Acupuncture and the Growing Family

As many of you have probably been reading on our Inspired Family Facebook page or my personal Facebook account, I have been using acupuncture throughout my recent pregnancy, especially at the end to help induce labor.  I began going prenatally to help shift my moods during a very stressful & intense prenatal depression phase (1st and second trimester).  As my moods improved, I continued to go to sessions to work on clearing up my pregnancy rhinitis & other minor pregnancy ailments.

At the end of January, we found out that our daughter was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect.  At the time, I was told I potentially could qualify for a trial in which I would receive higher levels of oxygen that could help bring more oxygenated blood to our baby thus helping her heart grow stronger.  After my next ECHO, we were told we would not need the extra oxygenated blood, but I was adamant about doing everything I could to get our little girl as healthy as possible for the journey she would embark on post birth.  At this point, I was seeing many different acupuncturists at community based acupuncture centers (South Philly Community Acupuncture – 1532 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA & Philadelphia Community Acupuncture – 538 Carpenter Ln, Philadelphia, PA). All of my acupuncturists worked to bring vitality to my womb.  I will forever believe that acupuncture was a key ingredient to helping our little girl’s heart get stronger in utero.

I knew that it worked wonders for my pregnancy rhinitis, as I felt immediate relief.  After beginning these “Liv centered” acupuncture sessions, we received word from her cardiology team that her heart was improving – whereas at the initial diagnosis we were told it would likely get worse before birth.  I continued to do weekly sessions & then began more frequent sessions to help induce labor, since I was scheduled for an induction on Olivia’s due date.  I continued to see Meghan Rogers of Mommy & Me Acupuncture in her private practice.  While it did take a bit longer than the traditional acupuncture for induction timeframe, it definitely helped Liv get ready & when she was she decided to arrive fast and furious (2 hours & 10 minutes!!!).

I have seen the truly wonderful benefits of acupuncture & wanted to share with our community the benefits.  I have asked Meghan Rogers to answer a few questions about the benefits of acupuncture for growing families.

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Nicole: Meghan, Thank you taking the time to share a little bit about acupuncture & how it can help the entire family. Let’s start with the basics for our readers that have never experienced acupuncture. What is acupuncture & how do you generally treat a first time patient?

Meghan: Acupuncture is an energetic medicine. The goal is to bring the body back into balance. To do this I use points on the body to affect the pathways of the body and associated organs; changing the patterns that keep keep us sick or in pain and acheiving health and wellness. As a first time patient you could expect to be asked a lot of questions that seem unrelated. This allows me to be able to get a sense of what your energy is doing. I will take the pulses and look at your tongue (I know weird). Also on the first time you will get a simple treatment of about 10 needles.

Another question I get all the time is “does acupuncture hurt?” The answer is an overwhelming no. Patients associate needles with the needles in a doctors office. The needles I use are a tenth of that. Most patients don’t notice the needles at all. When patients do feel them, it is usually a warmth, dullness or achy sensation.

Nicole: So helpful for me to hear exactly what acupuncture is and how it’s used to treat patients. I only started acupuncture during this second pregnancy & am definitely hooked. I started to help get prenatal depression under control, but it has evolved into much more complete body care. I’ve been lucky enough to have treatments done at both community acupuncture centers (where I met you Meghan), as well as being treated in a private practice setting. Would you mind explaining the difference between a community acupuncture setting & a private practice setting?

Meghan: Private practice and community acupuncture are quite different. The two big differences are amount of time with the acupuncturist and cost. Private practice is usually one on one, patient and practioner. New patients treatments take an hour and a half and returning treamtents take an hour. During these treamtents many different modalies are used like bodywork, heat therapy, herbs and other tools as well as acupuncture. For these reasons treatment cost more, and usually range between $70 and $150 for a returning patient. Community acupuncture on the other hand is acupunctue in a room with other patients. It is an open style setting with 8 to 10 recliners in a room. New patients get 20 minutes with the acupuncturist and returning get 10 minutes. Acupunctue is the only thing done, for this reason treamtent is much cheaper. The cost ranges from $15 to 35 for a returning patient in a community setting. A good example for the difference is comparing private yoga sessions to classes.

Nicole: Thank you! I truly enjoy having treatments done in both settings. For weekly or bi-weekly routine appointments, the community setting is nice. While having more specific treatments, like acupuncture for induction, private appointments seem to be a more appropriate option & really allow the practitioner to use pulses and go off the body’s cues. Speaking of using acupuncture for pregnancy, how do you treat patients during this stage? I know some patients will even come to see you prior to getting pregnant, as well as postnatally. What are ways acupuncture can aide a women during this timeline?

Meghan: I have seen a lot of patients for fertiltity, health pregnancy, for induction and postnatally. There are some “rules or guide lines” for treating women pre, post and during pregnancy but that being said 10 different women will be presenting with 10 different diagnosis’s.

For fertlilty acupuncture has been shown in studies to thicken the uterine lining. Most insurance companies will cover acupuncture for nausea, so during pregnancy it can be really helpful for the mother. Acupuncture treatments during pregnancy helps by keeping all the major symptoms of pregnancy at bay, like nausea, heartburn, sciatica. Also during pregnancy I start to treat the baby, by adding points to help with fetal development. Postnatally acupuncture helps mothers keep their energy up and flowing, since labor and the first few months are so exhausting.

Nicole: I have found the benefits of acupuncture during this pregnancy to be extremely helpful in staying healthy both physically & emotionally. I’d love to begin making a more family affair. How do you treat babies & children? The idea of acupuncture on babies & children fascinates me. I imagine the sessions wouldn’t be as long as an adult session. What tricks do you use to allow you to do work on an antsy child that may not want to sit still for long?

Meghan: Babies and children make the best patients. The get better so quickly, since they are still growing and changing all the time. Treating children is completely no-invaisive. No needles are used on children until they are older, about 7 to 10 years old, depending on the maturity of the child. Sho Ni Shin is the technique used on children and babies. It involves little tools to massage the skin, using both tapping and rubbing motions. The only major side effect is that the skin turns a little pink. Babies are easy to treat, I just distract them and play with them while I treat them. Older children I get them involved and make it a game. Actual treatment time only takes about 15 minutes.

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Nicole: Wow, I’m so impressed at the ways in which acupuncture can truly become a family affair to keep everyone’s overall health a priority. Thank you so much for sharing with us & we wish you much success with your solo practice!

If you are interested in contacting Meghan at Mommy and Me Acupuncture, feel free to email her at meggsruns@gmail.com or call her (267) 968-2791.

Meghan’s Bio:

Meghan Rogers graduated from LaSalle University with a bachelors of science degree in accounting in 2003. A month after graduating, while traveling in Alaska, she was in a major car accident. At 22 years old she had a spinal fusion and major bowel surgery. Western medicine literally saved her life and put her back together, but she was a far cry from healthy. Needless to say, she spent the next year recovering and healing. This is when she discovered acupuncture among other alternative therapies. Acupuncture was the one modality that continually worked, no matter where she was in my healing process. So in January of 2005, Meghan enrolled at Southwest Acupuncture College to begin my study of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

After attending acupuncture school Meghan moved back to Philadelphia and started a private practice, specializing in women’s health and children for 2 years. She decided to move back to Boulder, CO for a year to apprentice and work with Mary Saunders at Boulder Community Acupuncture. Mary has been practicing for 25 years and has extensive knowledge in acupuncture and western supplements. Ultimately her family brought me back to Philadelphia, where she has been practicing at Philadelphia Community Acupuncture for the last 2 years.

Recently Mehan embarked on my long time goal of starting her own practice, Mommy and Me Acupuncture. She opened in May of 2014 and specializes in treating women and children; everything from fertility and PMS, to the common cold and ear aches in children.

With her down time, she likes to play with her nieces and nephew. She & her husband live an active lifestyle; climbing, cycling, and running together. They live and play in Chestnut Hill with their two crazy and lovable dogs, Bailey and Barkley.