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Archive for January, 2016

Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Case study from Coastal Acupuncture in Mt Pleasant SC

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I wanted to share a case study from my Coastal Acupuncture Mt Pleasant practice regarding a patient who came to see me for irritable bowel syndrome. In case this is a new term to you, IBS is a very uncomfortable bowel condition that typically involves alternating diarrhea and constipation, abdominal pain, bloating, gas and/or various food intolerances.

This patient [I will call her Linda] came to see me with all of these symptoms and had given up hope that there was a solution. She had tried Western medications, dietary changes, and even some stress reduction techniques, yet her symptoms were not improving.

The beauty of my approach is that it can often help even when other modalities or approaches come up short. This is because acupuncture has a very unique way of diagnosing and treating our chronic health concerns. In Linda’s case, I noticed that she was holding onto a lot of stress in her body. Her shoulders were hunched, her face seemed tense, and even her voice carried the tone of tension. This all suggested to me that I had to help her liver become regulated, as it’s very common for the liver to be the underlying cause of IBS.

Even after the first session, I noticed a profound change in Linda’s entire disposition. Her face looked more youthful and relaxed, her shoulder were down, she was breathing deeper, and it was apparent that her mind was slower and more at peace. Even Linda made the comment, “Wow, I haven’t felt this relaxed in years.”

This was confirmation to me that we were on the right track. Linda came back the following week saying she was still having the symptoms of IBS, but that they were 25% less severe than normal. She was encouraged by this, though still concerned that these symptoms would plague her forever.

I offered Linda a similar treatment and could tell once again that her body was receiving the work on a very deep level. She once again expressed astonishment by how peaceful and relaxed she felt.

Linda came in the following week saying that her symptoms were reduced by about 75%, which she was extremely excited about. Amazingly, after 2 more sessions, her symptoms were completely clear as Linda experienced healthy digestive function for the first time in years.

In her words, “I feel like I have my life back. I can now do the things I have been putting on hold for so long. It’s amazing to feel this way!”

Linda now comes in once a month for maintenance treatments. She still has to minimize certain foods that can cause an inflammatory reaction in her gut, and she has committed to daily yoga practice to help her stress level and overall health. Linda made the connection for herself that she had to take responsibility for her health and really listen to what her body was trying to tell her. Because she was willing to do this, our work together went to a much deeper level and she was able to reap the full benefit of acupuncture.

If you struggle with IBS and are looking for natural solutions, feel free to call my office at Coastal Acupuncture 843-330-9093 so we can discuss your situation and create a plan that will help you the most.

What Actually Causes Our Stress? A Revealing Look Inside This Worldwide Epidemic

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It’s commonly said that 80% of our chronic health concerns are caused by stress. The question I have for you is, what causes your stress? Given the fact that stress is such an important factor in the creation of imbalance and disease within the body, we need to be able to answer this question in order to really get to the root problem and heal at a deeper, long-term level.
Western medicine excels at the treatment of acute and severe health conditions. Where it falls short is in offering viable solutions for chronic health concerns. There’s little to no ability within the framework of Western medicine to treat the root cause of chronic health issues, largely because there’s such little focus on the management and elimination of stress. Instead, pharmaceuticals are used to address the symptoms of illness or imbalance, which often creates immediate relief to the sacrifice of long-term healing.

Even many alternative health practitioners don’t treat chronic health concerns at a causal level. Yes, they can often temporarily relieve stress and help people feel more relaxed and at peace, but this experience tends to be short-lived and the patient finds that they become dependent on the modality in order to ‘feel good.’

As health practitioners, our focus has to return to this question of what is actually causing us to feel continual and chronic stress, so we can treat it at a causal level. In my clinical and life experience, I have come to realize that stress is largely the result of the conditioning we experience in our childhood and teenage years. We are all taught specific beliefs about who we are, what life is, and how we should function in this world. Many of these beliefs are limiting and even harmful. As we become attached to these beliefs, we lose our connection with who we really are and the unlimited potential we inherently possess.

There are many examples of beliefs that limit us in life; here are a few of the most common ones:

You have to fight your way to the top

Life isn’t safe; you have to put yourself first at all times

Money is evil

The key to success is to get a secure and safe job– don’t worry about following your passions

I’m not good enough.. and I never will be no matter how hard I try

The key to happiness is finding someone who will love me

My job defines me

To the extent that these limiting beliefs linger in our minds, they will determine the choices we make and the behaviors that we initiate throughout our life. This is why so many people find themselves in jobs or marriages that promote suffering or struggle.

The body is often a mirror for the mind, especially when it comes to chronic, long-term health issues. If the body is ailing due to stress, and our stress is caused by holding onto limiting and harmful beliefs about who we are, then the key to lasting health and healing is to free ourselves of these beliefs and operate in this world under a new set of principles and values.

Many of us experience a ‘wake up call’ of sorts when we are diagnosed with a health condition such as cancer, diverticulitis, disc degeneration, IBS, or chronic fatigue. This is the body’s attempt to wake us up to an opportunity to create life on our own terms and to let go of what we’ve been taught about how we should live and what it means to be a good person.

If you want to get to the root cause of your health issues and consciously create optimal wellness, start with your own mind. Examine the beliefs that are holding you back and see if you can link these beliefs to the lifestyle choices you’ve made in your career, relationships, dietary choices, and so on. A skilled health practitioner can be of great assistance in this process. Call me if you’d like to discuss your unique situation and see what I can do to help.