Chicago Holistic Medicine
Robert Wallace LAc, LMT 773.248.4489

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Recovering From an Injury? Need Pain Relief? Try Acupuncture!

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine for Musculoskeletal Issues

The musculoskeletal system consists of connective tissues including joints, ligaments, and tendons. Problems with the musculoskeletal system can result in inflammation and pain, and ultimately reduce the body’s overall health. Increasingly, people are looking for more natural approaches to help relieve painful musculoskeletal conditions instead of relying on medications.

Well known for its effectiveness in reducing most types of pain, acupuncture is also used to treat pain from injuries–specifically those predominantly due to trauma or overuse syndromes involving the musculoskeletal system and its soft tissues. Trauma to these soft tissues, including ligaments, tendons and muscles are generally the result from falls, blows, sprains/strains, collisions, compressions, crushing and disruptions of the healing processes due to inflammation.

Acupuncture is a good therapy choice because it has no side effects and can be helpful for all types of pain, regardless of what is causing the pain or where the pain is located. Some studies have shown the pain relief provided by acupuncture can last for months.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain before and after acupuncture treatment for pain shows dramatic decreases in brain activity by up to 70 percent. This decrease in activity in certain areas of the brain is thought to be the reason for the reduction of pain caused by the acupuncture treatments.

If you have musculoskeletal issues call today to see what acupuncture and Oriental medicine can do for you!

Oriental Medicine for Injury Rehab and Relief

After sustaining an injury, the healing process goes through two stages. The first is called the acute stage and is characterized by redness, swelling, inflammation and pain. The second is the chronic stage in which a patient may experience pain only when overusing the injured body part. Noticeable signs of inflammation may be nonexistent or minimal. In general, acute stages last from a few days to about three weeks, at which point any residual problems and pain are considered to have reached the chronic stage.

Physical trauma resulting from accidents, post-operative conditions, labor, disease or other causes requires different treatment for each stage of convalescence. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine provide a comprehensive treatment from the very beginning of an injury throughout recovery. To help rehabilitate a patient and provide pain relief after an injury, a practitioner may have to resolve a condition known as blood stasis.

Blood stasis, according to acupuncture and Oriental medicine, occurs when the flow of blood slows down and blood begins to congeal. The pain associated with this condition is fixed, sharp and with clear boundaries. This means the pain does not change locations and can be located precisely by the patient. A good example of blood stasis is a bruise on the leg. Judging by the color changes on the skin, unpleasant sensations and perhaps some puffiness, it is evident the leg endured a physical trauma. All evidence points to an eruption of blood vessels resulting in a small, visible pool of blood.

For a patient contending with the aftermath of an injury, getting back on one’s feet again may take a variety of modalities to provide pain relief and help in regaining full mobility and range of motion in the injured area.

If you have suffered physical trauma and still experience pain or other symptoms as you enter the chronic stage of recovery call for an appointment today!

Strengthening Exercises to Reduce Chance of Injury

One of the best ways to wake up is by giving your arms a great big stretch in the morning, and if you can get on your feet and throw your whole body into it, all the better. Deep stretches are an excellent way to stimulate blood flow and invigorate your body and mind. Not only do they feel good, but they can also be performed as strengthening exercises and help reduce the chance of repetitive stress injuries.

Repetitive stress injuries come in many different forms. A soccer player may contend with tendonitis in the knee from relentlessly kicking the ball across the field. A janitor may feel the pain of bursitis in the shoulders from mopping floors all day. Even sitting in an office for eight hours and typing may cause a person discomfort in the hands and arms, plus pain in the lower back from being sedentary for extended periods of time.

There are many benefits to stretching, even before a problem sets in. One may expect an improvement in posture, a reduction in stiffness from under-used muscles, and an increased flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. Perhaps one of the best ways to counter the effects of repetitive activities is through the practice of tai chi.

This style of exercise is flowing, rhythmic and meditative. The pace is usually slow to moderate. Some may even say those practicing look like they are engaged in a well-choreographed slow-motion dance. In China today, many people, some well into their golden years, can be found openly practicing tai chi in the local parks. Often, it is performed as a group activity, creating a supportive social environment as well.

Tai chi movements are very structured and coordinate with the breath to bring about a more tranquil state of mind. The gentle, continuous flow of the movements is well-suited for people of all different athletic ability. However, there are many common stretches that can also be safely performed at home if tai chi instruction is not readily available.

To help achy or tired arms and hands, try this finger stretch. Start by extending your arm in front of you, with your palm facing outwards. Spread your fingers and gently, one by one, pull each finger delicately toward your body. Spend a few seconds massaging each one if you feel inclined. When finished, wring out your hands by giving them a good shake.

Another good way to loosen up tension in the hands and forearms is to do the wrist stretch. Simply tap the insides of your wrists together 8 times and then do the same for the outsides of your wrists. Your fingers should be pointing upwards during the inner wrist move, and conversely, they will be dangling upside down for the outer move.

The shoulders may need some attention and loosening up, as they tend to become stressed without us even realizing it. Every couple of hours or so, take a few minutes to engage in shoulder rolls. Lift your shoulders as high as they will go while leaving the rest of your arms relaxed. Roll the shoulders forward three to four times, and then roll them backwards three to four times.

Sometimes life gets busy and it’s easy to forget ourselves as we delve into a project or work. Setting an alarm for every hour can help you remember to bring attention to those body parts which absorb stress easily. For many, these include the shoulders, jaw and lower back.

If reaching a level of physical comfort is proving to be difficult, call today for an appointment.

Tendonitis Relief and Recovery

Tendonitis is a painful condition resulting from inflammation of the tendons. Tendons are thick bands of strong fibrous tissue that link bone to muscle. Although they are designed to withstand extreme pressure, certain circumstances will produce swelling and pain in the area. Sometimes performing the same movements repetitively over a long period of time can lead to tendonitis. At other times, a sudden or jarring traumatic event can be the cause.

Repetitive motions from activities like gardening, cleaning, typing, and using the computer can lead to achy, inflamed tendons. Bad posture and not properly stretching before a substantial workout may also be a factor in the condition. As well, some diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or diabetes may lead to tendonitis.

Those over 40 years old are at a higher risk for developing tendonitis. Collagen fibers provide the force that binds all the components of the tendons together, but become weaker and less resistant to stress as we age. The result can be more tears and trauma inflicted on the tendons.

The areas most commonly prone to tendonitis include the base of the thumb, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees and the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon is located on the back of the foot, just above the heel. No matter what body part is affected, acupuncture and Oriental medicine may help provide relief and speed up recovery time.

According to acupuncture and Oriental medicine, conditions of pain may be caused by cold or heat, so one of the first things to be determined is whether the afflicted tendon is suffering from a hot or a cold condition. To help explain this, envision an avid tennis player with a red, swollen elbow. The pain is so bad that the arm cannot be used properly. There is visible swelling and the area is warm to the touch. This would clearly indicate a condition of heat, so massage and heat therapies would only aggravate the pain.

Now picture a retired gardener with pain in his right elbow. The pain is in a fixed location and slight swelling is visible. His body often feels cold, especially his hands and the elbow with tendonitis. Chilly, damp nights increase the levels of pain to the point where he needs to take pain relievers. Light massage and heat therapies alleviate the pain and feel good when applied. All factors point to a condition of cold. These two patients will receive largely different treatments since they do not share the same diagnosis.

If you experience stiff thumbs worsening on cold, winter nights, find your knees unable to take the pressure of your workout routine or worry you may have other symptoms of tendonitis call for an appointment today

Robert Wallace LAc, Director
Chicago Holistic Medicine
1619 W. Montrose
Chicago IL 60613
773.248.4489
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~

Sleep Disorders? Acupuncture Can Help!

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

Healthy New Year

Friday, January 6th, 2017

Releasing Stress for a Healthy New Year

The start of the new year is a time of looking forward to the future, setting goals and putting in motion the steps necessary to achieve them. Moving directly from a busy season immediately to actively working towards achieving goals can create additional stress and pressure to do well. Unchecked stress is often the cause of illness and deterioration of health. Finding a release valve for your stress can help you stay healthy. Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of acupuncture in treating stress, anxiety and lowering blood pressure. Together, acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help achieve the changes you seek as they assist in illness prevention, stress relief, minimizing aches and pains, improving energy and finding balance. 

As a normal part of life, stress enables us to get things done. Left unmanaged, however, stress can lead to emotional, psychological, and even physical problems. Stress causes a disruption in the flow of vital energy, or Qi, through the body. This can throw off the immune system and cause new symptoms or aggravate already troublesome health conditions and, over time, more serious illnesses can develop.

Stressful situations that last over a long period of time can create an ongoing low-level stress that puts continual pressure on the nervous system and can cause the overproduction of stress hormones such as cortisol. The extra stress hormones sustained over an extended period of time may wear out the body’s reserves, leading to fatigue, depression, a weakened immune system, and a host of serious physical and psychological ailments.

According to Oriental medicine, stress, frustration and unresolved anger can play an important part in throwing the immune system off and allowing pathogens to affect the body. Through acupuncture, these energy blockages can be addressed. Acupuncture points can help energy flow smoothly and alleviate not only the symptoms of stress and anxiety, but the stress and anxiety itself. Acupuncture improves circulation of blood throughout the body, which oxygenates the tissues and cycles out stress hormones like cortisol and other waste chemicals. The calming nature of acupuncture also decreases heart rate, lowers blood pressure and relaxes the muscles. 

In addition to acupuncture, Oriental medicine offers a wide range of tools and techniques that can be integrated into your wellness plan to keep stress in check. These tools include Tui Na, Qi Gong exercises, dietary therapy, meditations and acupressure that you can administer at home. Seasonal acupuncture treatments serve to nurture and nourish your kidney Qi, which can greatly enhance the body’s ability to thrive in times of stress and aid in healing, preventing illness and increasing vitality.

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 to cultivate the energy you need to handle your stress more skillfully and effectively. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing stress or a related disorder, contact us for more information about how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you regain peace of mind and stay healthy!

Finding Emotional Balance

At some point in life everyone deals with major upheavals or emotional distress. These events can trigger a host of unexpected feelings and behaviors, from depression and panic attacks to major disruptions in sleep and eating. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can alleviate symptoms associated with mental and emotional health issues by treating the root cause of the problem to help restore balance to the body’s internal environment.

Mental health disorders are medical conditions that can disrupt a person’s thinking, feeling, mood and ability to cope with the daily demands of life or relate well to others. Affecting people of any age, race, religion, or income, mental health issues are more common than you might think. In fact, experts estimate that a significant number of people report symptoms that indicate sufficient qualifying criteria of a mental disorder. Some mental disorders are less severe and can be easily managed with proper treatment. Other mental illnesses are more serious and require more extensive treatment, including major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder.

From an Oriental medicine perspective, mental health disorders can cause a disruption in the flow of vital energy, or Qi, through the body. These energetic imbalances can throw off the immune system or cause pain, sleep disturbances, abnormal digestion, headaches, menstrual irregularities and, over time, more serious illnesses. Acupuncture treatments can correct these imbalances and directly affect the way your body manages your mental health.

Oriental medicine does not recognize any mental disorder 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, lifestyle changes, dietary recommendations and exercises to restore imbalances found in the body. Therefore, if 100 patients are treated with acupuncture and Oriental medicine for anxiety, each of those 100 people will receive a unique, customized treatment.

Mental health issues are best managed when health professionals work together to meet the unique needs of each individual. Acupuncture is an excellent addition to any treatment plan as it is used to help the body restore balance, treating the root of the disorder, while also diminishing symptoms. 

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioners have the ability to detect energetic changes that occur in the body and relieve symptoms by restoring equilibrium. The physical and emotional symptoms that you are experiencing will help create a clear picture for your practitioner, from which a treatment plan can be created specifically for you.

If you or someone you know struggles with a mental health disorder, or if you would like to know how to optimize your mental health, please call to find out more about how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be integrated into your mental and emotional wellness plan today!

www.chicagoholisticmedicine.com

Robert Wallace LAc, Director
Chicago Holistic Medicine
1619 W. Montrose
Chicago IL 60613
773.248.4489
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

  • Releasing Stress for a Healthy New Year
  • Finding Emotional Balance
  • Walk Your Way to Relief
  • Practice Mindfulness

Walk Your Way to Relief

Taking a brisk walk boosts endorphins, which can reduce stress hormones and alleviate mild depression.

Walking also promotes health and wellness by putting gentle pressure on an acupuncture point on the sole of the foot known as Yongquan (Bubbling Spring).

This point is the start of the Kidney meridian. Stimulation of this energizing point can stabilize emotions and promote clarity of the mind, helping you to focus on your goals.

How To Stimulate Yongquan 

While Walking:
Let your heel tap the ground gently and feel your weight transfer fully to the ball and toes of your foot. Focus on breathing into your lower abdomen. Keep your shoulders relaxed and allow your arms to swing freely.

By Tapping: 
Use your fists to strike your Yongquan about 100 times on each foot. 

By Rolling: 
Gently roll a tennis ball under your foot while relaxing on the couch.

Practice Mindfulness

Being mindful is to focus awareness on the present moment, acknowledging and accepting what you are feeling and thinking.

Mindfulness enables us to let go of tension, increases our ability to form connections with others and deal with unexpected events.

Increasing mindfulness has many benefits, including improved mental well-being, including improved control of emotions and moods. It reduces stress, anxiety and other destructive emotions.

A small study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2015 showed that mindfulness meditation also improves sleep quality and helps fight insomnia

A variety of techniques can be used to cultivate mindfulness including tai chi and meditation. 

The word “meditation” comes from a Greek word that means “to be mindful.” Regular meditation creates a continuing sense of well-being, leaving us feeling confident and calm.

Source: Black DS, O’Reilly GA, Olmstead R, Breen EC, Irwin MR. Mindfulness Meditation and Improvement in Sleep Quality and Daytime Impairment Among Older Adults With Sleep Disturbances A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(4):494-501. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.8081

Health and Vitality

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

Magnify Your Memory and Learning Skills

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

Optimizing Women’s Health

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016
Optimizing Women’s Health
 

Men’s Health and Wellness

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

 

Men’s Leading Health Concerns

 

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine have been used to treat men’s health concerns for thousands of years and are growing in popularity. The reason for this growth in popularity is that many health issues that men face, such as high blood pressure, prostate problems and depression, respond extremely well to acupuncture treatments.

Primary health issues that affect men include:

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease is the leading men’s health threat, with heart disease and stroke topping the list as the first and second leading causes of death worldwide. By integrating acupuncture and Oriental medicine into a heart-healthy lifestyle, you can dramatically reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Taking even small steps to improve your health can reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease by as much as 80 percent. Steps to prevention include managing high blood pressure, quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing stress and getting better sleep. All of these issues can be helped with acupuncture and Oriental medicine

Acupuncture has been found to be particularly helpful in lowering blood pressure. By applying acupuncture needles at specific sites along the wrist, inside the forearm or in the leg, researchers have been able to stimulate the release of natural opioids in the body, which decreases the heart’s activity and reduces its need for excess oxygen. This, in turn, lowers blood pressure.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the leading form of cancer that kills men. Tobacco smoke causes 90 percent of all lung cancer, so you should make every effort to quit smoking for improved health and longevity. If you are ready to quit smoking, acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help.

Shown to be an effective treatment for smoking and other addictions, acupuncture and Oriental medicine treatments for these issues focus on jitters, cravings, irritability and restlessness–symptoms that people commonly complain about when they try to quit. Treatments also aid in relaxation and detoxification.

In one study on substance addiction, a team from Yale University successfully used auricular (ear) acupuncture to treat cocaine addiction. Results showed that 55 percent of participants tested free of cocaine during the last week of treatment, compared to 24 percent and 9 percent in the two control groups. Those who completed acupuncture treatment also had longer periods of sustained abstinence compared to participants in the control groups.

Depression and Mental Health

Men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women, reports the Men’s Health Network, which attributes part of the problem to underdiagnosed depression in men. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 6 million men have depression each year in America alone. It is now believed that the male tendency to hide feelings of depression and to not seek professional help has skewed previously reported numbers. Depression in men does not present solely as extreme sadness. Depression in men may present as anger, aggression, burnout, risk-taking behavior, mid-life crisis or alcohol and substance abuse.

When people are suffering from depression, brain chemicals and stress hormones are out of balance. Sleep, appetite and energy levels are all disturbed. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can alleviate symptoms associated with depression and mental health issues by helping to rebalance the body’s internal systems.

The growing body of research supporting the positive effects of acupuncture on depression, anxiety and insomnia is so strong that the military now uses acupuncture to treat troops with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and combat stress syndrome.

Prostate Health

The prostate is prone to enlargement and inflammation as men age, affecting about half of men in their sixties and up to 90 percent of men in their seventies and eighties. If left untreated, benign prostate gland enlargement, which presents with symptoms such as frequent nighttime urination, painful urination and difficult urination, can lead to more serious conditions such as prostate cancer, urinary tract infections, bladder or kidney damage, bladder stones and incontinence.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be used to treat prostate problems to relieve the urinary symptoms and prevent more serious conditions from occurring. The few studies completed on acupuncture and prostatitis show positive results, with participants noticing a marked improvement in their quality of life, a decrease in urinary difficulties, and an increase in urinary function.

Reproductive Health

While reproductive health concerns may not be life threatening, they can still signal significant health problems. Two-thirds of men older than 70 and up to 39 percent of men around the age of 40–report having problems with their reproductive health. Oriental medicine can help treat various male disorders. 

As men age, a decrease in the function of male reproductive organs occurs and they experience andropause, or male menopause. Andropause differs from menopause in that it is not characterized by a dramatic or marked physiological change. Unlike the more dramatic reproductive hormone plunge that occurs in women during menopause, changes in men occur gradually over a period of many years. 

Call now to see how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can improve men’s health and well-being!

 
 

www.chicagoholisticmedicine.com

 

In This Issue

  • Men’s Leading Health Concerns
  • Foods Men Should Eat Every Day

Foods Men Should Eat Every Day

 

Adding nutrient-rich super foods can help maintain muscle mass, prevent prostate cancer, and more. Here are just a few foods that can give men a healthy boost: 

Avocados – Avocados are a good source of vitamin K, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, folate and copper. Rich in potassium, avocados contain more of this nutrient than bananas. Potassium is needed to regulate nerves, heartbeat and, especially, blood pressure. An added bonus for men: Avocados inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells. 

Blackberries – Blackberries are packed with vitamin C, calcium and magnesium, with more than double the amounts than their popular cousin, the blueberry. Vitamin C is a powerful stress reducer that can lower blood pressure and return cortisol levels to normal faster when taken during periods of stress. Magnesium and calcium act together to help regulate the nerves and muscle tone. 

Too little magnesium in your diet can cause nerve cells to become overactivated and can trigger muscular tension, soreness, spasms, cramps and fatigue. Blackberries also score high on the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) scale, which assesses the antioxidant content of food. The higher the score, the better the food’s ability to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals that lead to cancer. 

Spinach – Spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence. Spinach can help protect against prostate cancer, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, lower blood pressure and strengthen muscles.

Walnuts – When it comes to their health benefits, walnuts are the king of nuts. Richer in heart-healthy omega-3s than salmon, loaded with more antioxidants than red wine, and packing half as much muscle-building protein as chicken, walnuts are one of the all-time superfoods.

Yogurt – Eating yogurt that contains live bacterial cultures every day improves digestive health, boosts the immune system, provides protection against cancer and may help you live longer. Not all yogurts are probiotic though, so make sure the label says “live and active cultures.”

 
 
 

Strengthen Your Digestive Health with Acupuncture

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

 

Strengthen Your Digestive Health with Acupuncture

 

More than 95 million Americans suffer from digestive disorders ranging from constipation, diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome to more serious conditions such as acid reflux (GERD), ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. In fact, more than 35 million physician office visits a year are due to gastrointestinal complaints. Reports confirm that acupuncture and Oriental medicine can offer relief from even the most complex digestive problems.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Digestive Disorders

Evidence that Oriental medicine has been used for digestive disorders can be found in early medical literature dating back to 3 AD, where specific acupuncture points and herbal formulas for borborygmus (rumbling or gurgling in the intestines), abdominal pain and diarrhea with pain are discussed.

According to Oriental medical theory, most digestive disorders are due to disharmony in the spleen and stomach. The spleen plays a central part in the health and vitality of the body, taking a lead role in the assimilation of nutrients and maintenance of physical strength. It turns digested food from the stomach into usable nutrients and Qi (energy). Many schools of thought have been formed around this organ; the premise being that the proper functioning of the “middle” is the key to all aspects of vitality.

By taking into account a person’s constitution and varied symptoms, a treatment plan is designed specifically for the individual to bring their “middle” back into harmony and optimize the proper functioning of the digestive system. A variety of techniques can be used during treatment including acupuncture, lifestyle/dietary recommendations and energetic exercises to restore digestive health.

Is your digestive system functioning as well as it could? Acupuncture and Oriental medicine are extremely effective at treating a wide array of digestive disorders. Call today for more information or to schedule an appointment.

 
 

Relief for Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is part of a category of diseases called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and it presents with inflammation in the lining of the large intestine, specifically the colon and sometimes the rectum. The lining becomes inflamed due to small wounds or ulcers, which then produce mucus and pus.

To be more specific, the condition occurs when the body mistakenly identifies food or other substances as foreign invaders. White blood cells are called up as part of an immune response, which proceed to cause inflammation and damage in the large intestine. Flare-ups may be triggered by stress, infections and certain anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen. However, the exact cause of ulcerative colitis is not known, but medical researchers suspect a link between a person’s genetics, general state of the immune system and environmental factors.

Most people start showing symptoms in their 30’s since the disease advances slowly over time, and men and women are equally as likely to be affected. Children are also at risk and, in general, the younger a child is the more likely the symptoms and complications will be severe. Growth and mental development may be a problem in this case.

As there can be weeks or even months without a patient experiencing symptoms, when they do occur, they are referred to as flare-ups. The inflammation and ulceration associated with ulcerative colitis can cause pain and different problems, including frequent, watery diarrhea, persistent diarrhea with pain and bloody stool, urgent bowel movements, incomplete evacuation of the bowels despite a feeling of urgency, abdominal cramping, loss of appetite, weight loss, body fluid depletion, fatigue, fever or urgent diarrhea that wakes you up in the middle of the night.

The symptoms and how long they occur for can vary widely for each patient. Many sufferers report only minimal or moderate symptoms, while others experience life-threatening complications such as severe dehydration and major bleeding from the colon.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine is equipped to handle the symptoms of ulcerative colitis as demonstrated by a meta-analysis of different scientific studies conducted since the 1990’s. A team of researchers conducted a wide-scale analysis of 43 randomized, controlled trials investigating the efficacy of acupuncture and moxibustion for the treatment of irritable bowel disease. Of those 43 trials, 42 specifically analyzed and addressed ulcerative colitis.

Researchers then focused on 10 scientific studies that compared the use of acupuncture and moxibustion to the use of oral sulphasalazine for symptom relief. Sulphasalazine is a doctor-prescribed pharmaceutical drug that is commonly used in the treatment of ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis. After analyzing the studies, researchers concluded “acupuncture and moxibustion demonstrated better overall efficacy than oral sulphasalazine in treating inflammatory bowel disease.” This meta-analysis was performed by a team at the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Shanghai, China. The study was published in the 2013 issue of Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a peer-reviewed medical journal covering alternative medicine.
 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Acupuncture

A common disorder affecting 10 to 20 percent of adults at some point in their lives, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) was once called “spastic colon” and has a combination of symptoms that may include constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, fatigue and headaches that can be worsened by certain foods, stress and other irritants. IBS is the end result of nervous interference with the normal function of the lower digestive tract. The symptoms are variable and change over time.

While other patterns may be present, IBS is typically considered a disharmony between the liver and the spleen in Oriental medicine. The liver is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi and blood throughout the body. This flow can be upset by emotions or stress, causing stagnation of Qi or blood. Oriental medicine views the spleen as being associated with the function of digestion and transforming food into energy (Qi and blood). The spleen can be weakened by a number of factors, including overeating unhealthy foods, overwork, stress, fatigue and lack of exercise. When the spleen is weak and the liver is not moving smoothly, the liver overacts on the spleen and can manifest as symptoms of IBS. Symptoms can be managed by avoiding overeating, exercise, identifying trigger foods and reducing stress.

Do you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Call today to see how Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can improve your quality of life!
 

Crohn’s Disease Symptom Relief

Crohn’s disease is a medical condition that can cause chronic inflammation anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract–from the mouth all the way to the rectum. Often, but not always, the inflamed tissue is specifically found in the ileum (the end of the small intestine) and the beginning of the colon. Inflammation can spread into the deeper layers of the tract and frequently has what is known as a “cobblestone appearance.” This refers to the fact that some patches of diseased tissue are found next to patches of healthy tissue.

Although all age groups are equally at risk, people 15-35 years old are most commonly affected. Crohn’s is a difficult condition to cure, so the main focus of treatment is to help manage symptoms with medication and dietary changes and, in some cases, surgery to repair or remove affected areas of the gastrointestinal tract. Because the disease is chronic, the individual may experience periods of flare-ups and aggravating symptoms, while at other times the person will have periods with no apparent symptoms at all.

Symptoms vary from patient to patient, and may include persistent, recurrent diarrhea, bleeding from the anus, urgent need to evacuate the bowels, constipation or feeling of incomplete evacuation, abdominal cramping, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue, mental and physical developmental delays (in certain cases occurring amongst children), fever, night sweats, or irregular menstrual cycle

It is important to receive an early diagnosis as untreated Crohn’s disease can eventually cause life-threatening symptoms such as tears in the lining of the rectum and fistulas. Fissures can cause excess bleeding and pain. Fistulas happen when inflammation erodes tissue, causing the formation of a tunnel starting from the intestines, going to the urinary bladder, vagina or even the skin.

A study called Acupuncture Helps Crohn’s Disease Patients was published in the journal World of Gastroenterology, and it had some very promising results. It concluded that “acupuncture provided significant therapeutic benefits in patients with active Crohn’s disease, beyond the placebo effect and is therefore an effective and safe treatment.” Even more encouraging, researchers also discovered that both lab scores and quality of life scores improved. This means that acupuncture and Oriental medicine is adept at handling the physical and emotional symptoms that often accompany the disease.

For the study, the acupuncture points selected for treatment focused on reducing inflammation in the intestinal tract. Each participant received three treatments per week for a total of 12 weeks. Additionally, moxibustion (moxa) was also used on four acupuncture points on the stomach. Moxa is a traditional technique that uses the smoke from the herb mugwort to penetrate the skin. In this way, it stimulates the body’s immune system. Often, the warm smoke provides a pleasant, comforting experience for the patient.

Diet is very important and the right choices can help reduce some symptoms. In general, acupuncture and Oriental medicine suggests refraining from eating raw and cold foods. 

Call today to learn more about how diet can impact the symptoms of Crohn’s.
 

www.chicagoholisticmedicine.com

 

In This Issue

  • Strengthen Your Digestive Health with Acupuncture
  • Relief for Ulcerative Colitis
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Acupuncture
  • Crohn’s Disease Symptom Relief
  • Reduce Your Risk of Getting Food Poisoning
  • Acid Reflux? Try Acupuncture!

Reduce Your Risk of Getting Food Poisoning

 

Four simple steps to reducing the occurrence of food poisoning are to clean, separate, cook and chill.

Clean: Wash hands, surfaces, utensils and platters often. Rinse all produce in cold running water before peeling, cutting or eating.

Separate: Keep foods that won’t be cooked separate from raw meat and poultry. Don’t use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meats and poultry.

Cook: Cook food to a safe minimum internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria.

Chill: Refrigerate any leftovers promptly in shallow containers.

If you are ill with diarrhea or vomiting, do not prepare food for others, especially infants, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems since they are more vulnerable to infection.

 

Acid Reflux? Try Acupuncture!

For some people, eating a heavy, spicy or fatty meal can produce the unmistakable signs of acid reflux. Symptoms can vary from a burning pain in the chest to a sour taste in the mouth as stomach acid and/or regurgitated food flows upward through the esophagus into the oral cavity. Although some may refer to these symptoms collectively as heartburn, the process is the same no matter what it is called. Additionally they may experience difficult or painful swallowing, sore throat, a dry, rough voice, or feeling of a lump in the throat that cannot be cleared away.

It is estimated that more than 20 percent of the general population is affected by acid reflux. While other groups are impacted, at least half of all asthmatic children experience symptoms, and pregnant women tend to suffer more than the average population, with half reporting severe symptoms during their second and third trimesters.

While it’s true for some people that symptoms can be mild or pass quickly, others go on to experience more severe ones. Sometimes, symptoms of acid reflux can mimic the symptoms of a heart attack. This includes severe chest pain and a crushing sensation in the chest. Also of concern is the presence of black, tarry stools or black material in vomit. These are signs of bleeding in the stomach, a serious medical concern.

An acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioner may recognize the symptoms of acid reflux as relating to the stomach organ. Two examples of diagnoses would be rebellious stomach Qi and food accumulation in the stomach. Qi is a vital energy necessary for all life to exist. Both of these diagnoses call for an acupuncture treatment that will redirect energy downwards, as should naturally happen just after eating or drinking. Rebellious stomach Qi is a perfect description for some of the symptoms of acid reflux.

The stomach, according to the philosophy of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, is needed to ripen and rot food. After this process of fermentation occurs, only then may the nutrients be extracted during the next phase of digestion. Without strong stomach Qi, issues regarding malnutrition may arise. This is why an acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioner will need to evaluate a patient with acid reflux and address any nutritional deficiencies that may be present. Diet is very important in helping to calm symptoms.

Suffering from acid reflux? Call today to see how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you!

Enhance Your Endocrine Health With Acupuncture

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

Enhance your Endocrine Health with Acupuncture

The endocrine system is responsible for hormonal functions in the body and produces 30 distinct hormones, each of which has a very specific job to do. This system controls your physical growth, mood, hormone output, reproduction, mental functionality and immune system. When not working properly, you become more susceptible to disease and your ability to fight off infection is weakened. Endocrine glands and how they function impact every area of your health. 

The keystone of acupuncture and Oriental medicine has always been awakening the body’s natural intelligence to heal itself and restore balance to the system of energy pathways (called “meridians”) in the body. If the meridians within your body have become depleted, you can suffer from fatigue, infertility, weight gain, depression, digestive problems, hair loss, arthritis and feeling chilled no matter the temperature. 

What are the endocrine glands and what do they do?

The major endocrine glands include the adrenals, pancreas, pineal, pituitary, reproductive and thyroid glands. 

Adrenals – Adrenal glands regulate the body’s response to stress and are made of two parts, each of which secretes a separate set of hormones. The outer part produces corticosteroid hormones that regulate the balance of salt and water, stress response, metabolism, immune function, as well as the development and function of the reproductive system. The inner part secretes adrenaline hormones that increase blood pressure and heart rate in response to stress. Over time, chronic elevated stress levels can lead to weight gain, decreased resistance to infections, fatigue, muscle aches and low blood sugar.

Pancreas – The pancreas produces insulin and glucagon, two hormones that work together to provide the body`s cells with a constant supply of energy in the form of glucose. 

Pineal – The pineal gland is also known as the epiphysis cerebriepiphysis, or the “third eye.” It produces the serotonin derivative melatonin, a hormone that affects the modulation of wake/sleep patterns and seasonal functions.

Hypothalamus and Pituitary – These are a collection of specialized cells that provide the primary link between the endocrine and central nervous systems. Nerve cells and hormones signal the pituitary gland to secrete or suppress the release of various hormone messages to the other glands. The pituitary gland is also responsible for secreting growth hormones.

Reproductive – These glands secrete hormones that control the development of male and female characteristics. In males, these glands secrete androgen hormones, most importantly testosterone. In females, they produce estrogen, progesterone, eggs, and are involved in reproductive functions.

Thyroid – Thyroid hormones control the growth, temperature and function of every cell in the body. The gland acts as the metabolic engine of the body — if it secretes too little hormone, the body slows and dies; if it secretes too much, the body burns out and dies.

When treating a suspected endocrine condition with acupuncture and Oriental medicine, the practitioner seeks the root cause of the patient’s imbalance. The endocrine system is closely tied to the internal balance of the Yin energy and the Yang energy. Imagine that the Yang energy is like gasoline that fuels a car, and Yin energy is the engine coolant. Without the coolant, the engine overheats and burns out. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine work to make sure the Yin and Yang are equal within the body to restore balance. 

The root of the body’s energy in Oriental medicine is the kidney meridian, so strengthening that meridian also restores nourishment to your endocrine glands. Acupuncture can be used to restore hormonal balance, regulate energy levels, smooth emotions, and help manage sleep and menstrual problems.

Many patients benefit from an integrated Eastern and Western medical approach to endocrine health. The strong point of Western medicine is intervention in life-threatening illness, whereas the strong point of Eastern medicine is increased quality of life. Therefore, it is optimal to have both Eastern and Western medicine options available for the most comprehensive care. 

A healthy endocrine system that continues to secrete adequate amounts of hormones will slow the aging process and keep you vibrant and healthy as you age. 

Call or Email Today for a consultation to see how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can assist you with your endocrine health and help you to live a long, healthy life!

Cultivate Optimal Endocrine Health

The endocrine system regulates the body through hormonal secretions. Cultivating your endocrine health, combined with proper nutrition and diet, can boost energy, improve appetite, reduce insomnia, relieve depression symptoms, improve circulation, relieve muscle aches and assist you in recovering from endocrine disorders. An easy way to improve the health of your endocrine system is to eat nutritious meals and maintain a well-balanced diet.

A few basic steps you can take to enhance your endocrine health are:

Eat Slowly – Don’t rush through your meals. Allowing your body to properly digest food reduces after-meal fatigue, boosts your immune system and enables your endocrine system to properly process nutritional intake.

Exercise – Regular exercise boosts the immune system, improves cardiovascular health and muscle mass, and prevents bone loss. Stress-reducing exercises such as yoga, Qigong, or Tai Chi can also be beneficial.

Manage Your Stress – An important part of maintaining a healthy endocrine system is stress management. Stress can cause the overproduction of hormones, leading to the malfunction of endocrine organs.

Rest – Take a day out of the week for rest and rejuvenation, allowing your mind and body to recover.

Sleep – Get 6-8 hours of sleep per night in order to reduce stress and keep hormones balanced. Stress and a lack of sleep may cause some of the glands to malfunction.

Stress and your Immune System

Long term stress directly affects the function of the immune system. When you are under stress, the adrenal glands secrete cortisol which depresses the function of the immune system. Over time the immune system becomes unbalanced and confused. It may start attacking healthy body tissues which can create an autoimmune disorder. Acupuncture addresses these issues on a number of levels. All acupuncture treatments help to reduce the effects of stress on the body. This reduces inflammation and allows the adrenal glands to more effectively regulate the production of cortisol which rebalances the function of the immune system. Acupuncture also helps reduce the symptoms you are experiencing. Treatments also improve your quality of sleep which is when you body heals and regenerates itself. Call or email today for a no charge consultation to find out how acupuncture can help you reclaim you health.

In This Issue

  • Enhance your Endocrine Health with Acupuncture
  • Cultivate Optimal Endocrine Health
  • 5 Nutrients to Support Your Endocrine Health
  • Massage Taixi When Fatigued

5 Nutrients to Support Your Endocrine Health

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein are part of any healthy diet. To directly affect your endocrine system, make sure your diet includes these foods: 

Fish – Fish provides your body with Omega-3, Omega-6 and Omega-9 oils. These oils are fats that directly affect cognitive function, cellular function and kidney function–all the things under the control of the endocrine system. Eating fish twice a week will aid in keeping a balanced endocrine system. 

Garlic – Garlic boosts your immunity, which increases your ability to fight off infection. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels. One or two cloves of garlic a day is recommended. Include it in your cooking!

Calcium – Calcium keeps nerves healthy and ensures their ability to communicate effectively. Milk, cottage cheese, cheese, leafy greens, dried beans and yogurt are all rich in calcium. 

Vitamin B and B Complex – These vitamins directly influence the nervous system’s proper functioning and health, as well as one’s physical and mental performance concerning the nervous system. Vitamin B and B complex are found in chicken, fish, eggs, whole grains, beans and nuts.

Vitamin C – Adrenal glands have a very high content of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). This vitamin helps the adrenal glands produce more of the disease-fighting hormone cortin. A continued stressful environment depletes vitamin C reserves and increases the tendency for infection and disease. Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, melons, apricots, strawberries, berries, green vegetables, sweet peppers and tomatoes

Massage Taixi When Fatigued

Taixi, or Kidney 3, is the source point of the kidney meridian and an excellent point to massage whenever feeling fatigued. 

To locate Taixi, first locate the medial malleolus, that bone on the inner ankle. Then, locate the Achilles tendon that runs down the back of the ankle. Directly between them you will find the tender area when you press. 

Massage the area on your ankle between the bone of inner malleolus and the Achilles tendon.

 

Managing Diabetes with Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

Managing Diabetes with Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

 

It is estimated that 25.8 million men, women and children in the United States have diabetes, a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 4 people remain unaware that they live with diabetes. Sometimes the body will give warning signs that help your physician or acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioner make an early diagnosis. It is important to get a diagnosis as soon as you suspect that diabetes may be a problem for you, as untreated diabetes affects the whole body and can lead to other medical problems, including heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, peripheral neuropathy, digestive disorders and periodontal disease. 

In order to manage this condition, it is essential for people with diabetes to make healthy lifestyle choices in diet, exercise and other health habits. Another important factor when treating diabetes is creating a support team of health care professionals, including a licensed acupuncturist.

Diabetes According to Oriental Medicine

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine have been used to treat diabetes for over 2000 years. According to Oriental medicine, diabetes is caused by an imbalance of the cyclical flow of Qi within the meridians and organ systems. This particular imbalance produces heat that depletes the body’s fluids and Qi, causing symptoms such as extreme fatigue, lethargy, unexplained weight loss, excessive thirst, excessive urination, excessive eating, slow healing of cuts and wounds, infections, irritability, tingling or numbness in the extremities, and blurry vision. 

Offering a holistic approach that is beneficial in the treatment of diabetes, acupuncture and Oriental medicine provides a treatment plan specifically tailored to the needs of each individual to provide relief of the symptoms associated with diabetes. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can assist the body by helping it return to its normal healthy functioning state.

In addition to acupuncture, a variety of techniques may be used during treatment, including bodywork, lifestyle/dietary recommendations, energetic exercises and herbal medicine. The treatment for diabetes will focus on regulating the circulation of blood and Qi and balancing the organ systems to improve pancreatic function and address internal heat and the depletion of fluids.

Call today to learn more about how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be used to manage your diabetes and improve your overall health and well being!

 
 

Acupuncture Treats Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy describes damage to the peripheral nervous system, which transmits information from the brain and spinal cord to every other part of the body. Peripheral means ‘situated on the edge.’ Neuropathy breaks down into two separate words, both of which originate from the Greek language. Neuro means ‘relating to nerves or the nervous system,’ and pathy means ‘disease condition’ or ‘suffering.’ Nerves serve as pathways of communication between the brain and the rest of the body. When something interrupts this process, signs of peripheral neuropathy may occur. 

Common signs of peripheral neuropathy include tingling, numbness, loss of sensation, muscle weakness and pain. For some people, it is experienced as the uncomfortable sensation of “pins and needles”, or burning pain (especially at night) of their hands or feet. Others may suffer even more extreme symptoms such as muscle wasting, paralysis, or organ or gland dysfunction. 

In most cases, peripheral neuropathy is secondary to another condition. There are many factors that can bring about peripheral neuropathy including diabetes, malnutrition, drugs, viral and bacterial infections, alcoholism and poison exposure. Other causes of peripheral neuropathy include compression or entrapment (such as carpal tunnel syndrome), direct physical injury to a nerve, fractures or dislocated bones, penetrated injuries, and pressure involving superficial nerves that can result from prolonged use of crutches, staying in the same position too long, tumor, intraneural hemorrhage, exposure to cold, radiation or atherosclerosis.

With more than 100 types of peripheral neuropathies in existence, each with its own characteristic set of symptoms, pattern of development, and prognosis, the symptoms can vary as much as the cause. Nevertheless, peripheral neuropathy is a symptom for many different patterns of disharmony within the body and is a condition that can be managed with regular acupuncture and Oriental medicine treatments. 

Oriental medicine teaches that peripheral neuropathy is due to dampness moving to the limbs, where it obstructs the flow of Qi (energy) and blood within them. The treatment is twofold: to treat the underlying factor that is causing this dampness to accumulate, and to directly facilitate the circulation of Qi and blood in the affected area. By improving circulation, the nerve tissues of the affected area can be nourished to repair function and reduce pain. 

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine aims to treat each individual uniquely, depending on what caused the neuropathy and how it manifests. In addition to seeking acupuncture therapy, there are a few things you can practice at home: 

Adopt Healthy Habits
Healthy habits such as maintaining optimal weight, avoiding exposure to toxins, following a physician-supervised exercise program, eating a balanced diet, correcting vitamin deficiencies, and limiting or avoiding alcohol consumption can reduce the physical and emotional effects of peripheral neuropathy. 

Boost Circulation with Massage
Massage can help boost circulation, which is generally poor and leaves these areas vulnerable to trauma. You can stimulate your feet, lower legs, hands and arms with gentle massage using light pressure. 

Relax to Reduce External Triggers
Consider relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, self-hypnosis or biofeedback. These can help you learn to control the external factors that trigger pain.

Soak for Pain Relief
A warm foot bath with Epsom salt may also help relieve pain. If there is loss of sensation in the hands or feet, you should avoid extreme temperatures, as you may not feel the damaging effects.

Do you or someone you know suffer from peripheral neuropathy? Call today to find out what acupuncture and Oriental medicine can do for you!
 

 

 
 

In This Issue

  • Managing Diabetes with Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
  • Acupuncture Treats Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Manage Your Glucose With Foods You Eat

Manage Your Glucose With Foods You Eat

While a sweet taste delights our taste buds, overindulgence can cause or worsen digestive problems and upset our metabolic and emotional balance. According to acupuncture and Oriental medicine, when one or more of the organs responsible for digestion no longer functions properly, it potentially puts the other organs of the body in danger.

Diabetes is one example of a disease that has a variety of health consequences that can sometimes result from a faulty digestive system. The onset of type 2 diabetes, also known as insulin-resistant diabetes, frequently affects the overweight adult population, although one may still suffer from the disease while being a normal weight.

According to acupuncture and Oriental medicine, after taking a bite and swallowing your food, the stomach receives it and proceeds to ‘cook,’ ‘steam’ or ‘ferment’ it. The stomach is known as ‘the sea of grain and water.’ The ‘cooking’ extracts vital nutrients from the ‘grain’ and passes them on to the spleen for further processing. The spleen then distributes the nutrients accordingly throughout the body. 

Diet is significant for maintaining health or restoring it, and can help stabilize blood glucose levels and curb sweet cravings by following dietary recommendations.

Foods that represent the sweet flavor aid the stomach and spleen. It may surprise some to learn that acupuncture and Oriental medicine considers meats such as pork and chicken as sweet. Vegetables such as yams, sweet potatoes, corn, snow peas, squash and even turnips are also considered sweet. 

If you wish to reduce your consumption of sweet foods and to curb your sweet tooth, eating a savory dish made with coconut milk can ease the need for a dessert afterward.

Anything heavily processed, greasy or high in sugar can injure the spleen and cause a condition known as internal phlegm. This disorder represents a turbid, heavy condition that interferes with digestion and can cause belching, bloating, pain and diarrhea.

If you are following a diabetic diet, even fruits are recommended only in moderate amounts due to their relatively high sugar content. Try pairing your fruit with a high-fiber grain like oatmeal. The fiber will slow down digestion and help keep blood sugar levels stable. Or you could consider a moderately sweet dessert comprised of a yam with butter and cinnamon. 

By following the acupuncture and Oriental medicine guidelines for properties of food, you can easily find lower-sugar foods that are allowed, yet still provide a sweet flavor and can replace unhealthy desserts.