Acupuncture can be of great benefit for people with EDS when the practitioner is familiar with the condition and the patient is clear about their own expectations and presentation. Fortunately, the majority of EDS people I’ve seen are incredibly aware and strong about self-advocacy. Also good? Licensed acupuncturists tend to be extremely attuned to the vagaries of rare disease and can be of tremendous help to folks with unique symptoms and patterns. But is acupuncture necessarily the best treatment strategy for you? And how can it help you to better manage your condition?
~~~Acupuncture? Or Something Else?~~~
As many of you know, I have been working with EDS patients since my student clinic days. While still in school to earn my acupuncture and herbalist credentials, my practice consisted of health coaching and the Chinese-style traditional bodywork therapy known as tui na. I have had a lot of good responses from patients in that realm (Want more information? Check my blog post with more on the subject of tui na for EDS). Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) bodywork treatment is a great way to figure out the differences in a patient’s presentation and to learn where things may be tighter and where things are frail. It’s an exceptional way to discover the way a person’s body is set up and to form a basis for outstanding treatment. A great approach to EDS includes bodywork therapy.
But what about acupuncture?
~~~How Acupuncture Can Help You~~~
There are many ways that acupuncture can supplement your self care practice. First and foremost, acupuncture is great for anxiety and it’s a marvelous way to handle chronic pain. More and more, the use of acupuncture for pain relief is gaining traction, as noted by the World Health Organization. In general, EDS support seems to be a bit more robust in Britain than it is here in the United States. The British Acupuncture Council, for its part, notes that a TCM practitioner considers syndromes and patterns, rather than specific syndromes; in so doing, we are able to potentially benefit an EDS patient in a manner that is different than the work of a Western allopathic physician. Though it is probably in your best interest to maintain your relationship with your GP and other biomedical doctors, it can still be of great use to you to work with a holistic healthcare practitioner in conjunction with your primary team.
Aside from pain and anxiety relief, acupuncture can also help with other issues, such as POTS. Depending on your presentation, we can often help with things like digestive issues, insomnia, headaches, and fatigue, too.
If you bruise easily (as is common with EDS), let your practitioner know. If you’re nervous about needles, ask about other options. Go in with a few reasonable expectations and recognize that acupuncture is a slower treatment than what you get with pharmaceutical drugs but–also realize–when it works, it tends to last. In general, you should expect some improvement or, if not, you deserve a clear explanation as to what you can expect and why you can expect it.
My experience thus far with my EDS patients is that (and I love this) they are incredible self advocates, they are not passive, and they ask questions. Personally, I love it when patients ask questions. I was a professor in my first career and if you can picture your fave Spanish literature professor practicing TCM, that would be me. I am happy to answer questions, I love teaching, and a successful outcome for me is an empowered, educated patient. Not everyone is this way. If you are looking for an acupuncturist, try to get a good feel for how accessible they are during your first visit. If they seem like they don’t want questions, keep looking. There is someone out there for you and you will find your right acupuncturist if you are willing to check around. It’s the same as with any other medical care provider, including psychotherapists. Sometimes, you need to try more than one before you find the perfect one for you.
Finally, do try acupuncture with an open mind. I am a firm believer in its efficacy for pain and anxiety at the very least and that, in and of itself, is a big deal for anyone who lives with EDS. I say this based on my own solid level of experience working with my zebra patient population. And if it really resonates for you? Even better. If you start with reasonable expectations and find the right practitioner for you, acupuncture and other forms of TCM can seem like a miracle.
Are you ready to try it?
Paula Bruno, Ph.D., L.Ac., is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist, an AOBTA-CP traditional Chinese bodywork therapist, and a wellness educator. She maintains an active and growing practice at her Austin, TX offices. Dr. Bruno is also available for distance appointments for wellness consultation or coaching.
In her first career, she was a Spanish professor.
Dr. Bruno’s specialties as a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner include: • Musculoskeletal health (acute or chronic pain relief; Ehlers Danlos syndrome & hypermobility support) • Digestive support, gut health, and weight loss • Aesthetic treatment, including scar revision • Men’s health • General preventative care and immune support for all persons.
When you are ready to discover what traditional medicine plus a vibrant and engaged approach to holistic health can do for you, either contact Dr. Bruno or book an appointment online.
Two Hearts Wellness does not accept paid advertising on this website
Note: Material on this web site is not intended to replace your treatment or care provided by an MD. It is for educational/entertainment purposes only. A TCM practitioner in Texas identifies syndrome patterns but does not diagnose illness. Always consult your primary care doctor for health concerns.