Complementary & Alternative Healthcare (724)
Acupuncture can make significant changes in your body with regards to a wide variety of health issues. For example, acupuncture can be effective in working with all sorts of pain: neck, back, hip, arthritic, and chronic. It works to alleviate migraines and the pain associated with Crohn’s disease and Fibromyalgia.
To really find out how acupuncture can benefit you, it makes sense to talk with an acupuncturist. Some, for instance, take health insurance while others are strictly cash and carry. Some offer discount pricing for volume treatment packages and others do not. What kind of environment are you being treated in: someone’s home or an office; what are the office hours? Are they available days, evenings, or on the weekend? Are you being charged for a consultation? These are all important questions if you are considering acupuncture as a treatment option.
Most people don’t think about hypnosis as a treatment option for their problems, yet, hypnosis can be very effective for getting rid of bad habits such as smoking and nail biting. It’s very effective for getting rid of limiting behaviors such as procrastination or self-sabotage. Do you suffer from continued anger or depression? Do you have fears or phobias: fear of flying, fear of elevators, public speaking or crossing the Bay Bridge?
Hypnosis is not limited to getting rid of negative issues; it is very beneficial for enhancing or improving behaviors and skills. Are you studying for a test? Do you find yourself not exercising as much as you would like? Would you like to increase your motivation? How about improving your performance in a sport?
Hypnosis isn’t something to be feared; most of us don’t really know what hypnosis is except for what we might have seen in the movies or at a stage show. The fact is that we all normally go into trance every 60-90 minutes; we are wired for trance. I’m sure that you have had a daydream or two, or discovered that you just passed your exit while driving; guess what, you were in trance.
If you are unsure whether or not hypnosis can be of help for the problem you might be experiencing, or for the skill that you want to improve, contact a hypnotherapist. Many hypnotherapists will offer complementary consultations to clear up any misgivings or misconceptions you might have about hypnosis and they will discuss how hypnosis can be used to resolve your particular concern.
As the warmer weather draws us outdoors, we can’t help but notice the vast array of colors, textures, fragrances and forms of the summer garden. But much more than just providing beauty and pleasure for our senses, these wonders of nature also have powerful medicinal properties, some of which have been used for healing for thousands of years.
The Chinese Materia Medica (compendium of medical material) contains hundreds of plant-based herbs commonly used to treat a wide variety of ailments:
Honeysuckle flowers (jin yin hua) with its unmistakably sweet fragrance, is used to clear heat and remove toxins from the body, such as might be present in a sore or swollen throat. Magnolia flower (xinyihua) on the other hand, is pungent and warming, and is used to treat conditions related to nasal and sinus congestion. Red sage (danshen) has cooling and calming properties, and has been researched extensively for its positive effects on heart disease and hypertension. Balloon flower (jiegeng) prized for its striking ornamental qualities, is a wonderful herb for colds, coughs, and other respiratory conditions.
Even weeds, plants we often think of as being a nuisance, can have quite beneficial effects when used in the right context. For example, dandelion (pu gong ying) has been used historically to treat problems relating to the liver, gallbladder, kidneys and joints. Common mugwort (ai ye) is a warming medicinal often used for gynecological disorders.
Just as in an orchestra, where the sound of each individual instrument blends into the resulting symphony, Chinese herbs are most frequently used in combination, creating a dynamic interplay and balance of function designed to treat a particular pattern of illness.
In our industrialized culture, herbal medicine can often seem mysterious. But I find that once we understand its potential and true accessibility, any trepidation we might initially have is quickly replaced by a sense of awe and gratitude for nature’s bounty. Of course, it’s always best to consult with a trained, licensed health care provider before taking herbal remedies, in order to ensure proper dosage and application.
Herbal medicine and nutrition – along with acupuncture, qi gong (energy cultivation), and massage – is one of the pillars of Chinese medicine, an invaluable tool for creating and restoring health, and for bringing the body-mind into alignment so that the spirit can properly shine through.
Many people suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, and feelings of fear. This is nothing new as far as the human condition goes. Acupuncture may be able to address some of these concerns. Whether the issue stems from an imbalance in the endocrine system, the nervous system, the organs, or life history, acupuncture may be able help. The theory is that by removing blockages to the flow of qi, (energy), and putting the internal systems into balance and order, a person is put in touch with their natural ability to heal. This is how it has been thought to work for thousands of years, without modern drugs or side effects.
In life, there are many possibilities for change. Sometimes change can be very stressful, whether it’s good or bad. Many people fear change because of the unknowing it brings. When we are in the unknowing, we can feel out of control and unsafe, a major cause of fear and dread. However, what appears to be external circumstances is actually not the issue. Rather, it is our internal response to the world that causes our distress.
The theory behind acupuncture is that when our qi is flowing smoothly, we feel more capable of handling whatever comes our way. Acupuncture may be able to help put everything back in place so we feel more calm, peaceful, and present. In this way, many people are able to lessen or even stop their medications, with their doctor’s cooperation.
Summertime is a great time to step into a feeling of expansiveness. It is warm outside, the sun is up more than it is down, and many people feel more alive now than any other time of the year. It is the perfect time to move forward and step into a clearer, brighter reality for ourselves and the ones we love. The best way to reward our loved ones is to take care of ourselves and radiate joy. Nothing could please them more.
Pelvic pain is a symptom that occurs mostly in the lower abdomen area. Acute pelvic pain starts with a short period of time, usually from a few minutes to several days. This kind of pain is a warning sign that indicates the patient needs prompt medical attention.
Acute pelvic pain is the most common symptom for patients after abdominal surgery or other soft tissue trauma. Pain that extends beyond a normal period, more than three months, may be considered chronic pelvic pain. Patients are of all ages, mostly women, but some men suffer from pelvic pain as well.
Women who have pelvic pain might feel dull pain during their period, sexual activities or urinating. However, pelvic pain can be a sign of one or more organ problems around the pelvic area, such as the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, lower intestines, rectum, bones or joints. Also, various infections cannot be excluded. If pelvic pain occurs in men, the most likely causes are prostatitis and pelvic floor weakness or certain infection with different organs.
Many patients have to undergo different medical tests to find the cause of pelvic pain. Treatment will depend on the cause, how severe the pain is and how often it occurs. However, certain causes of pelvic pain, unrelated to any organs, may be difficult to diagnose. Acupuncture treatment may be the right choice for such patients.
Acupuncture treatment is individualized to each patient. The goal of the treatment is to balance the body’s Qi and disharmony, to perform needle stimulation to open the acupuncture channels and to reduce the pain. A treatment plan consists of 6-10 visits within several weeks either for prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome. The patient’s condition improvement will be gradual, but can be long lasting.
A well-designed study conducted by the Malaysia University of Science and sponsored by the National Institute of Health, reported that after 10 weeks of treatment, acupuncture proved almost twice as likely as sham acupuncture treatment to improve chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome symptoms. Participants receiving acupuncture were 2.4 times more likely to experience long-term benefit than participants who received sham acupuncture.
For most people the idea of gender identity is a bit foreign. The average person is born with a specific set of genitalia that gives them a sort of code for how they will live their life. A baby boy that is born with the usual penis and testicles will, in most cases, grow up to be a typical heterosexual male. A baby girl that is born with a vagina and ovaries will become a heterosexual female.
A transgender person, however, is a boy or girl who is born with the typical boy or girl parts, but whose gender identity differs somehow from the conventional. Transgender is actually a broad term that can be used to describe a number of various types of people who are, for whatever biological and physiological reason, living lives outside of the more traditional gender groups. This includes transvestites (commonly known as cross dressers), transsexuals and people that fall into other subcategories like gender queers, butch, femme, two-spirit and others.
For the typical person there is no difference between their gender identity and their actual physical sex as a male or female. The main difference with a transgender person is the fact that they don’t identify with the physical sex organs that they have been born with. In plain English, their thoughts and drives don’t agree with their sexual parts.
Transgender people have many issues that are common to regular people and also to LGB individuals. In fact we all, as humans, share these same issues; community, identity, making friends, being accepted, sexual relationships and so on. One thing that sometimes sets transgender people apart, however, is that where a lesbian, gay, bisexual or questioning person can most times hide their identity if they choose to a transgender person may be forced to come out of the closet simply because of their outward physical appearance.
Unfortunately a transgender person may also face discrimination because of the belief by others that they are homosexual, which is sometimes not the case. They also face other, clearly different problems and bias due to the fact that they belong to this distinct gender group.
No matter what you or someone you love is feeling about their inward sexuality or their outward sexual appearance if you have questions or need help please don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional, particularly one that is comfortable working with the transgender community.
Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center discovered that a neurotransmitter called adenosine is responsible for the pain relief from acupuncture.
Adenosine is a natural substance known for helping to regulate sleep and for its anti-inflammatory properties. It also acts as a natural painkiller, developing in the body after an injury to stop nerve signals that are screaming “pain!” In the experiment, researchers performed acupuncture on mice that had discomfort in one paw. The mice received a 30-minute acupuncture treatment at a point near the knee. The study showed that in mice with normal functioning levels of adenosine, acupuncture reduced pain by about two-thirds. During and after the treatment, the level of adenosine in the tissues near the needles was 24 times greater than before the treatment. But the treatment had no effect on mice that lacked the adenosine receptor.
Previously, many studies had proven acupuncture’s effectiveness, but none had satisfactorily explained how it worked. This study is a huge step forward in understanding the science behind acupuncture.
Eastern nutritional philosophy stresses the importance of eating in tune with nature. Eating local and eating foods in season are becoming very popular now, but they are actually time-tested principles dating back thousands of years.
We divide foods based on their cooling and heating properties. Summer is the season of activity, growth, and expansion, and it’s the time for cooling foods. Juicy fruits and brightly colored, leafy vegetables grown during the summer are excellent choices for salads.
During the summer it’s best to cook your food as little as possible, so eat vegetables raw or sauté them at high heat for a short period of time. Stay away from greasy, fried foods, or too much dairy. Here are some suggestions:
• Watermelon: an excellent source of hydration and cooling, it can also be juiced or blended to make watermelon juice. Can naturally reduce blood pressure.
• Cucumber: great for salads, or slice and add to a pitcher of water.
• Mint: Hot or iced mint tea is very cooling. Paradoxically, hot tea can cool you down in the summer!
• Spinach, broccoli, bok choy, watercress, seaweed, asparagus or any other green vegetable.
According to the American Pain Foundation, 50 million Americans suffer from persistent pain. It comes from a number of sources, the most common of which are headaches, arthritis and back pain. Discomfort not only keeps you from work (pain is the second leading cause of medically related work absenteeism), but also negatively affects your relationships, social life, and ability to get a good nights rest.
These top three types of chronic pain are “invisible” in that your friends, colleagues and family don’t see a spurting artery or your skin turning green, just a limp or a cringe when you move a certain way. Traditional approaches to pain “management” rely on trying to locate the root cause of the problem and provide some relief with rest, exercise, therapy and pain medications. In some cases surgery is recommended as a last resort.
Physical therapy, kinesiology, massage therapy, chiropractic and acupuncture are all available as treatment modalities for chronic pain, and in some cases may be a solution for you, depending on the actual diagnosis. Plus, there are very few side effects.
Physical therapists and kinesiologists look at body movements and can identify which muscles are weak or tight and develop a plan to help you lengthen the tight muscles and strengthen the weak muscles to guide your body back to being pain-free and increase range of motion.
Massage therapists use a number of techniques to re-establish blood flow to tight/dysfunctional muscles, tendons and ligaments so that you feel looser and more relaxed. Chiropractors are trained to look for “subluxations” or structural displacements that, when properly aligned, lead to pain relief.
Acupuncturists are skilled at looking at the patient energetically and identifying specific pathways of energy (meridians) that are blocked and using fine, sterile, hair-like stainless steel needles to correct the condition, whether it be back pain, migraines or infertility.
Until the 1960s there was no scientific proof of the existence of meridian pathways in the human body until a North Korean researcher, Kim Bonghan found tubular structures that follow the pathways of energy and can be stimulated with acupuncture needles, finger pressure, lasers, etc.
It’s quite intriguing as a westerner how a few well-placed needles can have such a positive effect on knee osteoarthritis, migraines and back pain, but NIH studies prove it works consistently under double-blind conditions. And, rather than having side effects, acupuncture has been scientifically proven to have a number of side benefits, including improved sleep quality, optimized digestion, and lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone produced by your adrenal glands.
One out of every six couples in America are having trouble conceiving naturally but Professor Bill Ledger from Sheffield University warned this could rise to one in three in the near future.
Public health professionals are pointing to a number of factors including poor diet, exposure to toxic materials such as heavy metals and solvents, use of estrogens in our livestock/poultry, and xenoestrogens, or estrogen-like compounds found in pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and plastics.
Experts say that because fertility is linked to social, behavioral and biological factors, it is hard to determine to what extent each is responsible for the problem. Men have a simpler reproductive system, and the three most common issues with sperm are number (not enough), mobility (can’t swim, or can’t swim in circles), and morphology (shape and structure).
They may also have a problem with an undescended testicle, testosterone deficiency, variocele or genetic defect.
Women, on the other hand, are quite complex, with a huge number of hormones that must be regulated within a very narrow margin for reproduction to occur successfully.
The most common roadblocks to motherhood are polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, ovulation disorders, uterine fibroids, pelvic adhesions and occluded (blocked) fallopian tubes. The Mayo Clinic reports the following, regarding the couples they treat:
In about 20 percent of cases, infertility is due to a cause involving only the male partner.
In about 30 to 40 percent of cases, infertility is due to causes involving both the male and female.
In the remaining 40-50 percent of cases, infertility is due entirely to a cause involving the female.
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine has been clinically proven in double-blind, placebo controlled studies to have a positive effect on both male and female infertility issues. Good candidates for trying acupuncture are people who have a functional, rather than a structural reason for infertility (for example, blocked fallopian tubes are structural).
There are no drugs involved and therefore no side-effects are associated with acupuncture therapy. For those who choose In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), acupuncture therapy can increase the outcome by an extraordinary 60%.
Chinese herbal medicine is also quite effective to balance hormones, increase the size and viability of an ovum, improve sperm quality, and eliminate fibroids and endometriosis to pave the way to a healthy baby. An herbal approach has the possibility of a drug/herb interaction, but that is extremely rare when prescribed by a qualified Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.)/Doctor of Oriental Medicine (DOM/OMD).
In ancient China, the Kung Fu master of the province was also the healer of the community. Fighting and healing seem to be unlikely skills for one person, but when armies were being trained - sprains, strains, contusions were commonplace and joint dislocations and bone breaks were not unusual.
Martial arts masters and Shaolin monks developed countless herbal formulas to treat everything from a sword wound to a concussion. Deeply rooted in the Taoist self-cultivation methods were herbal therapy and acupuncture along with meditation, Kung Fu, and Qi Gong.
In my study of Wing Chun Kung Fu, we would repeatedly strike and block in “two man sets” that would leave our forearms bruised the next day. My sifu had us apply Dit Da Jow and POOF the bruises would vanish. It was a wicked looking and strange-smelling concoction swimming with poisonous beetles, snakeskin, and herbs I couldn’t identify. There’s nothing at the pharmacy that even comes close to this wonderful stuff.
In the late 1800s during turmoil in China, two famous martial artists emerged – one from the north, and one from the south. Their fighting skills and healing abilities were legendary. Sun Lu Tang was one of the most famous boxers of the northern Nei Jia or Internal school of martial arts. He trained under the great masters of the region and was known for his compassion for those injured in combat and his ability to heal them.
Wong Fei Hong, immortalized in countless Chinese martial arts movies, was known for his amazing martial skill and deep knowledge of Chinese medicine in southern China. His father was a renowned physician and one of the “Ten Tigers of Canton,” who founded a clinic known as “Po Chi Lam” (precious iris woods). Fei Hong worked at his father’s clinic and trained in Hung Gar Kung Fu. He quickly became a folk hero in China, and has been described as the Chinese Robin Hood because of his kindness toward the poor and his willingness to treat anyone who came to his clinic.
Many skilled fighters believe the highest form of martial arts is not fighting. The same can be said for health and wellness. If patients get out of their own way, healing will occur naturally. According to the Taoist eight branches, the most subtle but profound approach to healing is meditation/self cultivation, which involves quieting the mind. Take a few minutes just to follow your breath – your body will thank you.
According to the American Heart Association, the total cardiovascular disease prevalence (including coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, heart failure, etc.) in the American population is 80 million people, roughly 36% of the population. Studies have shown that cardiovascular disease is most prevalent in African Americans; while of the groups studied, Mexican Americans have the lowest occurrence. Additionally, more men than women suffer from cardiovascular disease.
There are a number of risk factors listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They include smoking, diet, sedentary lifestyle, obesity and excessive alcohol consumption. Heredity also plays a part in high blood pressure, heart disease and other vascular conditions.
While minimizing the aforementioned risk factors is encouraged universally as a means of prevention, in China, acupuncture is well known for its use in heart disease prevention and treatment. In the United States, however, acupuncture is not a widely used means for prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease.
In a recent study performed at the Panxian Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine in China, 75 patients diagnosed with cardiac arrhythmia were split into two groups: one group was treated with acupuncture and moxibustion (burning an herb called mugwort or moxa to warm specific acupoints on the body) while the other group (the control group) was treated with metoprolol, porpafenone and aspirin. The two groups were monitored and compared over a period of one year.
The total effective rate was 97.4% in the acupuncture/moxibustion group compared to 81.1% in the medicated group. The other key finding was there were less complications and recurrence in the group treated with acupuncture/moxibustion compared to the control group.
If you have chronic health issues, such as heart failure, arrhythmia, acid reflux, chronic pain, or insomnia, you may want to consider acupuncture and Oriental medicine as an option.
Go to www.nccaom.org and click on “find a practitioner” to choose a board certified licensed acupuncturist near you. For most patients, the needles are painless and most herbal medicine comes in a convenient pill form and as granular teas.