Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) & Gastritis

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) & Gastritis

If you suffer from gastritis, a cluster of conditions that are caused by inflammation of the stomach lining – Traditional Chinese Medicine might be part of an excellent treatment plan!

It’s never fun when your stomach is inflamed but, when you suffer from chronic gastritis, you have to deal with this unpleasantness and discomfort chronically. You might have pain in the upper abdomen, nausea and vomiting, a loss of appetite, belching or bloating and even unhealthy weight loss. Gastritis can cause a lack of sleep and rest and affect your emotional and mental well-being and really interrupt the flow of your day-to-day life.

Gastritis is caused by a weakening of the stomach’s protective mucus layer, which normally protects it from the acids that help to digest your food. When that layer is weakened or damaged it exposes your stomach to inflammation from those digestive juices. It might have been triggered by a bacterial infection, regular use of pain relief medications, stress, alcohol usage, an auto immune disorder, or reflux. But getting at the underlying causes through Western medicine can present a challenge. Many general practitioners and internists will simply reach for their prescription pad and you may wind up on something that chemically masks your symptoms but doesn’t resolve them.

We know that’s why you look to acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine and other practices, because you care about what’s REALLY going on with your body.

Talk with your TCM practitioner about your symptoms of gastritis. In the TCM perspective, we believe that gastritis might be affected by a blockage in your qi energy. We’re likely to recommend changes in your diet – such as eliminating foods of a certain temperature, that are very spicy, as well as sugars, fried foods and dairy. We’ll also talk with you about modulating your emotions and stresses (see our blog on Meditation).

Acupuncture may provide some relief to many of the symptoms of gastritis, including nausea, pain and vomiting and will help to improve your overall digestive functions. But we might also recommend a TCM like Ban Xia Xie Xin Wan, sometimes known as “Gastropeace”.

The ingredients of this herbal blend include:

Pinellia root

Radix Scutellariae (a flowering plant in the mint family)

Radix Codonopsis (similar to Ginseng)

Licorice root

Chinese Goldthread

White Peony Root

Tangerine Peel

So, if you’ve been suffering from gastritis, talk with your acupuncturist and TCM practitioner about an herbal remedy like Ban Xia Xie Wan. We’ll try to help you find relief from your discomfort and the right herbs to address what lies beneath your symptoms.

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Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) & Weight Loss

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) & Weight Loss


If you’re looking for a quick solution for weight loss, you’re not going to find it here! In fact, you’re not going to find it anywhere!

Weight is such a tricky subject for so many people. We are often judged by how we look and how we are able to perform. As a nation, we have seen a steady uptick in overall obesity rates.

Weight gain contributes to a number of issues in our patients: discomfort, pain, diabetes, heart disease, respiratory problems and more. Losing weight is never going to be an easy fix. Even those for whom surgery (like lap band or gastric bypass) is an option, those patients need to understand that those procedures are only the beginning of a lifetime of creating new, healthier dietary, exercise and lifestyle choices.

But there are steps you can take, without resorting to surgery, to help begin the process. We wouldn’t tell you that it’s going to be easy but we can tell you that, with the right information and a strong support system, it will be manageable and easier.

Start by talking with your doctor or medical practitioner. You may need to be monitored for certain conditions during this process. Let each practitioner know about the others, as well. Tell your doctors that you are also seeing an acupuncturist or a chiropractor, etc.

Acupuncture can help bring your energy (qi) into balance to help begin the process of evaluating your life choices and educating yourself to create new ones. And Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can help supplement those choices.



One example of a TCM herbal supplement that may help support your weight loss journey is that of Bao He Wan. Bao He Wan helps aid in gastric fullness or distention. It helps minimize the effects of diarrhea and nausea. It also helps curb acid reflux and even has been known to alleviate the symptoms of certain types of food poisoning and hangovers!

The ingredients in Bao He Wan include:

— Shan Zha (Hawthorn)

— Zhi Ban Xia (Rhizoma)

— Fu Ling (Poria)

–Chen Pi (Tangerine Peel)

— Lian Qiao (Forsythia)

— Lai Fu Zi (Daikon Radish)

— Mai Ya (Barley Sprout)

Because Bao He Wan does contain barley, those with gluten allergies might want to refrain.

But if you’re interested in learning how Traditional Chinese Medicine might help with you weight loss plans, please come in and talk with us here at Thrive Acupuncture and Wellness!


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Acupuncture For Migraines

Acupuncture For Migraines

We are seeing a rising number of patients suffering from migraines.

In the past, migraines were generally thought of as more intense headaches, but a migraine is something quite different.

Did you know that there are certain foods that have been potentially linked to migraines? These include aged cheese and cured meats, which contain Tyramine (a compound found in aged and fermented foods) and Nitrites. And, of course, anything containing Monosodium Glutamate, the sodium salt of the common amino acid Glutamic Acid. MSG is found in soy sauce and many canned and processed goods including soups, vegetables and meats.


 Caffeine is also on the list of ingredients that might be contributing to migraines. Caffeine is, of course, a stimulant. The rise of coffee shops across America, specifically the use of espresso is among many factors that specialists attribute our rising migraine problems in this country.

When you see your acupuncturist, be sure to explain your dietary habits along with  your symptoms and concerns. It’s important to treat your entire self, not just the aches and pains that are manifesting.

How can acupuncture help relieve the pain and discomfort of migraines? According to the Journal of American Medicine, acupuncture may be an effective alternative to over-the-counter solutions to migraines. In studies that compared acupuncture to “sham acupuncture” (a placebo treatment used as a control in scientific studies), patients in the true acupuncture group saw a reduction in the average number of migraines from 4.8 to 3 per month.

Migraines are not actually “headaches” where you experience pressure or aches, sometimes isolated to forehead, temples and back of neck. A migraine is actually a brain disorder. Migraines can cause intense throbbing pain in those same areas but they are also accompanied by discomfort of a sensory nature – nausea, dizziness, blurred vision, seeing spots or flashing lights, and even temporary loss of vision. A migraine can actually feel like a whole-body headache!

How does an acupuncturist treat migraines? Acupuncture changes the muscle cells at a cellular level which influences the expression of pain. It also can stimulate the body’s ability to recover from illness and pain and to heal itself.

Oftentimes migraine sufferers will turn to acupuncturists after they exhaust their medication options.  Before you consider a treatment like Botox (which is a neurotoxin and something we would never recommend!) come talk with an acupuncturist to see if there is a healthier alternative!

Suffering from headaches and migraines? Thrive Acupuncture can help.

Contact us today!

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Yoga and Qigong

Yoga and Qigong

Yoga and Qigong

Thrive Acupuncture and Wellness are not only Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners, using modalities like acupuncture, cupping and herbal medication to treat our patients. We also practice Medical Qigong!

Qigong (formally known as Tai Chi in the U.S. but actually not the same thing) is an ancient Chinese health care practice which combines physical movement, breathing exercises and focus. Qigong may be practiced for Medical, Martial Arts or spiritual reasons depending upon the individual’s needs.

Medical Qigong is emerging as a cornerstone of Eastern-influenced wellness practices. Medical Qigong goes beyond Qigong’s self-cultivation, enlisting the skills of a highly trained and disciplined practitioner, like Alan Suhr. Medical Qigong practitioners study and train for years, not only learning about human anatomy and physiology but cultivating their own energy through Qigong practice.

Medical Qigong is used to target many common health concerns such as physical pain, high blood pressure, headaches, anxiety and emotional issues like depression.
See complete list here.

The movement of Qigong is similar to Yoga, although the two modalities are different. The positions of Qigong are often gentler than Yoga and usually the practitioner remains standing throughout.

Yoga has a variety of positions and perspectives, from gentle all the way up to rigorous. If  you’re looking for a workout, Yoga would be recommended to help strengthen your core. Yoga is based on Asana (the postures) and Pranayama (the control of breath and energy).

Qigong uses more restraint but the biggest different between the two practices is within the energy of each. Qigong taps into the five elements of Earth, Wood, Metal, Fire and Water. In a way, Qigong is a form of Pranayama because it does require both breath and attention to energy. So Qigong is an excellent complement to your Yoga practice!

If you are looking for a place to learn and practice Yoga, we recommend Sol Yoga Collective  ( in downtown Rapid City.

If you’d like to learn more about Qigong including Medical Qigong,
please contact us at Thrive!

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Cupping & Massage

Cupping & Massage

One of the many modalities we practice at Thrive is cupping. You might have recently become aware of the practice following the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. Many of our American athletes (including swimmer Michael Phelps) bore the signature “bruising” during competition. The marks left behind following a session do not hurt, we assure you!

Cupping therapy is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine. By using glass or plastic “cups” and heat, practitioners will adhere suction to the skin, directing the underlying energy within.


Cups are usually left on the skin around 15-30 minutes, depending upon the patient and their needs. Cupping is attributed to healing of deep scar tissue, muscle knots, swelling and pain – which is why it has become in vogue with athletes.

Cupping draws up the skin, opening pores and stimulating blood flow. This helps to balance and realign your Qi, breaks up obstructions in your body’s energy meridians and allows toxins to be drawn out.

We are beginning to see an increase in the number of massage therapists who are learning the art of cupping. Unlike acupuncture, it does not require a particular license or degree. But cupping is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine and so you’ll often find the most experienced will be acupuncturists and other TCM practitioners.

Like cupping, massage uses heat to target below the surface of the skin. Not all massage therapists do “energy work” so it’s important to know what practices your massage therapist is involved with. Traditional massage employs the use of the massage therapist’s hands to compress tissue and move blood from an area, allowing the body’s natural ability to send fresh blood into the space.

Both cupping and massage engage the body’s parasympathetic nervous system and can be effective and complementary techniques with one another. If you have a regular massage schedule and are looking for ways to enhance your health, let us show you how cupping works in conjunction with massage therapy!

As students of an ancient healing practice that has existed for hundreds of years, our practice is based upon the understanding that Qi (or energy) may cause symptoms in one area but have a deeper underlying root cause.

Thrive Acupuncture and Wellness works with many other health practitioners in Rapid City and around the Black Hills to support the well-being of our entire community. We always want to find ways to connect with other health specialists and find areas of commonality. We have a massage therapist in our office and love to send acupuncture and TCM patients for massage body work.

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Nutrition

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Nutrition

Thrive Acupuncture and Wellness is dedicated to working with the network of holistic and medical health practitioners throughout Rapid City.

Communities are only as healthy as its sickest member. It’s imperative that we work together to provide healing and that includes affordable and nutritious food for everyone. In today’s blog we’ll look at how Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Nutrition work together.

There are many digestive issues that are connected to a poor diet. They include:

  • Constipation
  • Diverticular Disease
  • Gallstones

All cells require adequate nutrients. Without those nutrients, cells can die or function improperly. Your body needs antioxidants (found in fruits and vegetables) to neutralize free radical damage. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules which harm your cells and cause them to lose the ability to produce functioning enzymes. These enzymes are specialized proteins that every biological function of the body requires (including for digestion).nutrition_thriveacupuncture_rapidcitysd

One herb used in many TCM blends is “Shan Zha” or Hawthorn Berry. Shan Zha has cardiovascular benefits which may help you digest meat and fat. While many people looking for good nutrition will omit meats, not all do.

After all, we have many local producers here in the Black Hills which affords consumers the option of finding organic, grass-fed and open-pasture meat products (and which don’t have to be trucked in from many states away).

We celebrate those local producers who maintain ethical and healthy livestock practices in order to produce food for our community.

Bear Butte Gardens in Sturgis, owned by Michelle and Rick Grosek, are one example of a great place to source your food. Bear Butte is a CSA (Community Sourced Agriculture) garden, open year-round. They offer a wide variety of naturally-grown, certified organic vegetables along with a seasonal assortment of poultry, turkey, beef, eggs, honey, seeds and garden transplants.

Find out what’s in season at Bear Butte Gardens by calling (605) 490-2919!

If you are looking to improve your nutrition but aren’t prepared to give up meat altogether, we encourage you to obtain your meat products from local, organic sources like Bear Butte Gardens. If you are experiencing digestive issues we advise you to come in for a consultation with a TCM specialist at Thrive Acupuncture and Wellness. Learn how to truly balance your diet and your body!