Special Interest Areas
The areas that excite me the most are injection therapy, developing integrated treatment protocols for treatment of "lurking pathogens", and the treatment of the stress-related disorders with auriculotherapy and other natural therapies. My interest in these areas has had developed in response to the daily challenges of treating modern patients in clinical practice.
The integration of injection therapy has made a huge difference in my practice, especially when it comes to the treatment of acute and chronic pain disorders. I have practiced shiatsu for over 20 years and like all body workers have come to appreciate the challenge that chronic myofascial injuries can present, where there are often areas that do not respond easily to standard approaches. As practitioners we often believe that these areas contain "adhesions", "calcifications", etc. European doctors use the term "Myelogeloses" and Janet Travell also noted that in some particularly recalcitrant trigger points "histological changes" occurred that she could not explain. At any rate, many patients with chronic pain have muscle injuries in which the tissues have most likely degenerated and/or become stagnant with irritants, waste products, etc. and this creates a significant obstacle to healing. With these common problem areas the use of Traumeel® and other FDA-approved injectables will often produces dramatic positive changes in the tissue. With injection therapy I find that areas of chronic injury that would have previously taken several treatments to respond (if they did at all) can often be successfully treated with one or two well-placed injections. Of course, some conditions require several treatments, however these are usually the patients that have not had success with any other treatment modalities and are looking at either surgical or pharmaceutical pain management options.
In Chinese medicine the concept of "lurking pathogens" was developed to help explain the observation that after exposure to illness factors such as acute infections, in some cases the body's defenses cannot completely eliminate the pathogen, and subsequently the host and pathogen co-exist in a state of precarious balance. Clinically when this occurs, the ability for the person to stay healthy depends mostly on their constitutional strength and lifestyle. However, what often occurs is that eventually something upsets the balance, such as an acute stressor that weakens the host resistance, and then this tips the scales and the symptoms related to the "lurking pathogen" will flare up. This model is a popular one in Chinese medicine in the U.S. as it helps us to better understand and treat some of the common diseases we are challenged with, such as Hepatitis C, Herpes, and intestinal Dysbiosis (overgrowth of yeast and other "non-friendlies").
I became very interested in the clinical application of this model for treating both "stealth infections" such as HIV, as well as the more "garden variety" chronic infections seen in chronic sinusitis and intestinal Dysbiosis. Influenced by the teachings of innovative practitioners such as Dietrich Klinghardt, MD, I have come to believe the challenge of these chronic infections is directly connected with that of "body burden," i.e. the accumulation of environmental pollutants in the human organism throughout the life cycle. As the intestines are the most common site for these chronic infections to reside, I have found that integrating empirical abdominal-based detoxification protocols from the Japanese Kampo tradition with the emerging natural strategies for reducing "body burden" can often produce dramatic improvements in these chronically ill patients. I had the opportunity to present my approach at the 2006 Acupuncture Association of Colorado's annual conference entitled "Lurking Pathogens of the 21st Century."
The other major area of interest for me has to do with the potential to treat stress-related disorders with auriculotherapy and other natural therapies. Recent research at Harvard Medical School and elsewhere indicates that acupuncture can have a profound ability to help regulate the limbic brain. A Harvard Medical School study demonstrated that regular body acupuncture produces "a pronounced calming of activity in the deep structures of the brain (e.g., amygdala, hippocampus, hypothalamus, etc.)" as well. In addition, acupuncture is one of 7 therapies recommended by David Servan-Schreiber, clinical professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh and author of "Instinct to Heal", (see instincttoheal.org). My interest in this area is in how acupuncturists can develop the best possible treatments for limbic imbalances such as depression and anxiety.
Over the last few decades advances in brain imaging have shown that there are specific patterns of either excess or deficient electrical activity in discrete brain regions that occur in most of our common psychiatric complaints, from depression to OCD. When a person has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), for example, a brain structure called the amygdala is hyperactive and perpetuates the inability for the nervous system to let go of its sympathetic up-regulation. In rabbits you can surgically remove the amygdala and then they don't get stressed out when you approach them; however similar surgeries with humans have not gone well. There is, however, a point on the ear that correlates with the amygdala, and anecdotal experience shows that if it is precisely located and treated, it often calms down the hyper-vigilance and other symptoms associated with PTSD. In the Chinese Auricular system this point is well known for treating irritability, and is called the Irritability point. Despite the fact that Chinese Medicine views these problems differently than Western Medicine there is a great deal of interest on both sides on how the Western scientific method can improve our understanding with regards to what the potential of acupuncture is.