Psoriasis is an Autoimmune Condition that Can Be Treated with Acupuncture

If you are one among the more than 7 million people in the United States suffering from psoriasis, you are probably fully aware of how distressful and unpredictable this disease can be. A type of chronic autoimmune condition, psoriasis affects the skin causing symptoms such as flares of red spots, pustules, or patchy scales. Western modes of treatment mainly include medications that are applied on the problem area or taken by mouth or light therapy; these treatments, however, are not often powerful enough to resolve the symptoms.

It’s quite difficult to treat psoriasis. It affects each person differently and because Western treatments are oftentimes inadequate, sufferers seek out complementary or alternative treatments to help manage their symptoms. Whilst most of these treatments have yet to be scientifically validated, there are some patients who have gotten well using acupuncture, special diets, and/or herbal supplements.

A dermatologist from Loyola University Medical Center at Chicago, Dr. Rebecca Tung, stated that it can be quite a challenge getting a psoriasis flare under control. She added that it’s not uncommon to try a variety of medications to finally find one that will work for you; however, she said, that a psoriasis drug that may work now may eventually become ineffective in the future.

For this reason, a lot of psoriasis sufferers are forced to consider non-conventional types of treatment to keep their condition properly managed. This is where acupuncture comes in.

Acupuncture Treatment for Psoriasis

Clinical studies dealing with the effectiveness of acupuncture as a way to resolve the symptoms of psoriasis have, so far, come up with mixed results. One study of note done in UCLA discovered that acupuncture was able to completely clear the flares in 50% of the subjects who were given treatment. Added to that, acupuncture was able to treat the symptoms of additional ¼ of the participants in the study. One other study done in Sweden, however, had results that showed that people given intramuscular acupuncture fared no better than the subjects who were administered with a placebo. Still, one has to consider that this study was done 15 years ago and its outcomes do not automatically imply that acupuncture is not effective in treating psoriasis.

Some practitioners such as the head acupuncturist at the Center for Integrative Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute, Jamie Starkey, Lac, state that the more than 3,500 year old healing practice of acupuncture does not fit well into the model of Western clinical trial studies. The placebo often used in this type of study is “sham acupuncture,” which is the placement of acupuncture needles into random points in the body. This kind of placebo treatment is difficult to carry out and is somewhat controversial. In short, acupuncture treatment, is just not compatible to Western medical scientific methods.

Be that as it may, a lot of patients really do not care since many of those who have tried the treatment state that it has worked very well for their condition. Blog posts and discussion forums about psoriasis are replete with comments from people who claim they experienced substantial benefits from the treatment; some of them even said that they had complete remission of psoriasis with acupuncture. Even some specialists and medical doctors agree that acupuncture can help. Dr. Tung said that psoriasis is the result of a disease affecting the immune system and it can be set off by stress. Acupuncture is an ideal treatment for stress and so there is really no problem incorporating it in a psoriasis treatment since it can help prevent the triggering of the flares by helping alleviate stress.

Miss Starkey noted that rechanneling the circulation of vital energy known as chi in the body is crucial in the acupuncture treatment of psoriasis. Acupuncture needles could be used to encircle a psoriasis flare to help boost chi microcirculation to the area to rebalance the function of the immune system. The Chinese medicine term in which acupuncture needles encircle a psoriasis flare is known as “surrounding the dragon.”

Why One Should Consider Acupuncture

Since Chinese medicine is a holistic (whole-person) type of treatment, it can be a practical treatment for psoriasis, a condition that usually affects the entire body. Other reasons for trying it out are listed below:

1. Studies have revealed that acupuncture is an effective type of treatment for several kinds of autoimmune condition including multiple sclerosis and arthritis. And since psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, acupuncture can be an ideal modality for it as well.

2. If you are currently using other forms of psoriasis treatment, acupuncture can still be added since it does not interfere with any of your existing treatments. Acupuncture treatment does not interact with any of your psoriasis medication unlike herbal supplements and remedies. You can use acupuncture along with other modalities to help relieve stress.

3. Acupuncture is an extremely safe treatment. It has very few risks but very many benefits, as well.

The most important point in using acupuncture is that you need to decide on a treatment that works best for you. More studies are recommended to truly prove its worth as a treatment for psoriasis. However, double-blind controlled studies are difficult to come by, so the next best thing to do is depend on an opinion from an expert or read testimonials from former acupuncture patients.
 
Dr. Vickery is a licensed acupuncturist in Tarzana, CA., and the founder and clinical director of Vickery Health and Wellness.

Various Treatments for GERD and Acid Reflux

GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease can come about when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) fails to shut properly and contents from the stomach reflux, or leak back, into the esophagus. The sphincter of the LES is made up of a ring of muscle tissues that separates the esophagus and the stomach. It serves as a valve to allow food and fluids from the esophagus to enter into the stomach and immediately shuts when all these materials pass through the stomach.

When stomach contents and acid that were refluxed touches the lining of the esophagus, they cause a sensation known as heartburn which is a feeling of burning in the throat or chest. The refluxed material may even be tasted in the back of the mouth, which we know of as acid indigestion. It is normal to experience heartburn from time to time. But when this experience occurs more than two times a week, this condition can be diagnosed as GERD which eventually can result in far worse health issues.

Both male and female and people of all ages can suffer from GERD.

GERD Symptoms

Acid regurgitation and heartburn are the main symptoms of GERD. There have been GERD sufferers who do not experience heartburn at all but instead experience swallowing difficulties, hoarseness in the morning, or feel pain in the chest. Some may feel a tightening in their throat or feel like choking, or feel like they have food stuck in their throat. Bad breath and a dry cough are also some of the symptoms of GERD.

GERD in Children

Several studies indicate that infants and children experience GERD symptoms more commonly than is thought but they’re often overlooked. The symptoms of GERD in these young individuals include respiratory problems, repeated coughing, and vomiting. The undeveloped digestive systems of children are often to blame. The good news is that most babies who experience GERD have complete resolution of their problem by the time they reach one year of age. It is still advisable, however, to consult with your child’s physician if the condition happens frequently or it leads to discomfort. The doctor may suggest some basic steps to help the child avoid reflux, such as keeping the infant in an upright position for 30 minutes after feeding or burping the baby a number of times during feeding. For older children, the physician may suggest staying away from:

-Fatty and fried foods
-Acidic foods such as tomatoes and oranges
-Spicy foods like chili or pizza
-Peppermint and chocolate
-Sodas that have caffeine in them

It may also help to not eat any more food two to three hours before going to bed. It may be good for the child to sleep with his/her head raised. The doctor may prescribe medications if these recommendations do not work. On very few occasions, surgery may be required on the child.

The Causes of GERD

Scientists still have no explanation as to why GERD really occurs although one contributing factor may be hiatal hernia. This type of hernia happens when the stomach’s upper section is higher than the diaphragm, which is the muscle tissue that separates the chest from the abdomen. One of the functions of the diaphragm is to aid the LES in preventing stomach acid from going back and rising to the esophagus. If a person has a hiatal hernia, the acid may have an easier time escaping and rising to the esophagus. So, we now can see that a hiatal hernia can be a factor that causes reflux. People of any age and sex can develop a hiatal hernia.

Some of the contributing factors for GERD include:

-Smoking
-Pregnancy
-Excess weight
-Alcohol use

Instances of reflux can also come about from the eating or drinking of certain things including:

-Tomato-based foods such as pizza, chili, and spaghetti sauce
-Spicy foods
-Mint flavorings
-Onions and garlic
-Drinks containing caffeine
-Chocolate
-Citrus fruits

Treatments for GERD

If you think you are suffering from heartburn or any GERD symptoms, you need to talk to your doctor, particularly a gastroenterologist or one who treats disorders of the intestines or stomach. Treatment may include surgery, drugs, or lifestyle changes depending on the severity of your condition.

Drugs

Your physician may suggest that you take drugs that help the muscles empty your stomach, or ones that will inhibit acid production or across-the-counter antacids, which you can purchase without a prescription.

Antacids – Riopan, Rolaids, Pepto-Bismol, Mylanta, Maalox, and Alka-Seltzer

Calcium carbonate antacids – Alka-2, titralac, and Tums, Titralac

H2 blockers – Zantac 75 (ranitidine), Axid AR (nizatidine), Pepcid AC (famotidine), and Tagamet HB (cimetidine).

PPIs (Proton pump inhibitors) – Nexium (esomeprazole), Aciphex (rabeprazole), Protonix (pantoprazole), Prevacid (lansoprazole), and Prilosec (omeprazole).

Prokinetics which is another group of drugs, can help make the stomach empty faster and reinforce the sphincter. Prokinetics can include Reglan (metoclopramide) and Urecholine (bethanechol). The function of the digestive tract can be enhanced with Metoclopramide; however, its usefulness is limited by the frequent side effects of this drug.

Changes in Lifestyle

1. Raise the head of your bed by six to 8 inches. You can do this by placing wood blocks under the bedposts; using pillows to raise your head may not be enough.

2. Do not lie down three hours after a meal.

3. Wear loose-fitting clothes

4. Consume small meals

5. If required, lose weight

6. Stop drinking alcohol

7. Stop smoking

Important Notes

1. The most common symptoms of GERD are acid indigestion or heartburn. People experiencing acid indigestion two times a week may likely be suffering from GERD.

2. Other telltale signs of GERD include pain in the chest, burning in the mouth, a sensation that food is stuck in your throat. And even without heartburn, you can still be suffering from GERD.

3. GERD may cause repeated coughing, vomiting, and other respiratory problems in children and babies. After their first birthday, most babies out grow the condition.

4. It is time to consult with your doctor, if you have been taking antacids for more than 14 days. Most doctors are trained to treat GERD. If you want to be treated by a specialist talk to a gastroenterologist, who is a physician who treats problems of the intestines and stomach.

5. Physicians often recommend dietary and lifestyle changes to alleviate the heartburn symptoms. GERD sufferers may also need drugs. Surgery can be considered for very serious cases.

Research about GERD

As mentioned before, scientists do not know why and how GERD develops. Many things can bring about this condition and studies are presently being done on many levels to try to resolve this mystery. The factors that increase the risk for GERD are being studied as well as the conditions that aggravate GERD including bronchitis and asthma.

Contributory factors to GERD such as hiatal hernia continue to be explored and debated. This topic is quite complex because there are GERD sufferers without a hiatal hernia and people with hiatal hernia but do not suffer from acid reflux.

More studies need to be done regarding the role of Helicobacter pylori bacterium. The low rates of certain gastric cancers and peptic ulcer are mainly due to our ability to kill H. pylori bacteria. However, cases of cancers of the esophagus, Barrett’s esophagus, and GERD have been on the rise. Scientists speculate whether H. pylori may actually help in preventing GERD. This question will be answered by future research works regarding GERD.

Herbal and Nutritional Treatments for GERD

1. Sai Mei An is a type of Chinese herbal antacid. It can alleviate and soothe the unwanted symptoms of GERD.

2. Clothing – If you have GERD avoid do not wear clothes that adds pressure to your chest and abdomen. Avoid wearing tight bras and belts

3. Posture – Try sleeping on your left side or keep your body raised five to six inches while you sleep. Avoid stooping or bending from the waist just after meals.

4. Do not Smoke – You need to talk to a licensed acupuncturist in Boynton Beach to explain to you how Chinese herbs and acupuncture can help you with your condition and in helping stop to smoke.

5. Modify your eating habits – Thoroughly chew your food and eat. It’s not advisable to eat bigger portions. Do not overeat. Eat smaller meals instead. Allow yourself to be moderately filled. Dinner should at least 3 hours before you go to bed. Sit after finishing your meal, sit in an upright chair and rest about half an hour after you have eaten or before any activity.

6. Diet – Avoid alcohol, fried and fatty foods, hot spicy foods, sour foods, acidic fruit juices, coffee, peppermint, tomato, chocolate, and carbonated beverages.

7. Embark on a stress management program: deep breathing activities, meditation, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, and Yoga.

Believe It or Not, Acupuncture Can Cure Chronic Bad Breath

Acupuncture is perhaps the most unorthodox way to cure bad breath. Most Americans are not even aware of what acupuncture is all about and for sure, they will be surprised to know that it can be used to treat or cure halitosis (bad breath). Acupuncture is an oriental healing art that uses tiny needles to treat a health condition. When a needle is inserted into a certain part of the skin (known as an acupoint), it causes an effect that leads to the restoration of the normal flow of life energy (known as Chi or Qi) in the body. This Chi is believed to circulate all over the body, just as blood does, through pathways of energy known as meridians. Chi is the force in our body that gives us the ability to feel, work, move, and think.

Practiced for more than three thousand years, Chinese medicine uses an approach that is very much different than that of Western medicine. Practitioners of Chinese medicine believe that the health of the spirit, mind, and body is all connected through Chi. Yin and Yang needs to be in proper balance for the body to be able to function optimally. This belief is one of the fundamental principles of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). TCM practitioners believe that all life is derived from the complementing and opposing interdependency of Yin to Yang, and vice-versa. This interaction results in good health. When an imbalance of yin and yang occurs, the whole body is thrown off balance as well. This imbalance can be caused by illness or disease. Health and balance go hand in hand, in Chinese medicine.

TCM practitioners believe that bad breath is the result of a hot stomach. This mean s that stomach has too much heat inside it and besides bad breath can lead to other symptoms such as frontal lobe headaches, mouth ulcers, and gum swelling and disease. Overabundance of stomach heat may be due to several factors that can include consuming food that has turned bad, stomach flu, bad diet, and extremely high levels of stress among many others. Excess stomach heat is a common condition and oftentimes, it goes unnoticed. Most people deal with this problem by taking antacids. Antacids really do not solve the underlying problem. To help cure excess stomach heat, acupuncture can help.

We should remember that acupuncture has been used for thousands of years. It has undergone a long process of refinement and its use has been expanded to treat dozens of health conditions from addictions to PTSD and from bad breath and colitis to treatment of cancer pain and the side effects of cancer “therapies” such as chemotherapy. Acupuncture is one of the most useful forms of treatments in the world. It works by restoring balance to Yin and Yang that, in turn, leads to the restoration of health. Acupuncture can help clear excess heat in the body allowing the stomach to go back to its normal internal temperature. This leads to the total cure of bad breath. You need to do a little research when looking for a qualified and reputable acupuncturist. You can ask for referrals from your doctor or you can search online to find reputable and a qualified practitioner near or on your area.

Dova Center for Health and Healing
972 W Dillon Rd
Louisville, CO 80027
(303) 955-7226
http://dovacenter.com/

Some Tips to Finding A Really Good and Licensed Acupuncturist

More and more acupuncturists have sprung up in great numbers around the world over the past decade. Several organizations and schools offer certifications for those who want to take their career to a new level. If you are considering getting acupuncture treatment, research and care should be taken when selecting an acupuncturist who will treat your specific health problem. Some ways to ascertain an acupuncturist’s qualification include getting testimonials of former patients, checking the credentials of the practitioner and asking for referrals from doctors and even chiropractors.

As with any profession, the degree of skill and experience of acupuncturists greatly vary from one practitioner to another and even if experience doesn’t necessarily determine competency, it wouldn’t hurt to know although it can provide the prospective patient with some peace of mind. People who plan to receive acupuncture for the first time, it probably would be best to meet a veteran who can tell you what acupuncture is all about and what benefits can your derive from the treatment.

Verify References Always

On paper, everyone can look good. So, it is wise to check out the references. Also, does a prospective acupuncturist have references that can actually help you verify their training? Is the organization or school the practitioner attended qualified to train acupuncturists? It’s a good idea to verify this information first before you subject your body to this person for treatment.

Before making your final decision, one other factor to consider should be to talk both less experienced and experienced acupuncturists and make a side by side comparison. Doing an in-depth analysis often pays off making you end up with the most qualified and best acupuncturist in New York you are fully confident with who will give you the best treatment possible.

Testimonials of Patients

Has the acupuncturist assisted many clients before? Is it possible to contact these people or does the practitioner carry endorsed testimonials that can back their work? Thanks to the internet, searching for this kind of information takes less time than you think. You can ask your prospective acupuncturist if you can contact their former patients. More often than not, the practitioner will consent provided no privacy agreement will be broken.

Searching for the right acupuncturist may take a bit of research and time but it’s important to remember that the more you research, the more you learn what acupuncture is all about. The better also you’ll be able to judge the knowledge and the personality of the practitioner when your meet with them.