Tag Archive for: acupuncture treatment

Acupuncture for Sleep Apnea

Acupuncture for Sleep Apnea

Can a Holistic Approach Lead to Better Sleep?

Among the myriad uses of acupuncture, a standard modality in Traditional Chinese Medicine, one area of growing interest is its potential to alleviate symptoms of sleep apnea, a common and potentially severe sleep disorder involving abnormal breathing patterns during sleep.

This comprehensive blog post will explore the three types of sleep apnea.

The causes, symptoms, and the growing body of evidence suggest acupuncture could be an effective way of increasing sleep quality and a natural means to enhance sleep for those affected by this disorder.

We’ll also touch on herbal support that complements acupuncture treatment.

Understanding Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a prevalent disorder characterized by repeated interruption of breathing during sleep. These pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes and occur multiple times during the night, resulting in poor sleep quality.

The three main types of sleep apnea are obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea syndrome, each with distinct underlying causes.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common form and is marked by the relaxation of the throat muscles, causing a blockage of the upper airway. This can lead to loud snoring and the inability to obtain deep sleep, resulting in daytime fatigue, reduced cognitive function, and other health issues.

Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)

Central Sleep Apnea occurs when the brain fails to send the appropriate signals to the muscles that control breathing. This lack of respiratory effort can lead to trouble sleeping and subsequent symptoms.

Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome

Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome is a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea and often occurs when a patient begins using a CPAP machine to treat obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.

The impact of sleep apnea on overall health cannot be overstated. Beyond the apparent effects of sleep deprivation, sleep apnea is linked to severe health concerns, including heart disease, diabetes, cognitive impairment, and complications in surgery and anesthesia cases.

Unpacking the Causes and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Several factors can contribute to the development of sleep apnea.

  • Risk Factors: These can include excess weight, neck circumference, narrowed airway, family history, use of alcohol or sedatives, smoking, and age.
  • Anatomical Factors: Enlarged tonsils, a small lower jaw, a large tongue, and nasal congestion can contribute to airway obstruction.
  • Neuromuscular Conditions: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neuromuscular disorders can affect respiratory muscle function.
  • Hormonal Factors: Imbalances in hormones, particularly in menopause, and disorders such as hypothyroidism can potentially contribute to sleep apnea.(1)

Characterizing the symptoms of sleep apnea is critical for diagnosis and treatment.

  • Excessive Fatigue: Sleep apnea patients often experience severe fatigue, leading to persistent daytime drowsiness and irritability.
  • Disrupted Sleep: sleep apnea can cause interruptions in breathing, leading to fragmented and restless sleep, ultimately preventing restful sleep.
  • Daytime Sleepiness: Many people with sleep apnea exhibit excessive sleepiness throughout the day, impacting their overall wellness and daytime functioning.
    Snoring: Loud snoring is a common symptom associated with sleep apnea, potentially accompanied by periods of reduced breathing or oxygen deprivation during the night.
  • Restless Sleep: People with sleep apnea may exhibit restless nighttime sleep, such as tossing, turning, kicking, thrashing, or jerking.

How Acupuncture Can Help with Sleep Apnea

Acupuncture treatment for treating sleep apnea has shown promising results in improving sleep quality and reducing symptoms. Opposed to the standard of care for sleep apnea, which is the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device specifically for patients with obstructive sleep, acupuncture achieves results through a holistic approach that addresses acupuncture points along specific meridians related to sleep and respiratory function. Studies with a randomized controlled clinical trial indicate that acupuncture may improve specific sleep parameters, such as the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) and mean oxygen saturation (SaO2).

Improving Sleep Parameters:

By stimulating precise points on the body, acupuncture has shown promise in clinically significant reductions of severity and frequency of apnea events and promoting better oxygen levels during sleep.

Respiratory Function Enhancement:

Acupuncture research suggests that acupuncture strengthens the muscles involved in respiration, particularly when combined with electro-acupuncture, improving airway patency and reducing the likelihood of breathing interruptions.

Stress Reduction and Relaxation:

Acupuncture is well-known for its ability to reduce stress and anxiety, which are often associated with sleep disturbances. By promoting a relaxed state, this therapy may help calm the mind and prepare the body for a restful night’s sleep.

Muscle Strengthening:

In some instances, electro-stimulation during acupuncture can bolster the soft palate and tongue muscles, potentially preventing their collapse and the subsequent airway blockage that characterizes obstructive sleep apnea.

Book a FREE 15-minute consultation with one of our qualified acupuncturists to explore how this treatment could work for you.

Herbal Allies in the Battle for Better Sleep

In conjunction with acupuncture, herbal medicine is another popular modality in Chinese medicine. Certain herbs have been traditionally used to promote sleep and address the conditions contributing to sleep apnea.

Valerian: A popular remedy for sleep disorders, valerian root is known for its soothing effects, which can help sleep and reduce the number of awakenings during the night.

Ashwagandha: This adaptogenic herb supports the body’s ability to handle stress, potentially reducing anxiety and nervous system excitement that can contribute to sleep disturbances.

Shankapushpi: An herb used in Ayurvedic medicine believed to have a calming effect on the mind and nervous system, Shankapushpi may help reduce the mental hyperactivity that keeps sufferers from drifting into restful sleep.

Passionflower: With its mild sedative properties, passionflower can help people with sleep apnea relax and achieve a deeper, more restorative sleep.

While herbal remedies offer a natural approach to addressing sleep apnea, consulting with a practitioner well-versed in herbal medicine is essential to ensure proper usage and dosage.

Herbal Medicine & Acupuncture for Sleep Apnea

The application of acupuncture and herbal medicine in managing sleep apnea underscores the significance of a holistic approach to health. We recommend acupuncture because individuals can experience a more comprehensive and tailored care regimen by integrating acupuncture as a complementary and alternative treatment to CPAP treatment of obstructive sleep.

If you are considering applying acupuncture or herbal support for sleep apnea, working with a licensed and experienced acupuncture practitioner is crucial. Each individual’s case is unique, and a personalized treatment plan that considers the disorder’s severity, the patient’s overall health, and other contributing factors is vital for a successful outcome.

At Lokahi Acupuncture, our focus is on the patient’s individualized care. We thoroughly assess your health concerns and collaborate to design a personalized treatment plan that includes acupuncture, herbs, and lifestyle recommendations to help you regain control of your sleep and, ultimately, your life.

If you’d like to explore the potential of how acupuncture strengthens your quality of life, book an appointment with us. We’re dedicated to your well-being and look forward to being part of your path to better health.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation or learn more about our services.

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(1) electro-stimulation during acupuncture can strengthen the soft palate and tongue muscles, potentially preventing their collapse and the resulting airway blockage in obstructive sleep apnea.

Acupuncture for Insomnia

Acupuncture for Insomnia

The Science of Insomnia and Acupuncture’s Role in Restful Sleep

For centuries, the challenge of achieving restful sleep has confounded many individuals. Insomnia is a multifaceted disorder that extends beyond mere sleep deprivation, impacting various facets of our well-being, including vitality, mood, and overall health.

This blog post aims to explore the potential of acupuncture, an ancient practice, as a comprehensive approach to addressing this complex issue. If you’ve exhausted conventional methods and are seeking an alternative path to alleviate chronic insomnia, delving into the benefits of acupuncture may offer valuable insights.

Understanding the Nights of Frustration – Insomnia Defined and Its Impact

Sleep is no mere luxury; it’s a vital component of our health, as significant as food and water. Yet, across the globe, millions struggle to embrace its nightly gift. Insomnia is more than the occasional tossing and turning; it’s a consistent inability to fall or stay asleep. Its impact expands well beyond poor sleep quality and next-day drowsiness, with a litany of potential consequences for mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

The Many Faces of Insomnia

Insomnia is a shape-shifter of sorts, presenting itself in various forms. It may be acute, jumping into your life like an uninvited spell of restlessness that passes with time. In contrast, it could be chronic, planting its roots deep within your sleep architecture with unforgiving persistence.

Unpicking the Reasons for Restlessness

Causes of insomnia are as diverse as the individuals it plagues. Mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression can hold sway over one’s capacity to find repose. So too can physical maladies, from chronic pain to gastrointestinal disorders.

The Aftermath of Endless Nights

Consequences of chronic insomnia stretch from the mental fog that clouds your cognitive functions to increased risks of accidents, stress-related disorders, and even cardiovascular issues. Insomnia isn’t a mere nuisance; it’s a silent saboteur.

Traditional Treatment Approaches: A Prelude to Acupuncture

Medications have long been a nighttime companion for many battling insomnia, but they bring forth their own conundrums. While they can offer short-term relief, their effectiveness often dwindles, and the specter of side effects looms large in the long run.

Sleeping Pills: A Double-Edged Sword

Benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepine sedative-hypnotics promise sleep, but they do not discriminate – they often dull the next day as well. Furthermore, many patients fear their addictive potential and are wary of the journey into dependency.

Behavioral Therapy: The Cognitive Path to Sleep

Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) has emerged as a non-pharmacological beacon. By reshaping behaviors and thought patterns, it offers a path to tranquil nights without the aid of pills.

The Role of Acupuncture in Treating Insomnia – Ancient Wisdom Meets Modern Science

Acupuncture, a practice rooted in the centuries-old traditions of traditional Chinese medicine, may seem an unexpected candidate in the battle against sleeplessness. Yet, as we blend the wisdom of the ancients with the rigor of modern scientific inquiry, acupuncture’s potential to realign our sleep patterns shines a renewing light on restless nights.

Charting the Path of Qi and Sleep

Qi, the invisible life force, flows through the body along meridians. When this flow is disrupted, lack of sleep can often be the sign of imbalance. As a treatment of insomnia, acupuncture aims to restore this equilibrium through the careful placement of needles – a process believed to stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities.

The Data Needling Skepticism

Once viewed as mere folklore, acupuncture now boasts a growing body of scientific data. Research supports its efficacy in numerous domains, including sleep disorders (see bottom). Studies focusing on acupuncture and sleep quality reveal encouraging trends, with many showing a significant improvement in sleep metrics post-treatment.

A Deeper Slumber Through Needling

How, then, can acupuncture treat insomnia? By targeting underlying issues such as stress, anxiety, and pain – common culprits that disrupt sleep. Acupuncture’s holistic approach may address the cause, not just the symptom, fostering a restorative sleep cycle.

The Benefits of Acupuncture for Sleep – A Comprehensive Approach

Acupuncture’s benefits for sleep extend beyond mere hours counted on a clock. It is not a sedative; rather, its subtle art offers a symphony of effects that harmonize the mind and body towards a natural, sustainable rest.

Beyond Quantity: Quality of Sleep

It is not merely about sleeping for 8 hours; it’s about those being 8 hours of undisturbed, restorative sleep. Acupuncture may enhance the overall quality of your nights, setting the stage for fruitful days.

Aligning with the Sun and Moon

Our circadian rhythm, the internal clock that signals us when to wake and when to rest, is a dance best set by the natural music of the day and night. Acupuncture may help synchronize this rhythm, easing the transition into sleep and awakening.

Easing Troubled Minds

Anxiety and stress are insomniac bedfellows. Acupuncture’s effect on the nervous system could be the lullaby for a mind that won’t quiet. By reducing these psychological barriers, it can pave the path to serenity.

The Comfort of Body and Mind

Pain is a cruel sentinel, standing firm between you and the sanctity of sleep. Alleviating pain through acupuncture can be the catalyst that untangles the roots of your restlessness.

Case Studies and Patient Experiences: The Testimony of the Treated

Real-life anecdotes are the heartbeats of change. It’s in the narratives of transformed nights that we find the pulse of acupuncture’s promise for replenishing sleep.

Dreams Realized: Sera’s Journey to Sleep

Sera, a marketing executive, was caught in the whirlwind of insomnia’s unrest. After turning to acupuncture, she found a new rhythm – the gentle cadence of sleep returning to her life, each night a little piece of serenity regained.

Quiet Nights for the Clack Family

The Clack family’s pursuit of sleep led them to acupuncture, a decision that not only improved the children’s ability to remain asleep but brought about changes in moods and behavior, a testament to the familial winds shifted by settled nights.

Tips for Incorporating Acupuncture into a Sleep Routine – Crafting a Dreamy Strategy

Acupuncture isn’t a one-shot guarantee for sleep; it’s a practice that requires patience and commitment. But fear not, for its rewards are well worth the journey.

Finding a Trusted Acupuncturist: A Search for Synergy

Not all acupuncturists are created equal. Seek a licensed, reputable practitioner with whom you feel at ease. This is a partnership in your path to sleep, and trust is the bedrock.

Timing and Consistency: Puncturing Impatience

Consistency is key. Weekly sessions are a common starting point, but your acupuncturist may suggest more or less based on your individual needs. The road to sleep is a punctuated journey best marked by regular appointments.

Cultivating a Sleep-Supportive Lifestyle

Acupuncture isn’t an island; it’s part of an archipelago of practices that foster sleep. From mindfulness to diet, each decision can have a ripple effect on your nights of rest. Cultivating an environment that supports sleep is an investment with compounding interests in your health and happiness.

The Needles Are Set, the Journey Begins – Conclusion and a Call to Action

As we end this discussion, the path forward is clear, like the pinpoint precision of an acupuncturist’s needle. Insomnia need not be a nightmarish constant – and the approach to sleep, not one-size-fits-all. It’s time to consider the science behind acupuncture and its role in the symphony of sleep. If you find yourself in the mire of restless nights, take the initiative – explore the gentle punctures that might lead you to a deep and restful sleep.

Embarking on a path towards restful nights is not a solitary quest. By weaving acupuncture into the fabric of your journey, you meld ancient wisdom with modern understanding, creating a tapestry that supports and sustains your sleep.

Take a leap of faith – not towards the exhaustion of trial and error, but toward a personalized approach that values the complex interplay of your being.

Let acupuncture be the balm that unbinds you from the chains of insomnia and guides you towards the haven of rest. Your nights hold the potential for more – more peace, more health, and more life. Let’s begin.


Numerous studies provide robust research supporting the effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment for insomnia:

  1. A systematic review highlighted the potential of acupuncture to address insomnia and emphasized the need for rigorous study designs to evaluate its effects. Source
  2. Another randomized controlled trial demonstrated the efficacy and safety of acupuncture in treating primary insomnia. Source
  3. Furthermore, a comprehensive review stressed the necessity of strong, randomized controlled studies with large sample sizes to assess the usefulness of acupuncture in treating insomnia. Source
  4. A meta-analysis confirmed the potential of acupuncture for primary insomnia and emphasized the need for robust results. Source
  5. Additionally, a systematic review of complementary and alternative treatments for insomnia revealed robust evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture. Source
  6. Several other studies have demonstrated strong evidence in support of acupuncture as an effective treatment for insomnia. These findings contribute to a growing body of research emphasizing the potential of acupuncture in addressing sleep disorders.


Contact us today to schedule a consultation or learn more about our services.

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Auricular Therapy: Lokahi Acupuncture

Auricular Therapy: Significance of the Ear in Chinese Medicine

by Susannah Lee, LAc

In the realm of Chinese medicine, the ear holds profound significance as a microcosm of the entire body, reflecting the interconnectedness of organ systems and serving as a canvas for holistic treatments.

Auricular Therapy

Delving into the captivating world of auricular therapy, we unravel the beauty and significance of the ear, exploring its intricate connection to well-being and the diverse array of conditions it can address.

The Ear: A Reflection of Harmony and Holistic Wellness

In Chinese medicine, the ear is revered as a remarkable embodiment of harmony and balance, encapsulating the interconnectedness of the body’s organ systems. The ear’s intricate structure not only portrays an exquisitely beautiful canvas but also serves as a mirror that reflects the state of the entire body. Through this lens, the ear becomes a gateway to understanding and nurturing holistic wellness, embodying the wisdom of ancient healing traditions.

Auricular Therapy: Unlocking the Healing Potential of Ear Points

Auricular therapy, rooted in the principles of Chinese medicine, harnesses the innate healing potential of the ear through strategic stimulation of specific points. These ear points, when engaged with targeted therapies, have the capacity to address a wide spectrum of physical, emotional, and energetic imbalances. From managing pain and stress to promoting relaxation and supporting internal harmony, the art of auricular therapy unveils a myriad of possibilities for holistic well-being.

Empowering Treatments: Exploring the Versatility of Ear-Based Therapies

The application of auricular therapy extends beyond mere acupuncture, encompassing a diverse range of modalities that cater to individual needs and preferences. Utilizing techniques such as ear acupuncture, ear seeds, ear tacks, and moxibustion, practitioners can provide tailored and comprehensive ear treatments. Each method carries its unique therapeutic benefits, offering a versatile approach to addressing a multitude of conditions and enhancing overall vitality.

Nurturing Holistic Well-being: Embracing the Potential of Auricular Treatments

From alleviating pain and supporting mental well-being to harmonizing the body’s energetic flow, auricular treatments stand as a testament to the holistic ethos of Chinese medicine. By embracing the beauty and significance of the ear, individuals can embark on a journey of profound self-care and well-being, tapping into the transformative potential of auricular therapy to nurture their body, mind, and spirit.

In essence, the ear in Chinese medicine emerges as a captivating gateway to holistic well-being, intertwining the aesthetic allure of its intricate design with the profound capacity to address a spectrum of conditions.

By delving into the rich tapestry of auricular therapy, we embrace the timeless wisdom that resonates through the ear, unlocking the boundless potential for transformative healing and holistic wellness.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation or learn more about our services.

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Relieve Neck Tension with Gua Sha

Relieve Neck Tension with Gua Sha: The Ancient Art of Healing

Are you tired of living with chronic neck tension?

Do you long for a natural, effective solution that brings relief and restores balance to your body? Look no further than Gua Sha, an ancient healing practice that has stood the test of time.

In this blog post, we will explore the definition of Gua Sha, delve into the benefits it offers, discuss how it can be used in acupuncture treatment as well as at home, and introduce you to different devices that can enhance your Gua Sha experience.

What is Gua Sha?

Gua Sha, pronounced “Gwah-shah,” is a traditional Chinese therapeutic technique that involves gently scraping the skin using a smooth-edged instrument. The term “Gua Sha” translates to “scraping sand” in Chinese, reflecting the slight friction created during the process. This friction stimulates blood flow, resulting in the release of stagnant energy, or qi, within the body.

The Color of Healing

One of the fascinating aspects of Gua Sha is the temporary appearance of red or purple marks on the skin’s surface after the treatment. These marks are known as “sha” and are an indication of the stagnant blood and toxins being drawn out of the body. While these marks might seem alarming to some, they are actually a positive sign of the body’s healing response. As the marks fade, relief and rejuvenation follow, leaving you feeling more energized and free from tension.

Benefits of Gua Sha for Neck Tension

Pain Relief: Gua Sha effectively releases muscle tension, reduces inflammation, and alleviates pain in the neck and shoulder area. By promoting blood circulation and stimulating the body’s natural healing mechanisms, Gua Sha offers a holistic approach to pain management.

Improved Flexibility and Range of Motion: Regular Gua Sha sessions can help increase the flexibility of your neck muscles, enabling better movement and reducing stiffness. Say goodbye to restricted mobility and embrace a more fluid range of motion.

Stress Reduction: Neck tension often accompanies high levels of stress. Gua Sha provides a relaxing and calming experience, reducing stress and promoting a sense of well-being. The gentle scraping action soothes both the body and mind, allowing you to release built-up tension and find peace within.

Gua Sha in Acupuncture Treatment

In East Asian Medicine, Gua Sha is often used in conjunction with acupuncture to enhance its therapeutic effects. Acupuncturists may incorporate Gua Sha into their treatment plans to target specific areas of tension and promote overall balance within the body. The combined approach of acupuncture and Gua Sha can yield remarkable results in relieving neck tension and restoring harmony.


By embracing the ancient practice of Gua Sha, you can bid farewell to neck tension and welcome a renewed sense of well-being. Whether you seek professional acupuncture treatment or choose to explore Gua Sha at home, this therapeutic technique offers incredible benefits that can transform your life.

Say goodbye to discomfort and hello to a healthier, more relaxed you. Take the first step toward a tension-free neck today.

Please consult a qualified healthcare professional before attempting any new treatment or therapy. The information provided in this blog post is for educational purposes only and should not replace professional medical advice or diagnosis.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation or learn more about our services.

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Acupuncture for PCOS

How to Know What Type of PCOS You Have

Understanding the 4 Different Types of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

In this blog, we will explore each different types of PCOS, shedding light on their unique characteristics and offering insights into effective East Asian Medicine treatment approaches.

PCOS is a complex hormonal disorder that affects many women worldwide, and understanding its distinct variations and personalized treatment options is crucial for those navigating this condition.

1) Insulin-resistant PCOS: This is the most common type of PCOS, often linked to weight gain. When your body becomes resistant to insulin, your pancreas overworks, producing more insulin. This leads to an overproduction of testosterone, causing PCOS symptoms

2) Post-Pill PCOS: This type of PCOS is temporary and is typically seen after the discontinuation of hormonal birth control. The pill suppresses ovulation, and sometimes, the body takes a while to start it again, leading to PCOS symptoms.

3) Inflammatory PCOS: Chronic inflammation in the body can interrupt ovulation and lead to this type of PCOS. It’s often linked with other signs of inflammation such as skin conditions or joint pain.

4) Adrenal PCOS: This type of PCOS is less common and results from an overproduction of DHEA, a male hormone, by the adrenal glands instead of the ovaries which produces symptoms like acne, hair loss, or irregular periods.

Understanding the type of PCOS is instrumental in formulating an effective and targeted treatment strategy.

PCOS is not a one-size-fits-all condition, as it manifests in various ways and presents with different underlying factors.

Insulin-resistant PCOS

Insulin-resistant PCOS often occurs in women with a higher body fat percentage.

This type may cause weight gain, particularly in the abdominal area, due to the body’s inability to properly utilize insulin. This leads to higher glucose levels and increased fat storage.

Post-Pill PCOS

Post-Pill PCOS can affect any body type, as it is more directly linked to the cessation of hormonal birth control rather than physical attributes.

Symptoms may persist for several months, but they usually resolve once the body regulates its hormone production.

Inflammatory PCOS

Women with an inflammatory body type, who might already have body composition predisposed to inflammation, are more likely to develop Inflammatory PCOS. They might also struggle with other inflammatory conditions such as skin issues or joint pain.

Adrenal PCOS

Finally, Adrenal PCOS is more common in women with a lean body composition. Despite having a normal Body Mass Index (BMI), these women might experience symptoms like acne, hair loss, or irregular periods due to an overproduction of DHEA, a male hormone, by the adrenal glands.

Identifying Your Type of PCOS

By identifying the specific type of PCOS a person has, healthcare professionals can tailor interventions to address the root causes and alleviate symptoms more efficiently. For example, some individuals may experience PCOS primarily due to insulin resistance, while others may have elevated levels of androgens contributing to their symptoms.

Knowing these distinctions enables healthcare providers to recommend appropriate dietary modifications, lifestyle changes, and medications that specifically target the underlying hormonal imbalances or metabolic dysfunctions associated with each type of PCOS.

This personalized approach significantly enhances the likelihood of successful treatment outcomes and improved quality of life for individuals affected by PCOS.

East Asian Medicine and Acupuncture offer a holistic and integrative approach to managing Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). These traditional methods work on the principle of balancing energy or ‘qi’ within the body, thus promoting overall wellness rather than focusing solely on treating specific symptoms.

In this context, acupuncture, a key element of East Asian medicine, is used to stimulate specific points on the body. This stimulation can help regulate the endocrine system and improve blood flow to the ovaries, which in turn can balance hormone levels and promote regular ovulation. It’s believed that acupuncture may reduce insulin resistance, a key factor in Insulin-resistant PCOS, and lower inflammation levels associated with Inflammatory PCOS.

Furthermore, East Asian medicine also emphasizes the importance of lifestyle modifications.

Dietary changes, stress management, and regular physical activity are all integral parts of the treatment approach. These interventions aim to restore balance in the body and can be particularly effective in managing the weight gain often associated with PCOS and reducing the chronic inflammation that leads to Inflammatory PCOS.

Herbal medicine, another component of East Asian Medicine, often complements acupuncture in the treatment of PCOS. Various herbs are used to balance hormone levels, reduce inflammation, and address specific symptoms such as acne or menstrual irregularities.

​​At Lokahi, we understand the challenges that come with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Our team is well-versed in the intricacies of this condition and is dedicated to providing comprehensive support to our patients. If additional testing or a formal diagnosis is required, rest assured that we will guide you to the right professionals who can offer the necessary expertise.

We are committed to empowering our patients with the knowledge and resources they need to navigate their PCOS journey with confidence and take steps towards improved health and well-being.

In conclusion, East Asian Medicine and Acupuncture offer a different, complementary approach to PCOS treatment. They focus on restoring balance in the body’s systems, improving overall well-being, and addressing individual symptoms, based on the personal body composition and type of PCOS.

Resource: one of our favorite writers on women’s health: https://www.larabriden.com/4-types-of-pcos-a-flowchart/

Schedule a free 15-minute consultation today

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What Is Acupuncture & How Does It Work

What Is Acupuncture & How Does It Work

Have you ever been recommended to try acupuncture, but have no idea what it really is?

It’s totally normal to be skeptical about a medical treatment that involves inserting needles into your body. However, acupuncture has been used for over 2,000 years and is widely used today for various conditions.

In this blog post, we’ll provide you with an informative guide on what acupuncture is and how it works to help relieve pain and promote overall wellness.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a medicine system that originated in ancient China. The treatment involves inserting thin needles into the skin at specific points in the body to promote natural healing and alleviate pain.

The needles used in acupuncture are so thin that it’s common not to experience any pain, and if you do, it’s minimal. Acupuncture has been used to treat a wide range of conditions, including chronic pain, migraines, fertility, allergies, and insomnia.

How Does it Work?

Acupuncture works by stimulating specific points on the body, known as acupoints, that are believed to be connected by pathways known as meridians.

These meridians conduct energy or “qi” throughout the body, which is vital for maintaining health and wellness. When the flow of qi is disrupted, it can lead to physical, emotional, or mental imbalances and illnesses.

Acupuncture aims to restore the body’s balance and unblock energy to allow for natural healing.

What Can You Expect During an Acupuncture Session?

During an acupuncture session, you’ll be asked to lie down on a table or sit in a chair while the acupuncturist inserts the needles into various acupoints in your body.

The needles will be left in for several minutes and may be accompanied by other treatments such as heat therapy or electrical stimulation. The number of needles used during a session can vary depending on the condition being treated.

Is Acupuncture Safe and Effective?

Acupuncture is generally considered safe when performed by a trained and licensed acupuncturist. There are few side effects, and those that do occur are usually mild and temporary.

Research on the effectiveness of acupuncture shows that it can be extremely effective for certain conditions such as knee pain, headache, migraine, low back pain and fertility.

Acupuncture is a natural and non-invasive treatment that has been used for thousands of years to promote healing and relieve pain. If you are interested in trying acupuncture, make sure to find a licensed and experienced acupuncturist who can answer any questions you may have and develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any further inquiries or concerns or schedule a free consultation here.

Anna Rudel
San Jose Acupuncturist
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6 Commonly Asked Questions About Acupuncture

6 Commonly Asked Questions About Acupuncture

What You Need to Know About Acupuncture:
6 Commonly Asked Questions About Acupuncture

Traditional East Asian Medicine & Acupuncture have gained a lot of popularity in recent years.Despite its growing popularity, many people still have questions about this ancient practice.

In this blog post, we’ll answer some of the most commonly asked questions about acupuncture.

1: Will acupuncture hurt?

One of the most common apprehensions surrounding acupuncture is the fear of experiencing pain during the procedure. However, this concern is often unfounded as the needles used in acupuncture are incredibly thin, resembling the width of a hair strand.

Due to their delicate nature, they rarely cause any discomfort or pain when inserted properly.

On the contrary, numerous individuals have expressed feelings of deep relaxation and tranquility throughout the treatment session. The process is generally well-tolerated, and many even describe the sensation as barely noticeable, if felt at all. The practitioner’s expertise in precise needle placement plays a significant role in ensuring a painless experience.

2: Are acupuncture needles sterile?

At our acupuncture clinic, we prioritize your health and safety above all else.

That’s why we adhere strictly to the guidelines set by the State of California, which outline the best practices for acupuncture needle usage. According to these regulations, all acupuncture needles should be sterile, single-use, and disposable, ensuring a clean and hygienic experience for each and every patient.

We use our needles only once, before disposing of them in our sharps containers. You can rest assured knowing that you are in safe hands.

3: How long will the needles be in?

When you come in for an acupuncture session, one of the common questions that might arise is how long the needles will be in place. The duration varies depending on the type of treatment you are receiving, but on average, patients typically retain the acupuncture needles for a period of 20 to 40 minutes.

This timeframe allows sufficient time for the therapeutic effects of the treatment to take place.  During this time, your practitioner will check on you and may make adjustments to the needles as needed.

You don’t have to worry about feeling uncomfortable during the treatment as our practitioners are skilled and experienced in ensuring your comfort. As the minutes pass by, you might even find yourself embracing a sense of calm and serenity. Many patients report feeling deeply relaxed during their acupuncture sessions, and some have even described it as a welcome escape from the stresses of daily life.

4: What should I wear to an acupuncture treatment?

Comfortable, loose-fitting clothes are ideal for acupuncture treatments. It’s important to ensure that you feel relaxed and comfortable during the treatment, so we recommend avoiding tight, restrictive clothing.

5: Is there anything I should know before getting an acupuncture treatment?

Yes! It’s important to make sure that you’ve eaten something substantial within two hours before your treatment. This ensures that you won’t feel faint or uncomfortable during the treatment.

Additionally, we recommend not doing anything strenuous immediately after your treatment as you’ll feel extremely relaxed and may need time to adjust back to your daily routine.

Read more about what to expect at your first acupuncture appointment here.

6: Why is there so much paperwork?

Before beginning your acupuncture treatment, we need to get a detailed picture of your medical history, symptoms and concerns. This helps us to arrive at an accurate diagnosis sooner and better direct your treatment plan.

The more information you provide, the better we can understand your individual needs.

We hope this blog post has answered some of the most commonly asked questions about acupuncture.

If you’re still curious, we encourage you to book an appointment and come see our skilled practitioners at our acupuncture clinic.

Remember, acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment that can have numerous benefits for your overall health and wellness. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any further inquiries or concerns.

Anna Rudel
San Jose Acupuncturist
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What is Trauma-Informed Acupuncture Care?

What is Trauma-Informed Acupuncture Care?

Trauma is an important topic related to acupuncture, as many people’s health complaints can be linked to or worsened by a history of traumatic experiences.

Trauma-Informed Acupuncture Care

Acupuncture, as a unique therapy that can positively impact the body as well as the mind, (or the “body-mind”) can be particularly beneficial for patients in which a history of trauma is a major factor.

Which conditions related to trauma can acupuncture help treat?

  • Headache
  • Chronic pain
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

This list is based on both clinical experience, and the findings of a research paper, titled: “The effectiveness of trauma related research across components of the trauma spectrum response (tsr): a systematic review of reviews” (Lee et al, 2012).

Do I need to see a therapist for trauma or is trauma-informed acupuncture enough on its own?

When trauma is the major factor related to a health condition, we recommend also being under the care of a mental health profession to learn to thrive while living with a history of trauma. Psychotherapy with a somatic sensory-based approach may be especially helpful in cases related to trauma (Kearney and Lanius, 2021).

Acupuncture is another modality that can support a patient in a number of ways.

How is acupuncture helpful for trauma?

  • Regulates autonomic nervous system – takes us out of “fight, flight or freeze” mode, and puts us into “relax, repair, rebuild” mode.
  • Acupuncture helps reduce the symptoms of traumatic stress in the body, without necessarily having to talk about or re-experience the trauma.
  • Helps patients have positive experiences of therapeutic touch to add to their memory bank, building a sense of trust and security.
  • Regulates multiple body systems simultaneously for a sense of wellbeing and resilience.

Do I have to tell my acupuncturist the whole story of the trauma that I experienced in order to get relief from my symptoms?

No, it is not required to share with a clinician about a trauma to receive the health benefit of acupuncture related to trauma. We practice trauma-informed acupuncture here at Lokahi Acupuncture, so we consider that any patient that comes through the door may have a history of trauma, even if they haven’t shared it with us. That means we create a treatment experience that respects the dignity and autonomy of patients, and avoids re-traumatizing.

However, some patients choose to share about their trauma and that is ok too. It’s ok to tell your story, and it is also ok to just mention a condition is related to trauma, but not go into detail – how much a patient shares is up to the patient.

Some patients find it helpful to share with their acupuncturist if they need certain conditions maintained such as keeping the room well lighted or the door open. Patients that experience frequent flashbacks related to post-traumatic stress disorder may also choose to share with us, so that we know how we can help if a patient experiences a flashback while at the clinic.

Am I the only one experiencing this?

If you are experiencing health concerns that you feel are related to trauma, please know that you are definitely not alone in this.

Trauma is actually found to be widespread, though certain groups have a higher risk of being exposed to more trauma throughout their lives, and some individuals have greater lifetime effects of trauma to their health (Tebes et al, 2019).

While more information is making its way to the public about the effects of trauma on health in recent years, it is still a topic that is often not widely shared. As clinicians that take an oath of confidentiality, we hear stories daily of how traumatic events affect the lives and health of our patients.

Please know that you are not alone in this, and that there are helpful therapies available.

Anna Rudel
San Jose Acupuncturist
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Kearney BE, Lanius RA. The brain-body disconnect: A somatic sensory basis for trauma-related disorders. Front Neurosci. 2022 Nov 21;16:1015749. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2022.1015749. PMID: 36478879; PMCID: PMC9720153.

Lee C, Crawford C, Wallerstedt D, York A, Duncan A, Smith J, Sprengel M, Welton R, Jonas W. The effectiveness of acupuncture research across components of the trauma spectrum response (tsr): a systematic review of reviews. Syst Rev. 2012 Oct 15;1:46. doi: 10.1186/2046-4053-1-46. PMID: 23067573; PMCID: PMC3534620.

Tebes JK, Champine RB, Matlin SL, Strambler MJ. Population Health and Trauma-Informed Practice: Implications for Programs, Systems, and Policies. Am J Community Psychol. 2019 Dec;64(3-4):494-508. doi: 10.1002/ajcp.12382. Epub 2019 Aug 24. PMID: 31444915; PMCID: PMC7006880.

Welcome to Lokahi Acupuncture

What to Expect At Your First Acupuncture Appointment

Taking the plunge and trying acupuncture for the first time can be overwhelming.

To make this step easier, it’s important to be as informed as possible about what to expect from your first acupuncture appointment.

Acupuncture is an ancient form of healing that has been practiced across many cultures and across thousands of years, making it a safe and effective method of healthcare. This guide is designed to help you understand the basics of acupuncture and feel more confident in your decision to give it a try.

Welcome to the Clinic

When you enter the clinic, you will be warmly greeted by our front desk staff who will guide you through the check-in process and show you around. Take a seat in the waiting room and your acupuncturist will be notified of your arrival.

We recommend arriving for your first acupuncture appointment well-fed, as acupuncture can cause some slight lightheadedness if you have an empty stomach.

Taking the time to nourish yourself and make sure you are ready beforehand is key to getting the most out of your session.

Getting to know you

Your practitioner will take you into your treatment room and ask a series of questions to help determine the root cause of the issue. They may also look at your tongue and feel your pulse for additional insight into your health.

Once completed, the acupuncturist will leave the room to allow you to get onto the table in preparation for your treatment.

Your Acupuncture treatment

Your practitioner will re-enter the room and your treatment will begin.

They will identify points on your body that best support you, wiping the point with a cotton ball soaked in alcohol before inserting the acupuncture needles. Don’t worry – insertion of the acupuncture needles is virtually painless and often only involves a slight sensation.

Your acupuncturist may ask for feedback to ensure you feel comfortable throughout the session. Relax as much as possible for an optimal experience.

Resting – the most important part!

Once the acupuncture needles are positioned correctly, your practitioner will check in with you to make sure that you are comfortable. They may provide a heat lamp on your feet or a hot pack on your abdomen if desired.

Additionally, they will provide a call button should you need to get a hold of them during your resting time.

As soothing music plays in the background, relax into the experience and allow the needles to do their work. Your practitioner will check in on you after a few minutes, and then leave you again so that you can rest for the remainder of the session.

Ending your session

After your rest, your acupuncturist will come back into the treatment room to remove the needles. Once they leave, you can take a few moments to come to before meeting them again in the reception area.

Your acupuncturist will then give advice on when it may be best for you to come back in for a follow-up treatment.

Lokahi Acupuncture is a collaborative acupuncture clinic in the heart of San Jose, known for its next-level care and skilled practitioners. Whether you’re looking for relief from chronic pain, specific disorders, or to maintain good health, the team at Lokahi Acupuncture is here to help you on your journey to wellness. If you would like to make an appointment, please click here.

Anna Rudel
San Jose Acupuncturist
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Acupuncture for Headaches - 5 Types of Headaches Acupuncture Can Help

5 Types of Headaches Acupuncture Can Help With

Written by Lara McQuade L. Ac. 

Around 90% of people worldwide experience a headache at some point in their lives (Robbins, 2021).

Acupuncture is a safe, gentle and effective treatment for headaches without the harmful side effects of medication.

No wonder headache is one of the most common ailments for which people seek acupuncture treatment. Several headache conditions can improve with acupuncture treatment, including: tension type headache, migraine headache, mixed headache, cervicogenic headache, and occipital neuralgia.

Location of acupuncture points to treat headache vary. Sometimes acupuncturists will place needles in the muscles of the scalp and neck for headache. However, headaches will often be treated with acupuncture points at other areas of the body such as the arms and legs.

1. Tension Type Headache

Research has shown that acupuncture may reduce the frequency of tension type headaches  (Nielsen, 2017). Tension Type Headache is by far the most common type of primary headache, affecting about 80% of the population (Ertsey et al, 2019).

Tension type headaches are usually mild to moderate, not severe enough to seek emergency medical care, yet can still be very disruptive to people’s lives. Tension headaches are felt in the following areas (Turkistani et al, 2021):

  • Pain at the temples

  • Pressure like a band around the forehead

  • Pain and tension in the muscles of the neck, shoulders and upper back

  • Pain behind the eyes

2. Migraine Headache

Migraine headaches are not quite as common as tension type headaches, but the pain and other migraine symptoms can be severe and disabling. Migraine Disorder is the number one cause of disability worldwide for young women (Steiner et al, 2020). Fortunately, acupuncture can help for migraine symptoms too (Urits et al, 2020).

Some common symptoms of migraine headache are:

  • One-sided headache

  • Throbbing pain

  • Symptoms that last several days

Headaches are just one symptom of migraine disorder, and other symptoms can include:

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Light and noise sensitivity

  • Visual disturbances

  • Vertigo

  • Sensitivity to strong smells like scented candles, detergents, or car exhaust

3. Mixed Headache

Mixed headache is the way to describe the condition in which someone often gets more than one type of headache. For example, this most often describes mixed tension headache and migraine headache. Oftentimes, people experience tension headaches more frequently, and a severe episode precedes a migraine headache.

While some academics argue over whether the term, “mixed headache” is needed, with headache symptoms few people have symptoms that neatly fit into one box or another. Acupuncture is a unique approach that allows treatment targeted at the exact headache pattern that day.

4. Cervicogenic Headache

Sometimes headache pain may actually be generated from a problem at the neck. This is known as cervicogenic headache. Neck conditions such as arthritis, nerve root impingement, whiplash injury, or other neck conditions may be involved.

Acupuncture may be helpful for this type of pain by taking the approach of treating the neck problem directly, to indirectly affect the headache (Chu, 2016).

5. Occipital Neuralgia

In this condition, pain is caused by irritation, injury or compression of the occipital nerves at the back of the head.

Symptoms of occipital neuralgia:

  • Brief episodes of sharp, shooting pain at the back of the head

  • May also have constant low grade pain

  • Pain may be one-sided or bilateral

This type of headache can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from migraine headache. Acupuncture treatment will often be targeted to reduce tension of muscles and fascia at the back of the head, to alleviate compression of the nerve. (Pan et al, 2021)

Lara McQuade, L.Ac. is a pain specialist at Lokahi Acupuncture. With a strong background in chronic pain, she specializes in headache, neck pain and neurological conditions. If you would like to schedule a free online consultation with her, click here and follow the link.

Lara McQuade, San Jose Acupuncturist
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Barmherzig, R., & Kingston, W. (2019). Occipital Neuralgia and Cervicogenic Headache: Diagnosis and Management. Current neurology and neuroscience reports, 19(5), 20. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11910-019-0937-8

Djavaherian DM, Guthmiller KB. Occipital Neuralgia. [Updated 2022 May 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538281/

Ertsey, C., Magyar, M., Gyüre, T., Balogh, E., & Bozsik, G. (2019). A tenziós fejfájás és kezelése [Tension type headache and its treatment possibilities]. Ideggyogyaszati szemle, 72(1-2), 13–21. https://doi.org/10.18071/isz.72.0013

Chu, H., & Hu, B. (2016). Zhongguo zhen jiu = Chinese acupuncture & moxibustion, 36(1), 29–32.

Nielsen A. (2017). Acupuncture for the Prevention of Tension-Type Headache (2016). Explore (New York, N.Y.), 13(3), 228–231. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.explore.2017.03.007

Pan, W., Peng, J., & Elmofty, D. (2021). Occipital Neuralgia. Current pain and headache reports, 25(9), 61. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11916-021-00972-1

Robbins M. S. (2021). Diagnosis and Management of Headache: A Review. JAMA, 325(18), 1874–1885. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2021.1640

Steiner, T. J., Stovner, L. J., Jensen, R., Uluduz, D., Katsarava, Z., & Lifting The Burden: the Global Campaign against Headache (2020). Migraine remains second among the world’s causes of disability, and first among young women: findings from GBD2019. The journal of headache and pain, 21(1), 137. https://doi.org/10.1186/s10194-020-01208-0

Turkistani, A., Shah, A., Jose, A. M., Melo, J. P., Luenam, K., Ananias, P., Yaqub, S., & Mohammed, L. (2021). Effectiveness of Manual Therapy and Acupuncture in Tension-Type Headache: A Systematic Review. Cureus, 13(8), e17601. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.17601

Urits, I., Patel, M., Putz, M. E., Monteferrante, N. R., Nguyen, D., An, D., Cornett, E. M., Hasoon, J., Kaye, A. D., & Viswanath, O. (2020). Acupuncture and Its Role in the Treatment of Migraine Headaches. Neurology and therapy, 9(2), 375–394. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40120-020-00216-1