Wellness Connection MD

Acupuncture with Dr. Margot Walbert

May 10, 2024 James McMinn, MD, Dr. Margot Walbert Episode 44
Acupuncture with Dr. Margot Walbert
Wellness Connection MD
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Wellness Connection MD
Acupuncture with Dr. Margot Walbert
May 10, 2024 Episode 44
James McMinn, MD, Dr. Margot Walbert

In this episode of the Wellness Connection MD podcast, Dr. McMinn takes an evidence-based look into the world of acupuncture alongside Dr. Margot Walbert, a Doctor of Oriental Medicine.  Dr. Walbert shares her expertise on acupuncture's philosophy, training, techniques, and its efficacy in treating various conditions. She starts by reviewing some of the fundamental TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) tenants such as Qi (life force energy), and the five elements. She also discusses how in Chinese medicine they are always looking for the root cause of the problem, similar to a functional medicine approach. 

Dr. Walbert walks the listener through the process of clinical evaluation, devising a customized treatment protocol, and what it is like to experience an actual acupuncture session. She emphasizes the importance of patient comfort and the mind-body connection. 

 Dr. McMinn reviews the evidence, and Dr. Walbert discusses her experience with successfully treating such conditions as pain, nausea, migraines, gut issues, asthma, allergic rhinitis, high blood pressure, menstrual cramps, infertility, and anxiety.

The conversation then touches on various acupuncture techniques such as needling, cupping, acupressure, ear acupuncture, electroacupuncture, moxibustion, and injection acupuncture.  

Because of its evidence-based success, acupuncture is gaining traction in mainstream medicine and is now recognized as a safe, effective, and holistic therapeutic option. Esteemed and prestigious institutions like Harvard, Mayo Clinic, and John’s Hopkins School of Medicine now offer acupuncture, and the World Health Organization recommends acupuncture for over 100 conditions. 

Dr. Walbert's wisdom empowers both patients considering acupuncture and aspiring acupuncturists.

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https://mcminnmd.com/wellness-md-blog-1

Go to https://mcminnmd.com/reviews to see How to rate and review this podcast on an iPhone

You can contact Dr. McMinn at DoctorMcMinn@yahoo.com to leave comments or to make suggestions for future shows.

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode of the Wellness Connection MD podcast, Dr. McMinn takes an evidence-based look into the world of acupuncture alongside Dr. Margot Walbert, a Doctor of Oriental Medicine.  Dr. Walbert shares her expertise on acupuncture's philosophy, training, techniques, and its efficacy in treating various conditions. She starts by reviewing some of the fundamental TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) tenants such as Qi (life force energy), and the five elements. She also discusses how in Chinese medicine they are always looking for the root cause of the problem, similar to a functional medicine approach. 

Dr. Walbert walks the listener through the process of clinical evaluation, devising a customized treatment protocol, and what it is like to experience an actual acupuncture session. She emphasizes the importance of patient comfort and the mind-body connection. 

 Dr. McMinn reviews the evidence, and Dr. Walbert discusses her experience with successfully treating such conditions as pain, nausea, migraines, gut issues, asthma, allergic rhinitis, high blood pressure, menstrual cramps, infertility, and anxiety.

The conversation then touches on various acupuncture techniques such as needling, cupping, acupressure, ear acupuncture, electroacupuncture, moxibustion, and injection acupuncture.  

Because of its evidence-based success, acupuncture is gaining traction in mainstream medicine and is now recognized as a safe, effective, and holistic therapeutic option. Esteemed and prestigious institutions like Harvard, Mayo Clinic, and John’s Hopkins School of Medicine now offer acupuncture, and the World Health Organization recommends acupuncture for over 100 conditions. 

Dr. Walbert's wisdom empowers both patients considering acupuncture and aspiring acupuncturists.

Support the Show.

Please CLICK ON THIS LINK to support the show.

-Check out our website at https://mcminnmd.com for other IMPORTANT LINKS, including social media links. You can find these at the bottom of the main page under the heading "Helpful Links."

-Click on the following link for our FULLSCRIPT dispensary for a 10% discount on physician-grade supplements: https://us.fullscript.com/welcome/jmcminn/signup
FullScript Dispensary is an affiliate from which I receive a commission.

Check out Dr. McMinn's Wellness MD Blog at
https://mcminnmd.com/wellness-md-blog-1

Go to https://mcminnmd.com/reviews to see How to rate and review this podcast on an iPhone

You can contact Dr. McMinn at DoctorMcMinn@yahoo.com to leave comments or to make suggestions for future shows.

Follow Dr. McMinn at:
https://twitter.com/mcminnmd
https://www.linkedin.com/in/mcminnmd/
https://www.instagram.com/mcminnmd
https://www.facebook.com/mcminnmd






Speaker 1:

Hello, this is Dr McMinn and welcome to the Wellness Connection MD podcast. Do you have a health issue for which your current therapy is not working, or you just want to try something new? Consider trying acupuncture. Acupuncture has proven to be effective for many health-related conditions. In fact, the World Health Organization recommends acupuncture for over 100 conditions. I personally have witnessed miracle cures for some patients with acupuncture, many of whom did not respond well to conventional therapies. Today we have a special guest on the show, dr Margo Walbert, doctor of oriental medicine, who will share with us some inside scoop on this interesting and powerful therapeutic option. So sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

Speaker 2:

Relax and enjoy the show. Welcome to the Wellness Connection MD Podcast with Dr McMinn and Coach Lindsey, where we bring you the latest, up-to-date, evidence-based information on a wide variety of health and wellness topics, along with practical take-home solutions. Dr McMinn is an integrated and functional MD and Lindsey Matthews is a registered nurse and IIN-IN certified health coach. Together, our goal is to help you optimize your health and wellness in mind, body and spirit. To see a list of all of our podcasts, visit wwwmdcom. And to stay up to date on the latest topics, be sure to subscribe to our podcast on your favorite podcast player so that you'll be notified when future episodes come out. The discussions contained in these podcasts are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose or treat any disease. Please do not apply any of this information without approval from your personal doctor. And now on to the show with Dr McMinn and Coach Lindsay.

Speaker 1:

Hello and welcome to Wellness Connection MD, the evidence-based podcast on all things wellness. We thank you so much for joining us today. I'm Dr Jim McMinn. We have for you a very special guest, dr Margo Walbert, who will be telling us everything you ever wanted to know about the interesting subject of acupuncture. As always, we come to you to bring you commercial-free, honest, unbiased, up-to-date, evidence-based, outcomes-oriented information, along with practical solutions in order to empower you to overcome your healthcare concerns, to optimize your wellness in mind, body and spirit, and to become a great captain of your ship when it comes to your health and wellness.

Speaker 1:

Before we get going, I have just a couple of brief housekeeping duties to take care of. Our podcast is one of those rare podcasts that remains commercial-free, so you won't be bothered by those annoying ads. However, it does cost us money to produce these podcasts, so think of us like public radio and consider making a contribution to help us keep this valuable information coming to you. There are a couple of ways you can contribute. First, if you buy nutritional supplements and I'm not asking you to buy anything you don't already buy but if you buy nutritional supplements, consider purchasing these physician-grade supplements from our Fullscript dispensary at a 10% discount. You can see the link to Fullscript below in the show notes, or you can go to mcminnmdcom and the link will appear there at the bottom of the homepage under helpful links. It's quite simple Just click on the link and they'll guide you through the process. It's a win-win you get high-quality supplements at a discount and we get your support for the show, for which we are very grateful. You can also make a contribution directly to the show via credit card or by PayPal at the support the show link which is in the show notes. And please don't forget to subscribe to the show and please tell your friends and family about us so that we can keep it growing. Thank you so much for your support. And now on to the show.

Speaker 1:

When I left the ER after almost 20 years and opened my practice at McMinn Clinic, I decided to embrace a more holistic, functional and integrative approach to health care. It seemed to me that there were so many patients who were falling through the cracks of modern medicine who needed a think-different approach, as Apple Computer would say. However, as an MD, my traditional training did not prepare me to do that, since it was mainly focused on drugs and surgery, so I worked hard to add tools to my therapeutic toolbox. However, as a physician, I was also a scientist, so I always felt the need to make sure that the tools I added to my toolbox were evidence-based. That's always been very important to me. As you can imagine, my MD colleagues were very quick to label me as a quack, since I was stepping outside their rigid box, so I always went the extra mile to avoid modalities that had no credible scientific basis. I also felt that I owed it to my patients, who often came to me in dire straits and who trusted me to shoot straight with them. It was at that point, after looking into it thoroughly, that acupuncture emerged as a viable therapeutic option for certain patients.

Speaker 1:

Acupuncture has been around and has evolved for thousands of years. In fact, mainstream medicine is now actually embracing acupuncture. You'll find that they now do. Acupuncture has been around and has evolved for thousands of years. In fact, mainstream medicine is now actually embracing acupuncture. You'll find that they now do acupuncture at Harvard University, mayo Clinic and just about every other major academic institution. The prestigious Johns Hopkins School of Medicine states that studies have shown that acupuncture is effective to treat many health care conditions. Now you may be thinking that any perceived benefit is just due to placebo effect. However, my veterinarian wife, cheryl, has actually seen proof of significant benefit in animals. It's hard to fathom that this would just be due to placebo effect. I've also heard similar stories from other holistic vets who corroborated her reports. So Dr Cheryl is not just making this up for a change.

Speaker 1:

So to make a long story a bit shorter, once I became convinced that I should offer this service to my patients, I took an excellent course called Acupuncture for Physicians. Once I finished the course, I started to slowly integrate acupuncture into my practice. Now acupuncture is not for everybody and it's fair to say that, like with most modalities, some patients do not receive any appreciable benefit. But on the other hand, I did witness some remarkable results with some patients and it does seem to me that acupuncture falls into the therapeutic category of might help but very unlikely to hurt you. For instance, a nice lady who was in her 60s came to see me for bothersome headaches. She had been treated by a highly respected neurologist for the past few years with no appreciable relief. So we did acupuncture on her and it was like an amazing miracle cure. She and I were both blown away by the outcomes. Another success story was a super nice lady who wanted to have a baby. She had been through every conceivable therapy for this, ivf, the whole works. We did acupuncture on her. It took quite a while and boom, she got pregnant. She later brought in a picture of her cute little, healthy baby boy which I kept on my wall for many years. We were both pretty happy about the outcome of her therapy, produced by acupuncture.

Speaker 1:

Finally, a physician friend of mine and a former patient had a terribly painful condition called trigeminal neuralgia. She was seeing many excellent physicians, including doctors of internal medicine, neurology, pain management etc. She once told me that the thing that helped her the most was acupuncture. Wow, that's pretty cool. Then one day, out of the blue, I got a call from a Dr Margo Walbert. She was an acupuncture physician and a doctor of oriental medicine down in Florida who wanted to move back to Birmingham for family reasons. Eventually we met and we hit it off and she joined the practice as a full-time acupuncturist. She grew her practice based on a reputation of successful outcomes and eventually she saw a ton of loyal patients and had some excellent outcomes.

Speaker 1:

One of my favorites with Dr Margo was a patient who came in with some psoriatic skin lesions. She had not responded well to conventional therapy and I saw the lesions before treatment. And I was dumbfounded when she came back wearing a sleeveless top, absolutely clear skin. It was remarkable and I might say just almost magical. So anyway, let me tell you more about Dr Margo.

Speaker 1:

She graduated from the East-West College of Oriental Medicine in Sarasota, florida. She has a master's degree in oriental medicine and was granted the title of doctor of oriental medicine in the state of Florida. She also did an internship at HealthSouth treating stroke patients and also studied at the largest TCM institute in China, tcm being traditional Chinese medicine. After 15 years of practice, which was spent five years at MacMahon Clinic in Birmingham, she retired and is now enjoying lake life swimming, paddleboarding, playing pickleball, gardening, playing music, singing, hanging out with friends and family and painting at her lakeside. She shed. She is also a massage therapist extraordinaire and a certified expert in craniosacral therapy. In summary, she's quite a renaissance woman and I can tell you without a doubt Dr Margot lives life to the fullest. So a warm welcome to you, dr Margot, to the show and thank you so much for joining us today and to share your wisdom and experience about the important subject of acupuncture.

Speaker 3:

Well, thank you, dr Meghman. I'm really happy to be here. It's a reunion I have been waiting for, so yes, let's start.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely Well, dr Margo. What made you decide to go into acupuncture in the first place?

Speaker 3:

I tell you what. I was a body worker for quite some time and I did deep tissue massages, worked on athletes and finally I realized my limits. I got older and I thought I can do this forever. And so then somebody suggested acupuncture and I thought well, that sounds like an interesting concept. So when I was 54 years old, I started school again, and it was a 10 semester program and let me tell you, my old brain had to be kicked into gear again to be kicked into gear again, but anyway, yeah, that was it.

Speaker 3:

So that's when I did it and I decided I can practice that until my last day probably. And then life took its course.

Speaker 1:

Well, that's one thing I love about you, Margot You're always learning, even at this stage of the game. You and me both we're about the same age and we're always trying to learn more, so that's kind of cool.

Speaker 3:

But explain to us some of the core principles of philosophy behind how acupuncture works and from the TCM perspective. Well, let's start with the anatomy. The Chinese see the human body as an interactive channel system and in these channels there floats qi, that is, the life, essential life force. And these channels interact, go from superficial down to organ level. And if you do acupuncture which is one modality of Chinese medicine, by the way if you do acupuncture you insert needles in certain points on these channels and they have a regulatory function. They don't cure.

Speaker 3:

Acupuncture doesn't cure, it just re-regulates the body where it shows imbalances, so that the person comes back to its own state of homeostasis. It's all about well-being, it's about qi. Energy and energy comes in different forms and shapes, with different hats on. There is yang energy, there is yin energy. Yang energy is the driving force, it's the warming element in your body, and yin energy is the nurturing, cooling aspect of your body. That is in a nutshell. So qi is transformative. It can go from protection and pure energy into denser forms of body liquids and blood, and then even to an organ level when it condenses. So everything is moving. There's never a still point, everything is pulsing, moving because of energy. So, regulating energy. Well, other modalities do that as well, but here it is triggered with acupuncture.

Speaker 1:

So you look at for instance, an EKG, where you have an electrical tracing of the heart and that's energy. You look at an EEG of the brain where again, you're looking at the energy of the brain and I think that same energy flows all throughout our body, but somehow in sort of the traditional Western medicine, we really haven't embraced that or learned to measure that. So but anyway, that's what the ancient Chinese doctors tuned into, and so it's really kind of cool, and over thousands of years they've perfected their approach to that. You mentioned that needles are only one aspect of acupuncture. Talk to us about the other things that people use, like cupping and blah, blah, blah. What else do they use?

Speaker 3:

I think the strongest impact are herbal remedies.

Speaker 3:

And they are blends of herbs, or what they call herbs. It could be the tooth growling of a tiger. I mean, this is all you know. They're natural products and the way they mix them they are having regulatory function as well and they're much stronger, you know, than acupuncture. So herbs Chinese herbs are very effective. I take some and they help me tremendously. So the other modality is, for example, twina massage. A Twina massage is basically manipulating the body, also on points of acupuncture points, or physically, like an adjustment. And I can give you an example when I was in China, a gentleman walked into the clinic and went to his twina therapist and he was limping and a lot of pain. Well, the door closed the gentleman, the twina massage started working on this gentleman and all we heard was screaming, screaming and screaming in pain. And I peeked around the corner and I saw how this gentleman put that patient like in a pretzel position. And guess what, after the session was over, the man smiled, walked out there without a limp.

Speaker 3:

So I mean we couldn't do that here.

Speaker 3:

You know, I mean you go to a chiropractor you know, whatever a body worker, but that is true now, for example. So there's another modality, and that is harder to explain right now, but it's moxibustion, right. It's a wormwood grind or shave which you can light up on certain points on the body. It is usually when the body is deprived of something. You need to photonify it and you can put it directly on the skin. You've got to be careful with that, though, because if it burns, it can burn the skin.

Speaker 3:

You've got to be careful, but you can stick it on top of needles too to emphasize the strength of the needle. And I have seen also in China treatments. It was beyond me. I mean the whole place was smoking and people were sitting there with their needles and it was highly effective, you know.

Speaker 1:

so what about cupping?

Speaker 3:

Cupping, yes, yes, yes, I mean it's still a little controversial. A lot of athletes, you see, you know they have these marks and what we used to call this? It brings up stagnation. What means stagnation? So if you're working out and your muscles are deprived of oxygen and blood, obviously you know they contract and they're painful. What the cupping is supposed to do is loosening this up and bring the blood flow back to where it didn't go. And since you have cups, they suck and it gives you a mark. You know you're bruising, basically.

Speaker 3:

So, but it has been effective. I had cupping done when I had bronchitis, very strong bronchitis, and they did that on my back and it loosened up the phlegm. It loosened it up and I was able to cough. You know that helps. So yeah, cupping has its place, for sure.

Speaker 1:

And acupressure.

Speaker 3:

Acupressure is fine. It's a different form of acupuncture. The only difference is you cannot. You have only 10 fingers and there are points on the body that are combined, like, for example, from the shoulder it goes down to your leg. There are several points you cannot do with acupressure, but you can go to certain points on the body to start regulating. You know, and people are needle phobic, some people you may start with acupressure.

Speaker 1:

I have found acupuncture actually to be pretty effective for labor pains. Oh yeah, when a woman's having labor, oh yeah, yeah. And there are some points too for labor, to induce labor, right, but you have to very much avoid when somebody's pregnant, you know. Right, that's right. A couple of others acupuncture what they do on the ears. Tell me about that.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I mean the ear is a microcosm of the human body and organ system and I've seen people from Korea Korean acupuncture. They work just with the ear.

Speaker 1:

Yeah right.

Speaker 3:

And it is like a fetus upside down.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

So down by your earlobe, inside the ear. You better be careful that could be the brain.

Speaker 1:

Right, right, right and the outer lining is.

Speaker 3:

Then you know the skeletal from the spine.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 3:

So you know, yeah, you can do a lot, and a lot of this is done when people have addiction issues there are protocols plain for that?

Speaker 1:

And smoking cessation? Yeah right, exactly A couple of others. Let's see what about. Sometimes they connect electricity to the needles. I have done that a lot. How does that work?

Speaker 3:

Very much so it works very well A lot in pain management. I did that a lot when people came in with back pain or shoulder pain or whatever. And I would choose my points and yeah, clip these electrodes onto the needle and then you know it works very well onto the needle and then you know it works very well.

Speaker 1:

And then finally some acupuncturists actually inject some fluids into the acupuncture point. Yes, yeah right.

Speaker 3:

That you can do in Alabama, but there's an injection therapy which I have certification for in Florida. You can do that, you know. So, yeah, this is usually sometimes. There are herbals, you know, and they are very effective because they immediately hit, you know, the bloodstream, okay well, wonderful.

Speaker 1:

So when a patient presents to you with a certain set of symptoms in medical history, et cetera, how do you evaluate that patient to decide what kind of treatment plan they need?

Speaker 3:

From the minute he steps into my office. You observe a patient by his posture, by his demeanor, by his complexion, by his voice you know, and then you ask for the chief complaint and said okay. So let's say somebody says oh man, I've had diarrhea for about six months or something like that, and they've tried everything else, but it didn't work out. So, number one, you ask whether there was any kind of situation when that started, because there's a body-mind connection that is very much respected in Chinese medicine.

Speaker 3:

So and then you hear that, then you ask about tastes. What kind of food do you prefer, you know? And if it's sweet, well you know there's a spleen thing. If it's a lot of salt, it's a kidney. If it's sour, pickles and whatever it's liver. So there are certain tastes associated with the organs and emotions as well. So a person who's very pensive all the time can be because of a spleen issue or the pensiveness can also influence the spleen.

Speaker 3:

So this is, you know, this is a interdependent kind of situation and that I put together and look at the tongue, the tongue is also a microcosm of the organs and the quality of the tongue, the thickness of the tongue, the color, you know, the coating is very important and based on all of that and pulses.

Speaker 1:

And pulses right, yeah, right.

Speaker 3:

You know left and right pulses.

Speaker 1:

Well, tell me about the five elements, the wind, water, all that kind of stuff. What's that all about?

Speaker 3:

Okay, that is a five element theory that came after the Yin and Yang theory, and there are a lot of practitioners who practice just that. Okay, so there are five elements the heart is the fire element, the stomach spleen is the earth element, the lung is the metal element, the kidney is the water element and the liver is the wood element. And they can interplay. They can either insult something For example, if you have a liver that's overacting, it can overact on stomach spleen. So that's why you don't just treat the stomach or the spleen, you also consider where does it come from? So it's a cycle, it's a circle. There are circles of interactions within the body that are respected in this kind of medicine, you know, and if we, yeah, if you want to compare it with Western medicine, well, I must say they have more an isolated view of the body. You know, they say okay, that's a gallbladder issue, boing, I'm going to give you some medication make the gallbladder work. Well, hello, it may not be just the gallbladder.

Speaker 3:

You know there could be other organs involved that contribute to this.

Speaker 1:

They're all connected, aren't they Margaret? Yeah, of course yeah, we're a whole being.

Speaker 3:

And you know, since we're on that tangent, there is something they say in Chinese medicine you peel an imbalance like an onion.

Speaker 2:

So you go from?

Speaker 3:

what are your symptoms to where could this originate? Okay, and then we talk about the ben and the biao. The ben is the trunk, that is the root problem, and then the branches, the symptoms, which are not isolated either, you know. So then you come to treatment modalities and you think wait a minute, what is the most prominent issue here? Am I going to treat the root cause right away or do I treat the main symptom first, depending on the gravity of the symptom? So that's another aspect.

Speaker 1:

It reminds me of the functional medicine approach, where a patient may come in with anxiety, depression, but at the end of the day it might be a gut issue due to the gut-brain connection, and same thing gut-brain connection and same thing gut-skin connection, that kind of stuff. So yeah, we're always thinking of what's the root cause of the problem and it sounds like that's very similar to what y'all are thinking.

Speaker 3:

Exactly yeah.

Speaker 1:

So let's say somebody comes to see you and you do your evaluation and you decide they need to get a needle treatment.

Speaker 3:

Describe an actual treatment session for start to finish, what's the patient going to experience there? The first thing.

Speaker 3:

I let them talk talk about their own issues. Then I observe them and, as I said, you make your diagnosis pulse and whatever. You put this all together and come and you head up with a possible treatment plan. The patient goes laying down on the table, you have a relaxing atmosphere, you have relaxing music playing, you don't have bright lights shining on the poor guy. So you know it's an intimate like in a little shell. You know that's how the patient has to feel. And then you swap the points you know, with alcohol and then you take your needles and you insert them accordingly. And I always treat the mind with the body. So that always goes together, always calm the mind or whatever. And needles people are sometimes afraid of them.

Speaker 1:

They are yeah.

Speaker 3:

And then I say, okay, I'm showing you what it does. And I put a needle in me, you know. And I said, look, this is all. And before they know it, I said, let me just try this on you and you can tell me if you feel pain or not. And they don't feel pain. I mean most of them don't feel pain, you know so. And then the needles are just like little whiskers, I mean they're needles, they're hair thin.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, really, you know For sure.

Speaker 3:

And you know for sure, and they're sterile.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's actually. I think people are concerned about two things. Number one are the needle sterile? Number two does it hurt? And I think you've answered both of those yeah, no they're sterile. Okay, good, well, all right, wonderful. Yeah, I remember your room, margaret. When you came into the office you set up the room and, oh my gosh, it was just such a relaxing place. You had these beautiful paintings on the wall, you had this relaxing music. Sometimes I would come and I'd see the patient and you had the warming lamps right.

Speaker 1:

So, you did everything you could to put that patient at ease and make it a pleasant, positive experience.

Speaker 3:

Sometimes, you know, at the end of the treatment I would also work on them manually a little bit you know, work on their head or whatever, to really just bring them back, Because some people phase out, you know, so you've got to bring them back and then when they're present, full present in their body, then you know they're ready to go.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, Are there any major safety considerations like, for instance, puncture along with the needle or those kind of things?

Speaker 3:

Well, you have to be careful how you insert them, you know I mean you cannot, you know, go perpendicular in an area where you get a pneumothorax for example, you know. So you've got to know your techniques rather well, sure you know?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean, I think acupuncture is one of the things that's really safe and effective in almost no downside effects if used properly. But if you get somebody who doesn't know what they're doing, then, yeah, that could end up in trouble.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, that's why you need to have training, a lot of training.

Speaker 1:

And, for instance, you're talking about doing it on a pregnant woman. That could be a problem, induce premature labor, or somebody had like a coagulopathy and they couldn't do it. They would be bleeding profusely. So yeah, there are certain contradictions and safety things, but that's why you do the training right.

Speaker 3:

But you ask people if they're, for example, on Coumadin or blood thinners. You know, so you've got to make sure that they are not. Or if they are, then you need you know, not as deeply as so.

Speaker 1:

So in your practice, did you often work in conjunction with other health care providers, or was it just a whole separate?

Speaker 3:

thing. It very much depends, you know, I mean, for example, you and I have worked together on certain patients. Correct and that worked very, very well.

Speaker 1:

That's right.

Speaker 3:

If you have a physician who's open-minded but then some think it's voodoo work. Acupuncture is voodoo work. I mean, those people can't even talk, correct? I don't try to convince them because they're not convincible, unless I tweet them and they realize something, but often that's not the case. Realize something, but often that's not the case.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think historically, most regular I'll call them regular doctors are not particularly accepting of alternative therapies like acupuncture. But I think it's changing. I think people are becoming more accepting, especially as we have more patient demand. I think people are looking for options and so, yeah, I think, especially in certain fields, like I know, sometimes your fertility doctors will work with an acupuncturist because the data shows clearly that it helps. You have somebody do an IVF with or without acupuncture and the data clearly shows it works better with acupuncture.

Speaker 3:

Absolutely, and I always told everybody I got a lot of women pregnant. There we go.

Speaker 1:

If I recall, there was a little board of pictures up on your wall of women who had babies, because of you.

Speaker 3:

Yes, yes, yes.

Speaker 1:

And those were women who could not have babies otherwise. Yes, and so that was really cool. What about Margot the issue of regulation of acupuncture by, say, local authorities like the State Board of Medicine or whatever? What's the issue there?

Speaker 3:

Well, it depends on the state. For example, Alabama doesn't even require licensure.

Speaker 2:

I was just surprised.

Speaker 3:

In Florida they are very, very strict and you have to keep your practice in a certain security level and you get inspected every year and you know you have to have a clean field. You cannot have the dirty needles right next to the clean field, and so on. Yeah, so then there are other states California you can do much more than we could even do in Florida, and it's longer and more intense education. So it depends on the state.

Speaker 3:

It's not federally regulated. In in florida I was on the board. It was the board of what is it? Gosh medicine? Yeah right, yeah, you know.

Speaker 1:

And here, not in alabama, yeah, yeah, you know right. So as a result, especially in states like alabama, where it's just not regulated at all, I would imagine there are people out there doing acupuncture that really are not qualified to do it, and so how does somebody go along and find a qualified, reputable acupuncturist in their area?

Speaker 3:

If they are nationally N-C-A-O-M if they're nationally qualified.

Speaker 1:

How does a patient know that?

Speaker 3:

They can look it up. Every acupuncturist has to have their license number and if they don't have a license or even their national qualifications, so they can look for that. However, there are also now a lot of chiropractors. Some of them do acupuncture, but they do pain management, and there is something about it, you know, I mean they don't do the system. But I mean they can buy channels. They can do that and they're called ashi points. They're points, they are just not on any channel necessarily.

Speaker 1:

They go by paint pattern.

Speaker 3:

But that seems to sometimes work, you know.

Speaker 1:

Exactly, and I think there are a lot of actually physical therapists out there now doing what they call needling right. Right yeah, Dry needling right. Right, yeah, dry needling, dry needling, and it seems like again, that seems to help some folks. So we're all for whatever helps people. Are there any particular areas of acupuncture research that seem to be exciting these days?

Speaker 3:

Well, number one. They have definitely found out that fertility issues that definitely works Anxiety.

Speaker 1:

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, I mean it works perfectly well with anxiety.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So there are and there have been studies, but they are studies from a Western point of view. They're making measurements and said oh, it's his stomach 36, which is a tonification point. I see there's, you know, chemistry going on after you insert that point. So, yeah, it's more integrated by now in several aspects of Western medicine.

Speaker 1:

You know it is, and I think in Western medicine we're finding more and more research on it, with controlled studies. I look at acupuncture, no acupuncture and even what we call sham acupuncture. Why don't you explain that to us, margot? What sham acupuncture is? Sham acupuncture, for example't you explain that to us, margot? What's sham acupuncture is?

Speaker 3:

Sham acupuncture is for example. It's just like ashy points.

Speaker 2:

It's not.

Speaker 3:

You don't understand the physiology of the body. That is a difference too you know, An acupuncture physician. It's basically a medical view of the body from a Chinese point of view you know so. But if you don't understand the mechanism within the body, you know, yeah, I can do sham acupuncture. You know, I have a headache boy. I put a needle in, but that may not really do the trick, you know.

Speaker 1:

So, speaking of some of those studies they're doing, for instance, in 2018, a study came out in the journal Pain and found that acupuncture was effective with the treatment of chronic musculoskeletal pain, headaches, osteoarthritic pain and yeah. So that was kind of cool and they found in the study it could not be explained solely by placebo effects. Some people say, well, it's just placebo, doctor. No it's not.

Speaker 1:

No, it's not Also for nausea. That's kind of another interesting one. The National Cancer Institute did a clinical trial showing that acupuncture was effective treatment for nausea, and that's nausea from morning sickness, from pregnant women, from travelers post-operative nausea, chemotherapy-induced nausea all kinds of nausea and seasickness. Exactly exactly. So did you find it effective for that?

Speaker 3:

Yes, very much so. Acupuncture doesn't treat cancer, but it treats. You know, the side effects of therapy, Right, you know so, and that is very, very effective. You know, we had this one patient. She had pancreatic cancer, Remember, yeah, yeah, sure, and she lived another two years. You know, I mean against all odds.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 3:

And she combined treatments from you with acupuncture.

Speaker 1:

Yes.

Speaker 3:

And we've had a wonderful time with this woman?

Speaker 1:

Yes, and also other digestive issues like constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's ileus and gallstone disease. All those things can respond to acupuncture, right? Yeah, Good, good, good. What about migraines? Margot, have you had much luck with migraines?

Speaker 3:

Yes, I had manually and with acupuncture.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

Absolutely but you do it right on the onset, once the migraine has come into full force. It's very difficult. But when you feel an onset and I have friends they said, margot, come over. I think I'm going to get a migraine and there are points on the skull that help it, you know, and then you can anchor it with always distal points. There are always distal points and points right on.

Speaker 1:

So, to be clear, if somebody has a headache, you could actually be doing a point on their foot right. That's exactly right. Yeah, if it's a called-bedder channel.

Speaker 3:

You take a called-bedder point? Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Because you've got to think channels.

Speaker 3:

You can't be punctual.

Speaker 1:

Exactly, exactly. So, yeah, there was, let's see. The American Migraine Foundation, in 2017, did a systematic review of 22 clinical trials that found that acupuncture can reduce the frequency of headaches in people with migraines by 50% or more, with up to 59% of the patients, and the effect can last more than six months. So, yeah, I think that's certainly a strong endorsement of acupuncture for migraines. What about fibromyalgia? Did you have much luck with that?

Speaker 3:

I mean, I had a person who had that and she had to come at least three times a week Because it's such a wide range.

Speaker 1:

You know what caused fibromyalgia and many different things can cause it as well.

Speaker 3:

Yes.

Speaker 1:

But there was a clinical study on that and they found that it was effective for pain, quality of sleep and also just overall quality of life.

Speaker 3:

And then let's see menstrual cramps.

Speaker 1:

How about stuff like that? Oh yeah, Wonderful.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, yeah, good, good, yeah, yeah, good, good. Yeah, that works rather well. Or any period, painful period, you know if somebody for example, comes because they have painful, their period is not correct. Then you ask about the flow. Is it bright blood, is it clotted blood, whatever? And then, dependent on that, you needle these people, you know, and there are points on the leg, there are points on the abdomen, you know, there are all kinds of points that are in combination, help that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and, as my listeners know, one thing I hang my hat on is being what I call evidence-based Margot. Yes, in 2018, there was a review of 60 randomized controlled trials that found that acupuncture was effective in reducing menstrual pain and related symptoms. So there, again Fabulous. I'm so glad you did that research. Well, you are, because I think that you know women are often just left to suffer with things like menstrual pain and stuff like that and there's no need for that, and they could come and see you and you would give them great relief.

Speaker 1:

And so also asthma is another interesting thing. Did you have much luck with that, margot?

Speaker 3:

Yes, yes.

Speaker 1:

There you go.

Speaker 3:

You ask a patient, okay do you have a problem inhaling or do you have a problem exhaling, and there are different mechanisms, and then you treat accordingly, because there are different organs involved. There's a different qi deficiency involved. And so there's a kidney and there's the lung. So kidney anchors the breath. The lung should bring it down, but it also has to exhale. And when there's a qi deficiency, well, the lung is not working.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's pretty cool. Yeah, there was a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized, sham-controlled and placebo-controlled trials and they found that acupuncture appeared to improve quality of life, breathing symptoms, asthma control and reduce frequency of flare-ups. So, yeah, that's pretty cool. What about the allergic rhinitis? You know, like a runny nose?

Speaker 3:

Oh yeah, you can do that. Wonderful herbs and their points you use. I mean, yes, definitely.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, another 2022 systematic review and meta-analysis found that acupuncture is effective in treating allergic rhinitis in adults, so I wanted some good evidence for that. And lastly, let me ask you about blood pressure. Did you actually ever use acupuncture to reduce blood pressure?

Speaker 3:

Yes, absolutely, there are points on the arm especially, yes, you can, and it's also the mind Right, exactly Always the mind.

Speaker 1:

Oh, so much of blood pressure is due to.

Speaker 3:

Anxiety or whatever.

Speaker 1:

Stress and anxiety Right right Makes your heart pump faster.

Speaker 3:

Stress measures yes, stress managing.

Speaker 1:

So randomized prospective trial published in the journal Circulation, which is a huge journal, and they concluded that acupuncture significantly lowers blood pressure.

Speaker 3:

Isn't that?

Speaker 1:

wonderful, yeah. And I think sometimes you know when you go to see your doctor and he or she checks your blood pressure is high, they get out their script pad and write meds. But you know there's so many other things you can do.

Speaker 3:

The herbs you mentioned. You can do meditation, you can do Qigong, acupuncture.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, exactly when I opened my mind to alternative therapies. I always tried to be evidence-based and I think the evidence is solid that acupuncture can really help a lot of these folks. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Any other major success stories that you would like to share with us? I always love these anecdotes that people have, and some of them are, just like I said, the lady with psoriasis. That was remarkable.

Speaker 3:

It was amazing. Yeah, that was a wonderful success story?

Speaker 1:

Any other great stories you'd like to?

Speaker 3:

share. Yes, yes, yes, there was a lady, a heavy set lady. She came in, she had sciatica forever. And you know what? Maybe by luck, I don't know why. I inserted the needles which I found. I put her on her stomach and then there were certain needles you can insert.

Speaker 1:

Man. She got off the table and she had no pain For real.

Speaker 3:

And she said I don't know what you did. She never had to come back, she walked out of there. I was fascinated.

Speaker 1:

And, to be clear, that's not to imply that everybody with sciatica is going to have a relief.

Speaker 2:

No, no, no. For some people it doesn't work at all.

Speaker 1:

But for others it can be miraculous. And again, so you have something that might help, is not sciatica.

Speaker 3:

Usually it takes longer time.

Speaker 1:

Some people need several treatments. The only problem is the cost factor you know I mean insurance doesn't cover it. If insurance covered it it would not be so costly. It's a horrible thing.

Speaker 3:

So that's why I always kept my rates affordable, because I really wanted to help people and not get rich of it.

Speaker 1:

Right, but then insurance will pay for meds for the rest of her life and she'll suffer with addiction from the pain, meds et cetera, but they won't pay for acupuncture. It's kind of crazy. Now you mentioned she was a little bit overweight. What about acupuncture for weight loss?

Speaker 3:

I did that on somebody and did it Ear A lot of ear points. Yeah, there's a hunger point. There are different points in the ear. You can just tweet it by the ear, yeah the ear. Are there any major what I call misconceptions about acupuncture you'd like to address? You know, all I can say is people. I hear people often say well, I guess it's all in your head. You got to believe it in order for it to be successful.

Speaker 1:

I said no.

Speaker 3:

A lot of people were questioning this and they walked out, you know.

Speaker 1:

That's right and that's why I love these what I call sham acupuncture studies. In fact, the concept of sham is really interesting. There was a situation years ago where people would come in with like osteoarthritis of the knee and the orthopedic surgeons would do surgery. But then they got to where they actually tried a bunch of sham surgery. In other words, they would cut the knee and then close it back up and they never did anything. Well, guess what the sham surgery patients did? Just as good as the real surgery patients. So I think it's worthwhile to kind of sort out, you know, is there a placebo effect here? If there's not, and try to be evidence-based about it. But yeah, this is not something that's just kind of an all-in-your-head type of thing?

Speaker 3:

No, it's not. And you know what? A lot of lower back pain is emotionally induced, or your stress around your shoulders, I mean there's a lot of emotional impact you have to respect that and treat it that way. So you go both ways. You're going to treat the issue and then you're going to treat the emotional part. So calm the mind. We always say that.

Speaker 1:

So is there any particular advice you'd like to give to a patient who might be considering acupuncture for the first time?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I would say be careful whom you are choosing, look at their education and then see if you personally relate to that person.

Speaker 1:

That's huge that is really important. Really important right.

Speaker 3:

You know, I mean you're not just somebody. Yeah, you got to relate to that person, you got to feel you trust that person and you can talk to that person you know, and that's important.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, there was a guy in town years ago was doing acupuncture and I had some feedback from patients. I hear that he was actually quite good, but feedback from patients that his office was filthy. So to some people that's real turnoff and so, yeah, you have to go and kind of check it out, see how you feel about the whole, the practice, the provider, and is it a good vibe for you? And what about for, say, a young person, Margo, or some 50-year-old like you who might be thinking about getting into acupuncture as a career?

Speaker 3:

Well, I didn't. It's never too late, I must say.

Speaker 1:

And it was a satisfying career. Yeah, I mean yeah, I did it at 54 years old and I think if you work it right and you build your practice, you can make a good living doing acupuncture yes, you can. Absolutely, and it's certainly a lot less stressful than being an ER doc like I was for 20 years.

Speaker 3:

Oh God, no, I can't even imagine that.

Speaker 1:

Well, all right then. Well, anything, any last thoughts you'd like to share with us, Margot?

Speaker 3:

No, it was just such a pleasure to be here.

Speaker 1:

It's good to see you again. I want to have you come on board and take that over, and you did such a fabulous job.

Speaker 3:

You know what here. Talking about relations, you know how you feel about a person. I made a cold call when. I lived in Florida and I said, make men I made a cold call when I lived in Florida and I said Meg Menkling, that sounds kind of interesting. So I talked to you and your voice vibrated and said, well, that may be something. It was an immediate. Well, let's give this a try. And then we met twice again, and said okay, boom.

Speaker 3:

No big contracts, Come on in and that was the wonderful way to do it.

Speaker 1:

It was.

Speaker 3:

I cherish those years very, very much.

Speaker 1:

You brought such a wonderful energy to the office and to the patients, and so it was great. I've been your victim many times. I've had acupuncture by you, I've had your massage, and your craniosacral therapy was great. Yeah, that works well, I know this show is not about that, but just say a little bit of word about craniosacral therapy.

Speaker 3:

Well, I mean the craniosacral fluid, the spinal fluid is rhythmic, so it goes up the spinal cord and then it widens, and then it compresses and widens and compresses. So you try to regulate that. You can find actually imbalances by checking on the flow of the spinal fluid. So that is a process you develop a feel for and then you do a lot of cranial work actually I did that a lot with other people and you want the fascia also to relax, to feel a correspondence to where you're working on, and when that releases you feel it. You know you feel a release and it has been amazing Lots of somato-emotional release where? But you have people that are stuck with their emotion and they start bursting out crying forever and it's a wonderful.

Speaker 3:

I mean, yeah, it's a wonderful release you know, so I've had that.

Speaker 1:

You know it was very good. Yeah, well, all right then. Well, margot, once again, thank you so much for coming down and doing the podcast with us today. It's great to see you. But that'll about do it for this episode of Wellness Connection MD. I hope the episode was helpful to you in some way. After all, that's why we do the show. But don't forget to check us out on mcminnmdcom, where you can find a connection to all of our podcasts and where you can also access Wellness MD blog, as well as lots of other great health and wellness information. You can also find there all of my social media links. But You'll find there all of my social media links. But please help the podcast grow by telling your friends and family about us and please take a moment to review us on iTunes. These reviews really do help us out. If you want to reach out to me by email, you can do so at drmcminn at yahoocom. And, in closing, thank you so much for listening. This is Dr McMinn signing out. Take care and be well.

Speaker 3:

Thank you, good tea to all of you.

Benefits of Acupuncture in Modern Medicine
Principles and Modalities of Acupuncture
Acupuncture Treatment Procedures and Safety
Acupuncture Research and Success Stories
Acupuncture Myths and Career Advice