What is Shoulder Impingement?


This common injury occurs when the tendons of the rotator cuff become overused and injured.  The subsequent pain and swelling reduces the shoulder mobility leading to impingement. The tendons of the rotator cuff slide between the clavicle and the humerous in the shoulder joint. When the tendons are inflamed or damaged this slide is no longer smooth and the friction causes pain and compression of the tendon leading to pain.  


While the rotator cuff muscles are involved in moving the arm, they are also essential to stabilizing the top of the humerous in the joint socket during activity. If these muscles become weak the humerous can drift out and put the tendons in a compromised position. Imbalance between the strength of the chest and the strength of the upper back can also lead to the shoulder being poorly aligned in the joint socket. This again leads to extra wear and tear on the tendon.  


At Inner Gate Acupuncture your acupuncturist will perform a full evaluation of your body and of the shoulder joint.  Properly identifying the main causes of the shoulder impingement, we determine the best course of treatment. Treatment focuses on calming the inflamed tissue, creating space for proper tendon glide and rebalancing the shoulder, back and chest muscles.  Acupuncture can relieve shortened muscle, active weak muscles and relieve inflammation locally. Manual therapy, cupping and tuina massage are often also used to deepen and improved the treatment.  

The Benefits of Eccentric Exercise

What is Eccentric vs. Concentric Muscle Contraction?

Eccentric vs. Concentric Muscle Contraction

Concentric Contraction: Concentric contraction occurs when a muscle is activated and begins to shorten against a load.  The raising of a weight during a biceps curl is a concentric contraction.

Eccentric Contraction: Eccentric contractions occur when the muscle is lengthening during contraction.  The lowering of the weight slowly during a biceps curl is an eccentric contraction.  Eccentric contractions occur constantly throughout the activities of daily living.  During movements such as walking the quad muscles stabilize and control the frame of the body while they are actively contracting and lengthening.

The Importance of Eccentric Contraction:
Sports Medicine research has shown that eccentric contracts are better at building muscle mass, strengthening and repairing connective tissue including tendons and ligaments.   There is evidence that eccentric contractions even help increase flexibility.  

For minor injuries and tendonitis conditions your practitioner may prescribe eccentric exercises as a home care therapy.  The practitioner will explain the exercise carefully in order to fully take advantage of the eccentric phase of contraction.  Moving very slowly and controlled during the contraction is essential to maximizing the benefit of the exercise.  Moving too quickly or using too heavy a weight can actually damage the tissue.  


Back to School Immune Support

Back to school immune system support

Back to school means it time to boost everyone's immune system. As cooler weather encroaches we are all forced to spend more time indoors with other people, often with closed windows and poorly circulated air.  These are conditions that expose us to more bacteria and viruses than any of us would like. 

Here are a few practical ways for us to prevent those bacteria and viruses from getting us sick.  These methods are simple but they may prove more difficult to practice than you think. 

  • Washing hands regularly: Just using a simple soap to clean the hands a few times per day can greatly diminish our exposure to viruses and bacteria. 
  • Keep your fingers and hands off your face and mouth:  It is estimated that people touch their faces hundreds of times per day!  Much of this touching is habitual and unconscious. If we focus carefully we can break this habit and reduce our exposure to the bugs that make us ill. 
  • Click Here for a link to a video that shows the most effective way to wash hands with soap and water. 

Chinese medicine has several powerful approaches to maintaining a healthy immune system. These time tested ideas can add potent weapons to your germ busting arsenal.

  • Yin Qiao San: This ancient formula has many modern day equivalents. It serves as the base for Wellness formula and the popular product Airborne.  Taken in it's raw herbal form or as an alcohol tincture it reaches it's most potent concentration.  This formula is good for early onset colds when your throat is raw and your body is achey.  Once phlegm is present as nasal congestion or post nasal drip the cold has penetrated too deeply and yin qiao san is no longer the best formula.    
  • Cupping: Yes that popular therapy that Michael Phelps exposed to the world for it ability to relieve muscle pain and tension is also used to strengthen the immune system and defend against colds and flus. 
  • Acupuncture: Acupuncture has specific points that are used to increase white blood cell count, open the lungs, and calm the nervous system, all components of a healthy immune system.

If you do get sick, don't give up hope. There are many acupuncture techniques and Chinese herbal formulas designed to counteract colds and flus and shorten the duration and intensity of these illnesses.  Call us and we will be happy to get you in and on the road to recovery.  


Plantar Fasciitis Sucks!

Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a common complaint characterized by pain in the heel and the bottom surface of the foot. 
The pain is typically worse in the morning and after periods of inactivity. 

Risk factors for plantar fasciitis include:

  • Foot Over-Pronation
  • Flat feet 
  • High arches 
  • Obesity
  • Achilles Tendon Tension
  • Poor Footwear

Acupuncture is a successful component of care for plantar fasciitis:

  • Corrects muscle imbalances leading to over-pronation
  • Increases blood flow and improves recovery time
  • Relieves tension in shortened and tight muscles

Inner Gate Acupuncture uses skillful diagnosis and evaluation to improve your recovery:

  • Acupuncture therapy based on thorough examination of the muscles of the foot and calf
  • Complete home care exercises to build strength and relax tissues between treatments
  • Massage, moxibustion and stretching may all be incorporated into your treatment


Ear Acupuncture and Weight Loss

A Koren study published in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine shows that ear acupuncture can help people lose weight. 


In the study, researchers compared the efficacy of different acupuncture treatments in helping obese patients lose weight.  The researchers compared the standard Korean five point treatment with a single acupuncture point.  A control group was given a “sham” treatment.

The study followed 91 obese people – 16 men and 75 women – all of the participants had a body mass index equal to or greater than 23. None of the participants had received any other weight control treatments in the last 6 months.

The participants were randomly divided into three groups, one group to receive the five point acupuncture treatment, another the one point acupuncture treatment and the third group, the control “sham” treatment.

Method of Study:

The first group had imbedded needles positioned at the ear acupuncture sites; Shen-men, stomach, spleen, hunger, and endocrine. The needles were left for one week.

The following week, new needles would be inserted into the same acupuncture points on the other ear, with the process being repeated over the course of the 8 week trial.

The second group of participants followed the same treatment process but only had one needle inserted at the hunger point.

The sham group believed they were receiving the five point treatment.  The needles were inserted and then were removed immediately after insertion.  Tape was placed over the ear.

All three groups were put onto a restricted diet and asked to not increase their exercise or activity levels.

Before after and during the trial BMIs, waist circumference, body fat mass, percentage body fat and blood pressure were measured.


For the participants that completed the trial the results were significant.  The BMI of the five point treatment group showed a 6.1% reduction, the one point group a 5.7% reduction while the sham group showed no reduction at all.

The research suggests that ear acupuncture protocols for weight loss may provide a great benefit to patients seeking to lose abdominal fat.

3 Ways Chinese Medicine Helps Endometriosis


Endometriosis is a women’s health condition where uterine cells grow outside of the uterus, commonly in the ovaries and fallopian tubes.  Because endometrial tissue is regulated by hormones, women will experience increased pain close to their menses.  While Western medicine focuses on hormonal therapy and laparoscopic surgery, Chinese medicine works to regulate the menstrual bleeding and reduce the severity of pain.

Acupuncture reduces pain
A 2010 research study showed that a series of 10 acupuncture treatments significantly reduced pain levels for women with endometriosis.  We generally treat patients over the course of 2-3 menstrual cycles to effect significant change.  Women receiving acupuncture should be aware that it takes time for treatment results to last.

Acupuncture reduces inflammation
Researchers say inflammation is the main cause of endometriosis pain.  The insertion of needles can greatly alleviate the inflammation that occurs during the menstrual cycle, as well as afterwards.  Because acupuncture improves circulation it reduces both inflammation and pain.  As part of the treatment plan, women should come in for acupuncture treatment the week before their period begins.  

Chinese herbal therapy reduces endometriosis symptoms
Chinese herbal medicine has a long and extensive history of working with women’s health concerns, including endometriosis.  There are many different formula that can be used to treat endometriosis.  Our practitioners always perform thorough intakes and evaluations to determine which formula or modification of formula are best for our patients.