Evergreen Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine
Acupuncture and herbal medicine have been proven to be safe and effective treatments for dozens of ailments, but only if administered by folks with the proper training, said Martin Eisele, who has had thousands of hours in training in both.
For example, if you read in a news story that a study has shown a particular herb is good for
a particular ailment, don't run to the drug store and buy that supplement. One, it might be the
wrong strength or type of that particular herb. Two, it might interact with medicines your doctor
has prescribed. Finally, some supplements do not even contain the herbs they claim to have.
As for acupuncture, the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health recognizes it is as safe and effective for treatment of 20 to 30 different health problems.
But the public should be aware that there are a number of people in Arkansas who have had very little training who are performing acupuncture, Mr. Eisele, owner of Evergreen Acupuncture in Little Rock, said. He is a licensed acupuncturist.
"All Arkansas licensed acupuncturists, L.Acs., are required to have four years training
at a nationally certified school. That amounts to 4,000 hours of training. And we have to take two national certification tests in acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine."
"As opposed to that, chiropractors only have to have 100 hours of training in acupuncture. Physical therapists are now doing acupuncture, calling it 'dry needling,' and they take a minimum 16-hour course."
So, that is 16 hours of education or 100 hours of education versus 4,000 hours of education.
"And (licensed) acupuncturists are required to have continuing education," Martin said.
When performed correctly, acupuncture is safe and has a low rate of minor adverse effects. In fact, a National Institutes of Health review states that "one of the advantages of acupuncture is that the incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than that of many drugs or other accepted medical procedures for the same conditions."
However, when acupuncture is performed by untrained people there can be serious adverse outcomes.
Martin said that "every acupuncture point has directions." Licensed acupuncturists have studied these directions, including where to insert the acupuncture needle and the proper depth.
But before treatment of any kind, a proper diagnosis must be made. That is an important part of the four years of study in certified schools.
Traditional Chinese medicine seeks the causes that inhibit healing and works to treat these underlying causes so that the body can heal itself.
It is a system of medicine that has evolved over thousands of years of practice. It is rooted in the concept that "Qi" (pronounced "chee), or vital energy, needs to be in balance for good health.
"There have been very specific studies - about headaches, nausea, backaches … . In the more modern studies, they are doing things like studying the brain with EEGs" to show which acupuncture points light up different parts of the brain. "Or they measure chemical reactions in the brain."
NIH literature states that high quality clinical trials have shown that acupuncture is good for a number of ailments from stroke rehabilitation to tennis elbow.
"A lot of people seek out acupuncture because they are tired of taking pain medication or do not want to take pain medication. On the flip side, even if someone is taking medication, acupuncture can, in a lot of cases, get them through their illness. For instance, I treat a lot of people who are going through treatment for cancer. Acupuncture can be beneficial to help them be stronger, help with nausea, fatigue and the emotional trauma of being diagnosed with cancer.
"I never tell people to change their medicines unless it is a pain medication when they are not in pain. Any other medication, I tell them to go back and talk with their doctor."
Martin is certainly not opposed to Western medicine.
"My dad was a doctor. My grandfather was a pharmacist. My great-grandfather was a pharmacist. I prefer to work with (patients') doctors to get them better. And I do have a number of doctors who refer to me, including some OB/GYNs who are seeing women who have fertility problems."
No matter what problem a patient presents with, Martin also treats them for stress.
"I treat everybody for stress," he said. Acupuncture is known for treating stress."
It is increasingly used to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in military hospitals.
There is a drawback to acupuncture that ought to be discussed - fear of needles.
"People are really freaked out about the needles," Martin said. "Some are needle phobic and some, needle sensitive."
Acupuncture needles are extremely thin and flexible and do no bear any resemblance to needles that are used for injections or to draw blood.
"It is really relaxing if it is done right," Martin said.
And, then there are some problems that can be treated with "ear seeds," little pieces of seeds or metal taped to certain points on the ear to exert pressure there. If ear seeds are used, they can be just as effective as acupuncture, he said.
Martin is, of course, trained in herbal medicine, which is also a root of traditional Chinese medicine.
But he does not like to buy herbs from China.
"I source them from several different companies, mostly American companies that follow the growth of drugs. They are followed from the ground into the bottle - in all aspects and they are controlled.
"One of the companies I use, they started with the same acupuncture teachers I studied with. Actually the company was started by a Western medical doctor. There are Chinese companies you have to be wary of."
Martin caters each remedy to the diagnosis at the time a patients comes into his office.
"Each stage might represent something different in Chinese medicine."
Even in something as simple as a cold, certain herbs may be used in the beginning of treatment and different herbs as, for example, the color of phlegm changes over time.
Herbal medicine is used to treat a wide range of maladies, including musculoskeletal pain, digestive disorders, stress and anxiety.
Part of the diagnosis concerns whether problems arise "from the inside of you or the outside of you."
Qi is always in flux. "Yin" and "yang" are terms used to describe qualities that need to be in harmony for the body to function properly. When the yin and yang aspects of Qi are in harmony with one another, it leads to health.
This may sound arcane, but Shoppe Talk deems that it is grounded in good sense - the kind you might get from your Southern grandmother.
Your body might be deficient in something, causing an imbalance, or you might be assaulted by pollution or toxic chemicals that are detrimental to health. You may eat too much or drink too much or eat trashy food with empty calories.
As well as observation, Martin asks a number of questions before coming to a diagnosis.
"We are looking at the full scope of someone's life. The questions we try to ask are what are you eating, how is your digestion, how is your sleep, how is your energy, how is your stress. We look at elimination. We look at the big picture. I talk to almost everyone about their diet."
Some people are reluctant to take Chinese herbs, but those same folk might buy over-the-counter supplements.
"Buying at a store or over the internet, it's not safe to do. They are medicine, and they can be misused. You have to have the right diagnosis. You have to know the background, what kind of medication they are taking. Some people take cinnamon to improve blood pressure or cholesterol, but it might not be the right thing for them. Some people take ginseng. Chinese ginseng is fairly hot and warms the body. American ginseng is cooler and is used in a different way. You have to know which ginseng you are using for which situation. And then combining herbs is more complex."
Although herbal medicine and acupuncture are great tools for treating a number of ailments, sometimes Martin turns folks away at the door.
"I sometimes tell people 'don't waste your money.' We know when to refer out. I refer to physical therapists, doctors, psychiatrists, OB/GYNs and to the emergency room.
"If someone has a blood pressure of over 200, I send them to the ER. I tell them, you don't need to be here."
Martin received his training in Oriental Medicine at Southwest Acupuncture College in Boulder, Colorado. He interned with Dr. Jeffrey Dann, an internationally known expert in Japanese Meridian Acupuncture. After completing a four-year program of study, he graduated with a master's degree in Science and Oriental Medicine in 2001. He continued his education in Shanghai, China, at Shu Guang Hospital and at the Shanghai Acupuncture and Meridian Research Institute. He is licensed by the state and nationally certified in acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. Evergreen Acupuncture is located at 2 Van Circle near the intersection of North University and Evergreen Drive. 663-3461.