A study published by the National Institute of Health looked at the use of Chinese herbal formulas in conjunction with conventional medicine for the treatment of chronic rhinosinusitis. The study surveyed 4,294 patients who utilized Traditional Chinese Medicine and of these, nearly 97 percent received herbal remedies. The most commonly prescribed herbal formula for this condition was Xin Yi Qing Fei Tang. While the study did not look at the outcome of the use of the herbal remedy, it is conclusive more people are turning to alternative medicine in order to treat everyday problems like congestion.
Congestion of the chest and sinuses is something everybody has experienced at some point during their life. It can be caused by allergies, the common cold or even changes in the weather. Regardless of the cause, it makes life difficult when we are unable to breathe properly. Many people reach for over-the-counter decongestants as a first line defense. But there are side effects to be aware of when using anything synthetically made in a lab.
Natural remedies, like Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), are safer and can generally be used long-term without the side effects. An estimated 30 million people suffer with sinus problems, and congestion is one of the top symptoms associated with sinus issues. Most people who suffer with sinus issues have them for the majority of their lives. This is because once the problem has been cleared up using conventional medications or treatments, the sinus cavities themselves have not been completely drained and the body still sees the remaining mucus as a foreign invader it must attack.
This is where Traditional Chinese Medicine surpasses conventional medicine. TCM addresses the symptoms and the root of the problem. So not only will the congestion be targeted, but so will be the cause of the congestion. Too much sugar causing excess phlegm? hronic allergy flare ups? Weak lungs due to asthma or COPD preventing you from expelling the pathogens? All of these things can lead to chronic congestion and TCM can help.
TCM uses many tools to treat congestion. The two most commonly used are acupuncture and herbal formulas. One of the most commonly used herbal formulas is Cang Er San. This formula contains xanthium fruit, magnolia flower, angelica root and mint. If yellow mucus is present, then cooling herbs like honeysuckle flowers and Scutellaria root are added to address the excess heat. But the base formula unblocks the nasal passages, reduces inflammation and expels toxins, all of which lead to congestion.
Another popular choice of TCM practitioners is Bi Yan Pian. This formula works to clear the nasal passages and it usually accomplishes this within five days to a week. The herbs in Bi Yan Pian work to disperse wind, expel toxins, relieve inflammation and dissolve phlegm.
Ask me to find out how Traditional Chinese Medicine can help you with any respiratory and congestion issues you might have.
Stress is a word many people are familiar with. The dictionary defines stress in multiple ways, but there is only one that matters when we discuss how stress affects our physical bodies. The definition is this, “stress is a physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension.” And while most people think of stress as being detrimental, it truly does have a function in our bodies. Stress is the body’s way of signaling for help or a break in the routine. If we don’t listen to these signals, we can develop imbalances in our bodies, which can then lead to illnesses.
Cortisol is the hormone most closely related to stress. Cortisol is a big component of the “fight or flight” response we feel when we are scared or threatened. And in small bursts, cortisol is helpful. However, when stress becomes chronic, cortisol levels become elevated and never return to normal. This puts the body in a constant state of being on edge, eventually causing insomnia, depression, anxiety, digestive issues and even mental illness.
There are ways to fight and reduce stress though. Simple things like exercise, meditation, coloring, talking with friends and even acupuncture. Admittedly, most people don’t think of being stuck with tiny needles as “relaxing,” but it really is. Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years and it is becoming more mainstream every single day. It is even being used in some hospital emergency rooms for those who are in pain and anxious.
Acupuncture acts like physical therapy for the nervous system. The tiny needles retrain the nervous system and the brain to behave as it should normally. For the nervous system to act and respond accordingly, cortisol has to be at normal levels and only used when a true “fight or flight” situation occurs. Studies show acupuncture does this.
Another way acupuncture helps reduce stress is by keeping the heart rate normal. When the body is stressed, the heart tends to pump faster and in some cases, a person may even develop palpitations or atrial fibrillation. The heart rate is closely connected to the vagus nerve. If the vagus nerve is stimulated, so too will the heart rate. There are specific acupressure points on the arms and hands that can calm the vagus nerve and the heart.
Stress is frequently related to specific emotions. Acupuncture controls anxiety and stress by affecting the part of the brain that regulates emotions and then reduces anxiety naturally. This allows the body to calm down and the mind to relax.
Chronic stress frequently leads to depression. Again, acupuncture can help with this. As the stress is relieved through regular acupuncture treatments and other mind/body techniques, then depression will start to clear up as well. Many people are even able to get off their depression medications following a regimented treatment plan that utilizes acupuncture and herbs.
Lastly, digestive disorders can be caused or exacerbated by chronic stress. Digestion occurs while the body is in the “rest and digest” phase. When stress is added into the mix, digestion may become disrupted and things like diarrhea can occur. Studies have shown acupuncture is extremely effective at decreasing or eliminating bouts of diarrhea.
Acupuncture is a wonderful tool for fighting stress. As few as two needles can reset your body and decrease your daily stress level. Book in today to find out how to resolve your stress the natural way.
A recent study published by the Journal of Neural Regeneration Research found acupuncture treatments can lead to improved cognitive function. Functional brain MRIs showed an increase in the communication areas of the brain associated with higher level cognitive function and memory. When cognitive function is improved, so too is one’s ability to stay focused and on task. This study also concluded acupuncture treatments can increase neural plasticity, which decreases naturally as we age. All of this demonstrates acupuncture can indeed improve overall brain function, allowing people to live more fulfilling lives.
Staying focused can be challenging in the world we live in. We are constantly bombarded with sights, sounds, smells, interruptions and more. It can be really frustrating. A recent study by Microsoft found the average human has an attention span of only eight seconds! By comparison, a goldfish has a nine second attention span. We, as a species, can’t even remain focused as long as a goldfish. This speaks volumes about the state of the world.
Part of the problem is our bodies were designed to move and we have become too sedentary. Our nervous system doesn’t know how to respond to this. And it also affects our muscles, tendons and circulatory systems. The more time we spend on our phones, tablets, etc., the more stagnant everything becomes. Our muscles shorten, tighten and atrophy, our circulation becomes sluggish and our brains foggy. For everything to function properly, you have to get up and move. But there are other ways to increase focus and concentration.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can be very helpful when it comes to improving focus and concentration. There are specific acupuncture points, as well as individual herbs and herbal formulas that can be utilized.
One of the most commonly used acupuncture points for improving focus is called Du 20 or Governing Vessel 20. This point is located on the top of the head, midway between the apexes of both ears. Du 20 has been noted to improve mental clarity and awareness, while also enhancing memory.
Yin Tang is another favorite point of licensed acupuncturists. Yin Tang is located between the inner ends of both eyebrows. Yin Tang improves concentration and memory, while also clearing the mind and lifting the spirits.
There are a couple of individual herbs used in TCM that can be very helpful for improving focus. The first is known as Dan Shen or Salvia. TCM uses this herb to increase blood flow and a study done in 2003 showed focus and memory were improved on subjects who used this herb.
An herbal formula known as Bu Nao Wan is frequently prescribed for people who have memory problems related to weakness in the kidney system of TCM. Several of the herbs in this formula have been used for centuries to calm the mind and improve focus.
If you or somebody you know suffers from attention deficit issues, acupuncture might be exactly what they need to get back on track. Ask me to find out how acupuncture can help!
A study conducted in an integrative medical center in the Midwest and published in the December issue of Alternative and Complementary Therapies, showed acupuncture can be a safe and effective alternative to treating pain in pediatric patients. Chronic pain is very prevalent in children and it can cause lifelong trauma if not dealt with. This study followed 55 participants throughout eight acupuncture treatments. The study surveyed the participants regarding pain, nausea and quality of life both before and after the acupuncture treatments. The results showed both the parents and the participants indicated decreased pain and nausea, as well as increased quality of life after the treatments had concluded. While more studies need to be done, this is a good indication acupuncture can be used to treat pediatrics with successful outcomes.
Most kids, as well as a lot of adults, are afraid of needles. So the pairing of acupuncture and kids might not be an obvious one. However, more and more parents are seeking alternative methods of treatment for their children. This is because our conventional medical system is faltering a bit. Pharmaceuticals are proving to be more harmful than beneficial for many individuals, especially children. And with their bodies and brains still being developed, who can really blame a parent for wanting to find an alternative to drugs with adverse side effects?
Acupuncture is part of an ancient medical system known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It is commonly used to treat a multitude of ailments in adults and gaining popularity among pediatrics. There are licensed acupuncturists who specialize in treating children and they are in high demand. These pediatric acupuncturists are helping children where others can’t and for many, it is lifesaving.
Parents are turning to acupuncture because it provides a safe resolution of illness, while also preventing future illnesses. This happens because acupuncture and acupressure stimulate the body’s ability to restore and heal itself. Our bodies are fully capable of fighting off disease and healing injuries when the right tools are provided. Acupuncture not only stimulates the immune system, but also relaxes the nervous system and regulates the digestive and hormonal systems. All of these systems need to be in balance for the body to heal.
Many times parents are told by doctors that what their child is experiencing is just “a phase” and he/she “will grow out of it.” In many ways, this ignores the real issues at hand. Conventional medicine doesn’t work holistically and parents are usually sent to a dozen different specialists who don’t coordinate to find the best treatment for the child. This becomes frustrating and financially taxing for the parent, not to mention how the child feels. This is where acupuncture excels. A single acupuncture treatment can address pain, anxiety, insomnia and digestive issues all at the same time.
Not only is acupuncture more cost effective when it comes to treating children, but it also is a more logical approach. Why add in the stress of seeing multiple doctors when you can have everything addressed by just one? If your child is suffering from pain, asthma, ADHD or any other type of ailment, acupuncture might hold the answer.
Well guys, its that time again - Natural Awakenings Magazine has opened up voting for the 2018 Natural Choice or "Nattie" Awards. For the past 4 years, thanks to all of my INCREDIBLE patients, I have won Favorite Acupuncture/TCM Practitioner and each year I have won something else as well including Holistic Practitioner of the Year, Favorite Women's Health Specialist, Holistic Practice of the Year, and Holistic Practitioner of the Year.
Can we do it again?? I feel unbelievably blessed to have won so many awards. I would be amazing to win again, and I will be honored to pass on that baton to someone else if my day is done.
Still - if you have a moment please vote! and let's see what happens. The voting closes October 1st, thank you!!
A study published by the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine concludes acupuncture treatments can indeed help treat the common cold. The study followed 187 participants based on the onset of when the cold occurred. The participants were divided into two groups. The first group reported an onset time of cold symptoms within 36 hours and the second group reported an onset of symptoms greater than 36 hours. Both groups showed significant decreases in symptoms, as well as cold duration. This study demonstrates how receiving acupuncture treatments can shorten the length of time a person deals with the common cold and its symptoms.
Everybody has suffered from the common cold at some point along this journey called life. The common cold is an acute viral infection that affects the throat and nasal passages. Symptoms of a cold may include headaches, fatigue, a sore throat, nasal congestion, sneezing, a runny nose and coughing. With the normal progression of a cold, the throat symptoms, such as coughing, tend to be worse around the fifth day, while the nasal symptoms are nearing the end of their duration. Overall, the symptoms of the common cold tend to last about seven to 10 days. The typical treatment for a cold is to make sure you are getting plenty of sleep, taking in enough fluids and using steam to break up the mucus in the nasal passages. Because the common cold is caused by a viral infection, the virus must be allowed to run its course, while the symptoms are merely managed.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) takes a different approach though. It utilizes modalities like acupuncture, cupping and herbal formulas that can dramatically decrease the severity of symptoms and time that somebody suffers from a cold.
The practice of acupuncture is supposed to be used as preventive medicine. Not to say acupuncture can’t be used to treat already existing ailments, because it can, and it works very well in this capacity, but isn’t it better to avoid getting sick than to wait until the ailment is already affecting you? This is where acupuncture can help. Regular acupuncture treatments can increase your immunity, which will help fight off any disease, including the common cold. Acupuncture also helps decrease stress which can be a key factor in any disease. Studies indicate when the body is relaxed and not stressed, the immune system functions more efficiently.
Cupping, another technique utilized in TCM, helps boost the immune system. Cupping creates negative pressure that suctions the skin into the cup. This action causes the cells in the body to develop a greater number of receptors on the surface that can better respond to an enzyme known as heme oxygenase 1. This enzyme acts as an antioxidant that protects your body against harmful elements like the common cold virus.
TCM also uses herbs to prevent and treat many ailments, including the common cold. For instance, herbs like licorice root, also known as Gan Cao in TCM, can be used to treat a cough. It also has the ability to boost the immune system and help get rid of mucus in the respiratory tract. Cinnamon, or Gui Zhi, is another commonly used herb that helps ward off the common cold.
With all this evidence, it makes perfect sense to start using Traditional Chinese Medicine as a method of preventing the common cold.
Acupuncture is part of a medical system that dates back nearly 3,500 years. This medical system is known as Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM. TCM acknowledges not four but five seasons. The fifth season, Indian Summer, occurs in late August through mid-September. Each season in TCM has a pair of organs or energetic pathways it corresponds to. For Indian Summer, these pathways are those of the spleen and stomach.
The spleen and stomach are directly responsible for digestion. The spleen also has the added function of transporting and absorbing water in the body. When the spleen is not functioning properly, the body may suffer from a buildup of dampness. This can manifest as edema, digestive issues and even brain fog. Many people who have impaired spleen function also suffer from diabetes.
To keep the spleen and stomach functioning properly within the TCM system, things like acupuncture, herbal formulas, nutritional counseling and practices like qi gong or tai chi may need to be incorporated. There are over 350 acupuncture points on the body, but there are some that work exceptionally well during Indian Summer to help with digestion and fluid transport.
1. Spleen 9 – This point is located bilaterally on the inside of the lower leg. It can be found by locating the tibia, following it up the leg to the knee and then feeling for the depression behind and below the lower edge of the tibia. This acupuncture point is a wonderful point to use to help drain edema and decrease abdominal pain, bloating and diarrhea.
2. Stomach 25 – This point is located bilaterally on the lower abdomen. It can be found about 2 finger-breadths laterally away from the middle of the belly button and completely level with it. This point is part of a group known as the four doors. Stomach 25 is used to treat abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea and edema.
3. Ren 6 – This point is located on the midline of the abdomen, about one and a half thumb-breadths directly below the belly button. This is another point that is part of the four doors grouping. Ren 6 can be used to help with abdominal pain, edema, diarrhea, constipation and menstrual problems.
4. Ren 12 – This point is located on the midline of the abdomen, about four thumb-breadths directly above the belly button. This is the final point that completes the four doors grouping. Just like its counterparts, Ren 12 can help with bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhea. It is also used to treat stomachaches, acid reflux, vomiting and diarrhea.
5. Spleen 6 – This point is located bilaterally on the inside of the lower leg. It is found three thumb-breadths above the medial ankle bone and just behind the tibia. Spleen 6 is frequently used by acupuncturists. It helps with abdominal pain and bloating, diarrhea, menstrual problems, urinary leakage, edema, dizziness, vertigo and insomnia.
Any of these points can be used alone or in conjunction with others. They can be manually stimulated using pressure from a finger or dull, rounded tool. But for best effects, it is recommended acupuncture be applied.
Do you consider yourself a healthy eater? Do you follow the guidelines set forth by the government for healthy eating? Or have you gone rogue? There are as many different definitions of healthy as there are colors in the rainbow. But according to traditional Chinese medicine, there are certain guidelines that will keep the body happy and healthy throughout life. Let’s explore this a little deeper.
The Traditional Chinese Medicine diet is based on energetic principles that encourage balance, clean burning digestion and a well-functioning body that remains free of disease and full of energy. Eating for balance is a way of life in Traditional Chinese Medicine theory. There are certain foods that help the digestive system function properly and allow the body to utilize the nutrients it needs to perform. When food enters the mouth, it travels through the stomach and intestines. This is where the energy is extracted from the food and the waste products are excreted. The energy that was extracted become your life force or Qi (pronounced “chee”). Digestion, in TCM theory, should be an unnoticeable event. The digestive system should be clean and quiet, allowing the body to extract the most nutrition and energy from the food that is ingested. If the digestive system becomes clogged, the energy does not get adequately absorbed and there is leftover residue that sticks to places within the body thus causing blockages and affecting the body’s daily functions.
Dampness is the most common byproduct of eating foods that create blockages in the digestive system. Foods that create dampness include cheese, yogurt, white flour and sugar. Dampness causes blockages or stagnations that can then lead to pain and disease. Symptoms of accumulated dampness include mucus, loose stools or constipation, excess weight gain and swollen joints. Chronic allergies and arthritis are two Western medicine diseases that are very closely linked to dampness.
To avoid disease, the TCM diet recommends things like steamed rice, cooked vegetables and small quantities of animal protein. Vegetables play a major role in draining dampness and are packed with nutrition. The more colorful the vegetables, the healthier they are for the body, as they contain lots of antioxidants that promote health and longevity. Your plate should begin with large quantities of brightly colored and lightly cooked vegetables. Leafy greens are very important also as they are some of the most balancing and nutrient dense foods available.
Rice is a balanced food that is easily digested. Rice is also hypo-allergenic and this is advantageous to those who are dealing with allergies as it is very gentle on the digestive system. White rice tends to be more cleansing, while brown rice is considered more nourishing. Rice is a clean burning food that gently drains dampness from the body.
Protein is the final component of a healthy TCM diet. Animal proteins and beans are difficult to digest and therefore are only suggested in small quantities. Beans are better overall than animal proteins as they do help absorb dampness and they provide fiber.
There are several things that should be avoided in the TCM diet. Dairy is one of the biggest culprits of creating dampness. It is also cold in nature and this is a hindrance to the digestion. Cold, raw foods are culprits in the formation of dampness, as it is difficult for the body to process them. This is why foods ingested should be at least at body temperature. When the body has to heat the food, it drains the energetic resources of the body, which weakens the body over time. So things like salads, chilled food, iced drinks and frozen foods should not be included in the daily diet.
When it comes to healthy eating, it is obvious that most of the United States doesn’t adhere to the aforementioned guidelines. If you are truly trying to eat healthy and you are dealing with illness, why not consider trying the TCM way of eating? You might be surprised at how your body changes.
Its sad but true - Jonathan has respectfully given notice and is moving on to continue his Acupuncture practice elsewhere after Saturday August 18th. We will miss him greatly at All Ways Well. He has been an incredible practitioner to share space and patients with and we wish him well in all his endeavors.
Please rest assured that we'll continue to provide excellent continued care for all your needs. Jonathan has been meticulous in updating charts and notes to reflect his treatments, herbal prescriptions and diagnoses.
If you have any questions or concerns please don't hesitate to reach out directly to Rebecca anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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