December 2016 Newsletter
We at DSPT have something special in store for you in our December newsletter! We bring a bit of warmth to you from down south in North Carolina via our old beloved colleague, Aaron Swanson, DPT. Check out his personal perspective on why a physical therapist gets treated with acupuncture for self care after the jump in this month's newsletter:
Title: Why a Physical Therapist Gets Acupuncture (...and why you should too)
When the End Becomes the Beginning
It wasn't that bad of an injury. It was more of a nagging sensation. An occasional tug in the back of my calf when I was walking my dog. A twinge of pain when I was pedaling hard to dodge a taxi in NYC. Some throbbing at night when I was binge watching Netflix on the couch.
But the real problem wasn't the calf strain. The problem was that it had gone on for too long, despite my best efforts.
I had tried just about everything I could think of. I had read just about every research paper on the injury. I even had several of my fellow physical therapists take a crack at it.
Still, no change.
Not only was this frustrating, but as a physical therapist it was also quite a hit on my ego.
At this point it wasn't the pain from the injury that was bothering me. It was the idea that I'd gone through all my options.
Trip to the East
I have always known about acupuncture. But for some reason I never thought of it as a primary treatment for injuries. I had always considered it to be apart of the alternative medicine realm.
However, at this point I was willing to try anything. So when my wife, who is also a PT, recommended I see Mila, I was more than willing to comply.
My first session with Mila was a paradigm shift.
Not only did it resolve my calf pain, but it changed my perspective of eastern medicine. Acupuncture shifted from being an alternative treatment to a dependable first option for pain and injuries.
Mila recommended I continue for a few more sessions to make sure the results stuck. I was more than happy to continue treatment.
I looked forward to the sessions. Personally, it provided a great deal of relaxation, improved my recovery, and cleared my mind. Professionally, it was exciting to see a novel approach to the human body.
Since Mila is trained in both eastern and western medicine, she was able to explain her eastern influenced logic in traditional western medicine terms. I found this blended approach fascinating and was interested both for myself and for my patients.
In fact, I was so impressed with Mila and her approach that I convinced the owners of my clinic at the time to hire her!
It didn't take long to see the empirical evidence.
As a patient I quickly realized the benefits of acupuncture:
- Less Pain
- Alleviates Muscle Tension
- Decreased Mental Stress
- Improved Energy
As a professional, working with Mila, I quickly realized the benefits of my patients receiving Acupuncture in addition to Physical Therapy:
- Additional Assessment Information
- Quicker Recovery
- Faster Objective Results
- Resolution of Secondary Symptoms
- Improved Mood
Over time I've realized acupuncture not only helps to resolve injuries, but it improves one's overall health. Because of its systemic effect, acupuncture can be a source for primary care, complementary medicine, and/or wellness/maintenance. It's no wonder why so many of today's professional athletes incorporate it with their normal physical care.
Isaiah Berlin said, "to understand is to perceive patterns."
However, we sometimes make the mistake of chasing different presentations of the same pattern.
In retrospect, it's easy to see why I couldn't find a solution in the western medicine realm. I was chasing the same pattern in different ways (i.e. biomechanically, neurologically, histologically, etc.). I didn't need a different diagnosis, exercise, or lifestyle modification. I needed a different pattern.
Eastern medicine has it's own intricate, complex pattern.
So if the western pattern isn't working, wouldn't it make sense to try a different pattern?
Or better yet, why not fill the gaps by utilizing both patterns at once?
Like swiss cheese, if you stack them on top of each other, the holes disappear.
About the Author
Aaron Swanson is a Doctor of Physical Therapy in Asheville, NC. He and his wife practice at their own clinic, The A&G Project. When Aaron is not obsessing about movement and the human condition, he is usually playing guitar, enjoying craft beer, or outside running around with his crazy dog, Rigby.
We hope you enjoyed reading this special holiday edition of our newsletter! We here at DSPT wish everyone good health as we close the year 2016,
Jon, Pete, Iwalani, Mila, Bridget & Alan