People often ask me what the most common condition is that I see, and while I see a wide variety of issues, I would have to say that orthopedic conditions are the number one reason why people come in. Within that, back pain is far and away the most common complaint. In fact, most surveys of primary care physicians find that back pain is the number one or number two most common reason why people come in (insomnia is usually number one or number two as well).
As so often happens in my practice, I get the latest news on a given condition or procedure from my patients. In the age of the Internet, it seems that nearly anybody who is curious about a given subject may find information on it on the web, though there is also a lot of misinformation out there. Just the other day, hey patient with a history of back pain referred me to an article in the Wall Street Journal about the benefits of functional restoration as an alternative to many of the more invasive procedures often given as the standard of care for back pain. Rather than summarize the article, I am pasting it here to share with you (http://www.wsj.com/articles/new-help-for-back-pain-1448311243?mod=e2fb).
While most of us in the acupuncture world have long known that the mind and body are one, inseparable, new studies are proving that our mind has a direct effect on how (and if) we perceive pain in the body. A study and related work in the journal “Mosaic” speaks to how the Vagus Nerve, which runs from the brain stem through the core of the body, may be an essential key link in this. To read more, click here.
Okay, Sugar. It’s over.
Now that wasn’t so hard, was it? All this time, I’ve been wondering how I’d say it, when I’d say it, when I would finally get the nerve to throw in the towel. And now that I’ve done it, that’s it? Was it always that simple? All I had to do was say, “It’s over?” Weird. Now as I sit here, strange silence all around me, I’m wondering what happens next. Aren’t you gonna say anything? I feel the same as I did a moment ago, before I said it. Nothing feels any different. Nothing looks any different. Birds are still singing. Trees are still green. The sky hasn’t fallen. But why are you being so quiet? Did you expect this all along? Did you know this was going to happen? Were you just torturing me, getting your beautiful, deadly claws deeper and deeper into me in search of my breaking point? Well, you’ve found it. And it didn’t happen when I said It’s Over. It’s been happening little by little, day after day, and into the night. It’s been happening every time I taste your bitter after-effects on the back of my tongue; every time I look in the mirror or look down upon my form in the dim, misty morning light of the shower. This decision has been waiting there as the faintest background voice when we meet up at catered events and private dinners together. It’s the loudest voice in the morning when I wake; part of the roots of my self-deprecation. It’s my very fear of death, my aversion to it, and my hope that I don’t cause my own end.
It’s Over is the tiniest tendril, smallest, freshest, most fragile newborn sprig of redwood coming up from the earth. In the past I’ve allowed you to step all over it, uproot it in all of your creative ways, but not this time. I’m building a fence around my will. It really is over this time. It has to be, because I simply, literally, cannot go on living like this.
Now that I’ve said it, now that I’ve made official our break-up, as I stop and take in the silence, the world does indeed look different. I can really hear the birds outside; I can really see each leaf on every tree. I can feel my guts, churning over the final remains of our last encounter. And though my eyelids droop and my vision is blurry after another almost-sleepless night, having finally said it, finally put it out there, I can feel what little pre-you soul I have left slowly waking to the possibilities. The hope. Hope that it might live again, and see the light created by the heat of my will to resist you.
No, this won’t be easy. I’ve broken up with you before, and I’ve been too weak to last, to stay away from you at your finest, most beautiful and hypnotically persuasive moments. Like an alcoholic, once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic: after years of sobriety, just one small drink places the physiological bookmark right back where it was before the break-up decision was made. So I understand your snickering, the ease with which you turn away when I tell you I can take no more. I was hoping you’d want to discuss it, like two adults with such a long history. We could make it amicable. But I can tell that you’re going to go back to the same old tired strategy you’ve used in the past. Ignore me, yet torture me by flaunting your relationship with others. Hey, it’s understandable. It’s worked every time before. All you have to do is wait it out. This is a phase, right? I’m addicted to you. Life isn’t the same without you. People are used to seeing us together. They wouldn’t know me without you. In fact, I’m sure that almost all of our friends will take your side and stick with you, even if they know and respect my side of the story. Over time, that may be one of the hardest things for me to come to terms with. But over time, as I begin to meet new people and find new ways to be without you, I’m confident that the same energy of resistance, that feeling of being alone, will turn into my source of power, what differentiates me and makes me special. I know it will, because sometimes, late at night or early in the morning, when the early bird is up, I can feel that strength and the pride it could engender. I put myself into a space of what it would feel like to have resisted you, to have weathered some without-you storm, and I relish the imagined strength and wisdom I have earned on the other side of the seas that toss inside of me.
Making a huge decision is always exciting just out the gate. I’ll feel a new kind of purpose, a self-made wind at my back from the sudden burning all of the fuel that was collected before launch. But after that fuel has burned off and the bonfire has become hot coals, I will need to continually find my own momentum to keep my will intact; continually recoat my gut with the teflon of the memories that brought me to this point. I know it won’t be easy. I’ll be so, so hungry for you. I can feel that I already am. You’re such an easy out. How will I deal with the massive hunger I have for you in so many ways? What will I do with all the space left where you once were inside of me? I’ll have so much time once I’m no longer anesthetizing my life with you. I need to know this, need to see it here, need to write it out and know that, to a large degree, the experience of being without you will be a very lonely experience. You’ve been what I’ve looked forward to, the feeling tugging inside of me between thoughts. You’ve created many of my most zen-like states. The temporary samadhi found indulging in your sweetness makes me only want more more more. At the very thought of being without you, every cell in my body screams out, “Why?”
I know that nearly every item on every shelf will remind me of you. Every restaurant was our hangout. So many supermarkets, minimarts, corner stores, bakeries, ice cream and frozen yogurt shops, gas stations, holes-in-many-walls. So many benches and secret hideaways where I’d sneak away to be with you. I know I’ll see you everywhere. And so will everyone else. You make friends so effortlessly. Even people who are close to me and love me and respect this decision will undoubtedly forget and will have you over when they invite me to go out for a bite or come in for a dinner party. New friends won’t know about our tumultuous past, and will try to set me up on blind dates with you. You’ve so successfully flooded so much of my past and present that my future will undoubtedly see you following me around as well. You’re nearly impossible to avoid. And I’m sure there will be times when you get your claws back into me, sometimes with my permission and sometimes without. Just a tiny taste, I’ll say. Just a wee little bit so I don’t feel so awkward in your presence. But that’s all. See, I’m already deal-making?
So this has to be it. I have to put my foot down. It’s time. Whenever I’m tempted by you, I need to read this. Because right now, as with so many right nows in the past, I need to move on. I’m 40 years old, and all evidence shows that I won’t make it much longer if I continue to allow myself to be your whore, to do your bidding. Sweet as you are so much of the time, the truth is that you are not a friend or even an alli. You’re a despot, an authoritarian parasite. You feed on people. And the way you do it is quite ingenious. You’ve become so necessary at such a basic level that all nourishment essentially breaks down into a unit of…you. Every meat, every cheese, every part of the food pyramid–my digestive system has been configured to take anything I consume and make it into…You. My every cell is a slave to you, crying out to imbibe your essence, running on your fuel, and continuously wanting more more more. Every digestive organ has been designed to break different kinds of nutrients into smaller parts to convert back into a form that can be put onto an altar…to you. And thus, nearly every need I have, every thought, every motivation, every joy and sorrow, essentially depends upon and leads back to you.
Save one. My will to survive.
Yes, this is a very long, drawn-out way of saying that I feel like our relationship has lost its balance. Much as I feel like I cannot live without you; much as I know I’ve basically been designed to serve you, some part of me (which, in essence, is part of you), knows that I literally cannot go on living like this. Though I’ve been designed to run on fuel made of you, the quality of the fuel I’ve been craving has been deteriorating over time. I no longer look for different kinds of experiences, different kinds of nourishment. Rather than searching out, creating, and enjoying many different forms of experience, I’m finding myself craving, seeking out, and absorbing the simplest forms of you. No more beautiful meals. Now it’s simply cake, ice cream, cookies, candy. I’ve cut to the chase, and the organs that were created and employed to eat a meal have been relegated to the bench. “Use it or lose it,” my mom’s favorite motto. And easy and fun as the simple road, the known, the predictable may be, we humans are designed to experience life. We are made for resilience. Not experiencing new things, new relationships, not utilizing our full potential, we wither and die.
Somewhere between my basic needs as a human animal and my will to live a long, productive life lies a balance. That balance is a sense of its own, holding within it my other senses. It’s even bigger than you. I call that balance my sentient soul, for lack of a better term. And this little life-saving note I’m writing is actually being ghost-written by that soul. My sense of balance. A balance that is beyond even you. My need for balance subsumes and holds my very structure, the structure that you prey on. And it wants you to return to your rightful place as its employee. Your coup has run its course, and it’s time for stability once again.
So even though I know how easy and delicious and fun and enjoyable it is to be with you; even though I’ve been satisfied to simplify and narrow my life to serve you and only you in nearly every way; the time has come to make a change. Even though my every cell has been built and formed in a unique way to serve you, something larger, something higher (call it a higher purpose) has emerged. It’s time I take the road less traveled. It’s time I try preparing meals rather than grabbing ice cream. It’s time I make my organs go back to work, exploring their every potential. Not because I don’t like you, but precisely because I do. So much so, in fact, that my relationship with you has literally become all-consuming. Sugar, it’s high time we break up. While you may live with or without me, my very life depends upon this decision. And I honor my better judgment, my survival instinct, by listening to it now, before it’s too late and I lose my self completely.
Given that we’re in the midst of the holiday season, and are likely adding far more strange and atypical foods to our diet than at other times of year, I thought it apropos to put in some bloggage about food poisoning, and what can be done for it.
By: Diane Joswick, L.Ac., MSOM
Every year millions of people suffer from bouts of vomiting and diarrhea due to food poisoning. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are as many as 33 million cases of food poisoning in the United States annually.
While most cases are mild and pass so rapidly that they are never diagnosed, occasionally a severe outbreak creates a newsworthy public health hazard. The recent outbreak in the United States is such a case.
More than 11 weeks into the biggest Salmonella outbreak linked to fresh produce ever in the United States, a strain of Salmonella has sickened over 869 people across the country, causing tomatoes to be pulled from shelves and restaurants.
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be of great help when it comes to relieving symptoms of and recovering from food poisoning. In most cases, the recommendation for food poisoning is to rest and drink plenty of fluids. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can actually relieve symptoms, hasten recovery and also strengthen the digestive system to prevent future incidents of food poisoning, avert the development of chronic immune deficiencies and increase energy levels.
What is Food Poisoning?
Food poisoning is a general term for any illness arising from eating contaminated foods. Also known as foodborne illness, infectious diarrhea or gastroenteritis, food poisoning is generated by a variety of microorganisms including bacteria, viruses and parasites. The most common bacteria to cause food poisoning are salmonella, staphylococcus aureus, E. coli and shigella.
Food poisoning is marked by severe diarrhea, fever, cramping, abdominal pain, flu-like symptoms, vomiting and diarrhea. Most cases of food poisoning clear up on their own within a week without any medical assistance; however, it can take several months before bowel habits return to normal. Often the digestive system is severely weakened after a bout of food poisoning, making the infected person more susceptible to food poisoning in the future. A small number of persons with food poisoning develop an autoimmune disease called Reiter’s syndrome. It can last for months or years, and can lead to chronic arthritis.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Food Poisoning
In Oriental medicine, food poisoning is recognized as dampness and heat in the stomach and intestines due to the ingestion of unclean food or drink. Traditionally, damp heat conditions were seen mostly in the summer months when heat and humidity are at their peak. It is interesting to note that the CDC confirms that most cases occur in the warm months between July and October.
Treatment of food poisoning is rest and hydration to prevent fluid and electrolyte loss through vomiting and diarrhea. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be used to relieve nausea and vomiting, hasten recovery by assisting the body to eliminate the pathogen faster, and strengthen the digestive system to prevent any reoccurrences as well as the development of a chronic immune disorder.
Is your digestive system functioning as well as it could? Acupuncture and Oriental medicine are extremely effective at treating a wide array of digestive disorders. Call a licensed practitioner near you for more information or to schedule and appointment.
Points for Food Poisoning
Acupuncture treatments are aimed at draining dampness and heat from the intestines to remove the pathogen while simultaneously calming the stomach to stop nausea and vomiting. After the acute symptoms subside, treatments are focused on strengthening the digestive system and improving energy levels to bring about a full recovery.
While many different acupuncture points are used, depending on your specific symptoms and the state of your overall health, here are some acupuncture points that are commonly used to treat gastroenteritis:
Stomach 25 (St 25) and Ren 4 (Co 4) are two acupuncture points located on the abdomen around the umbilicus. They are used for abdominal pain, cramping and to drain heat and damp from the intestines.
Stomach 36 (St 36) is located on the shin, below the knee (see image above). It is a very powerful point used to adjust and balance the physiological activity of the digestive system and relieve stomach pain. It is one of the major points on the body for the GI tract. It triggers the body to increase the secretion of hydrochloric acid, dissolve food and move it out of the stomach and intestines.
Pericardium 6 (Pc 6) is located two finger breadths above the inside of the wrist. This acupuncture point alleviates nausea.
How to Prevent Food Poisoning
Here are four simple guidelines to ensure that your summer holidays are not memorable for all the wrong reasons!
Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill
Clean: Wash hands, surfaces, utensils and platters often. Rinse all produce in cold running water before peeling, cutting or eating.
Separate: Keep foods that won’t be cooked separate from raw meat and poultry. Don’t use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry.
Cook: Cook food to a safe minimum internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria.
Chill: Refrigerate any leftovers promptly in shallow containers.
* If you are ill with diarrhea or vomiting, do not prepare food for others, especially infants, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems since they are more vulnerable to infection.
Ginger for Intestinal Upset
Did you know that ginger is always served with sushi because of its ability to prevent food poisoning?
Ginger has been found to increase the secretion of gastric juice and the production of hypochloride. This means that food is digested more quickly; creating an unfriendly environment for bacteria that could wreak havoc with your stomach and intestines.
Ginger works as well at treating the symptoms of food poisoning as it does preventing them. In fact, ginger can be used for most digestive upsets that involve nausea, vomiting, cramping, abdominal pain, indigestion or diarrhea.
Whether your digestive problem is due to eating contaminated food, stomach flu, pregnancy or motion sickness, ginger is one of the most effective agents around!
People are constantly asking, “Do you have a needle for weight loss?” There are many potential answers to that question, and none of them involve simply won needle being inserted in one spot.
Healthy diet and exercise are the gold standard for weight loss. However, cravings and hunger often derail efforts. In extreme cases, individuals turn to pharmaceutical and surgical treatments to reduce appetite, yet these have serious side effects. Low quality supplements and infomercial “cures” can also be dangerous, ineffective and expensive. There may be another answer.
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published a study concerning the effect of tragus clips on gastric peristalsis, or the process of food traveling through the intestines. The researchers noted the use of the “hunger point” on the tragus of the ear has been successful in creating an aversion to cigarette smoking and reducing weight. Though needles are typically used, when left in the ear they lose effectiveness.
The study instead relied on ear clips, similar to ear seeds. The clips were adhered to the tragus on the outer ear in order to inhibit a branch of the vagus nerve. The ear clips did in fact slow gastric peristalsis, leaving subjects feeling full longer. The effect was significant when the ear clips were applied and while the subjects wore them.
The study’s authors concluded, “Ear clips were effective in delaying gastric peristalsis, and may have value in reducing appetite in association with weight loss programs.”
Many of 0ur patients, especially those who have never experienced acupuncture, have questions about the efficacy of our methods. As it turns 0ut, many western MDs are now practicing Chinese medicine, and now a group of them have put together a website where they will be aggregating studies that prove acupuncture’s effectiveness for many different disorders. The site is http://www.evidencebasedacupuncture.org/, and we intend to be checking it regularly!
Why would we put “relationship secrets” on our health-related website’s blog when it seems to be more a pr0pos to a Cosmo magazine placement? Because so many of our patients place their primary relationship at the center of their lives, and the way they relate to their partner, the quality of that relationship, has so much to do with the quality of their health and their lives in general. So here you go, Lamorinda Healing Arts’ foray into gooshy blog posts: The Five Secrets to a Great Relationship (from Eric Barker’s Blog, “Barking Up the Wrong Tree.”
Just keep the 5 R’s in mind:
Let’s break them down.
1. Fight right
You might think it would be great if you could have a relationship with zero arguing. But marriages with no arguments are 35 percent more likely to divorce.
Married couples who report they never argue with each other are 35 percent more likely to divorce within four years than are couples who report regularly disagreeing. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
Things need to be worked out and you may need to compromise. Being rigid and resistant to new ideas increases conflict by 38 percent.
When asked to describe the state of their relationship, those with a high level of rigidity in habits and thinking — that is, a resistance to new things, new ideas, and changes of any sort — named 38 percent more problems in their relationship than those who were more flexible in their thinking. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
Relationships with major disappointments followed by forgiveness are just as stable as ones without major disappointments.
Studies find that those who have experienced a significant disappointment from their partner and have successfully granted their forgiveness to their partner are as likely to maintain a satisfying relationship as are those who had never experienced a similar disappointment in their relationship. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
You can’t not argue and you can’t fight to the death. You need to fight right.
If you stay compassionate and show you care — even in the midst of a screaming match — you have a better shot at happiness.
People who maintain a compassionate spirit during disagreements with their partner, considering not just the virtue of their position but the virtue of their partner, have 34 percent fewer disagreements, and the disagreements last 59 percent less time…
When couples experience conflict, they are 45 percent less likely to feel pessimistic about their relationship if they can recognize feelings of caring from their partner during the disagreement. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
2. Keep it real
Do you expect a fairy tale relationship? That’s a prescription for disappointment.
Elements of fairy tales such as Cinderella were present in 78 percent of people’s beliefs about romantic love. Those people were more likely to have experienced disillusionment, devastation, and angst in their relationships than were those who gave less credence to fairy tales. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
The modern day equivalent of fairy tales is TV. And as you might expect, watching too much TV is correlated with unsatisfying relationships.
People who watched an above average amount of television per day were 26 percent less likely to be satisfied with their relationship status than were people who watched a below average amount of television per day. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
It’s all about the bar that’s set for you or the bar you set for yourself. So, as you might imagine, perfectionism does not make for a happy love life either.
People high in perfectionism, a hyperbelief in their own correctness and a desire to find a partner with similar traits, are 33 percent less likely to describe their relationship status as satisfying. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
Be realistic about what you can and should expect from a relationship. And realize that things change. A third of the time what attracts you to someone isn’t important to you six months later.
Researchers found that the traits that first attracted people to their partner were no longer relevant to 34 percent of them when asked six months or more after they began dating. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
3. Have rapport
Talking, sharing, being open — these are all highly praised, and for good reason. Couples who communicate are 62 percent more likely to describe their relationship as happy.
In studies of marriages of various lengths, couples with a high degree of intimacy between the husband and wife—that is, couples who shared their innermost thoughts—were 62 percent more likely to describe their marriage as happy. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
Expecting your partner to be a mind reader will just make you miserable. Want something? Ask for it.
Researchers found that those who are more direct in seeking support from their partner are 61 percent more likely to feel they received the support they wanted than are those who avoid explaining their needs. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
If you’re still shopping for a partner, look for someone with good social skills who has maintained friendships for a long time.
People with strong social skills, including an ability to maintain long-term friendships, were 32 percent more likely to be satisfied with their relationship. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
More laughing means less fighting.
When both partners in a relationship thought the other had a good sense of humor, 67 percent less conflict was reported than in couples where neither thought the other had a good sense of humor. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
Want your marriage to last more than 30 years? Just “being married” isn’t enough: You also need to be good friends.
In studies of people happily married more than three decades, the quality of friendship between the partners was the single most frequently cited factor in the relationships’ success. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
In comparing couples who remained together more than five years with couples who split up, researchers found that the couples who stayed together were 64 percent more likely to be able to identify multiple shared interests. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
Having similar values offers a huge boost in the ability to communicate.
The degree to which couples have similar values does not change over the course of their relationship. Those with similar values, however, are 22 percent more likely to rate their communication habits positively. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
Believe it or not, even having similar fighting styles was a good thing. It was related to double digit drops in conflict and a double digit increase in satisfaction.
While people may employ many different conflict resolution strategies in a relationship, when both partners use the same strategy they experience 12 percent less conflict and are 31 percent more likely to report their relationship is satisfying. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
Many people are probably reading this, identifying the good things they already do and feeling smug. Sorry, you can’t stop there. Relationships are not a “check the box and you’re done” kind of thing. You need to keep at it, monitoring and improving.
Which feelings and improvements matter most? Recent ones.
Satisfaction in a relationship is eight times more reliant on recent feelings and the ability to perceive improvements than it is based on the history of the relationship. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
Plenty of research shows that conscientiousness is a great quality to have in a spouse or partner. Having a partner who is consistently reliable often means a healthy relationship with less conflict.
People who consider their partner conscientious, a person who consistently does what they say they are going to do, were 26 percent more likely to rate their relationship healthy and reported 41 percent less conflict in their relationship. Dependability was rated among the most desired qualities in a partner. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
One more thing
Never forget that, in the end, all relationships are about feelings. Especially when fighting, we get caught up in the facts, the details, the words… And what’s funny is little of that ends up mattering. When surveyed about their arguments, people mentioned feelings and tone 10 times as much as the topic of debate. Twenty-five percent of people couldn’t even remember what the argument was about — but they all remembered how it made them feel.
Asked to describe three recent disagreements with their partner, people had 10 times as much to say about their feelings and the tone of the disagreement as about the topic of the disagreement. Twenty-five percent of people forgot the topic of a disagreement but could describe their feelings on the situation. [100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships]
As Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
More than 45 million Americans (one in six) suffer from chronic headaches, 20 million of whom are women. Scientific research shows that acupuncture can be more effective than medication in reducing the severity and frequency of chronic headaches.
The pain that headache and migraine sufferers endure can impact every aspect of their lives. A widely accepted form of treatment for headaches, acupuncture can offer powerful relief without the side effects that prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause.
Headaches and migraines, as well as their underlying causes have been treated successfully with acupuncture and Oriental medicine for thousands of years. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be used alone in the management and treatment of headaches, or as part of a comprehensive treatment program.
Oriental Medicine does not recognize migraines and chronic headaches as one particular syndrome. Instead, it aims to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual using a variety of of techniques such as acupuncture, tui-na massage, and energetic exercises to restore imbalances found in the body. Therefore, your diagnosis and treatment will depend on a number of variables including:
- Is the headache behind your eyes and temples, or is it located more on the top of your head?
- When do your headaches occur (i.e. night, morning, after eating)?
- Do you find that a cold compress or a darkened room can alleviate some of the pain?
- Is the pain dull and throbbing, or sharp and piercing?
Your answers to these questions will help your practitioner create a treatment plan specifically for you. The basic foundation for Oriental medicine is that there is a life energy flowing through the body which is termed Qi (pronounced chee). This energy flows through the body on channels known as meridians that connect all of our major organs. According to Oriental medical theory, illness or pain arises when the cyclical flow of Qi in the meridians becomes unbalanced. Acupuncture stimulates specific points located on or near the surface of the skin to alter various biochemical and physiological conditions that cause aches and pains or illness.
The length, number and frequency of treatments will vary. Typical treatments last from five to 30 minutes, with the patient being treated one or two times a week. Some headaches, migraines and related symptoms are relieved after the first treatment, while more severe or chronic ailments often require multiple treatments.
Headaches Dramatically Reduced by Acupuncture
Since the early seventies, studies around the globe have suggested that acupuncture is an effective treatment for migraines and headaches. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center analyzed the results of more than 30 studies on acupuncture as a pain reliever for a variety of ailments, including chronic headaches. They found that acupuncture decreases pain with fewer side effects and can be less expensive than medication. Researchers found that using acupuncture as an alternative for pain relief also reduced the need for post-operative pain medications.
In a study published in the November 1999 issue of Cephalalgia, scientists evaluated the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of migraines and recurrent headaches by systematically reviewing 22 randomized controlled trials. A total of 1,042 patients were examined. It was found that headache and migraine sufferers experienced significantly more relief from acupuncture than patients who were administered “sham” acupuncture.
A clinical observation, published in a 2002 edition of the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, studied 50 patients presenting with various types of headaches who were treated with scalp acupuncture. The results of this study showed that 98 percent of patients treated with scalp acupuncture experienced no headaches or only occasional, mild headaches in the six months following care.
In a case study, published in the June 2003 Issue of Medical Acupuncture, doctors found that acupuncture resulted in the resolution or reduction in the frequency and severity of cluster headaches, and a decrease or discontinuation of pain medications. It was concluded that acupuncture can be used to provide sustained relief from cluster headaches and to stimulate the body’s natural production of adrenal cortisol to aid in discontinuing corticosteroids.
According to the July 2005 issue of the British Medical Journal, a randomized controlled trial in Germany found that acupuncture cut tension headache rates almost in half. Researchers divided 270 patients who reported similarly severe tension headaches into three groups for the study. Over the project’s eight-week period, one group received traditional acupuncture, one received only minimal acupuncture, and the third group received neither treatment. Those receiving the traditional acupuncture reported headache rates of nearly half that of those who received no treatments, suffering 7 fewer days of headaches. The minimal acupuncture group suffered 6.6 fewer days, and the non-acupuncture group suffered 1.5 fewer days. The improvements continued for months after the treatments were concluded, rising slightly as time went on.
Do you or someone you know suffer from headaches or migraines?
Reach out to us to find out how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you!
Original article from staff of AcuFinder, here.
By Sara Calabro
Happy 2014! The new year is officially underway, so it’s time to get serious about any changes or improvements that you’ve committed to making in 2014. How are you going to be healthier? In what ways will you be different at this time next year?
Acupuncture can help you get to that desired place. It can make you healthier and happier—in ways you probably never imagined.
Through receiving acupuncture, becoming aware of its principles, and incorporating acupuncture-inspired self-care techniques into your life, you can enjoy physical and emotional benefits that may have eluded you in the past.
This is your year! Here are 14 things that acupuncture can help you achieve in 2014.
Acupuncture is well known for its ability to lower stress. It takes the edge off by removing you from the perpetual state of sympathetic dominance in which so many of us find ourselves. By mellowing out the nervous system, acupuncture will help you feel less affected by and better equipped to manage the stressful aspects of life.
Regular acupuncture treatments are fantastic for keeping stress in check. Acupuncture-inspired self-care goes a long way as well. Watch this video for a simple, DIY stress-reduction technique. Check out 10 tips from acupuncturists for lowering stress. And don’t miss this two-part series on acupressure points for stress reduction.
Stronger immune system
Acupuncture strengthens natural resistance to disease. Forget endorphins. Forget improved blood circulation. Forget placebo. This is how acupuncture works, by bolstering your reserve and equipping you to fight off pathogens.
Acupuncture strengthens the immune system so that you can avoid illness rather than dealing with it after it happens.
Learn about four acupuncture points that strengthen immunity. When used as part of a regular acupressure routine, these points can help you avoid the flu this year. And if you’ve already suffered through the flu, these four points will help prevent a recurrence.
Acupuncture looks at how root imbalances affect the whole system. This means that when one thing is out of whack, it can affect you in multiple ways. By thinking of yourself as a complex, interconnected system, it becomes easier to understand why you might be feeling unwell. Acupuncture broadens your awareness of the things that can potentially influence your physical and emotional health.
A more youthful appearance
Acupuncture can make you look younger. Seriously.
Acupuncture strengthens your five most essential organ systems—Kidney, Spleen, Liver, Lung, and Heart—so that you are systemically healthier. This can not only make you feel younger, by improving your energy levels, but it can actually prevent physical signs of aging.
Got your attention? Learn more in this article on how each of the five essential organ systems influences the aging process—and how acupuncture can make you look and feel 25 again!
Smooth and glowing skin
If your battle against aging has mainly to do with your skin, you may have considered cosmetic acupuncture. Cosmetic acupuncture, or facial rejuvenation acupuncture, got a lot of press last year. Celebrities swear by it. Some acupuncturists are basing their entire practices on it. Indeed, natural alternatives to Botox and prescription acne medications are in high demand, and acupuncture is emerging as a leading solution.
Read this interview with a cosmetic acupuncture expert who teaches the technique to acupuncturists throughout the United States and aboard.
When people think about acupuncture and what it can help with, pain is usually the first thing that comes to mind. But acupuncture’s ability to reduce pain goes beyond the physical benefits, such as improved blood flow and the release of pain-relieving endorphins and serotonin.
There is a significant emotional component to pain, especially pain that is chronic. This is why so many cases of pain go unabated by pain killers and anti-inflammatory medications. Treating pain effectively—that is, treating it in a way that addresses the root causes—requires approaching it holistically. Acupuncture excels at this.
Read more about acupuncture for chronic pain in this article.
A flatter stomach
Acupuncture offers a whole new take on why many people suffer from bloating, as well as reflux, constipation, and other digestive disorders. The paired Spleen and Stomach are the main organs associated with digestion. This refers to the digestion of food as well as the digestion of thought. From an acupuncture perspective, over thinking, like over eating, can lead to bloating and digestive discomfort.
Read this article on how acupuncture reduces bloating by keeping the Spleen and Stomach in balance. And don’t miss these 11 self-care tips from acupuncturists for reducing bloating.
Insomnia is stubborn. Tons of people have it—it’s one of the most common complaints seen by acupuncturists—but for many different reasons. Because acupuncture looks at each patient as an individual, regular treatments can be highly effective for people who haven’t found relief in sleep medications or other one-size-fits-all solutions.
This article outlines a sampling of some common imbalances that cause people to struggle with sleep. Do you recognize your personal brand of insomnia?
Although it’s common to find yourself in “acu land”—a somewhat dazed, blissfully relaxed state—during and immediately following acupuncture treatment, the after effect is usually increased energy. Many people report having more energy in the hours, days and even weeks after acupuncture treatment. You may notice that you’re avoiding that post-lunch coma, feeling more motivated to hit the gym, or just sensing a little extra spring in your step.
Let’s face it: We’re impatient. Our go-go-go society and the technology we’ve come to rely on has acclimated us to quick fixes. It perpetuates the “I want it now” mentality that dominates most of our worlds. This creates chronic impatience.
Acupuncture, because it works but rarely overnight, can help us combat this. Acupuncture is an ongoing process that requires an investment of time and a willingness to let go of our desire for instant gratification. It will make you a more patient person.
The multifaceted nature of sexuality means that many systems throughout the body play a role, and seemingly unrelated symptoms or habits can influence whether someone has a fulfilling sex life. Acupuncturists, because they are trained to view their patients holistically, are experts at making these connections and restoring balance so that you’re able to fully experience and enjoy sex.
Want to learn more about this? Thought so. Read this.
Acupuncture, although becoming more widely used, is still not the norm. Most doctors, as well as some family, friends and colleagues, regard mainstream medicine as the only acceptable form of healthcare. Acupuncture requires you to think about health in entirely new ways because it turns mainstream medical tenets on their head. It will remind you that there are multiple ways of seeing the world—and that “popular” doesn’t always equal “right.”
A boost in confidence
The driving idea behind acupuncture is that we’re already in possession of everything we need to be well. Acupuncture does not add or subtract anything. Rather, it prompts the body to do what it already knows how to do. It reminds you that you have the power to heal yourself.
This does not mean that external interventions such as pharmaceuticals or surgery should always be shunned—in many cases, these are life saving measures. But it does mean that becoming healthier, whatever that means to you, is within your control. This can be an empowering, confidence-boosting realization.
Greater compassion for others
When you understand yourself better, which acupuncture helps you do by making you more self aware, you become better at cultivating compassion for others. You’re not the only one who’s a mishmash of interconnected organs and meridians that can at any moment become out of balance, resulting in unexpected reactions. Acupuncture reminds us that we’re allinterconnected—through our environment and the energies that we put out into the world.
So this year, when someone annoys you or hurts you or looks at you the wrong way, try to remember that it’s not about you. They’re on their journey at the same time that you’re on yours—toward health, toward happiness, toward whatever’s next. Acupuncture can help all of us get there.
This year it is predicted that there will be 1 billion colds and 95 million cases of the flu in the United States alone. While the misery of cold and flu season might be inevitable, one thing is changing: where we look for relief.
The easiest way to protect against the flu is to have a healthy immune system. However, that doesn’t mean you still won’t come into contact with airborne virus particles. That’s why your first line of defense against the flu, or any other illness, is to strengthen your immunity.
When it comes to staying healthy during cold and flu season, acupuncture and Oriental medicine have a lot to offer!
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help prevent colds and flu by strengthening the immune system with just a few needles inserted into key points along the body’s energy pathways.
Boost your Wei Qi and Stay Healthy
“To treat disease that has already developed is comparable to the behavior of those persons who begin to dig a well after they have become thirsty, and of those who begin to cast weapons after they have already engaged in battle. Would these actions not be too late?” – Huangdi Neijing
In Oriental medicine, disease prevention begins by focusing on the protective layer around the exterior of the body called Wei Qi or defensive energy. The Wei Qi involves acupuncture points known for strengthening the circulation of blood and energy to boost the body’s defenses.
Read more on Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture for cold and flu symptoms from AcuFinder.com.