’ is understood to be metabolic waste products which are trapped in the muscle tissues, resulting from, among other things, micro traumas to the tissue occurring during physical activity, or more obvious traumatic injuries. Dramatic relief of stiffness and pain is often noted within minutes, with patients typically reporting 50-90% improvement.
The disadvantage of ‘gua sha’ treatment is temporary discomfort during treatment for some more sensitive people, and the red rash that may be rather frightening looking, but generally causes no discomfort whatsoever and will dissipate in a few days. As ‘gua sha’ often produces immediate, dramatic relief, I generally recommend it as a first line of treatment for neck, shoulder and upper or mid back stiffness and pain, and on occasion for other body areas as well. Traditionally ‘gua sha’ and cupping has been used in Asia to treat upper respiratory infections including cold, flu, bronchitis and asthma. Recent research confirms benefits for treating hepatitis B and C as well.
“Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease.” Hippocrates
Specially designed therapeutic magnets promote healing and reduce pain by, among other things, stimulating blood circulation to the target tissues. This process by increasing the influx of nutrients, oxygen, glucose and immune system components, and simultaneously the removal of toxins, damaged tissue and metabolic wastes – the essential components of the healing process.
Magnets of various shapes and sizes are available, including flat magnetic disks of various sizes, roller devices and full sleep systems consisting of magnetic mattresses and infra-red (FIR) energy reflecting bedding. Among the benefits of magnets are: (1) they are permanently charged and will last forever, (2) they can be used anywhere on the body for various ailments, (3) their use requires no appointments or repeated or messy applications- just put in place and forget about them, (4) they offer an inexpensive option to years of ongoing medical treatment, body work and therapy, and (5) they can be shared with friends and family (very hard to do with a massage or acupuncture treatment).
I use a variety of therapeutic magnets sandwiched with far infra-red (FIR)material demonstrated to often be very helpful in reducing various pain conditions. For example, I have seen back pain of many years duration resolved overnight, and greatly increased flexibility in a stiff back in less than an hour, by simply placing a magnet over the painful area inside the clothing.
Diet and Nutrition
You are what you eat. It’s as simple as that. In Chinese medicine, good nutrition is considered to be essential and the foundation of good health, as well as treatment for many medical conditions. If you are not consuming foods and supplements that provide the nutrients necessary for the healing, function and growth, there is no way you can ever experience optimal health and wellbeing.
Some medical professionals believe that we can all get everything we need from the three square meals daily, but I have seen ample evidence to the contrary. First, I believe the acceptable minimum standard is low. Some feel that enough to prevent major illness is adequate; having a C or D average is passing, and OK. Personally, I want A and A+ for me and my family and my patients and customers when it comes to nutrition. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) posted on foods is the minimum amount to prevent disease – in fact a D as I see it– just squeaking by with no scurvy, rickets or beri beri. In one study of 60,000 people to determine whether they met an RDA of just a handful of basic nutrients not a single person was found to meet the minimum standard! So, how can anyone tell that you are adequately nourished by your daily meals of nutrient deficient, over-processed, devitalized supermarket food grown with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and shipped across country before months long storage in warehouses prior to sale?
We use, recommend and offer highly concentrated natural green foods that supply a wide range of essential nutrients, and high quality omega oils from plant and animal sources.
“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.” Hippocrates
Chinese herbal formulas in tablet, capsule, liquid and powdered forms are available for purchase as well as in office use. Herbs are an important adjunct therapy to acupuncture and are usually recommended to achieve the best possible therapeutic outcome. While some formulas are more general use and available over the counter, others are more specific and prescribed according to diagnosis. Most commonly used in our clinic are formulas for a variety of pain conditions, injury, digestive disorders, viral and bacterial infections, OB/GYN problems, stress and addiction disorders.
Nutritional Supplements and Herbal Formulas
see Product and Supplement Price List under Our Clinic for product descriptions and pricing
Natural materials including plants, minerals and animal products have been used by humans for healing purposes since before recorded history. Over the millennia sophisticated herbal formulas have evolved in cultures around the world to treat a wide variety of physical ailments.
Nutritional supplements are utilized to compliment the diet when essential nutrients are deficient or needed in greater amounts for treatment of a specific condition.
Green ‘super foods,’ supplements and herbs for pain, osteoporosis, immunity, arthritis, stress, inflammation, trauma, colon cleansing, detoxification, energy and performance enhancement are very popular. Herbs for hormone balancing, essential fatty acids (omega 3 and 6), products for fibromyalgia, magnetic products, anti-oxidants and water purification products round out our program of health maintenance and disease prevention.
The most popular herbs and formulas I recommend include
Peruvian maca root, used for centuries to balance the endocrine system, increase energy and enhance sexual function
FlorEssence or Essiac, to purify the system and reported to benefit cancer treatment
Echinacea Plus including echinacea and garlic to boost immunity
Prime One, a stress busting formula proven to enhance athletic performance, mental function
Progest from wild Mexican yam for female health
Intestinal Formulas 1 and 2 for colon cleansing, healing and function
Among the most popular supplements are
Proteolytic (protein digesting) enzymes to reduce pain and inflammation, remove scar tissue and promote faster healing following injuries or surgery and enhance immunity.
Glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate to repair damaged cartilage in conditions such as osteoarthritis.
Cal Appetite containing MCHA (micro-crystalline hydroxyappetite) to treat osteoporosis
Colloidal silver for its anti-microbial effects.
Zeolite for safely removing toxic heavy metals from the body.
Neuropathy Support Formula for nerve damage from conditions including diabetes, trauma, infection, drugs and chemotherapy. Users report excellent results for relief of pain and dysfunction.
Japanese Shiatsu Massage
Shiatsu, also referred to as ‘Acupressure’, is often utilized to soften the tight muscles and restore free flow of the ‘qi’ energy and blood to the dis-eased tissues. I may use some Shiatsu on hands and feet to promote relaxation. Pressure points can be taught to patients for uses at home as well. Spouses, partners and friends are welcome to attend sessions if desired to observe and learn points and techniques, enabling them to provide basic massages at home for ongoing treatment at home between office visits and following completion of the treatment program.
Heat from a burning herbal ‘cigar’ is useful to relieve pain and stiffness, as well as to strengthen the body energy ‘chi’ which supports the back. It is especially useful in conditions where cold is found to worsen the problem, or if heat is found to help. Due to the resulting smoke I tend to prefer FIR heat therapy in the office, and to provide moxa poles to patients for use at home.
An Hao Poultice
Hot herb soaked towels applied directly to the back can be very helpful for acute sprain/strain cases. This treatment is time consuming as a couple hours are required to prepare and administer the poultice. A packet of herbs is cooked, strained and then applied with a towel to the affected area. Leftover herbal tea can be saved and used again at a later time for follow up treatment.
Relaxing music, often specifically designed to enhance your healing experience, will accompany your treatment. Titles and contact information for CDs are available on request for those wishing to order copies for their own use at home.
Plus outside referrals for massage, yoga, chiropractic, NLP, hypnotherapy, etc.
I look forward to working with you to help you attain and maintain optimal health and well-being for you and your family.
Jim Martin, LAc, Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM)