Over the past few weeks, I have been learning about and using
acupuncture for facial rejuvenation. Acupuncture for facial
rejuvenation is an excellent option for patients who are looking
for a natural approach and want to avoid costly surgery or harmful
chemicals like Botox. The treatment involves a series of needles
that are placed in the hands, wrists, feet, and ankles for
detoxification. Another set of needles is used on specific
acupuncture points on the neck and face. The final set of needles
is contoured to the wrinkles on the patient's face. When the
treatment is complete, there are about 40-50 needles that are used.
It's a very complicated procedure, but the results patients have
For patients who have never had an acupuncture treatment before,
it is important to start with a tonifying or "four gates"
treatment. This is a combination of points in both hands (LI4) and
points in the feet (LV3). This is used to promote general qi
circulation and relaxation. Some patients feel a sensation of
tingling as they are undergoing the four gates therapy.
After the patient receives the four gates treatment or if the
patient has had acupuncture before, the practitioner starts with
the full facial rejuvenation protocol, which is described above.
After the needles are removed, a facial massage is performed on the
patient. This is an important step as it is not only relaxing for
the patient but it also reduces the chance of bruising.
The first questions that most patients have are: Does it hurt?
What results can I expect?
Some of the needles might be sensitive when inserted, but most
of the patients do not even feel them going in. The two areas I
have found that are most sensitive on patients are the upper lip
and nasal area. As for results, the first thing people notice after
treatment is the improvement in tone and texture of their skin.
After a few more treatments, patients come back saying that their
friends have noticed that, they are "looking well", but they can't
put a finger on what has changed. And after more treatments,
patients see a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles, pores tighten,
there's more color in their face, and a better facial skin
I plan on making this a part of my practice, and I hope it is a
big part. I have really enjoyed learning about it, practicing it,
and hope to learn a lot more as I practice.
This week has been what seems like an ongoing nightmare. I have
had a host of weather, car and house problems. The below zero
temperatures and snowfall have continued here in Chicago during the
worst winter I think I have ever experienced. During one of the
large snowstorms, water got into the FRM module in my car (not
entirely sure what that is, but apparently it controls the lights).
So I had to take my car in for some pricey and lengthy repairs. On
top of that, we have been re-doing our master bath at home, so our
entire apartment is a mess. There are tools, tile and dust
everywhere (or at least it seems like it to me). The good news is,
by the end of the week, I should have the car repairs taken care
of, the tiling should be finished in the bathroom, and we are
supposed to have weather above 30º this weekend and into next
De-stressing with the Olympics
One of the joys and stress-free activities I have had this week
is watching the Olympics any free chance that I get. I love
everything about the Olympics from the pageantry at the opening
ceremonies to the amazingly talented athletes, to the sense of
national pride everyone gets as they play out. One of the winter
Olympics events that blows my mind are the downhill skiing moguls.
Skiers absorb the impact of a series of bumps, and then show off
their ability to perform turns, flips, and other tricks on a series
of jumps. It's one of those sports that as you watch you are not
only amazed at what the athletes can do, but also that anyone can
actually do it. With the combination of the fast speeds, series of
obstacles, and massive flips, it really is one of the most intense
and difficult sporting events.
In clinic this week, I had a patient present with headaches and
sinus congestion. I particularly enjoy treating headache patients,
and I feel like it is one of the areas I excel in treating. After
going through a physical exam with the patient, I diagnosed the
problem as headaches due to cervicogenic tension and sinus
congestion. Most of the patient's pain was centrally located over
the area of the frontal sinuses. The pain was described as a
throbbing sensation, which changes with the weather, and is worse
when bending forward. The patient also has neck pain and cervical
muscle tenderness associated with myofascial trigger points, which
is characteristic of cervicogenic headache patients.
For treatment, I have been using a combination of soft tissue
work including: soft tissue massage, instrument assisted soft
tissue massage, pin and stretch, and post isometric relaxation to
the tight cervical muscles. I also have been using chiropractic
manipulative therapy to the patient's cervical spine, thoracic
spine, and cranium. The final therapy I have been using is
acupuncture. Acupuncture is particularly good for sinus congestion
and helping to drain those structures.
Over the past two weeks, I have been treating a patient with
carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a median nerve
entrapment neuropathy, which causes paresthesia, pain, numbness,
swelling, and other symptoms in the wrist and hand. The symptoms
mainly occur around the thumb, index and ring fingers. These
symptoms are due to compression of the median nerve in the carpal
tunnel of the wrist.
The wrist carpal bones and a connective tissue covering called
the flexor retinaculum make the carpal tunnel. Several structures
pass through the tunnel including: flexor digitorum profundus
tendons, flexor digitorum superficialis tendons, and flexor
pollicis longus tendon, and the median nerve. Some of the main
causes are diabetes, obesity, pregnancy, hypothyroidism, and heavy
manual work especially with vibrating tools.
The treatment I have been using is a combination of chiropractic
manipulative therapy, instrument-assisted soft tissue manipulation,
acupuncture, therapeutic exercises, and supplementation. With this
combination, I have been able to take the patient from an 8/10 to
1/10 on the visual pain scale with almost no remaining
The main chiropractic manipulation I use for carpal tunnel
syndrome is called the opponens roll. The doctor takes a contact
over the palmer side of the wrist and spreads the flexor
retinaculum with a force applied. Patients get a lot of relief with
this adjustment due to stretching of the flexor retinaculum and
increased cross-sectional area of the carpal tunnel.
Acupuncture has also been a very effective tool in the
management of carpal tunnel syndrome, especially with the pain and
swelling. Some of the main points I have been using include: Liver
4, Lung (LU) 7, LU8, LU9, LU10, Pericardium (PC) 5, PC6, PC7, PC8,
and Heart 7.
Finally, I recommended that the patient supplement with
pyridoxine or vitamin B-6. This has been shown to help with carpal
tunnel syndrome by facilitating biosynthesis of pain-relieving
serotonin, reducing excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate, and a
diuretic effect through inhibition of anti-diuretic hormone.
The ninth trimester interns have joined us at the NUHS Chicago
Whole Health Center. The new interns do not have patients in the
beginning of the trimester, so they help out with the tenth
trimesters' patients and shadow us. It's a weird feeling knowing
that you have people looking up to you. I remember when I started
as an intern at this clinic back in September; I was slightly in
awe of how much the tenth trimester interns knew and how smoothly
they worked with patients. That all comes with time, and now there
are new interns that might be feeling the same way.
In my acupuncture course this week, electroacupuncture, cupping,
and fire cupping were covered. Electroacupuncture is a form of
acupuncture in which a small electrical current is passed between
pairs of needles. Electrical currents have stimulating effects,
which can influence the cells, tissues and entire systems. It can
be looked at as an amped up form of acupuncture and is particularly
good for treating pain. I personally have used electroacupuncture
on patients with muscle atrophy and certain pain syndromes.
Cupping therapy before and after
Cupping or fire cupping therapy is an ancient form of
alternative medicine in which a cup is placed on the skin to
produce a local area of suction. The suction is created using
mechanical devices or by using heat (fire). Cupping is considered
safe, but it can cause areas of bruising and swelling following
treatment. This therapy is used for respiratory conditions such as
bronchitis, asthma, and congestion. It is also used for certain
gastrointestinal disorders, muscular disorders, and certain types
The end is very near for me. I received a reminder email from
Student Services to petition for graduation. They needed my size
for my graduation gown, how I would like my name on my diploma, how
many people I expect at the graduation ceremony, etc. This also
begins the process of auditing all my classwork and credentials to
ensure graduation eligibility. Very exciting!
Welcome back! It has been an interesting and some might say
difficult start to the New Year. 2014 has brought almost 15 inches
of snow and temperatures around -35º Fahrenheit. As Chicagoans, we
should be used to weather like this, but the past three winters
have been very mild, so this has been a rough awakening for most
people. Hopefully this is the worst of the winter, but chances are
we have a few more months of this before we see spring weather.
Chicago + Siberia = Chiberia!
A snapshot of the snow on my balcony.
With the New Year, I started my 10th and last trimester of my
chiropractic education at National University of Health Sciences.
This trimester consists solely of my clinical internship with no
other course work. I still am enrolled in the acupuncture elective,
which will finish up around the end of January or the beginning of
February. The material we still have to cover in acupuncture
includes: San Jiao (triple warmer), gallbladder, liver, governing
vessel, conception vessel, and auricular therapy.
I had a couple exciting developments since my last blog. On
December 26th, I received my score for Part IV Board
exams. A passing score for the exam is above 375, and some states
require a score of 475 in order to practice. Not only did I pass,
but also I received a score high enough to practice in any state.
Needless to say, it was the best Christmas gift ever!
Since my first trimester in chiropractic school, I have been
shadowing and volunteering with Rick Ezgur, DC, at Progressive
Chiropractic Wellness Center. Over the past few months, we have
been in talks about me joining the practice as an independent
contractor. This can be a lengthy process in that there are initial
talks, drafts of the contract, negotiations, second opinions, and
final drafts of the contract. It is also important to have a lawyer
look at the contract to make sure everything is up to par.
As of Tuesday this week, Dr. Ezgur and I finalized and signed
the contract for me to join the practice as of May 2014. It was a
very exciting day that was the culmination of all the hard work
that I have put in over these past three years. Now my focus is on
what I will do to get my name out there, market, and advertise
about my start at Progressive Chiropractic Wellness Center, which
is located on Sheffield Avenue in the north Lincoln Park
• First Patients and Jurisprudence Class
• Ideas for the Future
• Part IV Board Exams
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