For reasons that I hope one day I can share with all of you, these last months have been filled with transformation and spiritual growth. I have dedicated myself to wound healing, path strengthening and a deeper and more analytical approach to my thoughts.
That approach to spirituality, has magically and inexplicably let, the universe, God, Allah, or however you want to call it, to work in my favor by bringing teachers to my path who enrich my life and who give me wonderful knowledge and light.
That is the case of Soledad Duffy, a Doctor who graduated in Medicine from the University of Buenos Aires and who has a Masters in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, with whom I had the opportunity to cross paths and who introduced me to the wonderful world of acupuncture.
The energy you feel when you enter Dr. Duffy's River Oaks office is amazing. It radiates peace, tranquility and a state of instant wellness.
I had a very interesting conversation with her about acupuncture, about how oriental medicine can work integrally with traditional medicine, and about the application of acupuncture in cosmetics. I also had the opportunity to try facial acupuncture for the first time.
Today I share with you our conversation and my experience in Solstice Acupuncture & Wellness so together we can learn about acupuncture and the different medical conditions that can be treated through this very interesting ancient practice.
Why did you start practicing acupuncture and what services do you offer in your office?
The services I offer are based on Chinese medicine but with a modern approach. I feel that when most people think of Chinese medicine, they think it is going to be a place in Chinatown where English is not spoken, and people are afraid of needles because they are bigger in those places. That is why thanks to my experience as a patient, I know that this medicine works and produces huge changes in people's well-being.
In Solstice Acupuncture & Wellness in the heart of River Oaks I wanted to transform Chinese medicine and portray it to women in Houston as an accessible treatment, in a nice, safe office, and with a person who besides speaking your own language, whether it’s English or Spanish, also understands the complexity of being a mother or a professional or both, and that’s why I created this space that looks very different than the clinics in Chinatown.
I graduated as a doctor in Argentina and began studying acupuncture ten years ago. At that time, I already had my first child and after many fertility treatments and having two miscarriages in two previous pregnancies I managed to get pregnant with my second child. My motherhood journey was very rocky with difficult pregnancies. During this second pregnancy, I was in bed rest for 13 weeks with a son already at home, my family in Argentina and a husband who traveled a lot. I had my daughter at 36 weeks who was born healthy, but premature.
After passing the Board exam to practice in the United States, I learned that I was pregnant for the third time, without planning it. I was sure I couldn't have children and I never thought I was pregnant until after three months.
I told my doctor that there was no way I'd spend 13 weeks on bed rest with two children at home and with my family in Argentina.
I asked him to get me a Shaman, a witch or someone who could help me be healthy during my pregnancy and that was how my doctor recommended a Fertility Acupuncturist and all I can say is that my pregnancy came to term.
I had a feeling of well-being that I had never experienced during my previous pregnancies, they had been rocky, complicated and I had never been friends with the idea of being pregnant because I felt terrible.
It was then when I realized that there was something in acupuncture that worked. I started recommending it to my friends and they all reported the same thing, that they felt better, that they slept better, that they were no longer having pain, hot flashes, etc.
When it was time for me to return to work, I decided to do a five-year Masters in Oriental Medicine. A long and very hard process where you have to present 4 exams to a National Board, you need to have a graduate degree, and a license from the Medical Board.
What’s acupuncture and are there different types?
Acupuncture consists in the insertion of very fine needles into the skin at strategic points of the body where the flow of energy is balanced through channels in the body. The types of acupuncture vary from the way it is practiced, the technique and the types of needles that are used. There is Chinese and Japanese acupuncture and within those, there is also modern acupuncture or community acupuncture, in which only distal points are used, which are only the abdomen or the scalp.
My training is in traditional Chinese medicine, I also do Auriculotherapy which is a technique developed by a French doctor, who is also a neurologist, and engineer who mapped the ear and found different points that represent the body.
Acupuncture is usually also supplemented with herbal medicine, especially for gynecology or fertility.
What are the conditions you treat most?
A lot of pain. Skeletal-muscle pain, migraines and painful periods. Women grew up with the misconception that menstruation should hurt, however it shouldn’t. Normal menstruation, in a woman where her body works as it should and her cycles are regular, should be painless. I learned that through Chinese medicine.
It is amazing to see how a woman who suffered years of menstrual pain, lives her first two cycles without pain after my therapies.
I believe in integrative medicine so if a patient comes to my office but has not consulted his doctor for over five years, I send them to the doctor. Thanks to my background in traditional medicine, I believe in it and I am convinced that it can be integrated into Chinese medicine.
Is acupuncture a wellness resource that you can use regularly or is it just used to treat a specific problem?
Most of my patients come with a specific pain or problem, such as insomnia, muscle aches, gastrointestinal problems and once we cure that, this medicine becomes preventive.
Ideally, as soon as they begin to feel better, my patients return every 4 or 6 weeks for maintenance and prevention. There are chronic diseases that I cannot cure such as arthritis, endometriosis, etc. But I can treat the pain and make you feel better and those kinds of patients come to my consultations more often.
Do you also give any diets and exercise plans to complement the treatment?
In my office I offer acupuncture, but I always explain to my patients that their health is like a four-legged table, where the legs represent how you eat, how you exercise, how you sleep and your emotions. My training covers all these things since Chinese medicine considers food as therapy as well. As for the exercise I recommend a lot of bone health and I recommend exercising with weights to increase your muscular strength.
What can I expect in my first session?
The consultation begins with a half-hour conversation where you give me information on how you sleep, how you eat, how you exercise and specific problems to be treated. Sleep is key. Then we make a plan together to execute it inside and outside the office. After our conversation, we proceed to the acupuncture treatment where you lie down for thirty minutes or so with the needles in place.
Is there any acupuncture technique for anti-aging? Well, although I don't like to use that word.
I don't like that word either, that's why I always tell my patients, what is option B if you don't get old? Cosmetic acupuncture is very interesting and I also practice it in my office. I was in New York for four training sessions with Shellie Goldstein, one of the most recognized cosmetic acupuncturists worldwide.
Facial acupuncture is spectacular since it works from two aspects. The first one is through internal regulation, because nobody looks good if they’re not healthy. I treat digestion and stress since the most common condition of my patients is that they want to get rid of a tired face and there is no facial that can make you look not tired if you do not sleep better, eat better and lower your stress levels.
The second approach is localized, where we re-stimulate the collagen on the face with needles placed in strategic points to reduce inflammation, tighten the skin, in addition to an LED light treatment for 30 minutes. What my patients report is that they look rested, fresh and their eyes recover their brightness after the session. I also work on the thin expression lines since I work directly on the wrinkles by stimulating the collagen.
I then apply light on the feet to create heat and promote relaxation and in the end, I give a Gua Sha massage to relax and strengthen the muscles of the face.
Thanks Dr. Duffy!
Last week I was able to experience a facial acupuncture with Dr. Duffy and let me tell you that the needle insertion doesn't hurt! For thirty minutes I entered a very relaxing light sleep and the combination of the LED lights, the strategic placement of the needles, not only in the face but also in some parts of the body, made me feel very good. The next day, I noticed an amazing change in my face, it looked more fresh and relaxed.
For all those people who suffer from insomnia, muscle aches, back pain, menopause, menstrual pain, are pregnant, or want to rejuvenate their face with a modern treatment, I highly recommend making an appointment with Dr. Duffy.
Dr. Duffy, thanks so much for introducing me to the world of acupuncture and for sharing with Houston your passion for this ancient practice.