Chicago Holistic Medicine
Robert Wallace LAc, LMT 773.248.4489

Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Treatment of Neurological Disorders with Acupuncture

Saturday, December 3rd, 2016

Alleviate Your Migraine and Headache Pain

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

Reflect on Your Health This New Year

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

Relieve Pain Naturally with Acupuncture

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

Treating Autoimmune Disease with Acupuncture

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

 

Treating Autoimmune Disease with Acupuncture

 

Over 50 million Americans suffer from autoimmune disease including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, thyroid disease, Addison’s disease, pernicious anemia, celiac disease, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis and Guillain-Barré syndrome. An autoimmune disease occurs when the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue. Due to the complexity of treating autoimmune disorders, integrative medicine solutions including acupuncture and Oriental medicine have received much attention as successful therapies in their treatment. Acupuncture is specifically noted for its use in pain relief, regulating the immune system, managing symptoms and improving quality of life.

What Causes Autoimmune Disease?

Under normal conditions, an immune response cannot be triggered against the cells of one’s own body. In certain cases, however, immune cells make a mistake and attack the very cells that they are meant to protect. This can lead to a variety of autoimmune diseases. They encompass a broad category of over 100 diseases in which the person’s immune system attacks his or her own cells and tissue.

The exact mechanisms causing these changes are not completely understood, but bacteria, viruses, toxins, and some drugs may play a role in triggering an autoimmune process in someone who already has a genetic (inherited) predisposition to develop such a disorder. It is theorized that the inflammation initiated by these agents–toxic or infectious–somehow provokes in the body a “sensitization” (autoimmune reaction) in the involved tissues.

As the disease develops, vague symptoms start to appear, such as joint and muscle pain, general muscle weakness, possible rashes or low-grade fever, trouble concentrating, or weight loss. Numbness and tingling in hands and feet, dry eyes, hair loss, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, or repeated miscarriages may also indicate that something is wrong with the immune system.

How Acupuncture Treats Autoimmune Disorders

According to Oriental medicine, autoimmune disorders occur when there is an imbalance within the body. Imbalance can come from an excess or deficiency of Yin and Yang that disrupts the flow of Qi, or vital energy, through the body. Acupuncture is used to help the body restore balance, treating the root of the disorder, while specifically addressing the symptoms that are unique to each individual.

Clinical research has shown that acupuncture causes physical responses in nerve cells, the pituitary gland and parts of the brain. These responses can cause the body to release proteins, hormones and brain chemicals that control a number of body functions. It is proposed that, by these actions, acupuncture affects blood pressure, body temperature and the immune system.

In addition to acupuncture, your treatment program to manage your autoimmune disorder may involve a combination of therapies, including stress reducing exercises, moderate physical activity, herbal medicine, nutritional support and bodywork.

To learn more about how acupuncture can safely and effectively be incorporated into care for people with an autoimmune disorder, please call for a consultation today.

 
 

Relief from Addison’s Disease Symptoms

Addison’s disease, also known as adrenal insufficiency, occurs when the adrenal gland cannot produce adequate amounts of the hormones cortisol and aldosterone. This can be a serious and potentially life-threatening situation, as the adrenal gland influences many essential functions in the body. The risk of getting this disease is the same for all people, regardless of age and other factors. Signs and symptoms may take months to appear, or they may develop very quickly and unexpectedly. 

When determining your diagnosis, all symptoms are assessed, even ones that may not seem directly related to Addison’s disease. This is because acupuncture and Oriental medicine has the unique ability to treat the whole person and not just the disease. This means each patient suffering from Addison’s disease could potentially have a different diagnosis and therefore a different acupuncture treatment plan.

For example, if a patient experiences muscle weakness and diarrhea as the main complaints, an acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioner may determine that spleen deficiency plays an important role in the way the disease presents itself. Perhaps this patient will receive an acupuncture treatment that emphasizes a strengthening of the spleen.

According to acupuncture and Oriental medicine, some functions of the spleen include keeping the bowel’s movements running smoothly and helping maintain muscle and limb strength. So, no matter what your specific complaints may be, acupuncture and Oriental medicine is equipped to help you manage the signs and symptoms of Addison’s Disease. 
Robert Wallace LAc, LMT
Chicago Holistic Medicine
1619 W. Montrose
Chicago IL 60613
773.248.4489
www.chicagoholisticmedicine.com
Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, Qi Gong, 
Reiki, Massage Therapy, Mindfulness 
Meditation & Diet/Lifestyle Counseling.
Please note our 24 Hour Cancellation Policy.
 
~The highest compliment I can receive is a referral for a friend or family member~
 

In This Issue

  • Treating Autoimmune Disease with Acupuncture
  • Relief from Addison’s Disease Symptoms
  • 6 Food Tips for Autoimmune Disorders

6 Food Tips for Autoimmune Disorders

 

A class of plant chemicals — known as bioflavonoids — has been found to dramatically reduce inflammation and improve symptoms associated with autoimmune disorders.

Tea
Both green and black tea contain the flavonoids catechins and theaflavins, which are beneficial in autoimmune disease.

Apples
Apples (with the skin on) contain the flavonoid quercetin, which can reduce allergic reactions and decrease inflammation. 

Quercetin also occurs naturally in other foods, such as berries, red grapes, red onions, capers and black tea.

Carrots
Carotenoids are a family of plant pigments that include beta-carotene. A lack of carotenoids in the diet is thought to promote inflammation. 

Good sources of carotenoids include apricots, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, spinach, kale, butternut squash and collard greens.

Ginger
Recent studies show that ginger reduces inflammation by inhibiting prostaglandin and suppresses the immune system’s production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, reducing disease severity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Omega-3
Omega-3 essential fatty acids can counter the formation of chemicals that cause inflammation. Good natural sources include flaxseed oil and salmon.

Fiber
A healthy and active colon can decrease food sensitivity, which, in turn, can lighten the burden on your immune system.

 
 
 
 

 

Keep Your Skin Healthy with Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Saturday, August 8th, 2015

 

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be very effective at treating skin conditions. Treatments can provide quick relief for acute symptoms, as well as significant and lasting relief from recurrent or chronic skin conditions. 

The skin reflects and reacts to imbalances within the body’s internal landscape and the effects of the environment. Internal disharmonies caused by strong emotions, diet, and your constitution can contribute to the development of a skin disorder. Environmental influences, such as wind, dryness, dampness and heat can also trigger or exacerbate skin disorders. 

To keep your skin healthy and beautiful on the outside, you must work on the inside of your body as well. Increasing the flow of energy, blood and lymph circulation improves the skin’s natural healthy color. Promotion of collagen production increases muscle tone and elasticity; this helps to firm the skin. Stimulating the formation of body fluids nourishes the skin, adding moisture and making it softer, smoother and more lustrous. 

General skin conditions that can be treated with acupuncture and Oriental medicine include acne, dermatitis, eczema, pruritus, psoriasis, rosacea, shingles and urticaria (hives). Evidence that acupuncture and herbal medicine have been used for skin disorders, such as hives, can be found in early medical literature dating back to 3 AD. Medicinal plants and stone needles were utilized to relieve and cure discomforts of the external areas of the body. 

Oriental medicine does not recognize skin problems as one particular syndrome. Instead, it aims to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual using a variety of techniques including acupuncture, herbal medicine, bodywork, lifestyle/dietary recommendations and energetic exercises to restore imbalances found in the body. Therefore, if 10 patients are treated with Oriental medicine for eczema, each patient will receive a unique, customized treatment with different lifestyle and dietary recommendations. 

Acupuncture views nutrition in a complex light, through the application of Oriental medicinal wisdom to dietary habits. In short, certain foods are considered too “yang”, or hot, to eat in excess during the warmer months, while others are prized for their “yin” ability to cool the body. Overall, the goal is balance between the internal yin and yang of the body. A healthy, nutritional diet, good sleep and moderate exercise can keep your skin and physical form at its best. 

If you suffer from a skin condition or would like to know how to optimize your skin health, call today to find out more about how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you

Chronic Dry Skin? Try Acupuncture!

 

When the superficial layer of skin becomes dehydrated due to changes in weather, allergic reaction, certain medications or bathing/showering, it may develop fine flakes and dry patches. The medical term for this condition is called xerodermia or xerosis, and it may be temporary or respond well to moisturizers. Unfortunately for some, this condition becomes chronic and causes uncomfortable symptoms that require professional treatment. If chronic dry skin goes untreated, there is a higher risk of secondary conditions like tears in the skin that lead to infection, rashes, eczema, cellulitis or thickening and darkening patches

According to the theory of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, the lung organ has important associations with any condition relating to dryness. One of its primary functions is to lubricate all the other organs, including the skin as this is the largest organ of the body. The skin plays an important role in detoxification. The lung is also known as “the delicate organ” due to its sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures.

To further demonstrate the relationship between the lung and dryness, the Neijing, a highly regarded acupuncture and Oriental medicine text, states that “the lung has a natural aversion to dryness.” Not only is the lung vulnerable to dry conditions, but when affected, it can cause conditions of dryness in other areas of the body. Therefore, a practitioner may diagnose a patient exhibiting symptoms of chronic dry skin as having a lung imbalance.

If you have concerns regarding your symptoms of chronic dry skin, contact us for a full evaluation to discover what imbalances within your body may be contributing to your symptoms!

Treating Hives with Acupuncture

 

Hives (urticaria) are swollen and red bumps, patches or welts on the skin that appear suddenly. Itching is the most common symptom associated with hives, although some people report that hives cause a stinging or burning sensation. 

Hives can occur anywhere on the body including the hands, face, lips, tongue, throat or ears. A sign that the whole body is experiencing a hypersensitivity reaction, a hives outbreak can occur due to a wide array of stimuli. While intolerance to certain foods, additives, intense emotions, sunlight exposure and medications can all cause hives; in 70-75 percent of outbreaks, the exact cause of hives remains unknown. 

Whether they last for just a few minutes, a few hours or persist for several weeks, hives are rarely a medical emergency. However in some cases, they are the first sign of a strong allergic reaction to something and can be accompanied by shock or difficulty breathing, which can be life threatening. About 20 percent of people will experience hives (urticaria) at some point in their lives. 

While standard treatment for acute cases of hives involves antihistamines or a corticosteroid drug to relieve symptoms, many people are turning to acupuncture and Oriental medicine to address underlying imbalances that cause this condition and help stop recurrent outbreaks.

In Oriental medicine, an outbreak of hives is described as wind invading the skin and the meridians, causing itching and swelling. When the eruptions are red, it is an indication that wind and heat are involved. When the eruptions are a pale pink or white, it is likely that the diagnosis will be wind-cold invading the skin. How the condition is diagnosed will determine what acupuncture points are used, what herbal medicines are prescribed and what lifestyle/dietary recommendations are made.

Treatments are directed at addressing both the cause and the symptoms by providing immediate relief from the itching and swelling and addressing the underlying imbalances and triggers that are causing the condition.

A study published in the Internet Journal of Dermatology examined the efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of chronic hives (urticaria). The results showed that acupuncture was able to reduce both episode rate and episode duration of urticaria by as much as 25 percent. After three weeks, the majority of the acupuncture-treated patients experienced partial remission of their symptoms. The researchers also noted that the greatest improvements were seen in the third week of treatments and that the efficacy of acupuncture seemed to increase with each treatment.

Finding Eczema Relief

 

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a skin disorder resulting in rough, red and itchy patches on the body. In addition, there can be a host of other symptoms and complications that can greatly vary between individuals. For some, small blisters may be present that when scratched, may bleed or ooze fluid and then crust over when dry. For others, a persistent need to scratch itchy skin may cause anxiety and sleep problems. Other symptoms of eczema include nighttime itching, red or brown skin discoloration, bumps that ooze fluid and harden when dry, scaly-looking, thick, cracked or dry skin, skin inflammation or sensitive, uncomfortable skin sensations. Complications that may arise from the symptoms of eczema include asthma, allergies, skin infections, insomnia, emotional problems or eye problems.

Usually, eczema is considered a chronic condition as it can take a long time to resolve. There may be long periods of remission, when the skin shows no symptoms. However in the presence of a trigger, such as pollen or dust, or after a stressful life event, symptoms of atopic dermatitis may come back. Other potential triggers for eczema include dry skin, bacteria and viruses, stress, excess sweat, hot and humid environmental conditions, wool, certain chemical cleansers and soaps, smoke/air pollution and certain foods like eggs, milk, wheat gluten or peanuts.

Due to the red and itchy nature of skin affected by eczema, acupuncture and Oriental medicine largely defines this condition as one related to heat. This manifestation of heat on the skin may stem from an internal imbalance (e.g. a weakened immune system), an allergic reaction (e.g. peanut allergy) or a combination of both these internal and external factors. 

According to the philosophy of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, there are many reasons why the body may succumb to a heat condition and lead to the manifestation of eczema symptoms. Strong or prolonged emotions such as anger, rage or jealousy may contribute to a pathological buildup of heat. Overworking may also be a contributing factor, as this may interfere with other activities such as exercise and things that bring joy and pleasure into one’s life. 

Each patient will have a different set of circumstances. At the time of your visit, mention any emotional or behavioral difficulties you feel may be related to your eczema. This way, a treatment plan can be developed that will address all of your symptoms.

www.chicagoholisticmedicine.com

In This Issue

  • Keep Your Skin Healthy with Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
  • Chronic Dry Skin? Try Acupuncture!
  • Treating Hives with Acupuncture
  • Finding Eczema Relief
  • Foods to Help You Look Your Best
  • Troubling Acne?

Foods to Help You Look Your Best

Be sure to integrate these items into your diet to help keep your skin look its best:

Vitamin A: Acting as an antioxidant to neutralize harmful elements in our skin, vitamin A helps to prevent wrinkles, resist infection and maintain the skin’s elasticity. One of the best places to get vitamin A is from vegetables that are deep orange in color, such as carrots or sweet potatoes.

Blackberries, Blueberries, Strawberries and Plums:Antioxidants and other phytochemicals in these fruits can protect cells from damage and disintegration, thus guarding against premature aging. In a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, these four fruits weighed in with the highest “total antioxidant capacity” of any food. 

Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs):Responsible for skin repair, moisture content and flexibility, and because the body cannot produce its own, EFAs must be obtained from one’s diet. Fish, walnuts and flaxseed oil are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids. 

Selenium: An antioxidant mineral responsible for tissue elasticity and healthy skin, selenium can be found in brown rice, turkey, tuna and Brazil nuts

Green Tea: Green tea’s ability to slow down the development of some signs of aging is attributed to its high levels of polyphenols, which have been well-documented for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. 

Water: Essential to maintaining your skin’s elasticity and suppleness, hydration plays a key role in keeping skin cells healthy. Hydration helps cells move nutrients in and toxins out to keep skin clean and clear.

Troubling Acne?

While acne is a condition that affects nearly 85 percent of all adolescents, the American Dermatologist Association reports that 20 percent of adults have an active acne condition. So, though some are led to believe that acne is a problem that only teenagers experience, the fact is that acne can impact any age group.

Acne often occurs when the hair follicles or pores become clogged from oil, dirt, dead skin cells, bacteria, environmental toxins or physical irritations on the surface of the skin. Hair follicles are connected to sebaceous glands, which secrete an oily substance known as sebum. Ordinarily, the secretion of sebum provides a luscious, healthy sheen to hair and skin. But there are times when the substance builds up, causing the pores to become plugged. 

For some, acne may just simply be a nuisance from time to time, but for others the problem is chronic. Not only do they suffer from frequent acne breakouts, but also acne scarring. What’s more, only as little as 11 percent of the 60 million Americans struggling with acne will seek professional treatment. 

If you are showing symptoms of acne, even if it’s not chronic and severe, you may want to consider an appointment. In addition to directly treating your skin condition through a personalized acupuncture treatment plan, you can also receive treatment if you experience emotional distress from your skin condition. Plus, if you seek treatment earlier rather than later, you may help reduce the incidence of permanent scarring.

Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine for Fibromyalgia

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine for Fibromyalgia

 

Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) affects an estimated 2 percent of the population. It is diagnosed when there is a history of widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body for a minimum duration of three months, and pain when pressure is applied to at least 11 of 18 designated tender points on the body. In addition to musculoskeletal pain, patients with fibromyalgia can suffer fatigue, sleep disturbance, memory loss, mood swings and digestive problems.

What is Fibromyalgia Syndrome?

From the perspective of western medicine, fibromyalgia is a medically unexplained syndrome characterized by chronic widespread pain, a heightened and painful response to pressure, insomnia, fatigue and depression. 

While not all affected persons experience all associated symptoms, the following symptoms commonly occur together — chronic pain, debilitating fatigue, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, depression, joint stiffness, chronic headaches, dryness, hypersensitivity, inability to concentrate (called “fibro fog”), incontinence, irritable bowel syndrome, numbness, tingling or poor circulation in the hands and feet, painful menstrual cramps or restless legs syndrome

On its own fibromyalgia does not result in any physical damage to the body or its tissues and there are no laboratory tests that can confirm this diagnosis. Symptoms often begin after a physical or emotional trauma, but in many cases there appears to be no triggering event. Women are more prone to develop the disorder than are men, and the risk of fibromyalgia increases with age. 

Research shows that up to 90 percent of people with fibromyalgia have turned to complementary or alternative medicine to manage their symptoms. Acupuncture, in particular, has become a popular treatment choice and has been shown to be an effective treatment for FMS.

An Oriental Medicine Perspective

Oriental medicine does not recognize fibromyalgia as one particular disease pattern. Instead, it aims to treat the symptoms unique to each individual depending on their constitution, emotional state, the intensity and location of their pain, digestive health, sleeping patterns and an array of other signs and symptoms. 

Since symptoms of fibromyalgia vary greatly from one person to another, a wide array of traditional and alternative treatments have been shown to be the most effective way of treating this difficult syndrome. 

Therefore, if 10 people are treated with Oriental medicine for fibromyalgia, each of these 10 people will receive a unique, customized treatment with different acupuncture points, different herbs and different lifestyle and dietary recommendations.

A treatment program may include a combination of psychological or behavioral therapies, medications, exercise, acupuncture, herbal medicine and bodywork.

Since pain is a hallmark symptom of fibromyalgia, an Oriental medicine approach will incorporate treatment for pain, though this may differ from western “pain management” therapies. The Oriental medicine theory of pain is expressed in this famous Chinese saying: “Bu tong ze tong, tong ze bu tong” which means “free flow: no pain, no free flow: pain.”

Pain is seen as a disruption of the flow of Qi within the body. The disruption of Qi that results in fibromyalgia is usually associated with disharmonies of the Liver, Spleen, Kidney and Heart systems.

If you have fibromyalgia, acupuncture and Oriental medicine may be what you’ve been looking for to ease your symptoms and reclaim your health and vitality. Please call for a consultation today.

 
 

5 Tools for Fibromyalgia Symptom Relief

Although fibromyalgia is a disorder that can be disabling for many due to chronic widespread pain and fatigue there are some things you can do to alleviate the symptoms and improve your overall quality of life.

Learn and Practice Stress Reduction Techniques
Chronic stress can lead to fatigue, depression, a weakened immune system, and a host of serious physical and psychological ailments. When under stress your muscles contract and tense affecting nerves, blood vessels, organs, skin and bones. Chronically tense muscles can result in a variety of musculoskeletal conditions and disorders including muscle spasms and pain. 

While it isn’t always possible to remove the external forces causing stress the ability to effectively deal with stress is a choice. Take time for yourself and cultivate the energy you need to handle your stress more effectively. 

Eat a Well Balanced Diet
Managing your diet may seem time-consuming but the benefits it offers make it worthwhile. Many fibromyalgia sufferers find relief through a properly managed diet. A list of basic nutrients to combat nerve sensitivities, improve cognition, boost the immune system, and reduce swelling is included in this newsletter.

Exercise 
While even basic movements may be painful, exercise helps restore strength and endurance. Tai Chi, Qi Gong or Yoga are great for easy stretches, careful strengthening, deep breathing, along with relaxation techniques. 

Gentle stretching will clear tension that builds when muscles tighten, and will improve overall circulation. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any exercise program. 

Meditate
The practice of meditation is a proven stress reducer that helps the body create a sense of calm and a continuing sense of well being. While 15 minutes daily is recommended, even 5 or 10 minutes can have a powerful effect on your day.

Restorative Sleep
Get at least eight hours of restorative sleep. Maintain a routine sleep schedule and make your bedroom a sanctuary from every day stress. Practicing good sleep hygiene will give your body an opportunity to get stronger and heal.
 

www.chicagoholisticmedicine.com

 
 

In This Issue

  • Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine for Fibromyalgia
  • 5 Tools for Fibromyalgia Symptom Relief
  • Fight Fibromyalgia with Nutrient Dense Foods
  • Fibromyalgia Study

Fight Fibromyalgia with Nutrient Dense Foods

The National Fibromyalgia Association recommends a balanced diet containing nutrient dense foods free of artificial additives and sweeteners to help your body fight fibromyalgia syndrome. Some key nutrients to include are:

B-Complex
Found in whole grains, beans, nuts, chicken, fish and eggs; B complex vitamins directly influence the nervous system’s proper functioning and combat nerve problems such as tingling and tenderness.

Magnesium
Found in nuts, grains, beans, fish, meat and dark green vegetables magnesium is needed for muscle flexibility and bone, protein and fatty acid formation. Magnesium is also integral in making new cells, relaxing muscles, clotting blood, aiding in calcium absorption and activating B vitamins.

Omega 3
Directly affecting cellular function, this fatty acid found in fish minimizes nerve sensitivity and improves cognition.

Vitamin C
Helps combat stress, builds the immune system and reduces swelling. Vitamin C is found in a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables including citrus fruits, green vegetables, tomatoes and berries.

Water
Increases circulation of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body and helps to eliminate waste.

Fibromyalgia Study

A study from the Mayo Clinic found acupuncture helpful in treating the fatigue and anxiety commonly experienced by fibromyalgia patients. 

In the trial, patients who received acupuncture to counter their fibromyalgia symptoms reported improvement in fatigue and anxiety, among other symptoms. Acupuncture was well tolerated, with minimal side effects. 

Those who received acupuncture treatments reported less fatigue and anxiety one month following treatment than the group that did not.

According to David Martin, M.D., Ph.D., lead author and a Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist, the study “affirms a lot of clinical impressions that this complementary medical technique is helpful for patients.” 

Dr. Martin performed the study with co-authors Ines Berger, M.D.; Christopher Sletten, Ph.D.; and Brent Williams. The study only examined patients who reported more severe symptoms, offering better experimental control.