-Acupuncture Physical Medicine-
Nationally and globally, our society is suffering from a painkiller addiction (the so-called "opioid epidemic") that itself can be treated with acupuncture, in addition to treating the pain itself.
Pain causes us not only physical, but emotional distress and, at times, the reverse is also true. I have seen patients' lives completely transformed by relieving of them of their pain and that has served as incredible motivation to learn to do it better. Beyond treating the pain, freeing up tension in musculoskeletal tissues allows underlying systems to work better, too.
Acupuncture is physical medicine. Like modern-day orthopedics, we use "physical medicine" to address pain, but it is a broader in that the term includes diagnosis and prevention in addition to treating the pain or injury itself. A thorough understanding of anatomy, muscle functionality and even exercise physiology (through the lens of sports acupuncture training) can only improve one's practice of acupuncture. I have made these my goals in refining my physical medicine acupuncture skills over the last many years.
- Classical acupuncture techniques for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of pain.
- Electro-acupuncture - Ash has training in advanced techniques using electronic stimulation of acupuncture points and channels to increase the efficacy of treatments when applicable and speed healing times.
- Ashi/Trigger point needling (aka "dry needling) - "Dry needling" is essentially trigger point acupuncture with a different name. We sometimes call it "ashi" acupuncture, as "ashi" translate as "ah, yes," as in "there it is," the "it" being a hyperirritable location in muscle or other connective tissue. In modern terms, that's called a trigger point. An acupuncturist combines ancient theory and knowledge of the multi-systemic effects of acupuncture with a modern understanding of neuroanatomy and muscle physiology in the practice of ashi/trigger point needling, thereby addressing the whole patient rather than simply treating symptomatically, or only where there is pain, which often leads to aggravation. The needling and release of trigger points is much more effective when treated in conjunction with other appropriate acupuncture points as indicated by the patient's presentation. In Washington State, only acupuncturists and licensed medical doctors may legally perform "dry needling" or any form of acupuncture, no matter what it is called.
- Cupping (myofascial decompression) - this technique has been used for centuries in East Asian medicine and has recently caught on with many allied health professions (massage, chiropractic, physical therapy, etc.). It has been shown to decrease mechanical connective tissue changes following inflammation or trauma, decrease myofascial dysfunction, scar adhesions, scar tissue; and decrease myofascial syndromes such as faulty patterning due to hypertonic muscles.
- Gua Sha - a healing technique of traditional East Asian medicine, defined as instrument-assisted unidirectional press-stroking of a lubricated area of the body surface to intentionally create transitory therapeutic peticheae (called "sha") representing extravasation of blood in the subcutis. Modern research shows Gua Sha produces an immuno-protective and anti-inflammatory effect.
- Point injection therapy (PIT) - The injection of saline or other remedies improves the quality of the interstitial fluid allowing nutrient and waste product transfer between the cells and bloodstream to occur efficiently again thus facilitating healing.
Pain management-specific training:
- Doctoral candidate, Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, San Diego, CA - 2017-2018
- Acupuncture Sports Medicine Apprenticeship with Whitfield Reaves - 2011
- Assistant Instructor for Whitfield Reaves' Acupuncture Sports Medicine Program - 2016-present
- Various classes with Matt Callison, founder of Sports Medicine Acupuncture - 2015-2016
- Point Injection Therapy training - in formal masters program, additional training in 2016.
- Anatomy Trains in Structure and Function with Tom Myers, author of Anatomy Trains - 2016
Most importantly, pursuing deeper knowledge of classical acupuncture via study of the Neijing Suwen (c.200BCE) led me to the conclusion that the earliest acupuncture physicians were simply way, way ahead of their time. There is an incredible amount of overlap in the understanding of anatomy between, for example, the ancient Neijing Suwen (the original acupuncture text) and the recent work in the field of fascial medicine. It's astonishing to see the cutting edge field of fascia research coming to the same conclusions acupuncturists discovered so long ago!
Sports acupuncture is another area of particular interest to me and falls under the general category of orthopedics. In 2011, I completed a Acupuncture Sports Medicine Apprenticeship with Whitfield Reaves and am now one of his assistants. I am also committed to ongoing study of modern anatomy and physiology including myofascial planes, motor points and trigger points.
The goals of sports acupuncture treatment are simple: increase performance and decrease injury rehabilitation time. In my practice I strive to always consider the underlying health and habits of the individual so I may treat the person and not just the injury. By supporting an individual on the root level--one's basic tendencies in health and living--it is my belief that all aspects of that patient will improve.
As a sort of weekend warrior myself, I have become familiar with other local cyclists, runners, skiers, etc. and quite by chance fell into sports acupuncture as a focus for my practice. This is a population I have greatly enjoyed working with and I have found success in not only the treatment of strains, sprains, tendonitis and overuse injury but also in general performance enhancement and overall balance in terms of the athlete's general well-being. After treating many many runners, I was even led to the "discovery" of an extraordinary point that is useful in treatment of many lower leg and foot problems. (Please see my article, "The Runner's Point," published in the Journal of Chinese Medicine in 2011.)
Depending on the athlete's presentation the focus of treatment may be on an injury itself, balancing opposing muscle groups or injury prevention. Typically a patient will be seen one to two times per week in the injury phase and somewhat less frequently for maintenance and performance enhancement.
For more information please contact me.