Distal Needle Acupuncture

Distal Needle Acupuncture is a style of acupuncture commonly used and highly effective at treating pain.  With this particular style, we place needles in areas that are not where the pain is localized, but rather in a location away from the problem area. The easiest image to understand is when a patient has knee pain we will place needles in the opposite elbow. When we treat pain in the foot we will needle the opposite hand. With this type of needling, the pain usually goes away instantly on the table. It is very rewarding to treat a patient who has been dealing with chronic pain, headaches, migraines, low back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, you name it and get their pain to “magically” disappear. Of course, one acupuncture treatment is not a permanent fix, it typically takes weeks of treatment to resolve a pain condition permanently, but, we know if we can get the pain to go away on the table, we will very likely be able to get the patient back to 100% or close, with 6-12 plus acupuncture sessions.  

This system was first created by the famous Dr. Richard Tan. I had the privilege of learning from him when he was still alive, his system was a gift to our profession. When properly utilized the results are incredible. He would call his work a magic show because Distal Needle Acupuncture works so well and completely blows patients away, with immediate relief and results. At Acupuncture Northwest we are in the business of fixing people. Our tools, the needles, work so well, coupled with great strategy, means people get results they never thought were possible. We get to look people in the eye all day long and tell them with complete confidence, I can fix you, I know what’s wrong with you, and I know what your body needs. We work incredibly hard for our patients to deliver great results and are also willing to let people know if they are not progressing as we thought they would to help them find them someone who might be able to better serve them, with a different modality. As always if you have any questions, or want a quick consult about your health condition and how we can help, feel free to call.

Implementing Positive Changes to your Sedentary Lifestyle

Your Sedentary Lifestyle Is Turning You Into a Nervous Wreck

By: Sarah Goodyear

The link between a sedentary lifestyle and anxiety was reinforced recently by new research comparing sedentary mice and mice that exercise. The study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience and covered in the New York Times,  where I first learned about it, suggests that habitual inactivity can cause increased anxiety in animals that don’t move around much.

Researchers at Princeton University compared the behavior and brains of mice that were allowed to exercise on wheels in their cages to those who instead “sat quietly.” The mice that were active showed more inclination to explore new environments when given the chance, an indication of less anxiety. When dunked in cold water, as stressful for mice as it is for humans, the running mice reacted more calmly than the sedentary ones.

This effect has been observed before, but the new study delves deeper into the mechanisms behind it. Analysis of the rodents’ brains revealed that the running sparked the creation of excitable neurons that prompt activity, and resulted in a huge new supply of neurons that produce GABA, which has a soothing effect on the nervous system.

The normal human solution, which is to walk around the world as we work, gather food, and play, is increasingly inaccessible to us.

Is there a connection between our own sedentary lives and our epidemic of nerves? According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in America, afflicting 18 percent of the nation – some 40 million people. Eleven percent of middle-aged women in the U.S. take anti-anxiety medication.

Correlation is, of course, not causation. But this latest study adds to other science that connects the amount we do or don’t move our bodies and our mental health.

Part of the problem, of course, is that too many Americans see movement as something to be done at a discreet time. Work at a treadmill desk, your own little exercise wheel in your own little cage! Drive to a spin class at the gym! There, you can ride up imaginary hills with your fellow creatures trying to escape the perils of the sedentary life!

The normal human solution, to walk around the world as we work, gather food, and play, is increasingly inaccessible to us. And even when it is not, we frequently perceive it to be inaccessible. According to the Federal Highway Administration’s 2009 National Household Transportation Survey, 68 percent of the trips taken by U.S. residents between ½ and 2 miles in distance were made by vehicle. Only 23 percent of such trips were made on foot.

One-third of respondents reported no walking trips whatsoever in the previous week.

“The greatest barrier to walking more is the perception of too much traffic, not enough street lighting, or wide road crossings,” reports the FHWA. “People are also concerned about crime, had no nearby paths or sidewalks, and were too busy to walk more often.”

But “working out” is never going to be a solution for everyone, or even for most people. It can be expensive and strenuous and dull. Instead, we should be encouraging people to see walking (or biking) as part of their daily routine — not a special activity to be engaged in wearing special shoes on a special path, but simply the sensible way to get from one place to another. Imagine how much calmer we might be.

Andrew R. Cline, associate professor of media and journalism at Missouri State University, has a blog in which he advocates what he calls “‘the 1-mile solution.” He suggests that people use a simple tool such as Walk Score to assess what services are within a one-mile radius of their homes, and then simply walk or ride a bike to make those trips. Cline writes:

I’m … suggesting that we … put effort into an idea that is sustainable and could grow the numbers by creating a habit. It is, after all, mostly a habit that puts us behind the wheel of a car to travel one mile. It’s habit that makes the risk and expense of a 1-mile car ride seem normal.

If people do try their own “one-mile solution,” they may discover exactly what the FHWA was talking about: a pedestrian environment unpleasant or downright hostile to travelers on foot. Maybe then we’ll finally have the political capital we need to lobby for real infrastructure improvements that allow people can get the activity they need in a natural human way, rather than spinning like mice on a laboratory wheel.


  • Invest in a standing desk. These can be found at your local office depot, IKEA also has them online or in the Portland location. Utilizing a standing desk can help you stay moderately active while staying where you are. Here are some options: Three dimensional leg swings; keeping one foot on the ground start by tapping the opposite toes back and forth. Do this for 20-30 seconds and then tap the same foot across the midline of your body and back and forth. Finally rotate your hip, knee and toe inward and then outward, creating rotation in the body. Now, repeat on the other side. By doing this you have created a small amount of mobility in three dimensions leaving your body happier than simply standing still. Even if you do not have a standing desk available to you you can do these exercises to help you stay active without having to leave your work space.

  • Make a point to get up from your work space and walk around. Here is an idea. Instead of bringing a giant water bottle filled at the beginning of your day, keep a smaller cup or bottle at your workspace( 8-12 oz). Make yourself a goal of refilling the cup/bottle 4-5 times throughout your work day. When your cup/bottle is empty you now have a time to get up and move a little, walk to the water fountain or sink and stretch your legs. There is an extra bonus to this system! When you sip water throughout your day rather than gulp tons all at once your body actually absorbs hydration more efficiently. When we gulp tons of liquid all at once our body systems get overwhelmed with the large amount, only takes what it can use at that moment and flushes out the rest, along with other vital nutrients.

  • Graze on your food throughout your work day and on your lunch break take a walk outside. By taking a break from your work environment even if it is only for 10 minutes you can feel refreshed. Go outside, get some fresh air, and move your body! Your brain will thank you. If you are not able to leave the building then find an empty hallway or stairway to walk up and down a few times.

  • Set an alarm on your phone or computer to give you a movement break. If you are the type of person who will sit down at your desk and power through your day without looking up then you try this out. When the alarm goes off get up and take a little walk. Set your alarm every hour or so throughout your day and your brain and body will be happier.



A Space for Stillness

AcNW_Buddha_TsWThe majority of patients who walk through our door will list stress as one of their main health complaints. Stress is a part of everyday life, but how do we handle it?  It is unavoidable, and our perception and management of stress is essential to our health. It is becoming more understood that one of the best ways to manage stress and promote well-being is to devote time every day to some form of meditation or quiet time. The benefits of this stillness include:

    • Reduced cortisol and blood pressure
    • Improved immune function
    • Reduced muscle tension
    • Slower heart rate
    • More regulated breathing
    • Reduced anxiety and depression

Above and beyond the physical benefits of having this quiet time for yourself, there are mental and emotional benefits as well. It allows for management of emotions, and an opportunity to access the creative areas in the brain, as well as our subconscious mind. Studies have shown that meditation reduces activity in the amygdala of our brain, which controls the way we react to stress.

Patients are often intimidated by the idea of meditation, but even without a formal meditation practice, a small amount of personal quiet time, in a peaceful space, can provide you with health benefits that you will feel throughout your day.

To make it simple, try sitting on the floor with your legs crossed, or in a chair. Have your arms in a relaxed position, hands on your knees. Sit tall with shoulders relaxed, and focus on your breath in and breath out. The mind will inevitably wander, but rather than beat yourself up for having a busy mind, just observe the thought and release it, bringing your attention back to your breath. Continue to observe and release the thoughts that rise up, and refocus on the breath. Practice this daily, even if you can only fit in 5-10 minutes a day. You will feel calmer, more peaceful, and more grounded throughout your day.

Lentils With Spinach

Here is a recipe that is easy and healthy! It is vegan, low fat, high in plant based protein and chlorophyl (see the benefits of chlorophyl here). This recipe is so pleasing to the  palate, I think I could eat it every day. It consists of only seven ingredients, including salt! Try experimenting with additional ingredients to add some new flavors and textures, for example, kale or roasted hazel nuts. I found the basis for this recipe in the book “Thrive Foods” by Brendan Brazier. I simply adapted the recipe a little by adding onions and substituting kale for the spinach.

(Makes about 4 – 1 cup servings)


1 tbsp Coconut Oil

3-5 cloves chopped garlic

1/2 lemon

1/2 onion – diced

3-4 C Chicken Broth or vegetable broth

1 C Red Lentils – well rinsed

3 C spinach or de-spined kale

Salt and/or pepper to taste

**Makes about 4 servings


  • Add coconut oil to Dutch oven or similar high sided saute pan and place over medium to low heat.
  • Add onions and saute for about 2-4 minutes or until it begins to brown
  • Add garlic and saute for 2-4 minutes
  • Add 2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth and add lentils – bring to boil
  • Back off temperature and simmer without lid for between 30 – 40 minutes, adding broth as it cooks to maintain moisture and broth base. Cook until lentils are tender
  • Add spinach and mix as you simmer for 2-4 minutes until it is wilted and mixed into lentils
  • Remove from heat and squeeze lemon over the top, add salt, mix and serve