expert type icon EXPERT

Carolyn Shannon Sullivan, LIC. AC

Acupuncturist

Carolyn Sullivan is an acupuncturist practicing in Stoughton, MA. Dr. Sullivan evaluates and treats patients based on the concepts of oriental medicine. Acupuncturists complete their evaluations by getting a patient history and looking at and touching the body. Then, they place very fine acupuncture needles into specific points on the body. Stimulating these points and nerves is how Dr. Sullivan treats the patients condition. Many of the bodys systems respond to acupuncture, and it can treat physical pain as well as emotional stress.
10 years Experience
Carolyn Shannon Sullivan, LIC. AC
  • Randolph, MA
  • New England School of Acupunct
  • Accepting new patients

Is there an acupuncture treatment for weight gain?

Hello and thanks for your question. First of all, I am assuming you have gotten a thorough workup to make sure there is nothing physically wrong with you, correct? If so, READ MORE
Hello and thanks for your question. First of all, I am assuming you have gotten a thorough workup to make sure there is nothing physically wrong with you, correct? If so, and there is nothing medically wrong with you, as least in Western medical terms, then acupuncture may be able to help. I say "may" because it depends upon a multitude of things. First, you would have to be willing to see a practitioner on a regular basis. One or 2 treatments is not going to do it. Secondly, an herbalist may want to prescribe herbs for your condition. Thirdly, I would advise you to take a good hard look at your emotions. Are you eating or not eating out of guilt? Out of necessity? On a regular basis? Are you an emotional binge eater? Do you have past or present issues with anorexia or bulimia? Are you in therapy?

It's quite possible that this could be primarily a physical issue but there is most likely an emotional component to it. Have you had your thyroid level checked? Hyperthyroidism can lead to inability to gain weight.

So keeping all of that in mind, yes, acupuncture can be helpful if you are willing to be open and honest with your acupuncturist and take their suggestions. Together you can figure out the underlying causes and conditions and hopefully resolve your problem. Good luck!!

Does a daith piercing help with migraines?

I would suggest talking to your PCP about the possible dangers/side effects of these first. Acupuncture has enjoyed a lot of success with migraines and is quite non-invasive and READ MORE
I would suggest talking to your PCP about the possible dangers/side effects of these first. Acupuncture has enjoyed a lot of success with migraines and is quite non-invasive and safe. It has been used for thousands of years and can be very helpful when combined with lifestyle changes - diet restrictions, stress management, proper and regular sleep, and so on.
Good luck!!

Can acupuncture aid in autoimmune diseases?

Acupuncture has been shown to help with autoimmune disorders. In many cases, medications are needed as well, along with proper diet, rest and a healthy lifestyle in general. READ MORE
Acupuncture has been shown to help with autoimmune disorders. In many cases, medications are needed as well, along with proper diet, rest and a healthy lifestyle in general. Seeing an acupuncturist on a regular basis, not just during a flare up, is highly recommended. Autoimmune diseases are admittedly difficult to treat but with weekly treatment (if possible), the aforementioned suggestions and maybe adding herbal supplements to the mix is your best bet to see results.

Can acupuncture help with the cold?

Acupuncture can help accelerate the healing process or the shorten the length of the cold. It won't make it magically disappear, as the virus or infection has to take its READ MORE
Acupuncture can help accelerate the healing process or the shorten the length of the cold. It won't make it magically disappear, as the virus or infection has to take its course through the body. Acupuncture is great for building up the immune system which helps you fight off colds/infections. It can help lower the immune response, affecting histamine release, help unblock nasal passages, aid in headaches, relax you so you can get proper rest, and so on. But these results are best achieved at the onset of a cold.
Lifestyle choices such as poor eating habits, not getting enough sleep, improper hygiene, obesity, stress, etc. are in large part to blame. Some forms of the flu or viruses out there nowadays are quite virulent and even if you do take extra good care of yourself, you still may get sick. But one is less likely if you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables (vitamin C among many other helpful nutrients that promote immune system health), get enough and regular sleep, avoid stress, exercise regularly and so on. Chinese medicine recommends eating well cooked vegetables in the winter time. It aids in digestion and keeps you in tune with the natural rhythms of the body's cycles.
If wash your hands frequently in the winter that's great, but using good quality hand moisturizer is key to avoid skin breaks where viruses can sneak in. I personally think a lot of people spread germs through door handles. So use a glove or your sleeve when opening doors. Good luck and good health!!!

How can acupuncture help my lower back pain?

I'm so sorry about your back pain. Acupuncture can help relax tight muscles and calm or possibly eliminate nerve pain/impulses. If the problem is structural, such as a bulging READ MORE
I'm so sorry about your back pain. Acupuncture can help relax tight muscles and calm or possibly eliminate nerve pain/impulses. If the problem is structural, such as a bulging disc, you may need chiropractic treatment or PT. Have you had an x-ray or an MRI? I'd hate to think of you causing further damage by lifting the baby and everything else a new mother does if it is a serious condition that may require surgery. If it is extreme as you say, please get an X-ray ASAP. It may get better over time, but it most likely will get worse. Good luck

When is acupuncture not recommended?

Great question! Acupuncture can be an issue in hemophiliacs. But instead of using needles, different modalities can be used, such as magnets, gua sha, or acupressure to name a READ MORE
Great question! Acupuncture can be an issue in hemophiliacs. But instead of using needles, different modalities can be used, such as magnets, gua sha, or acupressure to name a few. Certain points are contraindicated in pregnancy, but a licensed acupuncturist (not an MD who learned acupuncture, but didn't get a license, or a PT who practices dry needling) will know what to avoid. Otherwise, I know of no other conditions in which acupuncture is not warranted. It can help build up the immune system in cancer patients, it has been used in lieu of anesthesia and so on.

How does acupuncture help boost the immune system?

That's a great question! Genetics and environment play a big part in immune responses but acupuncture can definitely HELP boost immunity. It will not CREATE a healthy immune READ MORE
That's a great question! Genetics and environment play a big part in immune responses but acupuncture can definitely HELP boost immunity. It will not CREATE a healthy immune system. Acupuncture can improve immunity by affecting inflammatory responses, lowering cortisol levels-which indirectly affect immunity, balance hormones, etc. All of these things can effect and be affected by STRESS!!! For instance, elevated cortisol levels can lower the immune response simply by feeling stress.
All this aside, even if you are getting acupuncture, there is no guarantee that you will not fall victim to the common cold or flu. Even those of us who are chronic hand washers, health nuts and long-sleepers can still be vulnerable to the many strains of viruses out there. But those that get proper rest, exercise and diet and practice stress reduction techniques have a greater chance of keeping colds at bay.

Can acupuncture cure hypertension?

In some cases, hypertension meds are most definitely warranted, as this can be a life-threatening condition. But if your case is mild and your doctor thinks it can be controlled READ MORE
In some cases, hypertension meds are most definitely warranted, as this can be a life-threatening condition. But if your case is mild and your doctor thinks it can be controlled with diet, exercise or acupuncture, then acupuncture may be able to lower blood pressure but I would never say it can cure anything. Acupuncture helps restore the body homeostatically, meaning balancing things that are out of balance to normal levels. Such as cortisol levels, blood pressure, respiration rates, hormones, blood sugar and so on. Engaging in activities such as tai chi, meditation, yoga, etc. can definitely lower high blood pressure over time. Removing yourself from stressful situations as often as possible will aid in this endeavor as well. Getting proper sleep, where you can reach deep REM sleep is key in balancing blood and hormones. Certain foods can help lower BP. Finding out which foods ( and it's not JUST salt ) can worsen hypertension may be worth some research. Good luck!!!

Should I get acupuncture for my fibromyalgia?

Acupuncture can help calm nerve impulse transmission by multiple means. It can lower cortisol levels, balance hormonal imbalances, lower high blood pressure, improve respiration READ MORE
Acupuncture can help calm nerve impulse transmission by multiple means. It can lower cortisol levels, balance hormonal imbalances, lower high blood pressure, improve respiration and so on. It does this by working on imbalances in the meridians (along which the acupuncture points are based) and aiding in maintaining a healthy balance. This may take some time, as fibromyalgia is a serious condition that doesn't just develop overnight.
Diet, sleep and exercise play a HUGE part in how your body responds to the condition as well. Seeing a dietician and seeking advice from your doctor as to how much sleep and exercise are recommended for you may be a good idea. Environmental factors such as humidity, living in a damp or moldy environment, excessive heat or cold can affect fibromyalgia pain. Of course, I'm sure you already know a lot of this. But doing further research on how to help yourself will only aid in your recovery and help decide if acupuncture is right for you.
Acupuncture needling and other modalities such as cupping, magnet therapy, gua sha, massage and so on can be very helpful. But the degree to which they help can vary from person to person. Needles may be too traumatic for some to handle. I have done acupressure on patients that are too needle phobic. That's massage in a specific therapeutic way on the points where I would have placed needles. The comfort of my patients is of the utmost importance and if needling causes severe pain or anxiety, then that is counterproductive to treatment. It's normal to feel a little pinch, or tug, people describe it in different ways. But it should go away within a minute and if it doesn't, or it gets worse, I take it out. There are other points that I can try.
I also would highly advise you to try some relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, tai chi, etc. These can help with sympathetic and parasympathetic responses to pain as well. Good luck!!!

How often should I get acupuncture?

Sorry, but there really is no pat answer. There are no "shoulds" in acupuncture. Really think about how you feel when you go in for a treatment and see how long the relief from READ MORE
Sorry, but there really is no pat answer. There are no "shoulds" in acupuncture. Really think about how you feel when you go in for a treatment and see how long the relief from anxiety lasts. In addition to acupuncture, I would highly suggest doing self-soothing exercises such as yoga, meditation, tai chi, etc. I find that taking several deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth really helps me to gain perspective. Allowing (unlabored) oxygen to the brain helps clear the mind, lowers blood pressure (over time), lowers cortisol levels and generally helps you to feel better physically and emotionally. Very often free classes of tai chi/meditation/yoga are offered through local or civil groups. You will find that engaging in these type of activities helps reduce anxiety, therefore, reducing the amount of times you need to get acupuncture. Good luck!!

How can acupuncture reduce my mental stress?

Although stress can most definitely be caused by external influences (work, deadlines, relationship issues, kids), our ability to handle stress comes from within. Those that READ MORE
Although stress can most definitely be caused by external influences (work, deadlines, relationship issues, kids), our ability to handle stress comes from within. Those that practice meditation, yoga, tai chi and the like, seem to have a better time handling stress. If you keep yourself balanced emotionally, the less the stressful situation will affect you. Proper diet and sleep can play a big part also. I find that taking deep breaths in through the nose, out through the mouth several times reduce my stress and help me to see things more objectively.
That being said, yes, acupuncture can help balance the system but there are a lot of things that you can do on your own to combat stress. Join a stress reduction support group. Practice tai chi/yoga/meditation. Really think about what makes you feel relaxed and do it often. Visit a pet shelter (if you like animals) and experience the relaxation and happiness that comes from holding a purring kitty!! Playing with kittens always works for me!!!
A lot of the stress in your life is truly in your hands to do something about! Thanks for writing and good luck!!!

Can acupunture decrease my body weight?

Acupuncture has been helpful with ASSISTING in weight loss, but in and of itself is not a cure-all. Building muscle by lifting weights is the best way to burn fat, but of course, READ MORE
Acupuncture has been helpful with ASSISTING in weight loss, but in and of itself is not a cure-all. Building muscle by lifting weights is the best way to burn fat, but of course, if you are building muscle, the scale will also reflect that. Be careful not to put too much stock in the number on the scale. Eating too much refined sugar, simple carbohydrates and not enough fruits and veggies are usually to blame for weight gain. Bad eating habits such as eating when you only have time, eating late at night or eating only one large meal a day will cause weight gain. Furthermore, if you have emotional issues regarding food, are a stress eater or a binge eater, I highly advise seeing a therapist. Good luck!!

How will acupuncture help my fibromyalgia?

Acupuncture works fantastic on most pain conditions, however, hereditary factors and hormones play a huge part in how you will respond to treatment. Environmental conditions, like READ MORE
Acupuncture works fantastic on most pain conditions, however, hereditary factors and hormones play a huge part in how you will respond to treatment. Environmental conditions, like dampness or mold can certainly play a role, but stress most definitely affects all chronic pain. There's no guarantee that acupuncture will help your fibromyalgia, as no medicine is a guaranteed fix. But partaking in relaxing exercises like yoga, meditation and tai chi have shown good results. If there is a pattern of negative thinking, as usually is the case with chronic conditions, you might want to try counseling, stress reduction techniques and take a hard look at your diet. Certain foods are known to cause inflammation and worsen fibromyalgia. Consulting with a dietician to see what your individual needs are would be your safest bet.

Does having acupuncture hurt?

You are correct that acupuncture is great for helping to relieve stress and headaches, among many other things. Most people liken the puncture of a needle to a mosquito bite. You READ MORE
You are correct that acupuncture is great for helping to relieve stress and headaches, among many other things. Most people liken the puncture of a needle to a mosquito bite. You will feel a little prick, but it's very quick and virtually painless. The needles are much smaller than hyperdermic needles and are inserted in the muscles and fascia, a dense connective tissue. The needles are then manipulated to activate the body's energy source, or qi. Tapping into that energy source is where the magic of acupuncture lies!!! Chinese medicine has been around for thousands of years for a reason....it works!!!