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Health and Wellness assessment of Philadelphia acupuncture clinics by author Pamela Toy – read post here.

One of my favorite yoga teachers often like to tell her classes that we practice yoga not just to feel more comfortable and at ease in our bodies, but in our minds as well.  Yoga, she would say, makes us stronger and more flexible on both a physical level as well as a mental one.  And when the mind and body are both strong and at ease, it becomes easier to cultivate a nourishing spiritual life.  This is why many yoga traditions emphasize the idea that the mind-body practice of asanas (physical movements of the body along with intentional breathing), is traditionally thought of as preparation for deeper states of well-being found through sitting meditation or ‘raja yoga’.

She liked to tell us that “the issues are in the tissues”.  Although I’m not sure if she was the originator of this quote, it was a statement that I’ve always held close to my heart.  As a practitioner of acupuncture and herbal medicine, it is crystal clear to me just how inextricable and interwoven the mind-body connection is for healing and optimal wellness.  

Acupuncture and herbal medicinal formulas are the primary modalities that I’ve been trained to use to promote balance of the body’s physiological, biochemical and energetic systems.  But these aren’t the only pathways towards optimal mind-body balance.  

Massage therapy is a powerful modality that I’ve also turned to frequently over the years to help me maintain and improve health. Personally, I often look to massage therapy when I feel my shoulder’s rotator cuff starting to feel restricted and in need of greater mobility.  Or when I have physical aches and pains.  Or when I feel in need of a ‘reset’- physically or mentally- and just want to feel more comfortable in my body and mind.  

To highlight the many therapeutic benefits of massage therapy, I’ve created my own list here.  11 Important benefits of Massage Therapy:

  1. Stress and Anxiety relief
  2. Better sleep
  3. Pain reduction (especially Chronic Pain)
  4. Range of Motion and Mobility enhancement
  5. Toxin release 
  6. Immune system benefits
  7. Energy increase (reduces fatigue)
  8. Workout-related recovery
  9. Circulation and Lymph improvement 
  10. Post-surgical recovery (helps expedite the healing process after surgery)
  11. That radiant ‘Glow’ (after a massage)


Special thanks to The Cleveland Clinic, Penn Medicine and the Mayo Clinic for some helpful reminders about the many benefits of massage therapy.  See links below to learn more about additional benefits of massage therapy not included in the list above.

  1. https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2020/february/4-ways-massage-therapy-can-benefit-your-health
  2. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/therapeutic-massage-can-great-addition-treatment/
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/massage/art-20045743

In this episode of Two Minutes to Better Health, Dr Aaron Cashman (Acupuncturist/Herbalist) takes us on a journey around the world to catch a glimpse of how some medical systems in other countries offer choice- for all- in health care decisions. 

Interested in learning more about holistic medicine, acupuncture and the world of natural health?

If so, please subscribe to Mind-Body’s YouTube channel, by clicking the “Subscribe” button located above the video.

May you all be healthy, happy and full of vitality!

To watch the video on YouTube, please click on the following link:

In this episode of Two Minutes to Better Health, Dr Aaron invites us into his Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine Clinic (Mind-Body Acupuncture) in the Rittenhouse Square area of Philadelphia.

By doing so, he invites us all to see the inner workings of a busy acupuncture clinic in the heart of the city.

Interested in learning more about holistic medicine, acupuncture and the world of natural health?

If so, please subscribe to Mind-Body’s YouTube channel, by clicking the “Subscribe” button located above the video.

May you all be healthy, happy and full of vitality!

To watch the video on YouTube, please click on the following link:

Two Minutes to Better Health: Mind-Body Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine

Trigger Point Acupuncture (aka ‘Dry Needling’) has gained traction in recent years in the US, becoming a more commonly-used acupuncture-based mechanism to relieve myo-fascial pain.  In Trigger Point Acupuncture (aka ‘Dry Needling’), hair-thin acupuncture needles are inserted into the body in areas where muscle tissue and fascia have become painful, knotted or compromised in some way.

Dry Needling, however,  is far from new.  For thousands of years, what is now known as ‘Dry Needling’ has been known in China as ‘Ashi’ or ‘Ashixue’ (阿是穴) acupuncture.  ‘Ashi’ style acupuncture has been but one simple technique within the multifaceted- and more complex- system of acupuncture.

What IS new about ‘Dry Needling’, however, is that modern science has begun to unravel the scientific basis behind how this type of acupuncture works.  Chinese Medicine Physicians- who had been performing this technique for millennia- could not have known on a chemical or molecular level how their practice of Ashi acupuncture was working.  Theories behind it’s efficacy were explained via Chinese Medicine diagnostic terms.

What we know today about how myo-fascial trigger points develop and how they are relieved through the use of acupuncture is largely based on the work of Janet Travell and David Simons.  There are many layers of explanation involved in illuminating the pathogenesis and alleviation of Trigger Points.  The following is a short summary of the basics.

Put simply, Trigger Points are constant/consistent sources of pain in specific areas of muscle and fascial tissue where tight bands of contracted or knotted tissue are found.  Normal muscle tissue is free of ‘contraction knots’ within the muscle fibers.  When these ‘contraction knots’ occur, the brain receives pain signals resulting in a somatic awareness of specific areas of physical pain.  There are two types of trigger points:  active and latent.  Both types can cause range of motion issues, muscle dysfunction or weakness.

According to Dommerholt’s research* found in the Journal of Manual Manipulation Therapy, “Dry needling can not only reverse some aspects of central sensitization, it reduces local and referred pain, improves range of motion and muscle activation pattern, and alters the chemical environment of trigger points.”

Another scientific journal** lists some of the common pain conditions that have been associated with myo-fascial trigger points.   These include:  migraines, tension type headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, disk pathology, radiculopathies, tendonitis, craniomandibular dysfunction, joint dysfunction, spinal dysfunction, computer-related disorders, whiplash-associated disorders, pelvic pain and other urologic syndromes, complex regional pain syndrome and post-herpetic neuralgia.

A comprehensive understanding of the scientific details behind the pathogenesis and alleviation of myo-fascial Trigger Points would require a much larger platform than a blog post like this can accommodate.  However, I hope that all of you have at least learned some of the basics regarding this very effective form of treatment for the numerous pain conditions that can be relieved through Trigger Point Acupuncture (aka ‘Dry Needling’).

A final note:  Since acupuncturists receive several years of acupuncture-specific training, they are very well-equipped to perform this type of technique.  However, not all acupuncturists perform Trigger Point acupuncture within their own practice, so it is best to inquire ahead of time when looking for an acupuncturist in your area.

May you all be healthy, happy and full of vitality!

Sources:

*https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3201653/

**https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4508225/

Mind-Body Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine is kicking off a new video blog series called, “Two Minutes to Better Health”.   In this first video blog in the series, Dr Aaron tells the story of his first acupuncture treatment 23 years ago and how it changed the course of his life, leading to over 5 years in Asia and a career in holistic medicine.

Interested in learning more about holistic medicine, acupuncture and the world of natural health?

If so, please subscribe to Mind-Body’s YouTube channel, by clicking the “Subscribe” button located above the video.

May you all be healthy, happy and full of vitality!

To watch the video, please click on the following link:

Two Minutes to Better Health: Mind-Body Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine

Dr. Aaron Cashman
Dr. Aaron Cashman
Licensed Acupuncturist & Herbalist
(DAOM, L.OM., M.S., DiplOM, CYT)
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