Acupuncture for Smoking Cessation

Cigarette addiction is one of the hardest substance addictions to treat. Most cigarette smokers wanting to quit have already tried numerous amounts of counseling, gum and patches to make them kick the habit without success.  One of the methods that have been practiced for thousands of years for substance addiction is acupuncture. One particular style of acupuncture that has over 50 years of European medical research is ear or auricular acupuncture that has been proven the best style of acupuncture that helps smokers get over their nicotine addiction.

What is Auricular Acupuncture?

Auricular acupuncture also called, auricular therapy, auriculomedicine or ear acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine form of acupuncture that has been updated in Lyon, France applying basic modern medical science (specifically from neurology/ neurophysiology) and principles of traditional acupuncture. Auricular acupuncture entails the insertion of ultra thin, single use, sterile needles into the specific parts of the ear. Sometimes laser is included in the treatment. Usually, certain points in the ear are needled along with specific body points that can be treated with needles or laser. This type of acupuncture is a completely pain-free procedure and frequently leaves the patient very comfortable and relaxed.

How does it work?

Unlike traditional Chinese medicine, auricular acupuncture’s potency has been thoroughly researched. When the energy pathways (meridians) on the ear are stimulated with laser or needle, the body produces and releases natural pain killing biochemicals known as endorphins. These chemicals are released through the pituitary gland and some parts of the central nervous system. Ear acupuncture has been observed to affect the cerebrospinal fluid and the blood serum amounts of endorphins.

Cigarette smokers have naturally higher levels of endorphin than non smokers. If this is the case, then how does auricular acupuncture, which enhances endorphin levels work? One explanation is that when a smoker decides to quit the endorphin levels in his central nervous system drops considerably and so need to be maintained. Contrary to popular belief, auricular acupuncture does not boost the body’s endorphin levels; the fact is this therapy regulates the endorphin’s rate of release. In this manner, patients who have stopped smoking need help with their withdrawal which auricular acupuncture provides leading to a total control of their nicotine cravings.

Besides helping out with the withdrawal symptoms and helping regulate the production of endorphins, auricular acupuncture provides the patient with a sense of relaxation and calmness. Of course these benefits come about due to the release of endorphins producing pain relieving effects. The painkilling effect of auricular acupuncture happens because of the reflex stimulation inside the prefrontal cortex, somatosensory, thalamus and periaqueductal gray.  This stimulation of the parts of the brain enables the cravings, stress, restlessness, anxiety or withdrawal to be successfully addressed.

What does Auricular Acupuncture Treatment Involve?

If you are considering getting auricular acupuncture, you need to seek treatment from a licensed acupuncturist who preferably specializes in this type of acupuncture.  Practitioners of auricular acupuncture usually have undergone training on certain clinics in the United States, Europe and certain clinics in the world.

Auricular acupuncturists will start treatment by performing a full assessment of the patient’s condition using specific diagnostic tools and procedures. A certain type of assessment that acupuncturists may use is the observing of laterality dysfunction. Laterality means a state of harmonious interaction exists between the brain’s two cerebral hemispheres. Often a patient’s left brain hemisphere is the dominant part of the brain (since a majority of patients are right handed).  Some of the causes for laterality disorders can involve emotional or physical trauma that has happened in the patients’ life.

More often than not, people with productivity problems (confusion in coordination and concentration difficulties), behavioral issues (stress, anxiety depression) or learning disorders (like dyslexia, ADHD, ADD, etc.) are indications that they suffer from laterality dysfunction.  Researchers have discovered that people who are addicted to nicotine or other substances are attempting to balance themselves.  The researchers have also found out that auricular acupuncture is the fastest and most effective method to resolve those disorders.

A person having laterality dysfunction can make his acupuncture therapy a bit less effective since it is seen as a blockage to therapy that needs to be identified and then resolved first.

The acupuncturist will usually utilize a polarized or filter object along with a procedure called Vascular Autonomic Signal or VAS to know the points on the ear to be needled. The VAS is used by the acupuncturist to easily identify the acupuncture points on the ear that needs to be pricked.

Patient Participation

Acupuncture therapy for the treatment of nicotine addiction is much more effective when the patient is really involved. The entire treatment plan may include a minimum of two sessions to about 6 sessions. Sometimes a booster or follow-up session may be required.

Patients may be required prior to the initial treatment to not attempt to smoke for just a few hours since they may be anxious enough that they will smoke before therapy to calm their anxiety. During the course of the treatment, the acupuncturist may advice the patient to avoid stressful environments or situations or social settings wherein they normally would smoke. This may be the hardest part of the treatment and if the will power and determination to cure his smoking addiction is strong enough, the patient will be able to pull this through.

Conclusion

If you think acupuncture therapy is the best way to cure your nicotine addiction, then your acupuncturist will most probably apply auricular acupuncture for you since this is the most highly effective acupuncture treatment for those wanting to stop smoking. The presumptions that say acupuncture is an uncomfortable and painful method are dispelled when patients find that they attain a deep sense of relaxation that enhances their determination and confidence to quit.

 

Scott Paglia is a licensed and board certified acupuncturist in Bellingham, WA and provides master level pulse diagnosis, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture in Whatcom County, WA.

Acupuncture for Psoriasis

Because of the emotional and physical negativity it brings caused by the unpleasant blemishes, psoriasis is a very much unwanted skin condition that sufferers wants to get rid of the fastest way possible.  Psoriasis is marked by dark or bright red lesions combined with a scaled, waxy or shiny coating and can appear in different parts of the body, but usually on the flexor areas of the scalp, legs and arms.  Its degree of severity differs from person to person. Psoriasis can result in changes in the toe nails and fingernails and if severe, enough, can lead to an arthritic condition. Being a chronic and complicated condition, psoriasis can be treated by complementary modalities such as Chinese herbs and acupuncture.

Psoriasis and Traditional Chinese Medicine

From the viewpoint of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), psoriasis can develop in certain ways. Studies regarding this disease have demonstrated that endocrine, metabolic, immunologic and hereditary factors can all play a role in the rise of psoriasis. When visiting your acupuncturist, she/he may first query you about your health history. This will help him/her understand how your psoriasis started and can help in the formulation of a plan of treatment that best addresses the issue. Some of the factors that your acupuncturist may consider on your initial visit can include:

The overall health and moisture of your skin
Unresolved trauma, stress or emotions
Gastrointestinal function and dietary irregularities
Recent exposure to toxins
Childhood infections or illnesses

Some of these considerations may not be related to psoriasis but they do play an important part in the diagnosis and treatment of your problem.  TCM practitioners believe that an unhealthy skin is a sign of a chronic and deeper issue affecting an internal organ in the body.

Results of the Treatment

Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture combined can help eradicate psoriasis.  Your treatment takes place in phases. A number of initial visits with your acupuncturist can identify the root of the problem and hence be treated accordingly.  Ordinarily, the initial phase may last for a month. During that time, you will be given weekly Chinese herbal and acupuncture therapies as well as advices for skin care and supplements that accelerate the healing process. Changes in diet are also vital for the treatment of psoriasis. In this regard, your acupuncturist will recommend a dietary guideline to aid with your progress. As your symptoms get better, your acupuncture treatments are tapered off although your herbal therapy will still continue until your condition has completely healed.

One effective way to eliminate the underlying problem of your psoriasis is an elimination diet. Anecdotal evidence has  shown that nutrition and diet are major causes for flare-ups of psoriasis.

 

Willow Tree Wellness Clinic
1607 NE 16th Avenue
Portland, OR 97232
Ph: 503-281-0030
http://willowtreeclinic.com/

Acupuncture for Arthritis

In the United States, arthritis is the number one cause of disability each year.  It is a complex condition that can affect anyone at any age and can come in more than a hundred different types.  Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are the two most common among the hundred or more type of arthritis that affects people.  The efficacy of massage therapies and acupuncture has made these two modalities one of the most popular treatments for arthritis in the United States.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a joint problem wherein patients may experience this condition in parts of the body such as the tissue of the skin, the lungs and even the heart.  Considered a long-term condition, rheumatoid arthritis is basically due to inflammation of the joints known as synovium.  This type of arthritis leads to redness, stiffness and swelling in the joints. These problematic joints may become disfigured and so they may lose the ability for normal movement.

Osteoarthritis

This type of arthritis is the most common type of arthritic condition in the United States.  Osteoarthritis is so prevalent in the US that it affects about 21 million US citizens each year. Osteoarthritis is due to a systematic shutdown of the cartilage of the joints that eventually leads to stiffness and extreme pain. The spine, fingers and knees are body parts that are usually stricken with this condition while the ankles, shoulders, elbows and wrists are likewise affected but in a less frequent manner. Sometimes osteoarthritis can also affect parts of the body that are rarely affected and this is always due to a pre-existing injury. Osteoarthritis can develop due to work related injuries. People working in occupations that entail frequent squatting, kneeling and bending are at high risk to develop osteoarthritis of the knee.

Arthritis Treatment Involving Acupuncture and Massage Therapies

The past few years have shown the superiority of massage therapies and acupuncture for treating arthritis over that of conventional medicines. Besides sharing the same potent quality of addressing arthritis and various kinds of conditions, acupuncture and massage therapies are natural modalities whose roots are deeply entrenched in the holistic world of ancient medicine.

Massage Therapy for Arthritis

Massage therapy and acupuncture are ancient treatments that have been widely used in Asia for thousands of years. Hippocrates who is considered the father of medicine was the first person in record who stated that rubbing the body at certain parts can be used to loosen a problematic joint. This was over two millennia ago. In treating arthritis, massage therapy is known to work in a few ways:

It improves blood flow to the skin
It relaxes and soothes tight muscles
It betters joint movement

There are a number and different types of massage therapy and so if the one that you’re using doesn’t do anything for you, no problem because you have many choices of massage therapies to select from. These different forms of massage therapy include:

Reflexology
Acupressure
Trigger Point Therapy
Deep Tissue Massage
Swedish Massage

Acupuncture for Arthritis Treatment

For over 5,000 years, acupuncture has been used with a very high success rate in treating the inflammation and pain associated with many forms of arthritis. Traditional ancient Chinese medicine customizes its acupuncture therapy based on the arthritis symptoms of the patient with a combination of lifestyle changes, body work, Chinese herbal formulas and, of course, acupuncture treatment. The regular doing of energetic exercises and dietary changes are some of the major factors that can make acupuncture treatment for arthritis more effective.

Many times the acupuncture needles inserted into certain points of the body to treat arthritis will not be inserted into the painful sites itself.  They may be inserted in the head, the ear or even in your small toes.  The needles are really small and thin and definitely do not cause any pain at all when they are manipulated into the skin. Acupuncture can make a person feel so relaxed and pleasant that he may just go for a round of acupuncture just to get quality sleep at night. A treatment session can be as short as 5 minutes and as long as an hour. For arthritis, the sufferer may need to go for multiple sessions depending on the seriousness of his condition.

During follow-up visits, your acupuncturist may prescribe herbal formulas that are specifically created to remedy arthritis symptoms. These herbs used include:

Anjelica Pubescens
Peony
Cinnamon Twig
Juan Bi Tang

A Swedish research involving 32 subjects who have undergone hip replacement surgery has shown that about 25% of the patients who were given acupuncture experienced substantial improvement of their functionality that they seriously think that their surgery was not really needed after all.

Acupuncture for Back Pain

There have been a number of studies during the past few years showing the potency of acupuncture therapy in treating back pain. Those studies also revealed the effectiveness of acupuncture over that of western conventional therapies such as NSAIDs. More revealing about these studies are the results of “sham” acupuncture in treating back pain. These sham therapies used toothpicks that poked but did not pierce the skin and were as effective as regular acupuncture needle procedures.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

The results of these researches signify that it’s not required to actually pierce the skin for acupuncture to bring about back pain relief. Equally effective is acupressure. Some of those who conducted the studies deem that certain physiological sequences of events happen when the skin is stimulated superficially.

Traditional acupuncture is a process that helps to bring back overall muscle balance to the body by stimulating the pathways of vital energy or chi. Acupuncturists and other practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine believe that the body is intrinsically designed for symmetry and balance.

The Posture Connection

Neutral anatomy or proper posture can do the same thing as acupuncture; it normalizes the functions of the body and effectively transfers energy and loads at the body’s upper extremity distally through the center, down to the knees, that eventually disperses when it reaches the feet. When this process is disturbed due to poor posture, it causes imbalance in the body that can even affect the concentration abilities of the person.

Many researchers are hesitant in providing theories as to what makes acupuncture successful in addressing back pain. A particular study done over a period of three weeks and performed by Vail Resorts involved 300 professional ski instructors who were tasked with a number of activities while wearing a Posture Shirt (underneath their regular clothing) that elicits a neuromuscular reaction to keep proper posture. They were given self-evaluation tests about the amount of muscle stiffness and fatigue in both instances. The outcomes showed an anatomical effect from the posture shirt’s tension and touch technology that affected their body awareness, muscle coordination and skeletal alignment. In simple terms, the shirts had a therapeutic effect similar to that of acupressure.

Treatments for Back Pain

Acupuncture treatment for back pain relief is one procedure that produces a significant amount of relief for people suffering from chronic pain. When citing the information provided above, what can be inferred is that anything that stimulates the correct pressure points along the spine, back and neck can produce beneficial results. Therefore, a Posture Shirt with its acupressure-like benefits can also equate to relief.

Acupuncturists argue that their procedures not only provide back pain relief, the procedures also work to bring back balance in the body and hence help to better the general well-being of the person.  The same effects can occur when a person maintains proper posture; it helps balance the body and aids the organ systems of the body to function optimally.

Back pain treatment using acupuncture is a proven therapy that brings about great results. It is as effective as proper posture to help rebalance the body and all of its systems. Between posture correction and acupuncture, people who are suffering from lower back pain are certain to get real relief from their pain.

Acupuncture for Asthma

There are over 20 million Americans affected with asthma every year and bronchodilators as well as steroid inhalers are the typical treatments for it.  In spite of the capacity of these medications to relieve asthma symptoms, their long-term use leads to side effects that can be serious.  Alternative and natural treatment options are now considered by chronic asthma sufferers and oftentimes, these therapies even provide more effective treatment sans the unwanted side effects.

Some of the natural alternative asthma treatments include:

Deep breathing

If you are under remission from your asthma, it can be a good idea to perform deep breathing exercises as often as you can. One type of yoga breathing, Ujayi breathing, can help build stronger and healthy lungs and heal injured, damaged or weak lungs. This type of breathing entails an exaggerated and long breath that is done with each yoga posture or asana.  Pranayama exercises including alternate nasal breathing and the one minute breath can help minimize asthma attacks more so if done regularly. In doing alternate nasal breathing, you plug one nostril then deeply inhale through the other, switch sides, exhale fully and slowly, inhale deeply, then again switch sides. This activity may be done several times. In the one minute breath, you slowly inhale as slow as possible for as long as you can. Then exhale as long as possible.  Try doing each cycle for a full minute every day.

If you are under extreme stress, you can lower it by meditating for 15 to 30 minutes each day.

Diet

The best way to prevent asthma attacks is to stay away from foods that cause inflammation in the body. For a lot of asthma sufferers, the entre class of carbohydrates and refined sugars are suspect foods. Foods that transform into sugar rapidly in the body often bring about inflammation. Several asthma patients exhibit a significant improvement in their symptoms just by heeding this information.

According to Chinese traditional medicine, the lungs are closely associated with the large intestine. Toxins in the intestines can result in a number of internal issues like allergies and asthma.  If a patient has past medical history of constipation, a detoxification process needs to be done to clean out the colon, which can indirectly help the lungs. A diet rich in fiber (vegetables and fruit) can be helpful to detoxify the colon.  Rhubarb root, ripe banana, pear, prune and flax seed are known colon cleansers.

Acupuncture

Used for over 3,000 years in China and parts of South Asia, acupuncture for treating dozens of conditions has a long successful history and is one of the best natural therapies that can treat asthma. Acupuncture is able to balance the energy of the organ systems of the body and help to alleviate inflammation that is responsible for the symptoms of asthma. From the viewpoint of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), asthma can originate from a slew of factors including constitutional weakness, candida infection, allergies, diet and stress.  These symptoms are connected to some internal organ systems that are causing the constriction of the lungs. With acupuncture treatment, the acupuncturist performs examination of the patient’s symptoms using tongue and pulse diagnosis to determine the underlying cause of the asthma. The acupuncture points chosen for treatment are the ones affected with energetic imbalance or functional disharmonies.  Supplementary TCM therapies for asthma can include gua sha and cupping.

Chinese herbs

Jade Windscreen or yu ping feng san – this herbal compound can be taken along with Ding chuan tang, ginseng and gecko to fortify the treatment and help boost the function of the lungs and strengthen immunity.

Ding chuan tang – this herbal formula is the most commonly used herbal remedy used by TCM practitioners for treating all types of asthma especially asthma that is worsened by the onset of a cold.

Gecko and ginseng or ren shen ge jie san – this formula helps clear phlegm and heat from the lungs. It also strengthens spleen and lung qi.

MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane)

Methylsulfonylmethane is a nutrient that contains organic sulfur found in the human body and the environment. Every cell in the human body contains sulfur in their structure. Antioxidants, antibodies, enzymes and hormones depend on it. Sulfur needs to be replenished constantly in the body to maintain health and nutrition because it is always utilized and expended every day. MSM is helpful for allergies and strengthens immunity because it has very good anti-inflammatory attributes.

Supplements

Cod liver oil – this type of oil is rich in essential fatty acids that can help in boosting immunity, improving circulation and alleviating inflammation.

Grape Seed extract – this is an antioxidant that helps relieve inflammation and stops the pattern of allergy-induced asthma.

Quercetin

Quercetin is a flavinoid that has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  It also has the ability to stabilize mast cells that can help in the control of allergy symptoms. For asthma caused by an allergic reaction, quercetin is the treatment you need to use.

Asthma that is long-term can be treated by any of the aforementioned therapies.  Oftentimes, combining some of these therapies provide the best approach to restore the health of the lungs.

 

The Lotus Center of Oriental Medicine
6501 N. Federal Highway #3
Boca Raton, FL 33487
Phone: 561-353-4150
http://lotuscenteroforientalmedicine.com/

Acupuncture for Anxiety

Feeling depressed or anxious? No problem.  Get treated with a natural, safe and effective therapy for your emotional issues with acupuncture. Now with a collapsing economy and many on the dole there is so much pressure at home and work places making so many people miserable and sad who eventually end up being depressed, anxious or both.

The physical health of the individual is directly influenced by his/her state of emotion and mind. This is because the body and mind are strongly connected to each other.  This explains why herbal medicine, and lifestyle and diet changes are parts of acupuncture therapy for many individuals. Acupuncture is a natural holistic medicinal art that has been used in China for about five thousand years.

Extreme mental stress and strong emotions can impact a person’s physical health leading to depression and/or anxiety.  People with depression or anxiety need to get prompt treatment in order not to run the risk of suffering from worse physical illnesses that may eventually arise. These days, simple worries are now considered as anxiety problems by psychologists. More serious types of mental and emotional strains include panic attacks and post-traumatic stress.  An individual may be diagnosed with anxiety if he exhibits symptoms such as a fast heart beat, shortness of breath and chest pain.

According to acupuncture practitioners some of the organ systems are termed fire organs and others are called water organs. The heart is considered a fire organ and the kidney a water organ. These two organs balance each other maintaining a properly balanced flow of energy in the body.  When the mind is disturbed it can be due to excess fire. This excess of fire causes heat and people who suffer from anxiety manifest this heat factor.

For treating anxiety, ear (auricular) or body acupuncture is used. The liver is believed be responsible for the distribution of qi or chi which in Chinese means vital energy.  About 20% of the US population is believed to be suffering from depression at some point in their lives. Extreme fatigue is the most common symptoms of people suffering from depression.

Conduits of chi in the body are called meridians and there are 14 of them from the liver. If a blockage develops in any of these meridians, it would obstruct the flow of chi causing it to stagnate. The stagnation can result in lack of proper digestion and, sleep related problems among others. In treating depression using acupuncture, the acupuncturist focuses on treating imbalances in the liver. The spleen and heart are the secondary organs that are likewise treated.

Acupuncture helps add chi into the energy deficient area of the body and this helps remove the blockage to help restore normal chi flow.  Besides the actual acupuncture treatment the acupuncturist will recommend body and mind exercises like qi gong, tai chi and yoga to help facilitate the treatment of depression.

Acupuncture therapy utilizes ultra fine needles inserted into the skin. These needles are usually thrown away once they are used the first time to prevent infection. Unlike needles used by doctors and nurses, acupuncture needles generate no or little pain to the patient when they are inserted into the body.

Acupuncture for Chronic Neck Pain

It is not an exaggeration that about almost 80% of people living in the United States suffers from some kind of neck pain. Several of these sufferers have long term or chronic neck pain.  The possible causes for this include sitting in front of a computer all day or due to poor posture.  Some may suffer from really severe pain that may have resulted due to a motor vehicle accident or a sports injury. People who have chronic neck pain more often than not utilize conventional medicine specifically pain-relieving drugs to relieve the pain. However, what these medications merely do is to mask the pain. They also can lead to addictions and dependencies since their long term use eventually make those medications less effective.

Massage therapists and chiropractors are experts in relieving neck pain but the magnitude of the pain may only make their benefits last for a few days.  These therapies are not inexpensive which means availing them on a regular basis is out of the question for the ordinary Joe or Jane. Acupuncture can be the right remedy for chronic neck pain. This therapy is an ancient medical procedure that originated in China and is part of an Oriental medical codex known as traditional Chinese medicine. Acupuncture involves the insertion of tiny needles into determined acupuncture points on the body.  Based on the location and the type of the pain, the needles are inserted into affected points that can help relieve the neck pain. Sometimes, in lieu of needles, electrical currents, or heat are also utilized to stimulate the acupuncture points.  Usually during the initial treatment, a few needles are needed for the treatment. This is often the case when the neck pain is seriously painful although the effects of the therapy usually linger for a long time.

Several studies were done to prove acupuncture’s longstanding effectiveness in treating chronic neck pain. The majority of the subjects who have participated in these tests experienced quick pain relief just after the initial treatment with the effects of the treatments lasting for a longer period compared to the subjects who were merely given massage treatments.  Some of the subjects experienced the disappearance of their pain for months enabling them to require treatment only a single time every few months to maintain relief of the pain.  These studies have proven that acupuncture is a very effective remedy for chronic neck pain.

 

Eva Paglialonga is a licensed acupuncturist and massage therapist in Miami, FL and the medical director of Needles and Moxa Wellness Center.