Menstrual Pain Can Be Dealt With Using Chinese Herbs and Acupuncture

Menstrual pain is an ailment that afflicts a lot of women; Western medicine has really no effective treatment for it. For some women, birth control pills can help relieve the ailments, but for those trying to conceive, they are not an option. Alleve, Ibuprofen, and other similar drugs can be harmful to kidney function and for women with severe dysmenorrhea they are often insufficient for the relief of their pain.

Acupuncture is an effective and safe non-pharmaceutical remedy for dysmenorrhea minus the harmful side effects. Studies show acupuncture’s efficacy in lessening menstrual pain: the pain can be dramatically decreased within the first month of treatment and with regular acupuncture sessions that’s combined with Chinese herbal remedies over a period of several months, the pain can be completely resolved. Addressing the reason for a woman’s menstrual pain will increase her fertility by improving the function of her reproductive system and in boosting her overall health.

In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) menstrual pain is caused by stagnation of blood and chi. Chi stagnation and blood stasis cause pain and can also inhibit implantation for women striving to conceive. In this pattern of disharmony, the liver meridian is always involved although the stomach, kidney and conception meridians can also play a part in the condition. Other underlying conditions may also be present. These can include blood deficiency, spleen chi deficiency, or yin deficiency that contributes to the stagnation of the blood and chi leading to menstrual pain. A TCM practitioner can address the symptom of pain by helping stagnant blood and chi move through acupuncture. The practitioner can also repair the underlying reason for the pain using Chinese herbs, which can be a combination of the factors mentioned above. An acupuncturist who has experience in treating gynecological problems can explain to you your diagnosis and tell you what type of acupuncture to be used. If you’ve been suffering from menstrual pain for a long time, then you need to receive acupuncture for several months in order to get the best results.

Menstrual pain can be accompanied by adjunct symptoms. These symptoms can also be addressed with acupuncture treatment. They may include mood swings, irritability, unexplained infertility, fatigue, low back pain, sugar cravings, bloating, breast pain, menstrual-migraines, and PMS. If the patient is willing to undergo treatment for many months, acupuncture in combination with Chinese herbs can treat endometriosis without the need for surgery.

Herbal medicine, in gynecology, is deemed to be very important and your acupuncturist will almost always include an herbal prescription along with acupuncture for the best results. Herbal formulas commonly used for menstrual pain include Shao Fu Shu Yu Wan or Hsiao Yao Wan.

According to TCM, the imbalances in a woman’s constitution that causes her to suffer from menstrual pain also makes her highly susceptible to fertility problems when she is of childbearing age and menopause-associated issues when she is older. When a woman changes her constitution and is free from the cause of her menstrual pain from herbal and acupuncture treatment in Bellmore, she is also helping herself avoid frequent urination, irritability, night sweats, and menopausal hot flashes. It also helps her preserve her fertility should she consider bearing children later in life.

More and More People Are Opting For Massage and Acupuncture For Their Low Back Pain

In any given year, around 40% of people in the US suffer from low back pain and more often than not, the pain will last a day or so. Unfortunately, almost 15% of all who suffer from back pain complain of pain that endures for days, weeks, months, or even years.

Decades ago, people see a physician in order to resolve the lower back symptoms. The doctor will usually prescribe an analgesic, traction, and plenty of bed rest. But during the 1980’s and 1990’s, studies began to reveal that back pain actually gets worse with traction and bed rest. Moreover, prescription medications seem to work only in the short term, and worse, they all come with adverse side effects such as dizziness, headaches, stomach pain, and even addiction.

A growing number of people have lately decided to look for unconventional forms of treatment for their low back pain. the NIH (National Institutes of Health) and American Medical Association conducted surveys just a few years back that show that as many as 70% of people plan to try complementary and alternative treatments to rectify their back pain.

Because of the growing knowledge of the potential dangers that comes with using Western conventional treatments, consumers are now voting with their wallet. They do not like what their medical doctors are offering them and they are seeking for safe and truly effective solutions elsewhere. So the question medical doctors and researchers are now asking is:

Do Alternative Treatments Really Work For Low Back Pain?

The short answer to that is YES. A lot of alternative health approaches come with scientific evidence that they treat and even cure pain in the back. The two most popular low back pain alternative treatments is acupuncture and physiotherapy or massage therapy. So, we’ll talk about these two in this article.

Acupuncture in Overland Park and Massage Remedies for Low Back

Spine, a relatively popular medical journal and other research journal have published quite a number of peer-reviewed studies that strongly demonstrate the effectiveness of acupuncture and massage therapy in the treatment of low back pain. This is particularly obvious in cases known as “chronic nonspecific low back pain.” The term may be intimidating but all it really means is long term back pain that has no known cause. The proof is crystal clear: both acupuncture and massage can help resolve low back pain.

Acupuncture and Massage are actually even more potent when education and regular exercise is thrown into the treatment plan. Knowing how to care for yourself and how to optimize movement may aid in the maintenance of a pain free back. Evidence seems to show that acupuncture provides much better benefits than massage although more proof of this needs to be gathered.

Is Chiropractic An Effective Treatment for Low Back Pain?

The use of chiropractic has been around for more than a century and today, there are tens of thousands of licensed chiropractors in the US, alone. This type of alternative medicine has thrived these past few decades despite virulent attacks from the medical community. However, scientific research seems to take an arbitrary attitude towards it since studies have consistently shown the therapy’s effect on low back pain to be debatable.

It is very important to note, however, that the studies just demonstrate that chiropractic is not as effective as the other conventional modalities. The opinion of researchers is that chiropractic is not as effective as educational approaches, drugs, and physical therapy. Research efforts have yet to prove that chiropractic is a harmful treatment. And lots of people actually have reported that it cures back pain.

What Should You Do about Your Lower Back Pain?

It is important to maintain some type of light-exercise schedule and stay active if you’re suffering from low back pain. The pain will only get worse if stay in in bed. Consider taking an over-the-counter painkiller such as ibuprofen or aspirin If you need to take medication. If symptoms persist, be sure to consult with your healthcare provider or doctor.

For body pain, the best treatment option is one that is the least invasive. For low back pain, surgery is rarely an option but if the physician says you need surgery, be sure to get a second opinion and ask him or her to recommend at least one non-drug and one non-surgical treatment. Other treatments should be taken into account since there is just too many evidence they work.

Keep your stomach muscles and back flexible and strong and keep taking care of yourself once you have reduced or gotten rid of your pain. Massage and exercise can all help with this. It’s important to maintain a balanced and flexible posture, learn the safest way to lift heavy objects, and learn to manage everyday stress. All these tips will help keep those symptoms at bay.

The Different Patterns of Disharmony That Cause Tinnitus

According to herbal therapy and TCM (traditional Chinese medicine), vertigo and tinnitus can have several possible root causes. To treat tinnitus, it would depend on its underlying cause and the Organ Systems that are affected. Usually, tinnitus is the result of an Excess that’s exacerbated by cupping the hands over the ears. It can be also relieved by cupping the ears. Listed below are some of the more common patterns for tinnitus based on traditional Chinese medicine teachings.

Tinnitus Caused by Depletion of Kidney-Essence

This is the most common type of tinnitus associated with aging. Its onset is gradual and its characteristic symptom is a low quality sound. Other symptoms can include fear, sore knees and back, slight dizziness, and poor memory.

Tinnitus Caused Kidney Deficiency

This kind of tinnitus usually develops gradually. Its main symptom is usually a low sound that resembles a low ringing, a low buzz, or water rushing. Afternoon-evening sweats or hot flashes can manifest with Kidney Yin Deficiency along with other Kidney Yin Deficiency symptoms. Other Kidney Yang Deficiency symptoms can include low sex drive, coldness, knee pain, and lower back soreness or pain.

Liver Excess Vertigo and Tinnitus

A sudden onset Tinnitus with loud noises is often believed to be caused by the upward rise of Liver-Fire due to emotional issues such as frustration or anger; this can lead to Internal Wind that often comes with dizziness. A tinnitus of this kind may lead to symptoms such as vertigo-dizziness or a stabbing, painful, sharp headache.

Tinnitus Due To Kidney-Heart Imbalances

The kidney in TCM represents the element of Water, while the Heart represents the element of Fire. The balance of Fire and Water is essential for the body to maintain wellness. TCM identifies a break down in the communication between the Heart and Kidney energetic organ system that can arise if one or both organ systems are affected. A tinnitus of this kind can lead to Kidney Deficient symptoms along with symptoms associated with Heart Blood Deficiency such as anxiety characterized by a sense of impending doom, poor memory, sleeping difficulties, and palpitations.

Vertigo and Tinnitus Caused By Liver-Spleen Imbalance

Long term Spleen Qi Deficiency that has not been adequately addressed can lead to Internal Dampness, which when combined with Liver Qi Stagnation, may result in tinnitus associated with the upward rising of Phlegm-Fire. A tinnitus of this type is characterized by Liver symptoms possibly along with the sound of crickets, vertigo or dizziness, and a heavy head.

Tinnitus Caused By Imbalances In The Kidney Liver

Chronic Stagnation of Liver Qi, usually caused by Liver Blood Deficiency or Yin Deficiency, can lead to tinnitus with both Kidney Deficient and Liver Excess and symptoms

Other Causes of Tinnitus

Tinnitus can also be considered a symptom that’s related to various types of hearing loss. It can also be a sign of other health problems. Based on information provided by the American Tinnitus Association, at least 12 million Americans suffer from tinnitus with at least a million of them suffering from severe symptoms so much so that it disrupts their daily activities. Individuals suffering from severe cases of tinnitus can find it very hard to work, hear, or even sleep.

Duration of Herbal Treatment

Several months of tonic herbal treatment may be required to rectify the Organ Level Deficiencies that have led to your tinnitus; the treatment may take approximately 8-10 months of continuous herbal application. In the meantime, if you have a difficult time hearing, request your family and friends to face you when they talk so you can see their faces. You can understand them a lot better when you’re seeing their facial expressions when they talk. Tell people to speak louder, but not shout. Let them know that they don’t have to talk slowly, just more clearly.

Western Medicine’s Idea On The Factors Causing Tinnitus

– Loud noise: Tinnitus and noise-induced loss of hearing may result from too much exposure to loud noise.
– Hearing loss: Scientists and physicians have found out that people with different kinds of hearing loss may also be suffering from tinnitus.
– Pharmaceutical drugs: Over 200 medicines can cause tinnitus. If you’re taking medications and have tinnitus, ask your pharmacist or doctor if your medicine is the one causing your tinnitus.
– Surgery and trauma
– Other health conditions: These illnesses can lead to tinnitus – tumors, allergies, and problems in the neck, jaws, blood vessels and heart.

With regard to the things that can help you cope, some people find relief in listening to music. Concentrating on the music can temporarily help you forget about your problem since music can drown out the sound of your tinnitus. Others find relief by listening to recorded nature sounds, like the wind, sea waves, or even crickets.

Stay away from things may potentially aggravate your tinnitus. This includes loud noise, alcohol, and smoking. If you are a hunter, work at the airport, a construction worker, or if you are exposed to loud noise at home or at work on a regular basis we recommend that you wear special earmuffs or earplugs to protect your hearing and prevent the aggravation of your tinnitus.

Dr. Yelena Pakula is a licensed acupuncture doctor and the medical director of Vita-Health Acupuncture and Wellness Center in Pembroke Pines, FL.

The Technique Known as Acupuncture-Chinese moxibustion

What is the Acupuncture-Chinese moxibustion technique?

Acupuncture actually has two operative parts – one part involves the use of needles while the other the use of fire. Both parts are correlative and essential for resolving maladies.

The treatment known as acupuncture-Chinese moxibustion uses fire for curing illnesses. And the jiu and Shen jiu (acupuncture’s Chinese name) pretty much refers to fire/ moxibustion.

Moxibustion and acupuncture are very proud inventions of the Chinese nation. Ancient Chinese texts tell about several legends that purportedly trace the origin of moxibustion and acupuncture such as Huang Di’s invention of moxibustion and acupuncture Fu Hsi’s invention of the therapeutic techniques using stone needles.

Acupuncture-Chinese moxibustion’s genesis can traced as far back as the New Stone Age. During that time, legend goes that there was a housewife who was cooking suddenly felt relief of her ache while standing near the stove’s fire. Gradually this evolved and later on, medical herbs were added to improve health and fume the body.

In moxibustion, a moxa herb or cone is burned and the burnt plant is placed in a cup. The heat in the cup forces the air out of the cup causing a “suction vortex” making the cup stick to the skin. This leads to the stimulation of the stasis of blood and a massaging effect on the patient’s internal organs.

It is important that an acupuncture Chinese moxibustion procedure be done with in a precise manner. It should target the affected meridians and acupuncture points of the body in order to cure the illness. Medicine herbs such as mashed garlic and ginger are also added as needed.

The cup is typically allowed to stay on the body for around fifteen to twenty minutes. The whole treatment plan may take multiple sessions for it to work.

People have now made improvements to these traditional methods of acupuncture Chinese moxibustion. These days, some practitioners now use modern acupuncture techniques like acupoint magnetotherapy, acupoint injection, electronic needle moxibustion, and microwave needle moxibustion to name a few to effect a cure.

Five Points Acupuncture & Wellness
20 Pondmeadow Dr #107
Reading, MA 01867
(781) 944-3000
http://www.fivepointsacupuncture.com

What is Dry Needling Therapy?

A treatment involving the shoving of a very slender needle into the skin in order to activate a pressure point, dry needling is type of alternative treatment that’s used to relax tight bands of muscle associated with hard “knots” in a muscle or trigger points that result in pain over a certain part of the body. Because every time the affected site is touched these trigger points cause pain, it can be difficult to perform everyday tasks. The pain may even travel to areas near the affected site.

Dry needling entails the use of a solid needle pricked into scar tissue, subcutaneous fascia, tendons, ligaments, and muscles as opposed to wet needling that uses hollow-bore needles to inject sclerosants, anesthetics, corticosteroids, and other agents into the body. Also, dry needling is not the same as acupuncture, a treatment used to release obstructed energy channels or meridians and restore or maintain balance into the bodily systems. Dry needling works by activating a specific trigger point that causes disability and pain; acupuncture, on the other hand, addresses energy flow issues around the bodily organs and body.

The Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy published a study in which researchers examined the outcomes of the highest quality clinical ytials that have been done so far to test whether dry needling is able to relieve arm and neck pain, two areas where trigger points commonly develop. The conductors of the study saw that dry needling is able to effectively alleviate pain caused by painful muscles, trigger points, and myofascial pain syndrome. When a physical therapist uses this procedure especially when it’s combined with exercise or other techniques, it serves as an extremely beneficial treatment.

One very typical form of pain is caused by a myofascial trigger point. The term myofascial is a combination of two words: myo refers to muscle tissue and fascial refers to the connective tissue within and surrounding the muscle. A myofascial trigger point often comes about due to an injury to the muscle, like repetitive strain and typical running injuries. When pressure is applied, it is painful and can generate pain in other areas of the body as well. This is known as referred pain.

Trigger points, say, in the face, neck, and shoulder muscles, can often cause headaches due to the fact that the pain is referred to the head by the trigger point (thus the term, referred pain). The Current Pain and Headache Reports published a study showing that direct muscle trauma or overtraining the muscle can result in the rise of trigger points. When muscle use is greater than muscle capacity, it disrupts normal recovery, which usually happens in sports, recreational, and occupational activities trigger points develop. Because dry needling focuses on the stimulation of these trigger points and frees up the tension for the relief of pain, it differs from the approaches of other types of physical therapy.

This Is How Dry Needling IS Basically Done

Dry needling uses a solid filamentous needle that the physical therapist inserts into commonly affected tissues (such as the pterygoid, lateral, iliacus, and subscapularis muscles).

The following are the basic steps of a deep dry needling technique:

For the treatment of trigger points using dry needling techniques, the physical therapist palpates the target muscle to identify the hyperirritable spot and a taut band (an area were tense muscles are located). This will confirm that a trigger point exists and that treatment is needed.

A tube is oftentimes used to guide the needle and held by the non-needling hand through flat palpation or a pincer grip against the trigger point based on the orientation and location of the muscle. Palpation means that the physical therapist uses his or her hands or fingers to pinpoint the site(s) of tenderness. The needle is released gently from the tube with the needling hand. The physical therapist gently flicks or taps the top of the needle, which forces the needle to enter the skin.

In a deep dry needling treatment, the physical therapist guides the needle towards the trigger point until resistance is felt or if the therapist sees that the patient has a localized twitch response. This type of response is a reflex action or an involuntary contraction on the part of the spinal cord that can be set off with a penetration of a needle or by a snapping palpitation. Studies demonstrate that the localized twitch reaction is due to a mitigation or alleviation of some sort that comes about as a result of automatic electrical activity, inflammation, or a release of certain chemicals associated with the immune system. When an involuntary twitch reflex occurs, this means that the needle was able to simulate the appropriate spot.

When a trigger point is hit with a needle, as manifested by the localized reflexive twitch, the physical therapist maneuvers the needle back toward the tissue layer directly underneath the skin without pulling it out of the skin to target a specific area or other surrounding areas.

The needle will then be used to target the remaining trigger points until the patient cannot tolerate the needling any longer or until all the local twitch responses have stopped. Pressure is directly applied to the skin over the site of insertion after a needle is taken out of the skin to prevent soreness or swelling.

Superficial Dry Needling Technique

The needle is merely inserted into a muscle within the vicinity of a trigger point in a superficial dry needling procedure,. This does not induce any localized twitch response. The needle stays inserted in that area for around 30 seconds and then removed. If after the first round, the trigger point still feels sensitive, the needle will be inserted into the same site once more for a couple of minutes.

In a superficial dry needling procedure, the aim of the physical therapist is to relieve the sensitivity of the trigger point by utilizing shorter treatment intervals, repeating this process until a difference is observed. This type of dry needling is preferred by patients who become stiff or cramp easily or who can’t stand deep dry needling.

What Can Dry Needling Treat?

A slender filiform needle is used in dry needling procedures to enter the skin and activate underlying connective tissues and muscular and myofascial trigger points in order to treat movement impairments and relieve pain.

In numerous diagnoses, the American Physical Therapy Association has identified certain trigger points, including:

• Joint dysfunction
• Disk pathology
• Tendonitis
• Phantom pain
• Nocturnal cramps
• Complex regional pain syndrome
• Post-herpetic neuralgia
• Urologic syndromes such as pelvic pain
• Spinal dysfunction
• Disorders associated with whiplash
• Computer-related disorders
• Carpal tunnel syndrome
• Tension headaches
• Migraines

It is also used to address musculoskeletal, connective tissue and fascia dysfunctions. Dry needling helps restore body function and lessens structure impairments resulting in improved participation and activity.

The Three Greatest Health Benefits of Dry Needling

1. Enhances Movement: Studies have shown that patient experienced more fluid movement after receiving dry needling treatment, in conjunction with movement-based therapy. The Acupuncture in Medicine published a case report in 2010 that showed four international female volleyball athletes getting dry needling therapy during a month-long intense competitive phase. Before and after treatment, pain, strength, and range of motion were evaluated and all scores showed improvement post treatment. Dry needling has proven not to cause reduced range of motion immediately after treatment and functional weakness as seen by these athletes’ ability to continue with their overhead activities.

This study proves that dry needling is justified in elite athletes for improved function in shoulder injuries and short-term pain relief during a competitive phase.

2. Relieves Pain: Numerous research efforts have shown short-term or immediate improvements in disability or pain in dry needling treatment of trigger points. The American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation published a 2007 study implying that dry needling treatment of a trigger point significantly relieves shoulder pain. Fourteen patients were involved in the study all of whom had myofascial trigger points in both muscles and bilateral shoulder pain and were treated with dry needling therapy; the control group received no treatment at all.

Dry needling used in physical therapy led to the enhancement of the pressure pain threshold of the trigger points and both passive and active range of movement of the internal rotation of the shoulder. The magnitude of pain of the treated shoulder significantly went down as well. Proof that dry needling of a specific myofascial trigger point results in the treatment of sensitivity and pain is provided by this study.

3. Accelerates The Process of Recovery: Patients who’ve experienced dry needling therapy felt relief of pain quickly; after their first treatment, almost all patients actually experience the benefits immediately. The Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy published reports stating that when incorporated as part of the total treatment plan dry needling led to the quick recovery of the patient’s function.

The University of Queensland in Australia conducted a study that observed how effective dry needling is for the treatment of chronic whiplash, an injury related to sensory hypersensitivity typically responds poorly to exercise and other physical treatments. To boost the results of an exercise therapy to address the sensory hypersensitivity of whiplash, dry needling was used in combination with exercise. The physical therapists integrated dry needling into the treatment plan since exercise programs alone were not able to fully treat the symptoms after three months of treatment. The integration led to a reduction in disability and pain, a cheaper cost of treatment, and a quicker process of recovery for the patient.

Is Dry Needling Safe?

It is safe and all patients can avail themselves of this treatment provided they do not have an anxiety about being treated with needles or have a phobia to needles. Dry needling, as with any treatment, may cause inadvertent side effects, such as bruising, fatigue, muscle soreness, and pain at the site of the needle insertion. It is a very effective and safe treatment in the hands of a skilled physical therapist. Patients will experience a quicker use of their joints and fast improvements in range of motion.

Sometimes multiple dry needling treatment sessions are required before the muscle returns to its full functionality. The reason for this is that trigger points are situated under the muscles’ deepest layers, and several sessions are needed before the changes take full effect. The patients will nevertheless notice some differences right after each treatment.

No pain should be felt during a dry needling procedure. When the needle is inserted the localized twitch reflex only elicits a very short pain response; this “pain”, feels more like a cramping sensation or a shock. If you experience a local twitch response this is a good sign since it means that the trigger point has been hit by the needle, which means the therapy is working.

Dry needling, according to empirical evidence, is not recommended for children less than 12 years of age. So, with younger patients caution is strongly advised. The child’s and parent’s consent is needed If the child needs to undergo dry needling. Before treatment commences, the child should have fully understood the procedure.

Patients should expect immediate improvements in joint use and range of movement when they try dry needling. It is an extremely effective and safe choice of treatment for patients who are not scared of needles. Several sessions may be needed in order to remove the trigger point completely.

Dr. Guoen Wang is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and doctor of Chinese medicine in Austin Texas.

Why Women With Endometriosis Should Consider Acupuncture Treatment

In the United States, endometriosis affects around two to twenty-two percent of women. This number spikes to forty to sixty percent if they also suffer from dysmenorrhea (painful menses).

Endometriosis tends to be a longstanding (chronic) condition. It occurs when cells from the endometrial tissue (uterus lining) develop outside the uterus. The pelvic cavity is where the endometrial tissue is found (i.e., on the bowels), although it can also grow to other parts of the body. The endometrial cells outside the uterine wall also react to the hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle in the same way as the cells in the wall which leads to pain, inflammation, and bleeding.

Some women with endometriosis do not know they have one or have very mild symptoms of it. However, others experience fertility problems, heavy bleeding, painful copulation, and mild to severe pain.

Treatment of endometriosis using the Western medicine approach means the use of NSAIDS, hormone treatments (oral contraceptives), or surgery via laparoscopy. Management of endometriosis-related pain is usually insufficient and there is no known cure for endometriosis at the moment.

Acupuncture and Endometriosis

A study conducted on endometriosis and acupuncture has shown that after the first 10 acupuncture treatments women experienced a significant relief of the severity of their pain. Past research efforts also reveal that electroacupuncture can effectively alleviate dysmenorrhea associated with endometriosis and that Japanese style acupuncture can work as a well-tolerated and safe adjunct treatment for endometriosis-induced pelvic pain.

In the treatment of dysmenorrhea, acupuncture has also been shown to be highly efficient.

How does Acupuncture in Vancouver treat Endometriosis?

Endometriosis, from the perspective of Chinese Medicine, is considered mainly an issue related to Blood Stagnation combined with certain associated pathologies (Qi deficiency, Cold, Heat, etc.).

The goal of acupuncture is to relieve the pain, remove the Blood stagnation and normalize the menstrual cycle.

The treatment is very much connected to the menstrual cycle of the woman especially, just after the periods or the time during the periods.

Acupuncture treatment is meant to treat the whole individual; other imbalances are also addressed during the treatment which implies that each patient will have a customized and unique plan of treatment.

The length of treatment will depend a lot from one person to the next, as is often the case with acupuncture. But for endometriosis, the course of treatment may require regular treatment on a longer term compared to other conditions, which, at least, is around three to nine months.

Acupuncture Can Be Used For Supportive Oncology Care

Acupuncture is a branch of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and is a therapeutic modality that’s been developed for thousands of years. Treatment involves the insertion of needles at chosen points on the body, followed by heat therapy, handling with physical forces, heat, or, in modern times, electrical stimuli. Based on the theory of TCM, Chi or Qi (vital energy) circulates all over the body along channels known as meridians. It was thought that the obstruction or interruption of Qi makes a person susceptible to illness. Placement of needles at certain points along the meridian is deemed to normalize the flow of energy that results in a therapeutic effect.

The theories of meridians and Qi do not jibe with our current knowledge of human physiology and anatomy. Nevertheless, studies support acupuncture’s clinical effects. New neuroscience studies indicate that it appears to work by balancing the nervous system. The meridians and Qi, therefore, can be considered as metaphors to explain the clinical reactions during acupuncture treatment as observed by practitioners of TCM.

First, the acupuncturist interviews the patient during a treatment, then conducts an examination based on the teachings of TCM, specifically concentrating on the appearance of the tongue and qualities of the pulse, and then comes up with a TCM diagnosis. Typically, the diagnosis is a description of a malady pattern instead of a pathological opinion. The diagnosis determines the acupuncture points to be used.

The acupuncture points (acupoints) on the body are identified and the skin is cleaned. A metal tube is used to guide the needle into the identified point. The top of the needle is applied with a gentle tap to help the needle penetrate the skin. The metal tube is afterwards removed, and the needle is pushed to the desired depth by means of a gentle pushing and twisting motion. The acupuncturist may see it fit to apply electrical stimuli or heat to the needle. Traditionally, heat is provided by acupuncturists via moxibustion, a burning of an herb (Artemisia vulgaris), or now, by a heat lamp. Some acupuncturists connect a small electric pulse-generating device to each needle, to enhance the activation of the acupoints, as of the latter part of the 20th century. This technique is termed “electro-acupuncture.” As a medical device, the acupuncture needles are regulated in the United States. They are very thin (28 – 40 gauge), filiform, about as thin as a human hair, single-use, and sterile. The needles are often forged out of stainless steel and are individually packaged in a guide tube.

How Is Acupuncture Used Today?

Acupuncture was traditionally used to treat and prevent a lot of ailments. Only in the last few decades has its effectiveness been closely investigated with rigorous scientific research methodology, when its clinical efficacy for specific indications, possible mechanisms of action, and physiologic effects have been documented. In controlled randomized clinical trials acupuncture in Encino has been shown to be highly efficacious for vomiting, nausea, pain, and other symptoms. In Western countries, acupuncture is probably the most widely used TCM modality, mainly because of its growing body of research. This treatment can induce measurable, neurophysiologic, and objective changes in both humans and animals.

The last decade saw acupuncture as being more and more integrated into Western conventional cancer care in the US. There is an integrative medicine component that a lot of community hospitals and major comprehensive cancer centers utilize and this usually includes acupuncture as a mode of supportive care. Actually, this treatment isn’t used as a treatment for disease. Qualified practitioners who usually are also medical doctors offer acupuncture.

Is There Evidence for Acupuncture’s Use in Cancer Care?

When it comes to directly affecting the cancer itself, there is no evidence of acupuncture works hence it is never used to treat cancer. Clinical studies, however, reveal that it can decrease a lot of the important emotional and physical symptoms cancer patients commonly suffer from, which greatly improves the quality of life of the patients.

Pain

The best and most commonly-studied use for acupuncture is for the relief of pain. There is significant proof supporting acupuncture’s potency from studies dealing with arthritic pain, lower back pain, and headache. It appears that acupuncture also works in relieving cancer-related pain, although with lesser proof. A placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial observed the efficacy of auricular acupuncture on patients experiencing pain who are taking regular medication. For one month, needles were stuck into selected acupoints on the patients’ ears. The severity of the pain lessened after two months by 36% from baseline in the treatment group. This was a significant difference compared to the two control groups in the study who experienced very little improvement. The outcomes were due to the fact that the some patients also suffered from neuropathic pain, a type of pain that rarely responds to standard treatment.

Cancer patients suffering from other painful conditions have also been studied. Patients with breast cancer, for example, taking aromatase inhibitors often have to cope with joint pain. A controlled randomized trial analyzed full-body and auricular acupuncture treatment for arthralgia induced by aromatase-inhibitor in breast cancer patients. Randomized real or sham acupuncture was administered on 51 postmenopausal women two times a week for six weeks. The worst pain-related functional interference, pain severity, and pain scores were significantly decreased by real versus sham acupuncture treatment.

CINV or Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting is another highly studied indication for acupuncture. In one study, 104 patients suffering from breast cancer undergoing highly emetogenic chemotherapy were randomized to either get electro-acupuncture once a day for 5 days at the ST36 and PC6 acupoints (found on the leg and forearm, respectively), pharmacotherapy alone, or minimal needling at non-acupoints. The same triple pharmacological agents for emesis management were given to all patients: intravenous diphenhydramine hydrochloride, lorazepam, and prochlorperazine. The number of episodes of total emesis significantly went down via electro-acupuncture when compared with standalone medication. After 6 – 14 days during the follow-up period, when groups no longer received acupuncture, the difference in emesis episodes essentially vanished.

Acupuncture is strongly recommended for the treatment of acute CINV, based on a lot of systematic reviews. In the trials, different acupuncture regimens were used in the trials. This ranged from once a day on the day of chemotherapy and the day after, to electrical stimulation per two hours for five days. The studies were mostly performed on patients who were undergoing highly emetogenic chemotherapy.

Some insurance plans do cover CINV management by means of acupuncture. The wide consensus indicates that electro-acupuncture works much better than manual acupuncture that in turn, works a lot better than acupressure (using manual pressure instead of needles to elicit nerve stimulation).

Hot Flashes

Patients suffering from prostate or breast cancer patients undergoing hormonal therapy treatment may develop intense hot flashes that can disrupt their normal daily activities. However, androgen or estrogen therapy, the conventional therapy for hot flashes, is contraindicated in cancer patients with cancer. A lot of uncontrolled studies indicate that acupuncture can lessen hot flashes in patients suffering from prostate or breast cancer. Acupuncture controlled studies, in this setting reveals ambiguous result.

Xerostomia

The salivary glands can be damaged can be damaged by radiation therapy to the neck and head, and a lot of neck and head cancer patients consequently suffer from persistent xerostomia (dry mouth). These symptoms can be alleviated using acupuncture treatment. In a randomized, controlled trial of patients with head and neck cancer who experienced pain and dysfunction neck dissection, 58 patients received either usual care (eg, anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesia and/or physical therapy for four weeks. Pain was significantly reduced and the function of shoulder and neck muscles was greatly boosted through acupuncture. Some patients suffering from extreme dry mouth benefited greatly, especially those with severe dry mouth. The neuronal matrix that was possibly involved was studied in a mechanistic study that used fMRI or functional magnetic resonance imaging. In this trial which was controlled and randomized, acupuncture was connected with the bilateral activation of the adjacent operculum and insula, modifications not evidenced in sham acupoint treatment. In addition, real acupuncture induced greater production of saliva compared to sham acupuncture. Some health experts may argue that a trial course of acupuncture (one or two times a week for four weeks) is worth doing on patients suffering from severe dry mouth which medications cannot address. After a month, if no clinical improvement is seen, then acupuncture is unlikely to work for that specific patient.

Possible Risks

When performed by qualified practitioners, acupuncture is generally safe. A light pricking of the needle followed by a sore or a heavy sensation at the site is usually felt. A sharp pain means that the needle is placed in an incorrect position. The needles are removed 30 minutes to an hour later. After the treatment, there is usually no loss of blood or obvious sign of skin penetration at the site.

The most common minor side effects of acupuncture treatment include needle pain and localized bleeding. Some of its rarer side effects include pneumothorax, asthma attack, vasovagal reaction, hypertensive crisis, and exacerbation of depression.

It is very important that patients only seek treatment from acupuncturists who are professionally trained, properly credentialed, and experienced in treating people with cancer. The acupuncturist needs to follow hygienic practices like applying clean needle techniques and use universal precautions, and special safety precautions for cancer patients undergoing treatment.

Points to Consider

Special safety precautions associated with acupuncture are required when dealing with cancer patients. Those patients who are under active treatment may be very susceptible to bleeding or infection. Cancer treatment and the cancer itself may have affected anatomical structures making needling certain acupoints inadvisable. These people should not receive any type of acupuncture treatment:

• People suffering from a new onset of cardiac arrhythmia
• People with INR greater than 4.0
• People with platelets less than 20,000/µL
• People with absolute neutrophil count less than 500/µL
• People with recent organ or stem cell transplantation

Acupuncture should not be performed at the site of the metastatic or primary neoplasm; it should not be administered on patients who have an open wound, fistula, active infection, who have recently undergone treatment with radiotherapy or who are wearing medical device/prosthesis.

In the United States, the national organization that validates entry-level competency in the practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine through professional certification is the NCCAOM (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine). Acupuncture can also be provided by podiatrists, dentists, and chiropractors in some states. They may not have received additional acupuncture training.

Bottom-Line

Being a complementary mode of treatment, acupuncture can be usefully integrated as an adjunct to supportive oncology care. Although directly, it may not cure cancer, it has the power to alleviate a lot of the common symptoms experienced by cancer patients. Current studies support its use in CINV and the relief of pain. Other studies indicate that is may also ameliorate radiation-induced dry-mouth, although this benefits requires further research.

Acupuncture has a good safety record when conducted by qualified acupuncturists and is best used as part of a multimodality treatment approach. When treating cancer patients, practitioners need to adopt special safety precautions.

Herbs That Can Help Allay the Symptoms of Diverticulosis

Diverticulitis happens when pouches that have developed in the large intestine (a condition referred to as diverticulosis), become inflamed as a result of infection. For diverticulitis, antibiotics are usually the recommended treatment, although the intake of certain teas can help prevent inflammation from occurring or quell some of the symptoms. Talk to a qualified Chinese medicine practitioner if you plan to drink any type of tea for a diverticular condition, especially if you are taking other medication.

Teas to Relieve Inflammation

Diverticulitis-associated inflammation usually happens around the affected pouch, although it can also spread to other parts of the large intestine. Teas with anti-inflammatory qualities such as chamomile, cat’s claw, marshmallow, and slippery elm tea, can help. Marshmallow tea coat and slippery elm tea can soothe the large intestine, promoting healing and relieving inflammation, chamomile and cat’s claw, on the other hand, reduce inflammation. According to The University of Maryland Medical Center, if you have leukemia or an autoimmune disease or if you are pregnant, you should not drink cat’s claw tea and neither should you drink marshmallow tea if you suffer from diabetes nor should you take chamomile if you have a family history of cancer associated with hormonal issues, if you are pregnant, or allergic to plants such as ragweed.

Teas with Anti-Bacterial Properties

Teas capable of killing bacteria can help prevent diverticulosis from degrading into diverticulitis. Both pau d’arco tea and goldenseal tea possess antibacterial qualities; research however, has not definitely proven that they are helpful for destroying bacteria in humans. Pregnant women or women who breastfeed should avoid taking pau d’arco or goldenseal tea. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that goldenseal mixed with echinacea enhances the tea’s antibacterial effects. Talk to a physician before taking either herb if you suffer from heart disease, liver disease, or high blood pressure. If you have allergies to certain plants, echinacea may cause an allergic reaction. Do not substitute antibiotics prescribed by your physician for teas having antibacterial qualities.

Promoting Digestion

The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse states that keeping your bowels moving is one good way to help prevent diverticulitis since it reduces the risk of fecal matter getting stuck in a pouch that may lead to infection,. Flaxseed tea contains fiber that can help bulk stool as well as soften it to help it move more easily and quickly through the intestinal tract. Spasms in the intestinal walls can be relieved with licorice tea, which in turn can help move stool more easily through the bowels. It’s safe to drink flaxseed tea, but stay away from licorice tea if you suffer from hypokalemia, kidney disease, heart failure, or high blood pressure. Licorice tea should not be taken for long periods of time.

Gas Problems

A typical symptom of diverticulitis is gas buildup which can easily lead to cramping and bloating. Fennel, peppermint, and ginger can be used in teas to address the cramping and intestinal gas as well as nausea related to these symptoms. Peppermint helps get rid of the pain and gas while ginger may help relieve nausea. Fennel can also relieve pain and gas. Ginger is safe to use, although according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, you should not take over four grams of ginger a day. Do not drink peppermint tea if you have gallstones, hiatal hernia, or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).

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Maitland, FL 32751
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http://www.harmonywellnesscenter.com/

The Benefits That You Can Obtain from Acupuncture Treatment

We will need a lot of space and time if we are to discuss all the benefits that acupuncture has to offer people (and even animals). The list of benefits is detailed and long and so, I will only need to point out the health conditions that commonly occurs that make you want to seek the help of an acupuncturist.

These days, we are usually caught with our everyday busy never ending daily routine. This can involve juggling between family, job and all other aspects of that constitute our everyday lives. We become so tied up that we don’t have enough time to enjoy life anymore. This can have an adverse effect on our lives and makes it even harder to deal with stress. Acupuncture is a potent way of treating stress and preventing the rise of stress-related diseases.

Dealing with Stress

Being a proven modality for stress, acupuncture can help restore balance in our body, which besides the removal of stress, can help us also overcome health problems related to stress. The reason why acupuncture is so affective in relieving stress is that it not only addresses the symptoms but also the underlying factor(s) causing the symptoms.

Managing Pain through Acupuncture

All of us experiences discomfort and pain during our lifetime. Acupuncture helps alleviate chronic and acute pain conditions and activates the brain into releasing hormones and chemicals (endorphins) that serve as the body’s own natural opiates. Endorphins are natural pain relieving substances that cause us to feel relaxed and calm.

Acupuncture has the capacity to speed up recovery after any disease or injury.

Face Lift/ Cosmetic Effect

During the past few decades, there has been talk about acupuncture’s use for rejuvenating the face. If you want to look many years younger and enhance your overall look, there are several ways of doing so. Being one of the oldest methods for looking young, acupuncture is also one of the easiest and safest ways to make you look five or even ten years younger. One needs to remember though, that in order to attain these results, a person may need to undergo a minimum of ten acupuncture sessions plus continuing care by his/her practitioner.

Weight Loss and Acupuncture

We need to point out that acupuncture will not make you lose weight directly but it can set you on the right path. A few of the reasons why people find it very hard to stick to any diet is due to the difficulty in controlling their cravings and changing their lifestyle.

Acupuncture can help by relieving stress, lessening your appetite, and controlling your cravings. Emotional eaters stand to gain the most from this treatment. When you’re able to reduce your appetite and learn how to control your craving for food. It will be easier to lose weight and attain wellness.

Acupuncture Treatment for Tobacco Addiction

A lot of people are unaware that acupuncture is a very important tool to help you stop smoking. Acupuncture per se will not make you quit, but it will guide you on the road to smoking cessation. It helps by reducing withdrawal symptoms related to nicotine addiction such as emotional distress, restlessness, insomnia, anxiety, and stress. This treatment is a great way to make those symptoms more controllable and easier to handle. And so, if you’re really serious in kicking your smoking habit, the first thing you need to do is to seek an acupuncturist who can set you on the right track to wellness.

Dr. Hailing Fu is a doctor or Oriental medicine and the founder of Ling’s Acupuncture in Orlando, FL. She has also served as professor and clinic director at the Florida College of Integrative Medicine in Central Florida. College of Integrative Medicine in Central Florida.

Why You Should Consider Acupuncture for Your Infertility

Being recognized more and more each day as a legitimate form of treatment by Western physicians, the ancient healing craft of acupuncture dates back thousands of years in East Asia. Recent research has revealed acupuncture’s healing benefits for those suffering from infertility even while it has been found to be helpful in addressing dozens of ailments, from the management of pain to the cessation of smoking.

Acupuncture has been a healing modality used by people for over 4,000 years; unfortunately modern medical science has been unsuccessful explaining once and for all just how it works. Acupuncture was introduced In Europe when Jesuit priests in the 1600s imported the knowledge of the treatment to France where it rapidly spread throughout Europe. However, in the United States, only within the last four decades has the treatment begun to be widely practiced.

Acupuncture is grounded on the Chinese theory that a balance in the flow of energy known as chi (or qi) within the body is required in order to maintain health and well-being. Health is adversely impacted when an imbalance or blockage develops in that flow. Chi is believed to circulate in the body through 20 major pathways known as meridians that can be accessed through 400 different acupuncture points or acupoints, for short.

A variety of combinations of acupoints are activated with the use of acupuncture needles based on the problem you’re experiencing. These needles are solid, very slender, and their length varies based on what point it is to be inserted into. When these acupoints are activated or stimulated, the circulation of chi is rebalanced and the natural healing ability of the body goes into effect.

Among Westerners, the practice of acupuncture remains a bit controversial due to the influence of the pharmaceutical industry over the US healthcare system. A lot of people don’t even consider it and they believe that this wonderful Eastern therapeutic remedy is just a bunch of mumbo jumbo. The main reason for this ignorant mentality is that modern scientific thought is simply not knowledgeable enough to explain just how acupuncture works. And this skepticism is even more heightened by the fact that the channels of energy don’t actually correspond to any recognized bodily system (such as the nervous system or the blood).

Some years back, the United States NIH (National Institutes of Health) has announced that several scientists are investigating the issue. They have formulated a number of theories as to just how acupuncture works. They include:

1. Acupuncture’s stimulation of the central nervous system causing the release of neurohormones and neurotransmitters that in turn, boosts the natural ability of the body to heal itself.
2. Modifications to the CNS (central nervous system) during acupuncture therapies that in turn change the regulation of body temperature, blood flow, and blood pressure.
3. Acupuncture’s capacity to ameliorate pain by releasing endorphins that naturally occur in the pain control system of the body, into the CNS.

Whatever theory exactly explains how acupuncture works the truth about the treatment is that when performed by a qualified practitioner, acupuncture is quite a painless procedure with very little side effects. The most typical risks connected with the treatment include minor bleeding, forgotten or broken needles, transmission of infectious diseases, and puncturing of the organs. These risks are virtually reduced to zero when you seek treatment from a fully trained and certified acupuncturist. Acupuncture is however contraindicated for individuals using blood thinners or for those with bleeding disorders.

Infertility and Acupuncture

As a standalone treatment, acupuncture in Miami can be considered as an alternative modality for fertility issues. However, it is mostly deemed as an adjunctive form of treatment to modern fertility therapies. As a standalone treatment, acupuncture is deemed to be the best treatment for couples suffering from a functional problem, such as irregular ovulation, rather than a structural problem, like an obstruction in the sperm ducts. There are acupuncturists who will also prescribe Chinese herbs to treat infertility. These herbs supplement acupuncture and any other treatment the patient may be receiving. It is important to inform your doctor about the herbs that you are taking especially if you are receiving other medical treatments. This is because there ae certain herbs that can interfere with the effects of fertility procedures and medications.

Scientists are still discussing how and why acupuncture works in treating fertility problems. However, practitioners have a simple explanation for this. They say that acupuncture helps by normalizing the systems of the body. It helps increase blood circulation to the reproductive organs and regulates hormone levels that in turn, increase sperm production in men and ovarian function in women.

When utilized as an adjunct therapy for women getting other fertility therapies, acupuncture has shown to be extremely helpful. Some think that acupuncture helps women stay calm and relaxed while they undergo extremely stressful and invasive fertility therapies. In fact, studies have demonstrated acupuncture’s capacity to raise the rate of pregnancy in women who are getting IVF (in vitro fertilization).

A 2002 German study revealed that 34 out of the 80 women experiencing fertility problems that received acupuncture and underwent IVF got pregnant. This meant a success rate of 42.5%. For the 80 women who were only treated IVF without acupuncture, only 21 of them (26.3%) got pregnant. A more recent US study showed 51% of the 114 women who received acupuncture and IVF treatments achieved pregnancy as opposed only 36% of the women who had only received IVF. A more thorough assessment of this study showed that, while the rate of miscarriage in the IVF-only group was 20%, only 8% of the acupuncture group miscarried. Moreover, the group that received acupuncture also experienced lower incidences of ectopic pregnancies.

Searching for a Qualified Acupuncturist

The good news is that the number of Western physicians using acupuncture in their everyday practice is growing. These physicians require 200 – 300 hours of training to be eligible to perform acupuncture on their patients. Individuals who are non-doctors are required to undergo between 2,000 to 3,000 hours of training and pass their local state board exams in order to be certified acupuncturists in their state. Whatever kind of acupuncturist you prefer, listed below are certain tips to remember when deciding on who to consult with.

1. Always check the appropriate training and certification as required by your state of the acupuncturist you are considering. Ask referrals from your doctor, family member, or friends if they have anyone to recommend. Ask about the cost of the treatment. There are insurance plans that now cover acupuncture procedures and so you may want to look into that, as well.
2. For infertility conditions, expect to receive multiple acupuncture treatments. This may involve one to two a sessions a week for weeks or even months. Normally, the whole treatment plan would take up to 12 sessions. Before treatment there would be a time for a discussion of your current condition and an exam, as well as time to ask any questions you may have and discussion about things can do yourself at home.