Wednesday, August 28, 2013

3 Tips to Correct Poor Posture and Prevent Headaches

It would surprise you how many times I've advised a patient that the cause of their headaches or neck pain is simply poor posture.

The difficulty with our posture is that it is dependent on so many different factors. Our mood, energy level, stress, phone or tablet usage, chair position, and even the traffic on the freeway.

As with all issues of self awareness, the first step towards correction is checking in with ourselves. I will give you a few tips that will make it easier to figure out when your posture is off, before you start feeling pain.

1. Set a timer. With the popularity of smartphones, everyone has a timer at their fingertips. Simply set a timer to go off every 15 minutes. For the first 3 rings of each hour, stop what you are doing briefly and check in with yourself. Are you hunched over? Is your head protruding towards the computer screen? Bring your shoulders down and extend your neck towards the ceiling as if there were a rope pulling up on the top of your head.

2. Use mirrors. Place mirrors around your house or your office. As you walk by one, pay attention to how you look. The use of constant feedback will help you train yourself.

3. Ask someone. Most people aren't standing around looking for people with poor posture, but they will know it if asked. Ask a coworker, friend, or family member to evaluate your posture periodically throughout the day. Again, check for alignment, shoulder position, and extension of the head.

Also, practicing a system of exercise like Yoga, Tai Chi, or Qi Gong helps us learn postural awareness. Visit and click on the "Qi Gong" link, or simply Click Here to view some videos that teach basic principles of proper posture and Qi Gong.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Balance Method

Acupuncture has a varied and rich history, and every practitioner has their own unique way of approaching each case based on their training and clinical history. One of the treatment styles I use at my clinic in Orange is known as the Balance Method. It was pioneered by Dr. Richard Tan and taught to me by Marly Wexler at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. I have recently been using this method of treatment more frequently, and seeing remarkable results in the process, especially for pain.

The basic idea is that by treating areas and correlating channels, and not directly treating the diseased area, the body is allowed to balance itself. So for example, if the patient has pain in their left ankle, I will treat the right wrist. And if the pain is along the Stomach channel in the ankle, I will treat the Large Intestine Channel of the wrist, since these two channels are paired in Acupuncture Theory. 
Without getting too technical about it, my typical clinical experience is that the patient feels immediate pain relief from the first insertion of a needle. And the benefit to this treatment method is that the patient can move their ankle, or back, or neck, or whatever area is painful, during the treatment both to increase the range of motion, and to gauge the pain level as the area is being used.

I can't tell you how delightful it is to have a patient smile and say, "There isn't any pain!" so quickly that somewhere in the back of their heads they believe this is some kind of magic.

To learn more about acupuncture and the Orange County Acupuncture Specialist, visit