Acupuncture Works

A Natural Way of Healing


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Acid Reflux? Try Acupuncture!

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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.

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.

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.

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 acupuncturist 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.

 

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Acupressure for Nausea

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Nausea can range from mild queasiness to serious distress. While not classified as a disease itself, it 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.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine offer some simple acupressure techniques you can perform at home to help alleviate nausea.

The first exercise involves the acupuncture point called 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.

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.

If nausea still persists after applying acupressure at Inner Gate, you can activate its partner point, called Outer Gate or San Jiao 5 (SJ5). 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.

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.


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Get Arthritis Relief with Acupuncture

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For many people, arthritis pain and inflammation cannot be avoided as the body ages. In fact, most people over the age of 50 show some signs of arthritis as joints naturally degenerate over time. Fortunately, arthritis can frequently be managed with acupuncture and Oriental medicine.

According to Oriental medical theory, arthritis arises when the cyclical flow of Qi (energy) in the meridians becomes blocked resulting in pain, soreness, numbness and stiffness. This blockage is called Bi-syndrome and is successfully treated using a combination of treatment modalities. The acupuncture points and herbs that are used depend on whether the underlying cause of the blockage of Qi (arthritis) is caused by wind, cold, dampness or damp-heat.

A pilot study found in the medical publication International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases 2010, demonstrated the safety and efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The study criteria focused on the disease activity, pain scores, functional ability and quality of life issues for the study participants. To evaluate disease activity, researchers used the DAS28 test. This test measures and records the levels of tenderness and inflammation of 28 separate joints in the body.

The study, conducted at Kwong Wah Hospital in Hong Kong, provided an average of 14 acupuncture sessions for each patient. At the end, researchers determined that improvements in the physical, emotional and social well-being of some of the participants improved. The improvement was significant enough to conclude that acupuncture is a viable treatment method to reduce pain and other symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Source: Lao WN et al. Effects of Acupuncture on Rheumatoid Arthritis. International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases. Conference: 14th Congress of Asia Pacific League of Associations for Rheumatology, APLAR 2010 Hong Kong Hong Kong. Conference Publication 2010; 13: 231.


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Acupuncture for Post Operative Pain

Acupuncture is excellent for managing post-surgical side effects such as surgical pain, loss of appetite, and upset stomach or nausea. In addition to strengthening the immune system and increasing energy, acupuncture is also a great way to reduce swelling, decrease stiffness and pain, reduce scarring and scar tissue and speed up recovery.

Research from Duke University Medical Center has shown that acupuncture can significantly reduce post-operative pain and their need for powerful opioids to treat pain.

Duke University anesthesiologists combined data from 15 randomized clinical trials to reach their conclusion. Using acupuncture both before and after surgery produced the best results for patients, who reported lower levels of post-operative pain and a significantly reduced need for painkillers. In addition, acupuncture mitigated the negative side effects of opioids when they were used.

“The most important outcome for the patient is the reduction of the side effects associated with opioids,” said T.J. Gan, M.D., the Duke anesthesiologist who presented the study at the annual scientific conference of the American Society for Anesthesiology in San Francisco in October 2007.

Gan pointed out that acupuncture is a relatively inexpensive therapy that has virtually no side effects when practiced by trained professionals.

 

 


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Relieve Pain Naturally with Acupuncture

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Increasingly, people are looking for more natural approaches to help relieve painful conditions instead of relying on medications. Acupuncture 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 it provides can last for months.

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

In addition to reducing pain, acupuncture also hastens the healing process by increasing circulation and attracting white blood cells to an injured area.

The basis of acupuncture is expressed in this famous Chinese saying: “Bu tong ze tong, tong ze bu tong,” which means “free flow: no pain, no free flow: pain.”

In other words, any kind of pain or illness represents an obstruction in the normal flow of Qi, or life force. Simply put, acupuncture moves Qi, restoring free flow.

Studies on Acupuncture and Pain

Acupuncture has become readily accepted as a viable option for pain management and studies support its therapeutic effects.

In a German study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 1,162 adults with chronic, lower back pain were divided into groups treated with either acupuncture or the standard pharmaceutical and exercise therapy commonly used in conventional medicine. Researchers reported that acupuncture provided relief and lasting benefit to nearly twice as many lower back pain patients compared to drugs and exercise. Forty-eight percent of the acupuncture patients reported at least a one-third decrease in pain along with improvement in their ability to function, versus 27 percent of the patients treated with conventional methods reporting such benefits.

In another recent 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 lower 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).

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine is a viable treatment option for chronic pain, lower back pain, musculoskeletal pain, arthritis pain, headaches and post surgical pain. Whether your symptoms are just beginning to crop up, or you are looking for a more natural approach with less side effects, acupuncture and Oriental medicine can bring relief.


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Healthy Aging and Living Life with Vitality

“Old age, believe me, is a good and pleasant thing. It is true you are gently shouldered off the stage, but then you are given such a comfortable front stall as spectator.” — Confucius


Could this be the fate of the aging as Confucius decreed? To be able to enjoy the golden years of life implies a life well lived and that a good, if not excellent, standard of health was maintained. Our attitudes towards the elderly and aging, in general, are not always so encouraging. How to live a life with vitality and exuberance, one that can last until the time of death is not a foolish quest, but one that is recognized by acupuncture and Oriental medicine as realistic and completely within reach.

Oriental medicine has a long history of healing and rejuvenation that teaches us a great deal about aging well. Two thousand years ago, ancient Chinese scholars described the stages of aging in the Huang Di Neijing (The Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic). They remind us that we cannot change our genetics, but we can change how we live to extend and improve the quality of our lives.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine emphasize prevention over treatment. This makes a great deal of sense because treating an illness that has already damaged the body is much more difficult than preventing the illness from occurring in the first place. It is never too late. You can begin today.

One of the basic tenets of acupuncture and Oriental medicine theory is the belief that all disease results from the imbalance of yin and yang forces. Yin qualities include darkness, quiet, moisture and formlessness. Yang qualities are represented by light, noise, dryness and form. Running is a yang activity, whereas the rest that comes afterwards is a function of yin. Resting allows for the renewal of depleted energy reserves, which, in turn, makes activity possible. This is one way to describe how the dynamic relationship between yin and yang powers our life force.

The challenges of aging also result from this lack of balance between yin and yang energies. This means that some conditions and symptoms of disease associated with advanced aging may be mitigated by bringing these two energies into harmony again. For example, dry eyes and poor vision can be addressed by acupuncture treatments that focus on nurturing yin and increasing yang. Yin fluids will provide lubrication to the eyes, while an increase in yang helps ensure more energy can reach the top of the head to help improve vision.

Whatever your starting point, you can make positive changes to enhance the quality of your life. Supporting the different ways of improving your health and preventing illness, Oriental medicine promotes living a balanced life. A healthy diet, active lifestyle and emotional well-being are the basic components of Oriental medicine that help point you on the path toward a long and quality life.

— Source from Qi Mail – Jenny Qiu’s The Acupuncture Newsletter


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Acupuncture and ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common behavioral conditions among children. It is a condition of the brain that makes it difficult to concentrate or control impulsive behavior. In the United States, approximately 4.5 million children between the ages of 5-17 years old are diagnosed with ADHD each year. Children with ADHD generally struggle with paying attention or concentrating. They struggle to follow directions and are easily bored or frustrated with tasks. They also tend to move constantly and are impulsive, not stopping to think before they act. Adults with ADHD may have difficulty with time management, organizational skills, goal setting, and employment. They may also have problems with relationships, self-esteem, and addictions.

Research indicates that when treating ADHD, a multidisciplinary approach is most effective; combining behavioral therapy, exercise, dietary changes and medication. An excellent addition to any treatment plan, acupuncture and Oriental medicine are used to help restore balance, treating the root of the disorder, while also diminishing the symptoms of ADHD.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help improve focus and attention, augment mood management techniques, reduce fidgeting, lower hyperactivity and enhance concentration. A couple points people can do themselves at home are the following:

Enhance Concentration
Try pressing on Yin Tang (Hall of Impression), which is similar to the “third eye” location in yogic practices.

It is level with the base of the eyebrow, midway between the inside corners of the eyebrows, over the bridge of the nose.

Lean forward towards a table or desk. Bend your thumbs and press your two knuckles into this point to improve your concentration.
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Boost Mental Clarity                                                                                                                                                  Massage acupuncture point Du 20 for some mental clarity.

Du 20 is located on top of the head, midway between the ears. It is used to clear the mind and improve focus.

Stimulate the point with your index finger 35-40 seconds for a quick “brain boost.”

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Chicken Soup against Cold and Flu

Does chicken soup really work to help against cold and flu symptoms? Short answer, yes! Chicken contains a natural amino acid called cysteine, which can thin the mucus in your lungs and make it less sticky so you can expel it easily. Canned, processed chicken soups won’t work as well as the homemade one. Therefore, for best results, make up a fresh batch yourself and make the soup hot. Making the soup from scratch is easy. Below is my simple recipe for making your own chicken soup and stock:

– Put the chicken thigh or breast or bones if you have chicken bones the best in a large stock pan

– Cover the chicken with water

– Bring to a boil and lower the heat

– Simmer for about an hour or longer

Besides the chicken soup, of course as always, make sure to drink plenty of pure water. Water is essential for the optimal function of every system in your body and will help with nose stuffiness and loosening secretions. You should drink enough water so that your urine is a light, pale yellow. Overall, you will want to address nutrition, sleep, exercise and stress issues the moment you first feel yourself coming down with something.


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New Year Resolutions

The start of the new year is a time of looking back at what we have achieved in the past year and looking forward to the future. 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 and nurturing balance. Maintaining a calm and clear mind helps to strengthen your resolve as you take the next step in achieving your goals.

Here are a few ways that Acupuncture can help you achieve your goals:

Eliminate Stress
Stress reduction is always on the top ten 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 as it has no side effects 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.

Lose Weight
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.


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Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine for Your Heart Healthy

Created by the World Heart Federation, September 29th is World Heart Day, which focuses on informing people around the globe that heart disease and stroke are the world’s leading cause of death, claiming 17.3 million lives each year, and the numbers are rising. According to the World Heart Federation, it is expected that by 2030, 23 million people will die from cardiovascular diseases each year. It is also predicted that at least 80 percent of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke will be avoided if the main risk factors–tobacco, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity–are controlled.

Cardiovascular Disease can affect people of all ages and population groups, including women and children. In fact, one in three children in the United States is overweight or obese. Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems–such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease–that were once seen only in adults. Reduce your family’s risk for heart disease and stroke by making basic lifestyle changes in these areas:

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Obesity is associated with diabetes, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease, all of which increase the risk of developing heart disease. Studies have shown that excess body weight itself (and not just the associated medical conditions) can also lead to heart failure. Even if you are entirely healthy otherwise, being overweight still places you at a greater risk for developing heart failure.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine are an excellent tool when it comes to losing weight. They can help to energize the body, maximize the absorption of nutrients, regulate elimination, control overeating, suppress the appetite, and reduce anxiety.

Reduce Stress

Stress is a normal part of life, but if left unmanaged, stress can lead to emotional, psychological, and even physical problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, chest pains, or an irregular heart rate. Numerous studies have demonstrated the substantial benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of stress, anxiety and mental health.
Improve Sleep

Poor sleep has been linked with high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart failure, heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, and obesity. Researchers have shown that getting less than eight hours of sleep can put you at a greater risk for developing heart disease.

Acupuncture can successfully treat a wide array of sleep problems without any of the side effects of prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids. The acupuncture treatments for sleeping problems focus on the root disharmony within the body that is causing the insomnia. Therefore, those who receive acupuncture for insomnia achieve not only better sleep, but also an overall improvement of physical and mental health.