What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture treatment is based on concepts of vital energy, energetic balance and imbalance. Just as the Western medical doctor monitors the blood flowing through blood vessels and the messages traveling via the nervous system, the acupuncturist assesses the flow and distribution of this vital energy within its pathways, known as meridians and channels.
What does the examination involve? How long is the visit?
The first visit is usually the longest in order to allow the practitioner to gather important historical information and to examine the patient (typically over an hour). Follow-up visits are shorter, usually one hour, depending on the patient needs. Sometimes other therapies, such as massage, acupressure, cupping, gua-sha, are incorporated with the acupuncture treatment. April Chang will determine treatment by what your body says: the appearance of the face and body build, the condition of the tongue, the quality of the pulses, the feel of the diagnostic areas such as the abdomen and back.
What is the treatment like?
Most patients say,”relaxing.” Usually patients leave in less or no discomfort and are more functional than when they walk in. Sometimes the effects are too subtle to perceive. After 5 to 10 treatments, the improvements of most chronic issues become more and more apparent.
Is it safe?
April Chang has been a licensed acupuncturist through Texas Medical Board over 10 years. She is highly trained to ensure patients’ safety and comfort. Her treatment is not only safe, but also very relaxing and healing. All treatment needles are pre-sterilized, one-time use only. Patients may feel warmth, pressure, flow of energy, or tingling, etc. A sense of well-being or euphoria is usually felt after her treatment.
What are the benefits?
The acupuncturist is able to influence health by stimulating certain areas along these meridians. The meridian points, or acu-points, are stimulated by fine slender needles to adjust the vital energy so the proper amount reaches the proper place at the proper time. Correcting energy imbalances helps your body heal itself by enhancing the beneficial changes in the body’s own natural painfillers, anti-inflammatory agents, immune system functions and hormonal activity.
What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is the abnormal swelling of the arms, legs, breast, abdomen, neck or head due to a damaged lymphatic system. While Lymphedema may be congenital, it is also associated with lymphatic damage among post-mastectomy and other post surgery patients who have had lymph nodes removed and /or radiation.
Our lymphatic system is designed to remove extra protein waste products and water to cleanse body tissues, and to return lymph to the blood system. When this system is dam- aged due to surgeries or radiation, the fluid cannot be transported properly in the body. The result is that abnormal swelling occurs. When left untreated it becomes a chronic condition and the affected area becomes hard (fibrotic) and full of lymph fluid which reduces oxygen availability and is conducive for bacteria and infections. Lymphedema can be successfully treated.
The most effective treatments?
Lymphedema patients clearly face major problems and are constantly frustrated in finding answers as to how to reduce swelling. Surgery has not proven to solve the problem of Lymphedema.
Currently, the most successful and lasting solution is Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT). CDT was developed in the 1930’s by Danish Physical Therapist Dr. Emil Vodder and his colleagues to find a successful way to combat the abnormal and chronic swelling of tissues associated with Lymphedema.
After 30 years of research, clinical trials, and medical breakthroughs contemporary physi- cians in Canada, Europe, and the U.S. recog- nize the benefits of CDT for their patients.
What is Complete Decongestive Therapy?
CDT combines a comprehensive treatment that utilizes, Compression Therapy (bandages), Skin Care & Hygiene, Remedial Exercises (an individu- alized program), and Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD). MLD is clearly the most dynamic component of the combined therapy and has numerous health benefits that far exceed the treatment of Lymphedema.
What is Manual Lymphatic Drainage?
MLD combats the unwanted swelling associated with Lymphedema with a very specialized light touch massage. The massage technique accelerates the flow of lymph and prevents damage to the tis- sues while re-directing the flow of the lymph. The practitioner re-directs the flow manually by direct- ing the fluids to collateral lymph vessels that carry the lymph to normal functioning lymphatic vessels and nodes.
What is the treatment like?
Like most medical problems, it is best if the patient begins to treat Lymphedema as early as possible after surgery or radiation. One should allow one hour and a half for the first session. The practitioners will want to learn about your specific medical needs and individualize the treatment. Further, they will want to help you with any con- cerns or questions associated with treatment. Follow-up treatments will typically last one hour.
Our MLD practitioners are dedicated to teaching patients how to care for themselves and how to “self-massage” problem areas to reduce the time needed in clinical treatment.
This gentle massage technique is critical to reducing and preventing abnormal swelling and should be performed daily.
Lymphedema treatment precautions
It is not recommended to have other forms of massage therapy on the at-risk quadrant, because it may alter the direction of the flow of the lymph. (this includes: deep tissues, reflexology, rolfing, shiatsu, and Swedish).
About the practitioner
April Chang is committed to ensuring that her patients are totally supported during treatments. She has years of specialized training in CDT and MLD and have studied extensively in Canada, Europe, and U.S.
For additional educational information about Lymphedema, please visit the following websites: