Melissa Lo on Treatment

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So during our initial consultation, we definitely want to get a full medical background history. So whether a patient has had any surgeries, any major injuries is always very important. Any drugs that they're currently on is also very important, because, of course, there are conflicts between Western drugs and Easter traditional medicine, especially if we're gonna recommend traditional herbals. A lot of people are really nervous when it comes to acupuncture, because they don't really know about it. Living in the United States, when we think of needles, we think of the needles we get at the hospital, when we're getting our blood drawn, which are pretty thick.

However, acupuncture needles are actually very fine. They're actually as fine as your hair. So here's an example of one of the needles. I don't know if you can see. But it's actually really, really thin, and it's a stainless steel needle. It's actually really, really flexible, it's really durable, and the great thing about acupuncture needles is that they are one time use only, so we can actually reduce contamination, especially when you're talking about blood-borne pathogens. A lot of people get really nervous with that. Obviously, it's still a needle, so you're gonna feel a slight break in the skin, but normally most patients don't feel much, or if they do feel anything, it's kind of like a mild, sore sensation. That's about it.

When you're getting the treatment, a lot of patients feel maybe like a slight stimulation, maybe a little soreness, maybe a little warm sensation. But more patients actually fall asleep on the treatment table, because it's actually quite soothing and relaxing. With a patient who has back pain, acupuncture is beneficial throughout. So if they have it after an-an acute trauma, if they have it right before or right after the surgery, it's perfectly safe and fine. So actually there's no exact time that it's best for. We just can treat throughout the condition. But in general, acupuncture is more of a preventative medicine.

So if you have someone who has, like, chronic lower backache, nothing really severe, but you want to make sure you kind of reduce, maintaining with acupuncture is actually really beneficial. For example, if we were working on a patient with sciatica, a lot of times they're gonna have pain kind of in their butt cheek, and it's gonna radiate. Sciatica has a few different ways of hurting. It'll actually be due to a lot of times stiffness in the lower back, which causes the muscle to tighten, and actually pinches along the sciatica nerve. So when we're doing acupuncture, even though a lot of people think automatically you're gonna focus with the sciatica nerve, you actually have to release the lower back, target the points here, and actually do points down at the end of the channel.

Because in traditional Eastern medicine, one of the longest channels in the body is the urinary bladder channel, which deals with all types of lower backache and pain. So when we trigger points down here, it can actually release the entire back. So that's an example of one of the cases we would work on. After surgery, what's most important is to make sure that the patient's wounds have all healed, because obviously if they have any scar areas that are still open, we want to try to avoid doing treatment, because even though we're doing very fine needling, if we do any acupressure, we do use herbs and, uh, herbal oils and things like that.

But a lot of times, for example, after surgery, we want to make sure that the muscles are nice and relaxed, because most of the time after surgery, patients still have a lot of tension and tightness. So we do acupuncture to just maintain the muscle rel-relaxation, but a lot of times after surgery, we do recommend more traditional herbal blends, maybe even some nutritional supplementations, especially if it's something related with the spine, some bone density issues. We do give recommendations of maybe integrating in some more calcium support, some bone support, and also diet. Diet and exercise is really important. So it's kind of like targeting the root cause, as opposed to just the symptom, because the pain is just a symptom of something else.

So that is our theory about treating pain management. If you have pain in the local region, it's actually called ashi [PH] points. When you're doing further away from the body, they're called distal point therapy. So depending on the patient's condition, you have to select a formulation. And it doesn't always mean that just because your left back hip hurts you're gonna just do the left region. You can actually do cross needling technique. There's a lot of different mo-modalities, I guess you could select from. There are combination points that I've seen has been really beneficial. One of the most commonly well-known one is actually UB40, which is down here at the back of the knee. It's actually the command point for all back disorders.

So actually for anybody who's had some sort of trauma, who has just finished or recovering from surgery, or just has lower back soreness, that's one of the top points that we do integrate in. But there are a lot of specialty points, especially for pain management, especially specifically in the lower back. So depending on, like I said, the type of injury, we'll select a combination. So it's a really great complementary medicine to integrate into daily life, just to keep your energy up, to keep your immune system strong. So a lot of our cases who come in for back pain or some sort of pain management, they end up staying with us long term, even if they're maintaining once every couple weeks.

Laser acupuncture is another form of treatment that we offer, and it's actually really beneficial, especially when you have young children, or people who are a little bit more nervous when it comes to using needle therapy. What it does is it uses a low frequency laser, and it's actually, um, put on the body, kind of like a sticker, and it's actually put on the acupuncture point. So it does not break the skin, but it still has the ability to help stimulate that area, to help with rehabilitation. It's very beneficial, especially when you have somebody who maybe has something like bursitis, some sort of inflammation, maybe even some scar tissue.

So depending on the patient, we can differentiate which type we would use, but in general, we can also alternate between acupuncture and laser acupuncture. We have seen that really be helpful for cases, especially patients who have just had surgery, because of course, they have scar areas, or maybe some inflammation in the body, which is really beneficial to help with stimulating that. So acupuncture is really beneficial to target the whole body's health and energy flow, because a lot of acupuncture points, they're not correlated with just one condition. So a lot of times when we treat, we can actually use one point to help cover a whole wide range of issues.

But that doesn't mean that we need to do 20 or 30 needles. So sometimes a lot of people get worried with acupuncture because they think they're gonna be looking like a porcupine, 'cause they're gonna have so many sticking out of them, but we can actually do treatments even with two or three needles. So we just have to get an idea of what their condition is, and then treat them based off that. I think that acupuncture has a really big place in regards to integrating in with Western medicine, especially with pain management, back pain disorders. And a lot of practitioners are actually more open to integrating in. We have had a lot of referrals from Western practitioners who are more open, because they have seen the benefits of it. Because unfortunately, surgery isn't something that patients want to go for.

It's not their number one choice. So a lot of Western doctors are even more open to find other modalities to help alleviate the pains that the patients are dealing with. And we've actually had cases where surgery was gonna be the l-next option, but by integrating acupuncture in first, they actually got the relief they needed and they could avoid surgery. A lot of times I have patients who come in who have tried everything, and they've pretty much given up. But by turning to Eastern medicine, they've actually gotten the relief that they didn't think that they would get.

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