orthopedic acupuncture

What is Orthopedic Acupuncture?

Orthopedic Acupuncture is a specialized form of acupuncture that excels at treating musculoskeletal issues.

It differs from traditional acupuncture in several ways:

  1. A more complete assessment is done before treatment.

Our assessment utilizes western concepts like range of movement (ROM), manual muscle testing, and orthopedic evaluative testing. It tells us what specific tissue needs to be treated and how it needs to be treated.

For example, if a patient is experiencing neck and upper back pain, it is common for some muscles to be too tight or short, while others muscles may be too lax or long.  Our assessment will tell us which muscles to treat, and whether to relax or strengthen each particular muscle.  This will not only get the patient out of their current pain, but it will also help to improve their posture so that they are less likely to suffer from this condition in the future.

  1. It is focused more upon anatomical structures and muscles than traditional acupuncture.

While some of the locations that get needled may overlap with traditional acupuncture points, that’s not the focus. instead, the focus is primarily on muscles, nerves, and other related structures.

  1. Advanced Treatment Protocols

Orthopedic Acupuncture treatments utilize advanced acupuncture techniques such as trigger-point/dry-needling, motor points, and electro-acupuncture, along with unique approaches to peripheral nerve entrapment and cutaneous nerve issues.  Most treatments also include myofascial therapies & soft-tissue work to address ALL levels of musculoskeletal injury and dysfunction.

Case Example

To illustrate this approach, let’s use the example of treating your knee. Say you go hiking, and you stumble and end up hurting your knee. Your pain is in your right knee and you also have a feeling of instability within the knee joint itself.

These are the three essential parts of an Orthopedic Acupuncture visit: intake, assessment, and treatment.

First, an intake will be conducted where the Acupuncturist will ask what happened to your knee, when did it happen, and where is the pain.

Next is Assessment. The Orthopedic Acupuncturist might ask you to walk, watch how you move, and do a brief gait analysis to infer what muscles and structures might be involved with your knee pain. They are looking for foot, ankle, leg, and hip dysfunction. Then the practitioner will often palpate (explorative medical touch) the muscles surrounding the knee looking for any abnormal changes in tissues.

Next, a series of manual muscle tests are performed on the patients’ lower extremities (legs and feet) to determine if all muscles are working optimally. The Orthopedic Acupunctures will then check the range of movement of all related muscles to determine if certain muscles are too tight or too lax.  Then if indicated, a series of orthopedic evaluative tests are conducted to determine if structures within the knee such as ligaments or meniscus are damaged.

Moving on to Treatment – the Orthopedic Acupuncturist will use what was gained during the assessment to determine what structures should be treated and why.  Maybe your vastus medialis and popliteus muscles (these muscles help open & close the knee joint) are inhibited, and not firing as they should, in that case, they will be treated using specific techniques so that they are restored to their full capacity.  Additionally, if during assessment it became clear that your knee was not stable during part of your stride, you may need to have some of the cutaneous nerves that surround your knee treated as well to restore proprioception (knowing where you are in space) to your injured knee.  In order to address all the issues discovered during the assessment the following will need to be performed:

  1. Remove muscle motor inhibition, so that your muscles fire fully again.
  2. Restore proprioception of the leg, specifically as it relates to your knee during walking.
  3. Clear inflammation from the knee joint as well as the surrounding tissues that resulted from the injury so that your knee is not predisposed toward degenerative changes, such as arthritis prematurely as a result of this injury.

In order to accomplish all of these goals specialized advanced acupuncture techniques will be utilized, as well as specific myofascial therapies & soft-tissue work, and if necessary individualized corrective exercise will be given.

How is Orthopedic Acupuncture different than conventional or Traditional Acupuncture?

Compared to the example given above, only 2 or 3 things will be the same; 1) you will be asked about your knee, 2) the acupuncturist may touch your knee and the surrounding area, 3) Needles will be inserted using standard acupuncture techniques

What are the benefits of Orthopedic Acupuncture?

  • More Comprehensive Assessment, which leads to a better understanding of the problem and how to treat it.
  • More Complete Treatment that utilizes Advanced Acupuncture techniques such as dry needling/trigger point, motor points, electro-acupuncture, myofascial therapies & soft-tissue work to address ALL levels of musculoskeletal injury and dysfunction, as well as individualized corrective exercises to support full recovery.
  • Superior Outcomes. In many cases, compared to conventional acupuncture, patients recover faster and more completely.

How do you know if Orthopedic Acupuncture is right for you?

  • You enjoy being active and pain-free. We have never run across a better tool for getting you moving and feeling good.
  • You are in Post-surgical recovery. Have you technically have finished healing, but still have pain or a feeling like things just aren’t working quite right? Orthopedic Acupuncture is amazing for recovery after an operation to a shoulder, hip, knee, or ankle. Check out our reviews for success stories.
  • You are a Top Performer or an aspirational athlete– Orthopedic Acupuncture can discover and correct muscular imbalances, postural issues, and muscle motor inhibitions before they can cause major issues or reduce full physical potential. It’s a great tune-up before or after a competition.

Are there any Drawbacks to Orthopedic Acupuncture?

  • Individual treatments may cost more, yet overall treatment costs may be less due to the need for a smaller number of treatments to get resolution.
  • Initial Appointments may take longer because of the more comprehensive assessment and more complete treatment, however, future appointments go much faster after there is a clear plan for treatment.
  • Requires your engagement – you will be talked to, listened to, touched, tested, and looked at in order to determine how best to solve your problem(s), and your feedback about how your body feels before and after treatment is important information.

Find out if Orthopedic Acupuncture can help you by calling Spring Acupuncture at  208-616-1040.

Keep on Running with Sports Acupuncture



The rhythm of the run, your heartbeat, shoes on the pavement, and the music in your ears. You’ve reached that magic mile when your thoughts and worries fade away and it all feels effortless.

Running has so many benefits- physical vitality, mood enhancement, and all-important stress relief. Running can keep you sane.


But then- pain! Your foot, knee, hip- something doesn’t feel right, or just plain hurts. Running injuries are common because of the repetitive nature of the movement, and even more so if you run on pavement.

Being unable to run feels frustrating and defeating. How to get back to what feels so good to your body and soothes your soul?

We can relate. We have been around the injury block ourselves and tried lots of different therapies.


Sports Acupuncture is the most effective tool for staying active we have ever found. Our clients tell us the same thing every day. Many of them have tried other modalities and tell us that Sports Acupuncture works the very best.


Here’s the thing- not all Acupuncture is the same.

Yes, all acupuncturists learn how to needle safely in charted points on the body. And they all learn a type of acupuncture that does have benefits. But honestly, most of the schools are set up to help their students pass the board exams. And while this is important to make sure that there is a high bar of anatomical knowledge and excellent safety standards, it is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the types of assessment and acupuncture protocols a clinician can learn.

Our acupuncturist was lucky enough to be exposed to Sports Acupuncture and is the only acupuncturist in Idaho that has completed a year-long post-graduate program to learn how to help active people stay pain-free.


What makes Sports Acupuncture different?

It draws from modern Sports Medicine by incorporating orthopedic evaluations, manual muscle testing, range of motion testing, and postural analysis.

It uses several techniques, as needed

    • Motor point acupuncture
    • Trigger point/Dry-needling acupuncture
    • Electro-acupuncture
    • Heat therapy as hydrocollator packs
    • Herbal liniments
    • Myofascial soft-tissue work
    • Kineso taping

What we treat (to name a few)

  • Upper back and neck pain
  • Low back and hip pain
  • IT Band syndrome
  • Runner’s knee
  • Ankle strains and sprains
  • Plantar Fasciitis


Sports Acupuncture is unique in terms of both assessment and treatment.

In the end, results are what matters and Sports Acupuncture truly delivers by helping you stay happy, healthy, and active.

Bottom Line – Better Assessment + Better Treatment = Better Outcome!!

 Call today 208-616-1040

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The 5 Truths of Fibromyalgia

Are you tired of being limited physically, much less dealing with the emotional and financial ramifications of Fibromyalgia? The monetary cost of fibromyalgia alone is sobering.

Winter Chinese Medicine Tips

Winter in Chinese Medicine

In Chinese Medicine one of the main ways of staying healthy is to align with the seasons, and conversely, one of the main causes of dis-ease is to go against the seasons.  In this article we will explore at a basic level Chinese Medicine’s suggestions for Winter.

Chinese Medicine as a system of medicine is very old, no one knows for sure how old, but it has been around for at least 2,500 years.  In ancient times, they didn’t have modern labs for experiments, instead they watched and recorded what they observed occurring in nature. Much of the terminology of Chinese Medicine is merely the codification of those observations of nature.

Theory of Yin & Yang (skip over if you just want the tips to staying Health in Winter)

Yin and Yang (pronounced ‘yong’) were two main terms that they created to describe what they saw in the natural world.















Stretch out

Curl up



You may have seen the Yin Yang symbol (technically called the Taiji diagram), which codifies the movement of Yin and Yang, both in the seasons as well as the days. For example, the cold, dark stillness of winter gives way to the warm, bright and active Summer season. The day gives way to night, and in turn the night gives way to the day.

  • Yin and Yang - Winter Chinese Medicine TipsThe White areas represent Yang, while the Black areas represent Yin.
  • Notice that if you go around the outside of the circle in a counter clockwise direction, starting at high noon 12’O Clock the White area starts small and grows bigger, the same with the Black area. This illustrates how day turns to night, night turns to day and seasonally Winter leads to Summer and Summer leads to Winter.
  • Also note that within the White area there is a small dot of Black, and vise versa. This refers to idea that within Yang area there is a bit of Yin, and within the Yin area, there is a bit of Yang.

Suggested Activities in Winter

Activities in Winter are to be more Yin in nature which means that for most of us, it would be best to be more introspective, quieter, “resting up” by getting more sleep – going to bed earlier and getting up slightly later, this being more like bears hibernating in the winter.  Now, remember that White dot of Yang within the Black area of yin?  That means, that even though it is beneficial to get more sleep in the Winter we also need some activities, some exercise – so whether you are drawn to yoga inside or skiing on the Mountain, we do need some of the opposite.

Regardless of whether you are being active or inactive Chinese Medicine suggests that you stay warm and dry, and not excessively expose yourself to the elements, particularly your head, neck and feet, as these are places that the cold and dampness of the season can more easily penetrate into your body and cause problems, such as catching colds, flus or aggravating conditions such as arthritis.

What is NOT suggested in the Winter

Staying up late and night and burning the candle at both ends (all Yang).  Having no regularity in regards to routines or meals.  Only sleeping and resting all the time (all Yin). Staying inside all the time and not getting outside at all (all Yin).

Suggested Winter Foods

Are the foods that counter the cold and stagnating qualities inherent in Winter. Such foods promote warmth and movement within our bodies.  This would include hearty soups and stews, roasted vegetables like winter squashes, potatoes, carrots, brussels sprouts, onions, garlic and dark leafy greens. Meats that are roasted or braised and cooked slowly with more moderate temperatures.

In Winter it good to use more warming spices such as ginger, cumin, cinnamon, and garlic. Examples of winter dishes are a hot bowel of Pho or Chicken noodle soup, roasted butternut squash with cinnamon on top, roasted chicken, braised beef short ribs or lamb shanks, as well as warming teas and other beverages.

What is Not Suggested to Eat in Winter

Food that is cold or raw makes the body work extra hard to stay warm, and so are not good in the Winter. Foods such as frozen yogurt, ice cream, iceberg salad, milk shakes or ice cold beverages.  Also, super spicy foods are not generally recommended because it makes you sweat and lose your body heat. While avoiding very spicy food might not make sense at first, notice that traditionally in places such as Mexico, India and Thailand which are hot countries they eat hot, spicy foods to get rid of heat, not to cultivate warmth.

These are a few simple suggestions for aligning with the season of Winter.

May yours be warm and nourishing.

If you have questions, please post them below and we will answer ASAP.

Dean Campbell, Boise Acupuncturist
Spring Acupuncture
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The Little Forest

The Little Forest

When I was very small I had three close friends: my Irish Wolfhound Marigold, blueberries, and a squirrel who didn’t have a name, just a feeling.

I lived in the forest outside of Fairbanks, Alaska with my parents. There were a few cabins connected by trails out there, a sort of neighborhood of people in rather unusual phases of their lives.

There were Ruth and Scott, who had goats and a baby, and there were Mark and Joanne who had Jessica who was a baby, and another man who was very big, tall, and hairy whose name I don’t remember. I also had an aunt and uncle and five cousins down the road in town. They had chickens and goats.

And the little forest.

I spent most of my non-winter days outside in various states of recombinantcy amid the low-bush blueberries. I sometimes tried to go visit our neighbors, only to be body blocked by Marigold the Irish Wolfhound at my mother’s direction, so again I would settle amid the vegetation like a little troll.

From this vantage point, I had an excellent view of the very small to minuscule plant life that lives in the space from ground level to about six inches up. And let me tell you, it is splendid. There are an astounding array of shades of green, gold, pearly grays verging on blue, and browns of all description. The shapes range from quite sturdy to ethereal. I have a very keen eye and deep love for color as an adult, and I suspect that this early study is when I learned it.

Let me tell you a bit more about the squirrel with no name (no relation to the horse that crossed the dessert). It lived in a stump behind our cabin, and if I sat about eight feet away from it’s home, facing away from it, and got very still inside while ever-so-gently casting my attention in its direction, it would come out to see what I was doing. If I got too excited or moved much, it was gone. That squirrel taught me how to be still but very aware. I use that skill today on humans who are confused or upset. That squirrel taught me how to hold space.

Marigold the Irish Wolfhound was a very large and very gentle beast. She taught me patience and the value of simple companionship. To this day I enjoy having another alive being in the room with me even if we are not interacting. As I write this, there is a napping dog about ten feet away, and my heart feels glad for it.

There is a harmony to the silent world, an unheard rhythm of feeling-tone that we all pick up on, even if we don’t register it in our conscious minds. Have you ever walked into a space and felt better? Or for that matter felt worse, even if things looked fine on the surface? The way we inhabit the rooms of our homes, the tone of voice and intent we bring to our everyday conversations, the softness-or-not of the clothes we wear, all of these things shape our internal harmony. And our internal harmony (or lack of) radiates out of us and fills the space around us. Have you ever visited an old church or ancient temple and felt all the love and devotion that people poured out of their hearts decade after decade? Just like the worn down stone steps and polished benches hold evidence of those who came before, so does the very space echo their inner states.

It took a long time of growing up for me to notice that it was this internal harmony of the deep forest that I was missing. I used to think that maybe I should live there again. The problem was, as an adult I have come to really enjoy where I live, and want to stay. I was fairly conflicted for a few years, but then I realized: the little forest was part of me. I find it in my canine companions, my herb garden, and my quiet creative time. I married a man who also likes to do his own projects, and we are quite comfortable giving each other space in that way. When I rest in my heart, I feel it.

Many people I meet don’t seem to care about, or even be aware of, their inner landscape. They don’t realize that their state of being is communicating to those around them and affecting the spaces they hang out in. My hypothesis is that they have never had the chance to be quiet enough to notice it. When I work with clients around their relationship with food and themselves, I eventually come around to talking to them about this. I use words like ‘the small voice that knows what is true’, or ‘your inner compass’. Honestly, it is more than that. It is an upwelling of connection to the vast simplicity of life. It is both brilliant and reassuring. It moves with every breath. Feel it and rest.

Sarah Campbell, Nutrition & Life Skills Coaching Boise
Spring Acupuncture
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It Doesn’t Matter if No One Sees You Change

It Doesn’t Matter if No One Sees You Change

In fact, it might be better.

I find so often that people do not give themselves credit for changes to their inner landscape.

We have this idea that transformation is not worthy unless other people see it- but what shapes our lives more than how we feel about ourselves, which is invisible?

When we create true internal change, we begin a ripple effect that unfolds in its own time.
It is a very different experience than working from the outside in, which is what most diet and fitness regimes are. We decide we want to look different, and then alter our behaviors to create those changes.

From one perspective, this is logical, the stumbling point that most of us run into is that this approach does not acknowledge our vast inner life. We humans are absolutely chock full of subtle perceptions, strong ideals, unconscious psychological reactions, and personal interpretations. Navigating all of that while putting yourself under the stress of reduced caloric intake and/or added physical activity is often a recipe for failure.

So then what should we do if we do want to lose a few pounds and become more fit?

I, and my clients, have found the most success by looking deeply at ourselves and discovering what small adjustments to our thinking and our daily routines have the potential to affect the most positive change.

Here are a few real-life examples (written in the first person for clarity):

  • Not going to social functions that I do not enjoy > having more nourishing downtime at home > less avoidance eating and drinking > gradual weight loss (in this example, we had to deal with the guilt of not accepting invites and practice ways of comfortably saying no)
  • Creating an enjoyable bedtime routine > getting to bed sooner > feeling well rested > having the time and energy to pack healthy lunches to bring to work > less eating out > better portion control > gradual weight loss
  • Buying a water bottle I love > drinking more water between meals > fewer cravings and less snacking > gradual weight loss
  • Writing a list in the evening of the 3-5 most important things I want to get done the next day > following through and doing them > less procrastin-eating > gradual weight loss

As you can see, each of these situations were tailored specifically for the client. The starting points of true inside-out transformations are as varied as we are as individuals. They don’t have to be big, scary changes. Often very simple adjustments to routine can yield big results.

Here is how to begin an exploration to discover one of your linchpin behavior changes:

  • Identify when you have the most difficulty with overeating or feeling emotionally uncomfortable (common times are right after work, in the evening, or on the weekends).
  • Think about what happens just before you feel stressed (work frustrations, loneliness, feeling deprived from being ‘good’ all week)
  • Think about what you can do to break the cycle in the before phase (delegate duties or share frustrations with co-workers, make plans for a walk or phone call with a friend, add foods you enjoy into your regular eating routine so you don’t build up cravings).
  • Do an experiment and try your personal intervention for a week. See what happens. Adjust as needed.

Notice that these are small shifts that, as I alluded to in the title of this post, most likely no one will notice except you. And that’s where part of the magic happens. You are doing a positive action for yourself alone. This builds self-trust. When we gain trust in ourselves, we are more willing to make bigger changes in our lives because we have a solid track record of being successful with small ones.

Our relationship with ourselves is the most important because it is reflective of all the other relationships in our lives.

Making friends with yourself is so worth it.

Sarah Campbell, Nutrition & Life Skills Coaching Boise
Spring Acupuncture
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Everyday Solace

Everyday Solace

Solace: something that gives comfort, consolation, or relief.

We all need it, and we all find it somewhere.

Some of us when asked, “Where do you find solace?” would answer in bed, a bath, alcohol, food, music, or physical movement.

Others would not have an answer.

When we are under stress, we forget to do the small things that help us cope. This is natural. Our animal selves/ limbic systems/ lizard brains get stuck in fight, flight or freeze and we ping-pong from feeling overwhelmed about work to feeling overwhelmed about food and fitness or the housework we have left undone, then something unexpected happens like we get sick or our car gets broken into and that’s it. We are officially fried.

The common belief is that heightened anxiety helped us keep alert to danger on the imaginary prehistoric savannah of our deep past. And while that may be true, knowing that doesn’t help us when we find ourselves in line to get fast food more often then we feel comfortable with, sleeping poorly, or being uncharacteristically emotional. For that matter, I often wonder if the sheer speed and volume of our everyday modern lives keeps our stress levels in the yellow zone much of the time, making it all too easy to trip over into burnout.

So what can help us?

What if we were able to rescue ourselves in small ways every single day? And I don’t mean that evening beer. What if we worked on offering solace to ourselves as a regular and healthy part of our day, the way we brush our teeth, take a shower, or drink water?

Where we might find solace:

  1. In the shower, stretch your body. In particular, hold your hands behind your back, pull them down, squeeze your shoulder blades together, and stretch your sternum and chin up. Feel the stretch across your chest. Take a couple of deep breaths. Afterward, feel how your breath feels more expansive. Let that sensation affect your mood.
  2. While you are driving in the car, talk to yourself out loud. I like to start by asking, “So what’s going on?,” the same as I would to a friend. Then let whatever comes up come out. It doesn’t have to make sense or be in any particular order. When I feel good, sometimes my talking turns into a made up, off-tune song about how I love my life. When there are some feelings or thoughts that need to move, I say them out loud and have a look at them, often dialoguing with myself about their validity (is that really true?), or if I need to take any action about them (what do you need to do or say about this?). Sometimes I just need to vent. It is also a great place to rehearse upcoming conversations you may feel anxious about. You can repeat key phrases so that when the time comes you are able to speak confidently.
  3. Hands-on-heart breathing. This is just like it sounds. Put both your hands on your sternum, one on top of the other. Gently press into your body so that you can feel the contact of your hands on your ribcage. Each inhalation, breathe up onto that pressure. Each exhalation, soften your face. Five breaths is a nice amount. This can be done any time, and usually offers a feeling of comfort and grounding. It is especially good when you have racing thoughts.
  4. Look up at the sky (maybe not if it is pouring down rain) any time of day or night. When was the last time you looked at the stars? Looking up, you guessed it, helps our mood lift. I enjoy watching the way the sky changes at different seasons and times of day near my home, which segues into the next suggestion,
  5. Look for beauty in everyday life. There are small beauties everywhere. The structure of vegetables is beautiful, for example. Our animals, loved ones, houseplants, art, the birds in the sky, the leaves on the trees… beauty is everywhere. Noticing it softens our edges. Being softer allows us to let go of tension we don’t need.
  6. Practice gratitude (not comparison). Simply looking for things to be grateful for changes our neurochemistry for the better (I find that completely wild). Many people find that listing three things either first thing in the morning or last thing at night, without repetitions (every once in a while repetitions are ok, but try to avoid the same list every day) is a good way to easily fit this practice into their lives.
  7. I saved my favorite for last. Simply remind yourself that with the next exhale you can relax back into your own body the way you would into a soft chair, dropping down and back. Go ahead, try it. It’s just one breath.

“You can’t take the sky from me” – The Serenity song, Firefly

Sarah Campbell, Nutrition & Life Skills Coaching Boise
Spring Acupuncture
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