Acupuncture: Recovery from Surgery

Acupuncture: Recovery from Surgery


Are you facing surgery? Worried about your recovery after surgery?

Did you know that acupuncture has been scientifically shown to reduce post-operative pain and to diminish the need for post-op pain medication?

Surgeries can be intimidating, scary and even cause physical and emotional distress. But a recent study at Duke University has shown that acupuncture can be a real benefit to anyone who is facing or recently recovering from major surgery.

Anesthesiologists from Duke studied the findings from more than fifteen different acupuncture tests and found that it is best to receive acupuncture both BEFORE and AFTER surgery. Another great thing about this study is that is showed that pre- and post-surgery acupuncture treatments significantly reduced the need for opiates and the effects that opiates can cause.

With so many Americans facing issues of opiate addiction that stem from post-surgery treatment, why wouldn’t you want a healthier alternative?


Acupuncture was also shown, during these same studies, to decrease nausea after surgery by as much as 33 percent! Acupuncture also reduced dizziness by 40 percent and urinary retention by a whopping 70 percent!

But there’s more! Doing acupuncture ahead of your surgery also strengthens your immune system. This will help you heal faster after your surgery is complete, and recover much quicker and easier.

Acupuncture also helps reduce scarring after surgery – both cosmetic and internal – by bringing back sensation to the affected areas.

A key component to a successful surgery involves reducing stress and anxiety before the procedure. Meditation and prayers are highly recommended, to help prepare you for your surgery. We suggest acupuncture and maybe qigong to help reinforce that mindful practice.

There are so many benefits to acupuncture. If you have never had an acupuncture treatment before, please call Thrive Acupuncture and Wellness today at 605.858.9571. We are always happy to listen to your concerns and provide sound answers to help you make the most informed decision. Your health and wellbeing require that you are informed and in control of the choices you make.

Make acupuncture one of your health and wellness choices, especially when you’re facing major surgery!

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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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The Mind – Body Connection: Meditation

The Mind – Body Connection: Meditation




Thrive Acupuncture and Wellness love to celebrate wellness practitioners who foster the mind/body connection for the citizens of Rapid City.

The work we do often involves sharing information with many partners in the care of a single patient and so we love to shine a light on the work of our colleagues in the Black Hills, particularly when our patients would really benefit from it.

In this month’s spotlight, we’re turning our eye toward meditation. As the number of electronic devices in our lives increases and our responsibilities grow, it’s often hard to drown out the “noise” and clutter in our heads. But our bodies demand that we listen to them and any opportunity to clear our thoughts, still those voices is of value. More importantly, meditation can help the patients of Thrive Acupuncture.




We recently spoke with Nicole Heenan of Dharma Massage and Yoga. Nicole is a mental health counselor, massage therapist, yoga and meditation teacher. She offers private meditation sessions through her practice.

We asked Nicole about meditation and how it might help acupuncture patients.

“The consequences of living in a busy society means that we’re asked to automate as many tasks as possible. Everything from important numbers, weekly schedules, to automatic bill pay can now happen without conscious effort. While automating the most mundane things comes with convenience, it’s important to occasionally practice redirecting your focus to something as basic as your breath or somatic experience. Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years, mostly within the context of religious beliefs and practices. The past few decades scientists and other secularists have really taken an interest in the benefits of a consistent practice.”

“Having a consistent meditation practice means that you’ve chosen to sit, direct and maintain your focus for a set period of time on something, on a regular basis. Focus is similar to any trained muscle. Over time it allows one to be more focused, syncing back to a calm and centered place in less time. This consistent practice allows you to be more focused, including the time you spend with a doctor or nurse.”


“When you understand your role in your health care, it is empowering. Your mental and emotional state plays a significant role in how you present your health concerns and how you receive any diagnoses or instructions. Meditation is an excellent way to bring yourself into that partnership with every medical and wellness specialist you see.”

We thoroughly agree, Nicole! Thrive wants to partner WITH our patients in their care and believe that meditation works in unity with acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, cupping, medical qigong and all of our modalities.

For more information please visit

Be sure to tell Nicole that you read about her at the blog for Thrive!


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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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