|I had been suffering from an incredible amount of stress due to being a full-time mom, full-time student and avid ballet dancer, when my 2 year son decided to jump on my back when I was not expecting him to. I was rushed into urgent care having to be carried like a baby due to my inability to stand alone along with the concurrent amount of breath-taking pain from my back. The steroid injection I received upon arrival provided temporary relief. Still, the pain and inability to stand-up alone re-visited the following morning. Being a holistic nutritionist, I knew my physical pain was just a reflection of something else happening internally, so I sought out acupuncture. After asking around, Monica Leibson, came highly recommended. After the first visit, she recognized the physical and the internal pain by treating both my back and my ‘flight or fight’ mechanism.
Needless to say, I was back to the gym the next day :).Thank you Monica!!! I CANNOT wait for my follow-up appointment!- Danyelle King
Acupuncture: A New Alternative for Treating Depression
Used Alone or as a Combination of Treatments
By Karen Siegel Propis
Depression is the most common of mood disorders. It is estimated that nearly 30 million Americans suffer from the often-debilitating disease and is, in fact, one of the 15 leading causes of disability in developed countries. It is widely believed that depression may the body’s response to chronic and significant stress that seems insurmountable to most people. The following descriptions would describe someone who suffers from depression, with at least five of the symptoms lasting for at least fourteen days:
- Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
- Markedly diminished interest in pleasure in almost all activities most of the day, every day
- Significant weight loss or gain without dieting, or major changes in appetite or eating habits
- Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day
- Psychomotor agitation or retardation (anxiety or lack of desire to do anything)
- Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day
- Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, desperation and psychic pain that are ongoing
- Inability to think or concentrate; indecisiveness daily
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide; a specific plan or attempt of suicide
While drugs have largely been effective in providing temporary relief from acute depression and assistance in the therapeutic process, the side-effects are proving to cause some downsides to treatment for some population groups. In fact, one of the potential side effects is increased suicide risk in certain patients. Most recent studies have shown that number to be increasingly higher in teenage patients taking anti-depressants. The drugs often take up to six weeks to begin working in the body as well.
Patients are advised to get a firm western diagnosis and then seek treatment options. As acupuncturists, we don’t get involved with our patients’ medication. It is always referred back to the referring professional.
Acupuncture has been a proven method for stimulating the production of neurotransmitters in the brain such as monoamines and endorphins. Monoamines are commonly referred to as serotonin and norepinephrine. Double-blind studies have confirmed that acupuncture is as effective as drug therapy treatments, and often used in combined treatments plans such as medications with psychotherapy. Acupuncture in conjunction with Chinese herbal medicine can also help wean patients off of medication or help reduce the dosages of the medications. Many mental health professionals have noted that their patients tend to make more progress in their therapy after starting acupuncture to remove emotional and/or physical blockages.
A referral from a psychotherapist, Debbie, 36, had been struggling with sadness, loss of interest in pleasurable activities, weight gain and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Debbie did not want to resort to taking medication for her symptoms, so she sought alternative treatment through acupuncture. Her symptoms were relieved in about 2 weeks with 2-3 treatments per week. She has been consistent in her follow up treatments for approximately three months. Her mood swings, sadness, and stomach cramps were allayed through acupuncture and herbal medicine.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is believed that depression results from a blockage in certain meridians of the body. It is also believed that there are five elements that provide the framework in which depression can be diagnosed and treated. There is usually a combination of elements that exist within a person. The elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water.
Wood: This type of depression is typically comprised of repressed anger, disappointment and frustration from feeling lack of control. Their personalities can be arrogant, aggressive, over-confident, confrontational and driven.
Fire: This type of depression is characteristically due to “heartache” or loss of a relationship—disillusionment by love. Impulsiveness is a personality trait, which can often lead to suicidal states.
Earth: This type of depression is often associated with digestive imbalances and eating disorders. Sufferers become heavy and unmotivated, sinking deeply into depression.
Metal: This type of depression is often experienced by those who carry the weight of the world upon their shoulders. They are often grieving for people and experiences from the past and expend much of their conscious thought turned toward the past.
Water: This is the most clinically significant and potentially dangerous type of elemental depression. Patients are often unaware of the nature or origin of their pain. They often become incommunicable and suffer from severe psychological imbalances such as schizophrenia, psychoses and severe depression.
Once the eastern diagnosis has been made, treatments focusing on the corresponding organ channels can often provide relief from the varying symptoms.
Terry, 52, was suffering from a myriad of symptoms including severe depression, weight gain from binge eating, bloating, and significant aches and pains. She remarks upon her state of mind, “No one was safe from my agitation and anger. It was like being in a black hole. Around my menstrual cycle, I would become depressed, forlorn and hopeless. Then came the sugar and chocolate binges and my body would become swollen and painful. I felt everything had a sinister shadow to it.” Terry was taking Paxil prescribed by her physician, which stabilized the wide mood variances. She sought treatment through acupuncture and after approximately 6 – 8 treatments, changes started to occur, including the decrease in eating disorder episodes. Through discussions and evaluations, it became clear that the impetus of the problem was hormonal. Six months later, with nutritional counseling, the proper level of anti-depressants, and treating the root cause of the problem in the body, the symptoms and dysfunctional behavior have almost disappeared. Says Terry, “My family tells me that I can quit anything for treatment…anything but the acupuncture! They are no longer walking on eggshells.” Terry now has a more positive and optimistic outlook for the first time in years.
It’s inevitable. Seemingly everyone comes down with the common cold during the winter months. Conventional medicine has little to treat it and we all just suffer through the runny nose, sneezing, fatigue and “tickly” throat.
But I don’t have time for that this year.
In addition to having three small children at home, my “cold” last year turned into the flu and pneumonia. The mere thought of getting a cold is like striking a raw nerve. So, when I began to get that tickle in the back of my throat with body aches, I use EVERYTHING in the book (and then some) to fight back! [Read more…]
As I reflect back upon my 10 years of being an acupuncturist, I am in awe of all that I have learned. I have learned from my patients, from my additional training since my graduate school in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and I’ve learned from my teachers and colleagues. The theories of TCM have made a profound impact on my life.
When I started at the Santa Barbara College of Oriental Medicine, I was introduced to the theory of yin and yang which exemplifies the dualistic nature of all things. No one thing in life and in nature can exist without it’s exact opposite permeating it at some level. Hot cannot exist without cold, night cannot exist without day. It’s a simple concept but when applied to healthcare, is quite eye opening. In order for healing to occur, we have to balance the yin and yang of our own body!
My first formal office picture, in 2006
When I first started as an acupuncturist, I had the bright eyed innocence of a child. I thought EVERYTHING could be healed through TCM! [Read more…]
This testimonial is from a dear friend of mine. I like it because she details how I worked with her WHILE she was going through her western medicine treatments. What I have learned in my 9 years of practice is that there are times for western medicine, there are times for alternative medicine, and most of the time they support each other beautifully.
If you choose to come in for acupuncture, it does not mean you have to forego all western medical treatment. I, too, see a primary care doctor, an obgyn, a naturopathic doctor, etc. We are all a part of the picture of personalized and holistic care for you and your family.
“For those who know me, you know the past year and half of my life has been a very difficult time for me. My back was severely injured leading me to have three major back surgeries, including an anterior-posterior spinal fusion. I was left in massive amounts of pain with permanent nerve damage from my injury. During this time of surgeries and recovery I spent much of time my talking with Monica Mae Leibson, my close friend and also an excellent acupuncturist, alternative medicine, and Chinese herbal medicine specialist. During this year of immense physical and emotional stress Monica Mae Leibson was a huge support and helped beyond what I thought was possible. I went through many treatments of acupuncture, herbal remedies, teas, tinctures and vitamins recommended and given to me by Monica Mae Leibson. Not only did all of these things help greatly with my pain and nerve damage, they also helped me cope with the depression of having these surgeries. When I saw my surgeon one month after my spinal fusion he was completely amazed and astounded that my recovery was going so good and my bones were growing back quicker than he had ever seen before. I owe all of this to Monica Mae Leibson and her help with her incredible skill and knowledge with acupuncture, alternative medicine, and vitamins. I also struggle with depression and major anxiety issues. Monica Mae Leibson has been treating me for years with these problems as well and it has helped more than any other methods I have tried. Monica Mae Leibson is an extraordinary and remarkable acupuncturist and guru of alternative medicine. Monica’s expertise, professionalism, and tranquility will not only amaze you but it will also heal you in ways one might never thought was possible. I urge anyone who has any struggles, physically or mentally, to go see Monica Mae Leibson and get treatments. I assure you that you will be amazed at how wonderful and healed you can feel by these treatments and remedies.” – Emily S. from Livonia, MI
I recently held a seminar with Dr. George Nicoloff, who is board certified in Integrative Holistic Medicine. We were so excited to have over 60 people attend! We agreed to speak on the connection between the gut & immune system, as we know how deeply interwoven they are. We shared a lot of information in just a short time. So although this is not comprehensive, here is a portion of our presentation:
In Chinese Medicine, the relationship between the Lung (immune) and Large Intestine (gut) meridians:
Ways to care for the Large Intestine:
- Maintain regular bowel movements through diet and exercise (and if needed, acupuncture & herbs)
- Eat foods that are warm and easy to digest (temperature is important to gut) Steam vegetables as opposed to eating them raw (only eat raw in spring and summer)
- Be careful with food combinations: Protein, fat, complex carb at every meal. Protein the size of your palm, carbs the size of your fist, fats the size of your thumb. See “Game On Diet” by Krista Vernoff
- Eat slowly & intentionally. Chew thoroughly.
Lung Meridian =
- Practice deep breathing
- Avoid toxic substances that are inhaled (toxic candles (lead and paraffin which is a petroleum biproduct), fumes, toxic household products)
- Cardio exercise (strengthen lung and increase capacity)
- Break a sweat (releases toxins)
- Keep neck covered in wind/cold/rain
Good foods: Rice, carrot, sweet potatoe, ginger, garlic, seaweeds, fibrous foods such as apples & oats
Not so good foods: Heavy dairy, excessive citrus
From Dr. Nicoloff’s slides:
Healing Leaky Gut
There is a simple solution to help transform unhealthy intestinal function back to health:
L. acidophilus NCFM / B. lactis BI-07 = Reinoculate with probiotics to balance immune function, combat microbial overgrowth, improve lactose digestion, reduce bowel distress.
Nutritional & Botanical Therapeutics=
I feel so fortunate to have found such a great doctor who takes time with each of his patients and has a background in holistic medicine. And between acupuncture visits and supplements/herbs, the immune & digestive system can be truly repaired.
Those who think
they have no time for healthy eating will sooner or later have to find time for
(1826-1893) from The Conduct of Life
MONICA MAE LEIBSON, DIPL. AC. TEACHES ACUPRESSURE FOR LABOR SUPPORT TO BIRTH DOULAS
Date: Monday May 6, 2013
Time: 7-8:30 PM
Location: Center for the Childbearing Year
Special Guest: Monica Mae Leibson, Dipl. Ac., Birth Doula and Postpartum Doula
Ms. Leibson earned her Masters degree at the Santa Barbara College of Oriental Medicine (SBCOM), and is a NCCAOM Board Certified Acupuncturist. She focuses on integrating Traditional Chinese Medicine with Reproductive Medicine in her infertility practice.
Through acupuncture and education, Ms. Leibson supports a woman’s body during pregnancy so they are less likely to need induction or medical intervention. She also uses acupuncture and acupressure during birth to relieve pain and assist a smooth birth.
The presentation will include an introduction to acupressure points and demonstration of techniques.
Testimonial for Acupressure for Labor Support:
I feel very lucky to have had what I consider to be an ideal home birth experience. I am certain that this is largely because I had the awesome good fortune of having acupressure during labor. My midwives, Monica (my doula), and my husband took turns administering acupressure to me during each contraction for the entire duration of the labor (approximately 9 hours)! During contractions they would apply acupressure and in between contractions we would all take a break. At no point did I experience the pain as being unmanageable. That might sound like an exaggeration, but it was that powerful. Before the birth I had read that acupressure could reduce pain during labor by up to 50% – and I experienced that to be true. I’m so grateful to have known about the option of using acupressure during labor and I want to help spread the word!
-Carey R., Ann Arbor, MI
I was a patient at Acupuncture Healthcare after the birth of my second child. I was experiencing low milk supply after many efforts to prevent it, both pre-nataly and post-nataly. I went to great efforts to boost my supply including; Lactation Consultant visits (pre and post natal), herbs (pre and post natal), relaxation techniques, massage therapy, nutrition, hand expression, pumping, support groups, and most other recommendations I have come across. I had a low supply with my first child and was determined to give my second child only breast milk. I had a wonderful home birth with no complications. I had lots of love and support after birthing and really focused on feeding my baby. Even with all my efforts I was still coming up a little short on fulfilling the babies’ needs. My Lactation Consultant, Barbara Robertson, suggested seeing Monica Leibson at Acupuncture Healthcare. I had had acupuncture in the past, but never committed to consistent sessions. I started seeing Monica every week. After the first session I felt less stressed and had more of an “ok! I can do this!” kind of [Read more…]
What was your primary concern that brought you in for acupuncture treatment?
I originally came in to see Monica Leibson for Fibromyalgia symptoms such as intense joint and back pain, exhaustion, and depression.
What were the benefits you experienced from acupuncture, expected and unexpected?
Relaxation; allergy, cold, and asthma relief, pain relief; more energy; ability to accomplish more in a day with little to no pain.
What were some of your misconceptions about acupuncture before you began treatment?
I was worried it would not work. I was afraid it would not be able to help with my chronic pain.
What would you tell people who have never had acupuncture?
I did not believe this kind of relief was possible. If I see anyone with pain or a lot of stress they should definitely try acupuncture with Monica Leibson. It has made my life 100 times better and my family sees the relief I get as well.
– Rebecca K.
White Lake, MI