In this episode, we are joined by special guest Alex Judd, who explains all about what acupuncture, cupping and guasha are. She details how they all work, what to expect, and how they compare to other traditional modalities. Alex also explains how acupuncture can support in the healing of specific issues that you may not have known it can be used for including chronic pain, mental health, menstrual and fertility health, digestion, and autoimmune conditions. Living your best life means feeling your best and taking a proactive approach to your wellness!
About the Guest:
Alex Judd. Alex is a registered Doctor of Acupuncture in Calgary. She uses a combination of acupuncture, cupping, guasha, Chinese herbal formulas, and holistic diet therapies in her practice. She graduated from the Alberta College of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine in 2020, the University of Calgary in 2008, and became a certified Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner in 2015.
About the Host:
I am a financial professional, who specializes in helping people to achieve their financial goals. My absolute passion is creating new possibilities in people’s lives by showing them the ropes when it comes to money. I’m here to spark healthy and positive conversations around wealth and investment and create a world where nobody is limited by their financial situation. I believe this begins with education and shifting our relationships with money. I love getting to witness people achieving their most ambitious goals and creating new possibilities for themselves and their families!
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Welcome to the wealth and wellness podcast with me Kayleigh, Boisvert. I specialize in helping people to achieve their financial goals. I have a love for all things numbers, and I'm passionate about financial literacy. My goal is to spark healthy and positive conversations around wealth and investment and create a world where nobody is limited by their financial situation. But wealth is just one piece of the equation of living our best lives. So join me as we explore both wealth and wellness topics. From your net worth to your self worth. Get ready to take confident action. Hello, this is Kaylee and thank you so much for listening to this episode of the wealth and wellness podcast. Really excited to have our guest on today for a wellness focused topic. But of course our wellness feeds into the wealth and our whole, you know, living our best live so there's there's always some link there. So today, our guest is Alex Judd. Alex is a registered doctor of acupuncture in Calgary, she uses a combination of acupuncture, cupping, guasha, Chinese herbal formulas, and holistic diet therapies in her practice. She graduated from the Alberta College of acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine in 2020. The use of me in 2020, and and in 2000. I might be getting this wrong, you can clarify this one I always start, I became a certified functional nutritional therapy practitioner in 2015. So you can clear that up. I probably missed up some dates there. But can you thank you for joining us, Alex. And can you share with us I guess, your journey? What brought you to do this work?Unknown:
Yes. Thank you for having me. And you nailed it. That was good. Yeah. I think I also had in there University of Calgary, but that was in my pre healthcare days. So yeah, so nutritional therapy, and then traditional Chinese medicine. Yeah.Kalee Boisvert:
And then so what I guess what kind of brought you to go down this path of like, with what you were learning what you were doing, to do this kind of work with acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine?Alex Judd:
Sure. So I think I have a similar story to a lot of people that you've talked to, and a lot of people in the kind of health care professions of having my own issues with chronic illness in my 20s was definitely an impetus to explore some kind of alternative therapies, when I wasn't having success, figuring out what was going on, you know, with regular diagnostics, and with my regular doctors. So that's what started me down the path. And I, when I found acupuncture, I was just kind of amazed at how, like gentle it was, but how effective it was. And I also felt like, you know, the person I worked with, there's so much space for some of these, like obscure symptoms that I had that weren't showing up on blood tests, for example, and other diagnostic markers that I knew some stuff was off. But, you know, I was amazed at how TCM like Chinese medicine has a totally different framework for looking at this and a lot of room for understanding functional symptoms that wouldn't necessarily show up in you know, Western medical measurements. And, and so I just found it so helpful. And I thought like, I need to know more about this. And I eventually went back to school and did it. And yeah, I just love it. I really love the kind of client interactions with it, too. I think it's not just about the geeky, like science slash medicine stuff. I really liked the whole aspect of it. Yeah.Kalee Boisvert:
I love that. Yeah. Going in. Yeah, you're right going on through your own experiences and what you found and then kind of taking that and making Yeah, that you're passionate in career and helping other people that are going through similar scenarios. So I love that. Because there is so much power in kind of exploring these alternative ways of dealing with symptoms that people have when it is kind of they're at their wit's end and it's like this, nothing's fixing it and things like that. So when it comes to acupuncture for anyone who's not familiar with it, you know, what is acupuncture?Unknown:
Yes, great question. I think there are several different styles and you know, it's it's something that has evolved over hundreds if not 1000s of years, depending on what you're looking at, but so I study traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture and anyone practicing as a registered acupuncturist in Alberta would have that TCM background. But it's at its essence, it's using small sterile needles to puncture the skin at certain points. And that has a stimulating effect on different systems of the body that stimulates processes for healing, basically. So that can be it stimulates like circulation. So if we're working with injuries, it can help heal injuries faster or reduce inflammation because of that stimulation. It, it can affect the hormonal system, the digestive system, the reproductive system, so, but it's basically little needles sending little messages to our body to perform certain functions or make certain adjustments.Kalee Boisvert:
Okay. Okay. And how does it like, how does it work? If someone's coming in for the first time, what does that look like?Unknown:
Yeah, so I mean, I'll do like, we use a lot of questions and talking about symptoms and health history when someone first comes in. So usually, that appointment is a 75 minute appointment, but the rest are generally an hour. And you know, in that time, we'll kind of go over what's going on with the person. And then they'll usually lie down like that is the most common way. So the table looks like a massage table. I use blankets and pillows and everything to make it really comfortable. A lot of acupuncturist do that might even have like a heat lamp to keep your feet warm. And then yeah, we're putting in needles. Usually it's anywhere from 12 to 20 needles, they're super tiny. I know that sounds like a lot when you think of like going to get your blood taken or get a shot or something. It's one needle, it's a big scary needle, these are super tiny. So yeah, we'll put those in. And then it can be they can be placed like on your hands and feet and arms and legs, they might be placed on your back or torso. And then sometimes in your face and head, I think you see a lot of that. And like the movies with acupuncture, you might have like a couple on your face. But it really depends on what we're treating, there's just there's hundreds of acupuncture points. And then those are left in for usually around 30 minutes. And during that time, people just usually rest often fall asleep, it's very relaxing for the most part. And we kind of let the needles do their thing. So they're kind of sending those messages and your body's just letting it happen. And I would say you know, when we put in the needles, sometimes they can like pinch a little bit or you'll feel stronger sensation that usually dissipates. And then it's usually pretty blissful. Although some people for treating digestion might have like bubbling in their tummy or, you know, sometimes you notice certain changes, but that's pretty, pretty contained and pretty gentle.Kalee Boisvert:
So it's not something to be scared of. No, IUnknown:
mean, you know, I was needle phobic when I started acupuncture. So I get it. And yeah, like that, that does happen that people come in, and they're pretty nervous about needles. So yeah, it is scary. I think it's more of the idea than the actual experience. Like a lot of people are kind of like, worried when they come in. And when they're done. They're like, Well, that wasn't so bad. I kind of liked it, you know. But I do like, as you mentioned in that introduction, I use other tools too. So cupping, and guasha, which is like a Little Jade tool that has become a pretty popular beauty product nowadays. But has medical uses as well. And so I use different tools and those can all help stimulate the acupuncture points if someone's not ready for needles or if they get one and they're like okay, that's enough for today. Then we do in the in the TCM kind of realm of practice, we have a lot of other tools for having those same effects.Kalee Boisvert:
What is those other methods then? Sort of cupping and guasha? Can you tell people a bit about those like for cupping All I know is I've seen people with like the marks afterwards and I'm like Yeah,Unknown:
yeah, it looks it looks scary, honestly. But but it's not so yeah, so caffeine is basically using cups to create suction on the skin and in the tissues. So sometimes compared to like a reverse massage so in massage or pressing into the tissue You in caffeine, you're actually pulling it up. So that allows for like increased circulation, it can relax like the fascia and muscles in that area. So and then there's lots of different kinds of caffeine. So there's fire. Caffeine is the really traditional way that we learn in school, where you're using fire to create, it's like the heat that you put into the cup and take it out quickly treats that section. So that's popular if you go to an acupuncturist, but I think a lot of massage therapists will use like, silicone cups to kind of slide it, and it feels similar to a massage. Sometimes it can have a bit of a I don't necessarily want to say stronger effect, but just slightly different effects because of how it's interacting with the tissues. Yeah, I don't know if that gives you a good idea.Kalee Boisvert:
Yeah. That like benefit you or who would that benefit? Like for what conditions like would copying work?Unknown:
Yeah. So that I mean, it can be used for so many things, just like acupuncture. So we use it to stimulate the points. So that section can stimulate points similar to how a needle would. And then you know, it's really good for things like when you have things that are kind of like stuck, like we'll use it. In cases, when people have a lot of congestion, or like a persistent cough after an illness, it can be really good, like used on the back to help, like, just create circulation and drainage of those areas. And then yeah, it does. It's awesome for like muscle tension relief as well. And yeah, the the list kind of goes on and on. Sometimes I have to remember to, to stop myself. But yeah, those are some of the ways that it can be usedUnknown:
for anything. And yeah.Unknown:
I mean, like, there's some exceptions, but it's pretty versatile. Yeah.Kalee Boisvert:
So when people are getting these kinds of treatments, like what can they expect for a sense of like frequency? And, you know, how often will they have to get it done? Is this like a lifelong thing? What does that look like, as far as kind of like a plan for treating something?Unknown:
Yeah, so I mean, that really depends on I would say, like, what people are coming in with. So there, we see a lot of people for like pain or injury recovery. And those are usually more finite things. Like, you know, I get people who have had like they sprained their ankle few months ago, it mostly healed but it's still kind of swollen, and it's just not fully healed. And we'll do acupuncture to help get rid of that kind of leftover inflammation and reduce the pain and kind of restore some mobility there. That can sometimes only take a few, a few visits. Then there's other things when people come with more chronic conditions, which I see a lot of so migraines for their whole life or, you know, intense period pains for years. Or, you know, I work with like some autoimmune condition. So like arthritis, and digestive illnesses, those can take longer, I usually say we should start with something around like, six to eight weekly treatments, to see how, how that goes. And usually start to see some changes, then. And then we kind of reevaluate, like, should we come back for a few more weeks, some people are able to come back after that for say, once a month for a few months. And then again, some things do resolve after a few visits and and then you're done. Then if it comes back, you come back, but if it if it doesn't, then you're good to go. So yeah, it is it's hard to say but I usually start with kind of 868 treatments for chronic Yeah. Okay,Kalee Boisvert:
that makes sense. Yeah. Yeah. So it's not necessarily like a lifetime of having to come weekly, but maybe at the beginning are kind of right at the get go.Unknown:
Yeah, exactly. And I would also say, acupuncture, like I talked about how it stimulates like your hormones, and it stimulates your nervous system. So those effects like it's kind of like each time you do the treatment, you're having a bit of impact. So it's kind of coming weekly helps reinforce that, those messages to your body to do that healing process, I would say. So that's kind of the idea behind coming behind coming regularly. Okay,Kalee Boisvert:
and how does this compare to like, traditional, I guess, medicine and means of dealing with things like if we're looking at Yeah, acupuncture compared to that, how would you say they compareUnknown:
I mean, yeah, that? That's a really good question. And probably there's many answers. I do think that it's really compatible. Obviously, there's some things that that are modern Western medicine is just so good for emergency medicine surgery, you know, like all those things, obviously, that's where you would go for that not an acupuncturist. But But I think acupuncture really fills this, I don't want to say gap, but it fills this niche in medicine of like, these kinds of persistent chronic things where, you know, your options, when you go to a doctor might be like, kind of watch it and see if it gets worse, or take this medication for life or something. And I think acupuncture has a really impressive system for, you know, helping restore function, reduce pain, reduce inflammation, and get things to a more comfortable place without these kind of intense interventions. And it is really compatible with a lot of medications and a lot of processes, like I'll have people come in for after surgery to help with SCAR healing and help reduce pain, you know, so I think, I don't think you can only do one or another, there's a lot of, there's a lot of opportunity for, you know, using them to work together.Kalee Boisvert:
Yeah. Do you think they're, like more accepting to in traditional medicine, like doctors, they're, they're more accepting of how that can work together? Do you think or are we still not there?Unknown:
You know, it's, it's a process, I think we are seeing some incredible research on how acupuncture works from the the Western medical model. And I, I see more and more acceptance of that. And even I have a lot of people that come to me, because their doctors recommended acupuncture to help with certain conditions. So and you know, things like fertility, unexplained fertility is like a huge one that acupuncture is able to look at that I think Modern medicine is really like embracing. So there's, there's certain aspects that are really accepted. And then, you know, I think there's, there's some issues with studying acupuncture and the way we study other aspects of medicine that just hasn't caught up yet. And, you know, and there is, there are doctors that don't understand it, or don't believe in it, or think it's all placebo. And you know, there there's some of that, I think, it just, it just takes time, but the acceptance is, is growing. And yeah.Kalee Boisvert:
Is there anything people need to look out for? So if they're like, maybe not in the vicinity of where you work in, they're looking to get acupuncture work done? So they're kind of look in their area? And yeah, go and see someone? Is there something that we need to be looking for as far as like, accreditations and like, anything like that, like that? You know, that? To make sure we're going to someone who's doing the right thing with those needles? AndUnknown:
yeah, yeah, good question. Um, I mean, they're, so it's regulated by province in Alberta. So, BC, Alberta, I believe it's Ontario, and Quebec, are all regulated. So anybody practicing acupuncture has to be registered. It's a protected title. So you go, you have to do you know, the three years of school and the board exams and all that. Other provinces, some, I think, are in the process of that, but in other cases, it's not regulated. And so, you know, I think looking to someone's education and credentials is a good idea, but for sure, if you're an Alberta which I assume a lot of your listeners are, just look for that, like registered acupuncturist title and, and that signifies that we've gone through all the appropriate safety training and everything.Kalee Boisvert:
Okay, perfect. Okay. So talking about kind of specific issues and maybe you know, how it works or results you've seen, like, I think, something that a lot of people have in common or you know, I imagine with a lot of my listeners are, you know, busy women and things like think like I would say, like anxiety, stress, the all these things, I mean, just with everything going on in the world to is there is acupuncture effective, you know, what does that look like for training for those kinds of things? And maybe what kind of outcomes that clients you've had have experienced.Unknown:
Yeah, it, acupuncture can be really good for anxiety. It's being used a lot now for things like PTSD and addictions. And this comes from its ability to affect our nervous system, which is kind of that like, fight fight or flight that we talked about when people have high levels of stress or have been through trauma. And it can help restore this rest and digest process, which helps our organs and everything function better. So, you know, there's a lot of really, really amazing applications for acupuncture with that. And now, of course, when someone comes in, you know, it depends on how long these things have been going on and, and sort of what ongoing factors are contributing to them. Because of course, with things like mental health, it's like, you know, I can treat someone and they can walk into the clinic feeling amazing, and like, really stress free in a way. But then, of course, life comes up once they get home or throughout the week at work or whatever. And so it's kind of this like, ongoing process of slowly, like lowering that kind of activation, I would say. But yeah, again, like, that is one of those things where I would definitely say, like coming in once a week, for several weeks to help kind of lower that baseline is, is really helpful for things like anxiety. And then, you know, traditional Chinese medicine is cool, because we have, as opposed to, I think, you know, Western medicine is, this is changing, of course, our understanding of mental health, but it's kind of its own thing, whereas in Chinese medicine, you know, all of our different organs in the body are associated with different emotions, and different emotional experiences. And so, you know, like, the liver is associated with anger, like, the lungs are associated with sadness, there's all these really relationships that that we can work on that can sometimes like, get at it in a way that, you know, just taking just going to therapy or, you know, taking a just one way approach wouldn't, wouldn't get.Kalee Boisvert:
Yeah, that's interesting. Yeah, that's like that book or read like Louise Hays book, where she talks about kind of the emotions and where they're connected in the body and affirmations for that. So it makes me think of that, that's very interesting. So it is a very different approach, if we're kind of targeting the organs through acupuncture that are getting impacted by these different kind of issues you're working with or dealing with. is the same for sleep issues. Like would you say similar? Like, I feel like as women, it's like, sometimes we can't turn our brain off.Unknown:
Yes, yeah. Fully. So yes, acupuncture is really incredible for things like insomnia. And we do look at different aspects of sleep disturbance. So it could we see people that have trouble turning off their brains or just falling asleep. There's the classic, like, people were waking up consistently from three to 5am all the time. There's, you know, people that wake up early and can't go back to sleep, there's nightmares, like all kinds of things. So we've different protocols for dealing with each of those things. So we'll ask our clients more questions about that. And, you know, sleep is one of the things where we talked earlier about how I use herbal formulas in my practice, as well, like CZ, and those can really help in the sleep department. I think about acupuncture as being able to like move things and unblock things, and then herbs been able to anchor things so they kind of slow things down and slow our mind down help our bodies relax,Kalee Boisvert:
okay. And you're able to kind of tell people what herbs might help them and that's what you do as well.Unknown:
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, I have my prescribe herbal formulas that are based on that person and kind of the full picture of what's going on with them.Kalee Boisvert:
Okay, okay, awesome. What about you mentioned like digestion, um, anything kind of specifically that comes about for people with digestive issues? Yeah,Unknown:
so you know, the digestion is like one of those perfect examples of like, kind of everybody like almost everybody will experience some kind of digestive thing in their life and, you know, it can really range from just like some Bloating and Discomfort to obviously, celiac disease, which I have and like IBS, and then some more like intense ones as well. Like, acupuncture is really good at at helping restore function. So you know, if someone is experiencing like constipation, diarrhea type symptoms, we can really help restore the regularity there. If people are getting kind of like these, like hiccups or nausea, when they eat, I can really help with that. And, you know, like acupuncture. Like I mentioned how we'll put points in different parts of like the hands or feet, and that will stimulate like your, that can stimulate like your digestive hormones, for example, you can also apply needles in the abdomen area, and that stimulates local healing because of that, increasing circulation and that kind of thing. So yeah, okay. Yeah, got a lot of tools and that department.Kalee Boisvert:
Yeah, that's interesting. Yeah, it's just, it's another thing for people to consider, like when going through these, these are often common things that people go through, and they just live with them. Like, it's just like, okay, that's the way it is. And they move on. But there's, you know, things to try to, again, it's that feeling your best living your best life not feeling like you have to continue to suffer through something like being like, every time I eat, I get bloated, it's like, well, that maybe isn't the way it should be.Unknown:
Yeah, yeah, exactly. And, you know, we we live really busy lives, like, I think there's a certain threshold for symptoms that we're willing to tolerate before. We need, like, we go to see someone, and we're just, which is totally understandable. But yeah, you're right. Like, I think we get used to these things. And, you know, I think in acupuncture, because it's kind of an alternative practice, we do see a lot of people that have tried, they've tried taking like, acid, like proton pump inhibitors for reflux, and they've tried this and that, and they've tried probiotics. Sometimes I hate to say it, but acupuncture can be a bit of a last resort. It's not everybody's first idea of where to go. But we do have a lot of tools to kind of get at some of this unexplained like, I feel it I don't really know. It's not like diagnosed with as like something serious. But I want it to feel better.Kalee Boisvert:
Yeah, yeah, it feels like and now you've made it a bit more approachable for people. So hopefully, it's not a last pro. But yeah, give this a try. It's not so bad. I've had it done. Honestly, the needles, I don't like needles. And the it's not bad. Like I Actually you're right. Like it is very relaxing. And it was like, it was like probably my most relaxed that I had been when they were like inside of you. And it almost feels like you're meditating. And you're just you're completely relaxed. So I've had like, really good experiences when I've gone for acupuncture. Awesome. So don't be scared. Yeah. And it sounds like there's a lot of interaction to just understanding, like the questions you're saying that sounds like, that's a really important piece, because it's just getting the whole picture and really understanding the person. And obviously, like you said, everyone's unique, everyone's different. But getting that really clear picture is going to kind of help create a very unique, like, plan for everyone.Unknown:
Yes, it's definitely, like highly individualized. And then, you know, on on that subject like I, I practiced trauma informed care, which is coming up a lot more in all kinds of different health and wellness services, which is really about like, informing people of what you're doing and why and getting that ongoing consent, like, you know, so for people that have had, you know, more traumatic, same medical experiences or are nervous for whatever reason. You know, that's something that I'm highly aware of, and always like, working with the person to make sure that it's super comfortable and feels really safe.Kalee Boisvert:
Yeah, amazing. Key. Well, thank you. So that's been very informative. I think this is a great piece for anyone who's been considering it, heard about it, having those again, in those nagging issues, that it's like, maybe one day I'll solve it or go see someone or, you know, do it now and better, like sooner, the better. And again, we should be living our best lives and feeling your absolute best. I'm all about that. I'm like, get the services done and needed because you are your best investment. So people make sure you you do that. So how can people find you or reach out to you?Unknown:
Yeah, so I'm online. My website is Alex email@example.com. I'm on Instagram under the same handle. Those are kind of my most active platform. RMS and then, you know, I work out of spectrum massage therapy. I know you've interviewed Renee in the past on your podcast. She's the clinic owner there. And that's near Schneck. So, run my practice out of there, as well as small practice andKalee Boisvert:
bonus. Awesome. Okay. And I'll include that in the show notes for everyone. So thank you so much for your time. Before we wrap up, is there anything else that we want to add or say is kind of parting words before we wrap up?Unknown:
I mean, I guess just what you said, like, try acupuncture if you're looking for, you know, kind of a way to increase function and comfort and relax. It's yeah, but yeah, I thank you so much for having me on the show. I really enjoyed talking.Kalee Boisvert:
Thank you. Awesome. Thanks, everyone for listening in. And I will catch everyone on next week's episode as well. Goodbye for now.