Like most small businesses, I have spent days scouring the news, talking to colleagues, listening to other practitioners, and trying to parse a course of action that feels right to me and right for you. But in all honesty, with no clear mandate, all of us are having to come to our own conclusions.
So for now, based on my understanding of the data, it seems that the safest course of action for my office and my patients is to temporarily close the physical officeuntil the Bay Area and the nation has a clearer understanding of what is happening with this virus and how to contain it. While I have already been obsessively disinfecting all touched surfaces in between patients for weeks, this break will also give me a little time to put more safety measures in place for the future.
Meanwhile, I am interested in still being available to all of you for email/phone consults, advice, and herbal prescriptions. My current thought is that I am happy to drop-off formulas, pain topicals, plasters, etc. while supplies last to those within a 5 mile radius of either office. Payment would be online or via phone, and delivery will be based on office days and batched as convenient. Supplies not available in my office can be prescribed online or ordered as needed for future delivery.
Most of you already know, but for those who do not, the topical pain remedies offered through Chinese medicine are incredible, and continuing these for those I cannot directly treat with my hands is a way to self treat at home. Some of you also know that Chinese herbal formulas are powerful in their own right and studies have shown that these in combination with western meds can enhance immunity, healing and recovery. These are effective adjuncts which are still available to you during this crisis. Ask me what would work best for you and use them.
As most of you know, information is lacking, general COVID testing is near impossible, and the situation is fluid. While I hope to open the office in a few weeks, this may change as more information becomes available
Meanwhile, please contact me personally as I try to re-work my online scheduling system to accommodate outside orders and requests. Gift certificates are already available online for when the office is back open. Even if it's not me, please, if you are able, find a way to contribute to your favorite local small businesses via gift certificate purchases or other ways. Many in our community are taking a financial hit so let's work together to help each other through these difficult times.
In health my friends,
Miki Higuchi L.Ac.
It was a patient who recently brought up the possibility of using a posture correcting brace. I admit, my immediate reaction was to respond negatively believing that a person should actively learn how to adapt to a better posture instead of using a crutch. But......upon thinking about it, and thinking about some of the patients I have in my pool, maybe no is not the best answer.
Some of my patients don't have the musculature base to work from easily. Some of my patients don't have the focus needed to correct and re-correct old patterns. Some of my patients work so hard and long that fatigue inevitably comes into play; and without having the strong "corset" muscles to begin with, correction becomes increasingly more difficult as the day goes on. I think that these are strong cases for using some type of correctional support in order to start to re-train the body and to minimize or possibly even avoid the chronic pain that comes from working in the modern world.
The patient that first brought this up with me is someone who is pretty dedicated to not only using acupuncture to relieve their inflammation, but also correcting the poor habits that could be contributing to their current condition. The patient tried the brace and found that when he started to slump, the brace would dig into his shoulders in such a way that it was a mild but definitive reminder to reposition his body. Meanwhile, during the times he had awareness of his posture, the brace helped to keep it there. There is obviously an assist in doing this, but at the same times, muscles that have been shortened for years because of hunching are being allowed the freedom to stretch. All good.
And because the world has a way of coming together at the right time, Esther Gokhale of the Gokahle Method (my go-to guru for all things posture), posted a blog post today regarding this very thing. So, braces, should we use them? Yes! The only "but", I would add is that yes, use the support, but first, understand exactly what it is you are correcting. I am happy to give you the pointers that I learned from The Gokhale Method. Or go to the source yourself and learn what you can.
Esther Gokhale's Blog Post: When, Why, and How to Use a Back Brace
I think it's a mini project of mine to find all of the ultrarunning acupuncturists out there in the world. This article has been making the rounds in my feed lately. It was great to read about an acupuncturist who got hooked into the sport because he was treating an athlete who ended up recovering and then training the acupuncturist to his first ultra, and ultimately his first 100 miler. Acupuncture & endurance sports? Match made in heaven if you ask me. Welcome to the fold, my friend.
"On Ultrarunning, Acupuncture, and Believing"
Attending acupuncture school was eye opening in more ways than just the obvious education of inserting needles into people and watching healing happen. I also went to school with a "bunch of hippies" as I used to joke. These colleagues and teachers began to show me what they had understood deeply for years, which was exactly how poisoned our food system had become, and how vigilant we need to be in order to avoid ingesting pesticides, chemicals, and other pollutants. It was a shocking revelation to find out how unprotected we are by the powers that be.
There are a lot of documentaries out there that will give you the rundown of how our food system works in the U.S., and The Bullish Farmer should be added to that library. It's a great film that shows how a small farm should be run, could be run, and used to be run if not for large corporations that instead push for profit, leaving quality and sustainability in the dust.
But what does a cleaner diet mean anyways? There are many factors that go into an individuals health, but what if it meant less allergies, what if it meant no constipation, bloating, GERD, less colds and flus, less chance of cancer and disease? What if it means that your sleep, energy, and moods get better? What if it meant that your pain went away and you saw me less often? We eat every single day. Shouldn't what we eat be natural and not filled with poisonous pesticides and untested modified genetics? Yes please.
THE BULLISH FARMER is a feature-length documentary on sustainable agriculture. It journeys into the life of a Wall Street investment banker-turned farmer as he struggles to build and run a farm that feeds his family and his community.
Los Gatos & Redwood City
Announcing two new locations to serve both the Peninsula and South Bay.
For current patients, my Los Gatos location has moved. Not far from my previous spot, the new location is inside Pilates Sante, about a mile away . Beautiful, quiet, and plenty of parking, I know you'll enjoy the new space.
And finally, an office space for me in lovely Redwood City, my new hometown. Something I have wanted to do for years, I am looking forward to being accessible to patients on the Peninsula.
I am excited that both locations are situated in conjunction with businesses that complement my therapy services, and I think you will all benefit from the potential symbiosis.
Both locations will be available on the week of August 15th. I am currently taking new patients and scheduling now. More details on the contacts page.
California court Issues Temporary Injunction Stopping Companies from Dry Needling in CA following CSM 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (206) 856-9737
California Court Issues Temporary Injunction Stopping Companies from “Dry Needling” in California and Enjoining
Sales of “Myotech Dry Needles”
Orange County, CA – Late last week, the Orange County Superior Court granted a temporary restraining order against several out-of-state companies and their owners after plans surfaced that they intended to insert acupuncture needles and distribute acupuncture needle samples at a physical therapy conference in Anaheim, California. The Defendants lacked state licensure as acupuncturists or medical doctors and were not registered under California’s Pharmacy Law. Kinetacore, a main Defendant in the case, engages in training workshops marketed primarily to physical therapists for what they refer to as “dry needling.” US Dry Needling, another main Defendant in the case, sells acupuncture needles under the brand name “Myotech Dry Needles,” while failing to identify the needles as acupuncture needles. Dry needling is highly controversial since it involves the insertion of FDA-regulated acupuncture needles through the skin and into acupuncture points, which are located in muscles or connective tissue, for therapeutic purposes by physical therapists or chiropractors who can have as little as a weekend of training in acupuncture.
Those practicing “dry needling” claim that they are not practicing “acupuncture” and, therefore, are not required to comply with the strict state safety, training, and licensing requirements that apply to the practice of acupuncture. California acupuncturists, for example, are required to have at least 3,000 hours of formal training in acupuncture, whereas Kinetacore’s weekend “certification” workshop in “dry needling” is just 27 hours. There have been a number of high-profile injuries in recent years where physical therapists or chiropractors have punctured the lungs of their patients upon incorrectly inserting acupuncture needles. Courts in Washington and Oregon have permanently enjoined physical therapists and chiropractors, respectively, from practicing “dry needling” by finding it was outside their legal scopes of practice.
“The insertion of acupuncture needles by physical therapists or other persons who have little or no training in the safe and effective use of acupuncture needles constitutes a significant threat to public safety,” says Dr. Amy Matecki, who is the medical director for the International Center for Integrative Medicine, which filed the lawsuit last week. “Physical therapists are not trained in the safe use of acupuncture needles and are not legally authorized to use acupuncture needles in the State of California.”
The lawsuit was filed by the International Center for Integrative Medicine in Oakland, California, and alleges that plans by Kinetacore’s owner, Edo Zylstra, to insert acupuncture needles as a part of a dry needling demonstration violates California’s Acupuncture Licensure Act and Medical Practice Act. The case challenges plans by US Dry Needling and its owners, Paul Killoren, Austin Woods, and Edo Zylstra, to distribute samples and accept on-line sales of the “Myotech Dry Needle,” which is an acupuncture needle. The lawsuit also alleges that distribution of such needles constitutes a violation of California’s Pharmacy Law.
A copy of the injunction can be found here (http://docdro.id/Kuk6GiY). And a copy of the argument in support of the injunction can be found here (http://docdro.id/kaizQ5P).
The temporary restraining order will stay in effect until mid-March, when the court will consider issuing a preliminary injunction that would continue the injunctive relief until the case can be decided on.
It was back in July of 2014 that I became contracted with American Specialty Health (ASHN), a health insurance & management company for others networks such as Blue Cross, Cigna, Aetna, and Health Net. It was supposed to be a win win situation. I get access to their patient network and patients get access to me. However, one long year later, for the sake of my sanity and my desire to provide the best quality of time and care to my patients, I have decided to cut ties with all insurance.
I try to do the best by my patients when they are under my care. To work within ASHN's restrictions and edicts has not only tried to shape and limit the type of treatments that I give, but also limit the number of treatments my patients receive despite chronicity of condition, and despite the number of treatments allowed by their plan. Besides being an insult to my way of practicing medicine, they have also mishandled my contract, made errors in billing, gave me contradictory information, all the while continually (and I do mean continually) asking that more information be sent to them that had either already been sent or should have already been in their systems. Shockingly disorganized or intentionally malicious, it became increasingly frustrating and disheartening to work with them. So, one year later, as of July 3, 2015, I will no longer be contracted with ASHN or any other insurance associated with them.
For those of you who would like to continue under my care, I will be in-network until July 3, 2015, and it would be an honor to continue what we have begun. After that date, my fees will revert to my usual cash practice fees. However, I am willing to discuss those with financial hardships on a case by case basis. I will also continue to process claims online as an out-of-network practitioner dependent on your carrier and their policies.
Happiness & Health
've been watching this debate unfold for a while and wondering where it was going to lead our profession. This a great article written by a fellow acupuncturist which helps define what acupuncturists do versus what is offered by PT's, Chiro's, and others who are also trying to own the acupuncture label. What You Must Know Before You Try Dry Needling.
Do you feel unusually thirsty, dried out, do you have tight and sore muscles? Do you sweat sometimes and not know why? Poor sleep, fatigue, agitation? Despite hydrating, I am seeing this more and more in my clinic not only with older patients but young as well.
Why is this bad? Lack of fluids in the body can cause many conditions that are uncomfortable. Night sweats, fatigue, cramps, dry skin, blurry or poor vision, ringing in the ears to name a few.
Of course, intense activity isn't the only thing which causes this condition, but I am seeing more and more young athletes with similar symptoms and issues that you would expect in say, someone creeping into their 40's. Intense activity burns up a lot of fluids in the body (yin). To keep going strong, we need to replenish that source. While there are many herbal formulas to help us achieve that balance, most of us just need to pay attention to our diet. It's not a quick fix, but a lifelong one.
If any season is the time to back off of training for a bit and regenerate, it's now. But…since I know you won't, be sure to nourish your skin, blood, bones, and fluids with dense, energy filled, nourishing winter foods.
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