Research Roundup: Acupuncture and Knee Pain from Arthritis

In this edition of Research Roundup, we’ll examine how acupuncture can be used to decrease the pain and functional limitations found with the slow deterioration of the knee joint due to arthritis. While there are many different types of arthritis, this specifically refers to the most common one which is osteoarthritis [OA], sometimes referred to as degenerative joint disease [DJD]. Osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body that contains articular or joint cartilage, and the knee is particularly affected. The hip joint is the second most common joint to suffer this disease. While the causes of osteoarthritis can be from several different factors, it is the symptoms that can be disabling for the patient. Deep, dull, and achy type of pain, especially at night or during times of rest that actually decreases with activity is a very typical presentation. Functional limitations such as joint stiffness and loss of full ranges of motion are very common. It is important to note that the disease is progressive and the goal of any therapy is to slow the disease. The article for this week examines the role that acupuncture can play in obtaining that goal and delaying any surgical joint replacement intervention.

While the disease is often thought of as bone disease, it is actually related to the articular cartilage. There are bony changes that are secondary as the disease progresses. This cartilage is a fascinating tissue as it actually requires movement to thrive metabolically. Too much, or more likely, too little movement, leads to the development of osteoarthritis as the cartilage cells fail.

The research articles examined the changes to the OA-damaged articular cartilage through the application of acupuncture, specifically electroacupuncture [EA]. The treatments were directed at decreasing the pain from the joint deterioration as pain causes one to use the joint even less. It also looked at making changes in the muscles surrounding the knee joint. The same pain also causes the muscles to be weaker from disuse, encouraging even more cartilage destruction. Please note that this particular article involves animal models of disease, with the results being extrapolated to humans [this is done all the time in research].

For the acupuncturists that are reading, the points selected were ST34, SP9, SP10, GB34, UB40, LV8, Neixiyan (EX-LE4), and Waixiyan (EX-LE5)). The frequency was set at 2/100 Hz at 2mA current. The treatment parameters were three 15-minute treatments per week for 4 weeks [12 total treatments].

The electroacupuncture was compared with a standard OA drug, celecoxib [Celebrex]. The results were interesting. The knee pain was “dramatically reduced” in both groups, and improved knee muscle size and function in the EA group, and a slightly better cartilage improvement in the drug group. This may be a factor related to the short timeframe of the study, with EA requiring additional treatments to exert its full effect. Both EA and celecoxib reduce inflammation, a significant part of the OA process, but they do it through different means [modulating nuclear factor-κB signaling vs. reducing prostaglandin (PG) synthesis, respectively].

In conclusion, acupuncture is a safe and effective therapy for knee osteoarthritis. Dr. Rhoads can work with your primary care provider to help you decrease pain, increase your knee strength, and flexibility, and slow the cartilage damage so that you can return to your golf or tennis games.


  1. Shi, X., Yu, W., Wang, T., Battulga, O., Wang, C., Shu, Q., Yang, X., Liu, C., & Guo, C. (2020). Electroacupuncture alleviates cartilage degradation: Improvement in cartilage biomechanics via pain relief and potentiation of muscle function in a rabbit model of knee osteoarthritis. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, 123, 109724.

Research Roundup: Acupuncture and IVF

Acupuncture and Infertility – What does the research say?

In this edition of Research Roundup, we’ll examine how acupuncture can be used to help achieve pregnancy, especially during IVF (in-vitro fertilization). Infertility is reported to affect up to 15% of all couples worldwide, and acupuncture has been used to improve the conditions necessary for ovulation and clinical pregnancy rates (CPR). While there are many causes and factors that have been offered for infertility, this edition of Research Roundup is focused on improving ovarian response in those women undergoing IVF. Does acupuncture promote successful ovulation and does it also enhance the success of the IVF protocol? The article chosen for this Research Roundup is a systematic review (we like these as they represent a high-level critique of the reviewed literature to answer these questions). The article can be found here.

This systematic review evaluated those with a poor ovarian response (POR), which predicts successful pregnancy outcomes. It is diagnosed by having met two of the following three conditions: 1. advanced maternal age (≥40 years); 2. a previous POR (≤3 oocytes after a conventional stimulation protocol); or 3. an abnormal ovarian reserve test (which evaluates the number of available follicles – follicles contain the eggs).

All forms of acupuncture (manual, ear, and electroacupuncture) were included with electroacupuncture being the main focus. The systematic review focused on evaluating randomized controlled trials only – this is good as it helps to weed out lower-quality research. In the article, there is a list of the acupuncture points used (Table 2 for those interested and note that Ren 4 and Spleen 6 were used in all studies). The controls (non-acupuncture) were conventional medical approaches. Unfortunately, sham acupuncture was included. See my previous comments on sham acupuncture here.

So what did they find? What would be the most important outcome in this scenario? Clinical pregnancy rates! Those rates were higher in those receiving electroacupuncture. This was attributed to having higher numbers of oocytes (eggs) retrieved and improved hormone environments.

Acupuncture is safe to use in conjunction with conventional IVF protocols. Dr. Rhoads can work with your primary care provider to help with pregnancy.


  1. Guven PG, Cayir Y, Borekci B. Effectiveness of acupuncture on pregnancy success rates for women undergoing in vitro fertilization: A randomized controlled trial. Taiwan J Obstet Gynecol. 2020 Mar;59(2):282-286. doi: 10.1016/j.tjog.2020.01.018. PMID: 32127151.

Research Roundup: Acupuncture and Hypertension

In this edition of Research Roundup, we’ll examine how acupuncture can be used to lower hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure. Considering the impact of hypertension on heart disease and overall health, safe and effective therapies are warranted. Since some pharmacological agents have side effects, can acupuncture be used alone, or in combination with these agents, to modulate and reduce high blood pressure? The article examined today can be found here, and it summarizes some of the key research findings on how acupuncture treats this disease. Specifically, we’ll be focusing on ‘essential’ or primary hypertension, which really means that the cause is unknown.

According to the article, there are “numerous recommendations for controlling hypertension, including improving lifestyle, such as doing more exercise, keeping a balanced diet, and having pharmacological treatment”. Let’s see where acupuncture works to reduce hypertension. As a bonus for any acupuncturist who will read the article, it mentions specific acupoints for consideration!

Blood pressure regulation is complex. There are both neurological and neurochemical elements. It seems, according to the research, that acupuncture works on both. Some of this will get a little technical, only because the nervous system is highly interconnected and uses terminology that is confusing to everyone. Here we go. First, you need to know that blood pressure is controlled by the blood vessels and the heart and in turn, they are controlled by nerves. These nerves are grouped into two divisions, one that causes the blood vessels to constrict (a narrowing, also known as vasoconstriction) and the heart to pump harder, increasing blood pressure, and one that causes the heart to slow down; it has no direct effect on the blood vessels though. The first division is called the sympathetic nervous system and the second is called the parasympathetic. Reducing the sympathetic effect and/or increasing parasympathetic effect is the goal. According to the article, acupuncture decreases the sympathetic influence by controlling the source at both the spinal cord and thalamus (a brain structure referred to as the ‘rostral ventral lateral medulla’ and is a major source of sympathetic nervous system activity generation). It was also shown to increase parasympathetic influence, described in the article as an “increase in vagal activity”, citing the vagal nerve as the main control on decreasing the heart’s influence. That’s right – acupuncture influences both systems at the same time! Slowing the heart and relaxing the vasoconstriction (also known as vasodilation) and causing blood pressure to be lowered.

In addition to the nervous system, there are several neurochemicals that participate in hypertension, noting that the neurochemicals and the nervous system clearly work hand-in-hand. Two key findings were the reduction of norepinephrine and the reduction of renin (which is released from the kidneys and eventually triggers another neurochemical called angiotensin II) by acupuncture. Both of these, norepinephrine and the renin-angiotensin II pair, increase blood pressure directly at the blood vessels through vasoconstriction and were decreased by acupuncture.

Acupuncture is safe and can be used in conjunction with those taking blood pressure medications. Dr. Rhoads can work with your primary care provider to help get your high blood pressure under control.


  1. Fan H, Yang JW, Wang LQ, et al. The Hypotensive Role of Acupuncture in Hypertension: Clinical Study and Mechanistic Study. Front Aging Neurosci. 2020;12:138. Published 2020 May 25. doi:10.3389/fnagi.2020.00138

Research Roundup: Acupuncture and Headaches

Headaches are very common medical conditions that practitioners see in clinic. The two most common forms are migraine and tension-type, accounting for roughly 90% of all headaches managed in healthcare settings. They can be particularly severe and disabling, having a significant socioeconomic impact. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture has been widely employed for treating headaches and in this edition of Research Roundup, we’re going to explore how effective acupuncture can be for migraines, arguably the more severe of the two. In fact, migraine headaches were ranked as the “sixth most prevalent out of 328 diseases” in the world according to the 2016 Global Burden of Disease Study.3

For those who suffer migraines or other headaches, any relief or decrease in the frequency (number of headaches in a particular time frame), duration (how long the headache lasts), or severity (how painful or disabling the headache feels) is the goal of the acupuncturist. The severity of the pain (the headache) and any associated neurological symptoms, including the migraine aura, is incredibly disruptive to the individual and is “most burdensome in women between ages 15 and 49 years.”3  The long term goal is the elimination of the headache, but any relief is significant. The goal of acupuncture is not just to mask the pain or symptoms, but to get to the root of the problem, as Dr. Rhoads likes to say.

In research, the highest quality of evidence comes from a Systematic Review, where multiple research studies are analyzed for their quality and their outcomes are summarized. In the way that they are analyzed, their combined data offers more consistent and reliable conclusions on how well the therapy works. The two research papers on acupuncture therapy for migraine headaches reviewed can be found here1 and here2. These systematic reviews examined a combined 43 research papers.

Both reviews concluded that “acupuncture is an effective and safe method for migraine”, and that “the acupuncture group had greater improvements in the frequency of migraine attacks, VAS score (for measuring pain), and treatment efficiency”. In other words, acupuncture was safe, reduced the pain, and the number of migraine headaches. A reduction in the duration of the headaches was only briefly mentioned, and this may reflect the need for further studies to fully clarify.


  1. Ou MQ, Fan WH, Sun FR, et al. A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of the Therapeutic Effect of Acupuncture on Migraine. Front Neurol. 2020;11:596. Published 2020 Jun 30. doi:10.3389/fneur.2020.00596

  2. Li YX, Xiao XL, Zhong DL, et al. Effectiveness and Safety of Acupuncture for Migraine: An Overview of Systematic Reviews. Pain Res Manag. 2020;2020:3825617. Published 2020 Mar 23. doi:10.1155/2020/3825617

  3. GBD 2016 Disease and Injury Incidence and Prevalence Collaborators. Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 328 diseases and injuries for 195 countries, 1990–2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. Lancet 2017; 390: 1211–59

What the location of your headache is telling us.

According to a 2016 WHO report, 50% of adults worldwide have had at least one headache in the last year, and 30% of those have reported experiencing migraines. Headaches can range from a mild annoyance to extremely debilitating, drastically affecting your quality of life. The International Headache Society has a 16 page list of headache classifications from the western medicine diagnosis approach. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) also has its own classification system that has been identifying and treating headaches for over 2,000 years! All these different types of headaches mean that having a blanket treatment for everyone is just not going to work. TCM thrives by creating individualized treatments using a root and branch approach to healing, and headaches are no exception. The root of the condition is identifying and treating the cause of the headache, which includes determining which meridian (acupuncture channel) system is involved. The branch is treating the actual pain from the headache through the meridian system by clearing local blockage and blocking pain pathways.

One very important way that we learn more about identifying the root of your headache is by looking at the specific location of your pain. Location is very important as the meridian system has channels that flow over certain areas of your head. One of the reasons for your headache is that there is a blockage within one of those meridians. When we identify both the location and the meridian, we can then treat that specific meridian with acupuncture to decrease the severity, frequency, and duration of headaches.

Let’s look at some locations of common headaches and what meridians they correspond to!

Temporal Headache (temple area/sides of head/one-sided): Gallbladder meridian

  • Possibly corresponding symptoms: top of shoulder pain/tightness, tinnitus

Occipital Headache (back of the head towards the base of the skull): Urinary Bladder meridian

  • Possibly corresponding symptoms: neck pain, back pain

Vertex headache (top of head): Liver meridian

  • Possible corresponding symptoms: stress, high blood pressure, feelings of anger/frustration

Whole head + lightheaded: Deficiency in Qi and Blood

  • Possible corresponding symptoms: fatigue, dizziness upon standing, pale complexion

photo by @kanpobliss

Classifying and treating headaches with an integrative approach, using both TCM and western medicine, is an extremely powerful tool to finally obtain some relief. I have seen great success in treating headaches with my own patients and the clinical research demonstrates the beneficial effects of acupuncture. For example, this 24 week clinical trial published in JAMA Internal Medicine April 2017 found that acupuncture significantly decreased the frequency of migraines in the 245 participants studied. If you are suffering from headaches I encourage you to reach out to myself or your local practitioner to learn more about your treatment options with TCM. As I mentioned before, taking an integrative approach to headaches is very important. I normally work closely with your MD, or specifically your neurologist, to rule out any concerning underlying conditions that could be causing your headaches.

Research Roundup: Acupuncture vs. Insomnia

In this edition of Research Roundup, we’ll examine how acupuncture can help with sleep issues. Dr. Rhoads mentioned that acupuncture could help in her last blog post, so let’s explore that a little further. This week’s article explores how effective acupuncture can be in treating insomnia, which is a common sleep issue for many people. It manifests as difficulties in getting to sleep or staying asleep. Sounds familiar. We’ve all experienced this at one time or another.

This article explores some interesting ways to evaluate how well acupuncture helps those with insomnia. What’s also fascinating about this article is the study design, or how the research was conducted. They compared one group of randomly chosen people who received acupuncture to a group that didn’t. Any differences in sleep quality would then be attributable to the acupuncture. This type of study is known as a randomized controlled trial and it represents one of the most common methods used in healthcare research. They also went a step further and compared one group of people receiving acupuncture using multiple acupoints to those receiving acupuncture at only a single point to see if that made any differences. Both groups receiving acupuncture, single-point or multiple points, were compared to the control group, who received acupuncture needles in areas that do not correspond to actual acupuncture points. These are referred to as “sham points”. No acupuncturist would needle these “sham points” in a real clinic environment. For those interested, the single acupoint chosen was Heart-7 and the multi-acupoints combination was Heart-7, Spleen-6, and Du-20 (listed as GV-20).

To understand how acupuncture could have made any difference, they chose to use a special form of magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI. Most people are familiar with MRI for visualizing body structures such as the knee or the brain. The particular type of MRI chosen for the study was functional MRI, or fMRI. It allows the researchers to observe changes in actual brain activity before and after the acupuncture for all three groups. They also used two patient questionnaires (PSQI = Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and AIS = Athens Insomnia Scale) as well as polysomnography, which is better known as a sleep study. It measures brain waves, heart rate, and other factors to see your sleep patterns. Most acupuncture studies don’t evaluate these many changes, which makes this one unique.

So what did they find? This study showed that the people who received the acupuncture at multiple acupoints, similar to what Dr. Rhoads would choose in practice, provided better positive sleep changes, meaning that the ability to fall asleep and stay asleep would be improved. Those receiving acupuncture at a single acupoint did only slightly better overall than those who received sham acupuncture on the questionnaires. Interestingly, they also noted changes in brain activity, as seen on the fMRI studies, were different for those receiving multiple acupoints; more brain areas were regulated and, while this requires more studies, could indicate that increases in activity in certain brain areas could be associated with better sleep quality.

For more information on this article and sham acupuncture, please see a more in-depth analysis on my blog.

Sleep: Waking up between 1-3am? It could be your Liver!

We have all done it, you roll over, look at the clock and there it is… 3:00 am. Hopefully, you can roll back over and fall back asleep, but what if you can’t? Luckily, acupuncture and Eastern Medicine can help!

In the clinic, this 1-3 am wake up is one of the most common sleep disturbances that I see. Why this particular time? Well, according to our Eastern Medicine Body Clock (our breakdown of the circadian rhythm, see the image below), this time coincides with the Liver organ system. Our Body Clock is set up in 2-hour blocks representing the organ system that the Qi is strongly flowing through during that time. When there is something off with that organ system, it can disrupt the normal flow of Qi, causing disturbances that then cause the symptoms that can show up during that particular time. For example, if you wake from 3-5 am, which is the Lung time, you may be going through a period of grief or have a weakness in your respiratory system (asthma, COPD). Interesting right?

So what’s going on with the Liver causing you to wake up between 1-3 am? Well, the Liver system is one of the organ systems that is most affected by stress. Feeling stressed, angry, or frustrated are all signs that the Qi in the Liver system is stagnant or in excess. This stagnation can lead to a build-up of heat that disturbs the spirit (Shen) creating more irritability and emotional disturbances that can make it difficult to fall asleep or wake us up in the middle of the night. The more heat in the system, the more wild or disturbing our dreams can be. Other signs that the Liver Qi is being disrupted is a tightness feeling in the chest or sides of the rib cage.

To treat this stagnation, we can use acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine (like Emotional Balance), exercise, and rubbing the sides of the rib cage to release this constraint. Taking care of this stagnation outside of sleeping hours and making changes to how we manage stress can drastically improve our sleeping patterns.

During the night the spirit (Shen) is supposed to be rooted in our Blood so that our mind and emotions can rest and be restored. If we have a deficiency in Liver Blood we can have trouble staying asleep, because there is not enough blood to anchor the spirit, allowing our mind race when it should be resting. Other signs that Blood may be deficient are pale/brittle nails, dizziness, blurred vision, pale-complexion, and scanty menses for females. This sleep pattern is usually associated also with Heart and Spleen deficiency, and you may be experiencing fatigue, palpitations, anxiety, and poor digestion.

To correct a Blood deficiency we need to nourish the body. We can achieve this with acupuncture, Chinese herbs (like Mental Tranquility or Suan Zao Ren Tang), a nourishing diet (Golgi berries, dates, red meat, soups/stews), and restorative meditation practice.

There are many reasons why your sleep may be off, and these are just two. If you experience severe insomnia or occasional sleep disturbances, we take a holistic and individual approach to treating you exactly where you are. You don’t need to suffer any longer. Send me an email or book online today to get started on getting you the best night’s sleep.

Here are some tips for you to try at home to get you started right away:

Trouble falling asleep:

  • Foot soak before bed to ground your Qi (and pull it from your busy head!)

  • Quiet reading, meditation, or stretching during the hour up to bedtime (with no tv/electronics)

You are awake during the night, now what? :

  • Make sure the temperature is comfortable in the room, use the restroom if needed

  • Readjust pillows to make yourself comfortable

  • 4-2-6 Breathing Exercise (Breathe in for 4 secs, Hold for 2 secs, Breath out for 6 secs)

If you can’t fall back asleep after 30 mins:

  • Listen to meditation recording for sleep (I like the Calm app, but many are available on YouTube)

  • Quiet reading, and once you yawn or start feeling tired, lay your book down and try to get back sleep

  • Keep a pen and paper by the bed and write down whatever you can’t get off your mind

  • Light stretching in bed, the 4-2-6 Breathing Exercise (Breathe in for 4 secs, Hold for 2 secs, Breath out for 6 secs)

Research Roundup: Acupuncture. Immunity. and T cells.

This week we’re going to introduce something new to the community by offering an analysis of current research topics related to acupuncture. This research comes directly from the National Institute for Health’s database called PubMed ( This database is updated constantly and is the world’s largest medical library. As acupuncture continues to be accepted and utilized, more and more high-quality research is performed and published through this system. We’re going to breakdown the information in these not-so-easy to read articles and present them in more relevant clinical applications. As patients or prospective patients (hi! I see you out there! 👋) it is important for you to understand that you are receiving evidence informed treatments and you yourself are given the opportunity to be more informed about acupuncture and how it works.

Research Roundup will be hosted by my guest author, Dr. Patrick Downie. He is a chiropractic physician and has been involved in the acupuncture education profession for over 15 years. He has taught for acupuncture colleges in Chicago, Illinois, Santa Monica, California and Sarasota, Florida. He has been a professor, department chair, and academic dean during his tenure. He currently teaches in a research-focused acupuncture doctoral program and consistently reviews the acupuncture literature. It is a great honor to have him writing for us outside of his normal academic setting, and bringing you up to speed on current research.

Acupuncture and Immunity

Of particular importance during these unusual times is the immune system. A robust immune system can defend the body against a variety of microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses. Modern lifestyle elements, such as stress, poor food choices, and lack of sleep, can impair the immune system’s ability to work at peak efficiency.

Dr. Rhoads has mentioned to you before that acupuncture can boost the immune system, but how can it do that?

A recent article published just this past April explored acupuncture’s effect on this very topic. Your immune system is complex and consists of many linked components. One very important aspect is the cells. There are many cells that work together to maintain an effective immune system. There are the B cells that produce antibodies and there are the T cells that play a role in surveillance and specifically killing target cells. While there are many types of T cells with differing functions, two, in particular, are worth noting. These are the helper T cells, usually denoted as T4 or CD 4 cells and the killer T cells, usually denoted as T8 or CD 8 cells. They work together to limit the spread of microorganisms, and their balance is critical, with too few or too many of either disrupting how well the system works. This particular article demonstrated that the study found that acupuncture can restore the CD 4/CD 8 ratio, improving the immune function of patients. The study was focused on patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, but the study is applicable in the current environment of COVID-19.

While this is just one article, it does demonstrate two things; that acupuncture does have a developing research basis, and that acupuncture works by directly affecting the body’s existing cells and systems. As with any exploration into how something works, more information from continued research is required. Acupuncture works, there is no doubt there. How it works is supported by the increasing body of evidence that the research is showing.

We hoped that you enjoyed your introduction to Rhoads to Health Research Roundup. More reviews will be posted in the coming weeks and months.

Top 5 Tips to Support Your Immune System Naturally

In our current crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic, we must all be doing everything we can to stay safe and healthy to protect ourselves and others. This includes wearing your face mask, washing your hands regularly, and practicing physical distancing as strictly as possible. Along with these recommendations, building a strong, healthy immune system and robust overall health needs to be our top priority. I want to briefly go over some fundamental tips from Eastern Medicine that you can incorporate into your life TODAY to start strengthening your immune system and bring balance and harmony to your body.

Let’s get started!

1. Setting Your Routine

  • If you are having trouble implementing a routine in our upside-down world right now, you are not alone. Without access to many of our regular scheduled activities throughout the day, it may feel difficult to know where to start to get you, and your family, back on a routine. Don’t worry. You can do this. We are going to make this easy! You may find that trying to re-adjust everything at once doesn’t work for you, and if that’s the case, then I want you to implement ONE thing at a time. First, start with your sleep schedule, which we will get more into this next. Handwriting your daily or weekly schedule can be extremely helpful in finding a routine that works for your life right now. Start with a seemingly basic outline of the day’s events, and as you incorporate these, then slowly add in more details of tasks. Start simple!


Morning: 8 am wake up, morning walk, breakfast with the kids, create a list for the priorities of the day (work, home, family)

Afternoon: 30-minute break to assess how your day is going and reset if you are off track, eat a healthy lunch

Evening: dinner, wind down 1 hour before bed, bedtime 10 pm

Why? In creating a routine, you allow your body to physically and emotionally prepare for the expectations for the day. This can help you stay motivated, improve your digestive system, and helps manage stress and anxiety. This will help your immune system stay strong and robust as we bring more balance to your organ systems and Qi!

2. Sleep Schedule

  • Set a consistent sleep and wake schedule.

  • Set bedtime BEFORE midnight.

  • No screen time at least 1 hour before bed (yes, you CAN do this! Find a book, do some stretching, get creative!)

Why? If you are not sleeping well or enough, the Qi and Blood in your body is unable to replenish your organ systems while you sleep. You may then feel exhausted, unmotivated, start getting headaches, and have a lower threshold to deal with stress. Getting adequate sleep plays a HUGE role in helping your immune system by allowing this restoration.

3. Nutrition

  • Eliminate sugar and dairy from your diet

  • Focus on warm and easy-to-digest foods, like soups or stews

  • Slow down on the junk foods, and no sodas

  • Schedule consistent meals throughout the day, and do your meal prep beforehand if you can

Why? In Eastern Medicine, the Spleen and Stomach systems are in charge of transforming all the excellent nutritious food you are eating into useable energy for all the other organ systems. These systems then send the useable energy and Qi on to the Lung system. Collectively, all three systems build up the resources for the Qi of your immune system, which we call the Wei Qi (way-chee)/defensive qi!

4. Protecting your “Wind Gate”

  • Wear a scarf!

Why? In Eastern Medicine, the “Wind Gate” is a translation of the name for a set of acupuncture points on the upper back, but in general, we use it to refer to the whole upper back and neck area. Ok, so this deserves a more extended explanation (I will be sure to give it it’s own post!). Basically, this area is very vulnerable to what we call the “external invasion of pathogens,” and that can cause illness. The bottom line: It’s vital to wear a scarf or a covering over your neck and upper back. This is especially true when you are exposed to a cold draft or in an environment that has the AC cranked up (school and office buildings are notorious for this).

5. Move your Qi

  • At a minimum, 30 minutes a day is all you need to get up and to move! Dance, walk, run, workout, stretch, chase your pet, tai qi, qi gong – whatever it is, make it happen! Get that Qi moving and feel the physical and mental transformation.

Why? Our Qi is a dynamic energy in our body that keeps our organs healthy and functioning. When our Qi becomes stuck or stagnant, this can lead to pain, depression, illness, and imbalance in the body. One of the ways to regulate the Qi is to physically move it. Movement can allow Qi and Blood to circulate more evenly throughout the body and help nourish and support your overall health. Your immune system needs strong Qi to fight against pathogens effectively.

If you need a little more help getting started, send me an email today (, and we can create a plan that best fits your needs! If you are struggling with your sleep, we may need to introduce you to some safe, natural, and effective herbal formulas and supplements to help you get your best night’s sleep.

As always, reach out with questions, I would love to hear from you!

Please remember to keep wearing your mask, washing your hands, and physically distancing.


-Dr. Rhoads

Managing Stress & Anxiety with TCM Webinar Replay

In our current circumstances with COVID-19, I want to empower you to take back control of your own health! There are so many ways that Traditional Chinese Medicine can serve you during this time and protocols that you can learn to use at home. Remember that I am here for you during this time, every step of the way. We can create custom acupressure protocols and ear acupressure treatments via telemedicine. I can walk you through the process so that you can get the most out of your treatments.

Please enjoy this webinar replay! Let me know if you have questions!


Let’s talk telemedicine.

Wow. The past few weeks have been completely life changing. The effects of the COVID-19 outbreak are having a huge impact on all of us. I hope that you are finding some moments in your day that are filled with love, laughter, and hope in this uncertain and heartbreaking time. Many of you that are reading this are my current patients and let me just say, I miss you! The past three weeks without being able to see you in clinic has felt more like an eternity. I know that many of you are still struggling with your chronic health conditions, may be feeling more stress and anxiety than normal and you may even be experiencing new symptoms. Some of you that I see more regularly may be starting to feel the difference in your body after not being able to receive acupuncture for the past few weeks. I want to remind you that I am still here for you and there is a lot that I can provide for you using the powers of Traditional Oriental Medicine coupled with the amazing modern technology we have available. Telemedicine is here to save the day! I want to give you a break down of what to expect, what your treatments may look like and what conditions we can treat, since you may be wondering “how can my acupuncturists offer me care through telemedicine?. So far, the response from patients using telemedicine has been wonderful and they have been surprised with how much we can accomplish.

What to expect:

1.      First, just click the link: If you are concerned about being “tech savvy” you don’t need to worry. Once we schedule your appointment, that you can book online or by contacting me directly, you will receive an email with a link that you will click on at our scheduled appointment time. All you do is just click the link! Super easy! You can use your phone, tablet or computer to connect. Make sure your camera is turned on so that we can see each other.

2.      Smile: Once you are in you will see me, most likely set up at my kitchen table! I will be smiling and most likely waving because like I said before, I miss you and am excited to see you.

3.      Business as usual: After our greeting, we will get into our normal intake that you are used to from the clinic. I will ask you about your chief concern, what makes it better/worse, and we will go through all the normal questions about your overall health (sleep, digestive, stress, diet, energy, etc.). I will then have you show me your tongue so I can use that to help with my diagnosis and see how you are progressing.

4.      Listen: One of my biggest jobs in clinic or via telemedicine is to listen. I am here to support you, to hold space for you to be heard and then together we will build a treatment plan to meet your needs.

What your treatments may look like:

Per usual, all the treatments are tailored specifically to you as an individual and your current needs. Depending on what those are we may use a combination of the following methods:

1.      Herbs: I may recommend a specific herbal medicine formula to treat your current conditions, that can be shipped directly to your house. I can create custom formulas to treat pretty much every condition that we treat normally with acupuncture.

2.      Acupressure: I may show you specific acupressure points that I will have you press on to help relieve your current symptoms and treat the underlying root of the condition. I will probably give you “homework” to apply pressure on these points multiple times a day to get the full strength of the treatment. I will send you a document after our visit with the prescribed points and instructions.

3.      Nutrition/Diet recommendations: These are based off your goals and TCM diagnosis. Nutrition plays a huge role in our overall health.

4.      Lifestyle recommendations: This is very specific to your needs, and we may talk about exercise, helping you create a schedule for your new life at home, adjusting bedtimes/mealtimes, etc.

5.      Qi Gong and Mediation: I may teach you some qi gong and meditation techniques that are specific to your conditions. This will be easy to follow and extremely powerful!

6.      Stress and anxiety management: Filling your personal toolbox with tips and tricks to help manage your stress and anxiety.

7.      Exercises and stretching: If you are experiencing pain we will most likely go through some stretches and exercises to help alleviate your symptoms.

As you can see, we have a lot of very effective options for treatment, and even though you call me your acupuncturist, I am trained and licensed in a broad spectrum of Traditional Oriental Medicine techniques!

What conditions can we treat:

With the incredible vast knowledge of Traditional Oriental Medicine, you can see we have a lot of tools in our toolbox. Lucky for us this means that we can use a combination of all these techniques to continue to support you and continue to treat your health conditions. Yes, we may be using techniques that you haven’t tried before, but they can be just as powerful as acupuncture if we do it right! So basically, anything that we have been working on in clinic with acupuncture we can find a way using these powerful tools to continue treating!

If you have any questions about whether telemedicine may be right for you, please send me an email at or give me a call at (941) 500-4378. I would love to hear from you and to talk about what options I have for you.

If you are ready now you can schedule online by clinking “Book Here” at the top of the page!

New Patient consult, 1 hr: $100

Follow Up (existing patients), 30 mins: $50-call or video

Follow Up (existing patients), 15 mins: $25-call or video


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