Do I need acupuncture?

Laughter is the best medicine. But your health concerns are no laughing matter. Call me and find out if acupuncture can help you today!doyouneedacu?

Nicole Noles Collins is a licensed acupuncture physician at Vitalichi Acupuncture. Nicole has two bachelor’s degrees – Alternative Medicine and Professional Health Sciences – as well as a master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has a passion for both writing and natural health. Please visit her website at http://www.pcacupuncture.abmp.com and like her Facebook page at Vitalichi Acupuncture. For more information, call 941-979-9793.

Diet and supplements for pyoderma faciale

If you’re suffering from pyoderma faciale, the most severe form of rosacea, I’ve noticed from personal experience that diet is the No. 1 thing you can change right now to improve symptoms. Over the years I’ve narrowed down the list of trigger foods for me. I’m betting that there is some variation between individuals, but this is a great baseline to help get your skin under control quickly.

The main issue with an autoimmune disorder like PD, like with so many other disorders, is internal inflammation. It took years to build to this critical level, so even though it may seem like it popped up overnight, it was years in the making. The good news is, if you are diligent with diet and supplementation, you can start seeing an improvement in days.

Here’s my diet plan:

• Drink lots of water. Aim for 48 ounces of water or non-carbonated beverages per day, and invest in a good water filter pitcher to eliminate heavy metals AND flouride. I use AquaGear.

• Eliminate gluten first. Do not cheat on this one. I’ve heard that gluten in Europe does not cause inflammation like here in the states, but if you’re living in the U.S., then eliminating gluten is crucial due to the pesticide contamination.

• Eliminate all seafood products and supplements. This one snuck up on me, but I was able to figure it out this summer after eating shrimp during a trip. I had also been taking taking fish oil supplements, and it took me several weeks to figure out it was making things worse, not better. The quality of our seafood is compromised because of all the pollution and heavy metals in the water, so if you’re battling inflammation, skip all seafood.

• Eliminate coffee, chocolate, dairy, and alcohol if needed. Cheap chocolate especially will keep my face flared up for months, but really I need to avoid all forms of chocolate. I have a hard time with coffee, but if I brew my own and limit sweeteners to two packets of raw sugar, I can manage without having a bad flare.

• Eliminate tea – white, green, black, pu-erh and oolong – anything made with actual tea leaves. Tea leaves are high in flouride, as are grapes and raisins.

• Add chia seeds to your diet, preferably soaked. Chia seeds have all 9 amino acids (making it a complete protein) and omega-3s plus calcium and other trace minerals. Win-win-win.

My topical and supplement plan:

• I use emu oil several times a day on my face. If my face starts burning, I apply it and let my skin tell me how many times a day. Emu oil penetrates to the dermal layer, speeding cell turnover and creating healthier skin cells. I use Emu Gold because it comes in a glass bottle with a pump, so there is less chance of contamination.

• I also use Straight Hemp topically on lesions and internally, 3 drops under my tongue before bed, to fight inflammation while I sleep.

• I clean my face three times a week with a gentle, emu-based cleanser and let it rest in between to maintain the acid mantle. My skin has always improved the less I wash it. Unfortunately, the manufacturer of my emu cleanser changed the formulation, so I’m looking for a new one and scraping out the bottom of my current bottle.

• I live in Florida, so sunscreen is important. I use Neutrogena sensitive skin sunscreen 60+ SPF. Added bonus: the whiteness of the sunscreen tones down the redness if I’m having a flare.

• Skin health starts in the gut, so I choose probiotics that are fermented and mostly low-histamine strains. My favorite is Dr. Ohira’s. I will take anywhere from 1 to 5 capsules a day. If I want them to populate my upper GI, I chew them and swallow, and if I want them to populate my lower GI I just swallow them like normal, and swallow a last dose before bed.

Although these recommendations are for pyoderma faciale, this is a good starting point for developing plans of care for other skin conditions instead of trying to figure it out from scratch. If you’ve noticed, many of the food guidelines are due to pesticide and heavy metal contamination, so always buy organic if possible and support groups who address environmental and food safety issues. The diet restrictions may seem too harsh at first, but once you notice what helps your skin and what harms it, it’s pretty easy to make choices that will have you looking and feeling better, too.

Nicole Noles Collins is a licensed acupuncture physician at Vitalichi Acupuncture. Nicole has two bachelor’s degrees – Alternative Medicine and Professional Health Sciences – as well as a master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has a passion for both writing and natural health. Please visit her website at http://www.pcacupuncture.abmp.com and like her Facebook page at Vitalichi Acupuncture. For more information, call 941-979-9793.

 

CBD oil and seborrheic keratosis

You know how minor health issues have a way of sneaking up on you? One of mine was a grayish looking wart that had popped up on my face and stayed for a couple of years. Because I had been briefly seeing a dermatologist for pyoderma faciale, and she hadn’t been able to help me with a medication I could tolerate, I was on my last visit. So as an afterthought before I left I asked her about the weird spot on my cheek that was way different than the rest of the mess on my face.

She told me it was a noncancerous seborrheic keratosis, gave me a pamphlet about it, and told me I could have it removed. Quite frankly, I wasn’t ready to spend the money, and hoped that somewhere along the way, once I got the PD under control I’d worry about it then.

Fast forward two years. I started carrying Straight Hemp in my clinic, so I had plenty to try on myself. It helped my mood, the inflammation on my face, my ankle joints, and three drops a night under my tongue helped me sleep, too. Win-win-win-win!

One night I put the CBD oil on the PD lesions, and figured, “Hey, might as well get the warty thing too.” I woke up the next morning, and I swore it was starting to flake at the edges and it was a bit itchy. Three or so days later, most of it had peeled off, layer by layer. For another week, I had the smallest of skin tags where it had been, and now that’s gone too. In fact, I’m not sure where the seborrheic keratosis actually was on my face, because now I can’t see a trace of it.

It’s commonly accepted that it’s an ok choice not to treat seborrheic keratosis because it’s not usually an acute problem, but the only way to fix it is to remove it. I have to say though, I was happy with the results from the Straight Hemp CBD oil, and since this is considered a “normal” sign of aging, I plan to try it again if needed. In the meantime, this is a noninvasive treatment I will be recommending to patients too.

Nicole Noles Collins is a licensed acupuncture physician at Vitalichi Acupuncture. Nicole has two bachelor’s degrees – Alternative Medicine and Professional Health Sciences – as well as a master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has a passion for both writing and natural health. Please visit her website at http://www.pcacupuncture.abmp.com and like her Facebook page at Vitalichi Acupuncture. For more information, call 941-979-9793.

 

 

Suggested safety guidelines for Florida beachgoers who get acupuncture

Several cases of necrotizing fasciitis, also known as flesh-eating bacteria, have been spiking in different areas of Florida for several weeks. One of the most recent cases was a man who had a steroid injection in his back in the days before his beach visit (read more here).

Because of my background as a massage therapist, I had already been telling my patients for years that I prefer them to schedule massages before acupuncture, because it does leave tiny holes in the skin temporarily. Several months ago I had updated my post-acupuncture instructions to also include no swimming. Even though needles used for steroid injections are bigger than acupuncture needles, the same theory still applies. Any piercing of the skin will leave a tiny hole temporarily, so swimming in our Florida waters should be avoided if you have ANY break in the skin. And if you cut or scrape yourself while at the beach, that is a good reason to leave right away and go home to clean it out and apply Neosporin ASAP and continue to monitor the site.

How long should I wait to go back in the water?

Right now, I’m scheduling acupuncture patients two days before planned beach activities so that there is 48 hours to heal the skin. If you are slow to heal, you may want to plan on waiting longer before you go back in the water.

Who should avoid the beach right now?

Because I have an autoimmune disorder, pyoderma faciale (a severe form of rosacea), it’s been four years since I went to a beach. Here are my personal recommendations for my acupuncture patients who may want to consider avoiding the beach at this time. As always, consult your acupuncturist and health care team before deciding for yourself what is appropriate for you.

• Diabetics, especially if you use a lancet to check your blood sugar and/or get insulin injections.

• Anyone with neuropathy, lymphedema, cellulitis, cuts, bites, bruises, chronic skin conditions, acne, rash, etc.

• Anyone who has had an injection in the past three days to a week. If you recently got a piercing or tattoo, follow the care guidelines you were given.

• Anyone with autoimmune disorders, even if their skin is intact.

Is this excessively conservative? It’s possible. But now that there has been one suspected case of flesh eating bacteria from an injection site, it’s better to be a little more careful today to avoid a nasty complication later. Hopefully, these recommendations won’t be needed for very long.

What can you do to help?

Our water quality is something that can’t be left to chance or someone else to monitor anymore. Please consider helping out by:

• Picking up litter in and around water, if you can do it safely. Ditto for on land.

• Volunteer with or donate to, Keep Charlotte Beautiful, Florida Coastal Conservancy, Greater Charlotte Harbor Sierra Club, or other organizations that advocate for the environment. They’re helping protect your water quality!

• Reduce your use of fertilizers.

• Be mindful of what you flush in the toilet or pour down drains! That includes medicines too. Flushing is not the right way to dispose of your medications or other items.

• Educate yourself on water quality issues in your area. Write your elected officials and tell them how important it is for your health and our economic security. We depend on clean beaches and harbors to attract tourists and we depend on clean water for our health.

Clean water is not a luxury, and ignoring water quality issues won’t solve it, either. But with teamwork from local grass-root efforts up to local, state and federal government levels, we can help reverse this trend and clean up our waterways and beaches so we can all go back in the water safely.

Be mindful of your health status when deciding to go to the beach, and keep an eye on your skin when you’re there as well as after you get home.

Nicole Noles Collins is a licensed acupuncture physician at Vitalichi Acupuncture. Nicole has two bachelor’s degrees – Alternative Medicine and Professional Health Sciences – as well as a master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has a passion for both writing and natural health. Please visit her website at http://www.pcacupuncture.abmp.com and like her Facebook page at Vitalichi Acupuncture. For more information, call 941-979-9793.

Essential oils to help dementia and Alzheimer’s patients

Let’s make it clear right now – no essential oil will cure Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. However, there is scientific literature confirming that specific essential oils can help manage mood and cognitive function in patients suffering from these diseases. Essential oils can not and should not replace pharmaceutical management of dementia, but using essential oils in day-to-day care management can be incorporated into the plan of care.

Lemon balm and lavender have been shown to help reduce physical non-aggressive behavior. Additionally, lemon balm has been shown to reduce social withdrawal and increase constructive activity engagement. Part of the therapeutic benefit from that study may also be that the essential oils were applied in a carrier lotion to the skin twice a day, which maintained contact with the oil more effectively. It’s also important not to discount the power of touch; healthy therapeutic touch is beneficial physically and emotionally for all age groups, regardless of health status.

Diffusing lavender for 20 minutes twice a day helped reduce agitation, especially in dementia patients aged 70 to 85. For dementia patients over age 85, the difference was noticeably less. My theory on that is that the sense of smell had reduced too much to be therapeutic for that age group, but increasing the dosage of oil in the diffuser might counteract that. Lavender oil placed on bedding also helped patients sleep better and longer.

In one study, rosemary and lemon were used in combination in the morning, along with lavender and orange in combination in the evening. That study showed an improvement in cognitive function of personal orientation. Rosemary helps you “remember who you are” and citrus oils in general uplift mood. Lavender is more sedating, so it’s a better choice to help calm dementia patients for the evening and aid sleep.

In animal studies, thuja (Tetraclinis articulata) oil inhaled by male mice helped them navigate mazes better. In worms, rose essential oil inhibited dementia-like symptoms.

What’s the best way to use essential oils on the elderly?

Because many elderly lack healthy touch and emotional connection, I think incorporating essential oils in a nut-free oil or lotion is the most beneficial. The standard dilution for elderly or children is one percent essential oil to the carrier oil, or six drops per ounce. It’s also important to use an essential oil and not “fragrance” or “perfume” which usually contain a few top notes but not the entire chemical signature of a true essential oil. Because everyone’s skin integrity and sensitivity is different, it’s important to test on a small area of skin and also consult the patient’s health care team before implementing.

Diffusing essential oils in water vapor is the easiest method of application, and can affect the most people in the shortest period of time, so this is a great idea for common areas or individual rooms. Any essential oil has the possibility of triggering allergies or asthma attacks, so knowing the health history of everyone who would be exposed to the oil is important.

If implemented with care, essential oils can be part of a dementia or Alzheimer’s patient’s plan of care to help them experience a better quality of life.

Disclosure: I also sell essential oils. You can learn more on my Doterra web page.

Nicole Noles Collins is a licensed acupuncture physician at Vitalichi Acupuncture. Nicole has two bachelor’s degrees – Alternative Medicine and Professional Health Sciences – as well as a master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has a passion for both writing and natural health. Please visit her website at http://www.pcacupuncture.abmp.com and like her Facebook page at Vitalichi Acupuncture. For more information, call 941-979-9793.

 

SOURCES FROM PUBMED.COM

Aromatherapy as a safe and effective treatment for the management of agitation in severe dementia: the results of a double-blind, placebo controlled trial with Melissa. J Clin Psychiatry. 2002 Jul.

A randomized controlled trial of Lavender (Lavender Angustifolia) and Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis) essential oils for the treatment of agitated behavior in older people with and without dementia. Complement Ther Med. 2019 Feb.

Tetraclinic articulate essential oil mitigates cognitive deficits and brain oxidative stress in an Alzheimer’s disease amyloidosis model. Phytomedicine. 2019 March 15.

Evaluating the effects of diffused lavender in an adult day care center for patients with dementia in an effort to decrease behavioral issues: a pilot study. J Drug Assess. 2017 Jan 23.

Effects of Inhalation Aromatherapy on Symptoms of Sleep Disturbance in the Elderly with Dementia. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017.

Rose Essential Oil Delayed Alzheimer’s Disease-Like Symptoms by SKN-1 Pathway in C. elegans. J Agric Food Chem. 2017 Oct.

Effect of aromatherapy on patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Psychogeriatrics, 2009 Dec.

The psycopharmacology of European herbs with cognition-enhancing properties. Curr Pharm Des. 2006.

Emu oil helps my pyoderma faciale

Many people just assume that professionals in the health care field have cured all their own health problems. That’s not always the case, but many times, practitioners are brought to the field BECAUSE of their health issues.

That’s how it was for me. One of the issues I’ve struggled with over the past nine years is severe breakouts on my face. It wasn’t until two years ago that I got a more detailed diagnosis of my form of rosacea: Pyoderma faciale (also called Rosacea fulminans.)

When I got that detailed diagnosis, I tried going the traditional route and taking meds. The doxycycline made my face better, but it made me feel so weak that I felt like my heart didn’t have enough energy to beat. It also increased the intracranial pressure in my head, and I’ve noticed that my weather-related migraines are on the worse side since then. My dermatologist had also given me a topical steroid to try after that, and I tried it several times. Within ten minutes of application, no matter what time of day I applied it, I would get an anxiety attack out of nowhere. So that was a no-go too.

Luckily, one of my acupuncture teachers, who I go to for my own acupuncture treatments, referred me to a colleague that she had worked with, Nadine Toriello, who specializes in problem skin like mine. My teacher suggested I try topical emu oil right away while I waited to get in to see Nadine. She was the first esthetician who understood my diagnosis and what my skin needed to heal.

I noticed a difference right away! Emu oil penetrates to the dermis, where the skin is formed, and starts the healing deep down. It takes the incessant burning away, which is a godsend. My rule of thumb is that I apply emu oil when I feel my skin burning, so that could be anywhere from one to several times a day. I use Emu Gold, because it comes in a pump, so I don’t spill my precious oil (I did that once with another brand that had a dropper!) and keeps it from being exposed to air and oxidizing.

A few months ago, my husband brought me samples of Emu Aid, a homeopathic cream with different potencies of Argentum Metallicum. It also includes emu, lysine, tea tree oil and other ingredients. I have to say I was hesitant to try it, because so many things end up making my face worse, not better. But it’s been helping a great deal. So now I use both Emu Gold and Emuaid.

I’ve gotten my skin to the point where it is totally clear for several months at a time, but if I forget to apply emu for too long, or eat a lot of my trigger foods at once, it comes back and stays back for a long time. I also use an emu-based cleanser.

One of the most important times to apply whatever emu oil you’re using is at night. Part of the issue with rosacea is Demodex mites, which everyone has, but seem to be a little more out of control on people with rosacea. They migrate to the top of the skin at night to feed and mate (totally gross!) but keeping a layer of emu oil on seems to help keep that under control. So I rarely skip a nighttime application of emu now.

It’s important to have a two-prong approach to treating your skin issues, whether it’s acne, rosacea, eczema or psoriasis. Topicals alone won’t fix your skin if you don’t take care of the inflammation internally. Check out my blog post for internal fixes here.

If I had to pick only one topical to manage my pyoderma faciale, it would be emu. We’ll talk about my No. 2 remedy in my next post.

Nicole Noles Collins is a licensed acupuncture physician at Vitalichi Acupuncture. Nicole has two bachelor’s degrees – Alternative Medicine and Professional Health Sciences – as well as a master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has a passion for both writing and natural health. Please visit her website at http://www.pcacupuncture.abmp.com and like her Facebook page at Vitalichi Acupuncture. For more information, call 941-979-9793.

Rosemary for restoring your hair

Fresh green aromatic rosemary on the wooden tableRosemary is for remembrance — but it’s also for restoring your hair thickness and color. Whether you are battling a bald spot on top of your head or dealing with the effects of chemotherapy, rosemary is your go-to herb for restoring your crowning glory.

I’ve watched my husband put this to the test after we got married last year. He started using Waleda hair oil (https://www.weleda.com/product/r/rosemary-conditioning-hair-oil) daily as a leave-in conditioner and I’ve watched his bald patch shrink and fill in over the past year. Plus his hair color transitioned from an all-over white-gray to more of a gray-pewter shade. Tres distinguished!

Recently, he added in a rosemary-infused shampoo and conditioner. I didn’t think much about it when he mentioned it, but this week I got a good look at the top of his head and noticed his patch had filled in even more, with some additional brownish blond wisps, which was his “younger” hair color. I was so impressed I plan on trying it too. I’m not  graying, but my hair is a lot thinner now that I’m older, and rosemary helps with that too.

Part of how rosemary helps is in its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, and it can also improve circulation in the scalp.

You can also purchase fresh rosemary, and steep in about 10 ounces of water for 20 minutes. When it cools, put it in a spray bottle and spray it on the scalp as a leave-in conditioner after your shower. Remake a new batch once a week or so. For patients in chemotherapy it can help maintain hair for longer, but don’t skip a day.

In order to be effective, rosemary will need to be part of your daily routine. If your hair issues are more serious, such as alopecia, there are resources to help. We’re lucky in our area to have the Hair Care Centre (www.haircarecentre.net) in North Port, and their staff can help with serious hair loss. But in the meantime, remember rosemary is not just for restoring memory, but it can also help to restore your hair.

Nicole Noles Collins is a licensed acupuncture physician at Vitalichi Acupuncture. Nicole has two bachelor’s degrees – Alternative Medicine and Professional Health Sciences – as well as a master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has a passion for both writing and natural health. Please visit her website at http://www.pcacupuncture.abmp.com and like her Facebook page at Vitalichi Acupuncture. For more information, call 941-979-9793.

Three ways to help you stop smoking with acupuncture

Stop smoking today! Acupuncture can help kick your butts to the curb and mitigate the oxidative damage that smoking causes. There are three ways acupuncture can help: full-body acupuncture, NADA and ear seeds.

A full-body acupuncture session addresses constitutional complaints while also helping to reduce cravings. It takes longer because your acupuncture physician will talk to you before each session, check your tongue and/or pulse, and come up with a Chinese medicine differential diagnosis before needling you. Needles are typically placed in the head, torso, arms and legs while you lay down on a treatment table. A full session typically takes around an hour.

NADA is a specific set of protocols for needling points in the ear based on whatever addictions need to be addressed — eating, smoking, alcohol, etc. Needles are placed in the ears only, based on the protocol needed, and there is no diagnosis involved, so it takes less time, too. You can read or sit in a chair during this type of treatment, to help distract you, but I’ve developed more of a spa treatment style to help people relax.

Ear seeds are sterilized plant seeds on a tiny bandage that sticks to the ear, or they could be gold pellets with fancy crystals but look nicer on the ear. A treatment with ear seeds is the same as a NADA acupuncture treatment, except you keep the seeds on your ears for about five days, and you press them and massage your ear during the day when you have cravings. If you don’t press, them, they won’t work though, so the patient has to do the work to help the cravings.

You weren’t born a smoker, and with acupuncture, you can kick those butts to the curbs — for good.

Nicole Noles Collins is a licensed acupuncture physician at Vitalichi Acupuncture. Nicole has two bachelor’s degrees – Alternative Medicine and Professional Health Sciences – as well as a master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has a passion for both writing and natural health. Please visit her website at http://www.pcacupuncture.abmp.com and like her Facebook page at Vitalichi Acupuncture. For more information, call 941-979-9793.

How I prepared my acupuncture and massage practice for Hurricane Irma

In 2017, Southwest Florida braced for impact from Hurricane Irma. I was on medical leave from my newspaper job as well as my acupuncture and massage practice after surgery, but I got clearance from my surgeon days before to resume light-duty activities. I spent a not-so-light weekend with my family preparing my home and my business for the worst.

Port Charlotte was lucky. Although some models predicted we would sustain a direct hit, Irma took a bit of a southward bend and hit Naples instead. It may seem like all our preparations were for naught, but I considered it a good exercise in disaster preparedness for my business. There’s a lot of articles about preparing your practice for a hurricane, but they don’t tell you anything beyond the basics that residents shouldn’t already know, and nothing about the specifics of what you should do before a storm to minimize your property losses….

So here’s what I did. Some of it is specific to acupuncture but most of it is good advice for acupuncture, massage, or a skin care practice, and good advice in general for a business. I’m assuming from this point that you have taken all reasonable precautions to secure your family’s safety and followed standard disaster preparedness protocols and still have the time to safely attend to your business storm plan…

BEFORE THE STORM:
1) UPLOAD DOCUMENTS TO A CLOUD STORAGE SERVICE: Save current pictures of all areas of your office, inside and out, insurance documents, equipment inventory, sharps logs, biohazard plan, licenses, NPI numbers, important contacts, etc. Make sure you have as much of that accessible on the cloud as possible in the event you need to file a claim.
2) BACKUP IMPORTANT FILES: June 1 is the start of hurricane season. Why not schedule your computer backups for the week before?

PRIORITY ACTION LIST:
1) SECURE SHARPS: When the storm tracking models started swaying our way, we still had a few days of lead time, so I contacted my sharps disposal company and had them pick up all of my sharps containers, even if they weren’t full. I remember after Hurricane Charley seeing tons of personal property strewn all over the streets, and there was no way I wanted one of my sharps containers to end up on the street, even if I did seal them first. Just because you safely secure your sharps inside your unit does not mean they will stay there if disaster strikes. Ditto for wall-mounted sharps containers. I consider it to be the most critical prep to cross off your list.
2) SECURE CLIENT FILES: During Irma, I was part of a holistic clinic at New Hope Chiropractic, and our client files were stored in a common area. There wasn’t much we could do to improve where they were or move them. I’m assuming you already have your files in the safest, most secure part of your office away from windows and in the interior of your unit. We covered everything in the front office with as many heavy-duty trash bags as we could fit to prevent water intrusion and wrapped everything else. But what about files you transport off site? A hard-shell, locking case is your best option. In the event your vehicle is compromised or in an accident, you want your files to have the best chance to stay intact and inaccessible to the public.
3) SECURE YOUR ELECTRONICS: Since most practices these days have electronic health records, it’s important to treat your laptops or desktops like patient files. This year, I plan to keep plastic bins on hand to store all the computer equipment, and to be double safe, I would double bag the equipment with heavy duty garbage bags before putting it in the plastic bin. A bit much, you say? Aside from your treatment table and professional supplies, your computer / client files are the second most important thing you need to get your practice up and running ASAP after a disaster. And wrapped equipment in opaque plastic bins won’t be as flashy in case looting becomes an issue post disaster. Ditto for modems, phones and credit card machines. I’m not so concerned about my printers, but we did cover them, too. If time permits, I would box these too.

PHASE TWO PREPARATIONS
1) SPECIALTY EQUIPMENT: Bag and wrap all high-end equipment, and if possible, relocate to interior closets away from windows and doors. Bonus points if you have locking closets.
2) UNUSED NEEDLES, LANCETS, ETC: I took those offsite but this year I plan to have a specific plastic opaque bin for my supplies.
3) TREATMENT TABLES: Bag and wrap all your treatment tables and relocate those to the safest interior spot in the unit. During Irma preparations, I couldn’t find my massage table carrying case, and my table ended up with some minor dings. Make sure you know where the cases and carts for your equipment are before a storm threatens.
4) PRESCRIPTION FORMULAS, HERBS, TOPICALS, ETC: Chinese medicinals are not vitamins. They are patient specific and definitely not candy, either. If you don’t already keep them in a locked cabinet, bag and box them and relocate to an interior closet. I used large zippy bags with handles so I could carry them off site. Secure the rest of your inventory depending on your time constraints.

PHASE THREE PREPARATIONS:
If you get all the other stuff done, here’s some non-essential prep ideas that could come in handy if your area is hit:
1) STRIP THE WALLS: I took everything off my walls that had glass, and wrapped all my diplomas. I worked hard for those diplomas; to me, the originals would be irreplaceable. Aside from making sure there would be a minimum of glass breakage, it was purely an emotional preparation for me, taking care of the items close to my heart. It’s totally skippable if the situation is urgent.
2) HYGEINE SUPPLIES: Toilet paper, paper towers, feminine items… if you have extra time and an extra garbage bag, bag those up. If you have water intrusion and the area is cut off from normal transport lanes, dry goods will be a godsend. During Irma, gas was scarce for a while, even for areas that did not receive a direct hit. In a storm situation it’s best to assume that supplies of all kinds might be hard to come by even if damage isn’t bad in your area. So save what you’ve got.
3) BACKUP FOOD, WATER AND FIRST AID SUPPLIES: We all know when storm season is coming. So if you’re on target with your personal preparations, why not have backup in the office, too?
4) BACKUP YOUR FILES, ONE MORE TIME: In case it’s been a few weeks, or months, since your last one.

This emergency plan may or may not make sense for your practice, but it can start as a template for writing your own. Don’t assume you will remember to do everything in an emergency; make whatever preparations and lists are appropriate for you and keep them handy for when you need it. Here’s hoping you don’t….

Nicole Noles Collins is a licensed acupuncture physician and massage therapist in Florida. Nicole has two bachelor’s degrees – Alternative Medicine and Professional Health Sciences – as well as a master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has a passion for both writing and natural health. Please visit her website at www.pcacupuncture.abmp.com and like her Facebook page at Vitalichi Acupuncture.

Chinese Medicine can help recovery from shingles

By NICOLE NOLES, DOM LMT
New Hope Chiropractic

Shingles is the term used to describe a contagious recurrence of the herpes zoster virus that manifests with intense pain and a blistering rash along with flu-like symptoms or malaise. Although it’s more common in people over 50, shingles isn’t a disease for just seniors. Anyone who has had chickenpox has the potential to get shingles when the immune system is compromised.

Both allopathic and Chinese Medicine are important when it comes to treating shingles, but time and quick treatment is of the essence if you want to reduce the severity and length of symptoms.

In Chinese Medicine, shingles is considered a pattern of Toxic Damp Heat. The damp heat is a description of the rash, with the blisters manifesting the “toxic” part of the equation. When a patient present with a “hot” pattern such as shingles, the goal with acupuncture is to pick points to cool down the patient (reduce inflammation), help manage stress (intense pain causes a lot of emotional and physiological stress, and that’s normal) as well as “vent” the rash to help the body clear it out as soon as possible. The other important treatment strategy is to make sure the patient doesn’t add any “heat” by way of food, hot showers, or topicals that make things worse.

My preferred treatment schedule for patients includes a visit to the medical doctor first for confirmation and a prescription, if appropriate, then acupuncture and supplements as soon as possible to help manage the pain and speed healing. This is an excellent example of how allopathic and holistic medicine can work together to help patients feel better quicker. It’s definitely not appropriate to take a “wait and see” approach when it comes to shingles; it’s probably not going to get better by itself quickly if that’s what you’ve got.

My neighbor’s medical degree came from Google University

I guarantee that if you see a licensed medical professional, allopathic or holistic, you will not be the first shingles case to walk through their door. Your medical professional will give you advice and prescriptions that have worked for many people before you and are backed by science and experience. Many patients have questions and concerns about new prescriptions, and that’s normal. If you have pre-existing conditions, remind your doctor, and ask your questions before you leave, so that you feel confident about taking your meds or supplements as they are prescribed.

When you feel sick or have severe pain, it’s normal to look for relief from any source once you leave the doctor’s office, but many times, the information you get from Google, a “wellness” coach, or your neighbors can be conflicting or aggravate your condition. Trust your health professionals and try to resist the urge to lather yourself with a dozen different “natural” things that “worked for someone on this one online forum I found at 2 a.m.” Natural doesn’t always mean better, especially if you don’t have experience with that remedy. Save your experimentation for the kitchen.

On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with researching your condition. Many of my patients like to surf the web for info, and I recommend searching whatever issue you have with the additional terms of “clinical trials” or “scientific studies.” A PubMed study, “Comparison of therapeutic effects of different types of acupuncture interventions on herpes zoster in acute stage,” (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23342782) found that with acupuncture there was significant pain relief starting about the seventh day verses medicine alone. Another study (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22043678) found that acupuncture, added to other traditional Asian forms of treatment like cupping, increased effectiveness.

Tips for getting through shingles:

  • If you have severe pain that lasts more than a day and you don’t remember injuring yourself or “overdoing” it, make an appointment with your doctor. If you see any signs of rash, see a doctor that day. If your doctor gives you a script, fill it and start taking it as directed right away. Make sure they also know about any other medications or over the counter remedies your take.
  • Do stay well hydrated.
  • Avoid spicy and fried foods. In Chinese Medicine, adding “hot” foods to a “hot” condition makes things worse and prolongs healing.
  • Eat a few extra servings of cooling foods like watermelon, iceberg lettuce and cucumber. Ice cream does not count! Try fruit-based popsicles instead.
  • Take tepid or cool showers.
  • Wash your sheets, towels, etc. with hot water and bleach, especially if your blisters oozed or burst.
  • Ask your health professional what topical products and supplements they recommend for you. Do not apply essential oils to an active rash.
  • Do follow your doctor’s advice. Do not reinvent your treatment plan, change your dosage, or skip your meds. You know your body best, but your health professional team knows what works best for most people.
  • Do not scratch your rash or pop the blisters.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Try to manage your stress and rest often.
  • If you have a chiropractor on your health care team, get an adjustment, if appropriate.
  • Do NOT get a massage.

Shingles is an unfortunate complication of a disease you probably forgot all about, but your health care team can help you find relief.

Nicole Noles Collins is a licensed acupuncture physician and massage therapist in Florida. Nicole has two bachelor’s degrees – Alternative Medicine and Professional Health Sciences – as well as a master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has a passion for both writing and natural health. Please visit her website at www.pcacupuncture.abmp.com and like her Facebook page at Vitalichi Acupuncture.