May 28, 2015
by Jennifer Alberti
Comments Off on Changes to our fees

Changes to our fees

Since we started our clinic nearly 3 years ago, we have offered our patients affordable acupuncture treatments on a sliding scale. Sliding scale fees are pretty rare in our society. They offer people the flexibility of paying what they can afford based on the fee range.

After nearly 3 years in business and after giving this much thought, we’ve decided to simplify things and have a fixed price for our services. We also strive to stay true to our goal of keeping treatments affordable, since it’s also pretty rare to have acupuncture treatments covered under health insurance plans.

Starting July 1st, we will change our fees to the following:
New Patients to SSCA: $40 (includes consultation and treatment)
Returning patients to SSCA: $25
Herbal Consult: $25 + cost of herbs
Missed Appointment Fee: Cost of treatment (please give us 24 hours notice if you have to cancel)

We will still offer the option of purchasing multiple treatments in advance (packages) at the rates posted above. If you currently have pre-purchased acupuncture treatments, you can use them whenever – they do not expire and we will honor them at the price that was originally purchased.

March 31, 2015
by Jennifer Alberti
Comments Off on Allergy Season Already?

Allergy Season Already?

It’s barely April, snow is still on the ground, and we’ve already had a few patients coming in with allergy symptoms. Sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose…so we thought this would be a good time to recycle our spring allergy blog from last year.

SSCA Blog from March, 2014: With this recent bout of frigid weather, it’s hard to imagine that spring is just around the corner. Some of us see spring as the beginning of warmer weather, a revived spirit and trees and flowers in bloom.  For others, it means the beginning of relentless sneezing, itchy eyes, runny noses and congestion.  If you do suffer from spring allergies, acupuncture may help ease your symptoms and get you back to smelling all of the blooming flowers without needing to have a tissue close.

Acupuncture is based on the theory of 14 channels that run head to toe throughout our bodies.  Within these channels are energy (qi), blood and other fluids (yin). When things move through the channels easily, the body operates in a healthy manner. When there is imbalance in how the energy, blood or other fluids (yin) are moving, symptoms may manifest. This is the same for every condition and pathology possible. When discussing allergies and all of the symptoms that arise with them, acupuncturists look to maintain the body’s immune system in addition to effectively processing excess fluids like phlegm and mucus.

When coming in for allergy treatments, the acupuncturist may ask what makes symptoms better or worse. Do you find that consuming dairy makes your post nasal drip worse? Do you find yourself more thirsty than usual? Are there certain times in the day that you feel free of symptoms? Is your digestion off? All of these questions may seem unrelated but they allow the acupuncturist to see which systems may need more support than others.

Each person may experience seasonal allergies with a different severity. The acupuncturist will discuss your treatment plan to adequately treat your symptoms. You may find that Chinese herbs or dietary recommendations will be beneficial in addition to regular acupuncture treatments. We have also found that it is helpful to start treatment BEFORE your allergy symptoms start to appear, thus helping to minimize any suffering when spring is in full bloom.  One of our favorite quotes from Lao Zi: “Deal with the Big while it is still Small.”

February 2, 2015
by Jennifer Alberti
Comments Off on Acupuncture and Pain Relief

Acupuncture and Pain Relief

One of the most common ailments that we see here is pain.  Back pain, knee pain, wrist pain…we treat musculoskeletal pain all over the body. Acupuncture can treat pain that is acute (like a back sprain from shoveling snow) or chronic (i.e. lingering back pain caused by a herniated disc or chronic knee pain after running).

Acupuncture is effective in treating pain because:

  1. Acupuncture reduces inflammation.
  2. Acupuncture increases blood circulation, helping to heal any tissue damage or tears.
  3. Stimulating certain acupuncture points trigger the release of endorphins, which are neurochemicals that assist in pain relief.

When a patient comes in with body pain, we do an assessment for pain intensity, location, range of motion and obtain other necessary information. Based on this, we typically recommend a series of treatments over the course of a few weeks and then re-assess. Typically if your level of pain is high (5 – 10/10), we recommend coming in for acupuncture at least twice per week for 3 weeks and then we re-assess at that point and continue treatment as necessary.

Some patients get instant relief while others get relief over time. Everyone’s body is different and heals at different speeds. It’s important to remember that acupuncture is a process, not a pill and requires a commitment to your body and a little patience.

December 3, 2014
by Jennifer Alberti
Comments Off on Staying Healthy Through the Holidays and New Year

Staying Healthy Through the Holidays and New Year

Shopping, wrapping, baking, traveling, decorating…for some of us, the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year. For others, the holidays mean total chaos and stress.

Either way, this tends to be a busy time of year and we often forget a very important part of life: self-care. We tend to neglect our bodies by working extra hours, over-indulging, not sleeping well and stressing about finances, gift giving, throwing the perfect holiday gathering, etc. Self-care can mean many things: maintaining good sleep habits, meditation, getting outside for some fresh air, exercising, or getting a massage or an acupuncture treatment!

Here are some great tips from Dr. Paula Bloom, psychologist on self-care preservation through the holiday season:

  1. Take care of yourself. Just because you are going to parties and gatherings it doesn’t mean that you have to throw all healthy behaviors out the window. Eating a healthy meal prior to going to an event can help you be less tempted to eat foods that make you feel less energetic. Stay consistent with your exercise schedule and sleep patterns (assuming they are healthy ones!)
  2. Evaluate “obligations.” Just because it is something you have always done or a place you have always gone to doesn’t mean you have to do it this year. It is okay to say no. “No.” can actually be a complete sentence. Consider it part of your preventative health (mental and physical) care plan.
  3. Spirituality. Focus on the spiritual aspects of the holidays versus the commercial ones. What do you want the holidays to mean?
  4. Family. There is a lot of pressure (just watch any hour of tv with commercials during this time) to spend time with family, gathered around a lovely table, smiling, and sharing warm memories! Not everyone has those kinds of family experiences and it is okay. Spend time with people you enjoy. Remember that friends can be the family you choose.
  5. Create your own traditions that work for you! It may be going away during the holidays or spending time volunteering to help others. I know someone who volunteers to provide coverage at the hospital during the holidays. She enjoys being able to help her colleagues who are then very grateful. This gives her a sense of purpose, a way to help patients during this time and an excuse to not have to attend stressful gatherings.

(excerpt taken from http://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife/blogs/grinch-prevention-self-care-during-holidays)

October 31, 2014
by Jennifer Alberti
Comments Off on Why Did You Put That Needle There?

Why Did You Put That Needle There?

When patients start receiving acupuncture treatments, they usually have a lot of questions. This is a natural reaction, as acupuncture is something that is typically very foreign to people in the United States. Placing needles in people (especially in places that have nothing to do with the condition(s) that patients come in for) generally raises questions like, “why are you putting that needle there?”, why do I feel some points but not others?”, “how long should I stay during treatment?”, “is acupuncture good for __________?”, etc.

In our busy, community-style clinic, we typically don’t have a lot of extra time to spend talking with patients and answering questions. Fortunately, our community acupuncture colleague, Andy Wegman, who owns Manchester Acupuncture Studio in both Manchester, NH and Nashua, NH, wrote this wonderful book called Why Did You Put That Needle There? to address these questions. You can download this book (and its audio component) for free here. It is also available for purchase online at Amazon.

If you find yourself having lots of questions about your specific treatment, you can always speak with either Jen or Jess as time allows, and we are always available by phone or email. For other, more general questions about acupuncture, definitely check out Andy’s book – it’s a quick, informative read that addresses many common questions about acupuncture (and community acupuncture). We will also be re-ordering a few copies for our waiting area, too!

September 24, 2014
by Jennifer Alberti
Comments Off on Does Your Immune System Need A Boost?

Does Your Immune System Need A Boost?

Fall is here and with the kids back to school and the changing weather patterns (one day it feels like summer, the next day fall!), our immune systems typically need a little boost to help prevent us from catching a cold. Many of us are still suffering from late summer/early fall allergies as well.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are very helpful for strengthening our immune systems. Acupuncture releases endorphins, which help to enhance our immune system (in addition to helping us feel better, manage stress and moderate pain). Coming in for regular acupuncture treatments around the change of seasons helps us to fight off the colds that start going around this time of year. In addition, eating healthy, wholesome foods and getting a good night’s sleep will also do wonders to support your immune system.

If you do end up contracting a cold, having a Chinese herbal remedy on hand can help mitigate symptoms and assist your body in kicking out the pathogen. If you are interested in ordering a Chinese herbal formula for the fall/winter, feel free to schedule an herbal consult with Jen.

July 31, 2014
by Jennifer Alberti
Comments Off on Ear Plugs, Anyone?

Ear Plugs, Anyone?

Recently, we’ve had a few patients comment on noise level in our clinic, which prompted us to blog about this topic.

First and foremost, our clinic is a community acupuncture clinic. It’s a clinic where people come together to get well, rest and feel better for an affordable price. Because we do acupuncture in a community, or group setting, we try to keep noise to a minimum but – on occasion – noise may be an issue. Noise could be us (the acupuncturists) bringing patients in and out of the treatment room, it could be someone settling into their chair or table and yes, patients can get so relaxed during treatment that sometimes they fall asleep and snore!

It is important to us that our patients be comfortable during treatment; however, we also want to make everyone aware that yes, sometimes noise happens in a group setting. We also have a relatively small treatment room so noise can be a little more amplified in our space. We try our very best to control the amount of noise in the treatment room, which is why we try to do most of the talking outside of the room. We also encourage you, our patients, to please be mindful of the other patients resting and speak softly in the treatment room. If you are wearing items that you have to unzipper or un-velcro, please remove these items outside of the room.

If noise is still an issue for you, please feel free to bring your iPod and earbuds so that you can tune out any external clinic noise (don’t forget to turn the ringer off if your music player also serves as your phone). We also have a huge tub of ear plugs for purchase before your treatment. They are located right outside of our clinic door and cost just $.50/pair. Please help yourselves to the earplugs and just leave us a couple of quarters!

June 20, 2014
by Jennifer Alberti
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Acupuncture and Menopause

Many years ago, I remember driving home on a cold, winter night from a family gathering with my mother. We’re driving along on the highway and, all of a sudden, the windows start rolling down and cold, frigid air came filtering into the car. In bewilderment, I asked my mother, “why are you rolling the windows down? It’s freezing!” She gave me a look and said, “well then bundle up, I’m having a hot flash!” That was probably my first encounter with someone going through menopause. And I’ll never forget it.

For many women, going though menopause means having symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbances and mood swings. The good news? Acupuncture has been shown to help ease and minimize all of these symptoms, making going through “the change” much more of a breeze.

Research studies conducted at Stanford University and the University of Pittsburgh have found that acupuncture helps to reduce the intensity and frequency of hot flashes and night sweats, improves sleep and decreases mood swings during menopause. As we age, our estrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate and, thankfully, acupuncture can help to regulate and balance these hormone levels, which helps to moderate menopausal symptoms.

For women seeking acupuncture for ease of menopausal symptoms, we typically recommend coming in twice per week for the first few weeks in order to get some quick relief. We may also prescribe Chinese herbs in addition to regular acupuncture treatments. Once symptoms are more manageable, acupuncture treatments are then scaled back to once per week or maybe even once every other week depending on how the body responds to treatment.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be of great benefit to women heading into menopause, especially if you are seeking a gentle and holistic approach to health and wellness.

April 23, 2014
by Jennifer Alberti
Comments Off on How Much Acupuncture Do I Need?

How Much Acupuncture Do I Need?

So how many acupuncture treatments do you need to start getting results? The answer: it varies from person to person.  Our friends over at Oakland Acupuncture Project in California wrote a wonderful blog post on this topic and we wanted to share their response to this question with you.

As an example, I (Jen) get an acupuncture treatment usually once per week (more if I’m dealing with an injury or something specific) and I also make sure I get in a chiropractic treatment once per month (and maybe a massage or some cranial osteopathy here and there). This strategy works for me and my body but everyone has different needs.  We hope that you find this blog post helpful and please feel free to ask me or Jess if you have questions about treatment frequency.

From Oakland Acupuncture Project blog, 1/13/13:

Sometimes, acupuncture creates immediate, dramatic, and permanent results. Usually, though, it takes a series of treatments to get the relief you’re seeking. More frequent visits at the beginning of your course of treatment will help you to feel better faster.  Treatments can be spaced further apart as you improve.

Treatment-Stage-Graphic_color

Most common response…
In the beginning many people notice small changes or no change at all.  The change may last for just a day or two and then go back.  This is all normal and the relief will improve and last longer as you progress through the treatment plan.

Quick changes…
Sometimes people have dramatic and lasting improvement with very few treatments.  In this case the treatment plan is adjusted down.  A quick change has more to do with what’s happening with the patient. But typically, most things require a course of treatments.

Any change is a good change…
In about 5-10% of cases the issue being treated acts up for 24 hours following the session, followed by great relief.  This is a good sign.  A general guideline is “Any change is a good change.”  Please keep us informed about what you experience after treatment.

Slow changes…
Sometimes, results take longer than predicted.  It is still possible that you will benefit from acupuncture.  If your main complaint is not noticeably changing, look at other aspects of your life for signs of subtle improvement.  You may feel more like yourself, sleep better, have more energy, or notice improvement with a different symptom.  These are all positive signs that treatment is helping.  We can increase the treatment plan to help speed things along.

More on changes…
Some symptoms change quickly and others take longer.  This is normal.  Progress does not happen at the same rate for everything.  One symptom may even change quickly at first and then move at a much slower rate for further improvements.

Observe your body…
Pay attention to your body.  Take note of any changes that you notice.  If possible, when you first start treatment, avoid activities that make your symptoms worse.  The best chance you have for acupuncture to work is to stick with the treatment plan.

Feeling better…
After you are feeling better, it is best to gradually space out treatments.  Most people find regular maintenance treatments very helpful.  It helps keep symptoms from returning or keeps the symptoms manageable.  It also creates a feeling of wellness.  The most profound shifts with acupuncture come with regular treatments over a long period of time. Depending on your unique situation, this can be as little as once a month.

Transcript above is from the Oakland Acupuncture Project blog, posted on January 13, 2013. All rights reserved.

March 28, 2014
by Jennifer Alberti
Comments Off on Acupuncture for Athletic Training

Acupuncture for Athletic Training

Runners, take your mark!  Warmer weather is almost here, and with warmer weather comes the 5Ks, 10Ks, marathons, obstacle courses and all sorts of fun runs.  Lots of you will be training for these events and if you’re an athlete (professional or novice), acupuncture can help you in your quest for optimum health.

Acupuncture is extremely helpful in helping to circulate blood efficiently throughout the body and to decrease inflammation. This is great news for athletes, as increased blood flow helps to nourish the muscles and tendons which are being worked to their capacity during training. Acupuncture also helps to decrease any inflammation that may occur during training or events, or inflammation that may happen if an injury is sustained.  Common running injuries include IT band inflammation and pain, ankle sprains and knee pain.  Coming in for regular acupuncture treatments during any training period may also help PREVENT injuries from occurring in the first place by enhancing the mobility of muscle fibers.

Check out this article for more info on acupuncture and athletic performance: http://www.runnersworld.com/injury-treatment/acupuncture-reversing-stressful-effects-running?page=single

Note: there’s a broken link at the end of the article on how to find an acupuncturist. If you’re looking for an affordable acupuncture clinic, check out www.pocacoop.com which provides a list of community acupuncture clinics by state. Always make sure that your acupuncturist is licensed and board-certified, as well as someone who graduated from an accredited acupuncture school with a Master’s in Oriental Medicine.