Lauren Dyer, Acupuncturist: Pointing the way to Integrative Health Care
As a senior in college, Lauren was grappling with chronic migraines and elevated stress, likely, as she reflects now, connected to four years of studying political science. It was a casual conversation with her mom recommending acupuncture that then dramatically changed the trajectory of her life.
Today, Lauren Dyer derives joy in her work in integrative medicine, knowing her treatments are bringing relief to many from pain, anxiety, insomnia, and that ubiquitous ailment, stress. “Acupuncture treats a wide variety of conditions,” says Lauren, “but is really applicable to anyone looking for relief.” She cites the success of acupuncture providing help for acute injuries, particularly with athletes like lifters and swimmers. However, many of her patients have come to her as a last resort, either because they just heard of acupuncture or because they have not found the answers or relief through other means of care.
At Empower Chiropractic and Acupuncture, which she owns and operates with her husband, Dr. Travis Dyer, Lauren is able to practice integrative medicine as a complementary health care option for many in Central Maine. Sure, the language of traditional Chinese medicine and Western biomedicine may seem at odds, but integrative medicine finds a respectful and healthy balance that works for all of their patients.
There are, she says, situations where she will call a physician right away, with consent, to discuss concerns about a patient. Opening those lines of communications has meant that more and more physicians are referring their patients to her for pain management. Having Travis, a chiropractor, as part of the practice means that she can refer patients to him if the issue is more mechanical, or structural, like a rib out of place. The end result is pain relief, which is at the heart of her motivation.
Becoming an acupuncturist is a fairly hefty commitment to training in medical theory, biomedicine and clinical internships. She put in well over 3000 hours in didactic and clinical training to achieve diplomate status from national licensing boards and become licensed. And she’s not done yet--she’s currently pursuing a doctorate degree to better bridge the gap between Eastern and Western medicine, especially as it can impact women's health and fertility. Much like the intensive training for physical therapists, this advanced course of study will improve her skills to interpret and integrate the treatments necessary for patient success. While there’s another six months before her doctorate is complete, Lauren believes she has the ideal opportunity to apply her learnings immediately, especially when it comes to explaining more than just the technical aspects of the treatment to her patients.
So what can a new patient expect when they walk through the door of Empower Chiropractic and Acupuncture?
Compassionate listening, according to Lauren. Whether it is for chiropractic care or acupuncture, both she and her husband, Dr. Dyer, spend time listening to their patient’s narrative. There is the recounting of a history of physical complaints/ailments, but also an understanding of lifestyle, and the role of health related to job or home. And most important is the goal for patients to thrive between and after treatments. Lauren and Travis provide custom dietary and lifestyle advice, stretches, and exercises--tools, which when coupled with Empower's integrative approach, promote care that is both individualized and sustainable.
Unlike chiropractic, acupuncture treatment involves needles, which is an issue Lauren likes to address right away. An acupuncture needle is the width of only a cat whisker and has a blunted, not sharp, tip. She shows her patients the needles and points out that TWENTY acupuncture needles would fit into the tip of ONE much larger hypodermic needle. Overcoming the needle phobia helps with deep breathing or use of relaxing essential oils. And, as Lauren notes, actual needle treatment lasts for only about twenty minutes, but the relief from pain and tension is much longer lasting.
When an issue is more related to muscle tissue or fascia, cupping is another treatment modality Empower offers. It can be described as a massage in reverse, where the muscles are opened up rather than kneaded as a way to bring healing oxygen and blood flow to injured tissue. But like all of the services they offer, Lauren is confident that she and Travis bring a refreshing and much-needed integration of biomedicine and traditional Chinese medicine under one roof. Lauren hopes that someday this integrative health care approach can become part of hospital services, especially in the emergency department or OB/GYN units. There’s so much opportunity there to get relief naturally, she says.
In the meantime, Empower Chiropractic and Acupuncture allows Lauren and Travis the opportunity to do the important and meaningful work they love. Best of all, they get to do it with the someone they love!