Acupuncture

Acupuncture is Preventive Medicine

Acupuncture is preventative medicine

I think we all know someone, or maybe it’s even ourselves, who lives by the refrain, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”

Often used to put off replacing outdated tools or technology, the phase can be connected to how we view healthcare as well. It can be hard to think about our physical health until it is a problem. Something we take for granted, until, as it were, it’s broken. Why would we spend time and money on something before it’s necessary? continue reading »

Acupuncture with a side of activism

Dr. Richard Taft receiving acupuncture from a patient-trainee at Lincoln Detox Center (Photo from Taft Family History).

I have a vision of weekly community acupuncture treatments where Evanstonians reflecting the diversity of our community in terms of income level, age, race, gender, sexuality, religion, ethnicity and physical abilities gather for healing and local activism. (Once it is safe to have small groups gathered.)

My goal is to provide “pay what you can” community auricular acupuncture sessions in a format similar to that developed by the Black Panthers and the Young Lords in the 1970s.

The Black Panthers and Young Lords were instrumental in broadening the use of acupuncture beyond the Asian community in the United States. They used acupuncture to help fill the gaps in quality healthcare for people of color. To learn more, I  recommend reading Dr. Dandridge’s The Unusual Tale of Acupuncture, Racism and African American History in the USA, and watching the documentary Dope is Death.

The Black Panthers and Young Lords provided more than acupuncture in the community treatments. They also educated their clients on societal issues undermining health.  They helped their clients understand oppression in a global sense and empowered them to contribute to the betterment and well being of their community.

In addition to receiving acupuncture, my goal for the sessions is for people to connect with others in the community outside of their social circles. There will be opportunities to learn about local health-related social justice initiatives and connect with people who are taking action towards:
  • accessible affordable quality healthcare;
  • livable wages;
  • accessible, affordable healthy foods;
  • clean and healthy neighborhoods free of toxins and pollutants;
  • equitable access to parks, greens space, the lakefront, and recreational activities;
  • affordable housing;
  • police reform; and,
  • equitable inclusive education.

Finally, I would love to expose young people in our community to acupuncture and the history of its usage as activism so more young people consider it as a possible career choice.

Any money raised from the weekly sessions beyond the cost of the rental space and/or compensating guest presenters will go towards providing more subsidized acupuncture treatments for community members experiencing hardship.

Acupuncture for Anger Management

Anger is the emotion associated with springtime in Traditional Chinese Medicine. For most of us, we consider anger a bad emotion, something to avoid or get rid of, so why would it be one that TCM would shine a light on?

Well, no emotion is inherently good or bad, it’s how we deal with challenging emotions that can end up hurting ourselves or those we love.  continue reading »

Regrowth: Spring and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Three thousand years ago, when Chinese medicine was first being practiced, there was no light or electricity. No way to mask the darkness of winter. No way, either, to ignore the longer, warmer days of springtime. Because it is such an ancient practice, a lot of the wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine comes from a time when people spent much more time outside, paying attention to the natural world around them.  continue reading »

5 Acupoints for Anxiety You Can Administer Yourself

acupoints for anxiety

“At a time when people are so conscious of maintaining their physical health by controlling their diets, exercising, and so forth, it makes sense to try to cultivate the corresponding mental attitudes too.”

– HH the Dalai Lama, 1963

It can be easy to forget how much our mental state can affect our physical well-being. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, that connection is evident in the treatment strategies, but it is also true that when we are feeling bad, we don’t always think to look at our minds. It works both ways.  continue reading »

Acupuncture for Diabetes

Acupuncture for Diabetes

More than 34 million Americans have diabetes, and approximately 90 percent of them have type 2 diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Type 2 diabetes, while its exact cause is unknown, develops when the body becomes resistant to insulin or the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin. Because of this, treatment often involves taking “insulin sensitizers” or medication that helps the body increase its sensitivity and therefore ability to process insulin, keeping the blood sugar from getting too low. Unfortunately, this medication often causes side effects, including weight gain and anemia. continue reading »

Acupuncture Wrapped: An overview of some of the most exciting discoveries in 2020

Acupuncture Wrapped: An overview of some of the most exciting discoveries in 2020

As we enter a new year, it is natural to want to look back on the last one. As humans, we have the gift and the hurdle of marking time, so it can feel helpful to recall memories we want to hold on to or look for lessons we can take with us.  

To that end, here are three categories in which research into the type, application and efficacy of acupuncture saw significant advancements in 2020, findings that will certainly help guide us as we move forward. In a year that saw so much focus on our health, these findings offer some good news in the fields of pain management without opioids, migraine headaches, and insight into why it is that acupuncture is effective as an anti-inflammatory.  continue reading »

Intention setting in the new year

Intention setting in the new year

It’s that time of year again: the time when many of us engage in the practice of setting a new year’s resolution.

It seems, though, that hand-in-hand with new year’s resolutions is the prediction of inevitable failure. That as soon as you pick a resolution, you won’t actually make it through the whole year sticking with the new behavior, or that by the third week of January the resolution will be out of sight, out of mind. So, I wanted to offer some tips on how to join in the tradition in a way that might foster more success, by incorporating some wisdom from traditional Chinese medicine. continue reading »

You’re Getting Sleepy…

Enjoying Naps in the Winter Season

Most mammals are polyphasic sleepers, meaning that they sleep for short periods throughout the day. For humans, days are divided into two distinct periods, one for sleep and one for wakefulness, which is a monophasic sleep pattern. However, this may be a product of living in an industrialized world and not the natural sleep pattern of humans. In many cultures, young children and elderly take naps midday. Our bodies are programmed for two periods of intense sleepiness a day: between 2 and 4 am and 1 and 3 pm. Unfortunately, despite our biological vestige, we are having to consolidate our sleep into one long period. continue reading »

Winter and your Kidneys

Winter and your Kidneys

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, health is achieved by living in balance with nature and the seasons. Winter, the season of the Water Element, is the season for slowing down, reflecting, and conserving our resources. We all feel this tendency, but we don’t always listen to our bodies.  In Western culture, being active is rewarded and expected. We feel compelled to keep up the hectic pace that is typical in our daily lives.

This season is associated with the kidneys, bladder, and adrenal glands and the time of year when these organs are most active, accessible, and even vulnerable. They are more receptive to being restored, nurtured, and energized. At the same time, it is also when they can become easily depleted. continue reading »

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