with Savanna Levenson
Acupuncture treatments are provided by our registered acupuncturist with the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists. Treatments involve the use of single use needles that are placed in specific locations on the body that stimulate the body to heal itself. The needles are left in place for 25-40 minutes (a buzzer is provided to each patient during this time to communicate with your practitioner).
Cupping therapy involves the use of plastic or glass cups that are placed on the skin where suction is created. The cups may be stationary or used with oil to create a sliding cup effect along the skin when the practitioner glides them over the skin. Cupping can increase blood flow, decrease inflammation, as well as relax muscles and tissues.
In Eastern medicine, food is considered medicine and many ailments were treated using foods. Chinese Medicine classifies foods and herbs according to the properties that are applied to the principles of healing. Your practitioner may request that you do a food journal for at least a week (initially). A food list will be provided to you regarding foods to avoid and foods to eat that will aid with your healing process.
Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to treat women’s health and can be very effective at regulating the menstrual cycle, balancing hormones, reducing effects of endometriosis, reducing PMS, reducing symptoms of PCOS, treating peri-menopause and menopausal symptoms. Your acupuncturist will often suggest diet and supplement therapy in conjunction to acupuncture. Treatments are typically once a week for long term treatments, such as fertility to regulate the cycle. For more acute symptoms such as hot flashes, twice a week is recommended. In addition to acupuncture, your treatment may include the use of moxibustion* and electrical acupuncture. Expect any cycle changes to require 2-3 months minimum to see lasting changes.
Savanna Levenson is trained in Obstetrical Acupuncture and is part of the Obstetrical Acupuncture Association. Acupuncture during all stages of pregnancy is very safe, effective and can help with a wide range of symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, musculoskeletal pain (carpel tunnel, sciatica, rib pain, pelvic pain), constipation/heartburn, UTI’s, anemia, high blood pressure (preeclampsia), yeast infections, small for date babies and gestational diabetes. Treatment frequency varies depending on condition and each individuals response to acupuncture.
Moxibustion is very effective turning breech babies. It has been shown that at 35 weeks gestation 75.4% of those receiving treatment had changed to cephalic presentation in comparison to the control group (47.7%). At delivery 75.4% of the intervention group was cephalic compared to the control group with 62.3%.
A typical treatment for breech presentation should start at 34 weeks. The treatment requires an initial visit followed up by 10 days of self treatment with smokeless moxa*. If the baby has not turned, another visit is required and the 10 day treatment repeats.
2. Cervical Ripening
Cervical Ripening treatments are recommended to start at 36 weeks to help soften and thin the cervix, preparing the body for delivery(See our Blog on Pre-birth acupuncture routine https://trillium-health.ca/acupuncture-as-a-pre-brith-routine/). It is useful to use this time to treat any other concerns that may affect the labour and delivery process. Treatments are once weekly until the expected delivery date. Evidence based studies have shown that women who received treatments reduced the time between expected due date and delivery date.
3. Labour Induction
Labour Induction can be started on or after the expected due date. It can be done daily or every other day depending on the medical circumstances of the pregnancy. It is recommended to start with the cervical ripening prior to induction but is not always necessary. This treatment can be done side lying or sitting on a stool while resting against the treatment table. Electrical stimulation may be used on the sacrum for additional stimulation.
4. Postnatal Treatments
Post natal treatments are recommended as soon as mother and baby are able to come to the clinic. The labour journey can be exhausting and depleting for some women and this is a time for healing and nourishing your body. Acupuncture can help the uterus to shrink, ensure smooth flow of retained blood from pregnancy, aid with post natal depression, lactation difficulties, c-section recovery and any musculoskeletal conditions as a result of labour and other issues that arise. Foods and supplements are recommended to help nourish the body, aid in recovery and loss of blood post pregnancy.
A bio-medical approach is used in most musculoskeletal treatments using electrical stimulation and needles. Electrical stimulation can be used to release inhibited muscles, activate weak muscles, stimulate nerves, increase blood flow to ‘pinched’ nerves, and change the negative pain loop stimulus to the brain that can cause chronic pain.
Initial musculoskeletal treatments may include the Exstore assessment system to determine where there may be lack of stability within the body. Typically 2 treatments within a week are recommended and depending if the issue is acute or chronic this may take 2 – 6 weeks of treatments. Patients have commented that this feels like an internal massage or twitches of the muscle while receiving treatments.
Chronic pain can be addressed using electrical stimulation at high frequency in the nerves, tissue or bone, this essential interrupts the pain signals to the brain and allows the body to produce endorphins as well as increasing blood supply to the area of pain where healing is required. Treatments depend on the nature and severity of pain of each patient and can vary from daily to weekly.
2. Stenosis Treatments
This is a specific treatment for chronic back or neck pain caused by a narrowing of a foramen (hole) through which a nerve travels from the spine into the body. This can cause chronic pain, numbness and weak muscles, making it difficult to walk any distance or sleep well. Treatments target either side of the spine using electrical stimulation twice a week for at least 3 weeks. This has been significantly helpful for many patients in clinic.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine depression, anxiety and stress are all related and treated under the same umbrella of liver qi stagnation. Stress has a huge impact on our daily lives and can be the underlying cause of many health problems. The goal of acupuncture is to ensure continuous and smooth flow of blood and energy throughout the body. Where there is stagnation, one will notice inflammation, swelling, pain or irritability and or depression. If any of these are left unaddressed longterm, our body will start breaking down. Acupuncture can be very effective for anxiety, stress and depression and is one of the 43 conditions listed by the World Health Organization as treatable with acupuncture. A treatment plan will be recommended to the individual based on their individual needs. Dietary recommendation and supplements may also be provided. Treatments are often enhanced in conjunction with other modalities at our clinic.
*Moxabustion is the used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to promote blood flow, warm and stimulate acupuncture points. The modality requires the burning of the dried mugwart plant on needles, via a stick held close to the skin or directly on the the skin. At Trillium Integrative Health Centre we use smokeless moxa sticks that are placed on acupuncture points via a sticky holder. They have a mild but pleasant odour and can be very relaxing.