Friday, March 1, 2019

I am grieving. What you can do.

My mother, Nancy Caroline Urquhart, passed away on Tuesday, February 26.

We were very close. I am grieving.

Patients and friends keep asking me what they can do. I tell them "I don't know". I what I want to say is "I want my mommy! Can you find her? Bring her to me like she was when she was vital and whole? I want to spend one more afternoon with her hiking and swimming in the hot springs and laughing and eating cookies!" But, of course, that's impossible. (Not to mention not being very mature, becoming, or professional.)

Well, I've thought of something you can do for me. Several things in fact:

- If you're lucky enough to still have a mother and father or aunt or uncle, go give them a hug and tell them you love them. Tell them a few fond memories you have of them before it's too late. Thank them for what they have done for you. Make these things a habit. Trust me, no matter how much you do this,  in the end, it will never seem like enough.

If you have children, tell them you love them and give them a kiss. Tell them why you are proud of them. Make these things a habit. They might feel like they get enough of this after a while, but keep doing it.

If you have grandchildren, nieces or nephews, take them out for ice cream sundaes and a movie. Spoil them in spite the hymenial cries of their parents. Make yourself part of their lives. If you don't have such little folks in your life consider "adopting" some. Teach them how to cook or fish or sew or fix the flat on a bike tire. Teach them some other things too, like how to make farting noises using your armpit and how to sing "Found a Peanut".

If you have an old friend, call them and make a lunch date. Keep the lunch date. Find more old friends to make lunch dates with.

If you're a voter, vote in future elections! If you're not a voter, register, then vote!

If you have some spare change, donate it to the Nature Conservancy in my mother's name.

If you can (you know you can), Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

If you have space, adopt a rescue pet, even if it defies logic.

If you have a yard or a garden, plant some flowers this spring for my mom and the bees.

So.

That's what you can do.

It would mean a lot to me (and Mom).



Sunday, January 20, 2019

The Jewelry Box of Despair


A few years ago, my mom wanted me to look through her jewelry box with her. I think she wanted to show off her treasures, but also to find out if there were things I would be interested in inheriting. My mother is an octogenarian and has traveled all over the states and all over the world for that matter. One would think that making an inventory of such a jewelry box would be exciting and pleasurable, but for every treasured item, there were others that brought bad feelings. 

“These are the earrings your father bought me when he had to work instead of spending Valentine’s Day with me.” 

“This is the ring your great aunt Virginia gave me. She promised me a lot more, but then she gave everything to all the other cousins and nieces. I never forgave her for that.” 

“These earrings used to be my favorites, but as you can see, I lost one. Darn it all! I loved these earrings!”

“These are the ivory beads I can’t wear because it’s not politically correct to wear ivory anymore. The poor elephants!”

“Wow, what a bummer!” I thought to myself. I went right home to my own jewelry box. OK… truth, I have three of them plus several wall displays! I took out everything that wasn’t absolutely fantastic and gave it all to ARC. I’ve started looking at my wardrobe with the same critical eye: Does this top make me feel like an old lady? Out it goes. Are these pants not quite long enough? ARC pile. I don’t wear these jeans because they’re too big, but I love them. Take them to the tailor.

Marie Kondo is a decluttering guru on everyone’s lips lately. She has a show on Netflix that encourages people to ask “Does this item bring you joy?” If not, get rid of it. That’s her advice. Although I have trouble finding joy in the 9 volt batteries, duct tape, packing tape, cello tape and bank statements in my office, I certainly can sure see her point in regards to my wardrobe, jewelry box, and artwork. 

If a material possession reminds you of a sad event or makes you feel bad about yourself: get rid of it! If you’re keeping a thing because it’s a family heirloom, everyone else has one, or it was a gift: think of the cost of keeping it. There’s cost of it taking up space in your basement or closet. There’s a cost of displaying something that makes you feel guilty or angry. There’s cost of wearing something that makes you feel fat or unstylish. There’s cost of even seeing an object that brings up negative feelings over and over. Don’t feel guilty about getting rid of a gift from a friend that wasn’t quite right. Don’t feel guilty about chucking a box of old photos that mean nothing to you. Free up your space and free up your mind! 

I should tie this back to Chinese medicine, huh? Alright, the Liver processes all emotions negative and positive. However, negative emotions cause Liver Qi stagnation. That means the energy of the body does not flow freely as it’s supposed to do. That leads to emotional stress, neck tension, poor digestion. Think of all the stress that’s caused looking for the “right” black turtleneck if you’ve got 5 black turtlenecks. Think of the sadness caused by keeping a lone earring that just makes you feel bad about the loss of its mate.

Go home, open your jewelry box. Make it a jewelry box of joy instead of despair. 

_________________________________________________________________________

Left Hand Community Acupuncture is located in the heart of Old Town Lafayette at the corner of Simpson St. and Michigan Ave. LHCA offers an affordable sliding scale of $30-$60. We do not ask for proof of income. You decide what you feel is fair to you and fair to us. We treat patients in a relaxed, group setting that promotes an atmosphere of healing. Caroline Adams is a Licensed 
Acupuncturist and nationally board certified. Acupuncture can help with a wide range of health
 issues including pain, stress, insomnia, arthritis, allergies, depression, headaches, fatigue, cold and flu, digestive issues, PMS, and many other health concerns. 

http://lefthandacu.com  
 720-248-8626

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Plantar Fasciitis or the Agony of De-Feet

What is it 
Many years ago, I casually mentioned to a friend that I had plantar fasciitis "PLAN-tar fash-ee-EYE-tus". He said it sounded like Klingon and accused me of making up an imaginary condition. Unfortunately, it’s all too real. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the ligament that connects the heel of your foot to the toes. It’s the most common form of heel pain. It can also cause pain in the arch of the foot. 


Causes
Risk factors include tight achilles tendons, lousy shoes or broken down shoes, standing, walking or running on hard surfaces and being overweight. Pain in the back, hip or knee can cause you to change your gait leading to this condition also. 

Treatment

  1. Acupuncture Get in for acupuncture twice a week. Plantar Fasciitis is one of those conditions that responds well to acupuncture on almost everybody. I usually use electrical stimulation to activate Qi and blood flow in the injured area and to loosen the fascia. 
  2. Rest Try to rest your foot or feet as much as possible to allow the tissue to repair itself. I know it’s not what you want to hear, but runners, you need to switch to swimming for a while. 
  3. Morning Stretching Every morning before you get out of bed, stretch your foot. Dorsiflect your foot, (pull your foot back toward your knee), rotate your ankle, then dorsiflect again before putting weight on your foot. Folks with an extreme case will need to do this even after having sat in a chair for any length of time. 
  4. Active Stretching The fascia that starts at your toes continues past the heel up into your calf and knee. Stretching the Achilles tendon is a vital part of healing yourself. This article does an admirable job of outlining some great stretches to get you on your way.  Note that I never recommend hanging your heel of the edge of a step because your body will be unable to completely relax the muscles and tissues of the foot and Achilles.
  5. Taping There are two kinds of taping that sufferers will benefit from. Kinesiotape is one, white athletic tape is the other. Watch the video I made about kinesiotaping here.  Kinesiotaping is not meant to provide structural support to the areas in trouble, merely to increase the Qi and blood flow.  KT Tape can be found in Walmart among the sporting goods. I sell KT tape in the clinic also. Athletic taping *is* a structural fix. I like the method outlined in this video
  6. Proper Shoes Throw those cute flip flops away. Time to grow up and buy yourself
    some shoes with proper arch support. Shoes with a low heel, such as Dasko’s, or clogs will help lessen the stress on the Achilles. Many people also swear by Birkenstocks or Doc Martins. Don’t be afraid to experiment with what works best for you. If you’re seeking orthodics, Dr. Ramzi Daloul at Community Chiropractic does a great job at fitting folks with orthodics that work. 
  7. Rolling Rolling your foot twice a day on a ball, dowel or frozen water bottle can provide some relief.
  8. Arnica Montana Using the homeopathic Arnica Montana or preparations containing Arnica, such as T-Pain Relief, are a huge help. Use an internal prepartion and a cream or gel right on the affected area. 
  9. Splinting Splints that are worn while sleeping can help some folks get relief, but many people find them uncomfortable and/or fail to find relief. 
  10. Bone Spurs Bone Spurs often complicate Plantar Fasciitis. Bone spurs respond well to e-stim with acupuncture. There are herbal plasters and oral preparations that can be of great benefit for this condition. Supplementing your diet with Magnesium is also a must.
  11. Deep Tissue Massage can also be a benefit this condition.
  12. Conventional Medicine MDs usually recommend PT and/or a steroid injection. Although most patients benefit from PT, many fail to get the results they are hoping for. Steroid injections can cause the ligament to rupture, so I don’t recommend that route! 
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Left Hand Community Acupuncture is located in the heart of Old Town Lafayette 
at the corner of Simpson St. and Michigan Ave. LHCA offers an affordable sliding scale of $25-$55. We do not ask for proof of income. You decide what you feel is fair to you and fair to us. We treat patients in a relaxed, group setting that promotes an atmosphere of healing. Caroline Adams is a Licensed Acupuncturist and nationally 
board certified. Acupuncture can help with a wide range of health issues including pain, stress, insomnia, arthritis, allergies, depression, headaches, fatigue, cold and flu, digestive issues, PMS, and many other health concerns.


720-248-8626



Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Modern bodies, modern acupuncture

I'm Coming Around

As many of you know, I'm in the process of completing my Acupuncture Sports Medicine Apprenticeship Program with Whit Reaves, L. Ac.. Acupuncture sports medicine is the synthesis of principles of traditional Chinese Medicine with Western sports medicine. It pairs ancient needling techniques with knowledge of anatomically significant tissues such as motor points, trigger points, muscle bellies, tendon sheaths, joint spaces, muscle tendon junctions, ligaments, tendons, and other structures. Often Electrical stimulation (estim) is a machine somewhat similar to a TENS unit (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation). Like a TENS unit, estim uses a very low level of electric current. Needles are placed into hyper or hypo-functioning tissue and Estim leads are attached to the needles to provide a low level of current through the tissue. Estim spurs the body to profuse injured, weakened or inflamed areas with Qi and blood. The theory is electrical stimulation interrupts pain signals and causes the body to release endorphins, it’s natural painkillers.

When I was fresh out of school, Acupuncture sports medicine didn't appeal to me much at all. After all, it's pretty obvious that I'm not a jock. Using an Estim machine used to seem to me like cheating. I wanted to be the acupuncturist who put in a few magic needles in seemingly random places and make all the pain go away. I’m drawn by the mystical, but I’m too pragmatic not to be practical. As I've practiced over the years, I've discovered that there are many for whom this works and there are many for whom it doesn't work at all. Buy why? 

Sitting and Hunching

Whit Reaves has a hypothesis, and I have to say, I like it. If you look at classical acupuncture points taut bands of muscle are overlooked in favor of points located in hollows, spaces between muscles. These were paired with distal points on the same acupuncture channel for maximum efficacy. According to Whit, in the early 80's classical techniques were effective on the majority of patients. So what changed? Technology. Or rather, technology changed us. 

I can remember a bright spring morning in 1978, my father brought in a big box and set it on our old teacher's desk. He unpacked and tinkered a while. Then the neighbors were invited over and we all gathered round the wonder of the first 8086 IBM PC on the block. Desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones have changed us. No longer are we swinging scythes out in the fields or toting laundry down to the stream. Instead we sit, hunkered over staring into our marvelous devices for hours at a time. Then we get up, hop into our cars and sit, hunched over our steering wheels. Prolonged inactivity paired with lousy posture has lead to our muscles becoming more shortened, contracted and fibrous than they were before. Thus, the techniques that have been effective for centuries, are not always effective on our modern bodies. That being said, there are plenty of bodies that seem to respond better to traditional techniques than sports medicine acupuncture. These people can be more sensitive foods and medications than other people. For them, traditional acupuncture techniques make more sense. 

Everyone is an Athlete


We are all athletes. We may not be running marathons, but we're all likely to sprain an ankle on the curb or aggravate a shoulder by shoveling snow. Everyone has a body and at times the body gets broken or stressed. The same knowledge can be applied to a 25 year old softball player as can be applied to a 75 year old who has pain lifting her arm. Even if I'm not going to treat a problem with acupuncture sports medicine, it makes sense to know how the body works from an allopathic medical perspective. I have many colleagues who turn their noses up at learning anything remotely related to Western medicine. It didn't take long for me to understand that patients expect acupuncturists to know what they're talking about when they mention spondylosis, Grave's disease or a torn medial meniscus. I feel the Western medical training I got during my Master’s degree in Acupuncture and Asian Medicine was sorely lacking. I’m excited for the opportunity to delve deeper into orthopedic medicine from both the Western and Eastern sides using the tools of acupuncture sports medicine.

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Left Hand Community Acupuncture is located in the heart of Old Town Lafayette 
at the corner of Simpson St. and Michigan Ave. LHCA offers an affordable sliding 
scale of $25-$55. We do not ask for proof of income. You decide what you feel is 
fair to you and fair to us. We treat patients in a relaxed, group setting that promotes 
an atmosphere of healing. Caroline Adams is a Licensed Acupuncturist and nationally 
board certified. Acupuncture can help with a wide range of health issues including pain, stress, insomnia, arthritis, allergies, depression, headaches, fatigue, cold and flu, digestive issues, PMS, and many other health concerns.


720-248-8626

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones...

It’s skiing and snowboarding season, finally! I’m sure a lot of you are anxious to get out on the slopes. As with any vigorous outdoor activity, there’s always a chance for traumatic injury. There’s a lot we can do with acupuncture and herbal medicine to speed the healing and reduce the pain associated with injuries to the musculo-skeletal system.  

The Magic of Needles
Other than getting your injury seen to by an MD, what can you do? First, acupuncture is very effective for pain and inflammation. As most of you know, we don’t need to needle into the area that’s hurting to have a beneficial effect. As one of my mentors described it, whether your turn the light on at the lamp or using the light switch at the wall, the effect is the same. Acupuncture can help speed your healing time whether you have a sprain, a pulled muscle or a broken bone.

The Wonders of Chinese Herbs
Second, we can give you herbs to take internally for sprains, fractures and contusions. These herbs help move the stagnant qi and blood away from the area to promote healing, reduce swelling, and reduce pain. Certain Chinese herbs affect different areas of the body, so we can target them to the injured area. There are two ways we usually give herbs. The first is a powder that can be dissolved in hot water. The second is the actual themselves: roots, stems, leaves that you can cook into your own tea. The very best thing about Chinese herbs is that we can customize them specifically to you, your constitution, and your injury! The downside is we can’t give Chinese herbs to everyone. Some folks have a finicky digestive system. Others may be taking prescription drugs that prevent us from prescribing herbs. We must consider your safety above all other concerns when we treat you.

Slather it On
For those of you who want to get better ASAP we can give you poultices to apply to the affected area, (unless it’s in a cast). It’s usually a little stinky and messy, but worth it in the long haul.

What can you do to avoid injury?

  1. Stay hydrated. Wind and cold air dehydrate you. Dehydration is linked to muscle and tendon fatigue. So, drink up!
  2. If you need lessons, spend the money and time to get them. You will enjoy your sport much more, improve your skills, and reduce your chance of injury. 
  3. Ski within your abilities.
  4. Wear a helmet, but realize a helmet does not make you invincible!
  5. Warm up your muscles, then stretch. Stretch those calves, hamstrings, quads.
  6. Avoid pushing yourself. So many people get a severe injury by trying to do that last run of the day when they had worn themselves out.
  7. Have your equipment checked at least twice a season by a trained technician. Have your equipment fitted to you, don’t borrow from a friend. 
  8. Leave the booze and smokes at home! Winter sports enthusiast who used cigarettes or drank alcohol were shown to be two to four times as likely to sustain a fall.
  9. For those of you who don’t ski or snowboard, keep walks shoveled and stairs de-iced. 
  10. Avoid carrying too many burdens over slick terrain.
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Left Hand Community Acupuncture is located in the heart of Old Town Lafayette 
at the corner of Simpson St. and Michigan Ave. LHCA offers an affordable sliding 
scale of $25-$55. We do not ask for proof of income. You decide what you feel is 
fair to you and fair to us. We treat patients in a relaxed, group setting that promotes 
an atmosphere of healing. Caroline Adams is a Licensed 
Acupuncturist and nationally board certified. Acupuncture can help with a wide range 
of health issues including pain, stress, insomnia, arthritis, allergies, depression, 
headaches, fatigue, cold and flu, digestive issues, PMS, and many other health concerns.




720-248-8626

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

This I Believe: The Samurai Creed



My son had the opportunity to be a part of an oratory club this past school year. One of the speeches the members were asked to write was entitled "This I believe". These speeches were based on books, quotes, and people who had inspired the students. In the next few months, I will share a few of the books, quotes, and people that have formed me as a practitioner and thus my practice of medicine. 

The following poem is popularly known on the internet as The Samurai Creed. It has been attributed to a nameless, 14th century Samurai. I've seen it quoted in martial arts books and novels, but no one seems to know much about it. That doesn't bother me too much, because the words ring true for me. The creed extolls living in the moment and staying on the Eightfold Path put forth by the Buddhists. I'd like to say that I live this way all the time, but in reality I only come close to it in the clinic. 

The Samurai Creed


I have no parents:
I make the heaven and earth my parents.
I have no home:
I make awareness my home.
I have no life and death:
I make the tides of breathing my life and death.
I have no divine powers:
I make honesty my divine power.
I have no means:
I make understanding my means.
I have no secrets:
I make character my secret.
I have no body:
I make endurance my body.
I have no eyes:
I make the flash of lightening my eyes.
I have no ears:
I make sensibility my ears.
I have no limbs:
I make promptness my limbs.
I have no strategy:
I make "unshadowed by thought" my strategy.
I have no design:
I make "seizing opportunity by the forelock" my design.
I have no miracles:
I make right action my miracle.
I have no principles:
I make adaptability to all circumstances my principle.
I have no tactics:
I make emptiness and fullness my tactics.
I have no talent:
I make ready wit my talent.
I have no friends:
I make my mind my friend.
I have no enemy:
I make carelessness my enemy.
I have no armor:
I make benevolence and righteousness my armor.
I have no castle:
I make immovable mind my castle.
I have no sword:
I make absence of self my sword.


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Left Hand Community Acupuncture is located in the heart of Old Town Lafayette 
at the corner of Simpson St. and Michigan Ave. LHCA offers an affordable sliding 
scale of $25-$55. We do not ask for proof of income. You decide what you feel is 
fair to you and fair to us. We treat patients in a relaxed, group setting that promotes 
an atmosphere of healing. Caroline Adams is a Licensed 
Acupuncturist and nationally board certified. Acupuncture can help with a wide range 
of health issues including pain, stress, insomnia, arthritis, allergies, depression,
headaches, fatigue, cold and flu, digestive issues, PMS, and many other health concerns.




720-248-8626

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Your Liver: Free & Easy Wanderer

https://www.chinesemedicineliving.com
According to Western medicine, the Liver filters toxins out of the blood and metabolizes medicines. It also secretes bile which allows the digestive system to break down fats. Finally the Liver stores glycogen (a fuel source) for the body until it’s needed.

From a Chinese medical perspective, the Liver is in charge of distributing Qi to the body in a consistent and even manner. When the Liver is functioning properly, Qi gets to all the organs and tissues that need it. There is no pain throughout the body, the digestion works harmoniously, sleep is deep and restful. “Free and Easy Wanderer” is the name given to an important Chinese herbal formula that keeps the Liver Qi moving freely. I imagine the well-functioning Liver as a happy old hippy wandering around shaking hands, high-fiving people and giving pep talks. Everyone’s getting the Qi they need and everyone’s happy. 

When the Qi isn’t moving freely big problems result: neck and shoulder tension, a predisposition to anger, pain in the body, PMS, alternating constipation and diarrhea, to name a few. Here, I am reminded an officemate I used to work with years ago. Red face, red eyes, shouting voice, angry, he was plagued by digestive issues and high blood pressure. He always looked ready to explode at any moment. He would ignore those of us around him for hours and then burst in and yell “Where are those reports? Why haven’t gotten back to me about what the customer said?!” This is the perfect example of what the Liver does when it is not in balance: too little followed by too much. In the case of GI problems, first the Liver fails to provide Qi to the organs of digestion (the Spleen and Stomach). A lack of Qi can cause gas, bloating, a feeling like food is just sitting in the Stomach, and dull pain. When the Liver sends too much Qi to the Spleen and Stomach this results in cramping and diarrhea.     

When the Qi doesn’t move freely in the muscles and the joints? You guessed it: Pain. Qi stagnation can be caused by traumatic injury, overuse, or lack of exercise. Zhong Zhang Jing is one of the fathers of Chinese medicine and made famous this quote: “Where there is free flow, there is no pain. Where there is pain, there is no free flow.” Over time, the stagnation of Qi leads to the blood in the area becoming stagnant, too. This leads to chronic pain and pain of a more intense and stabbing nature. 

Another function of the Liver is that it “controls the sinews”. Sinews (tendons and ligaments) that do not receive enough Qi, Blood and nourishment from the Liver become dry, brittle, and prone to injury. Inflexible muscles, cramps, and spasms are symptoms of tissues that aren’t being nourished by the Liver. 

One of the great things about acupuncture is that we are by definition moving your Qi. The very act of putting a needle into the human body begins the process of moving Qi. This is one reason why most of us find acupuncture so relaxing: our Liver Qi gets to flow free and easy again. 

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Left Hand Community Acupuncture is located in the heart of Old Town Lafayette 
at the corner of Simpson St. and Michigan Ave. LHCA offers an affordable sliding 
scale of $25-$55. We do not ask for proof of income. You decide what you feel is 
fair to you and fair to us. We treat patients in a relaxed, group setting that promotes 
an atmosphere of healing. Caroline Adams is a Licensed 
Acupuncturist and nationally board certified. Acupuncture can help with a wide range 
of health issues including pain, stress, insomnia, arthritis, allergies, depression, 
headaches, fatigue, cold and flu, digestive issues, PMS, and many other health concerns.




720-248-8626