Kurt has successfully treated people for the following conditions:
About Pain in General
Pain is considered acute if it happens suddenly, and chronic if it manifests over time. Acute pain usually involves the muscles and bones and is caused by injuries while chronic pain develops slowly, sometimes over years and often involves organs and nerves. For acute pain, acupuncture, herbal remedies and “tuina” (body manipulation and massage) are a proven and effective treatments and are alternatives to prescription painkillers without the same risks and side-effects. For chronic pain, initial treatments are used to bring the pain under control. It can typically be kept in check with regular treatments while we work on healing the root of the problem.
Back pain, Stiff neck, Neck pain and Frozen shoulder
These pains typically come from strained muscles. Causes may be poor postural habits, sports or work injuries, and motor vehicle accidents to name a few. For minor problems a few quick treatments usually yields excellent results. Early treatment may avoid more serious problems down the road, a stitch in time saves nine. More serious problems usually take longer to remedy and may often involve referral to other professionals where necessary.
Poor postural habits account for the vast majority of chronic pain and are often the underlying causal pre-condition for many acute injuries or even organ problems. Many postural issues stem from poor core strength. The core provides us with structure and stability and when forces we exert upon our core exceed its strength, we either begin to injure these muscles or more often we recruit other muscles which over time cause muscular imbalances and lead to dysfunction resulting in chronic pain. Acupuncture can be used to train the body, and when combined with appropriate stretching and strengthening exercises can rebuild your core more effectively than simply exercise alone. These include proper standing, active sitting and body awareness during sporting or other activities.
Sciatica is usually felt in the hip and often runs down the side of the leg or the back of the leg and may even radiate to below the knee. It is caused by a muscular pressure on the sciatic nerve (piriformis syndrome) or by dysfunction of the low back affecting the nerves. Usually a few treatments and some maintenance exercises readily solve this issue.
Joint Pain & Sprain
Joint pain may be acute due to injury or sprain or chronic due to arthritis or bursitis. These can include tennis elbow or pain in the wrist, ankle, knee, shoulder, hip or fingers and toes. Acute problems can be caused by sports or work injuries and acupuncture is particularly effective at reducing pain and swelling promoting faster healing. Early treatment following injury is vital to reducing the risk of worsening of the problem.
Arthritis, Tendonitis, Bursitis
These are usually more chronic in nature and may involve flare-ups at the site of an old injury or be affected by changes in the weather or may be improved or worsened by exercise. Acupuncture is used on the front-line to relieve the pain and inflammation, but managing this type of chronic pain often includes developing and maintaining good posture, changes in diet and changing your exercise. Herbal remedies are also often very helpful when there are issues with the underlying biochemistry, particularly for arthritis.
Headaches are most commonly caused by poor posture or work habits combined with stress. Other causes include various types of infection from the common cold to meningitis. Most of these are effectively relieved or improved by acupuncture or herbal therapy, but some (like meningitis) are dangerous and must be treated at a emergency primary care facility.
Jaw Pain and TMJ
Pain and dysfunction in the jaw has numerous causes but often includes muscle imbalances in the jaw or face. Sometimes these problems can also manifest as sinus, hearing or eustation tube issues that can cause infection. Tuina (Chinese body manipulation) and sometimes acupuncture effectively resets muscles and relieves tensions and may resolve these problems.
Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVAs) often cause long term and more serious issues, especially when involving whiplash or other serious medical traumas. Acupuncture is strongly recommended in addition to the other types of treatment during the rehabilitation phase of healing. Acupuncture can help at all stages of healing, but it is of great benefit to start earlier rather than later when pain and dysfunction may have become set-in.
Chronic or Ongoing Muscle Pain
Pain in this category includes chronic back, lumbar, jaw, TMJ pain, headaches and joint pain, including arthritis, tendonitis or bursitis. Managing chronic muscle pain also often includes developing and maintaining good posture as well as identifying any ongoing causes. Following initial treatment, personalized instruction is given for exercises to strengthen and bring awareness to the problem areas to avoid repeated injury. These include proper standing, active sitting and body awareness during sporting or other activities. If you work with a personal trainer, important issues for your progress are shared and communicated to them with your permission.
Chronic Organ (Visceral) Pain and Nerve Pain and Dysfunction
The causes of chronic pain and dysfunction from diseased organs and nerves is much more difficult to treat in all medical systems and is often inconsistent in its response to treatment. Examples include trigeminal neuralgia, stroke sequelae, to digestive pain or issues. Treating chronic conditions and pain is a particular strength of Oriental Medicine, especially where conventional medicine is ineffective. Treatment includes acupuncture, tuina and herbal medicine. If done properly, side-effects should be minimal or non-existent. That being said, chronic visceral or nerve conditions are often tenacious and require careful and maintained periodic treatment, usually less frequently but over months or years.
Bladder and Urinary Health
Oriental medicine has been used to effectively treat chronic bladder infections, frequent urination, prolapse and prostatitis among others.
In medicine, women’s reproductive physiology rules menstruation, fertility, conception, pregnancy and childbirth. In Oriental medicine however, the reproductive organs do not work in isolation from the rest of the body, they are clearly integrated and may hence be influenced by other pathologies, system imbalances and emotions. Gynecological problems such as uterine prolapse, painful, early or late periods or absent menstruation for example have been evaluated and treated very effectively at their root for over 2000 years. These conditions are individually diagnosed and usually treated primarily with herbal remedies and sometimes acupuncture or tuina.
In Oriental Medicine, the skin is an integral part of your organic system, not just an external covering. Skin issues can come from internal or external factors. Internally generated problems are effectively treated with acupuncture and herbal remedies because it treats the underlying internal cause, an imbalance of the organ system showing its problems on the skin. Eczema, psoriasis, hives, bumps, acne and specific rashes or discolourations all have the potential of being internally related. Outside influences may also cause skin issues for which there are many effective and natural topical and internal medicines available that do not have the side-effects of the corticosteroid creams used so frequently.
Quitting smoking must be one of the top two resolutions people make every new year’s, sometimes even year after year. Why is that? Smoking is a very powerful habit that reaches deeply into many levels of our lives (personal image, physical fixation, sub-conscious triggers). Add to this the addictive nature of the nicotine itself and you’ve got a durable dependence.
Working against this of course we have a multitude of good reasons to quit: we know that cigarettes are highly toxic, significant cost, and high risk of associated illnesses such as lung cancer, emphysema, chronic coughing, asthma, high blood pressure, shortness of breath and a weakened immune system to name a few.
Off the shelf treatments like gums and patches tend to only lessen the symptoms of the physical dependence, but do not treat the addiction. Effective smoking cessation can only come with the treatment of the entire habit including the physical pattern and the psychological aspects. My work in an addictions clinic and research for my thesis have allowed me to develop a comprehensive and effective system for smoking cessation that does not just leave you hanging. It includes a specific acupuncture protocol and herbal teas as well as other techniques. This together with the understanding that ceasing any true addiction will be an iterative process, opens the possibility for real and permanent smoking cessation.
Excess weight and poor digestion are often related to lifestyle as discussed above. The link between digestion and weight gain starts with the fact that each individual has their own metabolism or tendencies to absorb nutrients, purge waste and accumulate weight. Typically this is seen as genetically predetermined and fixed. In Oriental Medicine this fixed component is also accompanied by a variable component that hinges on the efficiency of your digestive and organ systems. In addition to remedial lifestyle changes in diet and exercise, herbal and acupuncture treatments are used to re-calibrate the digestive system. Healing then follows as the rebalanced system finds its new homeostasis or stability point, and your body will subsequently find it’s ideal weight. This is natural, healthy and permanent weight loss.
In Oriental Medicine your digestion is the engine of your body and drives all the other functions. Digestive issues have many causes, but most solutions are related to managing stress and lifestyle. Lifestyle refers to all of the aspects of your daily activities, your diet – what and how much food you eat and your eating habits, the amount and type of exercise and relaxation you get, your mental state and even your living, working and traveling conditions. Today most lifestyles include stress, being sedentary, toxic environments, addictive refined and artificial foods and large food quantities. These are responsible for many of the digestive issues and much of the weight gain. Over time, these forces overburden our organ systems and digestive tract. This can be reversed sometimes with simple diet and lifestyle changes, and if needed intervention with herbal medicines and acupuncture. Most dysfunctions can be treated relatively quickly, but chronic conditions of course take some time to improve.
Relieve Anxiety and Depression
If the stress cycle that inhibits proper energy flow discussed above is allowed to continue unabated, numerous symptoms will begin to appear, insomnia, headaches, being on edge while at the same time feeling dull and living as in a haze, even digestive problems. Over time these feelings become systemized and we call them anxiety or depression. Many physical signs can begin to appear in the eyes, skin, pulse, tongue picture, specific bodily functions and in the person’s spirit. Each of us is individual hence not everyone’s experience will be the same – some will lean more towards anxiety, others more towards depression. Acupuncture and herbal remedies will help to get us “back up on our feet.” For the long term, Oriental Medicine is a source of deep wisdom that can help us with diet, mental exercises and various physical disciplines to help create a balanced lifestyle with emotional harmony.
Insomnia & Stress
In Oriental Medicine, good sleep is the result of an emotionally, physically and energetically balanced body. Life stressors, anxiety and other factors disrupt the free flow of energy and metabolism, hindering the proper functioning of the whole system and resulting in poor sleep. Over time this cycle feeds upon itself causing more stress, causing worse sleep and so on, much like a traffic jam grows if not resolved. It is not so much that some part of you isn’t working as much as all the parts are not working properly together. Acupuncture and herbal remedies work to redirect your specific situation to create a state favourable for good sleep, much like a traffic officer can redirect chaos to create orderly traffic flow. Sleep can then become your ally and give you the energy and strength to reduce your stress and suddenly the cycle starts to go the other way, towards health. So protect your sleep!
Chronic Disease, your Energy & Longevity
Vital energy depends on a having a well-balanced system in which your organs and other elements work together harmoniously. Low energy levels for most of us are short-term and come on the heels of prolonged work or stress. This is well resolved by resting. Acupuncture sessions and herbal medicines to de-stress us help accelerate our recovery, or help us get over a hump, but when low energy and fatigue become ongoing or severe, then we need to look deeper.
In the medium term (months to a few years), clearing, harmonizing and tonifying treatments work well to clear any pathogens and optimize the various functions of the body ensuring that you can heal yourself. This is how Oriental Medicine benefits those with chronic deficiencies such as Chronic Fatigue and other immuno dysfunctional issues, wasting diseases as well as chronic and undetectable parasitic infection that force you to bear a constant load.
Health and vitality is not just the absence of disease however. If treatment of disease gets us back to zero, then to move beyond this, we must consider the concept total mental, physical and spiritual engagement with life. Most of us are born with the full potential to achieve inner harmony of these elements, but from the moment of conception the forces of life begin to affect us. Discussion about energy and longevity in Oriental medicine begins with the gifts given to us by our parents in terms of genetics, mother’s gestational health, learned habits and so on, but ultimately culminates in our own lifestyle (see definition above in digestion). The cultivation of proper lifestyle is called “yang sheng fa” in Mandarin. It presumes that we all have a finite amount of life force, and through specific and judicious living practices, we can maintain health, sustain quality of life and even extend it beyond a normal lifespan.