Author Archives: Tyler Martin, L.Ac.
Tyler Martin, L.Ac and Martin Acupuncture will be moving to Ballard to join Fit Wellness Centers in July of 2014. Tyler will be joining the new multi-disciplinary group to head-up “Fit Acupuncture Centers” a division of Fit Wellness Centers.
The beautiful new office located at 5401 Leary Ave NW is directly across the street from Olympic Athletic Club in Ballard and will be open Monday-Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm beginning July 7th.
In addition to street parking there is a parking lot available for Fit Wellness Centers directly across the street at the corner of 20th Ave NW and Leary Ave. NW.
Tyler will continue to offer the same exceptional Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine services that you have come to trust in this wonderful new setting and looks forward to seeing you there!
Well, not exactly.. . But my wetsuit sure didn’t fare too well. On a recent sabbatical to surf a remote part of NorthWestern Vancouver Island we came across a few of the locals in a way that we didn’t quite expect. The area is known for it’s wildlife and we have seen bears, eagles, and whales among others on our previous trips but this time we became a point of interest for a local wolfpack. We saw numerous wolves throughout our week there and even had one walk up to within 20 feet of our camp before we finally chased him off. Apparently he wasn’t too happy about that because he or one of his friends came to visit us that night… I’ll let the pictures tell the story. It was quite an adventure and an amazing place to find yourself for a week!
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Sitting and watching our 4 week old daughter discover her world is a mesmerizing and spiritual experience… the way she breathe’s and tests out her tiny hands, fingers and toes, experiencing everything for the first time! I wonder what it would it be like if we could really “feel” our bodies again? If we could be aware of the way that we breathe, the way we move, and what it’s like to observe these nuances without judgement .. . Just awareness.
I find myself talking about this kind of awareness often with my patients. Becoming aware of the way that we move, carry ourselves, and breathe throughout the day is a big step toward overcoming repetitive injury and chronic pain. Do you ever find yourself doing the same thing over and over again even though it elicits pain? Maybe bending at the waist to pick up a little one or sitting hunched over the computer for too long without a break? What kinds of movements or lack thereof do you find yourself doing on a daily basis that seem to cause you discomfort?
By far the most common problem seen in our clinic is Low Back Pain. Through a powerful combination of Acupuncture, Tui-Na massage, and therapeutic exercise we are able to effectively treat most types of back pain.
Acupuncture works with your body to help ease the pain naturally by stimulating the release of endorphins and promoting a deep sense of relaxation. Acupuncture further reduces pain by increasing circluation to reduce inflammation and soften tense muscles. Tui-Na massage strengthens the effectiveness of the treatment by breaking up contracted muscle fibers, lengthening the muscle and restoring it’s lost function. The treatment continues beyond the clinic by teaching patients how to manage their pain with therapeutic exercises that stabilize core muscles, improve flexibility, and restore mobility.
The course of treatment for most low back pain depends on the severity and duration of the problem, however the average course of treatment is usually one treatment per week for 6-8 weeks. Most patients experience pain relief immediately following the first treatment with relief being extended with each subsequent treatment.
Back pain is not something you have to live with, acupuncture is a safe and effective tool to relieve pain and restore your quality of life.
Once you have developed an awareness of your breath and how you are breathing you can begin to develop control. A common problem that many people have is a dependance on the “accessory muscles” or muscles of the neck and shoulders to breathe. This type of breathing increases neck and shoulder tension, reduces the amount of oxygen obtained with each breath and further perpetuates feelings of stress.
In order to overcome this problem it is necessary to focus on relaxing the throat, neck & diaphragm and focus on gently breathing with the lower abdomen. A good way to practice this technique is to add it to a cardio workout such as walking or running. Begin with a slower pace and focus on gently breathing in and out through the nose. Once you have developed a rythm you can slowly increas the work load by increasing your pace. When the breathing becomes difficult instead of trying to force more air through your nose, simply begin exhaling through your mouth to expel the additional CO2. Try to maintain breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth for the duration of the workout. As the workout is coming to a close and you are decreasing the load try to return to the gentle breathing in and out through the nose as you warm down.
Practice this technique regularly and you will see a significant increase in your cardiovascular stamina and a reduction in your perception of stress due to the deep meditative properties of diaphragmatic breathing.
Learning to control your breath is the first step to developing a deeper understanding of movement. No matter what sport or athletic pursuit you are involved in learning to master your breath can unlock your fitness potential and give you a whole new understanding of your sport. Step 1 in developing your skill is to simply become aware of your breath: How are you breathing right now? Where does your breath go while powering through that final set of lunges, or last pitch of a climb, or when you are under stress at work or sitting in traffic??
Awareness is the first step to gaining control.. . and ultimately mastering your breath. Try taking note of your breathing periodically throughout the day and just notice where it is. Over time this simple exercise will begin to change where your breath eminates from and will help to promote a deeper and more nourishing breath.
Yes! Acupuncture is a safe and effective tool for treating allergy symptoms such as itchy red eyes, scratchy throat, sinus congestion, sneezing, cough and shortness of breath. Acupuncture points are used to strengthen the immune sytem and normalize the immune response to allergens by balancing the nervous system. Chinese herbs are introduced as needed and are a great way to further reduce the allergy symptoms without the side effects of over the counter and prescription allergy medications.
Here are a few tips that can help reduce your allergy symptoms today:
- If itchy and scratchy eyes are your chief complaint, try making a cold compress with mint tea. Simply steep a bag of mint or peppermint tea in cool water and soak a washcloth in the mixture, take it out and place it over your eyes for a few minutes. Mint is a cool herb that clears heat and works great in this simple kitchen remedy.
- When working in the yard try to reduce your exposure to pollen and dust by wearing a dust mask. A three pack of the basic model sells for about $5.00 at the local hardware store and can make a huge difference in your allergy symptoms throughout the day.
- Wash your hands and face + change your clothes. . .After being out and about and especially after working in the yard, airborne allergens collect on your clothes and can wind up being spread around the house if your not careful, potentially setting you up for more allergy symptoms later.
- Finally to find out just what it is that’s causing all the trouble, take a look at pollen.com where you can research what plants are blooming and get a personalized “allergy forecast” for your region.
After a 6 month long hiatus from my patellar fracture I was finally ready to paddle out for a surf! 47 degree water and 48 degree air.. . A little brisk but well worth the day out at Westport. Through a combination of kung-fu, yoga, physical therapy, static & dynamic strengthening exercises, plus a little fine tuning with acupuncture and Chinese herbs and I’m back in the saddle again. A long hard road but worth the fight, come on in to learn more.. .. .
Winter’s here in Seattle and with the gray skies and rain it is easy to get a little depressed. The type of depression that comes with the change in seasons is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and is due to a biochemical imbalance in the brain triggered by the shorter hours of daylight and the lack of sunlight that occur in the winter. One simple remedy for this problem is to spend at least a little time outdoors each day by going for a walk to help raise your heart rate and make the most of our limited winter light!
On the last day of an amazing surf trip that brought us Deep into Southern Mexico we hired a fisherman and his crew to ferry us around the point to a protected break that could handle the large swell that had been building through the night. Early that morning, eager with anticipaition of the surf to come, we quickly loaded the 20′ Panga with surfboards and drinking water for the day ahead.
Preparing to launch I took a postition toward the bow of the boat and helped to push it off the sand as we scanned the horizon for a break in between the sets of waves approaching. Moments later it looked good and the captain shouted “Vamos! Vamos!”. I jumped in and he gunned the motor for deeper water neglecting to see the huge rouge wave that was quickly building on the outside… The captain revved the motor faster and tried to punch through but it was too late. The boat climbed up the face of the wave and became vertical, nearly capsizing and launching all of us skyward.
Time stood still in the microseconds following as I contemplated my options from about 10 feet in the air, then free falling looking for a landing spot on the crowded floor of the boat that was not occupied by a rusty anchor or the sharp fins of a surfboard… CRASH!! Everything spashed down with bodies bouncing off the hard fiberglass and wood frame of the boat. I landed, rolled over, and tried to get up but was unable to as I notice that my knee cap was in two from an abrupt impact with one of the boat’s cross beams… “Guys, I think we have to go back to the beach!”.
Fast forward through a long plane ride home, a morning of surgery form a fantastic team at Harborview Medical Center, and some amazing anesthesia including a nerve block that allowed me to be nearly pain free for about 24 hours following the proceedure. I made it home and everything was feeling manageable until the next day when the block wore off and my pain went from a 3-4 out of 10 to a solid 9+ out of 10! The vicodin that I recieved for pain management was useless and I wouldn’t be able to get a stronger medication until later that afternoon. In the meantime I needed to do something about the pain and decided to try some acupuncture on my leg to see if it would help.
Throughout my years of practice I have regularly treated myself with acupuncture whenever an ailment has come up but this was different, I was in acute pain and not really in the mood to doctor myself. I mustered up some strength and took out my needles. I chose a few distal points; Three on the medial aspect of the quadracepts and two on my feet that corresponded to the areas of my knee that I felt pain. Minutes after inserting the needles my pain dropped from 9 of 10 to a 4-5 of 10 and became significantly more manageable. The treatment worked! Exhausted from my ordeal and finally relieved of significant pain I fell asleep. Hours later following the treatment the pain slowly crept back up but never to the same intensity as before and I was able to get through until the stronger medication arrived.
Today is about 10 weeks out from the surgerey and I continue to treat my knee with acupuncture, tui-na massage, and chinese herbs combined with physical therapy by Courteney Bealko of Active Physical Therapy. My knee continues to improve everyday and I look forward to getting back in the water again soon. I am thankful for the powerful effects of Chinese medicine and all the great support I have had along the way.