Post-traumatic stress disorder in our community

The clinical term is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). And it’s a part of so many of us. I offer acupuncture temporarily at Lifemark Esquimalt. Working there I meet people that serve in the Canadian Forces. The stories their bodies share come to mind when I read this recent commentary by Romeo Dallaire on a recent tragedy,
“The brain is as vital to life as any organ in the human body. To treat an injury to the brain as less urgent, less in need of care and compassion than other, more obvious types of injury is misguided and ignorant. Our efforts to treat our veterans with PTSD must be comparable to our efforts to repair damaged hearts, provide timely kidney transplants, avoid amputations or restore eyesight.” Read more from Romeo Dallaire here.
And if you like research results, this from the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, and this from the American Public Health Association both show results of acupuncture’s efficacy in managing PTSD symptoms in veterans.To define PTSD there’s the criteria set by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It’s a list of mostly psychological symptoms. Connecting these to physical symptoms and addressing both is where acupuncture and Chinese Medicine shines.

Acupuncture: Move Beyond Your Mystery Diagnosis

If you or someone you know have been left with unanswered questions by x-rays or lab results, consider the following…

A study published in the June 2011 issue of the British Journal of General Practice found regular acupuncture to be helpful for people with symptoms that are unexplainable by Western medicine. This research was carried out because medically unexplainable physical symptoms are common and often difficult to treat.

The study focused on 80 adults who visited their general practitioners at least eight times per year, mostly for chronic musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, headache, or mental health concerns. They were directed to see a licensed Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner and received an average of nine acupuncture sessions over six months. The results were impressive; most of the participants reported improved health immediately and up to a year after receiving acupuncture.

The recommendations of this research: acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment that can be combined with Western Medicine. If you’re still unsure about acupuncture, ask yourself: if not now, when?

Use a Registered Acupuncturist in Victoria BC.

What can I do to ensure easy breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding is a great way to give your child the nutrients they need during their early stages of development. The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months. Producing breastmilk and making it available involves the brain’s pituitary gland, nervous system, lymphatic system, and local muscles. Lactation is not an isolated function. The health of other systems that seem unrelated can affect and be affected by lactation and breastfeeding. Recent research has found that stress hormones and the depression rates are lower in breastfeeding mothers compared to women who are not breastfeeding.

One way to improve your ability to provide breastmilk is to manage your stress levels. Don’t hesitate to accept help from friends and family after the baby arrives – it’s a huge adjustment and that extra support goes a long way. A key component to successful breastfeeding is to relieve tense muscles in the shoulders, chest, and upper back.  Most people tend to carry their stress behind the shoulder joints, above the shoulder blade and towards the base of the neck.  To relieve this tension, have someone thumb over this area applying light pressure. To encourage the lymphatic flow, apply light finger pressure along your ribs just below each breast, starting at the center where your upper abdomen and chest meet, and work your way to your sides just below your armpit.

Deep breathing can not only ensure problem-free breastfeeding, but it can also encourage the recovery of your body. This can be done while breastfeeding: get settled in a comfortable position with good posture; with each slow breath, inflate and deflate your lower abdomen below your bellybutton; as you do this you can just imagine the natural hormone oxytocin flowing through you: your uterus and abdominal ligaments reestablish their strength, you heart rate and blood pressure slow down, and your mood lightens as you fall in love with the little one you’re caring so well for.

It can take time to get the hang of breastfeeding. If you’re struggling, remember there are lots of great resources out there to offer guidance and support.