The recent disaster in Southern California has been termed the worst firestorm San Diego County has ever seen by the San Diego Fire Department, with nearly 500,000 acres burned. Since Sunday October 21st, almost half a million residents have been forced to evacuate their homes and make their way to friend’s houses, hotels, or shelters. This is the largest evacuation in California’s history, and is considered a national disaster, warranting visits from the state’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as President Bush.
Local residents that did not lose their homes still suffered from extreme levels of anxiety and poor air quality, resulting in a decidedly tense county. Evacuees that had to spend days at local refugee center Qualcomm stadium found one source of care and diversion with Pacifc College of Oriental Medicine. PCOM’s San Diego campus came together in an effort to aid all ailments with a combination of acupuncture and massage. PCOM donated supplies, and its students, alumni, and faculty volunteered their services at Qualcomm Stadium. PCOM faculty member Bob Johnson worked to organize practitioners and graduates to provide acupuncture treatments for fatigue on the sites of the firefighting. Helio Medical Supply helped PCOM in this effort by donating needles and other supplies, while PCOM alumni Ryan Altman’s non-profit organization, the Alternative Healing Network, helped organize and execute the volunteer effort at Qualcomm.
Together, acupuncture and massage can provide relief for those who are stressed and are now facing respiratory problems. Acupuncture and massage can alleviate stress symptoms by releasing endorphins, the body’s own natural painkillers, and improving the circulation of blood and lymphatic fluids, which brings fresh oxygen to body tissues. Chinese acupuncture and massage also decrease the stress hormone cortisol, lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate, and relax muscle tissue.
Acupuncture and massage can also help with respiratory problems caused by an excess inhalation of smoke. Bronchospasms associated with asthma and other breathing problems result from over-stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system. Patients can therefore experience both a physical release from bronchial constriction, and also an emotional or psychological release from the fear of constriction and suffocation.
For more information on the volunteer efforts of Pacific College, please call (800) 729-0941. To make an appointment in our clinic, please call (619) 574-6932.