19 Mar Analyzing Acupuncture- My interview with acupuncturist
This month’s blog focuses on acupuncture as an integrative part of health care. I sat down with a local acupuncturist, Brodie Buris, with whom I had met briefly when he was a guest speaker at my University of Michigan Integrative Healthcare class a few months ago (see HHR blog from October 2016). I decided to track him down at his office at The Lotus Center. Lotus Center in Ann Arbor, MI. Here’s a brief blurb from our conversation:
HHR: What complaints do you most often treat in your practice?
BB: First is pain. Particularly low back pain. Many people will use acupuncture as an adjunct to common medications. There are very rare adverse side effects to acupuncture. Second is general functioning issues. These can be things such as thyroid issues.
HHR: How many sessions are typical for someone to need?
BB: It varies, but 6-10 treatments are typical. The sessions occur weekly at first and then there are maintenance sessions once a month. The sessions are typically one hour.
HHR: What’s your typical clientele?
BB: About 70% female. We see a lot of sports injuries as well.
Brodie also mentions that he will sit down with his clients at the beginning and end of the session to discuss other issues that might be bothering them. He works with Chinese herbs as well. I had a nice experience at the Lotus Center. It was very bright, calming, and welcoming upon entry.
After my interview with Brodie, I thought more about how acupuncture might be added to my overall healthcare. As it turns out I’ve been reluctantly taking thyroid medication for about 10 years. It’s always bothered me that I’m taking a chronic medication with no end in sight. Back then, I was having low energy (had also just moved, had a new job, and was a post –doctoral fellow, so a little stressed). My well intentioned Primary Care Physician (PCP) prescribed it and I thought it would be a temporary medication to help boost energy. The dose has escalated over the years. The other part that bothered me was that I recently received blood tests which showed my levels were a bit elevated. My PCP again wanted to raise my dose. Now that I’ve become a bit more savvy about healing (“if given half a chance, the body will heal itself” –J. Rosenthal) I said give me 3 months and let’s see what happens. Well, without any major changes to my lifestyle I repeated the test and my numbers went back to “normal.” How did that happen? If the numbers are that wild that they decreased without any major change, then maybe the thyroid can just go back to normal function over time normally?
This is a topic that Andrea Beaman is passionate about. I first heard her speak in my health coaching program at Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She’s a very good speaker and has high energy. She has a book called Happy Healthy Thyroid (hey, that name almost sounds familiar…). In the book, she talks about her personal story and about how we can heal our thyroid (if you have a thyroid and it is “sluggish” not if it has been removed) by basically improving diet, lifestyle, mood, etc. I like Andrea’s approach and I wondered about using acupuncture to boost the thyroid. So, beginning this month my challenge is going to be to drop my thyroid dose (with my great PCP’s blessing) and combine acupuncture to boost thyroid functioning. I desperately would like to be on less or no medication and would like to avoid the nasty side effects of low thyroid. Well, stay in touch and we’ll see how it goes.