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 can 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? 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 1, 2014
by Jennifer Alberti Comments Off on The Skinny on Acupuncture and Weight Loss
Acupuncture often makes its way into mainstream media with stories involving weight loss. As acupuncturists, we see many patients come through the clinic doors looking for support around weight and digestive issues. Although acupuncture can not offer someone a “quick fix” for weight loss, the good news is that, yes, it can help you to achieve your goal in optimizing health and wellness. Here are some ways acupuncture works in supporting patients along their road to losing weight.
Digestive issues can prevent people from processing food in an even manner. Patients may find that food sits in their stomach a little too long leading to bloating. Conversely, other patients may find that food may move too quickly through their digestive system. Acupuncture focuses on regulating digestion so that the body takes what it needs from food and excretes what is unnecessary in a controlled manner.
When the digestive system operates in a more balanced manner, patients may feel a change in their appetite. The once ravenous appetite may become more subtle. Acupuncture also can help with the food cravings and possible over-consumption that people may experience.
Another cause of excess weight can be water retention. The body may be holding excess fluids which can contribute to difficulty in regulating one’s weight. There are specific points that are used to help support the body in efficiently processing these fluids.
Fatigue can make the addition of a regular exercise routine challenging. Acupuncture treatments that focus on balancing your whole system can help to create more energy. The points used in such treatments stimulate your body’s system to operate in a more efficient manner.
All in all, acupuncture is a powerful tool to support you as you work towards optimal health and wellness.
January 4, 2014
by Jennifer Alberti Comments Off on So, what’s the deal with the sliding scale?
Happy New Year! We thought we’d start 2014 with a blog post about our sliding scale. A sliding scale means that YOU determine what you can afford based on our scale. The initial appointment range is between $30 – $50 and the follow-up appointment range is between $20 – $40.
That said, you may still be wondering, “Ok, but how exactly does this whole sliding scale thing work?” That’s a good question. A sliding scale works by offering a price range that can fluctuate for each person and can even differ each time you come in for treatment. You chose a price based on the sliding scale, taking into account how many visits you need and what you can afford. What you choose to pay on the scale does NOT determine what sort of care you receive here. Everyone here receives equal, quality care. Our hope is that the sliding scale will allow you to make room in your budget for regular acupuncture treatments. It creates a window to accessible healthcare when healthcare can be a high expense for us all.
Acupuncture works best, especially for acute conditions, when it is done consistently and frequently. The sliding scale allows for patients to come in for a series of treatments over the course of a few weeks or months, which could become financially impossible if the cost was a flat rate of $75 per appointment (which is typical of a private acupuncture treatment). In addition, the sliding scale gives access to acupuncture treatments to so many more individuals in our community. Good health is important to everyone and access to such care is important to us at South Shore Community Acupuncture.
Our clinic is funded solely by our patients. We do not receive funding from outside sources such as grants or subsidies. Currently we do not bill insurance – we see our sliding scale similar to a co-pay. We also do not ask for any income verification – we rely on you to determine what you can afford for each treatment. Your financial information is your business, not ours.
We rely on our patients to pay what they can and spread the word to other people in the community. Your referrals mean the world to us here and allow our clinic to grow and thrive. Referrals also help to keep our costs low so that we don’t have to spend a lot of money on advertising and marketing. Low overhead is key to a successful and busy community acupuncture clinic – it also means that we can keep our fees affordable.
If you have any questions about our sliding scale, please feel free to ask us. We know that the concept of a sliding scale is unfamiliar to most people. We want you to be comfortable with our fee structure, and hope this provides you with affordable, quality care.
November 30, 2013
by Jennifer Alberti Comments Off on Maintaining Good Health Through the Holidays
With the holidays in full swing, taking good care of our bodies isn’t exactly on the forefront of our minds. When the temperatures start to dip and the wind starts to whip, our bodies can be more susceptible to contracting an illness. Here at the clinic, this is typically around the time we start to hear about patients coming down with or recovering from colds, sinus infections or flu.
What is important to remember is prevention is the best medicine. Just like when you take your car for regular tune-ups and oil changes, our bodies need regular maintenance to help keep our immune system healthy in an effort to prevent illness. This is especially true around the holidays, when we’re stressed, overeating (and maybe overdrinking), busy cleaning the house, preparing meals, shopping for gifts, attending holiday parties, etc.
Getting regular acupuncture treatments is one way of making sure your system stays intact during the holidays. Acupuncture helps to keep the immune system working properly by regulating endorphin levels. When endorphin levels are maintained, we are typically pain-free, healthy and feeling well. Acupuncture also helps stimulate the “rest and digest” function of the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps maintain stress levels. High stress levels have been shown to suppress our immune systems, which in turn leads to illness.
In the spirit of the season of giving, the best thing you can do for your body is to give yourself the gift of good health. Eat well, sleep well and get the most out of the holiday season by staying healthy, happy and stress-free.
October 30, 2013
by Jennifer Alberti Comments Off on Acupuncture and the NADA Protocol
In November, the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout falls on Thursday, November 21st. If you’ve been thinking of kicking the habit, consider using acupuncture to help you with your goal. When a patient comes in seeking help for smoking cessation, we use the NADA Protocol. The NADA protocol consists of 5 points located in the ear and is used mainly to treat addictions, emotional imbalances and stress.
This protocol was developed in the 1970s and has been used ever since in a variety of treatment settings such as hospitals, acupuncture clinics, mental health centers, detox clinics, prisons and rehabilitation facilities. It is also widely recognized by many federal programs including the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and the US Department of Defense/Veterans Affairs.
We typically use the protocol at SSCA for any kind of addiction – drug and alcohol, nicotine, food, etc. Using this protocol has been shown to reduce cravings, calm the mind and promote the “rest and digest” function of the parasympathetic nervous system. The calming sensation that people experience when this protocol is used is also very helpful in treating stress, anxiety, sleep issues and feelings of depression.
Research completed in 2000 at Boston’s Children’s Hospital found that acupuncture treatments helped relieve symptoms of chronic pain in pediatric patients.
Pediatric acupuncture can seem unfamiliar and even scary to both patients and parents alike. Usually the major cause for concern with pediatric patients (and even adults) is the fear of needles. What is helpful to know is the size of the needles is very small. Some patients do not even feel the insertion. At South Shore Community Acupuncture, we have a special room where our pediatric patients are treated with their parents by their side which can help ease the anxiety surrounding the treatment. Children under the age of 7 can also receive Shonishin, which is a non-insertive acupuncture technique.
Young patients living with a variety of symptoms find relief with regular treatments. Unlike medication, acupuncture does not have any side effects and has been shown to reduce symptoms. Generally patients feel a sense of relaxation and may even take a nap.
Acupuncture treatments with children last about 20 minutes. Some common pediatric ailments that we treat at South Shore Community Acupuncture are colic, headaches, digestive issues, asthma, ear infections, chronic cough, eczema and emotional imbalances.
Next time you come in, bring your child for a treatment. South Shore Community Acupuncture’s experience and space can accommodate you and your family, and can help promote better health and wellness.
Kemper KJ, Sarah R, Silver-Highfield, Xiarhos E, Barnes L, Berde C. On pins and needles? Pediatric pain patients’ experience with acupuncture. Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, and the Center for Holistic Pediatric Education and Research, Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. 2000 Apr;105(4 Pt 2):941-7.
August 16, 2013
by Jennifer Alberti Comments Off on Feeling sniffley? Some advice on staying healthy this fall with acupuncture!
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine view the body as one organism that operates like a machine with many interacting parts. When everything is working smoothly, you feel good! When one part of your machine slows down or speeds up, you start to feel the whole machine being taxed.
As acupuncturists, some of the interacting parts we look at are your symptoms (i.e. runny nose), diet, stress and sleep. Acupuncture is a holistic medicine so everything that you put into your body is important and directly related to how you feel all the way from the coffee to the stressful day at work.
With that in mind, some helpful tips on keeping your machine ready and running efficiently:
-Regular acupuncture can support your body’s immune system to help prevent seasonal allergic responses such as runny nose, itchy eyes and headaches. Acupuncture also benefits patients in building up our immune defenses to the common cold.
-In Chinese Medicine, dairy and sugar can slow down the natural processes within the body. Some folks may feel a little more phlegm after ingesting dairy products. Others may feel sluggish after having too much sugar. To avoid this, when you are feeling congested, try eliminating or decreasing your dairy and sugar intake and see if there is a change. You may find that your congestion and other symptoms are not as pronounced without it! There are many acupuncture points throughout the body that specifically work to decrease phlegm and build up your immune system.
– Remember to incorporate regular exercise into your routine. Anything from walking around your neighborhood to taking aerobics classes can help your body to keep things moving. There are acupuncture points that facilitate moving blood, easing muscle tension and allowing a balanced flow of energy throughout your body. Exercise is a nice compliment to acupuncture and vice versa!
Let acupuncture ease you into health this fall!
July 18, 2013
by Jennifer Alberti Comments Off on Meet Jess Butler
We are thrilled to welcome Jess Butler to South Shore Community Acupuncture! Jess has a diverse clinical background that includes treating patients at Acupuncture Together in Cambridge, the Dimock Community Health Center in Roxbury, Roxbury Neighborhood Acupuncture and Boston Medical Center’s Pediatric Outpatient Clinic. She also has a private practice in Jamaica Plain.
Jess’s personal experience with acupuncture began over 10 years ago when she sought treatment for chronic migraines. She experienced significant relief from the treatments she received and became inspired to study and practice Chinese medicine. We are lucky to have her here practicing at SSCA, and think you will love her gentle and effective acupuncture treatments. She will be practicing here on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons (to start). Welcome, Jess!
June 19, 2013
by Jennifer Alberti Comments Off on A letter from Nicole
South Shore Community Acupuncture (SSCA) started in a tiny room of about 6ft by 10ft with three chairs very cozily close to each other. How blessed and lucky was I to be given the space and resources to offer acupuncture to the Quincy community, thanks to Mark Vonnegut, MD and his progressive and sensible approach to health and wellness. Our clinic started small, but when acupuncturist Jen Alberti joined us in September 2012, we graduated up to a larger room, still cozy, but now with five comfortable spots for patients to come in for treatment.
Jen’s presence has been integral for the growth of the clinic and I am so happy that I have had the chance to work with Jen and all the very supportive staff at MVPediatrics. With bittersweet sentiment I share that my family and I will be moving to New Jersey to be closer to our extended families. My last day will be Wednesday, July 17th. I am so grateful to all of you that continue to put your trust in us and have helped to build our clinic into the sweet and bustling community that it is today. Our well intentioned dream has become a beautiful reality and we couldn’t have done it without you.
SSCA is excited to have acupuncturist Jess Butler join the team. Jess comes with many gifts and lots of experience working in community acupuncture. You will appreciate her gentle nature and positive demeanor. Jess will be here on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays starting the last week of June. Be sure to welcome her on board.
In NJ, I will open my own community acupuncture clinic. If you have friends or family in the Princeton/Trenton area, let them know that affordable acupuncture is on its way to a town near them. I’ll be sure to share the news once I open up shop.
Again, thank you so much for your trust and support and for helping us make our dream a reality. We are honored to serve you and to offer affordable acupuncture to the Boston and South Shore community. Thanks for spreading the word about our clinic.
With deep gratitude,
Nicole Maniez, LicAc
May 20, 2013
by Jennifer Alberti Comments Off on Sandal Weather Doesn’t Have to Mean Heel Pain
Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot. This tissue is called the plantar fascia. It connects the heel bone to the toes and creates the arch of the foot. When inflamed, it causes pain at the heel that varies from sharp to dull and is normally worse in the morning. Walking can become painful. As the summer weather brightens our days, sandals and flip flops find their way out of the closet and onto our feet. For some, this means the return of heel and foot pain.
Acupuncture brings relief to irritated plantar fascia with the placement of tiny needles that help release tight muscles and bring greater blood flow to the area. Plantar fasciitis can be stubborn to treat, so community acupuncture is well suited to help those suffering with this condition. South Shore Community Acupuncture, with it’s sliding scale, allows patients to come 2-3 times a week if needed. As the pain reduces, treatments will be less frequent.
You can help yourself at home too. Check out these easy exercises and massage techniques. See how you feel afterwards.
Give us a call. We would love to speak with you about any health concerns you may have: 617.845.0544.