Pulse of Oriental Medicine: Alternative Medicine That Works for Regular Folks
San Diego Alternative Medicine

 
     
Updated October 15, 2003
 
 
Brian Carter, acupuncturist, herbalist, and author

For San Diego Alternative Medicine, check out the clinic and health programs of Brian B. Carter, MSci, LAc

Brian practices acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine at his San Diego alternative medicine clinic. He is an author of international renown and public speaker. Brian is currently writing his book Chinese Medicine: A Practical Guide to
Optimal Healing.

Everyone comes to alternative medicine for different reasons. Some are tired of drug side-effects, or philosophically opposed to drugs and surgery. Others don't like what their doctors have told them or the lack of success they've had. Yet another group wants to live in optimal, vibrant health and well-being.

Amazing Results with San Diego Alternative Medicine

Let me start by telling you about a few of my patients's successes:

  • A jet-skier had a severe case of hives for 6 months, had been to many MD's, had spent about $11,000, and had gotten no relief. He couldn't sleep comfortably, work, or be out in the sun. Doctors were ready to admit him to UCSD. He came to see me, and after 2 acupuncture treatments and 2 days of a 7-day herb formula, his skin was completely clear. When I lasted talked to him, he was getting ready to race in the world jet-ski finals at Lake Havasu. Oh, and his entire treatment cost less than $200.
  • A 9-month pregnant woman came to me because her baby was facing the wrong direction. Her MD wanted to physically turn the baby from the outside, or put her through the surgery, cost, and scar of a C-section. I heated an acupuncture point on each of her little toes 10 times for 3 days, and the baby flipped. She was ecstatic and thanked me profusely.
  • A 55 year old man had high blood pressure. With just weekly acupuncture, I lowered a man's blood pressure sufficiently to get him disqualified from a blood pressure medication study he was in. We were both happy he didn't have to take the meds!
  • I brought a lupus sufferer back from a flare-up of pain, insomnia, and depression to well-being and comfort.
  • Several of my patients have had weakness and nerve tingling in their fingers that starts deep inside the shoulder (supraspinatus nerve impingement). The only alternative is surgery. This usually takes about 8 acupuncture treatments to cure.
  • I have eliminated acid reflux in several patients with Chinese herbal medicine. In both cases, they have been off drugs and herbs for 6-12 months, and still have had no recurrence of the reflux. In both cases, their MD's told them they'd have to take the drug aciphex for the rest of their lives. Evidently not!

The Biggest Advantage of San Diego Alternative Medicine

Taking advantage of alternative medicine gives you more than just the western medicine choices, which are drugs and surgery. Surgeries are generally irreversible, don't always work, carry certain risks, and may take significant time to recover from. Drugs always have side effects and can cause permanent dependencies.

You can choose alternative medicine FIRST in cases that aren't life-threatening. If it doesn't work, then fall back on the more dangerous options - drugs or surgery. This way, alternative medicine, which is generally safer, should be primary therapy, and western medicine should be the alternative.

If you're stressed, in pain, anxious, overwhelmed, can't sleep, or want alternative medicine solutions to your medical problem, take a look at my alternative medical practice and health programs below.

When is San Diego Alternative Medicine Best?

Alternative medicine is a broad category. At my clinic, however, we choose the best remedy for the patient instead of adhering blindly to one therapy or philosophy. Sometimes we order lab tests or x-rays to get to the bottom of the problem. Sometimes the main treatment for your condition won't be acupuncture or herbs.

For example, some people with multiple long-term health issues have an 'intestinal dysbiosis.' If you have too many antibiotics, they can deplete the good intestinal bacteria (which help you digest your food). Unimpeded, the bad bacteria multiply and take over. This can lead to all kinds of problems including constipation, repeated vaginal infections, deficiencies in nutrients, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, poor digestion and indigestion, hormonal problems, food allergies, and more. Not everyone has this problem, but if we suspect it, we need to do tests. If we find you have a dysbiosis, then your treatment may be only natural substances, or a combination of drugs (from your doctor) and natural substances.

So, you see that we use the best tests and therapies for your individual situation. Our goal is to get to the root of your problem, answer your questions, and get you back to good health.

San Diego Alternative Medicine vs. Western Medicine - Taking the Time to Help People

Just the other day, I saw a first-time patient for weight loss. She had several symptoms of hypothyroidism (weight gain, feeling cold, hair loss, and sleepiness). Since hypothyroidism is one of the few diseases that's actually better treated by western drugs, I sent her to her MD for thyroid lab tests. Usually, we can help a patient. But sometimes, we're the only medical practitioners who spend enough time with you to find out what you really need, and sometimes what you need is western medicine. I have no problem with MD's or western medicine, I can communicate with your doctor and understand their tests, diagnoses and treatments, and sometimes I agree with what they do. It's important to realize that you can take advantage of western medicine tests without committing to doing their idea of therapy.

The Many Therapies of San Diego Alternative Medicine

1. Herbal self-care: This is probably the most popular kind of alternative medicine. Most people read about an herb, or a friend tells them about it, and they go buy it in the store. This is self-medication (medicating yourself without making use of a trained medical professional). It has some pro's and con's. It's not incredibly effective, and it can be dangerous. Not all herbs are safe. Even ginseng has an "overuse syndrome." Not all herbs are for everyone. It's much better to work one on one with an expert who understands your health concerns, and who is specifically trained and experienced in herbal medicine.

2. Chiropractic: Keeping the spine flexible and the spinal nerves functioning properly makes sense and improves health. We have a very good chiropractor in our office, Dr. John Schaefer, who has been helping people with chiropractic for 15 years.

3. Acupuncture: This phenomenal therapy is based on an insightful medical system. It's the safest medicine there is (besides food and exercise). It's the best medicine for pain relief. More and more research supports it, and more doctors are recommending it. Most MD's are more comfortable with acupuncture than chiropractic. The California Bureau of Workers Compensation says acupuncture is the most effective therapy for low back pain. Acupuncture also can treat internal problems, mental-emotional issues, and addictions. It's one of the main therapies at my clinic. In most diseases, it can assist in healing or normalization of your immune system, digestion, or nervous system.

4. Chinese herbal medicine: This is sophisticated medicine that combines multiple herbs for sophisticated, safe treatment of complex health conditions. This has been a scholarly, literate tradition since 200 A.D. There are about 400 herbs commonly used in Chinese medicine (12,000 or more are known). We use about 100 standard herbal formulas. Chinese herbal medicine can even help in cancer and AIDS by supporting immune system and/or attacking the disease as chemotherapy does. Modern herbal formulas use a pharmacological understanding of the herbs to treat just about any modern diseases - e.g. hypertension, acid reflux, insomnia, sciatica, hypercholesterolemia, and more.

5. Ayurveda: This is another ancient medical system. It is not as popular as Chinese medicine, but it does have a well known spokesperson, Deepak Chopra, whose clinic is located in La Jolla.

6. Massage: There are many types of massage. Acupressure is less effective than acupuncture but still helpful. We sometimes use Tui Na (Chinese medical massage), for various muscle-related problems.

7. Cupping and Gwa sha: Cupping is the application of vacuum-like pressure to move stagnant fluids and blood in the muscles. Gwa sha does the same thing, but without the vacuum pressure. These can help heal structural issues.

8. Functional Medicine: This means discovering health problems with lab tests like western medicine does, and then curing the problem naturally. See the dysbiosis example above under "Taking the Time to Help People." This includes supplements, vitamins, minerals, etc.

9. Food Selection: In a similarly sophisticated way, Chinese medicine can help you choose the best foods for your patterns of imbalance, and avoid the bad ones. This means a different good and bad food list for each person. Personalized food selection therapy can make a big difference in how long it takes for the acupuncture and herbs to work (if you eat the wrong foods, you work against the treatment). No one's perfect, of course, but this information helps you make better choices.

Get Started with San Diego Alternative Medicine

How does it work? I use a 4 phase process. Here are more details on each phase of the process:

Part 1 of San Diego Alternative Medicine - Forms

As with all medical experiences, we begin with the fun task of filling out some forms. The following are the basic forms I like to see before we meet. You can download and save them, enter the info and email it to me (bbcarter at pulsemed dot org), or print them, fill them out, and fax them to me at (619) 282-1332. Make sure to call for an appointment though, at (619) 208-1432.

Right-click and 'Save As' each of them:

Part 2 of San Diego Alternative Medicine - Exam and Assessment

We start with an initial exam and assessment. We'll talk about your problem in detail. I'll consider the condition of the rest of your body and how it relates to your main complaint. I use of both western and Chinese medicine in my diagnosis. For pain problems, I may run you through some physical exam (orthopedic/neurologic) tests to pinpoint the cause of the pain. I may send you out for x-rays or other tests, if you haven't had them and they are indicated. If your doctor has already conducted any part of this assessment, I can use that information.

Part 3 of San Diego Alternative Medicine - Treatment

We have several treatment options depending on my assessment, and how well you respond. We already discussed the different kinds of alternative medicine above. Usually we'll do the treatment at my clinic. In rare cases, we may refer you out for something specific.

Part 4 of San Diego Alternative Medicine - Results and Completion

My goal is to get you results quick. I apply the tools in my toolkit, until I see a change in your pain. Once that happens, we know we're on the right track. We continue until we hit a plateau in results. Then we try another strategy.
After your complaint is gone, we continue for several treatments to make sure it won't return - experience shows that stopping acupuncture too soon is more often associated with a return of the problem, but a few more treatments prevent this.

Will You Have to Come Back Forever?

No! My goal is to getter you back to 100% pain-free, functional, capable, joyous living. I do not want you to be dependent upon me. It's a strange business I'm in: I meet all these interesting people, and then I do my best to make sure they won't see me anymore. I want you to get better quickly as possible for as little money as possible.

Payment for San Diego Alternative Medicine

You pay as you go. Every patient and every condition is different. It's impossible to say up front how many treatments it will require.

If you pay with cash, check, Visa, or Mastercard at the time of the visit, I offer a discount: the first visit is $85, and follow-ups are $50. Chinese herbal formulas are separate, and cost between $13-25 per week, if we use them.

Your insurance may cover your visits- let us check your coverage for your at no charge. Just call, or email (bbcarter at pulsemed dot org) and give us your insurance information.

If you were injured at work, workers compensation may cover your pain management. In some cases, you can choose acupuncture, but in others, your orthopedist has to prescribe it. Again, we can check that for you. Just give us a call. Also, California law states that 30 days after your injury, you can designate an acupuncturist your primary care provider - that's your freedom and you can exercise it! For more about workers comp injuries, click here.

More Questions?

If you have any other questions, just give me a call at 619-208-1432. I look forward to meeting you, and hope you choose to take advantage of my brand of San Diego Alternative Medicine!

Brian B. Carter, MSci, LAc

619-208-1432 call for appointments
619-282-1332 fax
6629 Convoy Court
San Diego, CA 92111


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