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!
Boost Your Fitness and Sports Performance
When a top athlete like Kobe Bryant tweets a picture of acupuncture needles in his leg, you know it’s time to consider how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help improve your sports performance. All athletes and coaches are involved in an ongoing search for ways to improve performance and gain a competitive edge over their rivals. Many are finding that acupuncture can often provide that edge.
From moving more fluidly to recovering from an injury, acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you to stay active, boost your fitness level, and recover more quickly. By following the principles of Oriental medicine, an acupuncture treatment can strengthen body function and restore internal harmony and balance. Professional sports teams and top athletes often have an acupuncturist on staff to treat injuries and keep them performing at their peak.
Practitioners of Oriental medicine can help athletes, or even the amateur “weekend warrior,” in many ways. In addition to acupuncture, tight, stiff muscles may be helped by manual techniques such as cupping, a suction-based massage, and Gua Sha, a Chinese form of friction massage. In 2011, researchers at the University of Duisburg-Essen found that Gua Sha was effective at treating chronic pain and muscle stiffness in the lower back. In India, researchers from Majeedia Hospital found cupping helped to reduce pain, inflammation, and muscle stiffness in patients diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis. Cupping also improved blood supply to the area and simulated light exercise, leading to increased muscle flexibility in the region, researchers explained.
Some of the best Olympic athletes incorporate acupuncture into their wellness programs. China’s 7 foot 6 inch basketball center, Yao Ming, used acupuncture and Oriental medicine to help him recover after undergoing surgery on his ankle. Chinese swimmer, Wang Qun, was photographed doing some last minute
Call today to see how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you meet your fitness goals and assist in recovering from an injury!
Want Less Pain and a Faster Recovery?
Acupuncture is well known for its effectiveness in reducing most types of pain, including pain from sports-related injuries 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 a fall, blow, sprain/strain, collision, compression, or disruption of the healing process due to inflammation.
Due to its broad range of applications, acupuncture can be used during any of the phases of the injury healing process. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine may be used to help decrease swelling, spasms and inflammation, in addition to assisting in pain management, increasing range of motion and promoting healing.
The focus is not only to treat the injury, but also to treat any underlying conditions that may predispose an individual to injuries. This is especially important when treating chronic or recurrent injuries that interfere with life activities or athletic performance.
Acupuncture helps reduce pain and enable activity for athletes experiencing Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS), Plantar Fasciitis, ankle sprain, and soft tissue adhesion, according to the Acupuncture Research Resource Center (UK).
In a study that covered a range of injuries and acupuncture techniques, researchers found that the underlying diagnostic principles of Oriental medicine could be useful for treating sports injuries.
Researchers at the University of Tokyo found that administering acupuncture above a healthy Achilles tendon led to increased blood flow and oxygen supply to the region, which indicates that this treatment could also help an injured tendon to heal.
Furthermore, athletes with chronic rotator cuff tendinitis who received acupuncture experienced significantly less pain, according to a study from the University of Heidelberg.
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
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.
Top Male Health Concerns and How Acupuncture Can Help
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 is the leading men’s health threat, with heart disease and stroke topping the list of 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.
A German study published in the June 2007 issue of Circulation found that acupuncture significantly lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The extent of the blood pressure reductions by acupuncture treatments was comparable to those seen with antihypertensive medication or aggressive lifestyle changes, including radical salt restrictions. By the end of the six weeks, 24-hour ambulatory systolic and diastolic blood pressures were significantly reduced from baseline in the acupuncture-treated patients while there were no significant changes seen in the sham acupuncture group.
Lung and Other Cancers
Acupuncture was shown to be effective in the treatment of cancer according to an encouraging 2011 study called “Acupuncture May Stimulate Anticancer Immunity via Activation of Natural Killer Cells.” An acupuncture point in the lower leg called ST36 proved particularly useful by increasing the production of white blood cells. This action compelled the researchers to dub ST36 as the “immune-enhancing acupoint.”
The study showed acupuncture can also mitigate side effects such as fatigue, pain and severe dry mouth which often accompany standard therapies. Making use of ear points to soothe fear can also be beneficial for men that have symptoms of cancer.
Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in 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 under-diagnosed 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.
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.
While reproductive health concerns may not be life threatening, they can still signal significant health problems. Two-thirds of men older than seventy and up to 39 percent of men around the age of forty 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.
The decline of testosterone production gradually starts in the early thirties and continues through the mid-fifties. In contrast to menopause, which happens over a much shorter period of time, the signs of andropause creep up gradually, making an accurate diagnosis tricky.
Testosterone directly influences many bodily functions and organs, including the heart, prostate, muscles, blood sugar, fat metabolism, bone density, libido and mental cognition. Sudden mood changes like depression and anger may also result from andropause. Signs and symptoms of andropause can include loss of libido, enlarged prostate, weight gain, osteoporosis, sterility, urinary problems and infections, and digestive problems.
According to Culley C. Carson, M.D., of the Boston University School of Medicine, it is estimated that more than 60 percent of men over age 65 have free testosterone levels below the normal values of men in the 30 to 35 age range. While the incremental loss of testosterone represents the natural life cycle in an aging, healthy male, more severe levels of decrease can prove detrimental.
Other male reproductive health conditions that acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help include premature ejaculation, low sperm count, diminished sperm motility, impotence, hernias, testicular pain, prostatitis, male infertility, and andropause.
If you want to get a head start on addressing any health issues which may present a problem in the future, or already have a diagnosis of a serious illness, call for an appointment today!
In This Issue
- Top Male Health Concerns and How Acupuncture Can Help
- Top 5 Nutrients to Boost Men’s Health
Top 5 Nutrients to Boost Men’s Health
Men have different nutritional requirements than women, due to their unique physiology. These are the five key nutrients for men’s health to keep in mind when planning that next meal.
Magnesium plays a key role in many important bodily functions, including the immune system, energy production, digestion and nerve and muscle activity. A man lacking in magnesium may experience painful muscle spasms and cramps, anxiety, lethargy, or an irregular heartbeat. To stave off these symptoms of magnesium deficiency incorporate dark leafy vegetables, yogurt, bananas, black beans or almonds into your daily diet.
Another way your body can absorb magnesium is through a soothing foot bath or a soak in the tub with Epsom salt. The magnesium sulfate in Epsom salt will penetrate through the skin as you relax. A couple tablespoons are all that is required for a foot bath, and about a cup is recommended for the bathtub.
Vitamin D is sometimes referred to as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ because the skin produces it when it is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D assists the body in absorbing calcium, which in turn contributes to strong teeth and bones. This nutrient also provides some protection against cancer. Foods high in Vitamin D include fatty fish, such as tuna or salmon, cheese, and mushrooms
This versatile vitamin is responsible for red blood cell production, DNA production, bone health and maintaining the cardiovascular system. It is necessary for certain neurological functions and contributes to an overall sense of well-being. Foods high in Vitamin B12 include shellfish, red meat, cheese, eggs, yogurt and milk.
There are no plant-based options rich in B12, so those on a vegan diet may want to consider adding fortified cereals, nutritional yeast or supplements in order to reach their daily requirements of vitamin B12.
This nutrient serves many vital functions to keep the body healthy and strong. It delivers nourishment into the cells and removes toxins and waste products from them. Potassium also maintains the balance between the fluids and electrolytes in the body and is responsible for nerve health and muscle contraction. A lack of potassium can cause a host of symptoms including nausea, muscle cramping and heart palpitations. Potassium-rich foods include dark leafy greens, potatoes (with the skin on), squash, yogurt, bananas, white beans, and mushrooms.
Iodine is a trace mineral that helps convert food into energy. It also plays a significant role in thyroid health and has the job of producing thyroid hormones. Consuming inadequate amounts of iodine can cause memory problems, weight gain, muscle fatigue, persistent tiredness and feeling cold.
Foods with plenty of iodine in them include kelp, hiziki, kombu, yogurt, seafood (such as cod, sea bass and haddock), cheese, potatoes, navy beans, cranberries and strawberries.
Managing Diabetes with Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
It is estimated that 25.8 million people 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. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 4 people remain unaware that they live with diabetes.
Peripheral Neuropathy? Get Relief with Acupuncture!
Do you or someone you know suffer from peripheral neuropathy?
Study on Chronic Peripheral Neuropathy
Researchers show that acupuncture is a secure and effective medical treatment yielding long-term benefits for patients with symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.
A study titled Acupuncture for the Treatment of Chronic Painful Peripheral Neuropathy: A long-term study, published by The Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice Journal in 1998, demonstrated the potency and long-lasting effects of acupuncture treatment. Forty-six patients diagnosed with diabetic peripheral neuropathy underwent six rounds of acupuncture treatments over a period of 10 weeks. Out of this group, 63% took prescription drugs to cope with their symptoms.
It was noted that after 10 weeks, approximately 77% of all the patients claimed a significant reduction in pain and other symptoms of their peripheral neuropathy. These patients were tracked for up to 52 weeks to monitor their progress after the acupuncture treatments ended. It was then discovered that the 67% of patients using standard medical drug treatment with acupuncture were able to greatly reduce or completely eliminate their medications.
Source: Abuaisha BB, Boulton AJ, Costanzi JB: Acupuncture for the treatment of chronic painful peripheral diabetic neuropathy: a long-term study. Diab Res Clin Prac 39:115-121, 1998
Self Care for Peripheral Neuropathy
In addition to seeking Oriental medicine therapy, here 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 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.
In This Issue
Relief for Diabetic Skin Conditions
Often the first sign of adult onset diabetes, or Type 2 diabetes, is the exacerbation of a pre-existing skin condition, or the appearance of a new one. Damage to the nerves and blood vessels impairs the body’s ability to fight infection. When diabetes goes unchecked, not only do the chances of incurring fungal and bacterial infections increase, but the severity increases as well.
Acupuncture for Integrative Oncology Support
The American Cancer Society has reported that half of all men and a third of all women in the United States will develop cancer during their lifetimes. Although there are many forms of cancer, all forms of the disease begin with abnormal cells that grow out of control.
Science Provides Proof of Acupuncture’s Helpful Role in Cancer Therapy
Clinical trials have examined the effects of acupuncture on cancer as a disease, as well as the symptoms caused by cancer treatments. Results have shown that, for many patients, treatment with acupuncture relieves symptoms or keeps them from getting worse.
Acupressure for Nausea Relief
Nausea is an indicator that something else is wrong. Depending on the severity and duration of vomiting, some level of dehydration may occur. In severe cases, this may become a medical emergency. Small sips of warm water may help the patient stay hydrated or, if this is not tolerable, sucking on ice chips may help.
Here are three simple acupressure techniques you can perform at home to help alleviate your nausea.
1. Pericardium 6 (P6) or Inner Gate
To locate this point, place your hand with the palm facing up. Starting from the middle of the wrist crease, place three fingers down below your wrist. Your index finger should be in the middle of two tendons. If you are having trouble locating the tendons, flex your wrist and they should be displayed more prominently. Press Inner Gate lightly with the pad of your thumb. You can slowly increase pressure and go deeper into the point. Continue this exercise for up to five minutes if you are using heavy pressure. However, some people experience more relief from nausea when they continuously press with gentle to moderate pressure. If this is the case for you, it is safe to apply acupressure for longer periods of time. This may be especially helpful in cases of motion sickness.
2. Outer Gate or San Jiao 5 (SJ5)
If your nausea still persists, you can activate this partner point to Inner Gate. It is found on the opposite side of the forearm from Inner Gate. With your thumb on Inner Gate and your middle finger on Outer Gate, complete the circuit by squeezing the points together using moderate pressure. Hold for a few seconds and then release. This can be done for up to five minutes. If you feel you need a little extra self-care, you can place your hands near your heart, close your eyes, and breathe deeply as you perform this technique.
3. Abdominal Circular Motions
This exercise covers a larger area, and is less exacting. First, put your hands on your hips, at the level of your waistline. Next, adjust your fingers so they are all below your ribs, with your pinky resting around the level of your belly button. Your fingers should be lined up with the nipples. Press into the abdomen using circular motions and gradually expand your motions outwards for another couple of inches. This technique can be quite soothing and is best when performed sitting down, for two to three minutes.
In This Issue
Cancer Prevention in Daily Life
Many items in the produce aisle can help, but other foods in the supermarket can also help protect your health and the health of your family.
Carotenoids – Found in produce like cantaloupe and carrots, these plant chemicals act as antioxidants and have been shown to reduce the risk of lung cancer.
Cruciferous vegetables – High in vitamins, fiber, and potent anti-cancer phytochemicals, cruciferous vegetables are widely considered to be one of the healthiest food choices you can make.
According to the American Institute for Cancer, there is solid evidence that links cruciferous vegetables and protection against cancer. Studies have shown that this vegetable group has the ability to stop the growth of cancer cells for tumors in the breast, uterine lining, lung, colon, liver and cervix. Studies that track the diets of people over time have found that diets high in cruciferous vegetables are linked to lower rates of prostate cancer among men.
Ellagic Acid – Found in raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, walnuts, pecans and pomegranates, this phytochemical can act as an antioxidant, and may help break down and remove some cancer-causing substances.
Resveratrol – A polyphenol that may have antioxidant properties, resveratrol is found in the skin of red grapes, cocoa, peanuts, blueberries, and cranberries.
Whole Grains – Fiber is rich in antioxidants, helps fight colon cancer, and the phenolic compounds in whole grains may help reduce the risk of certain gastrointestinal cancers.
Folate – Linked to lowered risk for gastrointestinal and pancreatic cancers, folate is found in dark green leafy vegetables, fruits and juices, nuts, beans, peas, dairy products, poultry and meat, eggs, seafood, and grains.
Pomegranate Juice – Extremely antioxidant-rich, this juice helps prevent colon and prostate cancer.
Relief for Dry Mouth
Dry mouth, also called xerostomia, sounds harmless but can create distressing symptoms. In a normal mouth, small glands produce saliva, which then helps in the processes of speaking, eating, swallowing, and tasting.
Saliva also contributes to good oral health, as it hinders the formation of cavities by reducing the build-up of harmful acids in the mouth. Xerostomia increases the chances for bad breath, dry nasal passages, and a hoarse throat as well.
Dry mouth manifests when there is an imbalance of yin and yang in the body. In this case, the yin quality of moistness is not present, or only in small quantities. This may indicate that the yang principle of heat may be overactive and contributing to the drying up of yin. Further examination is needed to determine the proper treatment.
To start addressing the issue right away, here are a few ideas to practice at home.
Frequent, small sips of water, with a little lemon or lime squeezed into it, may help moisturize your mouth.
Try to sleep with your mouth shut and just breathe through your nose while falling asleep.
Avoid drying substances like tobacco, caffeine, and alcohol.
Consider ending each meal with a light, warm vegetable broth to coat your mouth and throat.
Get Seasonal Allergy Relief!
Acupuncture has been used to treat seasonal allergies for centuries with great success. According to traditional medicine, treatment is directed toward clearing the nasal passages, supporting the immune system, and strengthening the systems of the body to prevent allergic reactions from recurring.
Oriental Medicine for Asthma Symptom Relief
Asthma is a chronic disease that causes inflammation in the lungs and, consequently, a narrowing of the bronchial tubes–also known as the air passages. This makes breathing difficult since the airflow is restricted. Tell-tale signs of asthma include wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, and a feeling of tightness in the chest. Substances and conditions that may cause or worsen the symptoms of asthma include physical activity, cold air, smoke, emotional distress, some medications, gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) and airborne toxins and allergens such as pollen, mold, dust, and animal dander.
There are also certain risk factors to be aware of. These include being overweight, smoking, having a family member diagnosed with asthma, and/or being afflicted with a separate allergic condition. Conventional medical treatment offers a variety of pharmaceutical drugs, which are specific to the patient’s triggers and symptoms of asthma. If you suffer from asthma, additional treatment from your acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioner may prove to be a winning combination.
A study called “Immunomodulatory Effects of Acupuncture in the Treatment of Allergic Asthma: A Randomized Controlled Study,” published in 2007 in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, demonstrates the valuable role acupuncture and Oriental medicine can play in the treatment of symptoms of asthma.
Patients suffering from bronchial asthma were divided into two groups: a control group and a study group. The control group received acupuncture treatments that did not specifically treat their condition, while the study group received the appropriate acupuncture treatments. Before and after each treatment, information was collected on all patients regarding their general well-being and blood work samples gathered.
At the end of the study, it was shown that 79 percent of the study group felt an improvement in their general well-being as opposed to only 47 percent of the control group. Significant improvements in the immune system were detected from the blood samples collected by the study group as well. The authors of the study were able to conclude that acupuncture, in conjunction with standard Western medical treatment, provides outstanding improvements to the immune system.
Additionally, there are a few things one can do at home to help lessen the severity of asthma symptoms. According to the theory of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, the environment plays an important role in the health of an individual. For example, if one lives in a cold, damp environment, it may prove to be problematic. Not only may the cold contribute to constriction of the bronchial tubes, but the damp air may foster mold or other airborne pollutants that can irritate the air passages as well.
While it may not be possible to move to another climate, it is possible to focus on removing dust, animal dander, and other pollutants from your home. If your home is damp, consider using a dehumidifier, as this will help in eliminating mold. Sometimes breathing in cold air can cause wheezing and trouble breathing, so covering your mouth and nose in an effort to warm your breath may be helpful.
For soothing relief on a cold day, try a nourishing, warm soup. Keep the ingredients simple, such as vegetables, rice, lean meat, and herbs. The less processed and refined your food is, the easier it is on your digestive system. According to the theory of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, phlegm is produced in the stomach, but stored in the lungs. This is a direct reference to the importance of eating well and avoiding phlegm-producing foods. Consider reducing your intake of dairy products, sugar, and fatty foods.
Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising every day will help strengthen your immune system too. If you are finding it difficult to lose weight and lack motivation to exercise, this is something your practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental medicine can assist you with. If an addiction to smoking is causing or worsening your symptoms of asthma, there are acupuncture treatment protocols to help reduce cravings for nicotine and other substances.
Robert Wallace LAc, LMT
Chicago Holistic Medicine
1619 W. Montrose
Chicago IL 60613
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
Foods to Fight Allergies
Having a healthy diet is one of the best ways to support your overall health.
Reflect on Your Health!
Reflection is the process in which an image or idea comes back to us, such as looking in a mirror, rethinking an event, or reviewing an idea. We have the opportunity to take a closer view and reconsider our original thinking.
Strengthen Your Resolve
This period of reflection and renewed resolve may be challenging, but it can also be productive and rewarding. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help achieve the changes you seek as it assists in preventing illness, relieving stress, minimizing aches and pains, improving energy, nurturing balance, and taking the next step in achieving your goals.
Here are a few ways that acupuncture can help you achieve your goals:
Stress reduction is always on the top 10 list for New Year’s resolutions, and for a good reason–it is often the cause of illness and deterioration of health. Numerous studies have demonstrated the substantial benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of stress, anxiety, and lowering blood pressure. In addition to acupuncture, Oriental medicine offers a whole range of tools that can be integrated into your life to keep stress in check.
Improved Quality of Life
If pain is keeping you from living life to the fullest, acupuncture can help and can be helpful for all types of pain, regardless of the cause or where it is located. Increasingly, people are looking for more natural approaches to help relieve painful conditions instead of relying on medication. In addition to reducing pain, acupuncture also hastens the healing process by increasing circulation and attracting white blood cells to an injured area.
Get in Shape
Renewed enthusiasm to exercise in order to enhance fitness levels, train for a competition, or lose weight can come at a painful price for those who try to do too much too quickly. Recent studies show that acupuncture effectively treats sports injuries such as strains, sprains, musculoskeletal pain, swollen muscles, and shin splints.
Losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you reach your goal weight and maintain it by promoting better digestion, smoothing emotions, reducing appetite, improving metabolism, and eliminating food cravings–all of which can help energize the body, maximize absorption of nutrients, regulate elimination, control overeating, and reduce anxiety.
In This Issue
Stick Out Your Tongue
Oriental medicine has used tongue diagnosis for thousands of years. An experienced practitioner can look at your tongue and begin to understand your internal problems, but you can also be aware of information that your tongue provides.
Look for changes in the color of your tongue, teeth marks, shape, and coating. These changes may indicate that something is amiss. A healthy tongue is naturally the same pink-red color as your lips. Note any changes in the shape of your tongue. If it’s too pale, puffy or red, it may indicate an imbalance.
Healthy tongues have a thin white coating. If you see a thicker coating developing, you may be catching a cold or the flu.
So if you see changes take precautions, rest, sleep more, keep warm and call us!
Energy Renewing Ear Massage
Ear massage is an extremely relaxing and effective therapy aimed at reducing stress, promoting wellbeing, and addressing various health issues.
Here is a great ear massage that you can do for yourself or your loved ones:
1. Rub, in small circular motions with your thumbs, inside the widest upper part of the ears, holding them from outside with the index and middle fingers.
2. Use your index finger to massage inside the smaller crevices if your thumbs don’t fit and along the front of your ear where it attaches to the head.
3. Lastly, massage the earlobes by gently pulling them down and also making circles with your thumb and index finger.
Relieve Pain Naturally with Acupuncture
Increasingly, people are looking for more natural approaches to help relieve painful conditions instead of relying on medications. Acupuncture 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 it provides can last for months.
Acupuncture for Low Back Pain
Low back pain is an extremely common concern, affecting anywhere from 75 to 90 percent of people at some point in their lives. Low back pain is second only to the common cold as a cause of lost days at work and is one of the most common reasons to seek medical care, including acupuncture. In fact, one of the top reasons that people get acupuncture treatments is for low back pain.
In a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine analyzed 33 studies covering more than 2,100 patients from around the world on acupuncture for low back pain.
They found acupuncture provided definite pain relief in the short-term (defined as relief sustained for three weeks after the end of the acupuncture sessions).
In spite of the large number of pathological conditions that can give rise to low back pain, up to 85 percent of the cases are classified by physicians as ‘non-specific’. When low back pain is examined from an Oriental medicine perspective, it is seen as a disruption to the flow of Qi within the area and associated with a specific disharmony and is treated accordingly.
The disruption of Qi that results in low back pain is usually associated with the following three disharmonies:
Weak Kidney Qi – In Oriental medicine, the lower back is referred to as the “dwelling of the kidneys”. The majority of chronic low back pain conditions are associated with kidney deficiency. Pain related to kidney deficiency is typically dull and erratic. It is usually aggravated by fatigue and improves with rest.
Stagnation of Qi and Blood – When the flow of Qi along the meridians that traverse the lumbar region becomes congested, it is referred to as the stagnation of Qi and blood. This presents with a severe stabbing pain that is worse with rest and better with movement, tender to touch, and can be accompanied by stiffness and tightness.
Invasion of Cold and Dampness – Cold, damp type pain is generally worse in the morning and when the weather is cold and damp. This type of pain improves with movement and the application of heat. Stiffness and contraction of back muscles that is aggravated by immobility indicates cold predominance. Swelling, numbness, and a heavy sensation are indicative of dampness.
Ah Shi Points
Not all acupuncture points have a specific name and specific location. Some of the most effective points to use in acupuncture are local points of tenderness. These points are referred to as Ah Shi points, which in Chinese literally means, “That’s the point!”
Ah Shi points were first mentioned during the Tang dynasty (founded in 618 AD) classic book Thousand Ducat Prescriptions. These points become spontaneously tender when disease or injury occurs, or in locations where Qi has become congested. They are not among the regular acupuncture points on a specific meridian or pathway.
Their locations are not fixed; they are the points that, upon palpation, are the most sensitive. In many cases, a small knot or pea-sized nodule can be felt under the skin at these points of tenderness.
The Ah Shi points are especially effective in the treatment of pain and are often used in conjunction with local and distal acupuncture points.
If you have pain, palpate around the area of pain to see if you can find the Ah Shi points. This is a great way to self-treat the problem.
In This Issue
Post Operative Pain Relief
Research from Duke University Medical Center has shown that acupuncture can significantly reduce surgical patients’ post-operative pain and their need for powerful opioids to treat pain.
Staying Healthy during Cold and Flu Season
This year it is predicted that there will be 1 billion colds and 95 million cases of the flu in the United States alone. While the misery of cold and flu season might be inevitable, one thing is changing: where we look for relief.
Acupuncture for Sinusitis Relief
Sinusitis occurs mainly in young and middle-aged adults, although children are also at risk. When the condition does present itself, it can be due to one of four main causes: an infection, allergic rhinitis, formation of nasal polyps, or a deviated septum. While sinusitis simply refers to inflammation of the nasal passages, the symptoms and treatments can prove more complex. An acute case of sinusitis (recently occurring) becomes chronic when medical treatments fail to cure the problem after eight weeks.
The symptoms of sinusitis vary depending on whether the condition is acute or chronic. Many of the symptoms for either case are the same, though there are slight variations. With chronic sinusitis, in particular, symptoms last for eight weeks or more and may include facial pain and pressure, nasal congestion, nasal discharge, trouble breathing through the nose, congestion, cough, fever, fatigue, bad breath, headache, ear pain, sore throat, or nausea. If a case of severe sinusitis develops, symptoms such as confusion, double-vision, stiff neck, swollen forehead, and shortness of breath may happen as well.
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine offers help for your symptoms of sinusitis–whether acute, chronic, or frequently occurring. There are acupuncture points on the face that can help bring immediate relief from nasal congestion. One set of points lies in the folds of both sides of the nose, at the level of the nostrils. These points may also safely be self-massaged at any point to assist in clearing the nasal passages.
There are other acupuncture points that respond well to self-massage, according to the philosophy of acupuncture and Oriental medicine. To help relieve pressure from a sinus headache, try gently but firmly pressing the points located at the beginning of your eyebrows, near the nose.
In addition, you can try the same technique with a single acupuncture point found right between your eyes, at the level of the eyebrows. This point is called Yintang and is revered by many acupuncturists and Oriental medicine practitioners for its ability to induce calmness and send energy (Qi) in a downward direction. Therefore, massaging Yintang is particularly helpful in cases of congestion and pain due to sinusitis, as blockages in the sinus make proper drainage difficult and potentially give rise to other symptoms of sinusitis.
However, if your face feels too tender for this massage technique, there is a point located on the hand that directly aids issues of the face and forehead, including headaches. This acupuncture point is located in the middle of the fleshy mound found between the base of the thumb and the first finger. Feel free to press here for any discomfort in the face, head, or sinuses–whether your symptoms are from sinusitis or another condition.
Boost Your Defensive Qi
To boost the Wei Qi, the protective or defensive layer around the exterior of the body, there is one particularly important point to attend: Dazhui or Du 14.
Often used to ward off as well as shorten the duration of colds and flu, Dazhui (DU 14) is located below the spinous process of the seventh cervical vertebrae, approximately at the level where the collar of a T-shirt sits on the neck.
Dazhui (DU 14) activates the circulation of blood and Qi to strengthen the outer defense layers of the skin and muscle, so that your system is protected against germs and viruses.
Protect Your Lung Qi
Lung 7 is one of the most powerful points on the lung meridian points. It is a popular acupuncture point to use for stopping a persistent cough and relieving a sore throat.
Besides treating those symptoms, LU 7 is often used to treat conditions related to the head and neck, such as headaches, migraines, stiff neck, facial paralysis, and toothache. LU 7 is considered to be the “command point” of the head and neck and is also used to improve circulation in the brain and stimulate memory.
This acupuncture point is located above the wrist on the inside of the arm. To find this point, interlock your thumb and index finger of one hand with those of the other, the point lies on the edge of the index finger, in a depression between the sinew and the bone. Stimulate this point on both hands with the tip of your index finger for approximately 30 seconds or until your cough subsides.
In This Issue
5 Tips to Stay Healthy
Seasonal changes affect the body’s environment. With wind, rain, and snow come the cold and flu viruses, which are often accompanied with aches and pains. So guard yourself this season with these five tips:
Enhance Your Emotional Wellness
The upcoming holiday season can be filled with a dizzying array of demands, visitors, travel and frantic shopping trips. For many people, it is also a time filled with sadness, self-reflection, loneliness and anxiety. Compound the usual seasonal pressures with economic strain, and you may find this to be one of the most emotionally trying times of the year.
Hope for Patients with PTSD
Acupuncture has been getting more attention as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, particularly from post-combat military veterans.
There are good precedents for the use of acupuncture to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. Walter Reed Medical Center, a military hospital, is investigating acupuncture as a viable treatment for returning veterans. The results from acupuncture have shown that it is an effective modality for treating the symptoms of PTSD.
How does acupuncture help the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder?
Correctly placed needles help the body re-regulate itself from the effects of stress, PTSD, depression and anxiety. In turn, this allows individuals to focus on their activities and enables them to better cope with daily events.
Move Your Qi!
When your Qi (life force) functions smoothly, physical and emotional activity throughout the body also runs smoothly. So, for optimum health, move your Qi!
Stretch – According to Oriental medicine, the liver stores blood during periods of rest and then releases it to the tendons in times of activity, maintaining tendon health and flexibility. Incorporate a morning stretch into your routine.
Eye Exercises – Although all organs have some connection to eye health, the liver is connected to proper eye function. Take breaks when looking at a monitor for extended periods of time and do eye exercises.
Eat Green – Eating young plants–fresh, leafy greens, sprouts, and immature cereal grasses–can improve the liver’s overall functions and aid in the movement of Qi.
Do More Outdoor Activities – Outside air helps liver Qi flow. If you have been feeling irritable, find an outdoor activity to smooth out that liver Qi stagnation.
Acupressure Points for Moving Qi
A popular treatment for stress, anger, sadness and frustration, the following four acupuncture points, known as the “Four Gates,” are thought to enhance the circulation of Qi and blood throughout the body, and have a calming and analgesic effect.
LI 4 is located on the padded area of your hand, between the thumb and index finger, between the first and second metacarpal bones. Massage this point with your thumb on both hands for approximately 30 seconds.
LV 3 is located in a hollow on the top of your foot, below the gap between your big toe and the next toe, between the 1st and 2nd metatarsal bones. To stimulate this point, place your right heel in the juncture between the bones that attach to the large and second toes, and gently knead the point for approximately 30 seconds. Then switch sides to stimulate the point on your other foot.
Massage acupuncture point, Baihui, for mental clarity. Located on the top of the head, midway between the ears, Baihui is used to clear the mind, calm the spirit and improve focus. Stimulate the point with your index finger for 30-45 seconds for a quick “brain boost.”
Yintang, a point located midway between the eyebrows, is sometimes referred to as “the third eye.” Stimulation of Yintang is known to calm the mind, enhance one’s ability to focus, soothe emotions, promote sleep and relieve depression.
In This Issue
Soothing Your Stress
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.