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Body Wise*

Gina Albanese, L.Ac., M.S., is a licensed practitioner of acupuncture under the Oregon Board of Medical Examiners. She is the founder of Northwest AcuHealth,LLC. She holds a Master of Science in Traditional
Chinese Medicine.

For more information visit her
website at www.nwacuhealth.com
or call 503-358-7454.

 

 

*The information contained herein is not intended to diagnose or treat ANY medical condition.

Optimize Your Walking with Acupuncture

Acupuncture services are becoming quite popular in the treatment and prevention of injuries for walkers, hikers, and runners in the Portland area. It’s a great way to reduce mental and physical stress in the body. It seems like such a revolutionary means of treatment and yet it’s a form of medicine that has been around for thousands of years. Currently in our Western culture there is a greater awareness of the benefits of this healing modality. Hopefully this article will answer some basic questions about acupuncture and how it can benefit you.

What is acupuncture? Acupuncture is the insertion of fine, hair-like needles strategically placed in locations specific to your Chinese medical diagnosis. Although modern Western medicine HAS proven acupuncture to work, it is unable to explain how it works . Traditional acupuncture is based on ancient Chinese theories that acupuncture restores the harmonious balance of “qi” in the body. When it comes to orthopedic conditions, such as a sports injury, some acupuncturists combine Eastern and Western medical evaluations to allow for a complete diagnosis.

How do you know if acupuncture is right for you?
First and foremost if you are in severe pain, it is important that you be evaluated by your physician or a specialist to rule out a more serious condition (i.e., herniated disc, ligament or muscle tear, stress fracture, etc). Once you are diagnosed it may be the case that surgery is preventable through more conservative forms of treatment such as acupuncture and exercise. Acupuncture can help in the healing process whether you have acute pain and swelling, a chronic overuse injury, or to expedite healing after surgery. Acupuncture can also be instrumental in preventing injuries before they occur.

As your fitness level increases so will your training intensity. As intensity increases it becomes even more important to take preventative measures. Making healthier food choices, warm-ups/cool-downs, stretching, and staying hydrated are all integral parts to optimal health and key elements in the prevention of injuries. So why it is that people still get injured even when taking these preventative measures? Sometimes your body might not be working as efficiently as it could be due to an old injury, thus creating imbalance. An old injury can change your gait. This can cause a slight limp or a shortened leg swing, which can also create changes to your upper body. Improper body mechanics break up the fluidity of your movements during exercise. This will then create inefficiency, and over time can cause pain and possibly an injury. Acupuncture can assist in getting the body back to its proper alignment in order to reduce pain and optimize your performance.

What are some common walking injuries that acupuncture can help? Low back, hip, shoulder, and knee pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, sprained ankles, and shin splints, as well as structural imbalances and muscle weakness can all be treated successfully with acupuncture. If these ailments are identified and treated early it will help to prevent future injuries in other parts of the body.

Does it hurt? No. Some say that the needles aren't painful, they are “sensational.” Most find the treatments to be so relaxing that they actually fall asleep.

How many treatments does it take to get results? This depends on the nature and severity of the condition. One to two treatments per week are suggested. Most people see benefits in four to six treatments for acute conditions. Chronic conditions may require treatment for several weeks.
How long will the results and benefits last? Many people wonder if the results will be temporary. Treatments are intended to address the underlying condition, not just mask the symptoms. When the source of the condition is addressed and corrected, the results are long lasting or permanent. Periodic treatments throughout the year are recommended to maintain optimal health.

How much does treatment cost? The fees for one session vary from office to office. Typically the rate for an initial evaluation and treatment will run anywhere from $75 to $125. It will usually take an hour to an hour and a half for the acupuncturist to get a complete medical history and perform the treatment. The follow-up sessions on average run about $65 and will last from 45 minutes to an hour depending on the condition and the practitioner.

Has there been extensive research done in the area of acupuncture to prove that it works? Yes, the World Health Organization has researched and documented the success of acupuncture and Oriental medicine. The United States National Institute of Health has also researched and documented the effectiveness of this complete medical system and the FDA has approved the acupuncture needle as a grade II medical instrument.

To some, acupuncture still remains a mystery and to others acupuncture has become an integral part of their wellness program. In addition to exercise, making healthier food choices, and taking proper preventative measures, acupuncture can help to maintain your body’s natural balance. More balance can mean better efficiency that ultimately will improve your performance and optimize your existence.

Right Lib



Walk About Magazine, is a northwest walking and hiking publication in Portland, Oregon.


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