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I received my favorite compliment today: “That was just what I needed.” So many of us experience mental stress on a daily basis and desperately struggle to maintain balance in our lives. Acupuncture can be an important part of that balance. Other tools may be healthy eating, exercise, massage, and essential oils, among other things. I frequently apply therapeutic essential oils to my clients to intensify their relaxation, as well as recommend herbs.

Is your headache from tension or from allergies? It may be very difficult to tell the two apart. Both creep up slowly and include a sensation of heaviness, or pressure, and/or tightness. The difference is the exact location of the sensation. Is it over the cheeks or forehead? Or is it more over the temples and side of the head? Keep in mind that stress lowers your immune system, so if you don’t usually have allergies but you are having a particularly stressful year, this may be the year you develop them! In addition to location of sensation, each pattern has particular symptoms associated with it, such as diarrhea, nausea, ringing in the ears, and so on. Rebecca asks specific questions in order to determine the pattern of your headache because the points used vary from pattern to pattern. And, yes, some people have combinations of patterns!

The most common question that people ask me: Can you treat my shoulder (or any area of pain) and another complaint at the same time? Most commonly, my answer is yes. Not always, but usually, and this is why. Chinese Medicine looks at any disorder in terms of its connection. If your shoulder hurts, what other symptoms are connected to that? You may have trouble sleeping, are often thirsty or hot, you may get night sweats, have irritable bowel, or struggle with anxiety. All of those things tell something about the pattern causing your shoulder pain. And they are all connected. Therefore, it is helpful to treat several connected symptoms because they strengthen the correction. However, in some cases, treating a symptom may detract from the main complaint. That is one of the challenges acupuncturists face – knowing how to tailor the acupuncture point selection. It’s what we are trained for and specialize in. So if you want to address another symptom in addition to your main concern, just ask!

In health and happiness,

Rebecca Abbott, C.Ac.

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