25. April 2014 · Comments Off on Acupuncture for Migraines · Categories: Acupuncture · Tags:

A lot of individuals know that acupuncture is the physical act of inserting hair-thin needles into the skin in order to heal the body and help a person to relax. Acupuncture goes way beyond than the mere sticking of needles into the skin. The Chinese have used acupuncture to restore balance to the chi of the individual. Chi is known as the vital energy in the body that brings life and circulates like electricity all over a person’s body. When this energy flow is obstructed and starts to stagnate, a person’s health is affected. Now, researchers are investigating the role of acupuncture for migraine reduction and treatment.

Acupuncture Studies for Migraine Treatment

There are published studies that show strong evidence of acupuncture’s effectiveness for the relief of migraine. The JAMA or Journal of the American Medical Association posted an article “Acupuncture for Patients with Migraine.” This article focused on a study that involved 302 subjects a majority of them women suffering from migraine headaches.  The subjects were given acupuncture, sham acupuncture and a waiting list control. The conductors of the study said that sham acupuncture was equally as potent as regular acupuncture and both of these therapies produced more substantial results than those of the wait list control.

Blackwell Synergy also published a study involving 160 women subjects. The subjects were run through a controlled study observing acupuncture’s effects on migraines compared to the use of flunarizine for the treatment of migraines. Group A was treated for a couple of months with weekly acupuncture and then afterwards once a month for four months. Flunarizine was administered to subjects every day for a couple of months and then afterwards, 20 days in a month for four months. The conclusion was amazing. It showed that acupuncture as clearly being the most effective modality out of the two.

Overcoming the Fear of Needles

One very important thing to remember if you are seriously considering acupuncture is to look for a licensed and experienced acupuncturist to provide you with a treatment that is safe, proper and effective. The acupuncturist will first inform you about sterilizing procedures particularly his/her use of single use disposable sterile needles for the procedure.  He will help allay your fear about the needles and help you feel as relaxed as possible. If you are unable to overcome your fear of needles, the acupuncturist may provide you with other alternative therapies such as ear cups, magnetic needles and herbal formulas.  These modalities are as effective as the acupuncture treatment itself.

When coming in for treatment, make sure you know what you are seeking treatment for. It is also a good idea to give relevant medical information about your health to your acupuncturist so that he/she may select the acupuncture for migraine treatment that is right for you.

 

DeJongh Acupuncture Clinic
2929 SW 3rd Ave #610
Miami, FL 33129
(305) 677-3214
http://www.miamiacupunctureclinic.com/

25. April 2014 · Comments Off on Acupuncture for Bell’s Palsy · Categories: Acupuncture · Tags:

Being a peripheral neural facial disorder, Bell’s palsy can lead to facial paralysis. This is due to damage to the facial nerve (7th cranial nerve). The paralysis of the facial nerve results in symptoms that can include (on the affected side) tingling around the lips, distortion of taste (particularly on 67% of the tongue), eye tearing or lacrimation, problem moving the facial muscles on the affected side and difficulty closing or lifting the eye.

Bell’s palsy has a cause that so far is still undetermined and it can develop all of a sudden.  In the United States, around 40,000 people develop this condition each year. Pregnant women as well as people who have diabetes, respiratory illness, cold, or the flu virus are high risk groups for getting Bell’s palsy.

People who have had Bell’s palsy have experienced headaches, and/or gum, mouth or nose infections prior to the onset of their palsy. Medical researchers suspect that viruses such as the herpes zoster (responsible for shingles) or the herpes simplex virus (virus that causes mouth sores) contribute to the inflammation of the 7th cranial nerve that leads to the paralysis of the face.

Conventional treatments for Bell’s palsy include corticosteroids (to relieve the inflammation of the nerve and pain caused by the inflammation), prednisone (helps block the immune response to prevent the rise of any inflammation on the affected nerve and its surrounding tissue), and Valtrex (this drug focuses in the treatment of the herpes virus) or acyclovir.

About 85% of people with Bell’s palsy completely get well after a few weeks while 15% will have to endure the symptoms of this condition for a long time or even permanently.  It is important to rule out other factors that are suspected as causing Bell’s palsy including conditions that impact the central nervous system like intracranial tumors or stroke (cerebrovascular accidents).

These conditions can be verified through diagnostic tests such as MRI, ultrasound, and X-rays.  The classical symptoms of numbness and tingling in the affected area along with mouth and lip impairment and difficulty in shutting the eyelid on the affected side of the face are tell-tale signs of Bell’s palsy.  According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), this facial problem is the result of cold-wind pathogens invading the muscles and tendons, Yangming (Large Intestine, Stomach) meridians and the Shaoyang (Gall Bladder, Liver) meridians.

Bell’s palsy may likely develop if the person is exposed to wind (rides in a boat when the winds are strong, drives or rides in a car with the widows down, or if he/she sleeps near an open window). Cases of Bell’s palsy often rise during the fall and spring seasons.

Another high risk group for Bell’s palsy involves people whose immune system is weak. This weakness may be due to factors such as extreme emotional or physical stress, exposure to drugs and chemicals, inadequate rest, poor diet, chronic or unresolved illness or genetics).  Because of this, these people are highly prone to external factors like bacterial or viral pathogens or emotional or physical stress.

Their exposure to these factors causes the immune system to elicit an inflammatory reaction in the affected area causing the surrounding tissues to swell. The swelling affects the normal function of the facial nerve and blood vessels.  The swelling may block the flow of blood and vital energy (known as qi) in the face leading to poorly nourished and energized muscles and tendons that the leads to the paralyzing or weakening of the facial muscles as well as symptoms of tingling and numbness. All of these signs and symptoms are classical indications in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) of blood and qi deficiency.

In treating Bell’s palsy with acupuncture, acupuncturists utilize needles on some distal and several acupuncture points to restore the correct flow of blood and qi in the Yangming and Shaoyang meridians and to remove wind pathogens. This procedure can help regain normal facial nerve function and to remove blockages of energy and blood.  Bell’s palsy patients are usually treated in four sessions within a whole week and oftentimes, their facial nerve and muscle function get completely treated.

Bell’s palsy oftentimes resolves on its own.  This is true if the condition is mild. In most instances, however, Bell’s palsy patients manifest a weak immune system that makes it very difficult for them to successfully overcome the disorder themselves enabling it to come back or linger for a long time.  Acupuncture is a strong and effective treatment for peripheral facial paralysis and that is why it is a highly recommended therapy for this disorder. It can help accelerate recovery, enable energy and blood to travel once more to the affected area and has the ability to boost the function of the immune system. To ensure that Bell’s palsy never returns, you need to remove any possible factors that can weaken the immune system. You need to also adopt a healthy diet and lifestyle. This means eating moderate amounts of fish, legumes, nuts, whole grains, vegetables and fruits; lesser amounts of dairy, poultry, and red meat; mild regular exercises, adequate rest and proper outlets for stress.

Usually patients suffering from chronic symptoms of Bell’s palsy who are not getting well with pharmaceutical drugs are placed in programs that aim to rehabilitate their facial muscles.  These programs are successful to up to a certain degree. Integrating acupuncture as well as Chinese herbal medicine and cupping into this program can substantially better the outcomes and resolve Bell’s palsy in a faster and more effective way.

18. April 2014 · Comments Off on Acupuncture for PMS · Categories: Acupuncture · Tags:

In Southeast Asia, women are less prone to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) than women living in the United States. The US has about 70% to 90% women with PMS symptoms. Researchers have attributed the marked difference in rate of PMS symptoms between women in Southeast Asia and the US from factors such as social structure, and living style. Premenstrual syndrome is known as a dysfunction of the ovaries that affect’s the woman’s menstruation. PMS also affects her normal way of life because of hormonal changes and it also greatly impacts the woman’s emotional and physical state.  PMS may begin one or a couple of weeks prior to menstruation and starts to wane when the period itself begins.  This article will talk about the role of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in treating PMS.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is more than a thousand year old Chinese healing practice used to treat tension in certain areas in the body brought about by blood and qi stagnation.

How acupuncture affects women with PMS

Blood and liver qi stagnation

Practitioners of Chinese herbal medicine think that a huge number of women suffering from PMS have liver blood or qi stagnation or both; so, with the use of needles in certain points in the body (sometimes using mild electrical current for better stimulation), the function of the liver system is improved and the stagnation gets removed. This helps in the lessening of PMS symptoms.

Releasing the nervous tension

Acupuncture and herbal medicine help stimulate the flow of blood and energy in the nervous system helping women to relax, thus relieving their mood disorders such as anxiety, tiredness, insomnia and depression.

Yin and Yang qi

Yin and yang are part of the natural energy the human body possesses. Licensed acupuncturists and herbalists agree that PMS may sometimes come about from the imbalance of yin and yang qi in a woman’s body. The balance of yin and yang is restored using acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Hormone balance is achieved before ovulation resulting in the treatment of PMS.

Cramps and pains

Acupuncture can treat pain and cramping caused by menstruation. It releases the stagnated blood and qi in the stomach resulting in the relaxation of the stomach muscles leading to the relief of pain and cramping in that region.

Kidney deficiency

Kidney deficiency leads to edema in the body of women with PMS.  To bring about the normal function of the kidney, acupuncture is needed. It can stimulate more secretion of fluids resulting in the flushing out of toxins via the process of urination.

 

 

18. April 2014 · Comments Off on Acupuncture for Menopause · Categories: Acupuncture · Tags:

Menopause is a natural phase in a woman’s life; the problem, however, is that it comes not without any health issues in women and sadly, some of these symptoms can be debilitating.  The most common symptoms that menopause can cause are hot flashes. They are widely reported by around 70% to 85% of women. The second most frequently occurring menopausal symptom is night sweats. They can be quite troubling and may be felt many times at night. Night sweats can cause mood disturbances, irritability, and interrupted sleep that can result in fatigue.

Acupuncture can be used to treat issues related to menopause. In fact, hormonal or gynecological conditions are some of the health issues that are effectively resolved by Chinese medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners or acupuncturists utilize a number of modalities that can include Chinese massage (Tui Na), dietary therapy, herbal remedies and acupuncture.

Menopausal symptoms are addressed differently in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) compared to that of Western medicine.  Western medicine addresses conditions associated with menopause the same as with any other disease. The symptoms are treated using hormones or prescription drugs.

According to TCM, menopause is viewed as a normal phase in the aging process of a woman. Any illnesses connected to menopause are deemed signals that there exists an underlying imbalance. The focus of TCM treatment is to address the imbalance, or the underlying cause of the problem, and not merely treating the external symptoms.

Longevity and Essence are intimately tied to each other according to traditional Chinese medicine. Essence is a substance bestowed upon us by our parent’s during the point of our conception.  It contains the primary energy that activates all our life’s functions, including growth, maturation and reproductive capacities.  The abundance of Essence in our body implies our ability to adapt to change and recuperate from illnesses quickly.  The aging process leads to the depletion of our Essence and the complete exhaustion of Essence means our death. Some people consume their essence faster than others and the reason for this is the way they live their lives as well as their own constitution.  The telltale signs of the decline of Essence include the end of the menstrual cycle, menopause, fatigue, backache, waning of libido and the graying of our hair.

One other factor that causes imbalance that can lead to menopausal symptoms is the slow flow of Yin. According to TCM, Yin is the principle that nourishes and cools the body. Women encountering problems in their menopause have low Yin in their body.  This can lead to symptoms such as dry skin, insomnia, heart palpitations, night sweats and hot flashes.

Some women with menopausal issues may suffer from deficient Yang. Yang is the opposite of Yin and represents the transforming and warming aspects of the body.  Deficient Yang can lead to women experiencing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, indigestion, edema, weight gain, and water retention. In certain cases, women may suffer from deficiencies of both Yin and Yang leading to symptoms of Yin and Yang.

Lack of Yin or Yang in the body can be resolved.  In certain conditions, Essence can be restored up to a certain point. Addressing imbalances in the body may entail the need for lifestyle and diet changes, and the use of Chinese herbs and acupuncture.

Listed below are some good tips to naturally help lower the severity and frequency of the symptoms of menopause:

Consume cooling foods – according to TCM, each food possesses an intrinsic temperature that is based on the cooling or warming effect on the body. Foods that have the capacity to cool you include lemon, grapefruit, bananas, mung beans, watermelon, cucumber and mint.

Stay cool – no, not in the fashionable sense of the word, but in a literal sense. A lot of women complain that their hot flashes become more severe during humid, hot weather. To avoid this discomfort, stay in an air conditioned place and soothe yourself during really blazing hot days.

Wear cardigans – dress up in layers that are easily taken off or worn on as the temperature of your body fluctuates.

Perform adequate exercise – stress is effectively removed with exercise. Stress plays a huge factor in exacerbating night sweats and hot flashes.  Moreover, your mood is improved and the risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases are lowered when you regularly exercise.

Stay away from foods that worsen heat symptoms – they include spicy foods, caffeine and alcohol.

Lower your stress – as mentioned stress can exacerbate your menopausal symptoms. To de-stress your mind and body, spend some time for yourself or do some meditation, or yoga.

Avail yourself of herbal remedies – herbal formulas that can help relieve your menopausal symptoms include primrose oil, dong quai, and black cohosh.

Vitamin E – a lot of women report significant relief of their symptoms after taking natural forms of vitamin E. Only use the natural form of this vitamin which can be determined by the letter d. the d stands for d-alpha-tocophero. Do not use the synthetic form of this supplement which is known by dl.  Take 400 i.u. each day.

Augment soy into your diet – soy is a rich source of natural occurring estrogens known as phytoestrogens. Certain vegetables and fruits, whole grain foods, flaxseed, chickpeas and other legumes are also high in phytoestrogens.

04. April 2014 · Comments Off on Acupuncture for Amenorrhea · Categories: Acupuncture · Tags:

A woman who is still not in pre-menopause has amenorrhea when she does not experience any menstruation at all.   If a female does not undergo menstruation by the time she reaches 16 years of age, her amenorrhea is termed as primary amenorrhea. Secondary amenorrhea, on the other hand, means that the woman (if she is not breastfeeding, not in menopause or not pregnant) has not experienced any menstruation for over three months.  There are several possible causes for secondary amenorrhea. They may include dysfunctional ovaries, psychological disorders or stress, eating disorders, severe weight loss, intense exercise, hypopituitarism, hypothyroidism, or elevated levels of androgens or prolactin.  Typical symptoms of amenorrhea include goiters, headaches, swollen breasts, nausea, and of course, the stoppage of menses.

Since normal menstrual cycles involve communication feedback between the ovaries, pituitary gland and the hypothalamus as well as the reaction of the uterine wall to stimulation, the objective of any treatment would be to bring back this communication feedback.  The process of menstruation can only occur with the involvement of several hormones. They include the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), androgen, progesterone, estrogen, prolactin, luteinizing hormone (LH), and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).

How Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine Address Amenorrhea

According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the kidneys, spleen and liver are the most important organs for normalizing menstruation and blood. The kidneys govern egg quality as well as the process of reproduction, and conception. The liver and spleen are responsible for the smooth flow of the hormones and the amount of nutrients.  Acupuncturists treat patients with amenorrhea based on the evaluation of their specific condition and customize a proper and effective plan of treatment.

Acupuncture helps to bring about hormonal balance as well as help normalize the communication between the ovaries, pituitary gland and hypothalamus by improving circulation to the brain and the reproductive organs. This therapy likewise calms the body and lowers stress levels. The last part is important because stress can impair menstruation by obstructing the flow of blood to the reproductive organs that can result in hormonal imbalance.

Chinese Herbal medicine can thicken the uterine wall and enhance the feedback between the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Ovarian axis. This restoration of balance helps the body improve its natural hormonal production that in turn results in normal menstruation. Chinese herbal medicine also helps in the nourishment of the kidney, liver and spleen systems that is important for the woman’s reproductive health.

Therapeutic massage is also one way to stimulate the body to help restore a woman’s normal menstrual cycle.  Certain types of massage like the reproductive organ massage can stimulate the fascia of the pelvic cavity and enhance blood flow to the ovaries and improve the communication between the pituitary gland and the ovary. Therapeutic massage can enhance the function of the endocrine system through the enhancement of circulation to the pelvis area and by the healing of stress.

Dietary therapy is determined on the health of a woman’s spleen, liver and kidney systems. For her amenorrhea, the patient needs to eat lean meats, organic fruits and vegetables, and whole grains and consume less junk food, sugar to properly balance her hormones and bring back her normal menstrual cycle. Moreover, she needs to up her intake of essential fatty acids, B6, selenium, zinc, boron, vitamins A, D, C, K, E and calcium.

Western Medicine and Amenorrhea

The typical treatment protocol used by Western medicine for amenorrhea is the intake of birth control pills or hormone therapy to normalize the menstrual cycle. As with most cases, Western medicine can relieve the symptoms but cannot cure the condition itself.

Research and Related Materials on Amenorrhea

The Thousand Buddha Mountain Hospital located in Jinan, China conducted a study to gauge the potency of acupuncture as against certain drugs in treating amenorrhea. The study involved 95 subjects who have had amenorrhea that had lasted for half a year or more all caused by intake of birth control pills. Acupuncture therapy was given 57 of the subjects while the rest were given medications. The study involved six courses of treatments with each course consisting of 20 treatments. In between the courses, the subjects were allowed five-day breaks. The group given medicines was treated with Stilbestrol, then an injection of Progesteronum.   After a month, the group given acupuncture had an effective rate (improvement, great improvement and cure) of 96.49%, while the group given medicines showed an effective rate of 97.36%. After six months, the acupuncture group dropped to 94.73%; however, the effective rate of the group given medicines plunged to 78.94%. This outcome implied that acupuncture’s benefits last more than any conventional drug therapy.

A lot of studies done in China have shown that Chinese herbal medicine, moxibustion and acupuncture have much better outcomes than conventional medicine when treating amenorrhea and other kinds of menstrual disorders.

 

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

04. April 2014 · Comments Off on Acupuncture for Infertility · Categories: Acupuncture · Tags:

Infertility has certainly, so to speak, a unique connection to acupuncture.  However, before we look into that, we first need to get to know the methods of acupuncture.

Acupuncture has been practiced way, way back 5,000 years ago in China. It is widely practiced in other East Asian countries and some of them have their own unique way of performing acupuncture.  A little over 5 decades ago, acupuncture was introduced to the mass consciousness of Americans by a New York Times journalist named James Reston in 1972. He underwent an appendectomy and instead of using anesthesia, acupuncture was used to “anesthetize” him although instead of being asleep, he was wide awaked fully aware of what the doctors were doing to him during the entire operation.  This landmark operation ushered in the use of acupuncture techniques in the United States. Over the course of time, more and more people have experienced tremendous benefits from acupuncture. As this therapy gets to be known by an increasingly large number of people, schools for acupuncture are slowly increasing in numbers as well.

Even in brain surgery procedures and other kinds of surgeries, acupuncture is also used as a form of anesthesia sometimes.  More than 8,000 acupuncture practitioners are now practicing acupuncture in the US.

Relationship between Infertility and Acupuncture

Certain acupuncture techniques can cure problems in fertility. Both female and male infertility can be effectively treated with acupuncture.  Some of the issues that cause female infertility which acupuncture can easily reverse include PMS, obstructions in the fallopian tubes and amenorrhea among others.

Acupuncture is a holistic type of treatment which means that it not only targets the symptoms of a disease but the root cause of the disease as well. This therapy when combined with Chinese herbals remedies is the best treatment one can get for his/her fertility problem. The fundamentals of acupuncture were fashioned more than 3millennia ago by Chinese Taoists.  Acupuncture therapy aids in reenergizing the different organ systems of the body by enabling the uninterrupted flow of energy in the body. This results in the body functioning at optimal levels making it strong enough to repel any type of illness or disease. As mentioned in the beginning of this article, infertility and acupuncture are intimately connected. Certain meridian points are inserted with sterilized ultra thin needles during acupuncture treatment. This causes the reproductive systems to function normally since the needles stimulate processes that help remove the obstructions in the flow of energy making the reproductive organs function at their maximum.

The benefits that acupuncture give in the treatment of infertility are myriad. Acupuncture is versatile enough to work along with other TCM modalities and other conventional modes of therapy. Here are some of the benefits that acupuncture can give:

  1. Conventional drugs are not really needed in acupuncture therapy for the treatment of infertility although in the case of medical acupuncture, pharmaceutical drugs are combined with this therapy.  The fact is, for several causes of infertility, acupuncture is the best mode of treatment, bar none.  It is the one recommended by doctors which again goes to show that infertility and acupuncture are closely related. A combination of other TCM modalities such as herbal medicine can improve the overall potency of acupuncture techniques by several degrees.
  2. When combined with acupuncture, the level of success of assisted reproductive therapies (ART) like ICSI, TET, GIFT, ZIFT, AHT, and IVF dramatically increases. The reason for this is that acupuncture first improves the physical and emotional health of the individual making her/him more capable of responding positively to these ART procedures. Acupuncture combined with herbal medicine can perfectly balance a person’s endocrine system. This person’s overall physique becomes healthier. Women are able to conceive easily and the recuperation time during postpartum period gets shortened with acupuncture therapy.
  3. Female reproductive organs like the ovary, fallopian tubes and the uterus as well as the male reproductive system function are not treated per se by acupuncture. What acupuncture does is to address the underlying cause of infertility. This can have an emotional, mental or physical basis which acupuncture can address no matter what the cause is. Thus, the root problems of infertility are identified and removed. The end result is the self-healing ability of the body is boosted leading to the treatment of infertility.
  4. There are no serious side effects with acupuncture. Conventional drug therapy and other invasive procedures lead to the accumulation of toxins in the body. Acupuncture can help rid the body off these toxins and since it does not use any medications (except for medical acupuncture) no side effects from its use exist.

We have seen the close relationship between infertility and acupuncture. Holistic procedures treat a patient as a whole rather than the western medicine way of separating parts of the person’s body. In this regard, TCM and acupuncture are considered holistic procedures. Acupuncture and TCM specifically address stress. They help relieve stress by making the patient feel relaxed and his mind calmed. This makes the person, particularly the female to be more receptive to the benefits of ART procedures increasing her chances of attaining conception. Acupuncturists will also recommend changes in the diet and lifestyle of people with infertility problems. Oftentimes other holistic modalities will also recommend lifestyle and diet modifications for their patients to help them get well.