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Episode 104 | Acupuncture, cupping, and alternative wellness therapies with Dr. Constance Bradley, our Modern Day Medicine Woman – Welcome to Charm School

Episode 104 | Acupuncture, cupping, and alternative wellness therapies with Dr. Constance Bradley, our Modern Day Medicine Woman

Dr. Constance Bradley,

Episode 104: Dr. Constance Bradley

 Dr. Constance Bradley, also known as “The Modern Day Medicine Woman” is a Nationally-Board Certified Acupuncturist. Dr. Bradley focuses on essential and cosmetic acupuncture as well as pain management and holistic wellness at her practice in Scottsdale, AZ.  When it comes to various types of medicine (eastern and western), training and experience levels can greatly vary.  Dr. Bradley received her “Mastery of Science in Oriental Medicine” where she attended a 4 year prgoram and then had to train, observe and learn for at least 1800 hours prior to even touching a patient. From that point, each certification heavily depends on which state you are located (and practicing) in. There is a National Board (Certification Program) that requires and certifies qualifying practitioners in some states. Bradley explains that not every state holds this regulation as it is not required to obtain in every state to practice. Arizona has a State Acupuncture Board, and you must be a nationally board acupuncturist to apply for a state license. Having this certification places her on a list with the highest level of education in her field.  Bradley also recommends choosing a provider that attended an accredited masters degree program, and searching for your professional (or a qualified professional) on the  Professional Locator Tool

So what exactly is acupuncture? Acupuncture is the the practice of inserting a needle into specific areas of the body to increase blood flow, and in turn create the process of healing. Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicine technique that is about 2500 years old.

Who is best suited for acupuncture? “Everyone.” Bradley states in a laughing tone while simultaneously remaining completely serious.  “And I don’t just say it because I do it and because I’m biased.” Bradley explains that Eastern medicine is based on prevention, which is a method of thinking both she, Annie, and Jena align with.  The theory behind acupuncture and other eastern medicine practices are designed to keep you healthy, so nothing ever happens. But, if Dr. Bradley had to name a few things off the top of her head that are improved with acupuncture, “Digestion, stress management, sleep quality, inflammation, relaxation, and pain management, to name a few.” she states, with complete confidence. 

Is Eastern Medicine gaining strides in the market when it comes to where it is practiced in the world, and specifically, the United States? “Absolutely” she mentions, while excitedly reporting that the Mayo Clinic and Treatment Cancer Centers of America are now utilizing these methods in their hospital systems.  

What are the differences between Cosmetic Acupuncture vs Essential Acupuncture? In short, she mentions “They are the same”. Dr. Bradley has noted that cosmetic acupuncture is being confused as of late as a new and trending procedure, but it originated at the same time as essential acupuncture. Cosmetic Acupuncture was originally a treatment reserved for the imperial court of China- we know…very fancy and intriguing! As we all know, everyone has always wanted to look young and have glowing and beautiful skin, just as they do now. Cosmetic acupuncture can help to stimulate blood flow, and promote more oxygen flow, nutrient retention, and a more glowing appearance to the skin. 

How often should someone have acupuncture? Acupuncture treatment recommendations can vary and are tailored to condition-specific treatment pathways. On average, Dr. Bradley says that some patients may need to be treated 3-5 times (once a week, on a weekly basis) to get them to the point that they are feeling better and to have achieved a better baseline. Otherwise, once her patients are feeling better and have signs of improvement, a visit to her office every 4-6 weeks for their tune up is usually perfect. 

cupping, massage, eastern medicine

What is cupping? You can breathe a sign of relief! Cupping is <another> relaxing treatment that is not the Michael Phelps horror story you may have imagined. Cupping works by using the opposite force that acupuncture uses as it utilizes a suction mechanism to pull toxins from the body. When having cupping performed, circulation is encouraged and good blood flow is stimulated (here’s where those circular hickeys come in to play) and then, a secondary rush of circulation occurs so your body can start to push the toxins out. 

How long do the suction marks last? A few days to a week. 

Is cupping painful? No. Annie reports her treatment feeling like a very relaxing, and therapeutic massage. Dr. Bradley mentions that this treatment can also be good for patients that may have anxiety, or want to practice grounding.  

What is Face cupping?  Facial cupping utilizes tiny, finger-sized cups that move continuously over your face to draw circulation and blood flow and is similar to a lymphatic facial, which can help with depuffing and promoting an overall glow.

gua sha, Jade Roller, podcast
Jade Rollers and Gua Sha tool

What is Gua Shua? Gua Shua is Chinese for “sand scraping”.  While the Gua Shua tools are sold online and are sometimes too easily available for consumers to use <improperly>, Dr. Bradley felt it was important to train the correct use so, Dr. Bradley became an educator and teaches Gua Shua courses that are available for purchase on her website. When Gua Shua is performed on the body hard enough, red “shaw” will come up to the surface and resemble red sand. When performed on the face, shaw can also appear if done inappropriately and not only look appalling, it can also cause potential nerve damage. While Gua Shua is a very helpful and approachable technique, Dr. Bradley stresses the importance that proper education is essential. If you plan to go to her (or another qualified practitioners office) to have the service performed, it can be done right before a big event to give you the most glowing skin.  Jade, Rose Quartz, and Amethyst Rollers, which can also be purchased online, are different than Gua Shua tools as they are designed to improve specific skin conditions. Dr. Bradley stresses that rollers are “of course, not going to give you a facelift”, but here are some of the things you can expect when using a roller designed for  your skin type.

Jade Roller  (green in color and a soapy/waxy consistency) can help with lifting and toning. 

Rose Quartz- (blush pink in color, and slippery) can improve circulation and de puff the face should there be any inflammation from environment, allergies, diet, dehydration, etc.  

Amethyst- (purple in color, and slippery) this color omits negative ions, and is good for acne or sensitive skin types. 

What could happen with Acupuncture gone wrong? Bruising (at minimum), nerve damage, and in very extreme cases, an emergent medical condition called pneumothorax (which is the collapsing of the lung if punctured by a needle). Again while this is rare, Dr. Bradley stresses the importance of credentials, technique, and why finding a qualified provider is so important.

Biggest Myth she would like  to bust with acupuncture?  “It should not hurt”. Dr. Bradley says the “Three things to expect with acupuncture are; nothing, a slight sense of pressure, or a feeling of heaviness or movement in the area being treated. A persistent poking or stingy feeling should not be expected, that would indicate the needle should be rearranged/moved. 

What does Dr. Bradley likes to do for fun and for her own “self-care”?– “I love to sew!” She finds the practice very relaxing, and she vowed that she would make her own clothes for the next year as a means to be green and do her part for the environment- very inspiring!

Favorite Beauty “Hack”- She loves all things natural, and shared that for a natural beauty tip/trick that she mixes beet powder and coconut oil to create an instant cream blush and lip color. 

People/Podcasts that inspire Dr. Bradley: Annie + Jena’s, “Herbal Academy”, “Planet Money”, and people who want to help and teach others. 

Dr. Bradley is one of the most inspiring people we know. For more information on acupuncture, cupping, or just all around awesome-ness, visit her her Website: and/or give her a follow at @drconstancebradley