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May 122014

I’m not a good blogger. My website designer suggested a new blog post every week. I have good intentions. And then there are technical difficulties. Or misplacing the log-in information. Or illness. Or just plain doing what I love to do-being with patients, treating patients, staying busy with my practice.

Writing a new post finally came to the forefront of my to-do for a couple reasons. 1-I’ve had patients tell me I was going to be gone for a while. I finally realized my last blog post was just prior to my trip to China in 2013. 2-my colleague, Phillip Stamos has moved on from our clinic to his new Chinese Medicine adventure after almost 7 years with us. We will miss him and wish him all the best.(He’s been gone a couple months now, but was still on our website, which I discovered in a Google search.)

My trip to China last year was incredible from an education stand point. 2 1/2 weeks of learning from some of the best and most experienced Chinese Medicine doctors in Nanging, China. All the teaching was about the use of herbs and fertility and/or issues surrounding the menstrual cycle (for woman) or male factor fertility (for men). (We did spend one shift in an acupuncture weight loss clinic at the hospital. Fascinating!) Chinese herbs are practiced in the hospital with both a pharmaceutical pharmacy and an herbal dispensary. The herbal docs (this is all fertility work) would send their patient down to imaging for an ultrasound right there at the appointment. In a half hour, the patient would come back with the imaging results. The doctor then knew right away if there were fibroids, ovarian cysts, if the patient had ovulated or was about to, etc. Talk about integration! I really wanted an ultrasound machine when I got back.

I’ve been using the new herbal knowledge I gained this past year with added success and confidence. PCOS, endometriosis, fibroids, advanced maternal age, pelvic inflammatory disease, and male factor infertility were all covered in our training.

This year I also attending the Great River Conference in Minneapolis. It was again a wonderful learning experience covering acupuncture and IVF, spiritual aspects of Chinese Medicine and the application of Chinese herbs to pain.

In the fall, I made the leap into the world of GAPS (Gut and Psychological Syndrome)/Paleo/Grain-Free living following an illness. More on that in my next blog post. Stay tuned and stay well.

  • May 12, 2014
  • Posted by admin at 2:30 pm
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A common issue I see, particularly in runners and bike riders, is Iliotibial Band Syndrome or IT Band. The IT band runs from the knee to the hip on the lateral (outside) of the leg. The syndrome is caused by overuse or injury and usually results in pain and inflammation. Patients come to Integrative Health’s Milwaukee/Shorewood clinic saying that their IT band is “really tight.” A treatment I often recommend is called cupping.

Cupping dates back to 3000 BC and involves a process of placing glass, plastic or rubber cups on the skin and removing the air inside to create a suction. With glass cups, the air is removed by heating the cup with a gentle flame from a cotton ball soaked in alcohol. The flaming cotton ball is inserted into the opening of the cup to warm the glass and remove the air from inside. The ball is quickly and completely removed before placing the cup against the skin to create the suction.

The earliest record of cupping is in Ebers Papyrus, one of the world’s oldest medical textbooks, which tells of the Egyptians using cupping in 1550 BC. Archaeologists have found evidence in China of cupping dating back to 1000 BC. In ancient Greece, Hippocrates (c. 400 BC) used cupping for internal disease and structural problems. Eventually this method spread into medical practice throughout Asian and European civilizations.

Unlike common modern day treatments, cupping is drug-free and non-invasive. It is also a needle-less treatment for patients who might be needle-phobic. Benefits can be gained in just one treatment, although more severe or older injuries would likely require additional sessions, or a combination of cupping, acupuncture, and Chinese herbal medicine.

When working with a patient’s IT band, I treat one leg at a time with the patient lying on their side and the thigh in question exposed. After liberally applying massage oil to the skin surface, I use a manual pump to remove air from plastic cups, then strategically place them along the IT band. I start at the hip and end with a cup just above the knee. After all have been placed, I’ll cover the cups with a towel and position a heat lamp to keep the treated area over comfortably warm and relaxed. The cups remain in place for 5-25 minutes, depending on the patient’s constitution, the nature of the injury, and/or the level of pain.

Patients typically feel a slight tightening of the skin in the area where the cups are placed. Physiologically, suction is gently pulling the skin away from the layers of tissue, muscle, and tendons below, resulting in a feeling of relief beneath the surface. This process allows fresh blood to move into the area and creates further healing beyond the treatment time itself.

When removed, the cups typically leave a raised, pinkish-red ring. I will then massage the leg in the direction of the lymph nodes to help facilitate the removal of toxins and old blood. I will often finish up by applying a liniment or essential oils to sooth the area to maintain blood flow.

Patients often feel better after the first treatment. In order to prevent the possibility of any slight aggravation as toxins release from the treated tissue, it’s suggested that a generous amount of water be consumed throughout the day to facilitate the flushing of any toxins from the body.

After the first session, patients can expect an immediate reduction in pain, improved flexibility, and increased mobility. Most patients require 5-10 sessions for full benefit, usually once a week until complete healing is achieved.

In addition to IT band treatments, cupping is very effective for a variety of orthopedic conditions including, but not limited to, rotator cuff injury, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel, back pain, bursitis, tendinitis, thoracic outlet syndrome, and frozen shoulder. By removing adhesions, stretching the torsion of the soft tissue, lengthening connective tissue, stimulating nerves and hydrating joints, pain is relieved and healing is facilitated.

Call today or schedule on line! We’d love to help you heal your pain!

4465 N. Oakland Ave, Suite 200 S    |    Milwaukee    |    414-906-0285    |    meredith@myintegrativehealthservices.com

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