I was digging around in my newsletter archives for inspiration this week and came across a shout out to Dr. Dean Ornish I'd done back in 2009 and ironically, I had just been speaking about his work and programs to a patient yesterday, so it seemed like the right topic for a blog post today. This post is therefore dedicated to The Man - Dr. Dean Ornish.
Dr. Ornish is a pioneer in preventative medicine (from a western perspective, nudge nudge wink wink) because he has done some really groundbreaking research proving that low tech solution are some of the best to our high tech health problems. His statement in this TED talk excerpt, that Your Genes Are Not Your Fate, alludes to the fact that by changing your diet, decreasing stress and increasing exercise you can do many incredible things including:
Dr. Ornish's perspective on changing disease and increasing health has a heavy focus on stress and reducing chronic stress in particular. In this way, Chinese Medicine and Dr. Ornish's programs have an incredible synergy.
Lifestyle change including the basics of decreasing stress, increasing movement, doing meditation and Qi Gong and eating well to nourish the body have long been part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Indeed, the Yellow Emperor's Internal Classic - the first cannon of Chinese Medicine written in the 2nd century BCE by Qi (Ch'i) Po, says:
"When the mind is calm and stable, the vitality of life circulates harmoniously throughout the body. If the body is nourished and protected by this circulation of vitality, how can it possibly become ill?"
The "vitality of life" is your essence and Qi flow, and here, Qi Po is alluding to the importance of decreasing and managing stress as a preventative medicine measure.
In Chinese Medicine, stress restricts Qi and Blood flow - especially in the Heart and in the Liver - and these in turn can restrict Qi and Blood flow everywhere causing a host of problems from insomnia and headache to mania, pain and digestive disorders. Stress can literally be the root of all health evil - both physically and energetically - so getting it under control must be a top health priority.
If stress is a high factor in your life and you have heart disease concerns as well, combining Dr. Ornish's program with TCM is powerful medicine. Dr. Ornish's program will give you a roadmap to success, while Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can balance your energies to accelerate the process, give you focused scheduled time to meditate and relax during treatment, and give you a place to check in - someone (like me!) who is asking you about your progress, monitoring your blood pressure and helping you stay on track with your goals.
Dr. Ornish says that even after one month you can start to see changes if you stick to his Reversing Heart Disease program, and even people with previous heart attacks have had proven success. So if you can literally Change Your Fate through diet and exercise and avoid western medications, why not try? It might not be right for everyone, but you'll never know if you don't research it and consider the possibility.
So, a tip of the hat from me to you, Dr. Ornish. Thank you for helping the western world see that prevention really is medicine with proven results.
Chinese Medicine has a long history treating women's health and fertility, as you may be aware. I happened to stumble on this "oldie but goodie" from the Ricki Lake show - a brief spot with Dr. Mao. Dr. Mao is one of my favorite Chinese Medicine authors because his books are very simple and make Chinese Medicine lifestyle, philosophies and tips accessible to the wider population.
There's quite a bit of research on Chinese Medicine and fertility, especially Acupuncture in conjunction with IVF for improving success rates. Ultimately, whether you are coming in for fertility, pain, women's health, menstrual irregularity, fatigue or anything else a strong emphasis will be placed on health basics from a Chinese Medicine perspective - balancing your Qi to remove whatever imbalance is causing your symptoms and then stabilizing your Qi to strengthen your constitution long term. The result of this is decreased symptoms, decreased stress and inflammation and increased wellness overall towards a healthier happier you.
Sounds good, right? Right! Go Team Chinese Medicine!
I am very excited to announce that my husband, Brian Kitzerow, DPT, is now working at Goodell PT in SW Portland and is accepting new patients! We are very excited that he is working in an outpatient setting and that we can share referrals now. I was so excited that I had to blog about it, and I can't wait to see what our collaborations bring for our patients.
With a strong background in biochemistry, a long history of physical activity including soccer, track & field and martial arts, he has the education and experience to excel in his work and I can tell you that he does. He has a special interest in chronic and neuropathic pain and is enjoying working with ESD patients in particular - a specialty at Goodell. ESD stands for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, an inherited connective tissue disorder, so if you know anyone with chronic pain, EDS, neuropathic pain or someone who has been in a car accident lately, please think of sending them his way with Rebecca's double thumbs up.
I also have to share that I believe the combination of Acupuncture and Physical Therapy can be pretty amazing. It can be difficult to commit to so much regular treatment, I understand that (from experience), but if you can commit to the time required to combine therapies, your results will be accelerated and longer lasting.
Acupuncture can straighten out your energetic system, decrease stress and pain, and re-habituate your body to a state of balance. Physical Therapy will balance the body physically, improve strength and flexibility, and give you the tools you need to heal and continue your preferred activity level without incurring new injury. Its a winning combination because the two approaches are just the right amount of different and complementary.
I feel like a personal testament to this powerful combination because while you may not think it to look at me, I've had a lot of injury in my life. I've had tendonitis, bursitis, meniscus frays and tears, ACL tear and knee surgery, piriformis syndrome, dislocations, subluxations, back spasms and a motor vehicle accident. I'm one of those people that dreads filling out new medical forms because there is never enough room for all my injuries on there and because the doctor usually gawks at my list.
This long list, however, means I am very well acquainted with pain and pain treatments experientially and professionally, and I have no problem sharing that my best results have come from combining Acupuncture and Physical Therapy. That is why I am so excited to be able to refer patients to my husband in this setting because I know he is top notch and an excellent physical diagnostician. That is also why I often recommend Physical Therapy - its effective, covered by insurance, and gives YOU tools that you can take home with you and apply to the way you use your body for years to come.
So with this note, please welcome my husband to the world of outpatient clinics, and if you have a physical therapy need or know someone who does think about sending them his way!
Until next time,
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.