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.
Nice article on the benefits of moxa, a modality I love. Moxa is typically in stick form and is the comprised mainly of the herb, mugwort (Ai Ye). The heat and properties of this herb can very beneficial towards healing.
Moxibustion helps runner Alex Rowell prepare for the Bolder Boulder
By Joyce Davis For the Reporter-Herald
Posted: 05/18/2013 01:51:54 PM MDT
For centuries, acupuncture has been a form of healing. Originating 5,000 years ago in China, it's the oldest healing process known to mankind. Recognizing a vital energy force within the body called qi (chi), acupuncture considers illness a blockage that must be removed by manipulation of needles at specific points within meridians of the body. As balance and harmony of chi is restored, symptoms of the illness disappear.
Acupuncture treatments are designed to make the body strong and resistant, says James Damman, certified acupuncturist and instructor, who has offices in Loveland and Louisville. "It helps the body's natural ability to heal itself."
Owner of Acubalance, Damman is a graduate of the University of Michigan and for 12 years has served as deputy clinical director at the Institute of Taoist Education and Acupuncture in Louisville.
Acupuncture tends to health on all levels and helps in make better choices along our life path, he says.
"It's important when deciding treatment to look at the whole person and what's going on in an individual's everyday life. It's not a one-size-fits-all 'cookbook style' treatment," he says. "We look at how you feel, how you sleep, how your digestion works and many other things before we decide how to proceed."
When his friend Alex Rowell, a Loveland chiropractic doctor, turned to Damman for help with his knee, a process called moxibustion seemed to offer the best fix. By burning tiny cones made of the herb moxa (mugwort), and placing them on the specific acupuncture points, circulation is stimulated, the site is warmed and the chi flows smoothly.
Damman says it's a type of acupuncture that works well with people with knee problems. "It's helpful for trauma of any kind -- past injury or people who have had joint replacements and still feel a tightness or discomfort," he says. "Using moxibustion is helpful to relax the tendons. It's very warming and prepares the area for needling."
Damman employs needling during the procedure, which means that the needle is inserted and quickly removed, as opposed to other acupuncture processes that leave the needles in for a period of time before removal.
"It's a longer procedure and there's a lot of smoke, but it's very healing -- a communion with body and spirit," he says.
Damman is quick to note that moxibustion is an aid and not a cure-all. Relief is temporary and it's not going to take the place of a (knee) replacement," he says. "But it can accelerate the healing in addition to physical therapy. It's very cool to see and to feel -- kind of a magical thing, actually."
Rowell, who describes himself as "a typical male in my 50s with bad knees," says his right knee is bothered by running. Because he's run the Bolder Boulder 10K since 2005, he hoped for a boost in that knee's flexibility and strength before this year's Memorial Day run.
"I'm not in a lot of pain, but it's not as flexible as I'd like," he says, noting that Damman's acupuncture treatments have helped loosen up the joint.
The treatment partners well with Rowell's chiropractic beliefs. "Even when you're walking, there's some micro trauma to your body. To run, you have to traumatize it even a little more," he says. In addition to acupuncture, Rowell is treated by his own chiropractor and combines them all with ChiRunning, a program that employs the principles of T'ai Chi in the running process.
"It's all about running with proper form and alignment," Rowell says.
That meshes with Damman's acupuncture, which focuses on the total body.
"A person's gait, how the hip, the neck, are held, the alignment of the back -- it all has an effect," he says. "With acupuncture, we provide a gateway for the physical, mental and emotional sense of well-being."
Acupuncture also can help with stress and depression as well as pain. "Many people come in for a tune-up for a variety of these things," Damman notes. "It's a wonderful way to help them move through life with comfort."
Joyce Davis is a freelance writer who lives in Longmont. She can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.
link to original article
I find it "neat" that my former life as a designer still carries on to today and complements my current therapy work to keep athletes active, pain-free, and doing those races! Visit my Logo Designs link to see if you have one of my designs. Happy trails.
It's not something I advertise, but I had cancer last year. My family on either side has had no history of cancer until my generation. I am the third cousin so far to have cancer (and the only survivor so far) and I can't help but think that our food and environment was/is a major factor.
I didn't come to alternative medicine easily. I was in my 30's before I really started learning about nutrition, wellness, and therapies like massage and acupuncture. No joke. I was a late bloomer! My father had been diabetic for at least 20 years, but all that diet information he was given in the 80's was really really really not beneficial. And I cannot believe today how much diet Pepsi's and packets of Equal I went through in the 90's. Is food the only factor in ill health? Probably not. But I do believe it's big enough to make a significant impact.
So please watch this video No joke, it's important for your health and the health of your families. As U.S. citizens, we are NOT educated about these things. We assume that because it is on the shelf at the grocery store, it must be okay. It's not.
At least if we know, we have a chance to influence our own health and the health of those we adore.
I am honored to have joined Herban Health in their efforts to bring free acupuncture services to those in need. Started by former students of ACTCM (American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco) over a decade ago, it continues to serve those in the community that do not have regular access to healthcare.
This small organization is run entirely by a dedicated few and are assisted by volunteers like me who come in and help when we can. All services are free and the whole organization exists through volunteer time and donations that go towards supplies. Clinics are "community-style" (patients are treated in the same room and points used are those easily accessed with patients seated) and most are walk-in, no appointment necessary.
My own life is blessed in many ways, and it is almost a relief to me to finally be able to give back to the community if only in a small way. If you know anyone that might need our services, please let them know. At this time, all services are offered only in East Palo Alto, but is open to everyone.
For more information, visit http://www.herbanhealthepa.org
I just found this article and it has some good points for those of you on the fence. The only thing I would add is that Chinese Medicine has alternative therapies that don't involve needles if you're supremely phobic, but, as a patient and practitioner, I have seen that needles often do something special that other modalities just can't. This might mean some conditions may not resolve or may resolve a lot more slowly. Just something to keep in mind!
8 Tips for Acupuncture First-Timers
By TheDailyZeel | Healthy Living – Wed, Jan 4, 2012 12:01 PM EST
New York City acupuncturist Bruce Mandelbaum has been treating elite runners for more than 25 years. No stranger to sports injuries himself, Bruce is an endurance athlete and long-time member of the Central Park Track Club, and knows first-hand how acupuncture can complement a vigorous training regimen.A few painless facts about acupuncture.
But here's the kicker; while there are plenty of zealous athletes who are all too happy to put their body through a marathon, triathlon or other challenging feat, there are far less who embrace alternative healing therapies like acupuncture to maintain their physical health. Why? In many cases, it's fear of the unknown.
Sure, the thought of acupuncture can be intimidating to a newbie, even if the potential discomfort of a needle is far less daunting than the pain of running 26.2 miles. Bruce, a "true sports acupuncturist" and a prominent media personality, tames our trepidations with simple tips for all you first timers out there.
Face the facts. There's no way around it. Acupuncture involves needles. Sounds obvious, but it's important to get past this fact before booking your appointment. Over it? Good.
Gain without the pain. Despite what you may think, acupuncture doesn't hurt that much. Bruce explains that, unlike a physician's needle, which is thick and filled with fluid, acupuncture needles are much thinner. In fact, if one were to be held seven or eight feet away, you wouldn't see it at all.
Fresh and clean. Acupuncture needles are always 100 percent sterile and disposed of after use. A professional would never use them over and over again.
Eat lightly. While it's important to eat some sort of food to prevent dizziness or nausea, avoid over-indulging before a session. Stick to a snack consumed a few hours prior to your appointment.
What's poppin'? If you're currently taking vitamins, herbs or medications, consult your provider to determine whether you should continue to do so prior to and in between sessions.
Ouch to ahh. In many cases, acupuncture can offer immediate relief from pain. It's not uncommon to feel at least some improvement on the day of your appointment.
Don't rush it. The overall effect of acupuncture can take a few treatments. It's important that you commit to these treatments in order to achieve the cumulative results.
It's in the zone. Acupuncture can deliver a new-found sense of pain relief and overall restoration. Some of Bruce's clients describe that they feel as though they're "in a zone."
Due to popular demand I am posting my two go-to recipes for energy bars. I primarily use them as fuel for my long runs and they seem to work very well for me. Most if not all of these ingredients can be modified to fit your dietary requirements so experiment away.
In Kiiko style acupuncture (a Japanese style of acupuncture handed down over generations), it teaches that ofttimes when acupuncture points that you feel should work but do not, there is a blockage in the body that is preventing the healing process.
I have been working on a patient recently who has some unusual medial knee pain. The pain started above the joint and extended a few inches up the leg. I am pretty sure it is not meniscus related but with some testing could not really differentiate between the gracilis or quad tendons in that area. The patient told me that they have using the leg press and leg adductor machines at the gym and that the pain is worse when moving the leg into a sitting-cross-legged position. The patient had first tried to self-treat by using moxa (herbal heat) and herbal patches but with little result. When I first saw this patient her chief complaint was actually back pain, but the knee issue came up and we began to treat them concurrently.
After several visits, the back pain was reduced significantly, but the knee pain was pretty stubborn and the pain reduction was insignificant.
In keeping with Kiiko's teachings, I re-checked the patient's basic constitution and found that the "adrenal" points (trigger points in a sense) were quite sensitive. So far, with several treatments behind us, I am finding that addressing the adrenals (calming the "fight or flight" response) has been thee most effective in reducing the patient's pain. Each visit has ended with the patient unable to replicate the pain. The pain comes back in a few days, but has been less with each visit. Stuff like this is what makes acupuncture so fascinating. Why would this work? It wouldn't surprise me in the least that with our stressful lifestyles, it is inhibiting our natural abilities to heal. A good reminder to find the time to slow down whether it be through qigong, meditation, tai qi, or as simple as taking the time to sit down with a good book.
My patient is still continuing to see me and I am excited to see how we progress in the next few weeks.
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