In this episode, we continue the conversation with Todd Garrity, LAc, this time discussing how he approaches pain relief in his acupuncture practice.
While most people know that acupuncture can treat pain, there is a lot more to it than sticking needles into painful muscles. In particular, Todd's use of the Korean Hand Therapy system presents an alternative approach, which we discuss here as well as in videos on our Youtube channel.
Don't forget to leave us questions, topics and feedback on the podcast page of our website!
During this short discussion we touch on a variety of interesting topics including:
Some things mentioned on the podcast that you might want to explore further:
Hello there and welcome to the Watershed Wellness podcast. I'm your host, Eric Grey. I'm one of the co-owners of Watershed Wellness here in Astoria, Oregon. This is the second episode of our sort of second season of the podcast starting up here in 2022. We continue our conversation with Todd Garrity who is an acupuncturist here at the clinic. Whereas b efore we w ere, w ere talking more about his background a nd education here, we actually start to dig into some of the practice. So we discuss the treatment of different kinds of pain using acupuncture and, and start to dig in a little bit to how it actually works, u m, from, from Todd's perspective. And in particular, his perspective as a person who practices a special kind of acupuncture called Korean hand therapy, u m, which we do discuss a bit here in this episode please share this episode with others. If you find it useful you can find our podcast at watershedwellnesspodcast.com And that's a great page to share with others. We are on all the major podcasts networks, so you can find us there in your apps. Um, and we always welcome feedback. So there on that watershedwellnesspodcast.com page, you'll find a link to a contact form. And if you just wanna let us know how you liked the episode, or maybe give us some, some feedback or even suggest an episode or somebody we might interview we're very happy to receive that. So again, watershedwellnesspodcast.com, And you'll find all the information you need to enjoy the podcast there. So, thanks again for listening and we look forward to seeing you on our next episode. Okay. So I'm here with Todd again, and we're gonna talk a little bit about some of the things that acupuncture treats and specifically some of the things you tend to treat quite a bit. We'll start out, just talking a little bit about pain. Musculoskeletal pain, I think is probably the most well known use of acupuncture. Um, a lot of our first time new patients are pain, pain oriented, low back pain being the most interesting one, but Korean hand therapy is a really I think a lot of times when people come in for pain treatment, they expect if you have a low back pain, you get a bunch of needles in the back, right? Like it's, it's a very natural way to think about it. But Korean hand therapy of course, is quite famous for treating pain. I know that you do sometimes do local treatment, but it's really about that microsystem on the hand. So maybe if you can just talk for a couple minutes about what kind of pain you've been treating, how it works and maybe how does that work or how do you understand that working?Speaker 2:
Yeah. So when we're looking at Microsystems of the body that, that relate to the macro system of the body, what, what we're doing is by putting acupressure or needles, or even if I do moxa on those points on the hand, what we're doing is we're activating the nervous system. So your nervous system is taking a look at this at this, let's say you have the acupressure pellet, which is a little silver ball that has a bandaid backing. That's on a specific point that relates to in this example, the low back. So your nervous system is taking a look at what is this thing on the hand? And then it sends a signal to look at the back. Well, once your nervous system looks at the back and sees the issue, that's there, then a cellular response is initiated immediately. So the thing that I'm loving about the Korean hand acupressure is I use those points and then within five minutes, we should see a response. So if there is not an immediate response, then we have the wrong point. So then I get the point, check out and look for another point. So in that way, I'm able to make sure that we have the exact points. So then I mark those and the patient replaces those hand discs at night. So while you're sleeping and your body is working on, on healing and repairing the tissues, the nervous system is kind of hyper aware of what's going on, those areas of pain that we're wanting to bring more attention to. Right.Speaker 1:
Right. And you know I think it's really important to understand that there's obviously many points on the body. And different points on the hand go to different parts of the body. But how do you treat chronic versus acute pains differently?Speaker 2:
So when I look at, we look at pain with looking at the Chinese medicine patterns. And so, so some of these, we will actually be treating the underlying patterns. So with fibromyalgia, we're wanting to move spleen Chi that can be deficient and, and stuck often there's a lot, lot of dampness involved in that as well. So for those sorts of things, I'm actually using different protocols, much like what we do with body acupuncture. Right? So those points that are point combinations, I will find those same points on the hands. Right. Um, so that then becomes a little more complex, um, as far as the finding the correct points to, to utilize and when I'm using, um, the hand acupuncture for, uh, for acute issues, but also for chronic, I'm noticing that combining it with moxa is really powerful. Yeah. So often I'll do the, the hand points and then while your body is processing that I'll get out the lion moxa use that over the area of pain.Speaker 1:
And so what moxa does is it's basically a blood mover. And so that's helping to move some blood to that area. And, and for anybody who's listening, who doesn't know what moxa is, it can also be referred to as MOBU as the whole name. And this is actually a therapeutic modality that was used prior to the invention of acupuncture before they knew how to safely Pierce the body they used, they used heat and that's something that's still used today. And the lion warmer that you're referring to is just a special device for, for delivering that heat to the body. Right. So, yeah. So what do you, what do you think is going on there? Why, why does the moxa seem to help? Well, when we are looking at the very basic way that, um, that Chinese medicine looks at the body is energy Chi and blood are flowing through this highway system that we call the meridians, right? So wherever there's a blockage in that system, then pain results. Right? So by using the moxa, we're helping to reestablish that flow of Chi where it's been broken. Yeah. So another thing that is really helpful, and I, I try to spread the word about this is whenever you have surgery, whenever the body is being cut into that is going to cut across those meridians. Right. So no, no matter what sort of surgery, even if it's big or small, you need to do something. And of course we think that Chinese medicine is most helpful to reestablish that flow of Chi yeah. The communication across the cut, right? Yeah. So that's why often someone will have a surgery and then years later they have choose a along that, that channel. Right. Or even in the organ system that the channel was cut through, in some cases I've seen, you know, mm-hmm,<affirmative>, mm-hmm<affirmative>. Yeah. And that, that's actually a perfect dovetail with the conversation about moxa, because of course, one of the best scar treatments, especially old scars that I know of is MOBU, especially the line warmer, just direct over the scar tissue shoes. It, it makes an immediate softening difference, but over time it's kind of incredible how, how powerful it can be for that. Mm-hmm<affirmative> so, yeah. To your point, for sure. Mm-hmm<affirmative> um, I, and I really enjoy like, being able to see the progress. I had a patient recently who had pretty serious surgery. And so those scar ours were pretty fresh. Yeah. And using the moxa, it just, every, every week seeing this patient, it was a huge difference. So, you know, and that's something that patients can do at home as well. So we can send them home with some of the smokeless moxa. Right. That with instruction, if they use it at home, their results are just, yeah, totally tenfold. Yeah. And this, and in this really damp and cold climate, you know, I have some patients, especially elders patients who, when they do moxa all through the winter, there's so, so much warmer. They have so much less of that cold in their bones, you know, it's, um, it's pretty incredible stuff. It's you would think, you know, you're just, it seems so simple, but it's just, that's just Chinese medicine, right. Like something so simple can have such a profound result. Yeah. Well, and moxa is the herb itself is mug war. Yeah. Which is basically a weed yeah. Case grows everywhere and has for yeah. Centuries. Yeah. Yeah. And there's all kinds of interesting stuff. I mean, there's, we have, we have these books here at the clinic, these great books, um, all about moabs, I'll put some links in there cuz people, people like Mox, especially cuz it's a home treatment, you know, it's pretty, mm-hmm,<affirmative> pretty, pretty well beloved. Um, a quick question. So, um, you know, like low, like let's low back pain is one thing E everybody I think who might be listening to this knows that acupuncture can help with low back pain. Um, but what are some like unusual pains or some pains that you weren't, you know, that you weren't sure there was gonna be success with, but there was, or things that you often noticed that, you know, pain, especially that patients don't don't know that acupuncture can help. Is there anything like, you know, fringy or interesting to talk about? I think fibromyalgia is one that, um, is really important for people to know that acupuncture can be helpful and herbal therapy as well. Yeah. You can speak to, to that for sure. Um, because when people fibromyalgia go to the Western doctor, they're chasing pain. Yeah. So it's a different area. Every time they go to the doctor, well it's for us, we, we look at what's going on with the whole body system. And so our treatments are very different. They're not as directed in this area because as if someone comes in and they're saying, well, my knee hurts today. Well last, last time your wrist hurt. Yeah. But there's actually, it's, it's neither, it's the whole system just isn't flowing. Yeah. That's that great distinction that Chinese medicine, uh, has between the root treatment and the branch treatment. Right. You can go to, to any kind of doctor and they can give you pain, relieving, you know, things that you sometimes will help. Although in the case of fibromyalgia, often those don't help at all. But, but yeah, they're chasing the, the branch, the branches of the tree, but they're not attacking the root, which is really what you need to do, um, with, with a disease, especially like that multi-system disease like that. So yeah. That's a great, that's a great example. One, one thing. And I just wanna ask if you've had much experience treating this, um, headaches. It's so funny, like people know that acupuncture treats pain, but it's surprising how few people know that it treats headaches extraordinarily. Well, do you do a lot of that? I do a lot of it and people with, yeah. They'll come in with an extreme migraine and in just a matter of minutes that it, it goes away because it's just energy stuck in the head. Yeah. So what we'll often do with things like that is I'll use a lot of points on the feet, right. And that will help to draw that energy down and pulls it away. And the other thing that's interesting about headaches is based on the location, on where they're feeling the pain on the head that lets us know which energy channels are involved and there it, it can be very different. Yeah. So a spleen stomach related headache is gonna be a frontal kind of dull headache. Whereas liver gallbladder will be on the temples and can tend to be a tighter sort of headache. And of course brings me to, you know, talking about spleen, stomach liver, gallbladder. We're not necessarily saying that there's anything wrong with the organ specifically. Right. But the meridians that do happen to go through those organs right. Ha are named after the organs. Right. Right. Which, yeah, it's always a little confusing for folks, you know? Um, I, I think the way I've always heard it describe, you know, that really helped me was to understand the organs, the, the names of those organs is kind of being like, um, a label of an overall system that includes that organ system, but also goes beyond it. And so when we are treating patients, we're generally treating the, the other manifestations of that, the energetic or the channel manifestations, as opposed to the Oregon manifestations. So that makes some sense to me. Mm-hmm<affirmative> but you know, I've also seen actual, you know, there can be changes in those organ systems. Um, but it's, that's not our point. It's not our focus, right? Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Well, uh, let's, let's just because we're getting up, you know, past 10 minutes here, I wanna, uh, stop this one, but, uh, we'll certainly revisit some of these topics, uh, in the future. So.