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11 06, 2012

Golfing Again Thanks to Massage

By Dallas Sharples

Bob came in complaining about back pain that started in his lower back and radiated down his legs. At 63 years old, Bob's pain was so acute he was forced to give up golf; a game he loved and had hoped to spend his retirement enjoying. Bob told me he had difficulty sleeping and was taking medication every day to deal with the pain. In the past Bob had had neck surgery and back surgery on two separate occasions in an attempt to resolve his back problems but nothing had helped.

Assessing the Problem

I examined Bob and noticed he had significant scar tissue and calcification in the joints and muscles. I also noticed adhesions that could be an indication of poor blood flow or the presence of scar tissue related to previous back and neck surgeries. He had limited range of motion in his neck, almost no mobility in is hips, and his muscles were so tight they were difficult to massage and manipulate. 

We started with weekly massage treatments focused on promoting circulation, breaking up scar tissue, and bringing the muscles back to a supple, flexible state that would allow them to function properly. 

Bob noticed an immediate improvement. He was sleeping better, walking about 45 minutes a day, and reported significantly less pain. During a follow-up exam I noticed Bob's muscle tone had improved and found he was more flexible and had a greater range of motion. 

Return to Health

 After six weeks, I recommended we continue to address Bob’s chronic back issues but reduce the frequency of massage treatments to every two weeks. Bob’s progress stabilized after four treatments and I recommended he continue with monthly treatments that would ensure he was able to return to the game he loved.

A big part of Bob’s improvement resulted from his willingness to take part in his recovery and make lifestyle changes that would support a healthy back. When massage treatments started, Bob committed to walking every day and progressed from five minutes at a time to the two hours he is able to walk now. He also lost 50 pounds!! 

golfer resolves back pain with massage

Getting Back in the Game

I am happy to report that Bob’s quality of life has improved dramatically. He is virtually pain free and is able to golf regularly and walk the course without difficulty. He continues to exercise daily, is sleeping better, and finds the occasional strain no long aggravates his back. Best of all, Bob is back on the golf course. Bob is doing the things he loves and enjoying a healthy and happy retirement.

Bob is a great example of how massage can benefit old injuries and chronic problems and help us to regain a better quality of life.

If you would like to find out if massage therapy can help you, visit Okanagan Acupuncture Centre at our downtown Kelowna location or contact us to find out more!


11 06, 2012

Making Menopause a Smooth Transition

Sharon came in complaining about chronic fatigue and low energy. The 58-year-old had been experiencing menopausal symptoms for the past three years and reported having trouble falling and staying asleep. She was also having night sweats and hot flashes that interfered with her sleep.

Getting to the Root of the Problem

At Sharon’s first appointment, she reported feeling fatigue, weakness in the limbs, and memory loss. She also reported digestive issues that included bloating, belching, gas in the stomach, and heartburn. Her tongue was slightly purple, red in the center, and had no coating. The tongue is an accurate indicator of what is going on internally, which is why acupuncturist's use it as a diagnostic tool

Sharon’s symptoms indicated she was suffering from a kidney yin deficiency. The kidneys play an important role in our vitality and as they decline, signs of aging begin to appear including greying hair, memory loss, poor eyesight, and aging skin. If kidney functioning is particularly low we may also experience lower back pain and weak limbs. Digestive issues are an indication of poor spleen functioning, which can also contribute to weakened kidneys.

a successful transition through menopause with acupuncture

Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

I started Sharon at twice weekly acupuncture treatments in order to get her symptoms under control so she could enjoy a better night’s sleep. Sharon experienced improvement after just a few sessions and after five sessions her night sweats and hot flashes decreased by 50%.  

Because of her progress, I reduced her treatments to once a week while we continued to work on her sleep issues and hot flashes. With each treatment, Sharon continued to improve and her symptoms resolved. She was sleeping better, sweating less, and had fewer hot flashes. She reported feeling more energetic and said her digestive issues were improving with each acupuncture treatment. 

After 10 treatments, Sharon was nearly back to normal so we reduced her sessions to twice a month and then to once a month to maintain her progress and prevent her symptoms from returning. Eventually, when the menopausal stage is complete, her symptoms will resolve fully.

Enjoying Life’s New Stages

I see Sharon every two months and she continues to do well. When she does experience sweating and hot flashes now, it is minor and resolves quickly. Best of all, she is sleeping normally and her energy levels are great. 

Sharon is a great example of how acupuncture can reduce menopausal symptoms by helping the body reduce stress and ensure the various organs and systems are functioning optimally so that one can experience a comfortable transition through this natural stage of life.

Wondering if acupuncture can help you achieve better health? Visit Okanagan Acupuncture Centre at our downtown Kelowna location or contact us to find out more!


4 05, 2012

Pain Free After 15 Years of Suffering from Chronic Pain

Rob came in to see us as a last resort. For years, he’d been dealing with chronic pain related to hip, back, and leg injuries sustained during a serious accident over 15 years ago and his problem seemed to be getting worse.

At 43 years old, he was unable to work, had trouble standing, and was in constant pain. He also reported having low energy, depression, and sleep and anxiety issues.

Rob was at his wit’s end, tired of dealing with constant pain and taking half a dozen different medications that didn’t seem to help. He had tried and found no relief with various other therapies –  including massage therapy, physiotherapy, and chiropractic – and was hopeful acupuncture would work. At the same time he was also convinced he would never get better.

Treatment Plan

Rob came in for twice weekly acupuncture treatments but noticed little change until the sixth visit when he was more relaxed and receptive to the acupuncture treatment.

After that visit he reported an overall decrease in his pain level and said he was able to complete and recover from activities more quickly. At this point, Rob was able to decrease his pain medication and reduced his acupuncture treatments to once a week.

Continued Progress

By the 13th treatment, Rob was in considerably less pain and had decided (with his doctor’s help) to discontinue his pain medication and muscle relaxants. After two weeks, he was amazed at how well he was doing! He was feeling great and said he couldn’t believe he was off medication and feeling so good.

Not only that, but the acupuncture treatments were also helping resolve his insomnia and depression. Rob continued with weekly treatments and continued to test his body physically to see how well it recovered. He was amazed at the results!

Healthy & Happy Again

Rob completed 23 treatments over the course of five months and has made a full recovery.

He is back to his old self, in good spirits, sleeping well, and dealing with absolutely no chronic pain. He is also able to take on physically demanding work and participate in activities that were once impossible including hiking, snowshoeing, and mountain biking.

We didn’t see Rob again until three months later when he stopped in to book an appointment and told us he’d been feeling so good that he’d actually forgotten to come in.

Despite this, he decided to continue with monthly acupuncture designed to ensure he would continue to live pain free.

Man no longer suffering from chronic pain thanks to acupuncture

Acupuncture offers Hope for Patients with Chronic Conditions

Rob is one of our favourite success stories and a great example of the transformative power of acupuncture. 

We see many patients like Rob, discouraged and defeated by chronic pain issues and dealing with depression and sleep issues that are often aggravated by pain medication. Most have tried everything and truly believe they are a hopeless case.

What’s great about these people is that they are the ones who stand to gain the most from acupuncture, which is particularly good at treating chronic conditions like pain, insomnia, migraines, and digestive issues. Feeling better after years of chronic pain is an incredibly empowering experience that can lead to positive changes in other areas of life as well. And for the team here at Okanagan Acupuncture, it is incredibly rewarding to be a part of these positive changes and to see our patients succeed!

Wondering if acupuncture can help you? Contact us to find out more!


11 04, 2012

Athlete No Longer Sidelined Thanks to Massage

Pam is a fit woman who came to our clinic complaining of severe hip pain that traveled through her left buttock, into her hip, and down the back of her leg (often termed "sciatica"). The pain began after a skiing accident in the fall and although she’d tried physiotherapy and chiropractic for three months, she experienced little to no relief. She also reported trouble sitting, sleeping and enjoying activities she once loved, including running.

During Pam’s first massage treatment, our massage practitioner Dallas noticed that Pam’s hips were out of alignment and her left IT band was so tight that it was pulling her left kneecap outwards. Pam's right QL muscle was also inflamed, the result of it compensating for the hip muscles on the left side.

Our bodies like to be in alignment and will adjustment automatically to balance out something that is injured or not working properly. With a hip problem, the muscles on the opposite side have to work harder to compensate for the injured hip, often leading to problems in both hips. The spine muscles all the way up the back are also affected by the injury and in time, a hip injury will lead to shoulder problems on the side opposite the injured hip.

Treatment plan

We initially saw Pam weekly for four weeks for what Dallas calls “trunk work” – focusing massage treatment on the body from the neck to the knees. Doing this allowed Dallas to address all of the issues that resulted from the body compensating for the injury. It also prevented new problems from developing during the recovery period.  

We also worked a lot on the psoas; a muscle in the front hip area that is often overlooked by massage practitioners and other physical therapists. The psoas muscle is a big player in hip and lower back problems and it is important to address this muscle in order to resolve these problems. 

After the first treatment, Pam experienced significant relief and after four treatments she was able to return to her workouts. Pam found the pain would return after intense workouts, but her body would bounce back more quickly and the problem didn’t linger like it once did. 

Dallas also sent Pam home with “homework” that included a series of regular stretches and a recommendation that she take up yoga; something that reduces stress, teaches people how to stretch properly, and helps ensure work we’ve done on the treatment table is not undone.

After six massage treatments, Pam was doing well and Dallas recommended she scale back to monthly massage treatments that would help increase circulation to scar tissue that can remain after an injury.

Today Pam is doing great! She no longer experiences flare ups, is virtually pain free, and is able to maintain a healthy body and an active lifestyle.

runner no longer sidelined by hip injury

Massage is a great options for so many ailments! Let our massage practitioner Dallas Sharples do wonders for your body and health. Contact Okanagan Acupuncture Centre at our downtown Kelowna location for more information.

10 04, 2012

Getting Help for Allergies with Acupuncture

Rick is an active 42-year-old-man who came to us a few years ago complaining of allergy symptoms that kept him from enjoying the outdoor activities he loved. Rick was using over-the-counter medication to treat his symptoms, but found they were ineffective or produced side effects that were nearly as bad as the allergy symptoms themselves.

Digging Deeper

When we first saw Rick, we noticed his energy was low. Digging deeper, we discovered he often woke up tired and had trouble falling and staying asleep at night. He also complained of lower back pain in spite of being in great shape.

Rick’s symptoms indicated he had a lung and kidney qi-energy deficiency. We knew Rick’s kidneys were deficient because of his lower back pain and because his pulse was weak in the kidney position. The kidneys help keep the lungs strong and healthy so weak lung qi-energy can also be a sign of weak kidney qi-energy.

man enjoying outdoors allergy free

A Plan for Treatment

Allergies often develop in the sinuses after repeated colds and flu that can weaken the sinuses to the point where they may never fully recover.

To remedy this, we focused Rick’s acupuncture treatment on the sinus points as well as the lung and kidney points. This opened, cleared, and stimulated the sinuses so they would function properly and be strong enough to withstand environmental aggravators such as allergens, wind, colds and flus, and cold weather.  

Because the lungs are associated with sinus health and the kidneys support the lungs, we targeted both organs in acupuncture treatment to help promote sinus and respiratory health. By doing this, we were able to treat Rick’s allergy symptoms and address the underlying internal conditions that were contributing to his allergies.

Rick’s allergies improved immediately and became less severe over the course of treatments. After 10 treatments, his symptoms resolved and we recommended he return for treatment before the start of the next allergy season.

Today, Rick’s symptoms are mild and infrequent and we are able to focus on other ailments and to strengthen his overall health and body balance. He continues to come in regularly before allergy season, but needs only a few treatments to keep his symptoms in check.  Rick is doing great and is able to enjoy his time in the outdoors year round, thanks to the benefits of acupuncture and Chinese medicine (TCM) for seasonal allergies.

Wondering if acupuncture can help with your condition? Contact Okanagan Acupuncture Centre at our downtown Kelowna location.

10 04, 2012

Back Pain Successfully Resolved

Read how one of our patients successfully resolved back pain with acupuncture!

Back pain and sciatica are painful conditions we see often at the Okanagan Acupuncture Centre and thankfully have remarkable success treating. In some cases, pain results from sitting at a desk for extended periods or from physically demanding work. In others, it may be caused by an old injury or a degenerative condition like arthritis.

Frank is a 45-year-old patient of ours who recently came in for sciatica problems so severe he was bedridden, barely able to walk, and taking Tylenol 3s for the pain. No specific injury had occurred to trigger the condition, however Frank said he’d experienced back pain on and off for nine years. This recent flare up had gone on for two weeks and showed no signs of improving.

man enjoying skiing

Patient History

Frank is physically fit, however he has a tendency to burn the candle at both ends and has recently noticed a decline in his energy level. He works hard during the week and spends much of his time on his feet completing repetitive tasks. On the weekends, he enjoys skiing, hiking, and climbing.

An examination found Frank’s tongue looked normal. His pulse also seemed fine, although a little weak in the kidney and spleen position – likely the result of the natural aging process and his overactive lifestyle.

Because of his low energy, his qi energy (chi) was unable to flow properly through his meridians, resulting in pain. If his kidneys were stronger and his energy levels higher, then it is likely his back would not have been so affected by the demands placed on it.

Our Plan of Action

Our acupuncture treatment plan for Frank consisted of two phases: resolving the acute pain and strengthening the body to prevent future occurrences. During the first treatment, Frank received acupuncture at the point of pain and in other areas that would help strengthen the lower back and address the underlying causes of pain.

Frank experienced mild relief after his first treatment and improved 80 per cent after this third treatment. Regular treatments focused on strengthening the lower back and addressing the underlying cause of pain continued, and by the end of the eighth treatment Frank had recovered fully.

The Future Looks Promising

During treatment, we discussed additional ways Frank could improve his health including making diet changes, resting regularly, and not ‘overdoing’ it. We also discussed the importance of regular monthly acupuncture to maintain optimum health.

After combining acupuncture with lifestyle changes, Frank’s prognosis looks good and today he is happily back skiing and has learned to balance his fast-paced lifestyle in a healthy way so that he can remain pain-free.

Frank is just one example of the many people that have benefited from acupuncture! Wondering if acupuncture can help with your condition? Contact us at our downtown Kelowna location to find out more!

12 03, 2012

Student Heads Back to Class Pain Free

Anyone who suffers from headaches or migraines knows how debilitating they can be. Take Amy, a 22-year-old student whose headaches were so severe she could no longer attend classes.

When Amy came into our office her energy was low and she was clearly defeated by her headaches, which came as a sharp, stabbing pain in her temples accompanied by a severe sensitivity to light.

During the consultation, Amy told us she had severe PMS and mentioned that she’d hit her head years ago, but wasn’t sure if that was when the headaches started. She said her headaches tended to start in September every year when school began.

Amy no longer suffers from headaches

Our Search for the Solution Begins

According to Chinese medicine there are many types of headaches and we can determine which kind based on a person’s history, the nature of the pain, an examination of the tongue and pulse, and other accompanying symptoms.

In Amy’s case, her symptoms pointed towards a problem with blood stasis aggravated by qi-energy stagnation due to her stress from college. This diagnosis was based on the nature of her headache pain (stabbing), her history of head trauma, her PMS symptoms, and the purple aspect of her tongue – all of which pointed toward blood stasis.

The fact that her pulse was wiry and the headaches came in the fall when her stress level increased indicated liver qi-energy stagnation. Because the cause of Amy’s headaches was clear, the treatment was straightforward and the headaches were relatively easy to resolve.

Amy’s Treatment Plan

Treatment for Amy’s headaches involved acupuncture as often as three times a week combined with a herbal formula taken on a daily basis to help resolve her symptoms.

After the first acupuncture treatment, Amy’s headaches were still present but she was experiencing significantly less pain. After just two more treatments, her headaches were milder and less frequent and she was able to return to classes without aggravating her symptoms.

We recommended Amy continue weekly acupuncture for another month and after 10 treatments her headaches resolved completely.

At this point, we deemed Amy “graduated” from acupuncture and her treatment was complete. Amy was doing well and was not experiencing headaches even when faced with the stress of school. We recommended she monitor her symptoms and return immediately for treatment if she noticed them returning.

We also recommended she return for a series of preventative acupuncture treatments in late August or early September, around the time she would be returning to school.

Prognosis Looks Good

Just recently, Amy stopped in to say hello and to let us know that she is doing great and her headaches have not returned, even with the extra pressure final exams. Congratulations Amy! It’s stories like yours that make our day.

Wondering if acupuncture can help your condition? Chances are, it can! Contact us or visit Okanagan Acupuncture Centre at our downtown Kelowna location.