fascia-nating: treating your body’s network with Chinese medicine
So, do you know what fascia is?
We weren’t entirely clear, nor did we know what a big role it plays in movement, flexibility, and stability, and, when inflamed, in joint pain and stiffness. A single, continuous structure from head to toe, the fascia surrounds and wraps all our internal parts. So if it’s hurting, you’re hurting.
Jennifer Mason, owner of Vitamin Chi, knows all about fascia, the care and feeding of. A licensed acupuncturist, Jennifer specializes in neck and shoulder pain and menopausal symptoms. So we got a hold of her for a conversation about acupuncture, fascia, trigger points, and using Chinese remedies to bring our bodies back to health.
1:19 We love the name “Vitamin Chi.” What is Vitamin Chi and what exactly do you do there?
According to Jennifer, good health is “an everyday thing,” and acupuncture, herbalism, and so forth tend to be a bit esoteric for people. She wants to make Chinese medicine available and accessible for the uninitiated so we can all enjoy the very best of health.
2:30 Fascia — sooooooo, what is that, exactly?
Picture your favorite sandwich meat in a sandwich bag. The meat is your muscle, and the sandwich bag is the fascia, says Jennifer. In the simplest terms, it’s a giant network within your body connecting bits together, and communicating between, so it lends itself well to treatment via acupuncture.
4:08 Why does fascia sometimes get problematic?
One of the properties of fascia is it remodels itself, says Jennifer. If we don’t move for a while, we need to stretch and move to discourage it from getting too “set.” So if you’re experiencing pain, don’t wait to seek treatment.
5:28 What’s the role of fascia?
The whole body is connected, and while work on fascia is good for joint pain, treating the body as a holistic network is critical. Jennifer takes us through trigger points and why the pain you’re feeling in one point of your body may not have started there.
7:05 How does acupuncture work?
There are points in the muscle where electrical differences are greatest, and if an acupuncturist can find exactly the right point with the needle, the muscle “resets,” according to Jennifer.
8:30 How does the needle actually relieve pain?
The needle goes right to the “motor point” and communicates up the fascial line to the brain, says Jennifer. Additionally, acupuncture takes into account other important components of chronic pain such as emotion and inflammation. She explains how acupuncture targets all the pain levers to provide relief.
10:23 Needle-phobes. Whatya gonna do?
Jennifer admits to us that she “chickened out” of her first acupuncture appointment. But these needles are “as thin as kitten whiskers” she says, and just as effective for making us feel better. She lets us in on how she helps her patients relax into the experience.
12:07 What is cupping, and is just for Michael Phelps?
This “super-low tech” treatment is great for myofascial release and also Instagram posts, says Jennifer. It feels good and helps relieve pain by pulling inflammation out of the muscle.
13:46 Reiki: what is it and how does it work?
This most gentle form of healing comes from Japan and uses the life force of the practitioner, channeled into the patient, to treat chronic pain. “It doesn’t make sense to me,” Jennifer admits, but it changed her life. She tells the story of how she discovered the effectiveness of reiki during a very difficult time.
15:07 How do you incorporate reiki into your practice?
First, relaxation and readiness, then the practice of channeling the healing energies. Jennifer takes us through how she guides her patients through the experience.
16:38 What preparation does the reiki practitioner need to deliver the treatment?
“We all have an innate healing power,” Jennifer says, but we don’t all know how to tap into it and harness it correctly. Learning to be a practitioner takes practice and calm and leaning into the flow.
17:37 Why the new focus on women in midlife and perimenopause?
Jennifer says, women are silently suffering, and if you ask the right questions, you find there’s so much need for help. Chinese medicine approaches the body differently, it’s open to some different ideas about what’s truly happening and how to manage symptoms. “We can get very specific and treat all kinds of things,” Jennifer tells us. “I’m very excited.”
19:12 How do you help women understand they should practice self-care and get help?
“It’s not a selfish act to take care of yourself,” Jennifer says. In fact, when a woman is running on empty, it’s harder on everyone. It’s important to do what’s necessary to heal. And self-care doesn’t have to mean coming to the doc all the time — it may be about recognizing unhealthy patterns and finding tools to correct them.
In addition to being an acupuncturist, Jennifer is a Reiki Master Practitioner and has been using Chinese herbs for health since childhood from her grandparents’ herb shop. Her passion is to help people find healthy solutions in their daily habits, diet, and practices. And tacos. She loves tacos. Find out more about Jennifer Mason and her practice on her company website, Vitamin Chi.
This blog and podcast first appeared on genneve, where women in midlife and menopause regain control of their health. Have you had experience with acupuncture, cupping or reiki? We’d love to hear how it worked for you, so give us a shout on genneve’s Facebook page or in Midlife & Menopause Solutions, our closed Facebook group.
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