“Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine” – with Dr. Miriam Pinelis

Dr. Miriam Pineles from Conscious Health and Wellness joins Dr. Fox to discuss acupuncture and herbal medicine. After explaining how certification in acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in the U.S. works, Pineles describes the varying styles and methods of acupuncture, using acupuncture to treat women’s health conditions, and how holistic medicine works to “restore the body to its harmonious and healthy state.”

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Date Ordered: 2020-12-16






















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Dr. Fox: Welcome to today’s episode of “Healthful Woman.” A podcast designed to explore topics on women’s health at all stages of life. I’m your host Dr. Nathan Fox, an OB/GYN and maternal fetal medicine specialist practicing in New York City. At Healthful Woman, I speak with leaders in the field to help you learn more about women’s health, pregnancy, and wellness. All right, we’re here with Miriam Pineles, who is at Conscious Health and Wellness in Cedarhurst, New York. Miriam, welcome to the Healthful Woman Podcast.


Dr. Pineles: Thanks for having me. Good to be here.


Dr. Fox: This is fantastic. This is our around 2. We had some technical difficulties, but now we’re rolling. So it’s all good. And we’re definitely gonna talk about acupuncture and herbal medicine and what you practice which is fascinating and I’m really interested. But just for our listeners, can you give us a sense of, you know, how do you get into this, where you’re from? What’s your story?


Dr. Pineles: I grew up in Long Island, New York. In high school, I knew I wanted to be in the healing profession and work with people. And so I studied psychology at the University of Pennsylvania with the hopes of becoming a therapist. And after college, I went and took a break and studied and traveled in Israel a little bit. And there I met some really wonderful doctors who were involved with natural medicine, holistic medicine. And it really opened my eyes to a new world of healing and a way of helping people.


And then when I returned to the States, a friend of mine was having acupuncture to help her morning sickness, and she was really enjoying it and she said I have to try it. So I did. And my first visit with an acupuncturist was so moving and inspiring that I changed gears that same week and I ended up applying to Chinese Medicine Graduate School instead of psychology. And that is how it all began.


Dr. Fox: How does one get, I guess, certified in acupuncture? Is it a course, is it a whole program, how does it work, in the U.S. at least?


Dr. Pineles: Sure, a great question. You know, originally, it started out as a 4-year degree, 4-year combined bachelors and masters degree. So a person can choose to study either just acupuncture or study acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. Chinese medicine is comprised of multiple modalities, acupuncture and herbal medicine being the main components. In this country, there are some other aspects which involve diet, nutrition, and medication. But, what we study primarily at school is the acupuncture and herbal components.


And then there is an additional one to two years doctorate degree, which I completed after few years of practice. The degree is changing and so it is transforming from the masters into the doctorate, and then it varies state by state. So in some states on the west coast, a practitioner must be trained in both acupuncture and herbs to get board certified. And in New York now, I believe, it can just be one of the, you know, just acupuncture.


Dr. Fox: So you did this after you finished your bachelors at Penn, right?


Dr. Pineles: Correct.


Dr. Fox: So was it still four years or was it just like the master’s component?


Dr. Pineles: Yeah. So it was a four-year masters. Yeah, it’s a four-year master’s degree. And so when I started it, you know, there was a lot of conversation back then trying to get a degree transformed into a doctorate considering the amount of work we were doing. We have been trained in both western and eastern medicine so that change happened, I think, about four years ago.


Dr. Fox: Wow. And so when you’re doing this, who is it that’s teaching you? Is it people who are like originally Chinese practitioners who came to the U.S. and teach it, or is it people who are sort of American born who learned it and then teach it to you, or is it a combination? How does that work?


Dr. Pineles: It’s a combination. You know, back in the 70s when it was just beginning to be taught in this country, I think, it was mostly Americans who had traveled abroad and had begun teaching. And right now, I know when I was in school, it was a combination of both Chinese and American practitioners and doctors, and that’s really wonderful. Because we get exposed to a lot of different ways of practicing this medicine, and the background of our teachers varied as well. So we have a lot of doctors from China who were practicing there. And then the American practitioners were either people who began in Chinese medicine or also began in chiropractic or physical therapy or massage therapy and then went on to become Chinese medicine doctors.


Dr. Fox: Right. And then you also you left out in your history, your time as a doula.


Dr. Pineles: Oh yeah.


Dr. Fox: Oh yeah, yeah that whole thing. Where did that come into play?


Dr. Pineles: You know, thank you for bringing that up, because that is significant. Because I really…my time as a doula is really inspired me to focus on women’s health. I trained to be doula while I was in Chinese medicine school. I had some free time and so I trained with the hospital. I was in Baltimore at the time and I became a doula, and I was working part time as a doula while in school, and got to work with some really amazing women. And, you know, see birth even meet you.


Dr. Fox: Yeah. That was crazy for our listeners when the way Miriam and I got connected. Now is a mutual friend of ours said, “Oh, you know, maybe you should have Miriam on your podcast. You know, talk about acupuncture and herbal medicine. I think you’re really, you know, like speaking to her and I think your listeners like it so. You know, I said, “Okay, great.” So I emailed and I spoke to her. And I remember saying, “Have we met like your name is so familiar.” And then we worked out that we were at a birth together, you know, 10 years ago essentially. Which was awesome it was a twin labor, and it lasted, like, you know, four days or whatever it was. Silverstein ended up delivering the twins. And I said that probably drove you out of the doula work forever. But, yeah, and here we are together again.


Dr. Pineles: Yeah.


Dr. Fox: You must be tapped out of doula work. I can’t do this anymore. It’s too long.


Dr. Pineles: I did. The hours were very…were a bit crazy. Chinese medicine really became my passion and so I had to let go of that. But I do continue to work with pregnant women throughout pregnancies, and supporting them, and helping them, get ready for labor. And then, as needed, to help them afterwards. You know, I love to talk more about how I do that.


Dr. Fox: Oh, absolutely. I think that, you know, acupuncture is used for so many things nowadays. And, you know, people think it’s really just, you know, headaches, back pain, you know, maybe relaxation. But there are so many pregnant women who use acupuncture and that’s a fascinating topic for what things that you found that. You know, that it’s helpful for what things it’s not. And so we’ll definitely get into that.


When you were training, I know there are different styles of acupuncture, is it pretty regimented? You know, when you go to school, they teach you a particular style, or there are many options and then you sort of go off in different directions in your practice? How does that work?


Dr. Pineles: I love that question, because, you know, you’ll have a different experience of what acupuncture is depending on the practitioner that you go to. So in the school that I went to, we were exposed to a variety of styles on acupuncture. The style changes with many different ways. So there’s acupuncture according to the Chinese method, there’s a Japanese method, there is a Korean method. And the different methods vary, and there, in a few ways in their methods of diagnosis, in their methods of treatment so the arrangement of needles, the acupuncture points that are chosen.


And even the needling style and the gage of the needle. So depending on the style, you know, Japanese are known for their very fine needling, very, very thin gage. You barely feel anything. Whereas, other styles are using a thicker needle and can be felt more. Certain styles will want you to feel the effects of the needles and certain styles won’t. There are many different. I was exposed to multiple styles at my school, and other schools and training grounds have one particular style not the one that they teach.


And, you know, one of my mentors, while I was in school, said to me, “You know, you really learn a lot when you leave school.” And that’s the truth. When a practitioner leaves school and gets exposed to other practitioners under styles, we, you know, as acupuncturists we tend to find the style that resonates with us that we feel comfortable using and that we see this, you know, the most results with and chose that method.


Dr. Fox: And so what method do you use mostly currently?


Dr. Pineles: I’m using style called the balance method that was developed by my late teacher and mentor Dr. Richard Tan who trained as a young child in Taiwan and then went on to become an engineer, came to the States and developed this really wonderful method. That achieves results within seconds of needles being inserted. It is really remarkable. And so That’s what I use, and then for herbal medicine, I also use a very particular style that I learned from another mentor named Dr. Jimmy Chang also from Taiwan now residing in California which involves a very particular style of diagnosis and combination of herbs.


Dr. Fox: That’s amazing. For our listeners, can you take a step back and take us through sort of what exactly is acupuncture, sort of, how did it come to be, what is like the philosophy behind it, you know, the science behind it, and how it works? And I know, you know, this is, you could spend a year talking about this, but you had to break it down for somebody in like a paragraph or few sentences to explain what it is, just so they… we could have a groundwork that we can build on.


Dr. Pineles: Like you said, you could talk for a year. And I think that’s part of why our training is so long is because it’s not so much about finding points and medicines that will fix something. Chinese medicine is really a different perspective on the human body and on health. And so, you know, a lot of people have seen perhaps the map of the acupuncture point as you’ve seen a picture of the body with needles everywhere.


And what this is is that the Chinese saw the human body in a lot of ancient wisdom. So they see the human body as a microcosm of the entire world. So by observing nature, by observing the changing of the seasons and the different temperature and the different movements and the different textures in life, they kind of superimposed on the human body. And from that learned how the internal organs function and from that learned how to stay well and how to get the body well.


And so, I think, we have four years of study. Because it takes time to really shift your perspective from western medical or western viewpoint of the body into a more holistic eastern. So in a couple of sentences, what I tell people is that what we’ve seen from western medical research, we know that acupuncture is affecting the nervous system. We know it’s having a harmonizing effect, a regulating effect on the nervous system, balancing the brain signals to the body and vice versa.


We know that it’s reducing inflammation and enhancing blood circulation. We’ve seen this from MRI studies. There are many different theories as to how it works to alleviate pain and discomfort whether that’s through an endorphin theory, or a nerve block theory, or a blood flow theory. But essentially we are working to alleviate pain and discomfort and restore the body to its harmonious and healthy state.


Dr. Fox: And are there people who would get acupuncture sort of preventatively, meaning they don’t have pain, they don’t have a symptom, they don’t have a condition, but sort of as, you know, maintenance, like, you would think, you know, exercise might be. Is acupuncture beneficial in that way?


Dr. Pineles: Absolutely. And so what I see more is people who come in for a specific symptom, and once that symptom resolves, we’ll continue on with treatment for maintenance. So where they were coming in once a week for eight weeks or 12 weeks once their pain is resolved, they’ll come back in maybe once a month, once every three months for maintenance and to stay well. Because, you know, all of us are exposed to stress every now and then or into the elements. So, yes, it is a good way to give the body some healing and have a reset and what we call sometimes to tune up.


Dr. Fox: Right. And from what I understand not all acupuncture techniques even need to involve needles. Meaning, some of them are just with pressure or magnets or heat. Is that correct or am I mistaking that?


Dr. Pineles: No. That is correct. So you can affect energy flow, you can affect blood flow with things other than needles. And we use this more when we’re treating children or people who are very needle phobic. And so, yes, we can use magnets, heat therapy acupressure, but that’s something you would have to ask for specifically. Typically, if you schedule an appointment to see an acupuncturist, you can anticipate them wanting to use needles, because the needles really are more effective in most cases.


Dr. Fox: Got it. And this is, I mean, we’re talking about something that’s been done for thousands of years, right? I mean, this is not new. This has been going on a long time.


Dr. Pineles: Yes, yes. And what people don’t know is that yes thousands of years and so we have medical textbooks dating back thus far. And that is what we’re studying in school so there’s, you know, thousands of years of clinical data and writings from various Chinese doctors and their observations, and their use of herbs and their use of acupuncture points. So, you know, people are very, they’re wary of acupuncture for good reason. You know, if it’s about knowing much about it, but, you know, I love this question and to be able to let people know that this is something that has been science and medicine for such a long time.


Dr. Fox: Right. I mean, it’s really one of the oldest procedures we know of. And it’s, I mean, millions of people have it a year, just in the U.S., I mean, forget about actually in China but like in this country alone, I mean, millions of people have acupuncture a year. And I think it’s quite proven to be safe and, you know, and for different people different levels of effectiveness. But it’s certainly safe, I mean, if you go to a reputable place obviously that’s clean but it’s not the procedure itself isn’t harmful or dangerous. And walk me through if I were to come in, and was in a come in for, you know, an initial session with you. What would that involve?


Dr. Pineles: Sure. So an initial session with me usually lasts around two hours. And in that time, we do a fairly thorough medical history for a person. So no matter what a person is coming in for, it’s just a neck pain or, you know, say some nausea, I’ll still do a thorough history on them. Because every piece of information is important, and sometimes what a person thinks is not relevant to the current condition is. So we’ll spend a good amount of time talking and then we’ll do an assessment.


And so a Chinese medicine assessment will involve, doesn’t involve blood tests but does involve a little bit of a physical exam. And so their pulse will be read. And we’re not just feeling for the heart rate when we do a pulse, but the Chinese pulse diagnosis is very sophisticated diagnostic method. Where we assess the blood flow on both hands, and each position, where we place our fingers represents a different organ in the body. So we can assess the state of blood flow through most lens and organs of the body just by feeling the wrist.


And based on what we feel, we’ll guide our diagnosis and our treatment method. And so this is something that every patient will experience. And it’s really a fascinating thing because we can tell the patient before they tell us what’s going on just by feeling the pulse. So I can feel if there is congestion in the nose, I can feel if there’s low back pain. I can feel if there is chest pain, all just by feeling the radial pulse. And this is a system that my teacher Dr. Cheng invented.


In addition to the pulse diagnosis, we’ll also look at a patient’s tongue, and we’ll look at their ear, because these are also a microcosm of the whole body. And so despite looking at different changes in color, texture, and shape of the places in the ear and the tongue, we also learn a lot about what’s happening inside for a patient, and that will also guide our treatment.


Usually, a blood pressure reading is taken as well and sometimes also an abdominal exam. So we take the information from the medical history and from our assessment to put together a treatment plan, and then in that first visit, a patient will have an acupuncture treatment. And once the needles are inserted they’ll rest on the table anywhere between 15 minutes and 40 minutes. And that change in timing will really depends on the person. Some people do really well with just a 15 minute session some people really like to relax and sleep and will ask for a longer time.


And then a person after the treatment they’ll either also take within herbal prescription that they’ll take daily for a certain amount of time or not. And also, if you’re a practitioner, practices herbal medicine, there is also the option of not having acupuncture treatment. So for people who really are needle phobic or just not ready for that, they should know that they can also get relief with herbal medicine alone.


Dr. Fox: Does the acupuncture session, I mean, look this one has no fear of needles, is it actually painful to have the needles inserted?


Dr. Pineles: I wouldn’t say it’s painful. So there’s a sensitivity and a person will sometimes, what I say is, you’ll feel a slight pinch or an achy sensation as the needles inserted, and then it goes away within a few seconds. And so for the remainder of your time on the table, you don’t feel the needles in. They really don’t really know they’re there, and people fall asleep quite easily. It depends on the body part so when we’re working with the body part was less flesh lets say a finger, the person will feel the needle more. But, you know, if the needle being inserted in the thigh or maybe in the back, you may not even know that it went in. Sometimes you don’t feel anything at all.


Dr. Fox: And do people tend to notice an effect immediately or within a few hours, or days or weeks. I mean, what’s typical? Obviously, I’m sure there’s a range, but what do you typically, you know, tell people to expect in terms of feeling some sort of effect, positive effect?


Dr. Pineles: So relaxation is pretty immediate. There is a really immediate effect on the nervous system. Okay? And sometimes people need a little more help getting there and so, you know, we have different things in the room that, you know, help people open up to the treatment such as aroma therapy and heat therapy, but the relaxation is pretty immediate. And then the relief should be fairly immediate as well. So the style of acupuncture that I do, that I show and love with provides relief within seconds.


So whether I’m treating a headache or sciatica, a person should have relief within minutes of the treatment beginning. And then what happens is they’ll feel it more throughout the day, again, and each subsequent treatment, they’ll get more and more relief. Yeah, it’s not something that you do when you wait a week for it to take effect, it’s immediate.


Dr. Fox: Wow. And then in your practice or just in general, what conditions is it sort of most effective for and maybe what conditions are it’s less effective? You know, what like what we see all these are the ones where it’s most likely to help people verses ones where it’s, you know, we try but it’s harder.


Dr. Pineles: You know, I pause in for a minute because honestly it really helps everything. It’s a matter of time.


Dr. Fox: I’ll take it. That’s fine.


Dr. Pineles: Yeah. I have to say it’s more a matter of how long it takes. And it’s about the severity of the condition and how long a person that’s had it will determine how long it takes to heal. But we really see across the board so many areas of medicine where acupuncture herbal medicine is very effective.


Dr. Fox: Okay. That’s fine. So how about this? In your practice, what are the top things that people come to you for, like, what are the things you’re treating the most?


Dr. Pineles: I would say what I’m treating the most now is really everything in the women’s health, inspection of women’s health, and gynecological disorders.


Dr. Fox: It’s good then you’re on this podcast. All right.


Dr. Pineles: Yeah.


Dr. Fox: We’re a match.


Dr. Pineles: Yes. And, you know, this started back as, you know, as a doula, I really wanting to help women. And so I see a lot of PMS, a lot of dysmenorrhea supporting women with fibroids and endometriosis, see a lot of fertility challenges, and a lot of pregnancy, you know, various symptoms of pregnancy. And then, in addition to that, I’m nowadays for sure seeing a lot of anxiety and depression. And also physical neck, back, joint arthritic pains, also a lot of allergies and migraines.


Dr. Fox: Wow. So this is pretty wide obviously. You do treatment when they come in, you don’t throw them out.


Dr. Pineles: No. We don’t throw them out. But they don’t…


Dr. Fox: Because I may be showing up in a week or so you never know. You see this guy, do I think I recognize them. I’m here for my acupuncture because it sounds awesome so, you know, I’m signing up.


Dr. Pineles: Yeah. You’re absolutely welcome. Men just don’t call as often. And the ones that do come have, you know, someone else has made the appointment for them for the topic.


Dr. Fox: You are a pain in my butt and I’m sending you for acupuncture. I could see that happening, absolutely.


Dr. Pineles: So the handful of men that do come in, I would say, those men are coming in for usually neck back pain stress. TMJ is actually something I see a lot as well.


Dr. Fox: Interesting.


Dr. Pineles: TMJ pain. Yeah. And even prostatitis so this quite few cases for men was inflammation in the prostate.


Dr. Fox: Interesting. Tell me a little bit about infertility? Someone comes to you and they’re having fertility issues, how would acupuncture help them? Or is it more on the herbal side like what part of is it? I assume you’re gonna say it’s probably both, but how does that work?


Dr. Pineles: Yeah, you’re learning.


Dr. Fox: I’m a quick study, yeah.


Dr. Pineles: I find both to be really effective, but it’s so great to have the flexibility to use one over the other depending on the patient’s preference and abilities. You know, there are some people like treat now long distance with telemedicine obviously just with herbs. So acupunctures can help with fertility in a few ways. One, you know, we’ll start with the emotional piece and the stress which is a huge component of infertility, and it’s insignificant. And so it will help calm anxieties regarding fertility and fertility treatments, and then we work in different ways.


So it depends on the diagnosis. So if there’s a diagnosis of fibroids and endometriosis, that is are getting in the way of conception, we will use acupuncture and herbs to shrink the fibroids. If they’re under 3 to 4 centimeters, herbal medicine can shrink the fibroid so we can help a person avoid surgery. And then like what we say is like we clean the fields by cleaning out the reproductive system and enhancing blood flow and restoring a healthy flow. We have increased a person’s, a woman’s chances of conception and implantation.


Some women and couples have challenges, not because of a blockage, but perhaps because of an irregular cycle, a short luteal phase or perhaps a history of miscarriage. And so what we do is, we go back to our diagnostic method to find the root cause of why this is happening. Sometimes that is related to an underlying, what we call, weakness or vulnerability in the woman’s body, and we’ll use our medicine to strengthen her to help her hold a pregnancy. I would use different herbs and acupuncture to help her cycle lengthen as needed. And then if we can’t get to the root, and if all that work isn’t enough and a woman thus require treatment IVF or perhaps it’s a male factor concern, then we will support her with acupuncture during the IVF treatments.


Dr. Fox: Are these things that you learned during your four years training in school or is this something that you sort of learned the principles and then it’s then you just apply when you going to practice. Like, were they specifics in, all right, here’s what you do for fertility?


Dr. Pineles: Yeah. So it’s absolutely something learned in school, but we dive much deeper afterwards. We get much more training, but there is an entire semester at school that devoted just to OB/GYN. And it’s in that time that we do a very in-depth study of the menstrual cycle, the different phases of it, and where the challenges can arise. And, you know, how we can intervene to restore health.


Dr. Fox: That’s awesome. And then what about during pregnancy, what are the things in pregnancy that women tend to come to you for? You mentioned before nausea vomiting is one of them, what else do you see?


Dr. Pineles: I see migraines. So what I love about acupuncture is that it can support a woman in pregnancy when options are quite limited to her. You know, many medications over the counter are not permitted in pregnancy, and it can leave a person without a lot of hope. So acupuncture is safe and effective, and there are no side effects for a pregnant woman. So I’ve seen women, you know, I’ve helped women with migraines in pregnancy with allergies, and frequent colds, insomnia, back pain, sciatica pain, anxiety and depression, and also symphysis pubis disorder. Acupuncture is very effective for that.


Dr. Fox: Oh that’s great. And then how do you get around sort of in the U.S., this idea of herbs in pregnancy, right, because every, all the medications that are under the FDA are very, you know, this is safe in pregnancy. This isn’t that great, have scores at this. And I assume a lot of the herbs there’s knowledge about them obviously in pregnancy, but they’re not mentioned as often by the FDA. So what do you do with that practically?


Dr. Pineles: You know, this is a challenging question.


Dr. Fox: Thank you. This is a very tough podcast. We really, we get down into it, you know, you’re not gonna get off easy here.


Dr. Pineles: This is hard, because, you know, as we said, this is a thousand-year-old medicine. And so in our ancient medical data, we have a lot of writings about using herbs in pregnancy, and about using them for threatened miscarriages, and using them for bleeding and spotting. And various things that come up in the pregnancy. But, in school, you know, we’re trained to be very cautious and to really not use herbal medicine in pregnancy. You know, and that is related to the laws in this country.


And so as acupuncturists, we really do everything we can before we’ll use herbs. We’ll use acupuncture, we’ll use diet modification. We’ll use something called moxibustion. We’ll do things we can, and then when a person just isn’t responding, you know, we will consider other things.


Dr. Fox: Yeah. I mean, I have the same sort of quandary that you have. So patients will come to me sometimes and say, “You know, I have been seeing an acupuncturist.” I’ll say, “Great.” You know, how does it work? And is it helping with this? And then occasionally she’ll say and, you know, he or she wants me to take these herbs what do you think? And I’m sort of in the same position. I’m, like, “Listen, I don’t know anything about this, right?” My knowledge base and this is quite limited. And I say, you know, these tend to be things that people have been giving pregnant women for hundreds and thousands of years so they’re probably fine, I said, but, I don’t know anything about them. So it’s hard for me to, like, you know, put my stamp on and say for sure it’s okay and I assume the people the FDA feel the same way. They probably will what do you want us to say, like, we don’t know about this so much.


And I think women are sort of left in this what do I do? Do I listen to this person or do I not taken? I don’t think there is a good answer for that. I think the stakes are probably not so high, because we haven’t found a lot of these herbs to be dangerous, like, over the years that people have taken, but it’s one of the things is just sort of a leap. You know, women are gonna have to take if they wanna take these herbs in pregnancy. So it’s been used and it seems to be okay, you know, Chinese medicine so I’ll do it. But they’re not gonna get like a seal of approval from any, you know, western doctor or FDA, because it’s just that’s not how it works.


Dr. Pineles: Right. And I wanted to say to maybe alleviate a little more concerns to say most of the remedies we would even consider for pregnant women are foods. A very popular remedy used for depression and for postpartum depression is comprised only of foods, but in a pill form and that would be licorice root, jujube dates, and actually wheat. And that’s ground up until a pill, and that’s used to treat anxiety and depression very well. So, you know, if a person is concerned, they can always ask for the ingredients they can lock them up, and as you said, you know, make an informed decision for themselves.


Dr. Fox: Yeah. I mean, I think most people feel comfortable taking things they’ve heard of and they could just eat and, you know, buy it Walgreens. So, you know, like in terms of the components of it, I think, that that would be okay. And certainly, I would be also [inaudible 00:32:00], you know, my herbalist wants me to take these and it’s maybe these three things they be like, “Great, you know, I hope it works.” But, yeah, it’s so situations where it’s a little bit different.


But again, as you said, it’s not common because most of the people practicing in the U.S. aren’t gonna really recommend those anyways for the same potential concerns, particularly here. How do people find you? Is it that they’re already into acupuncture and they, you know, they look you up or friend tells them, or they just can’t find anything else that helps them, and the doctor recommends them to you. You know, how do people come to your doors?


Dr. Pineles: Most people who have come in have not had acupuncture before but were referred by a friend who either, you know, from me or someone else and things that would help them and that’s how I started really. A friend of mine having acupuncture and told me to try it. So it’s usually that and then other people are just Googling internet and looking for relief for their insomnia or something else, and they start reading about acupuncture, and then they look up somebody who’s in their zip code or on their insurance plan. And every now and then, you know, I have some relationships with some doctors and they’ll also recommend acupuncture for their patients.


Dr. Fox: Yeah I was gonna get that. What has been your experience in terms of working with, you know, western doctors with, you know, MDs or DOs locally? Has it been very positive? Has been sort of very separate? How’s it been for you?


Dr. Pineles: I would say it’s mostly positive. I remember early on a few years ago I was at a networking meeting for perineal professionals and there was a very kind fertility doctor there who I met, and he was very open-minded in looking for ways to help his patients, and would often, you know, recommend acupuncture to his patient who is struggling with getting pregnant or even just through, you know, through the process, the stress of the treatment.


He was even open to the herbs at times. I was so grateful for his being open-minded and trusting me so that we could help his patient even more. So, you know, there are a lot of doctors who, you know, either feel frustrated about, you know, the extent to which they can help people or are always, you know, looking to expand their ability to help people. So I would say it’s really mostly positive.


Dr. Fox: Yeah. I mean, just from doctor’s side, I think that there is unfortunately too little coordination and collaboration between us and acupuncturist. But I don’t think it’s because of people might think it’s because of an attitude issue that, you know, maybe doctors, you know, turn their noses up at, you know, people are “alternative,” I really don’t think that’s the case. I mean, in my experience most doctors are very positive about acupuncture and their patients, you know, trying it in going and I think that a lot of doctors, you know, would recommend to go themselves. I think that the issue is we don’t get taught any of this in medical school.


So my knowledge of acupuncture is gonna be no different from anybody else on the street. And because we literally have nothing on this in medical school which is, I guess, it’s a shame. I mean, because I think if we were introduced to it, it doesn’t to be in debt such that we’re providers of it, but just to understand the history of it a little bit. What it does, how it’s used, who does it, what the training is. I mean things like we’re talking about here, I think, that many more doctors would feel comfortable incorporating an acupuncturist and herbalist into their, you know, armamentarium of people who can help their patients. And it would be much more, like, it would just be part of the things that they feel comfortable recommending and working with. And I just think a lot of doctors don’t know anything about it to the sort of just throw their hands up, and that’s unfortunate.


Dr. Pineles: Yes. It makes sense. I mean, I’ve had patients who were physicians themselves, and more recently have said that they had one class maybe about integrative medicine.


Dr. Fox: It’s great.


Dr. Pineles: But that’s, you know…


[cross talk 00:36:12]


Dr. Pineles: You know it’s not acupuncture a lot, it’s not a lot but, yes, I look forward to a day where, you know, the training becomes more integrated. And I think we’re going that way.


Dr. Fox: Yeah. I mean, I know a couple of doctors who got trained themselves in doing it, which I think is fantastic. And they clearly won’t know as much as you do or be able to maybe use it as well as you can, but it’s, again, just this idea of a starting to blend a lot of these modalities together in really just finding what’s the best thing for each individual person is really the goal. And this separating of all the training has its benefits but it definitely has its downsides as well.


So if you could pitch what you do, you know, if you have listeners out there, who should come and see you? Or, you know, one of your colleagues. Who someone who should, you know, make an appointment right away, meet with one of you, get an evaluation maybe start acupuncture or herbs or maybe not. I mean, you could say everybody, but if you had a focus on a certain group of people, who would you focus on?


Dr. Pineles: I would say primarily especially, considering the time we’re living in, I would say, any person who find themselves struggling right now, excess anxiety, trouble sleeping, is not living life to their fullest and wants to be, should make an appointment. Because so much of our mood and our well being and our vitality is related to the body, it’s not all of it, but there is a big physical and I’m sure the logical component to how we feel.


And, you know, considering the times are and I think all of us need more support now. So I would first speak to those people and say, “If you’re looking for more joy, and you’re looking for more calm, and you’re looking to achieve a big goal in life, then I would seek out acupuncture, because it has a way of really harmonizing and regulating, and supporting the whole person so they can live their best life.” That’s really my goal with every person. And after that, I guess, I would really speak to the women out there. And not because I have anything against men, because I know the women better. Do we know the women better?


Dr. Fox: Yeah.


Dr. Pineles: I have more experience with them. But the men should be going too absolutely for the reasons I just said. But also the women who think that living with a 10 out of 10 on the pain scale of menstrual pain every month is normal. It’s not normal. Women out there should know that severe PMS and menstrual pain is not something you have to deal with. And that there is in just two to three months of acupuncture treatment, a cycle can be regulated, menstrual pain can be eliminated. And that hormonal premenstrual time can be much easier.


Dr. Fox: That’s fantastic. So Miriam how do people find you?


Dr. Pineles: They find me on my website, conscioushealthandwellness.com. And that’s the main area really that’s where I am.


Dr. Fox: Fantastic. Miriam Pineles, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. I really enjoyed this, and I think that what you do is great. And you’re probably gonna see me lying on that table soon enough. And, yeah, and I hope that our listeners check it out. I think there’s a lot of people who are gonna benefit from what you offer.


Dr. Pineles: Thank you so much. It’s so nice time to talk with you. And I’m so grateful for the opportunity to educate people and share the gift of Chinese medicine. So thank you so much.


Dr. Fox: Thank you for listening to the “Healthful Woman Podcast.” To learn more about our podcast, please visit our website at www.healthfulwoman.com. That’s H-E-A-L-T-H-F-U-L-W-O-M-A-N.com. If you have any questions about this podcast or any other topic you would like us to address, please feel free to email us at hw@healthfulwoman.com. Have a great day.


The information discussed in Healthful Woman is intended for educational uses only does not replace medical care from the physician. Healthful Women is meant to expand your knowledge of women’s health and does not replace ongoing care from your regular physician or gynecologist. We encourage you speak with your doctor about specific diagnoses and treatment options for an effective treatment plan.