22. August 2016 · Comments Off on Acupuncture Treatment Can Help Remove TMJ Pain and Discomfort · Categories: Acupuncture · Tags:

The upper and lower jaws of the face are connected by a pair of joints known as TMJ or temporomandibular joint. It is a very complex joint and as such, is prone to a variety of disorders. TMJ disorder is the term to depict dysfunctions and pain of these joints. It is usually hard to treat a TMJ disorder since it can be associated with certain aspects of the body and mind including neuromuscular disorders, mental stress, and dental problems. There is good news though as sufferers of TMJ syndrome can avail themselves of a most effective alternative treatment known as acupuncture which is able to address several aspects of TMJ disorder.

Using Acupuncture for the Treatment of Temporomandibular Joint in Austin
While there may be several ways to treat effectively treat temporomandibular joint disorders, it is acupuncture that has demonstrated to be one of the safest and most effective treatments in several clinical studies. One noted study performed in 2007, showed that patients suffering from short-term muscle pain related to TMJ had a significant improvement of their condition after being given acupuncture. Another study, done in the UK, involved the participation of 70 dental patients with TMJ who received acupuncture. The results of the study reveal that 60 of the 70 patients benefited from the treatment and had a substantial improvement of their condition. Their average decrease in pain intensity was around 75%.

For TMJ disorders, acupuncture may serve as a standalone treatment or it can be combined with other treatment approaches. Dentists or doctors can recommend muscle relaxants, pain killers (analgesics), inflammatories and other drugs for TMJ disorder; in extreme cases, shots of corticosteroids may be given. One advantage of acupuncture is that it does not interfere with the effects of these medications and may even replace them altogether with no risk of side effects at all.

Most of us are well aware that pharmaceutical treatments merely address the symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders. Acupuncture, however, not only relieves TMJ symptoms but also targets the main cause of the problem helping to reset the neuromuscular tension in the jaw by balancing the body and mind via a network of energy vessels known as meridians. TMJ is usually caused by the contracted muscles or hidden stress held in the face and jaw. In order to relieve the discomfort caused by TMJ, acupuncture helps relax these targeted muscles.

TMJ disorder long-term care also requires changes in your lifestyle and dietary habits. They will be determined by the underlying pattern of disharmony that your acupuncturist identifies as the cause of your condition. Wearing a mouth night guard during sleep may prevent teeth clenching and grinding at night. Misalignments can be corrected with bite plates. Changing the way you chew, jaw stretching exercises, relaxation techniques, and stress reduction can prove effective in resolving TMJ disorders. With the help of these lifestyle changes, your acupuncturist can eliminate TMJ pain and discomfort.

Ways in How Acupuncture Benefits the TMJ

Studies have confirmed that acupuncture can help reduce pain associated with TMJ disorder. Ancient Chinese medicine theories state that acupuncture works by returning balanced energy or Qi flow in the body. Western research has shown that there are ways on why acupuncture can successfully treat various types of conditions including TMJ disorders. Western medical literature reports in the 1970s suggested that one of the reasons why acupuncture is able to relieve pain is because the needles directly stimulate the nerves, which alters the way nerve cells sends signals to each other. Additional research works have confirmed this theory by revealing that acupuncture stimulates directly the production and release of neurotransmitters and endorphins, among other physiological effects. Neurotransmitters and endorphins are chemicals that naturally occur in the body and they help block and dampen the perception of pain by the brain. Although this has been confirmed, doctors still urge that more research is necessary to further analyze the mysteries of acupuncture since a lot of the effects of this treatment still remain mysterious and unexplainable to Western medicine.

What may be of more import than the manner in which acupuncture acts in treating (TMJ) disorder is the simple fact that there is factual proof that it works regardless if the treatment releases biological chemicals or affects Qi. Studies have shown that acupoints LI 4, BL 10, GB 20, GV 20, SI 18, ST 7, and ST 6 treated once a week half an hour each session of acupuncture treatment can address problems related to TMJ. The area of the pain which may include the jaw and around the ear may be stuck with needles. Interconnecting pathways between the meridians can also be needled, which means the big toe, knees, and the elbows can also be subjected to needles. These distal parts of the body can change Qi flow through the jaw to also alleviate inflammation and pain. Extra acupoints can also be stimulated to address other disharmonies seen in the body; when the overall circulation of QI is corrected, it can relieve stress and treat other factors that may contribute to your TMJ disorder.

For the treatment of TMJ, six acupuncture treatments are usually good enough, although for a mild condition four treatments may be adequate; chronic conditions may require more time. While these therapies result in pain relief, long-term treatment might be needed to prevent the surrounding muscles of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) from further complicating. Factors such as lowering stress, dental work, diet, and posture are all very important as they all help treat the disorder.

Acupuncture, What is It All About?

Having its roots in China over 3000 years ago, acupuncture became popular in the United States only during the early 1970s when a New York Times reporter wrote about how Chinese physicians relieved his post-surgical pain using only acupuncture. Acupuncture is part of traditional Chinese medicine which is based on the idea of properly maintaining and correcting the circulation of the energy in the body known as Qi or Chi. The circulation travels along energy thoroughfares called meridians, which connect the internal organs with the body surface. The circulatory system of QI is very similar to the circulatory system of arteries and veins. The meridians form a network of channels that spread all over the body. Practitioners of TCM believe that the slowing down or blockage of the flow of Qi, can be rectified by inserting thin needles at certain acupoints along the meridians to being back normal circulation. Pressure and heat can also be applied to acupoints with the same outcome.
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder Causes

Symptoms of TMJ can be caused the action of orthodontics, overuse due to vigorous or excessive chewing, misalignment of the teeth and jaw, or due to an injury to the joint. Symptoms can come about or be aggravated by habitual grinding or clenching of the teeth, particularly during sleep. They include sudden misalignment of the teeth, clicking, popping, locking, reduced range of motion, as well as difficulty chewing and pain. Pain related to TMJ may radiate to the shoulders, neck, head, and face. Longstanding TMJ sufferers may experience hearing difficulties, earaches, dizziness, and headaches.

22. August 2016 · Comments Off on Some Salient Facts About Acupuncture Needles · Categories: Acupuncture · Tags:

A procedure that entices healing via the stimulation of anatomical points in or on the skin, acupuncture is an ancient healing tradition that evolved in China more than 5000 years ago. There are a number of methods to diagnosis and treatment in US acupuncture that integrates the medical traditions of countries such as Korea, Japan, and of course, China. The use of needles to penetrate the skin and then manually manipulated or augmented with mild electricity to stimulate the nerves is the most studied type of acupuncture treatment.

Chinese archeologists believe that flint known as bian stones or sharp bone pieces were the earliest acupuncture needles used. Needles that were made from bonze, copper, and iron or even gold or silver were the early versions of modern acupuncture needles. Metal acupuncture needles began to emerge during the Iron and Bronze Ages. It is not uncommon, however, to see contemporary acupuncturists to utilize gold acupuncture needles to treat certain conditions.
Modern acupuncturists in Miami use needles that vary in width or size, are solid (non-hollow), and made of stainless steel. Contemporary acupuncture needles have steel or a cooper handle with a shaft made of stainless steel. In a typical acupuncture procedure, there may be nine types of needles used; most of the time however, only six are used.

Needles are pierced at certain angles, usually around 15 to 90 degrees in relation to the skin’s surface. Once inserted, the needle is manipulated in a variety of ways that help augment the sensation and stimulation. The condition that is being treated determines the type of technique used by the acupuncturist. Although basically a painless form of treatment, an acupuncture treatment may generate a slight pinch in some people when a needle is inserted. The needles are left in their place for around 20 to 30 minutes.

THE US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) on March, 1996, gave acupuncture needles Class 2 status of “medical tools”. These needles used to be considered as “experimental devices” or Class 3. The upgrade to Class 2 implies that all acupuncture needles be used will be subject to FDA approval in order to adhere to the “single use only” labeling and quality control of the FDA. Most importantly, this bestowment allows acupuncture treatments to be eligible for insurance coverage that other alternative treatments are excluded from.

This FDA decision shows that acupuncture is an effective and safe mode of treatment. There is zero risk of infections being transmitted from one person to another since now, acupuncture needles are used only once and are disposable.

13. August 2016 · Comments Off on The Advantages Of Acupuncture Over Medications in The Treatment of Depression · Categories: Acupuncture · Tags:

More and more studies are confirming acupuncture to be a safer alternative to psychiatric medications for the treatment of anxiety and depression in New York.

MRI studies reveal acupuncture to have a significant impact over brain neurochemicals, such as serotonin and dopamine. This is the conclusion reached by Jamie Starkey, a Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative Medicine acupuncturist. He added that those chemicals are the happy chemicals that activate feelings that make you feel good.

The wide use of harmful antidepressants

In the United States, some of the most widely used prescription medications are antidepressants. In a study done University of Pennsylvania and University of Columbia researchers and printed in the Archives of General Psychiatry, the use of these drugs rose by 200% between the years 1996 and 2005.

The side effects of pharmaceutical drugs such as antidepressants are oftentimes serious. In fact, a lot of antidepressants may even exacerbate the symptoms of depression and even heighten the likelihood of suicide for the sufferer. Moreover, new studies have even questioned the general efficacy of these drugs. One such study which was published in 2010 in the Journal of the American Medical Association was a meta-analysis whose results show that both newer (SSRI) and older (tricyclic) antidepressants are much less effective than talk therapy and merely as effective as a placebo. Patients with less serious depression (mild to moderate) would find antidepressants to be minimally effective for their kind of depression. These patients may discover acupuncture to be actually the best treatment for their condition.

Starkey stated that “What we’re discovering is that for mild to moderate depressive patients, acupuncture is just as effective as or even much better than these antidepressants.”

Science verifies acupuncture

Traditional acupuncture, in recent years, has been the focus of clinical studies by Western scientists. This treatment is about the use of thin long needles stuck into specific energy channels in the body, known as meridians.

One such study, which was published in November 2006 in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry and conducted by University of Arizona researchers included 151 participants who all have major depressive disorder. The patients were randomly assigned to no intervention treatment, sham acupuncture treatment, or traditional acupuncture treatment. Both the sham and traditional acupuncture involved a dozen acupuncture sessions administered at the office of a local acupuncturist over the course of two months. All 151 patents, at the end of 8 weeks, were treated for another two months of traditional acupuncture. The results showed that patients in both the sham and traditional acupuncture groups had significant improvement in their depressive symptoms.

One other study published in 2009 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine and performed by researchers from China’s Beijing MeiTan General Hospital in China had 80 participants all of whom were experiencing major depressive disorder. They were treated with either five weekly acupuncture treatments plus 10 milligrams per day of the drug fluoxetine (Prozac), or a standard clinical dose of the drug.

At the end of six weeks it was revealed that the acupuncture group experienced the same improvement in depressive symptoms as those in the high- dose Prozac group. What’s more the acupuncture group also had fewer side effects and a greater improvement in their symptoms of anxiety.

The study indicates that acupuncture can be an ideal alternative for patients who are unable to tolerate the side-effects of antidepressants and those with depression coupled with serious anxious symptoms.

04. August 2016 · Comments Off on The Many Benefits of the TCM Herb Known as Chang Shan (Hortensia) · Categories: Acupuncture · Tags:

One traditional Chinese medicine root extract, Chang shan is a specific type of hydrangea plant indigenous to the Himalayan region. It is commonly known as hortensia and has been used for thousands of years as a treatment for maladies such as malaria. In a new clinical study conducted by researchers from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) it was revealed that hortensia can be used as a treatment for autoimmune disorders.

The team evaluated the active components of this plant and observed its effects in an effort to better understand its therapeutic benefits. A component in the herb known as halofuginone (HF), has been found to interfere with the development of (Th17) T helper 17 cells. These are highly inflammatory cells that seem to play a major role in the development of Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile diabetes, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, and other autoimmune disorders.

Improving upon the previous studies that detected how HF activates the amino acid response (AAR) pathway in the body, the team was able to see how HF specifically inhibits and targets an enzyme known as tRNA synthetase EPRS, which controls the integration of proline, an amino acid, into cells. This inhibition in a way tells the AAR not to activate the inflammatory immune responses related to the autoimmune conditions.

One senior author of the study, a developmental biology professor, Malcolm Whitman of the HSDM stated that without dampening immunity altogether, HF inhibits the autoimmune response. HF could help spur the development of new treatment approaches to a several autoimmune disorders.

HF, unlike a lot of herbs that possess few therapeutic qualities, has immune-inhibiting and anti-inflammatory properties that not only addresses autoimmune pathology but treats the conditions of the entire immune system, as well. Including HF to a treatment can both enhance natural immunity and fight autoimmune disorders, which make it an effective and safe natural treatment that has no equal to any pharmaceutical drug.

Hortensia is also a potent anti-cancer nutrient

Besides the above-mentioned benefits of hortensia or chang shan, in 2011, University of Sao Paulo researchers found that HF has also the ability to fight leukemia. It not only hinders the ability of leukemia cells to metastasize to other parts of the body, it also induces cell death or apoptosis to these cancer cells.

In a study done in 2003 printed in the Clinical Cancer Research journal, it was found that HF possesses specific anti-tumor qualities that help treat various types of cancers other than leukemia. Based on the results, HF tends to prevent the advancement of both prostate cancer tumors and bladder carcinoma and can even serve as a preventative treatment that stops the initial development of these and other types of cancers.

Hortensia also known as chang shan, dichroa root or dichroa febrifuga, can be bought online or at health food stores and in both powder extract or liquid forms. Talk to a qualified TCM practitioner if you want to know more about hortensia and how it might be able to help you.

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.