I am honored to be included as part of VoyageDenver’s recent piece on Denver’s Most Inspiring Stories. I hope this helps to give people an idea of who I am, where I’ve been, and why I love what I do so much!http://voyagedenver.com/interview/meet-erik-johnson-root-acupuncture-south-central-denver
It’s that time of the year again where many of us are coming down with a common cold or the flu. One moment we are feeling great and the next day we have chills, fever, headache, stiff neck, muscle aches, mucus congestion in the nasal passages and/or chest, sore throat, etc. Short of taking western pharmaceutical medicine to mask some of the symptoms temporarily, most people do nothing more than adding extra fluids and rest until it “runs its course.” In contrast, Chinese medicine takes a much more active role to eliminate the external pathogen in your body, address your underlying deficiency that lead to catching the sickness, and drastically shorten the time it takes for recovery.
Briefly, we will cover these commonly asked questions:
- What makes Chinese medicine different from western medicine when it comes to treating viral and bacterial infections?
- How can acupuncture and Chinese medicine help prevent me from getting colds and the flu?
- I’m already sick. How can acupuncture and Chinese medicine help me right now?
A Different Approach with Chinese Medicine
For thousands of years Chinese medicine has provided safe and effective methods for treating a wide range of diseases in the human body. It can be argued that Chinese medicine’s greatest strength, however, is in its herbal products used to specifically address common viruses and bacterial infections. Most western physician offices these days are overcrowded, expensive, and can provide inadequate treatment options that usually end with antibiotic prescriptions – even in cases of viral infections where these solutions are ineffective. This overuse of antibiotics has created a new breed of “superbugs” that has given rise to bacterial resistance like we haven’t seen before. Chinese medicine on the other hand is safer than drugs, doesn’t have harsh side effects, and can treat the infection while also strengthening the underlying constitution of the patient. In severe cases where antibiotics are needed and/or used, Chinese medicine can also be a great compliment to western medicine in helping to bring a balanced approach to health.
In Chinese medicine, the etiology of the infection is understood within the context of the individual patient’s constitution. Simply put – this medicine strives to understand the complexity of each individual patient, instead treating only their disease. This individualized approach in Chinese medicine offers a wide variety of complex herbal formulas that naturally provide (among many other things) immuno-stimulant, antiviral, antibacterial, and/or antibiotic effects for your specific need.
“Superior Medicine Prevents Disease, and Inferior Medicine Treats Disease” ~ Sun Si-Miao
The quote above addresses one of the fundamental concepts in Chinese medicine that recognizes how most viral and bacterial infections adversely affect individuals with auto-immune disorders and/or weakened immune systems. Prevention is key in Chinese medicine and it is very complimentary to the same functional medicine approach taken at The Root Acupuncture – it strives to find the underlying cause of any disease and works to create a treatment plan that caters to the individual’s own constitution. Many treatment options with acupuncture and Chinese medicine are adaptogenic. This means that it helps your body to create a natural balance or homeostasis, which aids in boosting your immune system to help combat any future pathogens that may try to invade your body.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine refer to your immune system as your “Wei Qi.” This protective barrier exists to prevent the body from being easily affected by external pathogens (colds, flus, and other infectious or microbial diseases). The strength of your Wei Qi is dictated by the overall health of your respiratory and digestive system (or your Lung and Spleen meridians, respectively), which is why we put such emphasis on repairing the gastrointestinal system at The Root Acupuncture clinic. Special consideration is always made for patients with auto-immune disorders like Celiac disease, immune compromised individuals, and patients with food sensitivities due to a leaky gut.
The following are only a few examples of the different Chinese medicine modalities used in our clinic to help strengthen your Wei Qi and restore your body to health:
- Acupuncture – through the use of acupuncture needles, we create a healing reaction that is stimulated by the production of immunological mediators and neurotransmitters.
- Moxibustion – a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves burning of mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) to facilitate healing of the gastrointestinal lining, balance the intestinal flora, and stimulate the body’s immune system.
- Gua Sha – a technique of “scratching or scraping” the skin with a smooth-edged instrument in order to elicit transitory therapeutic petechiae (a redness of the skin). This causes a breakdown of hemoglobin that up-regulates HO-1, CO, biliverdin, and bilirubin, which exhibit anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects.
- Cupping – made popular in the recent Rio Olympic games, cupping uses a partial vacuum that is created by fire in a glass jar, which is then applied to the skin. It helps loosen muscles and fascia, encourage blood flow, and is very effective in helping to clear congestion from a common cold or help with asthma.
- Chinese Herbs – there are literally hundreds of formula combinations in Chinese medicine that deal with just viral and bacterial infections. We carry a wide range of formulas that help your body with dealing a cold or flu at any stage of its development.
At The Root Acupuncture, we use a combination of both Eastern Medicine and Functional Medicine to approach personalized patient health care from all available modalities – creating profound balance, harmony, and well-being in our patients. Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine add another amazing approach to helping us to overcome certain ailments like a common cold or the flu. Book an appointment today to help prevent potential viruses or the flu, or to see how this medicine can drastically reduce any symptoms that you are currently experiencing.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We recommend that you consult with a Traditional Chinese Medical practitioner before using any products or if you have any questions regarding your health.
Cheng, Xinnong, and Liangyue Deng. Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion. Beijing: Foreign Language, 1999. Print.
Maciocia, Giovanni. The Foundations of Chinese Medicine: A Comprehensive Text for Acupuncturists and Herbalists. Edinburgh: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone, 2005. Print.
Xia ZW, Zhong WW, Meyrowitz JS, Zhang ZL. The role of heme oxygenase-1 in T cell-mediated immunity: the all encompassing enzyme. Curr Pharm Des. 2008. Print.
Erik has moved to a new location!
Conveniently located off of I-25 by S Colorado Blvd
I am so excited for you to come see the new office! The Healing Center was an amazing place to practice for the past three years, but this new space offers me the autonomy and independence I need to continue to grow my business.
- NEW ONLINE BOOKING SYSTEM -you can now schedule, cancel, and reschedule appointments at your convenience
- SAME SERVICES AND PRICING – Acupuncture, B12 Injections, Cupping, Chinese Herbs, Injection Therapy, Moxibustion, etc…
- EASY ACCESS FROM I-25 – centrally located in Denver with accessibility from either the Evans Ave or S Colorado Blvd exit
Click below to book your next appointment or call us at 303-500-5075!
Please be aware that we will be have a pricing update for our acupuncture services. We always tries to keep the cost of our goods and services at a low price for our patients, but we are making changes due to increasing business expenses.
The following changes took effect on July 16, 2018:
- Acupuncture/Herbal Follow-Up Treatment……………… $90 (was $80)
- NEW Patient Intake Consultation and Treatment……….$120 (was $100)
- Fire Cupping Session Only………………………………………$40 (was $25)
- New Patient – Consultation Only……………………………..Free (no change)
- Herbal Consultation Only……………………………………….$40 (no change)
- Auricular (Ear) Session Only……………………………………$25 (no change)
- Injection Therapy………………………………………………….Various (no change)
We want to thank you for your business and for trusting us as part of your wellness team. We appreciate work with all of you! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to any of our team members.
As a reminder, we do offer a free 30 minute acupuncture consultation if you or a loved one is interested in learning more about this amazing medicine. The highest compliment our patients can give us is the referral of their family and friends.
Are you in Doubt about Gout?
Gout is a form of arthritis that this characterized by sudden reoccurring attacks of severe pain, redness, tenderness, heat/warmth, and swelling in the joints of the body. The metatarsal-phalangeal joint is the most commonly affected area of the body, but it can also affect other major joints of the body (ex: hand, wrist, elbow, knee, ankle, etc…). Gout is commonly caused by an increased intake in foods that are rich in purines and/or a dysfunction of the kidney’s ability to properly excrete uric acid from the body. This elevation of uric acid in the blood causes deposits of crystals in the joints, tendons, and surrounding tissues.
While there can be various explanations for the diagnosis and differentiation of gout, Traditional Chinese Medicine typically starts treatment by focusing on a patient’s diet and the digestive system. Western medicine recognizes the importance of diet for gout, but it often resorts to NSAIDS for pain and management of swelling, while other drugs like colchicine are used to treat the gout itself. Unfortunately, the continued use of these drugs often leads to more gastrointestinal issues in the patient – making the matter potentially worse in the long-run. Occasionally, drugs are needed but we recommend using them only as PART of a comprehensive plan to heal the whole body.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are great modalities to help treat gout and reduce uric acid in the blood. We have a lot of experiencing treating gout and has herbal formulas on hand that focus on relieving pain, reducing swelling and burning, and decreasing the absorption (while also increasing the elimination) of uric acid and other unwanted substances in the body.
When not under care at The Root Acupuncture, care should be taken to eliminate or reduce any purine-rich foods from the diet (heavy meats, spinach, asparagus, mushrooms, cauliflower, and seafood). The patient should also reduce his/her intake of alcohol in their diet. In the instance of an acute gout attack, distilled water (not tap water) can be consumed to help flush out the uric acid for the short-term, as well as adding Vitamin C, bioflavonoids, and concentrated strawberry, cherry, and blueberry juice.
To learn more about how acupuncture can help you, book a free 30 minute consultation by contacting us today at 303-500-5075 or clicking on the following link to book online: Book Appointment
Erik Johnson, L.Ac. MSTCM, BD, DNM
- Maciocia, G. (1989). The foundations of Chinese medicine: A comprehensive text for acupuncturists and herbalists. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.
- Weaver, AL (July 2008). “Epidemiology of gout”. Cleveland Clinic journal of medicine
- “The Disease of Kings – Forbes.com” http://www.forbes.com/2003/04/01/cx_cd_0401feat.html
Preservative-free Methyl B12 (Methylcobalamin) Injections
It is estimated that up to 40% of the U.S. population does not get enough B12 in their diet.
Vitamins are substances that are essential in small amounts for the health, growth, reproduction, and maintenance of our body. In nature, these vitamins are never isolated – they are part of complex plant or animal-based foods which the body absorbs and utilizes when introduced into our diets. While we would ideally like to get all of our vitamins from the daily foods that we consume, there are numerous factors that prevent individuals from getting these important compounds from food alone. In this blog post, we will briefly cover the importance of one of these vitamins – B12. We will also explore the common reasons for B12 deficiencies and the various supplemental forms for you, including our newest form of B12 that is available now at The Root Acupuncture.
Common Symptoms of a B12 Deficiency
- Impaired mental functionality – poor memory, brain fog, confusion, anxiety, depression, irritability, etc…
- Muscular weaknesses – overall muscle weakness, tender calves, numbness and/or tingling in your extremities, etc…
- Low energy – general fatigue (especially in the afternoon), shortness of breath, pale complexion, lightheadedness, dizziness, anemia , blurry vision, sensitivity to light, etc…
The Benefits of B12
B12 is known as a necessary component for numerous functions in the body, including (but not limited to):
- Formation of DNA and red blood vessels
- Maintaining a healthy metabolism and digestion
- Synthesis of neurotransmitters and hormones
- Energy production
- Gene and enzyme regulation
- Athletic prep or recovery
Common Reasons Behind a B12 deficiency
- A vegan or vegetarian diet with no animal products
- Auto-immune disorders
- An Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection in your gastrointestinal tract
- Frequent use of antacids, PPIs, or other acid blockers
- A compromised gastrointestinal system
- A MTHFR mutation in your genes
- Patients over the age of 50 with a decrease in stomach acid
A Brief Description of the Main Types of B12
- Methylcobalamin – The “Kingpin” of B12. It supports methylation in the body and it is commonly used for patients with gastrointestinal issues and/or autoimmune B12 absorption issues. It is great for patients looking to improve brain functionality, memory, mood, sleep, and fatigue.
- Adenosylcobalamin – The “Fuel B12”. It is a mitochondrial (energy) form of B12 that is usually great for people who have general tiredness/fatigue or they are easily fatigued with small amounts of exercise.
- Hydroxocobalamin – It is very useful to lower high levels of nitric oxide (common with auto-immune disorders, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue).
- Cyanocobalamin – a synthetic form of B12 that requires other nutrients from the body to make it bioavailable. It is the form most often found in most store bought supplements, and is commonly considered the least effective .
Introducing Preservative-free Methyl B12 (Methylcobalamin) Injections
We are excited about this new form of B12 available at all office locations. Administered by our own Acupuncturist, Erik Johnson, this quick and painless injection is great for patients who have auto-immune disorders, B12 absorption issues, and/or want a simple and easy way of getting their B12 supplementation. The following are some frequently asked questions about this new service that we provide.
Why is a vitamin B12 injection better than a pill?
Patients who have a compromised gastrointestinal system (with a low production of intrinsic factor) are not able to absorb enough vitamin B12 from food or a pill form. Even healthy individuals can absorb as little as 10 mcg of vitamin B12 from a 500 mcg oral supplement. Our Methyl B12 injections bypass your digestive system altogether, putting the power of vitamin B12 to work right away.
I don’t like needles or injections. Will these B12 injections hurt?
This injection is only subcutaneous (just under the skin) so that it absorbs more slowly into the body and allows the effects to last longer. We use a “baby needle”, smaller than many acupuncture needles used in our own clinic. Most patients experience a minor pinch, but there is not a lasting ache that is usually felt with a vaccine shot (which is injected deeper into the muscle). Our B12 injections are easily administered in designated acupuncture points on either the leg or the arm.
Why a preservative-free version? What symptoms can arise from taking a Methyl B12 injection?
Our preservative-free Methyl B12 is stored in a designated refrigerator, which allows us to provide you with the safest and most pure form of this vitamin. Common side effects from taking other forms of B12 are typically attributed to the added preservative – these include hot flashes, dizziness, and nausea. With our preservative-free B12, rare symptoms include slight skin irritations and a special form of acne.
How many injections will I need, and when will I start to notice the effects?
Every individual is different and we will find a dosage that fits your body best. For anemic patients or patients with autoimmune conditions , it is common to start off with an injection per week for six weeks, before beginning a monthly maintenance dosage. Other patients starting off on B12 will do an injection per week for four weeks, before beginning their monthly maintenance. There are also instances where patients come in on a circumstantial basis for a needed immune boost or for athletic prep/recovery.
Patients who are low in B12 often notice a difference in as little as 12 hours. Other patients may take a few days or weeks before noticing a significant difference.
How much do the Methyl B12 injections cost?
Each Methyl B12 injection is $20, but we offer packages of six (6) injections for $100 total. You will not find a better price in town for the same service!
To learn more about how B12 injections can help you, book a free 30 minute consultation by contacting us today at 303-500-5075 or clicking on the following link to book online: Book Appointment
Erik Johnson, L.Ac. MSTCM, BD, DNM
*The information in this blog has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to cure, diagnose, treat, or prevent any diseases or conditions. You should always consult with a licensed healthcare professional before beginning any diet, exercise, or supplement program.
Learn how massaging one simple point on the body can reduce daily stress
Our basic emotions are an evolutionary trigger – a set of conscious responses that occur in reaction to life’s complex situations. The question of why we experience emotions has been debated for centuries by countless philosophers and psychologists. “Why do we experience emotions like anger or sadness, and why do our emotional responses differ from other human beings experiencing similar situations?” These are the types of questions that will continue to be debated over the years, as there are endless explanations as to why we are such emotional beings. The important thing for us is to recognize when our emotions are out of balance and understand the various forms of support available to us to bring balance back into our lives.
From a standpoint of basic human anatomy in western medicine, there are two main portions of our brain that facilitate the balance and imbalance of our emotional state: the limbic system and the frontal lobe. The limbic system is the complex set of brain structures that are responsible for various functions such as: emotion, behavior, motivation, long-term memory, and our sense of smell. The frontal lobe is the area of the brain that is responsible for our ability recognize future consequences resulting from current actions, to choose between good and bad actions (or better and best), override and suppress socially unacceptable responses, and determine similarities and differences between things or events.
Together, these two portions of the brain must find an integrated balance for us to be centered emotionally. Times of crisis integrate these regions the fastest, which is why our brains are able to quickly prioritize things that are most important in our lives during fight or flight states. However, integration can also be achieved through things like acupuncture; allowing the two portions to communicate with each other through the fronto-limbic loops in a symmetrical pattern across both halves of the brain (thereby increasing serotonin levels, adrenocorticotrophic hormones, beta-endorphins, and noradrenalin).
Unlike the western medical world that attributes emotional and mental processes to the human brain, Chinese medicine believes that the emotions are part of a larger sphere of actions that are connected by all of the internal organs/meridians. Chinese Medicine understands that there is a reciprocal relationship between our emotions and our organs/meridians – a disparity of either one will affect the other. As you glance over the chart below can you find connections between times in your life that imbalanced emotions have can caused physical ailments in your body (i.e. trouble taking deep breaths when experiencing grief or sadness, gastrointestinal issues or diarrhea from excessive worry, a lack of willpower and motivation that eventually turns into adrenal fatigue, etc…)?
|Organ/Meridian Affected||Imbalanced Emotions|
|Heart / Pericardium||Doubt, grief, over-excitement, uncontrolled laughter|
|Lungs / Large Intestine||Grief, sadness, trouble letting go|
|Spleen / Stomach||Worry, obsession, lethargy, depression|
|Liver / Gallbladder||Anger, lack of courage, inability for planning, unable to make decisions, resentment, unprocessed emotions|
|Kidney / Urinary Bladder||Fear, no willpower, low capacity for hard work, no endurance|
Through the various modalities of acupuncture, a practitioner can treat a specific organ/meridian and influence its corresponding emotion. Unlike some forms of medicine, acupuncture focuses each treatment on balancing the entire body – both physically and emotionally. The goal of an acupuncture treatment is to help treat the root of a patient’s ailment and to help him/her find a whole body homeostatic balance. Whether it is through acupuncture needles or other Traditional Chinese Medicine tools (ex: herbal formulas, tui na massage, moxibustion, auricular therapy, etc…), an acupuncture treatment may be the missing tool that many of us need to bring that emotional balance back into our lives.
The development of modern auriculotherapy (ear acupuncture) has been one of the greatest acupuncture tools that has helped shape the way that practitioners can treat these particular imbalanced emotions. Although auriculotherapy has its historical origins in ancient China, recent discoveries through the work of Dr. Paul Nogier, M.D. of France has grown this treatment modality over the past several decades. Dr. Nogier was fascinated with the ear because this rare organ is comprised of all three embryonic tissues (endodermic, and ectodermic, and mesodermic) and it acts a micro-system to the rest of the body. Through various studies over the years, he helped bridge a gap between Eastern and Western medicine by discovering that the ear had hundreds of specific points that, when stimulated, would cause a reaction in our central nervous system and positively affect corresponding organs, glands, and musculoskeletal systems. Unlike acupuncture body points that have a specific locus on the body that can always be detected, auricular points on the ear can only be detected (through physical examination or electrical conductivity testing) when there is a problem in the corresponding part of the body that relates to that portion of the ear.
While the graph above depicts some examples of auricular points that can be stimulated on the ear by a trained acupuncturist, there is one amazing point that many of us can stimulate ourselves when we get overly stressed throughout the day. Located in the upper portion of our ear is a structure called the triangular fossa (outlined in green in the side graphic). Within the outer 1/3 of that structure is a point called Shen Men, or the “Divine Gate” point (depicted with the red dot). This point helps with a wide range of ailments including: tranquilizing the mind, alleviating stress, easing tension and headaches, reducing physical pain in the entire body, lowering blood pressure, etc… . To stimulate this point, simply reach up and pinch the front and back of this ear point with your index finger and thumb and massage gently 4 to 5 times per day (or as needed). Take a few deep breathes as you stimulate the point and watch to see how it affects you. You may soon find that this miraculous point will be a must-have tool for your daily life.
As we explained before, emotions have a profound influence on our personality, who we are, and what we feel. They are a part of everyday life, but they can sometimes become a cause of imbalance in the body when they become excessive and prolonged. Since the body and mind form an integrated inseparable unit, the emotions can not only cause a disharmony, but they can also be caused by it. As we deal with the stresses of life it is important for us to be able to look at any imbalance from various perspectives and with numerous treatment modalities. Through things like Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture, we can help you find a link between your physical health and your emotional health – bringing a homeostatic balance to your life.
To learn more about how acupuncture can help you, book a free 30 minute consultation by contacting us today at 303-500-5075 or clicking on the following link to book online: Book Appointment
- Bailey, Regina. Limbic System. About.com. April 20, 2014. <http://biology.about.com/od/anatomy/a/aa042205a.htm>
- Maciocia, Giovanni. The Foundations of Chinese Medicine. New York: Churchill Livingstone,Inc. 1989
- Oleson, Terry. Auriculotherapy Manual: Chinese and Western Systems of Ear Acupuncture. Los Angeles. Healthcare Alternatives, Inc. 1998.
- Thagard, Paul. “What are emotions?” Psychology Today. April 15, 2010. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hot-thought/201004/what-are-emotions
- Frontal Lobe.Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., date last updated (19 April 2014). Web Date accessed (20 April 2014). < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frontal_lobe>
- Veith, Ilza.The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972