Acupuncture for Sinusitis

The condition wherein the sinuses and nose are inflamed is known as sinusitis. Acute sinusitis is the manifestation of the same condition that has been lingering for 3 months or less characterized by symptoms such as loss or reduced sense of smell, facial pressure or pain, discharge (nasal drip) and congestion (blockage). Additional symptoms may involve fever, malaise, swelling, tenderness and toothache (affecting the upper teeth).  Sinusitis is considered a chronic condition if it endures for more than three months and is likewise associated with the aforementioned symptoms.

Bacterial or viral infections often are the cause of acute sinusitis. Conditions that can increase the susceptibility of a person to sinusitis include mechanical problems like a deviated septum, dental infections, diabetes mellitus, smoking, allergic rhinitis and upper respiratory infections. Complications that can result from sinusitis include meningitis, frontal bone infection, and infection surrounding the eye that can result in blindness.  Signs and symptoms of those potentially dangerous complications include indications of meningitis, extreme frontal headache, impaired vision, double vision, displacement of the eye, reddening of the eye, and swelling of the eyes or lids. Chronic or long-term sinusitis is atypical and often comes about due to acute sinusitis or impaired drainage of the problematic sinus, inflammatory alterations to the lining of the sinus due to infection, and occasional flare-ups of infection caused by these alterations.  There may be other causes or contributory factors for the rise of sinusitis. A stubborn allergy, for example, that inflames the sinus causing it to swell or obstruct the drainage pathway can lead to sinusitis.

The conventional way of controlling sinusitis involves the use of analgesics such as ibuprofen or paracetamol for pain relief that may come with codeine if needed.  Saline nasal solution or steam inhalation can also be utilized. Antibacterial treatment is justified only for sinusitis sufferers who are severely affected and manifest signs and symptoms or who are highly susceptible of developing severe complications.

Acupuncture Can Help Treat Sinusitis

Results from randomized controlled studies show how acupuncture can be effective in treating sinusitis symptoms like nasal congestion. Unfortunately, very few studies have been done demonstrating the ability of acupuncture to treat sinusitis. More randomized high-quality controlled research are required to test the efficacy of acupuncture in resolving sinusitis

Acupuncture can allay the congestion and pain in people with sinusitis by:

Improving local microcirculation that helps reduce the swelling
Boosting the activities of natural killer cells as well as regulating the ratio and number of immune cell types
Treating inflammation through the stimulation of immunomodulatory and vascular and factors
Activating nerves connected to tissues and muscles. This causes the release of endorphins and other neurotransmitters and alters pain processing in the spinal cord and the brain
Boosting endorphins that aid in neutralizing negative affective states

Acupuncture is widely believed to stimulate the nervous system. This stimulates the release of neurotransmitters causing biochemical changes that positively affects the body’s homeostatic mechanisms. This then leads to emotional and physical well-being.  The activation of specific acupuncture points affects certain parts of the brain that are believed to lessen sensitivity to stress and pain.


John Frink holds a Master’s Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is a licensed acupuncturist in Davis, CA., with special training in Chinese herbal medicine.

Acupuncture for Genital & Oral Herpes

Genital and oral herpes is not related to another type of herpes that causes shingles: herpes zoster.

Anatomy of the Skin

Oral or genital herpes is caused by a virus known as Herpes simplex.  They can be the result of a sexually conveyed infection. Shingles or Herpes zoster can occur due to a re-functioning of a dormant chicken pox disease. Shingles usually cause blisters (vesicles) on the body and can manifest along stretches of skin beginning on the area of the spine that may virtually enfold the entire body.  As the name suggests, genital and oral herpes is limited to the genital or oral cavity (lips and mouths).

Western conventional medicine views the viruses and mechanisms causing these conditions as different; traditional Chinese medicine, on the other hand, sees them as almost identical. This makes it easy for acupuncturists to treat the shingles and herpes quickly and effectively, no matter where the condition occurs on the body.

The symptoms and causes of shingles and herpes

Herpes Zoster (Shingles)

Herpes zoster can cause a painful rash. Shingles can develop at any part on the body, although it often affects only one side of the body and limited to a stretch of skin known as a dermatome that starts along the spine. Another name shingles is known by is chickenpox caused by the varicella-zoster virus.  People who never developed chickenpox will never develop shingles. After the person has been infected with chickenpox, the virus resides and stays latent in some of the cells along the spinal cord. After several years, and during times of great stress or in a weak immune system, the virus can become active resulting in shingles. Though not dangerous, shingles can become severely painful. When shingles occur, blisters may form along the dermatome vessels. People with shingles describe the pain as electric, searing or burning. Two weeks after the break out, the vesicles dry up, causing crust formation that then eventually heals.

After crusting and the eventual healing, it may be typical for the person to experience pain. This is called as post-zoster pain or post-herpetic neuralgia. Chinese herbal therapy and acupuncture can aid in decreasing the magnitude of the flare ups of shingles and stop the pain. These two combinations can also help treat post-zoster pain, as well.


Genital herpes is often accompanied by blisters (sores), itching and pain. A lot of people with this infection do not manifest any visible symptoms or signs. But whether or not the signs and symptoms are visible, herpes is considered an infectious disease. The HSV or herpes simplex virus is responsible for this condition.  Mouth -to-genital or skin-to-skin contact can spread herpes. When one becomes infected, the virus can stay dormant in the body that may come back alive a number of times a year.

Acupuncture treatment for Shingles and Herpes?

Pain and Itching are classical signs of shingles and herpes.  Clinical studies have revealed that acupuncture can quell itch and stop pain.  Modern western medicine explains that acupuncture affects the nerves. It helps produce and release neurotransmitters that intercept the pain and itchy impulses sent to the brain. According to traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture helps to balance the body’s energetics and organ systems to stop pain and itch.

When acupuncture is combined with Chinese herbal medicine, the results are even faster and stronger.  Acupuncturists almost always give all their patients with shingles and herpes topical herbs that help stop the itching and pain. The herbs may come in tea-form. It can be applied to problem sites. It can be gargled for those suffering from oral herpes, utilized as a sitz bath or douche for genital herpes, or for shingles, applied on the skin with a piece of cotton.  Some acupuncturists also prescribe their patients with herbal medicine that can be used internally. All these preparations can be used during outbreaks to neutralize the itch and pain.


Vickery Health & Wellness
18455 Burbank Blvd #306
Tarzana, CA 91356
(818) 578-6730

Acupuncture for Epilepsy

Several medical studies have already been done that proves the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating epilepsy. Early diagnosis and acupuncture treatment in children patients have shown to bring about impressive outcomes. Some researchers have concluded that a period of two years of regular acupuncture treatment is needed to attain long-lasting treatment. Ear, body and scalp acupuncture are some of the different acupuncture techniques that can be used to treat epilepsy.  Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a very potent therapy that can address many kinds of diseases with outstanding success western conventional medicine cannot treat. Epileptic seizure of unknown origins can be addressed and even cured using TCM modalities. A lot of these kinds of seizures cannot be resolved using allopathic medicine. However, TCM does not cure epilepsy in a relatively quick manner. It uses acupuncture combined with Chinese herbal remedies to overcome this condition on a long term basis.

Clinical studies done in the Medical College of Ohio revealed that acupuncture has the ability to affect biochemical changes in the central nervous system of animals as well as cause biochemical changes in them.  The studies suggest that there is a correlation in the changes with the betterment of the paralysis, paresis and seizures treated with acupuncture. Neurotransmitter alterations and the stimulation of the vagal nerve are the effects of acupuncture on the brain to help treat epilepsy.

The vagus nerve can be activated by stimulating certain acupuncture points on the lower extremities, scalp, ear, face, ear, face and body. The stimulation generates reflexes in centers that receive several neural inputs within the brain stem. Most acupuncturists select those points for the treatment of epilepsy.

One acupuncture point called the Shen Men point is situated on the ear and is a very useful point in addressing several kinds of conditions.  It is specifically found on the pinna where several branches of the vagus nerve endings are located.  The Shen Men point can be treated with electro-acupuncture for the treatment of epilepsy. Ear or auricular electro-acupuncture therapy help lessen epileptic attacks in the cortex of the brain. It likewise lowers the excitatory neurotransmitter levels in the hippocampus and enhances inhibitory chemicals levels. The combination of Chinese herbal formulas and acupuncture are the most potent combination in the stopping or reduction of seizures.  Before taking any medications or any recreational drugs, you need first to talk with your doctor about the hazards and side effects of these substances as their intake may lead to seizures in certain individuals.

Acupuncture points located in the extremities also teem with vagus nerve endings. Using electro-acupuncture on these points can have the same effect on the brain as auricular acupuncture.  The intake of taurine-rich foods and herbs can better the results of electro-acupuncture and prevent the rise of induced seizures.

A study done on rats suffering from epilepsy caused by high pilocarpine levels treated with electro-acupuncture resulted in a significant reduction of the epilepsy attacks of the rats. Other studies have even showed that electro-acupuncture and acupuncture can likely reverse mental decline and signs of brain aging in some people.


Linda Lesperance is a licensed acupuncturist and the founder of The Lotus Center of Oriental Medicine in Boca Raton, FL.

Acupuncture for Endometriosis

For adherents and practitioners of acupuncture, endometriosis is just another condition to manage and cure. However, scientists may see acupuncture as a means or pacifier for patients to believe that they are being cured.  They argue that the positive thinking causes women to get desired results from acupuncture therapies.  To see if there is a connection between endometrial pain and acupuncture, we need to know first the underlying principles behind acupuncture.

Acupuncture is a huge part of TCM or traditional Chinese medicine and it involves the concept of vital energy known as chi.  Chi is a force present in all nature, and it basically flows throughout our body to help us grow, be healthy and reproduce. The free flow of chi means that we are experiencing good health. This helps us to be in harmony with their environment. When this flow is disrupted, illnesses and pain begin to develop in the body.

Acupuncture aims to restore the free and normal flow of chi through energy vessels called meridians. This will help bring relief to the pain we are experiencing or help treat our sicknesses. Acupuncture accomplishes this with the use of ultra thin needles inserted at certain points in the body where the flow of chi occurs undisturbed.

The proper flow of chi balances the body enabling the body to heal itself.  So many people who have tried this therapy testify to its ability to help them think better and relax, oftentimes leading to a healthier life. To see how acupuncture can be used for endometriosis, we need to know how endometriosis occurs.

A woman’s uterus develops an inner lining known as the endometrium during her monthly cycle. This lining is to nurse a fetus should the woman’s egg become fertilized. The absence of fertilization will cause the endometrial to pass out of the body during menstruation. In certain instances, however, the endometrial lining goes to the other parts of the body. This may result in interference in normal bodily functions, scarring and internal bleeding. This issue is known as endometriosis, and many who experience it may suffer from progressively intense bodily pain.

Physicians address endometriosis by either prescribing painkillers or by managing the amounts of estrogen in the body to enable the patient to deal with the pain that come with the condition. Another possible medical option is surgery. It can excise the misplaced endometrial tissue and related adhesions and scarring. The problem with this procedure is that it may only offer short-term relief which may necessitate further surgeries ahead.

Because of the paucity of satisfactory and comprehensive medical and surgical therapies, a growing number of sufferers are looking at alternative therapies to resolve their condition or at least to complement their conventional treatments.

When going for acupuncture treatment, the acupuncturist will ask the patient a number of questions regarding the patient’s menstrual cycle as well as about certain aspects of her life. The therapies are customized to the patient’s needs and unique constitution. The acupuncture points selected for treatment may differ from patient to patient although typical points treated involve the legs, stomach, back, ears and neck.

Often combined with acupuncture are Chinese herbal remedies. These herbal formulas are specifically for the individual’s condition and symptoms and help optimize the outcome of the acupuncture treatment. By diverting chi, the needles that are inserted into the acupuncture points can help sufferers of endometriosis to feel stronger and better. They may be strong enough to cope with the pains of their condition.

Acupuncture helps patients with endometriosis in a number of ways. First this therapy can help relax the patient making it easier for her to manage her discomfort and pain. Acupuncture can also enhance circulation to the stomach which helps promote healing and can serves as a painkiller by the release endorphins into the bloodstream.

If you are seriously considering getting acupuncture for the relief of your endometrial pain, you need to consult with your doctor first and see what other medical options for endometriosis are available for you.  If your doctor gives his approval for acupuncture treatment, you then should search for a LICENSED acupuncturist near your area. You can also talk to fellow endometriosis patients and ask them about the acupuncturists they have gone to.


Needles & Moxa Wellness Center
700 S Red Rd
Miami, FL 33144
Ph: (305) 265-5265

Acupuncture for Dry Skin

Most individuals who have dry skin use a moisturizing cream to maintain skin suppleness every day. The problem with moisturizers is that they do not solve the source of skin dryness.  With the help of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), you can improve the elasticity of your skin and make it more moisturized, smoother, shinier and healthier overall.

In order to treat skin dryness, an acupuncturist uses traditional Chinese diagnostic methods such observation of the symptoms, signs, pulse and tongue.  In TCM, dry skin is due to disorders in the Lung, Kidney and Liver (Lung and Liver with excess Heat, Kidney Yin weakness).  Acupuncture for dry skin treatment is often combined with Chinese herbal medicine as well as modifications to diet and lifestyle.

The relationship between some of the Internal Organs and the Skin

The largest organ in the human body is the skin. TCM considers the skin as one with the body. The skin possesses both a pathological and physical function that is connected to some of the body’s internal organs.  Some of the organs associated with the skin and its condition include:

The Large Intestine

The association of the Large Intestine and the skin is seen in the way the skin reacts to a person’s diet and eating habits. For example, if the person over eats or eats spicy and hot foods and drinks, toxins may accumulate in his intestines which can manifest on his skin.  These manifestations can be signs and symptoms like itchiness, rash, pimples and boil. Some other symptoms that are not related to the skin include bloating, smelly flatulence and constipation.

The Kidneys

The body’s original yin and yang are found in the Kidneys that likewise are responsible for all the stages of skin and the body.  When the Kidney experiences a Yin and Yang imbalance, symptoms like perspiration, hot flushes and dry skin can develop.

Liver and Heart

The Liver and Heart are responsible for the person’s emotions and blood circulation respectively.  Both emotions and blood flow can affect the skin and if Liver and Heart experience dysfunction, it may lead to toxins in the blood and heat. It may also cause skin flare ups resulting in or exacerbating skin problems such as rashes, eczema or pimples.


TCM believes that the Lung helps to open up and close the skin pores. A poor Lung function causes disorders that often affect skin health and can result in the following conditions:

if you are a smoker  and have been smoking for a long time, you may not only experience disorder of the Lung and but also dry skin.

When the body gets attacked by external Heat (virus) and Wind, the Lung function can be affected and the body may develop symptoms like shingles, rash, itchiness as well as sore throat or sneezing.

Dry Skin Symptoms

Dry skin can either develop quickly or over long periods of time and can become dryer and dryer over the course of time.  Dry skin can become painful, irritated, itchy, cracked or scaly and can develop on several parts of the body like the heels, elbows, nails, elbows, nails and around the lips or mouth. When left in a dry state for a long time, the skin can develop complications such as eczema, itchiness, rash or infection.

Dry Skin Causes

Blood and Liver Yin Deficiency

This type of deficiency is the most common cause of skin dryness.  It occurs more in women 40 years old and older after menopause or in women after labor. Blood and Liver Yin Deficiency can also be experienced by males and by both sexes at almost every of age.

People with this kind of deficiency can develop symptoms such as dream disturbed sleep, insomnia, high emotions, anxiety, hot flushes (especially while  sleeping or during the evening), extreme thirst, excess heat in the body, dry stools and unhealthy looking nails.

Heat in the Lung & Liver

Some of the several factors that can cause excessive Heat in the Lung and Liver, include Heat coming from other organs,  drugs, spicy and hot food, too much or long-term alcohol consumption, pneumonia, virus, colds and the flu.  When the Lung or Liver becomes overheated, the skin can turn dry and unhealthy.  Other dryness symptoms caused by Heat in the Lung and Liver include constipation, insomnia, extreme emotions, dry and red eyes, dry throat and dry cough.  People with this type of imbalance can develop complications such as hay fever, eczema or asthma.

Other Causes for Dry Skin

Certain foods
Certain drugs
Chronic illness or injury
Poor blood flow

If you suffer from dry skin you can avail of:

Medical help – If you noticed that your skin has been dry for quite awhile, you may be suffering from an underlying medical condition. You need to consult with your doctor for diagnosis and treatment of whatever ails you.

Acupuncture and TCM – Acupuncture and other types of TCM can zoom in on the root cause of your dry skin and treat both the symptoms and the real cause of your dry skin. Acupuncture and TCM are very safe and natural alternative treatments that consistently treat dry skin conditions.

Lifestyle & Diet

Relaxation –Change your work and lifestyle habits so you may not be living in a very stressful environment. Try not to be too emotional as it can cause Liver Heat. Meditation is also a good way to relax

Proper Diet – Eating lamb, shellfish, chives, garlic, ginger, onions, deep-fried food, spicy or hot food and drinking alcohol can increase Heat in the Lung, Liver or digestive system and flare up the skin. Recommended foods to eat include fruits, vegetables and teas such as pear, lemon, mung beans, peppermint tea, green tea, spinach, carrots, green leafy vegetables, cucumber and celery.

Exercise – Try to avoid strong sunlight when exercising outdoors.  Recommended exercises include swimming, biking, gentle walking and yoga.

Sleep – Get adequate sleep (at least 8 hours of sleep) every night

Dry skin can easily be resolved using any of the aforementioned treatment recommendations.

Acupuncture for GERD

GERD or Gastro esophageal Reflux Disease is a structural condition wherein the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the valve separating the esophagus and the abdomen, fails to fully shut enabling stomach acid and contents to flow back into the esophagus.

In a normal functioning LES, the food travels down into the esophagus through a process called peristalsis. The LES relaxes so that food may pass from the esophagus into the stomach. When the food has passed, the LES closes again. Reflux happens when the LES relaxes when it shouldn’t or does not close completely.  The reflux contains acidic contents and they cause pain and damage to the linings of the esophageal wall during reflux. Most people occasionally may get heartburn, but if the heartburn happens many times a week, it begins to wreak long-term irritation on the esophageal lining and can be an indication of a chronic condition known as GERD.  Obviously, heartburn is the defining symptom of GERD. Other symptoms may include a feeling of lump in the throat that makes it hard to swallow and can cause chronic coughing, excess saliva production, a sour taste in the mouth, frequent burping, and regurgitation.

A staggering one third of Americans experience GERD each year according to the American Gastroenterological Association. The incidence of GERD increases after the age of 40 although this condition can strike anyone at any age.

The doctor observes the symptoms of GERD in order to diagnose it. There are diagnostic tests also for GERD such as pressure testing of the lower esophageal sphincter, test for esophageal acidity, endoscopy and x-ray with barium swallow. These tests are used for patients who do not respond to medicines or to help rule out esophageal cancer or Barrett’s esophagus.

Acidic foods such as citrus and tomatoes, alcohol, soda, coffee, fried foods, fatty foods, onions, garlic and other spic foods can trigger GERD symptoms. Hiatal hernia, pregnancy and obesity can exert added pressure on the abdomen and contribute to GERD’s development.

GERD has still no known cure and the goal of treatment is to minimize the symptoms and cut down on the damage as much as possible. Surgery can be done to tighten the LES but this is only considered after all kinds of non invasive treatment have been exhausted. PPIs or proton pump inhibitors like Nexium or Prilosec is the most commonly used therapy for GERD. PPIs cut down on the acid production of the stomach to lessen the risk of reflux.

Proton pump inhibitors are good modalities for relieving GERD symptoms but the problem with these drugs is the side effects after being used for a long period of time. To help facilitate the healing of ulcers in the esophagus, the acidity of the stomach needs to be curtailed for one to three months. PPIs are ideal for this but the ulcers can become longstanding and may need several courses of PPI medications. If used for a longer period, these medicines can bring about an abdominal environment of insufficient amounts of acid necessary for the proper absorption of nutrients such as calcium and vitamin B12 and also for the proper digestion of proteins. In the long run, the body becomes deficient in vitamins and can disrupt the cycle of bone re-absorption and bone creation leading to fragile bones. This problem is a more significant issue for women entering menopause who may already be having bone loss problems. Long term PPI use has also been connected with added rise of gastric polyps as well as growing dependency to the drug that can come with significant rebound symptoms when their intake is stopped abruptly.

GERD, according to TCM or traditional Chinese medicine, is seen more as a symptom than a condition itself. It specifically is a sign of a systemic imbalance in the body. Reflux and heartburn are seen as a conflict between the stomach and the liver. In TCM, stomach’s normal flow of energy direction is always downwards. When energy of the liver “clashes” with that of the stomach, the result is the forced re-orientation of the direction of the stomach’s energy flow and instead of a downward direction the flow goes upward.  This leads to long term signs and symptoms such as reflux, heartburn, burping, and a greasy thick tongue coat. The lump in the throat sensation usually accompanied by a throat-clearing cough is known as “plum pit qi” and is considered an indication of liver qi stagnation.  The liver is responsible for keeping everything in the body (digestion, emotions, energy and blood) normally flowing in their proper directions.  When the liver becomes overworked due to severe stress, it loses control of the smooth flow and begins to dysfunction; in other words, the liver “rebels.” The direction of this rebellion is sideways into the stomach.

The main contrasting feature between the treatment of GERD symptoms of western medicine and TCM is the notion of stress in impacting the health of the body and the pathological consequences stress causes. This matters more in TCM than in western medicine. Diagnosing conditions using TCM leads to a consideration of the effects of stress in the association of the various organ systems with each other and the imbalances that stress brings about in these systems. Then upon knowing this association, the TCM practitioner will be able to treat those imbalances as well as the symptoms.

The course of treatment for symptoms like reflux and heartburn depends on the symptoms presented and the constitution of the patient.  Typically, treatment entails the relaxing of the liver and the regulation of its functions as well as the relief of stress that causes it to “rebel” on its neighbor, the stomach; reestablishing the normal directional flow of stomach qi (downward flow); the removal of heat; and removing dampness that collects during the disruption of stomach qi.  Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture combined are excellent treatment choices for GERD.  Your acupuncturist can choose either of the two or both depending on the seriousness of your symptoms, and your lifestyle. Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture can also be used as adjunct therapy to Western medicine in order to get much better and quicker results. They can also help reduce the side effects of your medications.


Dr. Jack Handlin is an experienced acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist and oriental reproductive medicine specialist at Tree of Life Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine in Bellevue, WA.