30. January 2015 · Comments Off on Dry Skin and Its Connection to the Internal Organs of the Body · Categories: Acupuncture · Tags:

The ancient Chinese believe that the skin has a distinct function that directly affects certain internal organs pathologically and physically. It also considered the largest organ of the body. Some of the internal organs associated with the skin include:

The Large Intestine

A strong relationship exists between the Large Intestine and the skin. Toxins may accumulate in the Large Intestine if the person consumes too much food (such as spicy and hot foods) and drinks fluids that contain toxins. The signs of toxin accumulation may show in the skin and manifest as itchiness, rash, pimples or boils. Symptoms such as bloating, pungent flatulence and constipation may also be a sign of toxin build up in the Large Intestine.

The Kidneys

This very important internal organ governs the primal Yin and Yang energy of the body. These two forces are the ones in charge of all the phases of the skin and body. A problem in the Yin and Yang of the Kidney may result in excessive perspiration, hot flushes usually felt in the face and neck, and dry skin among others.

The Liver and Heart

These two major internal organs are responsible for the emotions and circulation of the body. The state of health of the emotions and circulation can directly impact the skin. So if the Liver and Heart have functional deficiencies it can result in toxins and heat remaining in the bloodstream leading to skin flare-ups such as rashes, eczema or pimples.

The Lungs

In Traditional Chinese medicine theory, the Lungs govern the skin and enable the skin pores to open and close. If the Lungs do not function healthily, skin becomes affected leading to situations like these:

If you have been smoking for several years, your Lungs’ health may have been considerably weakened leading to frequent production of phlegm and cough; moreover, the poor health of your Lungs may also manifest as dry skin.

Smoking weakens the Lungs that when the body is invaded by external Heat and Wind, symptoms such as sore throat or sneezing and skin problems such as shingles, rashes or itch may arise.

Dry Skin Symptoms

Depending on its cause dry skin can be a sudden momentary problem or may last for a considerable period of time that gradually deteriorates over time. The skin can turn painful, irritated, itchy, cracked or scaly. The condition may even affect the heels of the feet, elbows, nails, lips and mouth. Chronic skin dryness can leave the skin prone to eczema, itchiness, rash or infection. Depending on the underlying cause of the person’s dry skin problem, the symptoms can be severe, mild or intermittent.

Dry Skin – Its Causes

The type of dry skin that may arise in a person may depend on his/her lifestyle, past medical history and constitution. There may be various reasons for dry skin and so it is important to determine the underlying reason for it in order to apply the proper treatment. In traditional Chinese medicine, there are different patterns of disharmony for dry skin. They include:

Lung and Liver Heat

Heat in the Lung and Liver may stem from several causes including certain drugs, spicy and hot foods, longstanding alcohol drinking, pneumonia, cold, flu or Heat coming from other body organs. Too much heat in the Lung or Liver can affect the health of the skin causing it to dry out. This type of dry skin leads to symptoms such as constipation, insomnia, problems falling asleep, extreme emotions, dry and/or red eyes, dry throat and dry cough. Sufferers of this form of condition can also experience illnesses such as hay fever, eczema or asthma.

Blood and Liver Yin Deficiency

This pattern of disharmony is the most common cause of dry skin. Skin dryness due to this type of deficiency occurs more in women than in men, but nowhere is this condition more common than in women after menopause, after labor or those who are past the age of 40. This does not mean that only women are affected by dry skin due to deficiency in Blood and Liver Yin. Men can also be affected, as well

Blood and Liver Yin deficiency may be caused by a weakened Blood and Yin that, in turn, leads to a lack of moisture and nutrition in the body. Sufferers may not only experience from dry skin but have other problems like insomnia, extreme emotions, interrupted sleep, anxiety, hot flushes (especially while sleeping or during mornings), thirst, sensation of hotness in the body, dry stools, unhealthy looking nails, cracks around the nails, poor quality of hair, or hair loss, as well.

Other Reasons for Dry Skin

Besides the aforementioned factors, other causes of dry skin can include certain foods or drugs, longstanding illness or injury, or poor blood flow among others.

Proper Management and Treatment of Dry skin

Changes in Diet & Lifestyle

A proper diet – This may include eating cooling foods and green leafy vegetables. These foods may include pear, lemon, eggplant, mung beans, peppermint tea, green tea, spinach, carrots, cucumber, and celery. You also should refrain from eating lamb, shellfish, chives, garlic, ginger and onions as they can generate Heat in the digestive system, Lung or Liver and affect the skin. You also need to avoid alcohol.

Relax – Alter your work and lifestyle in a way that it generates as minimal stress as possible. Do not become too high strung or too emotional as they can imbalance the Liver energy resulting in Heat Liver excess. Sleep is a great way to relax. Get adequate quality sleep and do not go to be bed late in the night (be sure you’re in bed before 11pm)

Exercise – When you exercise, do it in a cool comfortable setting. Avoid strong sunlight and do not perform exercises that are too intense or fast as they can generate excess Heat. Swimming, slow bike riding, gentle walking slow biking and yoga are great activities to help treat dry skin.

Conventional Treatments

If you’ve been hiving dry skin for several years, you may be suffering from a far more serious underlying condition. If this is the case, you need to consult with your doctor as soon as possible.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

If conventional treatments fail to treat your dry skin, you can always try traditional Chinese medicine treatments. Besides being safer than conventional modalities, traditional Chinese medicine is one form of natural therapy that has been proven to work for dry skin.

Treatment of your dry skin will depend on the type of underlying problem you have. Therefore, a proper diagnosis is essential to come up with the right solution to your problem.

Galina Semyonova is a licensed acupuncturist and massage therapist in New York City. She has studied extensively in the fields of biofeedback therapy, SCENAR therapy, Chinese herbal treatments and Chinese and Western nutrition.

30. January 2015 · Comments Off on How Can Acupuncture Resolve Chronic Hypotension? · Categories: Acupuncture · Tags:

One of the most widespread health problems for a lot of people around the world these days is hypotension or low blood pressure. This condition especially affects individuals 45 years of age and older.

What is Hypotension?

Hypertension and hypotension are two sides of the same coin and they both involve blood pressure; the former is a condition in which the heart exerts too much pressure to pump out blood throughout the body while the latter is an issue in which the heart is not able to exert enough pressure to pump the right amount of blood to circulate all over the body. A healthy blood pressure reading for adults is around 90 to 140 mm of mercury (systolic pressure) and 60 to 90 mm (diastolic). In a hypotensive condition, the systolic pressure may read <90 mm mercury (systolic) and <60 mm mercury (diastolic).

Can Acupuncture Address Hypotension?

There are two forms of hypotension: chronic hypotension and acute hypotension. This article will talk about chronic hypotension and how acupuncture is able to resolve it. But before we move forward, we need to distinguish the difference between chronic hypotension and acute hypotension. The difference between these two is nowhere more evident than in the symptoms they present. In chronic hypotension, no symptoms may almost manifest; in acute hypotension, however, the symptoms of giddiness, asthenia and dizziness is evident.

In curing chronic hypotension, acupuncturists may use any of two acupuncture methods: non-electro acupuncture or auricular acupuncture.

The aim of the non-electro acupuncture treatment for chronic hypotension is to regulate blood pressure. Important acupoints that include the DU 20 or Bai Hui point is pierced with a needle to boost the flow of Qi. The duration of the treatment may last for 15 to 25 minutes per session. The number of sessions may total 10 for hypotensive cases. When the DU 20 point is treated, electro-acupuncture is not recommended particularly if the patient has epilepsy.

In auricular acupuncture treatment the acupuoint normally selected for treatment is the MA-PS point or Hsia Er gen. Magnetic seeds are attached to the MA-PS point twice or thrice for 15 minutes each session. Acupuncturists recommend this therapy once each month for their patient. You need to replace the plaster of these seeds every four days to avoid infection.

These are the two approaches acupuncturists normally use to help you overcome hypotension.

Dr. Jeda Boughton is a licensed acupuncture physician and the medical director of BodaHealth in Vancouver, BC.

22. January 2015 · Comments Off on Get Better Treatment for Endometriosis Using Alternative Therapies Such As Acupuncture · Categories: Acupuncture · Tags:

Endometriosis is a condition that affects a great number of women all over the world. In the United States, about 60% of women suffer from this condition each year.

Endometriosis is the development of endometrial cells outside of the uterus. Normally these cells develop within the lining of the uterus. In endometriosis, however, the endometrial tissue may develop on the bowels and other parts of the body. It is a chronic condition and can cause pain, inflammation, and bleeding.

Endometriosis may manifest symptoms that are light to mild; some women may even be unaware that they have this condition. Other women, however, do experience not only pain but fertility problems, heavy bleeding, and painful sex, as well.

The treatments used by Western medicine for endometriosis include painkilling drugs known as NSAIDs, surgery (usually via laparoscopy) and birth control pills often combined with hormone therapy. No cure yet exists for this condition and the current treatments used to address endometriosis are woefully inadequate for most women.

Acupuncture and Endometriosis

A 2010 study to test acupuncture’s effectiveness in treating endometriosis has revealed that when treated with acupuncture, the women had a substantial improvement in the degree of pain felt after undergoing ten initial sessions of treatment. Studies done before also indicate that electroacupuncture can provide symptomatic relief of endometriosis-induced dysmenorrhea. Acupuncture was also proven to be effective for relief of pelvic pain associated with endometriosis.

How does Acupuncture Treat Endometriosis?

From the view of traditional Chinese Medicine, endometriosis is a condition that is the result of Blood Stagnation complicated by other issues such as Qi deficiency or Cold or Heat accumulation.

The primary goal of the treatment is to alleviate pain. Secondary objectives are to normalize the menstrual cycle and resolve Blood stagnation.

The treatment is usually synchronized with the menstrual cycle of the patient. This may mean treatment may be done just after the periods or during the second phase of the cycle.

The overall goal of the treatment is to address the imbalances in order to entirely cure the patient of her condition.

Like all other acupuncture treatments, the duration of treatment will depend on the patient’s constitution, her signs and symptoms, how long has she been suffering from the condition and the severity of the symptoms. Most of the time, however, treatment for endometriosis may take as short as three months to as long as 9 months, or even longer.

Kine Fischler is a licensed acupuncture physician and the clinical director of Willow Tree Wellness Clinic in Portland, OR.

22. January 2015 · Comments Off on Traditional Chinese Medicine Diagnoses and Treatment for Dysmenorrhea · Categories: Acupuncture · Tags:

There are different strategies a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioner can take when it comes to dysmenorrhea. Dysmenorrhea or painful menstruation treatment primarily focuses on the main complaint of the patient: pain during menstruation. This condition is considered acute and needs to be immediately addressed over any other symptoms. Not only do TCM practitioners address the pain and other overlying symptoms of dysmenorrhea, they also treat the root of the reason that has led to the condition in the first place. This guarantees that there is no recurrence of the condition during the patient’s succeeding periods. To attain these objectives, the practitioner needs to determine the cause of the problem and select specific herbs as well as acupuncture points to address the symptoms and the cause.

Diagnosing the root cause of the problem, which acupuncturists call differentiation, is an extremely important part of the treatment process. The practitioner or acupuncturist first interviews the patient. The interview gives the acupuncturist an insight into the cause of the condition of the patient. Skill and care needs to be applied here. When treating dysmenorrheal, special attention to its symptoms and signs that can include the kind of pain, what eases the pain, the size of blood clots, the number of clots, the quality of the flow (whether it’s light or heavy), the color of the blood, and other factors need to be taken into consideration.

The herbs that are prescribed are typically taken three days prior to the start of the period and maintained for six menstrual cycles in order to obtain the best results. Without treatment, the dysmenorrheal pain will only worsen leading to added stress; eventually the condition will result in another disorder known as premenstrual syndrome or PMS. This is the reason why treatment needs to begin two to three days prior to the onset of menses.

What is Traditional Chinese Medicine Diagnosis (Differentiations) All About?

The diagnostic terminologies used in Traditional Chinese medicine is very different from those utilized by Western Medicine. Acupuncturists and other traditional Chinese medicine practitioners use terms that are never heard of in Western medicine. The practitioner may use diagnostic terminologies such as wind heat, abundance of cold, blood stasis, heart fire, or spleen deficiency to address the underlying factors of a condition. They may sound odd to Western doctors but these terms have actually been used for thousands of years to resolve dozens of illnesses. When an acupuncturist tells his patient that he/she is suffering from spleen qi (pronounced chee), the acupuncturist is referring to an energy deficiency in a channel (meridian) where qi travels related to the spleen. Spleen qi deficiency then means that the energy flowing to the spleen is weak which is causing the spleen to malfunction. Terms like these were and are still used because thousands of years ago, they were terms found in nature and were the best ways to explain to the patient the things happening within his/her body.

One of the factors a traditional Chinese medicine physician needs to determine in a patient is the patient’s Yin and Yang balance. Yin and Yang is famously symbolized by the symbol of the Tai Ji which is half black and half white, with a dot of the opposite color in each half. Passivity, nourishment and rest are representations of Yin while activity, energy, and, motion represent Yang. Yin and Yang, like electricity, represent the duality of the universe and in order to be balanced and healthy, each of us must have a proper balance of these two energy polarities internally.

When it comes to dysmenorrhea, one can encounter two types of diagnostic terminologies:

1. Blood and Qi Stagnation

Stagnation of Qi means that there exists an obstruction of energy in one or more of the energy vessels where Qi travels. Blood stagnation, on the other hand, simply means that blood is not freely circulating in a certain part of the body. There is usually pain on the body part where blood is blocked, according to traditional Chinese medicine. Signs and symptoms of this diagnostic pattern include:

• Delayed menstruation – When menses arrive blood clots occur (clots usually indicate stagnation); the blood is typically dark red in color.

• Hypochondriac pain, the breasts are tender to the touch.

• Pain in the lower stomach during the first day of menstruation or one to two days before; the pain may linger throughout the entire term of the period.

Treatment

TCM practitioners are known to use the herbal formula Tao Hong Si Wu Tang to treat Blood and Qi stagnation. This herbal formula is readily available at your local Chinese drug store.

The aim of the treatment involves the restoration of blood and qi flow to alleviate the pain. Stress can cause this problem and if this is the case, acupuncturists may diagnose the condition as liver qi stagnation, which is one of the most common conditions experienced by individuals in traditional Chinese medicine

Cause

Stagnation of Qi usually develops when a person experiences a strong emotion such as stress, anger, or depression.

The pain associated with blood and qi stagnation typically vanishes two or three days after the start of menstruation. This is because blood starts to flow then.

Blood stagnation is similar to Western medicine’s diagnosis of blood supply inadequacy in the lining of the uterus.

2. Blood Stasis Caused by Overabundance of Cold

The term Blood stasis is defined as the inability of blood to flow freely. Overabundance of Cold means the there is too much YIn than Yang in the body.

Blood stasis signs and symptoms may include:

• Dark red menstrual blood that clots; The clots and blood may look like black bean juice
• Pain experienced one to two days prior to or during menses
• Scanty and delayed menses
• Lower stomach pain that gets better with warmth
• The person may have cold limbs or has an aversion to cold

Causes

Overabundance of Cold can occur from overexposure to cold. One can develop this condition by too much eating of smoothies or ice cream, staying in an air conditioned long for too long, cold water swimming, staying outdoors on a chilly climate for several hours.

Treatment

The aim of treatment is obviously to warm the body through acupuncture needles inserted at specific meridians in order to restore normal menstrual flow and to alleviate pain.

Complementing acupuncture are herbal formulas such as Warm Cycle Tea pill and Wen Jing Tang to help treat blood stasis caused by cold. They have the ability to nourish and move blood as well as warm the meridians.

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.

15. January 2015 · Comments Off on Resolving Acne Breakouts with Traditional Chinese Medicine Techniques · Categories: Acupuncture · Tags:

Based on the people who believe and practice TCM or traditional Chinese medicine in King of Prussia, acupuncture is one very good way of treating acne. The reason for this is acupuncture’s ability to cure disease by helping bring back balance in the body. Certain internal imbalances can result in skin problems such as acne.

Acupuncture works on the principle of life energy flowing throughout the body via energy channels known as meridians and acupuncture points that lay just below the surface of the skin. Underneath acupuncture points are the meridians; when a person suffers from a condition, the cold and hot principles of matter, which the Chinese call the Yin and Yang, is not balanced. Conditions can then arise which can include acne and other skin and non-skin problems. The insertion of acupuncture needles into the skin helps reestablish balance thus resolving the condition.

Acupuncturists attribute acne breakouts to excess heat in the lungs. Therefore, to rid oneself of acne, the abundant heat in the lungs should be cleared or at least, cooled down a bit. This can be achieved by using acupuncture to help balance the heat and cold aspects in your body. The insertion of needles at specific acupoints can help dissipate heat in the lungs and thus resolve the outbreak.

For acne treatment multiple treatments are oftentimes required. To help augment the treatment, some acupuncturists will add a procedure known as cupping along with acupuncture. Cupping involves the use of glass cups that are used to suck off toxins in certain parts of the body. Cupping is also a component of TCM and is a way to decrease heat in the lungs and remove toxins that may be contributing to the imbalance.

Unlike Western medicine, acupuncture views a person in a holistic manner. In holistic therapy, the practitioner not only resolves the symptoms of a condition, he/she also addresses the deeper problem that led to the condition in the first place which is oftentimes an imbalance or stagnation of blood and energy.

One type of treatment that has been found to be very effective in addressing acne breakouts caused by an imbalance is electro-acupuncture treatment. Western medicine has produced drugs that help regulate hormonal imbalance responsible for too much sebum production. Electro-acupuncture treatment, on the other hand, directly resolves the imbalance. Electro-acupuncture therapy or EAT involves the use of a mild electrical current generated by an external gadget flowing to acupuncture needles that have been inserted into the body.

Studies have been done that successfully prove acupuncture’s ability to heal acne breakouts. More studies need to be done, though, to validate the past results.

If you are interested in having acupuncture treatment for your acne, it’s best to see a dermatologist first to determine the type of treatment that’s best for your condition. If you are suffering from a severe form of acne, anti-acne drugs will suffice.

The potency of acupuncture varies per person. Acupuncture treatment for acne does not often produce immediate results so a little patience is required if you want this treatment to work.

08. January 2015 · Comments Off on Stimulating the P6 Point Can Help Lessen Incidences of Acid Reflux · Categories: Acupuncture · Tags:

Researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia were able to show that mild electrical stimulation on the acupoint P6 (Pericardium 6 or the Neiguan point) located in the wrist can help lessen the relaxations on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) that are the causes of a gastrointestinal condition known as acid reflux. When this acupoint is stimulated with acupressure or acupuncture needles combined with mild electrical impulses, it can help regulate the function of the LES. The study showed that the stimulation lowered TLESRs or transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxations by as much as 40%, from six each hour, to only a couple and a half each hour. The results of acupuncture couple with mild electrical impulse were much better compared to that of the placebo group, in which people in that group were given a mock stimulation on the hip.

Acupressure, like acupuncture, is a component of traditional Chinese medicine but is different than acupuncture because instead of needles, it uses the hands to apply pressure on an acupuncture point. Stimulation of an acupoint by electricity is an updated form of traditional acupuncture, which has been used for thousands of years.

By applying pressure to the acupuncture points charted by ancient traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners, certain ailments in organs and areas of the body can be effectively treated utilizing the meridian system corresponding to Yin energy. This helps bring about the proper alignment of Qi and Yang that in turn, causes the body to heal itself.

The Australian study used a modern form of acupoint stimulation used by traditional acupuncturists but this time instead of needles, electrodes were used to transmit mild electrical pulses to certain specific acupuncture points on the skin. Based on TCM theory, these acupoints are connected to energetic thoroughfares that convey energy all over the body. The stimulation of these acupoints helps improve the flow of energy in the affected part of the body.

With acupressure, you can also bear pressure on the Neuguan point using just your fingers. Acupuncture points are often located between ligaments, tendons and bones. You cannot find them on the arteries, blood vessels or on the bones themselves but always in the depressions between or beside them. For thousands of years, the Neiguan point has been chosen by both acupuncturists and acupressurists alike to treat postsurgical nausea, morning sickness, sea sickness, motion sickness, nausea and vomiting. It has also been an effective acupoint for the treatment of migraines, chest pain, epilepsy, fever and insomnia. These days, some people are using wrist bands known as “sea bands” that also apply pressure on the Neiguan point to help reduce the episodes of acid reflux.

 

Dr. Vickery is a licensed acupuncturist in Tarzana, CA., and the founder and clinical director of Vickery Health and Wellness.

01. January 2015 · Comments Off on Helping You Get Rid of Sinusitis Using Chinese Herbs and Acupuncture · Categories: Acupuncture · Tags:

One of the most common and irksome respiratory conditions known to man is sinusitis. It can be caused by one of four things: an allergic reaction, or a viral, fungal or bacterial infection. The pain and discomfort can be experienced in the mouth, eyes or forehead depending on what sinus cavities are affected. Basically, this is accompanied by a green or yellow discharge through the nose that usually drips into the throat. And besides the pain, the head may feel achy and heavy. Sinusitis can become a chronic condition more so if the person keeps on suffering from recurring colds.

A person with sinusitis may be able to drain his sinus cavities more efficiently and get better once more if he avoids mucus-forming foods and gets enough quality rest. This condition requires the earliest aggressive treatment to avoid the risk of a severe infection that may necessitate the use of antibiotic drugs. This may result in a vicious cycle of several intakes of antibiotic drugs and recurring infections that eventually worsens the health of the immune system and makes the person more susceptible to future infections.

According to traditional Chinese medicine in Bellingham, the pathological patterns for sinusitis involve gallbladder and liver fire, lung heat, wind heat, or wind cold that has risen to the head. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are used to treat sinusitis regardless of the pathological pattern that caused the condition. Acute sinusitis also can be treated effectively with Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture although this type of sinusitis can be resolved in a matter of days compared to a longer time period required for chronic sinusitis. The acupuncture points treated for both chronic and acute conditions include the LI 20 (Large Intestine 20) as well as the Yintang or Bitong points which are very much useful for the clearing of the sinuses and nasal pathways. When the Yintang or Bitong point is needled, it may generate a painful sensation lasting for a second; however, what you get in return for the discomfort is the quick clearing of the sinuses and the nasal passages. Extra acupoints may also be included in the treatment depending on the type of disharmonic pattern that underlies the sinusitis symptoms.

The herbal remedy known as cang er san (xanthium poweder) is a good formula for sinusitis. Cang er san is composed peppermint or field mint(bo he), angelica dahurica (bai shi), magnolia (hsin yi hua), and xanthium fruit (cang er hsi). This formula has warming attributes and so cooling herbs such as scutellaria (wang qin) and honeysuckle (jin yin wa) are added if the patient shows yellow mucus or fever (which are heat signs). Bi Yan Pian is a proper remedy for sinus and nasal congestion that can be combined with
Chuan Hsin Lian Pills and other heat-clearing formulas.

Diet is an important component of the treatment since a lot of foods have mucus-producing qualities that can contribute or cause the sinus condition. Some of the foods to stay away from if you have sinusitis include very spicy and/or greasy foods as well as cold foods. Sugar only worsens the condition; it can lead to the worsening of the pain and the congestion.

After the acute sinusitis symptoms have been treated, herbs that strengthen the spleen like wang qi (astralagus) or dang shen (codonopis) need to be taken. A tonified spleen qi means less mucus making the immune system better able to ward off the colds that can result in sinusitis.