Welcome to The Betty Rocker Show! Have you ever wondered how acupuncture works or what’s behind the benefits? I’ve been receiving and seriously interested in this practice for the past couple of years.
I have noticed tremendous benefits in my ability to manage stress, as well as noticing how it supported the hormone adjustments I was working on with my primary doctor as I transitioned into perimenopause.
There are many different things that acupuncture can support and treat, including hormone balancing (for PMS, perimenopause, menopause, infertility and more), the stress response, the inflammatory response, pain management, GI distress, anxiety, addiction, and many more.
I invited the practitioner I have been working with personally onto the podcast today to share more about this fascinating healing modality, and how she treats her clients.
Dr. Ashlie is an Acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine Practitioner and a Chiropractor who is really focused on women’s health and partnering with each person on their healing journey. She has been in the wellness industry for over 15 years and has been practicing Acupuncture for over a decade.
She was formerly a board member for the Acupuncture Association of Colorado and an instructor and curriculum developer for the Nutrition Therapy Institute in Denver. She has a Master of Science in Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture and Doctorate of Chiropractic. She has additional training in both eastern and western herbal medicine, fertility, nutritional endocrinology, pharmacology and supplements and their uses.
Dr. Ashlie empowers her patients to tune into and listen to their bodies, and values bridging the gap between eastern and western medicine to provide individualized, optimized outcomes for each person she works with. That’s certainly been my own experience in working with her, and I know you’ll enjoy this conversation!
Betty Rocker (00:02):
Welcome to The Betty Rocker Show, the place to be to nourish your mind, love your body, and rock your life. What’s up rock stars? Coach Betty Rocker here, and today I’m talking to Dr. Ashlie Klavon all about acupuncture. Dr. Ashlie is an acupuncturist and Chinese medicine practitioner as well as a chiropractor who is really focused on women’s health and partnering with each individual on their healing journey. She’s been in the wellness industry for over 15 years and has been practicing acupuncture for over a decade.
She was formerly a board member for the Acupuncture Association of Colorado, and an instructor and curriculum developer for the Nutrition Therapy Institute in Denver. She has a Master’s of Science in Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, and a Doctorate of Chiropractic. She has additional training in both Eastern and Western herbal medicine, fertility, nutritional endocrinology, pharmacology, and supplements and their uses.
Dr. Ashlie empowers her patients to tune into and listen to their bodies, and values bridging the gap between Eastern and Western medicine to provide individualized, optimized outcomes for each person she works with. That’s certainly been my own experience in working with her. And I thought you might really enjoy learning more about acupuncture, its benefits, what it can treat, and hearing from someone I work with personally and trust. So join me in welcoming her to the show. Welcome, Ashlie. Oh my gosh, I’m so excited to have you here. Thank you so much for joining us.
Ashlie Klavon (01:43):
Absolutely. Thank you for having me as well. I’m so excited to get to chat with you today, and I’m honored to be on your podcast.
Betty Rocker (01:50):
Oh my gosh. Well, thank you so much, and this is really fun, little change from the way that we normally interact. Normally I come into the office, lay on the table, and you stick me full of needles. So this is new. I was thinking today about all of the things that we’ve worked on over the last couple of years together. For me, I’ve been coming to acupuncture for hormone balancing and for stress relief.
Those are the two things that I’ve been really focused on getting support from acupuncture with. And my doctor has really recommended that as an add-on to the work that we’ve done together and what she’s seen like in my blood work and things like that. So those were two things that I’ve really benefited from the work we do together. But I’m sure you see people needing acupuncture for many different reasons.
Ashlie Klavon (02:47):
Absolutely. There are a host of reasons why people come to acupuncture, but I would say hormone balance and stress response are like the power punchers, especially for women. Just because as we’re talking about acupuncture and how it works in the body, you’ll really see why those two things can be balanced and regulated in your system with the use of the needles.
Betty Rocker (03:10):
How does acupuncture work exactly? I think a lot of people probably are wondering, “Well, having needles put in my body doesn’t sound very fun, so there better be a good reason behind why I would do something like that.”
Ashlie Klavon (03:23):
Absolutely. And there are lots of conversation around why acupuncture works and different theories, different perspectives. You can get into hours-long conversations with folks about does this work for this, or this for that? But really I think what it comes down to, simply put, is its role on the nervous system and how the nervous system functions and communicates in the body as well as the fascia. So I don’t know if you’ve talked much about fascia on previous episodes, but we have this big netting in our system from basically our fingers to our toes that acts as a communication network and a structural protection for our organs, our blood vessels, our nerves, our muscles.
All of it is coated in this fascial network or netting. And if you think of the body as a city, each of your organs would be various destinations, each of your blood vessels, each of your nerves. And you have this road system, roadmap within your body that is this fascia. Well, as this fascia runs throughout all of your body, it connects each of those parts, and within that are the acupuncture points. There are 12 meridians in the system, and actually quite many more extra meridians. But the standard traditional meridians are the 12, and they each correlate with your organ systems in the body. Well, what’s interesting and cool about that is, each of those meridians also runs along a fascial line.
The fascia that runs from the base of your neck all the way down to your toe is the back line, and that is correlated to the bladder channel. So you’re going to treat along that channel with different points based on different symptoms and things that come up. But if you think about in a city, using that same analogy, you’re going to get congestion. Right? You’re going to get traffic. So when you find those traffic points, what you’re doing with the needle is you’re essentially sending workers, sending those cells, sending those signals to, “Hey, we got to disperse the traffic. We got to get the flow moving freely throughout the body and allow that fascia to even out and spread throughout the system more effectively.”
Betty Rocker (05:36):
Oh, what a great analogy with the traffic, and the channels in the system. I love that network analogy. Back when I was doing structural integration and body work years back, I was practicing a lot of myofascial release because we learned in all of the training I had the fascial layer is so important and so connective. We visualized it as almost, it was like a Saran Wrap that wrapped all of the muscular, and vascular, and the organ systems basically. And because this fascia was all connected, people would experience like a pain.
Like say someone had a headache, for instance, and this headache was actually coming from a tight trigger point that was stuck in the base of their neck in one of the muscles in their neck. So by releasing the trigger point, they would actually get relief from the headache. Other times people would have like a back pain, and so we would release a key muscle, say the subscapularis muscle under the armpit, an awkward place to have to release, or even the chest muscle.
And when we would press on that particular muscle, they would actually feel it in their back, or they would feel it down their arm, or they would feel it in a point where you weren’t pressing. This is because of the fascial connection. Because there is a channel that really exists. And by understanding that network and those channels, you could treat quite a lot of different things depending on your intention. So with trigger point work and that type of therapy, we’re treating muscles, we’re going into the muscle tissue. With acupuncture, however, you are treating more the energy channel. Correct?
Ashlie Klavon (07:21):
This is correct.
Betty Rocker (07:21):
Utilizing the fascial network. And because the needle is so tiny … And you talked about like how acupuncture works in the general sense, but like how it works when you actually go into the office. Can you describe that experience for someone who may never have had it before?
Ashlie Klavon (07:39):
Yeah. So if you were coming in for a first visit into the office what we would do is, we would sit down and we would chat about what you have going on, what brings you in today. For example, if you came in with, “I want to work on my hormones,” or, “I want to work on neck pain,” we would talk through that. We would talk about when it started, how did it transpire? And then we would look at how it correlates with the various organ systems in the body to determine what points we would use.
That’s one of the ways that we select the points where we’re going to be putting the needles is looking at different points that are specific for treating specific things. And then also, what is your body telling us? So we have a couple diagnostic tools that we use. Some acupuncturists will use the tongue as a diagnostic tool, and they look at the tongue and they look at the various patterns on the tongue. Other acupuncturists will use the pulse as a diagnosis. That’s one that I use with everyone I treat.
Because I find that when you’re looking at the pulse, you’re able to kind of see real-time changes as you’re working on a person. And we can go in a little bit more detail about that here shortly. But really what we want to do is, we want to take your main reason for coming in, look at that, look at maybe the why of why it’s happening in your body, what organ systems is it affecting, and then how do we work with your individual body to create the best approach for inserting the needles? So then we would get you on the table, feel that pulse, and choose the needles accordingly from there.
Betty Rocker (09:13):
I’ve always been curious. When you feel my pulse, you’re not seeing it, you’re feeling it, but you see in your mind what’s happening in the body basically from what the pulse is telling you. And I’ve noticed you feel both of my pulses on both sides of my wrists, on both wrists basically. So what is it that you’re feeling exactly? I’ve always been curious.
Ashlie Klavon (09:36):
Yeah, so in traditional Chinese medicine, there’s actually six pulse spots. On each side you have three different points that we’re feeling for. So I use my three fingers and I place them on the wrist right where the pulse is felt, and each finger correlates with a different channel system. So it’s going to be two organ systems that pair together, and then totaling all 12 channels. So you’ll have six on each side, a yin organ and a yang organ. But really what I’m feeling for is imbalances between the three.
So if I have upper, middle, and lower on one side, and upper, middle and lower, I’m feeling is one excess, or one feels a little bit stronger, does one feel a little bit deeper or weaker, slower, faster? There’s lots of different words that we’re looking for, but really feeling a difference from each one. And then when I go to the other side, it’s not only looking at side-to-side difference, but also the channels on the other side as well. That really allows me to individualize what systems do I feel like are imbalanced today, and how do we get them back in balance?
Betty Rocker (10:47):
And that’s what helps you choose the needle points that you’re going to choose to place when you get to that point.
Ashlie Klavon (10:55):
Betty Rocker (10:55):
And you said yin and yang. Will you tell us, for someone who maybe isn’t familiar, tell us a little bit more about the chi and the yin and the yang? What does that all mean, and how does that work?
Ashlie Klavon (11:09):
Yeah. Another word for chi is energy or flow throughout your body. Life force is another way that they would describe that. So your life force is your essence, your vital essence, how your body functions on a day-to-day, how the energy moves through your body. So going back to that theory around the city and the traffic, energy stagnation would be that traffic. Right?
So we’re looking at what is blocking in your system that energy flow that’s keeping things from working optimally. Because ultimately our bodies can heal themselves from most things if given the proper tools and if interference is removed. So when we’re talking about removing congestion of the energy flow, we want that system flow to flow freely, and that involves things like blood flow, lymphatic flow, nerve signaling. All of the different receptors that go through your system are different forms of that chi or energy in the system. And then when we’re talking about yin and yang, so in Chinese medicine there, there’s a broader theory around yin and yang where it’s the dark and the light. You can’t have one without the other. You can’t have depth without distance. You can’t have light without dark. And so in the body, each of the organs and organ systems have yin and yang traits. So yin is going to be your deeper organs, your life force organs, so your liver, your lungs, your spleen. Your yang organs are your moving organs. Those are the things that get things flowing and keep things. They’re your hollow organs, but they keep things moving. So your large intestine, your gallbladder, and each of those have pairs in the system together. So your liver and your gallbladder go together as your yin and your yang organ, and they work simultaneously to create that smooth flow of chi through the body.
Betty Rocker (13:14):
Oh, that’s really, really helpful. Thank you for explaining that. Would you mind telling me a little bit more about some of the correlations for specific organ pairs? For instance, I know a lot of times when I come in you’re like, “Okay, I need to balance your kidney today, or I need to balance your liver today, a lot of liver,” or whatever. And it’s super interesting. And I know you’re always balancing things like you just described, but would you just, because it’s fun to know, because you’ll ask me really great questions and be like, “Were you angry today?” I’ll be like, “Yes, I was very angry today. Or yes, something really stressful happened,” or whatever emotional state maybe is associated with that organ. I find that so fascinating how these things can be connected.
Ashlie Klavon (14:06):
Yeah, and that’s super cool about each one of the organ systems is they have specific traits. So each organ system has an emotion, it has a color, it has a taste, it has a smell. And so when you’re really diving into an individual and what’s going on with them, you can be using all your senses to kind of hone in on where the imbalance is. So for example, the liver is responsible for anger and irritability. It’s also your stress organ and it’s your hormone organ, in Chinese medicine, because it’s processing that. So when your liver’s getting congested, it’s creating potential hormone imbalance.
And a lot of times we see liver congestion with menstrual issues. So if somebody has cramps or pain, you’re going to see a stagnation, we would call it, or a congestion of that liver channel or that liver organ because that is responsible for the smooth flow of those hormones. So when I ask you fun questions like, “How’s your stress today? Or how angry, did you have an irritable morning?” Or anything like that, a lot of times it means I’m feeling something a little bit imbalanced in the liver pulse maybe, or there’s been key phrases or words that I’ve heard you say as we’re talking that make me wonder, “Oh, I wonder if the liver’s a little off.”
Betty Rocker (15:21):
Oh, that’s super, super interesting. I was just being reminded that PMS is one of those things that acupuncture can be a great treatment for. We said hormone, it’s a great treatment for hormones. But I think honing in on some of the specifics within that is important because I was dealing with really bad hormone imbalance when I first came to see you from just sort of the fallout from being exposed to black mold several years back and how that sort of tanked my hormones. And right now, after having covid months ago, it knocked my T-cell count way down, my hormones tanked again, and so we’re using this opportunity to rebalance just like my hormones around perimenopause symptoms. However, I don’t experience PMS very often, so I almost forget that that’s a thing. But you, I’ve read, and I know you can really help someone deal with PMS symptoms, and I guess I’m guessing that would be related to the liver channel.
Ashlie Klavon (16:25):
And kind of going a little bit back to the fascia as well, when you’re stimulating different points in the fascial layer for liver, or spleen is another organ system that is responsible for some of the blood flow and hormone regulation in Chinese medicine. But those corresponding points are actually various receptor sites for hormone signaling in the body. So if we’re picking points along those channels, a lot of times they’re sending nerve signals to your brain to slow down or speed up the release of various different chemicals, whether it’s hormones, neurotransmitters, stress response signaling, kind of putting your body back into that state.
Betty Rocker (17:08):
Oh, so interesting. And then the stress response, again, another super, super interesting thing to be able to treat. I always feel, I’ll leave sessions sometimes just feeling what I call just blissed out. I mean, it completely puts me into another state. And I wasn’t necessarily feeling stressed before, but one thing that I’ve been really diligent in coming for weekly sessions when I’m wanting to get care, acupuncture care, is there a benefit to doing more? So sometimes people might be like, “Oh, can I just go get a session of acupuncture and then I’m good,” and maybe that’s valid for certain things. However, what are sort of the reasons why someone would want to do regular sessions and what’s the regular sort of recommendation for treating things? I know it’s very general what I’m asking, but I guess you’ve probably seen a lot of different scenarios.
Ashlie Klavon (18:04):
I mean, in a perfect world, it would be awesome to see people on a regular schedule. I mean, weekly would be ideal. Because we live in a state of pretty high stress, even if you handle and adapt to stress really well, our world is really fast-paced and we’re being thrown things at rapid fire, ways that we’re not used to evolutionary, especially with technology and how we’re getting information overdrive all the time. Acupuncture is really good at bringing that stress response back down.
So we have the two major nerve system pathways in the body, the sympathetic and the parasympathetic. The sympathetic is that fight or flight. I’m running from danger, I’m in fear, but a lot of us live there a lot more than just running from a tiger. We’re living there in a kind of low grade stress state because of the world that we live in and how fast-paced things are. Acupuncture is, at its core best, at bringing you out of that fight or flight state and putting you back into that rest and digest parasympathetic. So when you say blissed out, it’s because we’re telling your nervous system, “Hey, you’re good. You can take a load off today. We’re going to relax. We’re going to melt into the table.” Give that body a chance to just feel safe for a little while and reset and kind of come back into your body a little bit.
Betty Rocker (19:26):
Yeah, that definitely describes very well how it feels for me when I’m experiencing it. But I want to ask because I know people might be curious. They’re like, “Well, it’s a stress reducer, but you’re putting needles in me. Isn’t that a stressful experience? Doesn’t it hurt? Don’t the needles hurt?”
Ashlie Klavon (19:45):
That is a great question, and it’s probably one of the most common questions I get. Number one thing that people say when they come in is either that they have a fear of needles or that they don’t like needles, they’re afraid of the pain. And I will say that there are some points that can be a little twingy, and sometimes you actually do want a little bit of a pain response or kind of a trigger point response depending on what we’re treating. But ideally, the goal is not for you to be in pain. And we use all sizes of needles. We have, to your point, for folks that are really needle sensitive, we have tiny little baby needles that are meant for even infants or children that we can use on adults and still get amazing results with. You hardly feel when they’re inserted.
And then there are moments where it’ll be a, “Hey, I want you to feel this point. I just want you to let me know you feel it. Once you feel it, the pain goes away.” It’s within 30 seconds, but we’re just triggering that pain response or that muscle fiber response. But by the time all the needles are in, you shouldn’t be feeling pain. So I think people come in with this idea that, “Oh my gosh, I’m going to be laying there and I’m going to be trapped under all these needles and everything’s going to be hurting.” When in the reality, by the time all the needles are in, you are just melting at that point. Within a couple of minutes, you forget they’re there and you’re just hanging out or falling asleep. The number of times I walk in on somebody snoring is awesome. It’s like, “Oh yeah, they are blissed out today.” They are.
Betty Rocker (21:10):
Yeah, that’s a great analogy with, I mean, just thinking about it from a trigger point perspective, back when I was, I was speaking about before when I would treat people with trigger point work for the muscles, I always like the one to 10 scale where seven is that sort of sweet spot where it’s like it’s a good hurt. If it was eight, it would be painful. So we don’t go to eight usually. And then usually I would hold the trigger point and have someone breathe until it went down to a five or six. And I give that same scale when we’re holding stretches when we’re training as well, because I find that pain and pressure and sensations that are very subjective, each person is going to have a different experience with the way that it feels to them.
And to your point, the baby needles, you’re very generous not to put me on the spot, but I’ll put myself on the spot. I was really sensitive when I first started getting acupuncture, and that was partly to do with trauma response. And I know you see a lot of different people in your practice who have old trauma that they’re dealing with, and physical trauma can leave those types of knee-jerk reactions or a physical reaction to anything that’s painful. It can feel more painful or it can be an associated with a feeling state that you have associated with that pain. So for me, initially with acupuncture, I was really sensitive. I had a visceral response when the needles would go in, and not just with Ashley, but with other people I’d worked with and acupuncture in the past, and you’re really the first practitioner who offered me the baby needles. You said, “Hey, would you like to try these smaller needles?”
And it was almost not even about the needles at that point, it was just about the acknowledgement of the pain and just the sensitivity that someone like in your profession brings to working with people in general. That’s a really important part of the healing, I think. And we do work with the baby needles quite a lot, and I absolutely appreciate and love that. So I definitely don’t, I almost never feel much going in. I feel, for me, for my sensation, it’s like a six and a half. So that’s even below the seven when the baby needles go in. And very occasionally, our last session, I had a couple of hotspots, a couple of hot points, but I was right around my period at that time too. And you commented, “Hey, you’re a little more sensitive today, and that’s totally normal.” And within five seconds, I no longer felt the sensation at all, like you described, it went right down. It was like that energetic trigger point was that channel was starting to clear. And you always tell me, “Oh, your energy channels clear so quickly, you’re so responsive.” And I always like that, I’m like, “Yeah, I did.”
Ashlie Klavon (24:06):
Yes. You’re one of my favorites-
Betty Rocker (24:08):
Ashlie Klavon (24:09):
… folks to work with, seriously, because you do so much work and you’re so in tune with your body. And it’s really fun to work with your body because you do provide great feedback, you’re doing all the background work with your diet and nutrition and exercise and all the things, so when I’m feeling your pulses, it’s like rapid fire. Your body’s like, “Oh, we got this. We know it’s coming.” I could probably just touch the point a lot of times and it would still clear it right out because your body’s like, “Oh, we know this. We got this.” It’s amazing. I love working with folks like you.
Betty Rocker (24:44):
And I’m sure you also love working with people who are more challenging to treat because it’s the healing arts, right?
Ashlie Klavon (24:53):
Betty Rocker (24:53):
This is the goal maybe is to get someone to the point where they are super responsive, but it sometimes takes time for people to clear those energy channels and there could be other things going on. And you just made a wonderful point about the work that’s done outside of the acupuncture office, and I think this could be said to be true for work that’s done outside of any therapeutic setting. There’s no one thing that’s going to fix us. There’s no one thing that’s the end all be all of our healthcare. This is just one of the dials that you can turn to add benefit to other things that you do. Would you agree?
Ashlie Klavon (25:35):
Yeah, and I’m really glad you said that too because I think it’s important to note that no matter what your lifestyle is outside of acupuncture, there is still room for benefit.
Like you said, I love treating anyone who walks through my door. It’s so much fun. My job is awesome. I wouldn’t even call it a job because I’m just so enamored with the body every day and I’m like, “Whoa, this is so cool.” But even if your lifestyle isn’t ideal for you or you have goals or you just are happy where you’re at and you’re like, “Hey, I’ve got some pain and I want you to help clear it,” acupuncture is great for that too. Just knowing that the speed at which we get results can be a little bit slower depending on what your background in your body is and what you’re doing outside of acupuncture. Like you said, it’s just a piece of the puzzle. So if you have a lot of really high stressors in your life or your diet’s not as great as you’d like it to be, or you maybe can’t move as much because you work long hours in front of a computer, all things that are normal human everyday things but can factor into how quickly we get results with acupuncture.
Betty Rocker (26:39):
And probably another reason why regular treatments can be really beneficial for someone because they’ll experience a greater benefit by getting a regular session. It’s just like a dial that you get to turn more frequently basically, so I love that.
Ashlie Klavon (26:56):
Yeah. Ideally, I mean, it would be great to be able to see people… I try to keep appointments a little bit closer together initially so that we can get your body used to what we’re doing. It’s almost like we’re turning on a light switch. It’s like we’re turning on signals that maybe have been a little dulled for a while, and so initially we’ll see you closer together. But in a perfect world, maintenance is key. So even if somebody can’t see me once a week, even once a month is great, your body is still going to get that feedback and it’s going to remember. The more you do it, the more your body remembers what we’re doing. Because ultimately we’re working with your body, so I’m not adding anything to it. People ask me that a lot like, “Oh, does the needle have medicine on it or does it have some sort of ointment or something?” And it’s like, “No, I’m not adding anything to your body. I’m just working with what your body already has.” So we’re just helping it function more optimally and more at your best baseline, if that makes sense.
Betty Rocker (27:56):
That’s a great explanation. I so appreciate that. And the correlation point, there’s one thing that I always… In your office, you have these great charts about all the acupuncture points, and there’s a gigantic chart of the ear. We all know how sensitive our ears are just to touch and to any kind of stimulation, but what I’ve always found so fascinating is that there are correlating channels in the ear to many of the meridians in the body. And you often will put needles in my ears as well as in my body, and I find that so fascinating. And there are these things called ear seeds that I’ve gotten turned onto at your office that I use in between my visits sometimes because of the ability to have those pressure points in the ear for those correlating energy channels. Can you tell us a little bit more about the ear and about your seeds in general? They’re so cool. They’re accessible to anyone.
Ashlie Klavon (28:56):
Absolutely, yes. Well, and the ear is its own micro-system. That’s what’s super cool is all of the organ systems and basically the whole body system is within the ear, so you can treat different things like you would within the body in the ear. There’s a corresponding liver point, there’s a neck point, all the way down the spine, and so we like to call it a take-home treatment. You can use seeds. The seeds are awesome for stimulating those points. So it’s repeated feedback to your brain. You can also use tacks which are even smaller baby needles that you stick into the ear and you don’t mess with them, but they’re still giving a little bit of a feedback to those points as well. It’s a way to elongate the treatment and allow your body to keep using those signals as you go or as a standalone. There are practitioners that just treat the ear and get amazing results for a lot of different things.
Interestingly, one of the vagus nerve branches is in the ear, and the vagus nerve is that key nerve for rest and digest, parasympathetic, stress response. If we want to get our body out of stress and back into a relaxed state, getting vagal stimulation is key. So any of the internal points within the ear are going to be giving that feedback to that vagus nerve so it’s almost like a rapid fire parasympathetic reset, which is really cool. Along with a lot of points in the body, but just on its own can be a great standalone.
Betty Rocker (30:24):
Yes, yes. I love it. I remember when I first got interested in ear seeds, it’s pretty recently. And for anybody who’s wants a visual on what an ear seed is, because you’re probably picturing a chia seed or a sunflower seed, they’re basically these little… You guys have a variety of different types, but I’ll say the ones that I picked. They’re like little tiny gold nuggets about the size of a head of a pin and they come with sort of an adhesive, almost like a clear bandage that’s underneath them. You pull them off with a pair of tweezers and there’s a chart that comes with the ear seed kit, when you get a little kit, and it shows you where these correlating points are.
It’s a little tricky at first because it’s hard… If you try to put something into your ear at a specific point, remember, your eyes go straight in front of you, not to the side, so it can be a little challenging. But I’ve found that I’ve been able to do it without a ton of difficulty. You’ve placed them for me before. I’ve done them on myself.
And then what you do once you’ve got them in there is then you just press on them with your fingers periodically throughout the day to re-stimulate those energy channels, and that’s what’s… It’s similar to the needles, you’re touching those points, those key points. And if there are correlating points in the ears, that can help benefit your body and clear your energy channels. There’s a whole bunch in the kit that I got, there’s a back pain one, a migraine one, a weight loss one, a PMs one. There’s all of these different things and so I would guess that those are all… That’s like a menu of things. If you were to give me a menu of things acupuncture can treat, those would all be on it and more, correct?
Ashlie Klavon (32:12):
Yeah. And specifically for the ear, just to add in on that, as an adjunct therapy, anxiety and addiction, really great. So somebody who’s trying to quit smoking or reduce their sugar intake, help calm their nervous system, that act of pressing on the seeds is just as effective as having the seeds there. So it’s that feedback and it’s a calming almost… When you think about rubbing your ears when you’re stressed, the same concept but more pinpointed and targeted to specific things. So it’s used very commonly in rehab facilities and in mental health as well for partnering with other treatments for those things.
Betty Rocker (32:54):
I’m so glad you brought that up because when you’re having appetite dysregulation or you’re having constant cravings or sugar cravings, that can be symptomatic of anxiety, a type of anxiety. So there are specific cards in my ear seed kit for sugar cravings or overeating, and that’s very correlated to the anxiety one as well. So I think that’s just a really interesting branch of acupuncture and acupressure points in general. There’s many ways to access these energetic channels in the body that have been around for thousands of years because they really work very effectively for helping people with quite a broad range of things.
Ashlie Klavon (33:47):
Absolutely. Yeah. I think to your point before about what acupuncture can treat, it’s such a broad topic because it’s really about what does your body need to create balance? So we’re really known for treating pain, we’re known for treating anxiety, we’re known for hormonal things like PMs and fertility, but it’s really what does your body need in this moment in time that’s creating the problem? So if we can figure out inside, why am I getting my neck pain? Why am I having sugar cravings? Why am I feeling anxious at different times? Why am I feeling these things in my body? And how can we help remove the interference so that that body can flow more freely and let your body heal itself? Sometimes people will almost roll their eyes of like, “Oh, you say acupuncture can treat everything.” It’s not really that it’s treating everything. It’s just allowing your body to function and treat itself in the best way that it knows how. So yes, there’s very specific things that we can treat and we’re good at treating, but it’s beneficial for just about everything in the body because we’re just creating that balance.
Betty Rocker (34:55):
Beautifully said. Is there any contraindication for why someone shouldn’t come get acupuncture anytime that… Can you get acupuncture when you’re pregnant, for instance? I just remember there were certain points that we should avoid touching on a pregnant woman, for instance, because they could actually stimulate early labor, for instance. Is that true in acupuncture as well?
Ashlie Klavon (35:21):
Yeah. So really there is always a way that we can modify. I wouldn’t really say that there’s a condition that we would say absolutely no needles ever. It would just be a dial down treatment and we would avoid certain things depending on what you have going on. Pregnancy’s a great example. There’s certain what we would call contraindicated points in the body that you just don’t needle, especially in the first trimester. And then as you go along, it broadens a little bit more. But yes, I see a lot of pregnant women. I had acupuncture my entire pregnancy, and makes a huge difference in helping with some of the less comfortable aspects of pregnancy and can really help your body function optimally and have a healthy labor and delivery as well.
Betty Rocker (36:04):
That’s great to hear. I mean, anything we can do to support women in general, and especially pregnant women, going through all of the changes that the body goes through, it’s just a huge process. So that’s great to hear. There’s one other thing that you’ve done in our work together that I just found really interesting that helped support the acupuncture itself, and that was, you’ve made me custom herbal blends before, like tea blends, like of herbs, Chinese herbs, I think, and I’m a huge proponent of herbal remedies. As you guys know, I love adaptogenic herbs. I use them daily, regularly. They’ve really helped support my hormone imbalance, and I’m sure there are a lot of other reasons, but will you tell us a little bit of about that aspect of your work and how that supports the acupuncture?
Ashlie Klavon (36:58):
Yeah, so I like to think of Chinese herbs as kind of packing that little extra punch, right? So we’re working with your energy system with acupuncture, and Chinese herbs, just like anything, have their own energetic properties and principles. And so, it’s finding formulas or finding individual herbs that are going to match whatever you have going on in your system to enhance your body’s ability to self-regulate and create balance. So, you can use individual herbs, you can use formulas, like for you doing the raw teas or powdered teas. There’s lots of different forms and ways to use them, and they’re a great adjunct to acupuncture because sometimes when you’re just doing the needles, if your body’s missing something, it’s kind of adding in that extra herb for extra nutritive benefit, anti-inflammatory benefit, whatever it is that your body’s needing in that moment. It gives you something extra to move the energy more effectively.
Betty Rocker (38:00):
Yeah, and that goes back to what we were talking about before about like, it’s a dial, it’s like one of the dials we can turn and how there are things in between our sessions, that you can do in your own life to really enhance the benefits of acupuncture, but you don’t have to do them. I just wanted to bring it up and mention it, because it’s something I’ve personally experienced that I thought was really, really helpful, and I had my doctor’s blessing during this entire experience with you. She would always be really interested in… She’d always say yes, get acupuncture and, oh, tell me what the herbs are so I can make sure that I’m not prescribing you supplements that overwhelm the herbs, and just making sure that we’re not… Because we want to treat, these are medicines, these are plant medicines, and we want to make sure that we’re utilizing them respectfully and listening to the feedback of our body.
I think women are particularly intuitive and sensitive to their hormone balance and state, and sometimes we might not know what the symptoms mean necessarily, but we can feel when we’re off, like that’s for sure. So it’s really, it’s been really a interesting learning experience for me, getting to do more acupuncture and getting to have the benefits on the… Like the ear seeds and the herbs and all of those other sort of practices along the way.
Ashlie Klavon (39:15):
I was just going to add with the herbs too. I think herbs are really special and unique in that, because they’re plants, they’re their own living thing as well, right? So they have their own energetic properties and they have a more complete nutrient profile. So, when you take a supplement, there’s awesome benefits to taking different supplements and it’s isolating nutrients that maybe you need that you’re deficient in. What’s cool about an herb is, it has its own signature, right? Its own energetic signature. And so it’s matching in your system and your body recognizes it, because it recognizes it as a food, it recognizes it as another living thing. Your body can utilize it in a way that maybe is a little bit less specific and more all-encompassing to what your body needs. And so there’s lots of different reasons why someone would use herbs, and herbal combinations too. So I think herbs are really fun and unique in that sense. Not to say that using supplements is also not super important, but just another layer to that.
Betty Rocker (40:18):
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, there’s so many things we can explore. And I am generally being guided, just wanted to say to anyone listening, like I’m being guided by my practitioners in my own treatments. I’m not just going out and randomly taking stuff. If I’m curious about something, I might go research and learn about it, as you know I’ve written blog posts about adaptogens in the past, and I’ve just been really interested in their properties. But as far as my own protocols go, anything I’m doing personally, I’m checking with my doctor, or I’m checking with Ashlie about, like what she’s feeling. I’m not just, like kind of… I mean, there’s a lot to be said for self experimentation, but it’s also good to have feedback from a practitioner, especially when you’re trying to treat something. So, just recommending that you do this with support basically.
Ashlie Klavon (41:12):
Yeah, I really appreciate you saying that, because I think sometimes when you think about the herbs, you’re thinking, oh, it’s just a plant, it’s not going to have a huge effect on your body. And that’s actually not true. They can be very strong, and there are certain herbs that you have to be very careful with dosage. You can interact with medications, you can interact with supplements. So it is very important, especially when you start getting into blending and using herbs at higher doses that you’re working with somebody who’s trained in it. Because yes, they are just plants, but they’re plants that have incredible powers in how they work in the body. And just like anything, there are poisonous things out in the environment that you can take. There are doses that can be too much or too aggressive for somebody’s body as well, and interact inappropriately if you’re not careful.
Betty Rocker (41:59):
And that’s very individualized, like what might be too much for me might be not enough for someone else. So it’s again, speaking to being individualized in your treatment and in your process. I appreciate that. I was just wondering, is there anything that we didn’t talk about that you would like to impart to our listeners? Anything? And I just want to give you the last word.
Ashlie Klavon (42:22):
I think the biggest takeaway is just the enormous benefit acupuncture can provide for really anyone, and hitting home the idea that, yes, it involves needles. Yes, that can seem very scary. But if you give it an opportunity or a chance to test it out, I think most people that I treat, even those with the biggest needle phobias will, by the end of the treatment will say, wow, that’s not at all what I thought it was going to be. And that was so much calmer and more relaxing and more like of a positive experience than I expected. And so, when you think about the needle piece kind of, if you can remove that and just think about the relaxing benefits and the nervous system benefits in that like zenning out, as you would say, benefits, really anyone can benefit from acupuncture and being willing to give it a try, despite the fact that we’re using needles.
Betty Rocker (43:15):
Thank you. That’s lovely. I appreciate that. I like the trigger point focus, that aspect is so valuable. Thank you so much for taking the time to come and explain all these different facets of acupuncture to us today. That’s been such a nice opportunity to learn more myself, even as someone who experiences it regularly. And I’m sure our listeners have really gotten a lot of value. So, thank you so much, Ashlie, for taking the time to talk to us today, and I look forward to seeing you very soon.
Ashlie Klavon (43:48):
Yes. Thank you so much for having me. This has been absolute pleasure.
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