Lately, I have been very interested in alternative therapies to aid in diagnosis and provide strategies to promote healing. This is not my area of expertise, so I sought out some great professionals to answer my questions to relay this information to you! Lance Isakov is an acupuncturist based out of Wayne, PA and was kind enough to answer my questions about to how acupuncture might be useful for those with autoimmune disease. Visit Lance’s website at www.WayneAcupuncture.com
1. What are the benefits of acupuncture for those with autoimmune disease? The benefits of acupuncture for those with autoimmune disease arise in treating the individual rather than the symptom. See, from my perspective the body is very wise; it doesn’t just have symptoms for no reason. So rather than symptom as a misfortune or even the cause, let’s look at symptom as a signal or a teacher. Its the body’s way of alerting us that there is a problem. Symptoms, from a certain perspective, are no different from the check engine light coming on. In acupuncture these “dashboard lights” point the way to the deep underlying imbalance. I mean, you wouldn’t just tape over that red light, you’d look under the hood. A car is a crude example; we are not after all just a machine. This is why I look not just at physical signals, but also emotional and spiritual ones.
Let’s take Multiple Sclerosis for example and open it up to a much bigger context. MS is a autoimmune disease that, starts like all other autoimmune diseases: the immune system gets confused. In the case of MS, the immune system begins to attack its own myelin sheath, the protective covering of the nerve cells. This then leads to the tingling, numbness, and tremors, as well as a whole host of potential symptoms that can arise with a fraying nervous system. At the root, it’s about the body’s own defense system being confused about what is self and what is not. Acupuncture can work on several different levels to help the symptoms that arise. The physical sensations often get considerably less severe, resulting in better quality of life. Also, the person is supported emotionally and spiritually through what is undoubtedly a very challenging disease. This happens on subtle and profound levels and helps the immune system itself become clear about what is self and what is not.
2. How much faster can someone expect to heal when adding acupuncture to their other diet and lifestyle changes? Acupuncture is known to speed up the healing process. However this will differ from one person to the next. Acupuncture is nature’s medicine to the core, so it moves at her pace. While it can speed the healing process, it also can give people more patience in healing something that took a long time to develop.
3. How often and how many acupuncture treatments would be needed to see the benefit? On average I see patients weekly for 4-6 weeks and then begin to spread the treatments out to bi-monthly then monthly as the body begins to maintain its balance. Eventually treatments are recommended seasonally (4-5 times/year) for tune-ups.
4. Who should consider acupuncture treatments? Everyone who is interested in being empowered in their healing process should try Acupuncture. As the patient heals symptoms, the alarm signals of the body will fade away or no longer bother the patient.
5. How can someone find a good acupuncturist? As always, referrals from friends and family are always recommended. I would also recommend contacting a few acupuncturists in your area and chatting with them. You will be developing a healing relationship with that practitioner so it’s important to get a sense of the practitioner. Lastly, The school I went to Tai Sophia www.tai.edu has a practitioner referral page…it may be worth a visit to see if there are any practitioners in your area.
6. Any last thoughts?I also want to note that I recommend a Paleo/ancestral diet to everyone that comes in with autoimmune issues. And with this diet alone, have seen tremendous changes!
Lance Isakov enrolled in the Tai Sophia Institute’s three year Masters of Acupuncture Program in 2000 after coming to know the Beauty and Power of Five Element Acupuncture. Every day, with each of his patients, he is in awe of the transformation that acupuncture brings. This has created a passion for him in passing this healing possibility to as many people as he can! Check out his practice, located in Wayne, PA (outside of Philly) at www.WayneAcupuncture.com. Lance is also happy to chat with anyone either in person or by phone (610) 203-3747 or email [email protected] if they have any further questions or want to speak about their concerns.