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Home > Newsletters > October 2003

Recent Research

Q:  Can acupuncture be used for birth control? A friend of mine cannot take birth control pills or any type of hormone treatment for preventing pregnancy because she gets severe migraines.

A: Rick Woodward writes: The desired effect of acupuncture is to harmonize the body and bring the body and its systems to an optimal state of wellness. Using acupuncture as birth control would run counter to those desired effects. Also, it is my experience that most acupuncturists do not have the level of mastery needed to ensure that acupuncture would be as effective as birth control pills and other traditional forms of birth control. I would recommend that your friend consider other alternate forms of traditional birth control before acupuncture. If other forms of birth control are not an option, your friend should consult an acupuncturist, for acupuncture is safe and effective in reducing the side effects of medications. It could greatly reduce the frequency, severity and duration of your friend's migraines if not eliminate them all together.


Q: I had a stroke six months ago and still have stiffness that keeps me from normal walking and my left hand is not of any use. I am 71-years-old and otherwise in good health. Can acupuncture help me?

A: David Schroevalier writes: Yes, acupuncture can be used to both prevent further post-stroke problems and to possibly decrease the "hemiplegia" symptoms you are defining. Many stroke clients report acupuncture applied soon after the injury helps them to recover. Scalp acupuncture is generally known as the modality of choice for neurological and cardiovascular dysfunctions. There is no guarantee, and the longer you wait after the stroke, the less beneficial the acupuncture tends to be. Note there are minimal side effects to acupuncture and you generally should see measurable results within the first three weeks.

After a stroke you also have to deal with compensating structures such as gait or postural problems, temperature sensitivity and even depression. Acupuncture can definitely provide help or relief for the symptoms you may experience. Consider acupuncture, find an acupuncturist you trust, and give the treatment a chance; I think you will be happy with the results.


Q: As a result of disc removal surgery I was left with a dropped foot. The L-5 nerve was damaged and I have constant pain in the big toe joint in the foot. Could acupuncture assist this condition?

A: Brian Whidden writes: It is possible that a combination of acupuncture therapies could work to treat the condition. In my practice I would use a combination of techniques to address the problem.

First, I would needle the motor point of the tibialis anterior (located 2/3 of the way between St 36 and St 37) and the extensor digitorum longus (located lateral and proximal to St 40). The motor points are at the neuromuscular junctions of the muscle, they are the most "excitable" part of the muscle. These muscles are responsible for dorsiflexion, which is not occurring due to the damage to the nerve.

The big toe joint problem would be addressed with moxa (direct heat therapy) if it is due to an osteoarthritic-type condition. If it is nerve related I would use LLT (low level laser therapy). I would needle and use LLT at the L4, L5 and S1 spine area to increase circulation and reduce inflammation at the nerve site.

The chronicity of this problem will determine the probability of positive outcomes. The sooner the affected areas are treated post-injury the better.


Q:  I have a stepson who is eight-years-old, and he has several diagnoses including: OCD, ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. The doctors have also not ruled out bipolar, but they cannot test him because he is so young. The medications that he takes backfire after a while and he becomes toxic and more poorly behaved. Are there herbs that he could take?

A: Deann Bishop writes: You may find that a consultation with a trained Chinese Herbologist could really help to determine what may be causing the behavioral and physical symptoms that your stepson experiences. A thorough intake with a practitioner is crucial to determining what is at the root of his problems.

There are many herbal formulas that could help to ease his mental restlessness and lack of focus or concentration, as well as to help him feel more relaxed. Chinese herbs are potent, but they also work with a person's natural energy flow to smooth out imbalances and to help the body rid itself of blockages and nourish pathways that need strengthening. Another benefit of working with an herbologist is that a practitioner can finely tune a formula to adjust for any negative reactions. A practitioner could also help navigate your stepsonís nutrition so that his food reflects the course of treatment needed to help his particular energy (or Qi) flow issues.

Be sure to get a good feel for your individual practitioner's comfort level and experience with working with children at this age, and ask lots of questions. Acupuncture may or may not be recommended, depending on the childís condition.


About our Doctors

Rick Woodward, L.Ac., is a licensed acupuncturist who received his advanced degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Denver, Colorado. He is currently in private practice in Basalt, Colorado. He can be reached at: Rick Woodward, L.Ac., Roaring Fork Acupuncture & Massage, P.O. Box 1416, Basalt, CO, 81621-1416.

David Schroevalier is a Massage and Craniosacral Therapist and also holds a Doctorate of Acupuncture. David has been an instructor at The Canadian College of Massage Therapy and Hydrotherapy since 1999. His interest in soft tissue therapies has encouraged him to complete training in Therapeutic Touch, Reflexology, Suikodo, Shiatsu, Sports Massage and Visceral Massage. His experience has allowed him to work in a hospital setting, group clinic, sporting events and maintain his own personal clinic. His specialties include Temporal Mandibular Dysfunction, Headaches and rehabilitation.

Brian Whidden has his Master's Degree in both Chinese and Japanese Acupuncture from the New England School of Acupuncture (NESA, 1995). In his private practice in Kingston, Massachusetts Brian integrates ancient medical theories and applies them with modern biomedical applications. Using a multifaceted approach of traditional needling
theory, motor point therapy and laser therapy, Brian is able to treat a wide variety of orthopedic conditions in a quick and efficient manner.
Besides orthopedic conditions he specializes in Ob/Gyn disorders, GI disturbances and HIV care. Brian also combines his knowledge of traditional Chinese herbology with scientifically proven nutritional supplements.

Deann Bishop received her Masterís in Oriental Medicine from Southwest Acupuncture College in Santa Fe, NM. She is a Licensed Acupuncturist with the Commonwealth of Virginia Board of Medicine, an NCCAOM Certified Diplomate in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology and a Shiatsu practitioner. She sees a wide range of health conditions in her private practice. Her specialties include mental health, women's care and oncology.

This Month's Articles

October 2003
Volume 1, Number 8

Preventing Breast Cancer

Philippine Church Turns to Traditional Cures

Acupuncture Students Receive Complementary Health Scholarships

Recent Research

Ask The Doctor

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