A study conducted by the Department of Medicine at the University of California has shown the use of acupuncture can help stimulate the immune system by activating natural cancer killer cells. The study compiled evidence from multiple prior studies that investigated the impact of acupuncture on natural killer cells. The hypothesis is acupuncture enhances the cytokines within the natural killer cells. This, along with the anti-cancer cytotoxic activity, is increased by the use of acupuncture, which decreases the proliferation of cancer cells in the body. Multiple experiments were performed on animals to come to the following conclusion: The study demonstrates acupuncture treatments can enhance the ability of the immune system to eliminate malignant cancer cells by pumping up the natural killer cells in the body.
Melanoma is defined as a tumor of melanin-forming cells or skin cancer. Melanoma tends to be malignant once it is discovered, and as with any form of cancer, the treatment can be almost as bad, if not worse, than the disease itself. Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. It occurs when unrepaired DNA damage to the skin cells, usually caused by ultraviolet light, causes mutations that then develop into rapidly multiplying tumors. These tumors originate in the melanocytes, which produce the pigment of the skin and many times, melanomas can resemble moles. This is why so many people aren’t overly concerned with them until it’s too late.
The statistics regarding melanoma are quite frightening. It is estimated 87,000 new cases of invasive melanoma will be diagnosed in just the United States this year. Nearly 10,000 people die from melanoma annually in the U.S. Most melanomas are caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun or tanning beds. Melanomas can be any color, but most frequently they are black or brown. Those people who have a genetic predisposal to skin cancer need to be extra careful when spending time in the sun.
Every person on the planet has cancer cells in their body. Those cancer cells only proliferate or duplicate when there is the perfect storm of conditions in the body, such as decreased immunity, prolonged stress and anxiety and improper dietary habits. When the body is balanced, the immune system attacks and destroys renegade cancer cells before they can become malignant. But an unbalanced immune system, will often fail to defend the body from the cancer cells.
Traditional Chinese Medicine, and specifically, acupuncture, has shown great promise in helping melanoma patients deal with the many symptoms they encounter. One of the most important ways regular acupuncture treatments can help melanoma patients, is by boosting the immune system. The acupuncture needles are homeopathic in nature, but when they puncture the skin, the needles are perceived as an enemy by the body. This causes the body to send an immune-mediated response to the area, which, in effect, retrains the body’s immune system to attack the intruders. The needles can be placed near or around the area of the tumor, which allows the defensive action of the immune system to be channeled to the cancer site itself.
Acupuncture can also be very effective at treating the other common symptoms of melanoma. Symptoms like fatigue, depression and anxiety, can be managed with multiple acupuncture treatments that balance hormones in the body. When these are decreased, the immune system and the overall body will become stronger.
As with any form of cancer, having the proper diagnosis and treatments are essential. But adding complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, can increase the probability of success at defeating the disease.
A study published by The National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health looked at the effects of acupuncture on the regulation of lipid and glucose metabolism in patients suffering from metabolic syndrome. The study followed 76 metabolic syndrome patients over a period of time and divided them into two groups. The first group received only conventional medical treatments/pharmaceuticals, while the second group received conventional medical treatments plus regular acupuncture treatments. The body mass index (BMI), blood lipid, blood glucose and comprehensive therapeutic effects were compared before and after treatment in both groups. The results revealed the group that received acupuncture plus conventional medical treatments had superior improvement over the group that only received conventional medical treatments. The subjects showed improvement in BMI, triglyceride, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, fasting blood glucose, high density lipoprotein cholesterol, fasting insulin and insulin resistance index. This study provides strong evidence that acupuncture can greatly improve the health of patients suffering from metabolic disorders, when coupled with conventional medical treatments.
Metabolism is defined as the chemical processes that occur within a living organism in order to maintain life. That’s not something that most people consciously think about. It just happens and we automatically assume it will happen, regardless of what we do on a daily basis. But this isn’t always the case. Some people are born with genetic defects that can mess with their metabolism. Others develop metabolic disorders over time from not taking proper care of themselves. Metabolic disorders can also be trauma induced.
As with most health issues, conventional medicine typically treats metabolic issues with pharmaceuticals. For some this works very well. But there are always side effects with pharmaceuticals and the body can also develop a resistance to them over time. So when it comes to metabolic disorders, a natural approach is usually a better long term choice. This is where acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can be very beneficial.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), all disease occurs in the body due to either a lack, excess or blockage of energy. TCM treats these energy imbalances using a host of modalities, but acupuncture is the most commonly known and used. Most metabolic diseases are a result of an imbalance of hormones such as insulin, glucose and thyroid hormones. These three components are key to keeping the body functioning properly and can easily be thrown off. Too much stress, poor dietary habits and lack of exercise are all reasons why the body’s metabolism may not be functioning correctly.
Acupuncture has been shown to balance hormones when accompanied by lifestyle modifications. Acupuncture helps control food cravings, boosts metabolism, improves digestion and helps the liver function optimally. The liver produces chemicals that help break down fat, while filtering out toxins that can slow our body’s ability to digest and regulate. Excess stress can lead to a slower metabolism, an increase in body fat and poor sleep. Regular acupuncture treatments can help reduce stress
If you’re feeling tired or sluggish, put on some weight, or are dealing with stress and depression, acupuncture can definitely help.
Should I get acupuncture if I’m not sick? This is a question people often ask. For more than 2,500 years practitioners of acupuncture & Oriental medicine (OM) have emphasized the importance of preventative medicine rather than waiting until disease begins. Yang-sheng is the preventative branch of OM, yang-sheng means to ‘nourish life’. The tradition of drinking bone broth to nourish wellbeing comes from the yang-sheng branch of OM.
Another key concept from the yang-sheng tradition of acupuncture & OM is emotional balance is the key to wellness and longevity. According to OM there are external and internal factors that bring health out of balance. The external factors include environmental factors (weather, pollution, viruses, etc) while the internal factors are our emotions. The key to maintaining health is keeping our emotions in balance and not get stuck in any emotion.
Western allopathic medicine usually doesn’t recognize the role of emotions in creating illness beyond acknowledging stress exacerbates or causes 80 percent of all illnesses. According to OM theory, specific emotions are linked to specific parts of the body: being stuck in an emotion can bring that part of the body out of balance. Acupuncture & OM can help us stay healthy by balancing our emotions.
OM theory identifies specific emotions that bring us out of harmony in specific ways. How did this theory develop? OM practitioners have kept meticulous records for 2,500 years; there is a long tradition of scholarly observation and analysis of case studies. Through this long history patterns of health and disease were identified; these patterns held consistently true and thus became an integral part of OM theory.
In one of the oldest books on OM, “The Inner Classics of the Yellow Emperor,”compiled around 100 B.C.E., said excess joy slows and scatters qi, excess anger causes qi to ascend, excess sadness and grief weakens qi, excess worry knots and binds qi, fear descends qi and fright induces chaotic qi. The good news is each excessive emotion can be ‘harnessed,’ transformed and channeled into a virtuous emotion, which restores harmony and wellbeing. This transformation of emotions from excess to virtue is a vital aspect of yang-sheng branch of acupuncture and OM.
Among the most common of excess emotion is the tendency of overthinking, worry and rumination; this will tend to result in digestive issues and/or fluid metabolism concerns, as well as muscular tension and pain. To transform overthinking and worry into the virtue of creativity and dynamic insight, develop a regular meditation practice, even five to 10 minutes once a day can make a difference! You will develop the discipline to redirect worry and overthinking into dwelling in the present moment more often. A quote from “The Dhammapada” (The Buddha’s Path of Wisdom) expresses this, “As the bee collects nectar and departs without injuring the flower, or its color or scent, so let a sage dwell in his village.” Notice when you worry or overthink about something, think of your thoughts like a bee. Allow yourself to collect the ‘pollen’ of your thought while also germinating future ideas and transform your thoughts into honey. A bee does not cling to only one flower.
Look for future articles for tips on transforming other excessive emotions and nourish your vitality and wellbeing with the wisdom of OM.
Summer. The word alone stirs up thoughts of campfires, flip flops, popsicles, swimming and long sunny days. However, for many people it also means sunburns, mosquito bites and excessive sweating. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to deal with all of these issues. Sipping on some refreshing lemonade or munching on a slice of watermelon are some traditional ways to cool off. But Traditional Chinese Medicine has some other less common ways of treating summer ailments.
TCM utilizes a methodology based on the five elements. Summer is ruled by the fire element. The summer months are a time of growth, joy and spiritual awareness. Something commonly seen by TCM practitioners during the summer season is a phenomenon called summer heat. The symptoms of summer heat include excessive body heat, sweating, constipation, dry mouth and heart palpitations. Despite the fact summer is a season of warmth, the body still needs to be prepped for the seasonal changes. Any transition from one season to another should include the boosting of the body’s immune system. Therefore, herbal formulas that strengthen the essence and nourish the body are very important to have on hand as summer rushes in.
Herbal formulas are an integral part of TCM. In fact, most scholars believe herbal formulas preceded the development of acupuncture, another vital modality utilized by TCM. One herbal formula that is a must must-have for somebody showing signs of summer heat, is known as Qing Shu Yi Qi Tang. This formula will clear away summer heat, promote bodily fluids and benefit the Qi (pronounced “chee”). Qi is the energy or life force that keeps all living things alive. When Qi becomes deficient or depleted, the body shows signs of disease.
Another herbal formula that can be beneficial during the summer months is known as Liu Yi San. This formula clears summer heat, resolves dampness and tonifies Qii. This particular formula can be used in severe cases of summer heat or heat stroke, as it can help stop any nausea or vomiting associated with heat exhaustion.
Not all herbal formulas are comprised of multiple herbs. There are some individual herbs that can be very helpful to have around in case somebody becomes stricken with summer heat. For instance, chrysanthemum flowers (Ju Hua) are frequently steeped into a refreshing tea during the warm summer months. Ju Hua clears heat from the lungs and is cooling to the body.
Mung beans can also be used to fight off summer heat and heat exhaustion. Mung beans can be steeped into a tea and sipped during an attack of summer heat. This tea can prevent and decrease the symptoms of dehydration, headaches, abdominal bloating and decreased urination.
There are also many other herbs that can be added to food or steeped into teas or used topically that can help with summertime ailments. Lavender is good for stress relief, as well as skin problems. Got a bug bite? Try applying some diluted tea tree oil. Elder flowers can assist with upper respiratory congestion that is sometimes common. Dandelions can be steeped into a tea that will help reduce a fever.
There are many ways herbs and herbal formulas can help during the warm summer months. Many of the single herbs can be found already made in teabags at the local grocery store. For the herbal formulations, you should check with a licensed TCM practitioner or herbalist in your area. So raise a glass of lemonade or iced tea to the season of summer. And don’t forget to add the Ju Hua.
I know, its craaaazy!! But an amazing opportunity arose for me to move from Suite A207 to Suite A205 this weekend only and I had to take it because it makes two rooms available DOUBLING my capacity in La Center, so exciting.
I want to thank everyone in advance for being patient with things being a bit bare bones in there for a while thanks to the speed of the move, but I hope considering the increased availability this creates that it won't be too much of a bother.
As of Saturday 7/7, therefore, my office will now be in Suite A205 instead of Suite A207. I know, big shift right?
Look for greatly increased availability online already!
Thank you for all your support in my LC endeavor and I look forward to seeing you soon!!
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a complete medical system that has been around for nearly 3,000 years. It combines nutrition, herbs, acupuncture and other modalities to help keep the body functioning properly, while also treating any ailments that might occur. TCM has been used to treat both men and women, regardless of their age, and TCM is frequently becoming the medical choice for those who prefer to use holistic forms of medicine to heal themselves.
There are certain health issues more prevalent in men than women, and many of these conditions can be easily controlled or treated using Traditional Chinese Medicine. Afflictions such as high blood pressure, depression, urinary issues, stress and prostate problems are just a few of the issues that are more frequently seen in men than women. And these issues, along with many others, respond very favorably to acupuncture and TCM.
Prostate issues are a prominent concern for men. From enlarged prostates to prostate cancer, this area of the body gets a lot of attention. One of the most common problems facing men is benign prostatic hyperplasia or what is commonly called the enlarged prostate. An enlarged prostate often leads to bladder, kidney and urinary problems, especially urinary retention. This is very easily controlled with acupuncture and herbs because the combination of the two help alleviate the inflammation of the prostate allowing the urine to flow freely.
Cardiovascular disease is another big concern for men and it is the leading health threat to men. Acupuncture has been found to be particularly beneficial in lowering blood pressure, which often helps prevent cardiovascular disease. Acupuncture stimulates the release of natural opioids in the body, which then decreases the heart’s activity and lowers the need for excess oxygen. All of this lowers blood pressure.
Another area where men often benefit from help is dealing with mental health issues and depression. Men are much less likely to discuss their feelings and emotions, which can frequently lead to depression and even thoughts of suicide. In fact, men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women. Acupuncture helps balance the chemicals released by the brain and the hormones released by the endocrine system. All of these imbalanced chemicals can lead to mental health issues that manifest over time.
Insomnia and sleep-related disorders are another major concern for men. Acupuncture has been shown to be beneficial at restoring balance and allowing the body to relax and rejuvenate. In fact, acupuncture often times outperforms many prescription and over-the-counter sleep aids.
Men tend to suffer from pain more than women, just because their jobs can be more physical. It is statistically shown that men are less likely to seek out help when they experience pain, as they don’t want to appear weak. This is where something like acupuncture can be a great asset for men. Regular acupuncture treatments as preventive medicine can help keep them in top shape, thus avoiding aches, pains, strains and pulls.
Fertility is not something that usually comes to mind when it comes to men’s health issues. However, stats show that 35-40 percent of all fertility issues are male conditions. Studies have shown acupuncture and Chinese herbs are very effective at improving sperm quality and the instructional integrity of the sperm. This is why many acupuncturists who focus on fertility issues treat both the male and the female as a team.
Lastly, acupuncture is a great way to combat digestive issues frequently related to added stress and this occurs more in men than it does in women. The most common digestive disorder is heartburn or acid reflux, which is usually caused by stress and poor diet. When stress levels are decreased, then stomach acid can decrease also, thus alleviating heartburn.
These are just a few of the issues acupuncture can help with when it comes to men’s health. But it is easy to see why choosing acupuncture to help keep the body in alignment is a great option, especially for men.
The adrenal glands are two tiny glands that sit on top of the kidneys. They are part of the overall endocrine system that produces hormones that regulate the body. The adrenal glands produce three very important hormones, adrenaline, cortisol and aldosterone. Adrenaline, also known as epinephrine, prepares the body to spring into action during stressful or life-threatening situations. Cortisol helps regulate metabolism and assists the body in responding to stress. And aldosterone helps control blood pressure. When the adrenal glands are not functioning properly, many diseases can develop.
Adrenal fatigue is becoming increasingly common in the United States, despite the fact that most conventional doctors claim that there is no such thing as adrenal fatigue. However, excessive and chronic stress can indeed deplete the adrenal glands over time. Even though most Western medical doctors deny adrenal fatigue is a real diagnosis, it is impossible to deny stress plays a factor in how our bodies thrive and survive.
Chronic stress can have serious health implications. Stress causes the adrenal glands to produce excess cortisol and adrenaline, which puts these glands in a constant state of “fight or flight.” This can lead to symptoms such as poor sleep, weight gain, digestive issues and chronic illnesses. Cortisol normally helps the body convert food into energy, while keeping the mind alert and reducing inflammation. This is why many people who are diagnosed with fibromyalgia are probably also clinically experiencing adrenal fatigue and chronic stress.
Traditional Chinese Medicine provides some of the best tools available to battle chronic stress and adrenal fatigue. Acupuncture is one of the tools in the toolbox of the TCM practitioner. Acupuncture uses hair-thin needles to stimulate acupressure points on the body. And studies have shown acupuncture treatments actually turn on or stimulate the relaxation areas of the nervous system, also known as the parasympathetic nervous system. When the parasympathetic nervous system is switched on, it helps to regulate the heart rate, improve digestion and balance sleep cycles. Many people who get regular acupuncture treatments actually fall asleep once the needles have been inserted.
Moxibustion is another modality commonly used by TCM practitioners. Moxibustion uses the herb mugwort to boost the functions of the adrenal glands and balance hormones. Crushed mugwort is placed on various acupressure points and then lit on fire. There are barriers between the herb and the body to prevent any actual scarring. Over time, moxibustion can help with many of the symptoms experienced by those suffering from adrenal imbalances.
In TCM, the adrenal glands are frequently included or related to the functions of the kidneys. Therefore, many of the points that help balance the adrenal glands are found along the kidney energetic pathways. Thus, by stimulating these acupressure points, the licensed acupuncturist can help regulate the hormones being produced by the adrenal glands. The pericardium energetic pathway also plays a vital role in helping balance the adrenal glands.
With all the excess stress placed on humans today, it is quite feasible nearly everybody deals with some sort of hormone imbalance and adrenal gland weakness. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Seeking out a licensed acupuncturist may be the perfect answer to this problem. To find a licensed acupuncturist in your area, check out the NCCAOM’s (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) website and get on the natural path to healing.
We’ve all heard of and maybe even experienced a sprain or a strain. But do you really know the difference? A sprain is defined as a stretch or tear of a ligament. A strain, on the other hand, is defined as an injury to a muscle or tendon. Sprains can result from a fall, a sudden twist or a blow to the body that forces a joint out of place, while a strain can happen from twisting or pulling a muscle or tendon.
There are specific ways of telling the difference between a sprain and a strain based on the symptoms that appear. Symptoms of a sprain include pain, swelling, instability, bruising and loss of functional joint ability. Sometimes there is an audible pop when the injury occurs. There are different levels of sprains too. A Grade I or mild sprain is generally caused by overstretching or the minor tearing of a ligament, but the person will still have joint stability. A Grade II or moderate sprain is more intense, but the person only experiences some loss of joint function. A Grade III or severe sprain occurs when there is a complete tear in the ligament and the person is unable to put any weight on the joint.
Strains, on the other hand, have very different symptoms. Most people who experience a strain, will report pain, limited range of motion, muscle spasms and possibly muscle weakness. There may also be cramping, swelling and inflammation.
Instinctively, when a person experiences a sprain or a strain, learned first aid skills take over. Things like taking the pressure off the joint, raising the joint and applying ice to alleviate swelling and inflammation are all great places to start. Icing a sprain or strain is only good for the first 48 to 72 hours, as it will help decrease swelling. However, prolonged use of ice may impair movement and also interfere with the healing process because it constricts the tissues and impedes blood flow. But there are other possible solutions to healing a sprain or a strain. And one of these would be to see an acupuncturist or Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner.
Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners have many tools at their disposal that can assist in increased healing of a strain or sprain. When either of these injuries occur, the muscles surrounding the area tighten up in an effort to protect the injured site. This can then lead to stiffness in that joint. This is the body’s natural defense mechanism that decreases strong blood flow to the area. TCM practitioners use acupuncture and other modalities to help loosen up the muscles and increase blood flow to the area, which brings in tissue-healing oxygen and nutrients.
Increasing blood flow is just one way TCM can help. There are also specific acupressure points that reduce swelling, decrease inflammation and alleviate pain. Through the use of regular acupuncture treatments following a sprain or strain injury, the body can heal faster. The more frequently a person comes in for their acupuncture treatments, the quicker the results will occur.
If you are looking to spice up your family meal this spring, why not try a healthy chicken stir fry. A meal that is colorful, warm, seasonal and easy to make.
In Traditional Chinese medicine and Five Element theory, food is medicine. Not only is food healthy and nutritious biochemically, but it also has properties in temperature, taste, color and shape that benefit specific organs. Colors and taste benefit certain organs, for example, sour and the color green go to the liver. Pungent flavors such as garlic, ginger and onions benefit the lungs. Dark and salty foods like seaweed benefit the kidneys. The best thing to remember is to eat fruits and vegetables that are in season and try to add color to your food to encourage the healthy actions the organs have in the body. Warm and cooked vegetables are easier on the digestion than cold and raw food. A terrific item to add to the cooking schedule is a colorful and tasty stir-fry.
A stir-fry has a healthy variety of colors, vegetables, meat, spices and seasoning. Typically what goes into a stir-fry includes chicken, soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice vinegar, honey, garlic, ginger, onion and rice.
Preparation is simple and you can find countless recipes by conducting an Internet search. Typically, a recipe will look like this:
Marinating the chicken overnight adds richer flavor, if you so choose. Combine cornstarch, soy and oyster sauce, rice vinegar, honey and garlic. Stir fry in chicken until brown, set aside. Add vegetables and cook until crisp. Stir in chicken, add onion, peanuts or other things to taste. Serve over rice.
For vegetarians, replacing tofu for chicken works as a delicious alternative. Play with some variety throughout the seasons. In the spring, opt for green foods to benefit the liver and gallbladder. In the summer, cool celery and basil might be soothing on a hot day. Autumn flavors might include leeks and white mushrooms to benefit the lungs. For winter, beef could be an alternative to chicken, as beef is warmer.
As you can see, a nice stir-fry with a variety of seasonal vegetables just might be a great and healthy way to exercise the notion that “food is medicine” to your diet.
Traditional Chinese medicine looks at the human body quite differently than Western medicine. In TCM, there are energetic pathways associated with specific organs in the body. When these pathways or meridians, and the energy flowing through them, are out of balance, the body may become diseased.
In TCM, the liver and its corresponding meridian are responsible for the smooth flow of Qi (pronounced “chee”) or energy, blood and emotions. The liver is easily affected by excess stress and uncontrolled emotions. Anger is the emotion commonly associated with the liver and gallbladder. If a person is frequently irritable, gets angered easily, has difficulty relaxing or letting things go, and is unreasonable, it is safe to guess their liver Qi isn’t functioning properly.
Acupuncture for Liver Problems: In TCM, the liver has multiple functions. The liver is responsible for the movement of Qi throughout the body. When the Qi becomes blocked or stagnant, then disease can occur. Regarding the liver, this can manifest as anger, irritability, frustration, eye problems, tendon tightness, menstrual issues or even things like cirrhosis. Liver imbalances are one of the most commonly treated issues in TCM. Almost everybody has some degree of liver imbalance. Acupuncture is very good for releasing emotions, decreasing stress and eliminating pain associated with liver imbalances. TCM can bring the body back into balance by improving circulation and increasing blood flow to areas that may need the extra nutrients carried by bodily fluids.
Acupuncture Points for the Liver:
Chinese Herbs and Formulas for the Liver: Another integral part of TCM is the use of herbs and herbal formulas. Many times the herbs can be used alone, but there will be a more synergistic effect when the single herbs are combined to make a formula. One such herb is the chrysanthemum flower, also known as Ju Hua, which clears liver heat. Lycium fruit, also known a Gou Qi Zi, enriches the liver to help with tendon and blood issues. Then there is a formula known as Da Bu Gan Wan. This formula is commonly called the liver nutrition formula. It can help with everything from hepatitis to general liver Qi stagnation.
Dietary Recommendations for the Liver: Nutrition is also very important for proper liver function. Starting the day with fresh squeezed lemon juice in a glass of warm water will help decongest the liver and flush out toxins. Beets are good for cleansing the liver and tonifying the blood of the liver. Foods like ginger, peaches, scallions and garlic are good additions to the diet of anybody who is exhibiting signs of liver Qi stagnation because they move and regulate liver Qi.
Seeking help from a locally licensed acupuncturist is a great way to take care of your liver. A TCM practitioner can guide you along the path to wellness and they can also work cooperatively with your doctor to give you the best chance of success for strengthening your liver or helping it heal.
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