I had surgery two weeks ago… less than 10 people knew about it. It took me out of my holistic clinic and into the depths of modern medicine for a few days of intensive rest and recovery. To be honest, as a doctor of Chinese medicine, I say the phrase “Surgery should be a last resort” to patients every day. But, when I heard the words “It could be cancer” I knew I had to go to the last resort.
Committing to surgery stirred up feelings of frustration (why didn’t acupuncture help?), fear (what if the surgery doesn’t go as planned?) and a sense of abandoning patient-centered holistic medicine for the profit-focused modern medicine machine. Having surgery felt a lot like a betrayal to everything I believe in.
This is what I learned…
• Modern medicine can be life-saving
• Modern medicine doesn’t have all the answers
• Modern medicine has a very limited toolbox (drugs or surgery) to solve health problems
Back in September, my gynecologist felt a mass near my uterus during my annual exam. I had been having severe pain with every menstrual cycle and knew my endometriosis had returned. An ultrasound revealed a complex cyst about the size of an egg and attached to my ovary. We agreed the best course of action was to watch it for a few weeks, clean up my diet (goodbye coffee, hello celery juice!), and check it again in December. The exam in December showed the cyst remained and had a new feature on it, a nodular tumor. My gynecologist told me it could be cancer and offered a CA-125 blood test. However, there was no definitive way to know without surgery. So, we scheduled the surgery, a laparoscopic cystectomy. The whole discussion took less than 10 minutes.
I returned home from that appointment scared and uncertain. Of course, my ultimate fear was losing a battle against cancer and leaving my 4-year-old without a mother. It was ridiculously easy for my mind to jump to that awful conclusion. I consciously refused to buy into that outcome that my mind wanted to play on repeat. After a few hours of acknowledging the fear and reprogramming my mind with positive outcomes, I felt more at peace.
In the days leading up to the surgery, I reprioritized my day to begin with a writing meditation full of “I am” statements such as “I am healthy and pain-free” and trust statements like “The universe conspires to help me.” I also spent 5-10 minutes every morning connecting to a higher power and asking for divine guidance. I revised my will. I treasured tucking my daughter into bed every night.
By the day of my surgery, I felt confident that the surgery would be a success. That morning I reminded my gynecologist to preserve my ovary if she could and to clean up any other endometrial tissue she discovered. She agreed and within minutes the anesthesiologist was there ready to knock me out. When I woke up in recovery about 90 minutes later, I was in a lot of pain and the nurse sent fentanyl through my IV. As someone who relies on herbal medicine, having fentanyl surge through my veins was quite a sensation. My pain level decreased from 8 to 1 within minutes, but I still had no idea if the surgery was a success. Once I saw my husband, my first question was, “Do I still have all my organs?” He said yes and a few hours later, I was released in a fentanyl haze of relief and gratitude.
Fast forward two weeks to today, when I had my post-operative appointment. I found out the cause of the pain was endometriosis, but not at all what I expected. The surgery revealed I had a benign ovarian endometrioma (often called a chocolate cyst) full of endometrial fluid. Compared to 5 years before when I had stage IV endometriosis scattered across my bowels, peritoneum, fallopian tubes and uterus, my body had effectively encapsulated the endometriosis into a single cyst. Miraculously, there were no signs of endometriosis on any other organs or structures. I thought to myself, “Wow, the acupuncture and herbs did help!”
Modern medicine can be life-saving and anyone facing the possibility of a life-threatening illness should consult a trusted MD for a modern diagnosis and treatment plan. However, for many chronic illnesses and conditions, modern medicine offers a very limited toolbox consisting of drugs or surgery. Now that I’ve had a surgical tune-up, I’ll continue with acupuncture treatments two times a week and a daily regimen of Chinese herbs to control the endometriosis. I know the risk of recurrence is high, but now that I’ve witnessed how intelligent my body was to isolate the disease, I have faith that I won’t be on an operating table again anytime soon.
I want to tell you a secret. It’s a well-guarded secret. An important secret. And it can change your life.
Before I reveal the secret, let me ask…
Do you suffer from daily headaches? Migraines? Other pain that just won’t go away?
Have you ever thought about what pain is?
Is there a message in that pain?
The answer is YES, there is a strong message hidden in that headache or migraine or stiff neck or backache or whatever is causing YOU pain.
Pain is a messenger. Pain is the only way your physical body can communicate directly with your mind. Pain is your body’s way to yell “STOP! PAY ATTENTION! LISTEN TO ME!”
The big secret is... Pain exists so your body can heal itself. Your body is engineered to heal itself. You can see it in action everytime you get a papercut!
So, are you receptive to your body’s calls for attention? Or is your pain buried under medications designed to keep it quiet and hidden?
If you’re ready to hear your body’s message and banish your daily headaches, migraines or other chronic pain, contact us to schedule a consultation at 512-686-0777 or book online by clicking the blue button below.
Do you suffer from Migraine or Chronic Headaches?
We have a solution for you!
We’ve teamed up with Qi Gong Extraordinaire and Mind-Body Coach Julie Balderrama to provide a comprehensive program for relieving the root cause of Migraines and Chronic Headaches. This program will not only banish headaches, but improve your life with easy tools and strategies for migraine and headache prevention.
Join us at Skull and Cakebones on Saturday February 9, 2019 at 11am to learn how you can reclaim a headache-free life you love. RSVP required, click the button below or call 512-686-0777.
Happy New Year! You can find advice on starting 2019 "right" everywhere these days, but here's what I've been sharing with my patients because these simple tools really work for me as an entrepreneur and as a mom.
Tool #1: Create a Vision Board
Definitely one of my favorite family projects. The day after Christmas, we cleared our Christmas table, collected every magazine & catalog we could find in our house, pulled out glue sticks & scissors, and got to work clipping images for our 2019 vision boards.
Everyone got into it, even my toddler (although her board was very ice cream-centric, haha)! Here's how to get started...
Tool #2: Start Using a Daily Journal/Planner
There are so many different kinds of planners, so look around until you find one right for you. Many will prompt you to set goals/intentions for the day/week/month/quarter/year. My favorites (with non-sponsored hyperlinks):
Tool #3: Record Your Gratitude
The adage "Like attracts like" applies to gratitude and blessings. As Jack Canfield wrote, "When you're grateful for what you already have, you will naturally attract more for which you can be grateful." There is something magical about writing down your blessings every day. It takes your thanks from a thought to a physical action (writing it on paper). Do it everyday for a month and I promise you'll see significant blessings appear in your life. The best part about this daily practice is that no special equipment is needed... all you need is any piece of paper (back of a junk mail envelope is ok!) and a pen or pencil.
Tool #4: Listen to Inspiring Podcasts
Podcasts are a great (free!) way to shift your mindset any time of the day. Much like a reading a book or listening to music, podcasts allow you to escape and enter a different space. These are my current favorites for motivation:
Looking for unique gifts for your friends & family? Indigo Healing Acupuncture has you covered with exclusive gifts you won't find anywhere else! Limited quantities available, so don't wait too long!
Hostess Gifts for Holiday Parties
Why bring your party host/hostess another bottle of wine when you can bring something truly special?
Need some amazing stocking stuffers? Check these out:
Gifts to Experience
There's more amazing gifts in our retail shop too, including re-loadable gift cards! Reserve your favorite gifts today by calling 512-686-0777!
One of the questions I often hear is, “Does acupuncture have side-effects?”
The honest answer is “Yes!”
Here are three surprising side-effects of acupuncture…
Are you ready to try acupuncture for your biggest health challenge and experience these beneficial side-effects?
Schedule a consultation today!
As a parent, you've probably felt pangs of anxiety from time to time. It's natural to feel anxious occasionally about your child. For example, when you're about to board a 6 hour flight with a lap child or when it's your child's first day of school. However, when anxiety becomes a daily occurrence you need to take action for yourself and your family.
When anxiety spirals out the normal and into the excessive, even the best parents can feel like they're not enough... not doing enough, not present in enough, not prepared enough, not patient enough, not loving enough... the list goes on and on. If left untreated, anxiety felt by parents can spillover and foster anxiety in their child(ren). A study in the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (2013) found "parent anxiety confers poorer treatment outcomes for childhood anxiety disorders." Psychologists created a term for this condition: parental anxiety.
Parental anxiety is a serious condition because it not only affects you, it affects your entire family.
What are the symptoms of parental anxiety? It can manifest as...
Do you feel more than two of these symptoms on a daily basis? Has it impacted your ability to parent? If you answered yes, now is the time to take action before it spirals out of control.
If you are experiencing parental anxiety, there is a solution waiting for you! A series of acupuncture treatments and customized Chinese herbs can effectively alleviate anxiety and bring you back to your best self within weeks. Schedule a consultation today to get relief from your anxiety!
This is one of my family's favorite soups. It's easy to make and every bite is packed with protein, vitamins and minerals that are soothing to the digestive system. It's the perfect soup to eat when recovering from an illness or surgery.
I serve it blended and creamy, not chunky. It's a meal in itself or a filling side dish.
Butternut Squash Soup
1 large organic butternut squash (Costco has pre-packaged cubes)
1 sweet onion
2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
Handful of baby carrots, sliced or ribboned
1 box of organic chicken bone broth
1 can of organic full-fat coconut milk
1/8th teaspoon ground nutmeg
Sea salt and pepper
Organic extra virgin olive oil
Have all of your ingredients? Let's do this!
That's it! You've made a delicious, healthy soup that nourishes the Lungs, Kidneys, and Stomach! It keeps in the refrigerator for about 3 days in an airtight container.
Another tip: To make an easy one-pot dinner, add chunks of rotisserie chicken to the finished soup.
If you’ve ever been pregnant, you know there is a long list of things to avoid: paint fumes, ibuprofen, dirty kitty litter, sushi, tobacco, aspirin, caffeine, hot tubs, raw cookie dough, scuba diving….the list goes on and on. So what can you do to cope with the stress, aches, and pains of growing another human? The answer is...
The great news is that acupuncture is effective at treating ailments in every trimester of pregnancy. The most common pregnancy-related conditions seen in the clinic include:
When performed by a Licensed Acupuncturist (not a Physical Therapist or Chiropractor), acupuncture is a safe option for mamas-to-be to consider when looking for gentle, natural help with pain or illness.
To find an acupuncturist skilled in pregnancy support, there are 3 important questions to ask:
To schedule a consultation at Indigo Healing Acupuncture and learn more about how acupuncture can benefit your pregnancy, click the button below.
Conventional medicine is great at some things, like emergency surgery. However, it often fails at treating more common problems, like frequent headaches or poor sleep.
Here are five common conditions that are poorly treated/managed by conventional medicine:
Acupuncture excels at treating these five conditions because it gets to the root of the problem. Conventional medicine only offers interventions (pharmaceutical or surgical) to relieve the symptoms of these condition, while acupuncture delivers long-term relief.
Often the quick-fix of drugs or surgery creates more health problems as the root cause of the condition is left untreated and/or undiagnosed. If you hear your doctor say the word "idiopathic" it means he/she does not know the cause of your condition. Not very comforting, right?
At your first acupuncture treatment, we’ll diagnose the root cause of your condition and get you on the road for long-term healing and relief. Acupuncture treatments not only prevent conditions from returning, it can prevent related conditions from arising.
Starting in October, Indigo is hosting a new Book Club near Dripping Springs!
Check out all the details HERE and RSVP to save a seat!
Every once in a while, one of my patients will receive what I call a Unicorn Treatment.
What is a Unicorn Treatment?
A Unicorn Treatment is a magical, mysterious acupuncture session that...
Maybe you've had a friend who's personally experienced a Unicorn Treatment. For example, a friend trying to get pregnant without any luck for 19 months has acupuncture once and conceives right away.
Results like this lead to a common misconception that the Unicorn Treatment is a regular occurrence in the world of acupuncture. Upon hearing these stories, many people try acupuncture once, expecting a miraculous cure, only to feel disappointed when the condition returns a few days later.
This is totally normal.
The reality is most conditions, especially chronic ailments, take multiple acupuncture treatments to resolve. Patients usually feel better after the first treatment, but if they don't receive another treatment within a few days, the pain or illness returns as if the acupuncture treatment never happened.
In my clinic, all treatment plans are customized to a patient's needs. In most cases, I advise the patient that their condition will take X number of treatments within X number of days before they feel consistently better.
So, if you've tried acupuncture once, and you felt disappointed because it didn't help you, I highly recommend trying it again (especially before resorting to an irreversible treatment like surgery). It's likely that consistent treatments will give you relief of your symptoms. And if you haven't tried acupuncture, maybe your first session will be a Unicorn Treatment, which will feel just as good as winning the lottery!
About 12 years ago, I suffered from debilitating chronic migraines. They would start with an aura, usually consisting of a blind spot that would prevent me from reading anything, including my watch. The aura would last about 25 minutes, then the vomiting would start, followed by intense pressure building in my skull. The worst sensation of each migraine was the stabbing pain behind my eye that could last for 12+ hours. All I could do was lie in a dark, cool room waiting for the pain to subside. There was no sleep, just unrelenting pain and silent prayers for relief.
The migraines consumed my life, 2-3 days of every week. I lost work days, I lost friends, my marriage decayed, and I fell out of touch. People got tired of hearing me say “Sorry, I have a headache.” It was both depressing and terrifying.
I tried over-the-counter meds like aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen. I tried drinking coffee and dark chocolate during the aura. I had a CAT scan and a MRI, which revealed nothing. Neurologists prescribed an assortment of pharmaceuticals, but they either didn’t work or had terrible side effects (topiramate = hair fell out/slurred speech/memory loss). Plus, they were only mildly effective, reducing the rate of my migraines to about 2 a month. My neurologist warned me that I would need to take a beta blocker (propranolol) for the rest of my life to prevent the migraines from coming back.
I was only 28. The rest of my life sounded like a very long time.
As a last ditch effort, I gave acupuncture a try. There was an acupuncturist across the street from my office and she performed nothing short of a miracle.
The frequency and severity of my migraines diminished over the course of a few weekly treatments. After a few months, I was able to stop the topiramate. After two years, I weaned off the beta blocker. It was a long journey to relief, but manageable with acupuncture and Chinese herbs.
At this point, I can look back and see how migraines caused me to stop and rebuild my life. The migraines called me to become a holistic doctor and help others find relief. They turned out to be an amazing blessing in an awful package.
What are your migraines telling you?
Congratulations! You’ve just had an amazing acupuncture treatment that has left you feeling completely relaxed and high on life.
You’re probably thinking, “Wow! I wish I always felt like this! How can I get this feeling to last?”
The truth is, despite how good it feels, only about 20% of acupuncture’s healing power happens while the needles are in. About 80% of the healing effect occurs in the 24 hours following the treatment.
To sustain the healing effect, you must avoid three things 24 hours after the needles come out:
Cold is the #1 arch enemy in Chinese Medicine:
All of these cold things can all counteract the benefits of acupuncture by contracting the flow of qi and slowing down the healing process.
2. Alcohol and recreational drugs
After an acupuncture treatment, your body works hard to transfer the energetics of the needles into acute healing and homeostasis (balance). Alcohol is warming to the body, yet can significantly alter the 24 hour cycle of qi. Alcohol and recreational drugs disrupt the healing process (and in the case of getting drunk, can completely cancel out any treatment benefits).
Consuming alcohol or getting high after a treatment is effectively wasting your time and money.
Sex is considered an activity that promotes the free flow of qi. However, after an acupuncture treatment, sex can demand too much qi and inhibit healing. It is best to wait until the day after acupuncture to get your qi moving between the sheets.
So, now that you know what to avoid, what should you do during the 24 hours after an acupuncture treatment?
The best thing you can do is rest your body and relax your mind:
Allow the natural high to sink in for 24 hours while your body-mind-spirit take the time needed for healing.
Let's talk about Chronic Pain...
A recent study in the scientific journal Pain found, “90% of the benefit of acupuncture over usual care is retained at 12 months after the end of a course of treatment.” Indigo Healing Acupuncture offers customized treatment plans designed to provide you with long-term relief of chronic pain.
If you're ready to live your best life and return to activities you love, schedule a consultation by calling 512-686-0777 or send an email to email@example.com
Visiting a new doctor for the first time can be nerve-wracking. To ease anxiety and stress, we make it simple to get started on the path to healing.
At Indigo Healing Acupuncture, we offer consultation appointments to...
Consultations generally take less than 20 minutes. You'll be asked at the conclusion of the consultation if you would like to start the treatment plan right away. You also have the option to schedule your first treatment at a later date.
To schedule a consultation, contact the clinic at 512-686-0777.
I will never forget my first appointment. For an entire hour, the acupuncturist asked me about my illness and actually listened to my answers. I had never had a doctor really listen to me before. After checking my tongue and pulse, she explained my diagnosis and explained how acupuncture could help. Three months later, I walked out of her clinic migraine-free. My neurologist was astounded when I told him I was no longer taking the daily cocktail of prescriptions and had not had a migraine in a month.
So how does acupuncture solve medical mysteries?
Acupuncture is based on an entirely different medical system based on over 2,000 years of clinical experience. Specifically:
To schedule a consultation to solve your own medical mystery, contact Michelle.
It’s been 3 weeks since the new Indigo Healing Acupuncture opened on West Hwy 290 serving the communities of Dripping Springs, Driftwood, and Austin with integrative holistic healing!
Good Qi served Tuesday through Saturday by appointment.
Services include acupuncture, no-needle acupuncture, traditional fire cupping, Chinese Herbs, moxibustion, and supplements review.
The clinic offers:
With the tragic loss of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade to suicide this week, I wanted to share my thoughts on emotional wellness and mental illness. It's time to change the way we (as a society) view mental illness and shift our focus to achieving emotional wellness.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness:
What does this mean? As Americans, we are all touched by mental illness. It is prevalent in our families, our friends, and our communities.
Our conventional healthcare system simply does not know how to handle mental illness or promote emotional wellness.
Despite scientific advances in understanding brain chemistry, there is a shame-based social stigma attached to conditions like depression, anxiety, and bipolar syndrome. Some professions/societies go so far as to penalize those who have been diagnosed with a mental illness. As a result, millions of Americans suffer in secret because they are reluctant/scared to seek help.
As we’ve witnessed this week, social status, wealth, achievements, age, race, religion, and outward appearances do not protect anyone from suffering in secret from a mental illness. It can literally affect anyone at any time. There are not always outward signs of an impending mental crisis. Everyone we meet is fighting some type of battle that we know nothing about.
As a holistic practitioner, I treat patients as a whole person, mind-body-spirit. This approach is particularly helpful to de-stigmatizing mental illness and promoting emotional wellness. Acupuncture, Chinese herbs, exercise, nutrition, meditation, gua-sha and tui-na are all helpful tools to promote a health emotional balance.
If you know someone whom is suffering, please know that help is always available, often at no-cost or low-cost. Now here is the shift to a societal focus on emotional wellness... as their friend (and as a fellow human), realize that you (yes! YOU!) have a responsibility to step up and find help when they cannot ask for it themselves.
Here's where you can find help for your friend/spouse//lover/ex-lover/brother/sister/cousin/mother/father/aunt/uncle/teacher/colleague:
In Oriental Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine, the body-mind-spirit is treated as a whole. The hands and lungs and back are treated together. There is no division between the physical body and the mind, nor is there a division between the physical body and the spirit. You are treated as a whole person, which is what we call holistic medicine.
Acupuncture treatments affect and heal the mind-body-spirit in ways that conventional Western medicine cannot. During an acupuncture treatment, needles are placed on precise body points that activate healing and open your connection to Spirit. Many acupuncture points are named for this ability, such as Shen Men (Spirit Gate). During or after a treatment session, you may feel euphoric as physical pain diminishes and your Qi flows freely through your meridians. This is a wonderful window of time to easily connect to Spirit and express your true desires.
To you, Spirit may be God, the Universe, All-That-Is or whatever you perceive to be the origin and manifestation of your Life Force. By connecting to Spirit through prayer, reading sacred texts like the Bible, meditation, or manifestation, Spirit will always respond to each of your requests in one of three ways:
To schedule a consultation or appointment to heal your mind-body-spirit, contact Michelle here.
Reality: IVF is brutal. The bruises are real. The fear of failure can be overwhelming. The financial burden is heavy.
The antidote to this challenging reality is faith.
Faith in the Universe to unite a mother with the soul of her unborn child.
Faith in doctors to expertly prescribe the exact dose of Follistim or Gonal-F, Lupron, hCG, Prednisolone, Estradiol, and/or Progesterone needed to hijack a menstrual cycle and optimize the body's conditions for conception & pregnancy.
Faith in holistic medicine to support & protect the body, mind, and spirit from such an invasive process.
Faith in traditional Chinese herbs to harmonize the body, mind, and spirit and nourish the Uterus.
Faith in yourself to answer the sacred calling of a Mother.
Visit the Fertility page here.
Getting pregnant doesn't have to break your budget! If you have $10 per week, here's how you can use it to increase your odds of a healthy pregnancy within three months.
Here are 8 fertility tools that cost less than $10 a week over the course of three months:
1. Basal Body Temperature Thermometer: The first step to accurately tracking your fertility cycle is to record your waking body temperature under your tongue at the same time every morning before getting out of bed. This special type of thermometer records temperature to the 10th of a degree, which is extremely important when trying to conceive.
2. High-Quality Prenatal Vitamins: Prenatal vitamins are important because so much happens magic occurs inside an embryo before a positive pregnancy test (typically around 4-5 weeks pregnant). Within the first 3 weeks of pregnancy, the embryo is busy building a spinal cord, brain, eyes, heart, digestive tract, liver and face! Your little baby will draw upon mama's stores of vitamins and minerals, but needs more! When selecting a prenatal vitamin, talk to a health care professional (doctor or acupuncturist) to make sure you're buying the best available for your specific needs. My favorite professional-quality brands are Thorne and Innate Response. Contact Michelle to order online.
3. Fertility-Friendly Lubricant: If you use a lubricant, make sure it's fertility-friendly and sperm-safe. I usually recommend BabyDance because it's available at most major retailers including Amazon.
4. Fertile Living Library: Follow this link to access free fertility resources from fertility acupuncturist Heidi Brockmyre:
6. BBT Chart: A Google search will reveal lots of free printable BBT Chart templates or there are several fertility apps that can capture temps to produce a chart. Choose what works for you! Here's a printable PDF from BabyCenter to get you started.
7. Warm Socks: Simply put, Warm Feet = Warm Uterus. Wear socks in every season!
8. Reference Books: Learn all about fertility with these two tomes of knowledge:
At only $10 a week, these tools can help you achieve a healthy pregnancy! Sending you lots of baby dust!
At Indigo Healing Acupuncture, we practice holistic Oriental medicine.
This means that we see living beings (human or animal) as a complete, interrelated entity composed of a mind (consciousness), physical body, and spirit (soul). Holistic medicine allows healing to occur on physical and metaphysical levels.
So, what is holistic medicine in a nutshell? Holistic medicine…
Modern medicine aims to identify the condition (and affix a label such as “heartburn”) and alleviate symptoms with drugs, physical therapy, radiation, or surgery.
Holistic medicine identifies the root cause of the pain/illness and treats the mind, body and spirit to provide relief and a return to wellness.
How does this work in real life?
Let me give you a real-life example of a common complaint. Let’s say you have lower back pain, labeled by modern medicine as lumbar spinal stenosis.
Modern medicine will measure the pain, document the location, order radiological scans (x-ray or MRI), and prescribe pain killers, physical therapy, surgery, or rest. You’ll likely walk out of the 10-minute appointment with as much pain (maybe more if you had to wait two hours for your five minutes of face time with the MD) as when you walked in.
A holistic practitioner will see you as a whole person. We'll ask specific questions about where you live, what you eat, your emotional well-being, your exercise schedule, and the quality of your sleep. Within the framework of Oriental Medicine, we'll combine these answers with tongue & pulse diagnosis to identify the root problem of your pain and treat it with acupuncture, moxibustion, tui na, gua sha, cupping, and/or Chinese herbs. With this holistic approach, the acupuncture needles may not be placed on your back at all and you could still leave the appointment with no lower back pain! And, as a bonus, you'll likely be in a better mood & sleep better that night as well!
Does insurance cover holistic medicine?
Many large medical insurance plans now cover acupuncture treatments for pain relief. Most employer-sponsored Health Spending Account and Flexible Spending Account (HSA/FSA) plans also include acupuncture as a covered service. Check your benefits summary for coverage details.
Are you ready to be seen as a whole person and give holistic medicine a try?
This case study of insomnia is a real-life example of how Chinese Medicine is combined with modern Western medicine to create the best outcome for our patients. This approach is called integrative medicine because it combines traditional holistic medicine with the science of Western allopathic medicine.
Insomnia is generally defined as an inability to fall asleep, stay asleep, or a combination of both. Chronic insomnia is difficulty sleeping for a month or longer. Insomnia afflicts up to 15% of the world’s population. Insomnia occurs when the biological drivers of sleep, circadian rhythms and homeostasis, are disrupted by emotional upset and chronic stress.
This letter is an example of how we coordinate care with a patient's primary doctor:
Dear Primary Care Physician,
I have a patient suffering from chronic insomnia and would like your assistance with this case.
The patient is a 32-year-old male with a chief complaint of restless sleep. The history of present illness is insomnia difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep during the last six weeks. Sleep improves with daily exercise, is exacerbated by stress, crying baby, too much computer screen time. No night sweats, but sense of heat. Patient goes to bed at 11pm and is restless until 1-2am. He wakes 1x to urinate, usually between 4-5am. Vital signs are pulse 64 bpm, BP 118/68, 13 breaths per minute, body temp: 98.8 degrees F.
Based on the patient’s symptoms and tongue and pulse presentation, the TCM diagnosis is Heart and Kidney Yin Deficiency insomnia.
In a review study conducted by O’Brien & Weber (2016), acupuncture was found to regulate “various neurotransmitters and hormones, such as endorphins, serotonin, norepinephrine, adrenocorticotrophic hormone, cortisol, acetylcholine, melatonin, substance P, gamma-aminobutyric acid, and nitric oxide, known to be involved in sleep regulation. Acupuncture can also regulate higher cortical function, the HPA axis, and somato-visceral reflexes."
The patient has agreed to receive a 60-minute Chinese Medicine treatment two times a week for four weeks. Reassessment will occur at the sixth appointment. Progress is tracked with the Measure Yourself Medical Outcome Profile (MYMOP) questionnaire. The patient completed the initial MYMOP prior to the first acupuncture treatment and will fill out a follow-up MYMOP questionnaire prior to the first appointment every week. An initial acupuncture point protocol was:
The patient received the traditional Chinese herbal formula Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan (Ginseng and Zizyphus formula) with instructions to drink three cups per day in-between meals for four weeks.
The patient is advised to avoid caffeine and alcohol, exercise in the morning (so as to not interfere with sleep in the evening), avoid spicy and greasy foods, drink water throughout the day and cease consumption by 8pm at night, and discontinue use of all electronic devices at least 30 minutes prior to bedtime.
Prior to his first acupuncture treatment, the patient identified insomnia with a MYMOP score of “6 - as bad as it can be”. At his third appointment, he reported better sleep and a lower MYMOP score of "3". I expect him to obtain more high-quality sleep within the next two weeks of treatment and report another reduced MYMOP score.
Please order a CBC differential lab test and Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) for this patient and contact me with the results.
I appreciate your willingness to share in the care of this patient.
Michelle Wendt, L.Ac. DACM, Dipl. OM
Oriental medicine provides a holistic approach to healing from a broken heart. Symptoms of a "broken heart" can manifest as difficulty sleeping, depression, anxiety, poor appetite or overeating, inability to focus, acne, asthma, tight muscles and soreness, TMJ, sciatica, headaches, migraines, heartburn, constipation or diarrhea, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and more.
Indigo Healing Acupuncture offers a comprehensive 12 week program to help you process the end of your marriage and reclaim a new vibrant life.
This customized package includes acupuncture, Chinese herbs, traditional fire cupping/gua sha, and self-care suggestions to boost your Qi and bring forgiveness & hope back into your life. This program is offered on a limited basis and a pre-consultation by phone is required.
Contact Michelle to learn more about this one-of-a-kind Holistic Divorce Recovery program.
Dr. Michelle Wendt, L.Ac., DACM
Dr. Michelle Wendt, L.Ac., DACM practices Oriental & Chinese Medicine in Hawaii and Texas.