Last week I let you know that emotions could be the thing behind your stubborn symptoms or weird behavior patterns. We could go deeper into that, there’s probably a few books on that singular topic alone. However, this week I wanted to give you a few more reasons that your stubborn symptoms might be sticking around. These are things that I discuss with my patients on a weekly basis and I think can help you get on the right path to clearing those symptoms up!


The non emotional reasons that I see stubborn symptoms stick around are:


    1. Physical changes or growths in the body.
      Acupuncture has an amazing effect on the physical body. We can loosen muscles, decrease bone spurs, help polyps absorb – seriously, all of that. BUT.. in order to do so, we need to know what’s going on. The treatment for heel pain is WAY different (in my office at least) if the cause is muscular and if the cause is a calcium deposit on the bone or a bone spur.

      I see this happen all the time. When something isn’t getting better right away, I first look to emotional situations that I might have missed. The second thing I look for is this: the possibility that we are treating it not perfectly because we don’t know exactly what’s going on.

      There are a lot of acupuncturists who think it’s not important to know, but I prefer it. This is the junction between Eastern and Western medicine that I appreciate so much. I love sending patients out for tests so that we can figure out what’s really going on. Often, I have patients that are sort of.. Anti Western medicine – and when I can convince them it’s worth it to use all the tools that are available and then they notice that their Western med diagnosis helps me to help them… it’s a win-win-win.
    2. Repetitive action in your life that recreates the right atmosphere for the symptom to remain.
      This usually starts with athletes but isn’t limited to them. If your knee hurts every time you run and you run 6 days a week, there is only so much acupuncture (or any other treatment for that matter) is going to help. Chinese medicine is amazing and it isl miraculous sometimes, but it isn’t strong enough to fight against the way you treat your body.

      This is why I love giving my patients ‘homework’. The more they can do at home, the faster they get better. The faster they get better, the less money they have to spend on treatments and the more space I have available to treat the next person that might need me. Again, it’s a win-win-win. Triple wins are amazing, dontcha think??
    3. The wrong treatment.
      This one is my responsibility and the treatment can be wrong for a few different reasons. The first one is that I am choosing the wrong points because I am missing something, like in reason number 1 above. The second is that Chinese medicine isn’t the best thing to treat whatever you’ve got going on. Sometimes, you just really need antibiotics or mood regulators. There are Chinese herbal formulas that you can use to kill off bacterial infections and point combinations that you can use to improve mood but again, I like the combo of East and West and sometimes, you just need a course of the right meds.

      There are people in the Chinese medicine community that will freak out at that last paragraph. Chinese medicine can do everything! And yes, to be honest, in the right hands, with the right ingredients, I do believe it can (otherwise, I wouldn’t have chosen it as a profession!). I also believe that if someone is using Chinese medicine on a regular basis to maintain themselves, they eat well, exercise regularly and so on, the occasional western med isn’t going to through their bodies into a downward spiral, nor will they go to spiritual hell for ‘going over to the other side’.

      I’m practical. When I had a root canal (gasp!) a few years ago, you bet your a** I took antibiotics preventatively. When I’m sick, I use acupuncture, herbs, essential oils, yoga AND Gripex from the pharmacy. I don’t care which one of them has the MOST effect, I just want to get better as fast as I can.
      In addition, a lot of my patients also see massage therapists, reiki practitioners, physical therapists, chiropractors, nutritionist, functional medicine doctors and so on… the possibilities for treatment are so varied that finding the best thing sometimes takes a hot minute.
    4. Incorrect frequency of treatments.
      Basically, not frequently enough. In China, when someone needs a course of acupuncture, they get 10, 20, 30 or more days IN A ROW. One course of treatments is 10, done over the course of 1 or 2 weeks.

      In the Western acupuncture model that we have created, this is financially impossible for many people. There are some answers to this issue. A lot of places now have community acupuncture that is based on what you can afford or the prices are low enough that you can go more frequently without breaking the bank.

      There are also people that offer packages to make it more reasonable. There are some specialists (such as Andy Rosenfarb in New Jersey) that ONLY treat this way because their focus is on particular problems that Western medicine isn’t so great at.

      I recently took in a patient who has a 10+ year history of Trigeminal Neuralgia. This diagnosis is often called the “Suicide Diagnosis” because it’s such a hard thing to live with. Think – a migraine worse than you can imagine that never totally goes away and can cover up to half of your face. It’s horrendous. This patient has tried acupuncture before and gotten a few hours of relief, but it never lasted.

      So, we decided to do it differently. I treated her daily, Monday through Friday and after 5 sessions there was a break. She had a few hours one morning without any pain. This hadn’t happened in 10 years. So, we are continuing and she keeps getting better and better. She’s not pain free but she has exhausted all other options and this is the first thing that has made any significant headway. If we hadn’t decided to try this way, she might have never known that the possibility exists for her to improve.

      It’s an amazing thing to watch and I’m super happy to be a part of it.



So, there you have it. If you’ve been stuck on the same symptom for some time, take a look-see at this list and at your life and check if there’s something you can shift to help yourself break through the pattern of pain, irritation, discomfort, etc. 🙂


Here’s to feeling happier and healthier!