Entries by Steve Hoffman

How Stress Can Affect Your Body & How Acupuncture Can Help

Does any of this sound familiar?

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Allergies
  • Irritability/Anger
  • Neck/Shoulder/Back Pain
  • Digestive Difficulties

The list you just read are the top six ways your body shows that you have high stress levels. Close to 100% of the patients that I see have at least one of these symptoms and quite often a few, if not all of them are present. And what do they all have in common? STRESS! I "joke" with my patients about this, asking "Do you want to get better". They always say yes so, I tell them to quit their jobs, move to the mountains, practice yoga and meditation every day and eat a mainly vegetarian diet. They usually smirk and I go on to tell them that if they do this they will never have to visit me again and further, they will probably never have to go see a doctor for the rest of their lives! Stress has that big of effect on the body. Now obviously we can't all quit our jobs and become yogis. But if that is the ideal situation for health, how do we get a little closer to that and/or how do we get some of those ideal practices in to our lives. Well, I think we could all find 20 minutes in our day to meditate. Exercise is so important to our health in so many ways and is great for stress reduction. It does not have to be a two-hour slog at the gym, beating yourself to a pulp. An hour of yoga, every other day with a half hour walk on the other days is plenty. We can all do a little better with our diets. Don't change everything at once, that is a recipe for failure. Small steps are key until you eventually reach the point that you are eating healthy foods, most of the time. Finally, availing yourself to healing and wellness practices can help you deal with the stress that you inevitably encounter. Massage, chiropractic and of course acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help. Acupuncture has been proven clinically to reduce stress markers in the body. Engaging the parasympathetic nervous system, acupuncture helps your body enter a state where healing occurs naturally. On top of this, an acupuncturist can directly address the complaints listed above.

The choice is yours. You can come see me on a regular basis to address your symptoms or you can do some of the work yourself. Engaging in some activities that can help you reduce your stress level and making some other lifestyle changes will help you feel better, faster. Fewer acupuncture treatments will be needed as the acupuncture and your own efforts work together to heal you and to maintain health. We live in the real world and very few of us can become yogis, but you can make some changes to help yourself!

Princeton Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Our patients know just how effective treatments are for these and a host of other problems. Steven Hoffman, a New Jersey Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, will provide you with a thorough intake and evaluation and a clear, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan that will insure that your goals are met or exceeded. Do you want to move past these or other problems? We will help you thrive not just survive!

What to Expect When You’re…Getting Acupuncture

You thought I was going to say expecting didn’t you! Well in this case, what you are expecting is relief or help with the health problem you cannot get resolved. You have tried everything else and finally listened to your friend that keeps telling you to try acupuncture. But what can you expect to happen when you go? It can be intimidating. New place, meeting the person who is going to treat you for the first time, not to mention the needles! Some even find it hard to seek help, finally admitting that they cannot handle the problem alone. Take a deep breath, you are in the right place.

During your first visit, a complete and thorough health history is taken. This will include questions that may seem completely unrelated to your chief complaint. We do this because often there may be an imbalance or disharmony that may seem unrelated but using Chinese medical diagnostics, may be the real root of the problem. If this problem is not addressed, your relief or healing is likely to be temporary and incomplete. I have also found problems through my assessment that were missed by medical doctors and with proper referrals, patients were able to fully resolve their problem. This is not to say that the medical doctors were negligent but with specialization, medical doctors can often be “too close” to the problem to see it from a holistic point of view.

After your health history, palpation of your abdomen and a few other areas is performed, pulses are taken, and your tongue examined. My tongue? This is a big subject that I will leave for another blog post, but your tongue can reveal a great deal about your health to an experienced practitioner.

OK, here come the needles! This is what you came for right? The anticipation is always worse than the actual event and most find it anticlimactic. Most of the time I hear: “That’s it? You put a needle in?” Yep! The needles are hair thin and while you will feel a pinch when the needles are inserted, it quickly dissipates, and you can relax. Some patients are more sensitive than others, but I have found that these patients simply require fewer needles because they are reacting more strongly.

Now it is time to get your Zen on! Relax, take a nap and let your body take care of the rest. This is when your body is actively healing itself. After treatment, most people will report feeling relaxed. With most of my “pain” patients, I expect there to be a noticeable reduction in pain and an increase in range of motion. Patients will also report feeling “lighter” and will normally sleep like the dead the night after a treatment.

If you need help but something is still holding you back, call today for a free in person or phone consultation. This can be your first step on the road to healing.

Princeton Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Our patients know just how effective treatments are for these and a host of other problems. Steven Hoffman, a New Jersey Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, will provide you with a thorough intake and evaluation and a clear, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan that will insure that your goals are met or exceeded. Do you want to move past these or other problems? We will help you thrive not just survive!

Five Natural Remedies for Back Pain

With so many people suffering with back pain and the recent attention to opioids, many are not sure where to turn for relief. You can manage and even eliminate back pain, naturally and safely. Imagine, getting back to the activities you love, being able to play with your kids or grandkids without the fear of bending down or picking them up only to encounter pain. Here are five ways you can relieve your back pain. Sometimes one of these will suffice but often a combination is the best way to get lasting relief.

Yoga - Exercise in general can often help but many of the exercises we do in this country tend to be hard on our bodies and may be counterproductive. Yoga is a nutritive exercise and has many benefits. Yoga can help maintain a healthy weight or help you lose weight and this can be a key when dealing with back pain. Stretching and strengthening will also help alleviate pain and Yoga utilizes your own body weight to do this. Yoga is also a meditative exercise, helping you alleviate stress which will often exacerbate pain syndromes. Three to four days a week is a good target to shoot for and simple walking on the other days will do wonders.

Heat - Using heat (in the form of heating pads, wraps, bead or rice pillows, Epsom salt baths, etc.) helps to alleviate back pain in several ways. Relaxing the muscles in the area, increasing blood flow, promoting circulation and even inducing the release of endorphins are some of the ways that heat can help not only alleviate your back pain but promote healing. Patients often ask about using ice or cold. While this will numb the area, and relieve pain in the short term, it will not promote healing and can short circuit the body’s natural healing response.

Diet & Supplements - The proper diet (along with supplements) can help you heal your back pain in more ways than one. Excess weight can contribute to back pain and a balanced diet can help you lose that extra weight. Additionally, there are foods that are inflammatory in nature (mainly heavily processed foods and foods high in sugar, flour and simple carbohydrates). It is best to avoid these types of foods. I have listed some other foods and supplements below that can help reduce inflammation and even help heal damage.

High fiber foods will help reduce inflammation and can help with weight reduction

Foods high in potassium and magnesium have anti-inflammatory properties

High quality fats are essential

Bone broth soups

Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and can be added to foods or used as a supplement.

5 HTP is a precursor to serotonin which is often deficient in pain conditions

Glucosamine and chondroitin help provide building blocks to repair tissue

Acupuncture - In most cases, we see an immediate improvement in back pain during the very first visit! Often the pain will come back over the next day or so, but with continued treatment, longer and longer periods of relief can be achieved. Acute conditions can often be resolved completely and quickly while chronic conditions can take more time.

Chinese Herbal Medicine - Topical solutions and customized herbal formulas, in the form of poultices, wraps and plasters can help reduce inflammation, increase blood flow and act as analgesics to relieve pain.

Princeton Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Our patients know just how effective treatments are for these and a host of other problems. Steven Hoffman, a New Jersey Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, will provide you with a thorough intake and evaluation and a clear, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan that will insure that your goals are met or exceeded. Do you want to move past these or other problems? We will help you thrive not just survive!

As I noted above, the best results will be achieved by using a combination of the above. Not everything works for everyone, but we have found that patients who are active and involved in their healing process respond best to treatment. If you want to find out more about what acupuncture or Chinese herbal medicine can do the treat your back pain, call today for a free consultation.

With so many people suffering with back pain and the recent attention to opioids, many are not sure where to turn for relief. You can manage and even eliminate back pain, naturally and safely. Imagine, getting back to the activities you love, being able to play with your kids or grandkids without the fear of […]

Five Things You Should Consider When Looking for an Acupuncturist

OK, you’ve come to the point that you realize you need some help with the problem you are dealing with and you have decided you want to engage an acupuncturist to work with. It really does not matter what that problem is (back or other pain syndrome, infertility, weight loss, immune issues, mood issues, etc.) there are five key things you should look for before deciding to work with someone to help you.

1. Is the acupuncturist licensed: This seems like a no brainer but most people do not even realize that there is a license for acupuncture? In New Jersey, there is a licensed issued by the state that allows an acupuncturist to legally practice acupuncture. Look for an L.Ac. after the practitioner’s name and ask if you do not see one. It should also be noted that other professions are legally able to perform acupuncture (Medical Doctors are an example of this). However, Medical Doctors are only required to do 300 hours of training to obtain a license. Licensed acupuncturists on the other hand go through thousands of hours of training to obtain their license. To get the most out of your treatments, you should seek out a professional who knows the medicine inside and out.

2. Does the acupuncturist specialize: More and more acupuncturists are specializing in things like pain management, infertility, ophthalmology, mood disorders and the list goes on? If you have a specific problem such as back pain, someone who sees this type of problem dozens of times, day after day, is more likely to be able to help you with the problem more effectively, completely and with fewer visits (saving you time and money) than someone who has a more general practice.

3. Does the acupuncturist utilize Chinese herbal medicine: Some problems respond better to acupuncture, others to Chinese herbal medicine and still others to a combination of the two? Some acupuncturists are only licensed to perform acupuncture and not Chinese herbal medicine. Having this powerful tool available allows a practitioner to use herbal medicines to work synergistically with acupuncture treatments and in other cases address separate issues. This helps you get better, faster.

4. Do you “click” with the acupuncturist. Depending on the issue you are dealing with, healing can take many weeks and often months. You will be spending a lot of time with this person and a relationship develops. Not everyone clicks with everyone else, it is just inevitable. You want to spend your time with someone who you are comfortable with and someone who you look forward to seeing on a regular basis.

5. Cost: Of course, cost is a key factor. It should also be noted that sometimes, you get what you pay for! There are community style acupuncture clinics where there can be several other people in the same room. The acupuncturist spends a very short time with you, needles are inserted, and you site for a brief time. These clinics are very inexpensive and for those on a budget, this may be the right fit. Other practitioners will charge between $50 and $300 per treatment. Some process insurance, others will require “cash” payments and give you paperwork to submit to your insurance company for direct reimbursement, if your policy covers acupuncture. Keep in mind, a few treatments normally do not do the trick and you do not want to be getting relief for your problem only to find out you must discontinue treatment because you cannot afford it any longer.

There may be other things that are important to you when choosing an acupuncturist and , make sure you get your questions answered and your concerns addressed. But these five items area a great place to start!

Princeton Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Our patients know just how effective treatments are for these and a host of other problems. Steven Hoffman, a New Jersey Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, will provide you with a thorough intake and evaluation and a clear, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan that will insure that your goals are met or exceeded. Do you want to move past these or other problems? We will help you thrive not just survive!

OK, you’ve come to the point that you realize you need some help with the problem you are dealing with and you have decided you want to engage an acupuncturist to work with. It really does not matter what that problem is (back or other pain syndrome, infertility, weight loss, immune issues, mood issues, etc.) […]

Acupuncture and Arthritis Pain

It is estimated that approximately 40 million people in the US are affected by one form or another of arthritis. The silver lining is that this is because we are living longer, so we have that going for us! As we age the likelihood of suffering from osteoarthritis, which is basically wear and tear of the tissue between bones that allows joints to move smoothly and without pain, increases. And pain is the problem when dealing with arthritis. So, what can be done to treat arthritis? Western medicine will typically treat arthritis with pain relieving medications (or other medications if it is rheumatoid arthritis that you suffer from) or possibly surgery. Surgery often involves the fusing of bones so that they do not “grind” together causing pain. The drawback to this is that doing so will impact the normal range of motion of the joint and limit mobility. Additionally, patients can still experience pain in the joint after the surgery. Joint replacement is sometimes an option but as with all surgeries, there are risks and everyone responds differently. And as we know, even the most innocuous pain medications have side effects, especially if they are used long term.

So, what can acupuncture do for you if you are suffering from arthritis pain. First, acupuncture is not going to help you regrow cartilage and tissues that has worn away over time. It is not a magic bullet. But it CAN manage the pain. It can reduce your reliance on pain medications and it can help you avoid surgery. So how does it do this. There are actually a few ways that acupuncture can help manage arthritis pain. Inserting acupuncture needles induces the body to release endorphins. These are pain regulating hormones that will help reduce pain and the effect is long lasting, not just when the needles are inserted. Acupuncture can also block pain signals that are going to the brain, and again, it effect is persistent. Finally, acupuncture can release trigger points (tight, sometimes extremely painful bands of muscle) that can continually “pull” on joints unless they are released. An acupuncturist may also suggest topical herbal solutions or poultices, exercise or other lifestyle modifications that can help reduce the pain that you might experience from arthritis.

Taken together, an experienced acupuncturist can provide you with a safe and effective way to manage arthritis pain. Pain management is something that we specialize in at Princeton Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine. Call us today for a free, no obligation pain relief assessment and we will let you know what we can do for you!

Princeton Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Our patients know just how effective treatments are for these and a host of other problems. Steven Hoffman, a New Jersey Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, will provide you with a thorough intake and evaluation and a clear, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan that will insure that your goals are met or exceeded. Do you want to move past these or other problems? We will help you thrive not just survive!

It is estimated that approximately 40 million people in the US are affected by one form or another of arthritis. The silver lining is that this is because we are living longer, so we have that going for us! As we age the likelihood of suffering from osteoarthritis, which is basically wear and tear of […]

Chronic Pain, Acupuncture and the Opioid Crisis

In my last post Acute Pain, Acupuncture and the Opioid Crisis, I talked about acute pain syndromes that are often addressed with the use of opioids. In this article, I want to talk about chronic pain and the use (or misuse) of opioids to address this problem. Here is an article from The New England Journal of Medicine. As I stated in my last article, it is great that the problem of abuse, addiction and overdose is getting media attention but in this article, the author states that there are “limited therapeutic alternatives for chronic pain”. This is just not the case and this misconception needs to change. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine excels at treating pain and it really shines in cases of chronic pain.

Chronic pain is defined as any pain that last longer than three months. I see many people who have been dealing with pain for years or even decades! This is because they simply do not know that there is an alternative. If you break a bone, the body will knit that bone back together, you don’t even have to be conscious for this to happen. So why should the body have trouble healing a pulled muscle in the lower back or why should neck pain become a chronic issue. The answer is that it should not have trouble with these and other pain syndromes and if it is, there is something wrong. Addressing what is causing the problem is the only way to allow the body to do its job and heal. Often, there are many contributing factors to chronic pain. Stress, poor diet and lifestyle, obesity, lack of proper exercise is just a few. But when you are in pain, it is often hard to see your way clear to making any changes that will help.

Acupuncture can help not only alleviate your chronic pain but allows the body to start healing. The great thing about seeing a Licensed Acupuncturist is that not only can they help alleviate your pain but they have been trained in Oriental Dietary Therapy, Exercise and Lifestyle modifications that will work synergistically with your treatments to not only give you immediate relief but relief that will last.

At Princeton Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine, we see most pain syndromes respond immediately to treatment, right on the table! Increased range of motion and decreased pain can be experienced just seconds after inserting needles. If you have waited months or years, thinking that you just have to live with your pain, or manage it with medication, don’t wait another day, hour or minute. Relief can quite literally be seconds away!

Princeton Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Our patients know just how effective treatments are for these and a host of other problems. Steven Hoffman, a New Jersey Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, will provide you with a thorough intake and evaluation and a clear, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan that will insure that your goals are met or exceeded. Do you want to move past these or other problems? We will help you thrive not just survive!

In my last post Acute Pain, Acupuncture and the Opioid Crisis, I talked about acute pain syndromes that are often addressed with the use of opioids. In this article, I want to talk about chronic pain and the use (or misuse) of opioids to address this problem. Here is an article from The New England […]

Pain Syndromes and Acupuncture

It starts out as a stiff neck that won’t go away. Maybe a strain in your lower back that is bothersome but you can still get through the day. Or it could be your knees hurting for longer and longer periods after you run or exercise. Months go by and you start popping Advil or something like it so that you can go to work or play with your kids or continue to exercise. More time goes by and now the Advil has stopped taking the edge off. Now you have missed a few days of work here or there. Now you can’t play with your kids, can’t run with them, pick them up or even get down on the floor with them. Now you have stopped exercising and you MISS it! Not only are you in pain but you feel bad and are gaining weight. If any of this sounds familiar to you, you may be rapidly reaching a point that you simply don’t know what to do. Your doctor doesn’t have anything to offer and you are starting to think that this is how your life will be, moving forward. It doesn’t have to be.

Acupuncture excels at treating all kinds of pain. Clinical trial after clinical trial has demonstrated the effectiveness of this ancient system of medicine. Even insurance companies are waking up to the benefits of this safe and effective form of treatment, offering reimbursement for acupuncture treatments for pain syndromes. You know why else they like it? It is pennies when compared to surgeries and other procedures, many of which have mixed results at best when dealing with pain issues.

If you are skeptical about what acupuncture can do, you are my kind of patient. It is so much fun when someone who doubts what this medicine can do comes in to my office and can suddenly go from fifty percent range of motion to eighty percent. Or has pain that is eight out of ten and seconds later, the pain is two out of ten. Their faces light up and I can read from their expression that they are thinking that finally they are getting some relief.

Everyone responds differently to treatment. Pain will come back after treatment, issues that have been in place for years will take longer to treat. After a course of treatment, however, pain is diminished, range of motion increases and the periods of relief between treatments last longer and longer. This is because, beyond alleviating the pain, acupuncture helps the body heal. While I love seeing my patients, I love it more when they get to the point that they need my help less and less. Call for a free consultation today or book one online, there is no reason to wait another minute.

Princeton Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Our patients know just how effective treatments are for these and a host of other problems. Steven Hoffman, a New Jersey Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, will provide you with a thorough intake and evaluation and a clear, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan that will insure that your goals are met or exceeded. Do you want to move past these or other problems? We will help you thrive not just survive!

It starts out as a stiff neck that won’t go away. Maybe a strain in your lower back that is bothersome but you can still get through the day. Or it could be your knees hurting for longer and longer periods after you run or exercise. Months go by and you start popping Advil or […]

Top 5 Ways to Treat Your Allergies

Sniffling, sneezing, headaches, runny noses, itchy eyes oh my! These things are coming in to my office attached to people in one of the worst allergy seasons in years. If you have tried traditional ways of dealing with allergies and still do not get the relief you want or there are unwanted side effects of what you are using you can get relief, safely and naturally. Here are the top 5 ways you can use acupuncture to combat allergies.

1. Avoid Sugars & Alcohol: This includes refined carbohydrates and even dairy. These items can cause inflammation in the body and affect your immune system. All but the dairy also make your liver work overtime and as the main organ of detoxification, if it is overwhelmed, you are more likely to react to something that should not normally bother you.

2. Raw Honey: Locally sourced, raw honey, taken on a regular basis will expose your body to a little bit of the pollen that you are naturally exposed to making it less likely that your body will respond when assaulted with all the pollen floating around.

3. Probiotics: Probiotics are “good” bacteria and help your digestive system function and can also help your body’s immune system. Good probiotics are kept refrigerated and are a little expensive but you can get the same boost from several probiotic foods.

4. Nasal Rinse: At Princeton Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine, we recommend a specific combination of Echinacea and goldenseal solution mixed with some water and sea salt. The physical action of rinsing the sinuses twice daily helps to clear out all the accumulated “gunk” you have been exposed to and the herbs help to regulate your immune system. The image below is the liquid herb that we recommend and we carry it in our clinic.



5. Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs: Of course, the best way to keep your allergies under control is with treatment. Acupuncture, often combined with Chinese Herbal medicine can work wonders for those who suffer. While this allergy season may be one of the worst, many of our patients remark that even though everyone they know is complaining, they can’t understand why everyone thinks it is such a bad allergy season…hmmm, I wonder why!

Many of these items are good for long term use and it is best to start an allergy regimen about a month before the season really sets in, but if you need some immediate relief, give us a call or book your appointment online at www.pa-om.com

Princeton Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Our patients know just how effective treatments are for these and a host of other problems. Steven Hoffman, a New Jersey Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, will provide you with a thorough intake and evaluation and a clear, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan that will insure that your goals are met or exceeded. Do you want to move past these or other problems? We will help you thrive not just survive!

Sniffling, sneezing, headaches, runny noses, itchy eyes oh my! These things are coming in to my office attached to people in one of the worst allergy seasons in years. If you have tried traditional ways of dealing with allergies and still do not get the relief you want or there are unwanted side effects of […]