Cultivate Optimal Endocrine Health
The endocrine system provides regulation of the body through hormonal secretions. Cultivating your endocrine health combined with proper nutrition and diet can boost energy, improve appetite, reduce insomnia, relieve depression symptoms, improve circulation, relieve muscle aches and assist in recovering from endocrine disorders. One of the easiest ways to look after your endocrine system health is to eat nutritious meals and have a well balanced diet.
5 Endocrine Supporting Nutrients
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein are part of any healthy diet. To directly affect your endocrine system, make sure your diet includes these foods.
Fish – Fish provides your body with Omega-3, Omega-6 and Omega-9 oils. These oils are fats that directly affect cognitive function, cellular function and kidney function, all the things under the control of the endocrine system. Eating fish twice a week will aid in keeping a balanced endocrine system.
Garlic – Garlic boosts your immunity, increasing your ability to fight off infection. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels. One or two cloves of garlic a day is recommended. Include it in your cooking!
Calcium – Calcium keeps nerves healthy and ensures their ability to communicate effectively. Milk, cottage cheese, cheese, leafy greens, dried beans and yogurt are all rich in calcium.
Vitamin B and B Complex – Directly influences the nervous system’s proper functioning and health and one’s physical and mental performance concerning the nervous system. Found in chicken, fish, eggs, whole grains, beans and nuts.
Vitamin C – Adrenal glands have a very high content of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). This vitamin helps stimulate adrenal glands into producing more of the disease fighting hormone cortin. A continued stressful environment depletes vitamin C reserves and increases the tendency for infection and disease. Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, melons, apricots, strawberries, berries, green vegetables, sweet peppers, and particularly tomatoes.
A few basic steps you can take:
Eat Slowly – Don’t rush through your meals. Allow your body to properly digest food reduces after-meal fatigue, boosts your immune system, and enables your endocrine system to properly process nutritional intake.
Exercise – Regular exercise boosts the immune system, improves cardiovascular health, muscle mass, and prevents bone loss. Stress reducing exercises such as yoga, qigong, or tai chi can also be beneficial.
Manage Your Stress – Another important part of maintaining a healthy endocrine system is stress management. Having a lot of stress in your life can cause the overproduction of hormones that can lead to the failure or malfunction of many endocrine organs. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine offers many tools and techniques that can be integrated into your life to keep stress in check and allow you to enjoy a more peaceful life.
Rest – Take a day out of the week for rest and rejuvenation allowing your mind and body recovery time. You will be more productive the rest of the week.
Sleep – Allow six to eight hours of sleep per night in order to reduce stress and keep hormones balanced. The combination of stress and a lack of sleep may cause some of the glands to malfunction. If you are experiencing difficulties sleeping acupuncture has shown great success treating a wide array of sleep problems without any of the side effects of prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids.
Massage Taixi When Fatigued
The root of the body’s energy in Oriental medicine is the Kidney meridian. Treatment used to strengthen the Kidney Meridian also restores nourishment to your endocrine glands. Taixi, or Kidney 3, is the source point of the Kidney meridian and an excellent point to massage yourself whenever feeling fatigued. To locate Taixi first locate the medial malleolus, that bone on the inner ankle. Then, locate the Achilles tendon that runs down the back of the ankle. Directly between them you will find the tender area when you press or Taixi. Massage the area on your ankle between the bone of inner malleolus and the Achilles tendon.
By: Georjana Shames LAc Dipl.OM CMT
Would you like to learn more about how acupuncture can help you? Call us today at 778-786-2517 A custom-tailored treatment plan will be created to suit your individual needs so that you can feel better quickly and safely!
Treating Anxiety with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
Anxiety can be a tricky thing. For some people it seems to come out of nowhere and creep up at unexpected moments. For others, anxiety is predictable and associated with certain events, fears, or situations. Things like driving on the highway, eating in restaurants, and spiders all have the potential to create anxiety.
There are a number of causes of anxiety. Traumatic events top the list. People who have been exposed to trauma, violence, emotional duress, or threats of any kind know the source of their anxiety. This includes unrelenting stress and worry over a life event or situation that’s not easily resolved.
Unfortunately, many people experience anxiety symptoms and don’t know why, which only makes the anxiety worse. These are the people who think they’re going crazy because they seemingly have no reason to feel anxious. However, it’s important to know that anxiety can be caused by physical problems, such as hormonal imbalances, digestive issues, heart problems, and drug side effects.
Anxiety can run in families. I have found that many of my patients who suffer from anxiety have either a parent or a child who also struggles with anxiety, too. This may be due to genetic makeup or how a particular family copes with stressful life events. Whether anxiety in families is due to nature or nurture, it’s not uncommon that family members will have similar triggers for their anxiety.
In Chinese medicine, there are three organ systems related to anxiety; the Heart, Spleen, and Kidneys.
The Chinese view anxiety as worry that has gotten out of control. Each organ system is associated with an emotion, and worry is the emotion associated with the Chinese Spleen. The Spleen is also your organ system of digestion. It sifts and sorts what you’ve eaten, takes what is useful, turns it into nutrients to fuel your body, and gets rid of what is not needed. While your Spleen primarily digests foods, it also plays a role in the sifting and sorting of ideas. While the emotion associated with the Spleen is worry, it is essentially the same as not being able to sort through and let go of unnecessary ideas. Worry is a kind of unhealthy rumination, and when it gets out of control, worry becomes anxiety and fear.
While your Spleen is the organ of digestion, your Heart is the Chinese organ of feelings. We intuitively know that the Heart is an emotional organ. We feel things with all our heart, have our heart broken, or thank someone from the bottom of our heart. Your Heart is home to the Shen, or your spirit, according to Chinese theory. Its function is similar to that of your brain in Western biomedicine. As such your Heart is the home to consciousness, memory, emotions, and thinking. Whenever someone suffers from any kind of emotional upset or condition, such as anxiety, the Heart is always involved.
Finally, the Chinese Kidney also plays a role in anxiety in a couple of ways. First, the emotion related to the Kidney is fear, which is the underlying component of anxiety. Secondly, the Kidney is the deepest and most nourishing of our organs. It’s responsible for how well you age, your underlying body constitution, and is the source of all the fundamental substances in your body, such as Yin, Yang, and Essence. Your Kidney is the organ system most damaged by stress and anxiety. The Western condition of adrenal fatigue (from stress, anxiety, overwork, etc.) correlates to a severe Kidney depletion in Chinese medicine.
Chinese medicine and acupuncture can offer a number of strategies to help someone suffering from anxiety. Your practitioner would work by first calming your Shen using acupuncture. This is an effective first line of defense, as research has documented the positive effects that acupuncture has on brain chemistry. It has been found that acupuncture increases the secretion of endorphins in the brain, the feel good substance associated with pain relief and runner’s high. This effect accounts for the relaxing and calming sensation patients feel both during and after their treatments.
A practitioner of Chinese medicine might also address your anxiety by nourishing your Spleen and restoring your Kidney health. Beyond acupuncture, there are a number of safe and effective herbal formulas that can help calm anxiety. Your practitioner can prescribe the combination of herbs that is most appropriate to your individual needs.
Food therapy and lifestyle changes may also be part of your treatment for anxiety. This may include at-home calming strategies, avoiding stimulants such as coffee or tea, dietary changes, and breathing techniques—all of which can be effective in relieving anxiety.
By Your Acupuncture Specialist, on March 30th
Another Computer Hazard: Dropping One on Your Foot
By Tiffany Sharples Tuesday, June 09, 2009
As ergonomics specialists know, using a computer can be a real pain — in the neck, wrists, back, eyes, shoulders, etc. But it also leads to injuries that experts may not have considered, such as trips and falls over the printer cord, lacerations from the sharp corners of a CPU or bruised toes from dropping laptops on feet.
Accidents like these happen more often than you think. According to a study published in the July issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine — the first to tally acute computer-caused injuries like cuts and bruises — 9,300 Americans suffer such mishaps each year. Based on data from some 100 hospital emergency rooms across the country from 1994 to 2006, the study found that 78,703 people sustained injuries ranging from scrapes and bruises to contusions and torn muscles during the 13-year study period. (Watch a video about dropping your laptop from 3 ft. off the ground.)
In part, the high rate of injury reflects the sheer increase in household computer ownership, which jumped 309% over the same period. But computer exposure and injuries hardly rose in lockstep: injuries far outpaced ownership, growing 732% from 1994 to 2006.
“I found that to be really astounding,” says study co-author Lara McKenzie, assistant professor of pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Center for Injury Research and Policy. “We never see increases like that, and we look at consumer products all the time.”
The study showed that the majority of computer-related injuries — 93% — happened at home. In all age groups, the most frequently diagnosed injury was laceration, making up 39% of cases. For adults, the leading cause of injury was hitting or getting caught on a part of a computer (37% of cases). Falling computer equipment accounted for 21% of cases, the second highest cause of injury, and among adults, hands, feet, arms and legs were the most frequently wounded parts of the body, making up 57% of all injuries. (See pictures of vintage computers.)
In cases where there were available data on the type of activity that led to injury, researchers found the most common way adults hurt themselves — 50% of incidents — was while moving the computer or one of its components, defined by the researchers as anything from a mouse or keyboard to a scanner or piece of computer furniture. Children, on the other hand, got hurt most often by climbing on or playing near computer equipment. Injuries among small children accounted for a disproportionate number of all accidents, which most concerned the study’s authors. “Children under age 5 had the highest overall injury rates, as well as the highest injury-rate increase of any age group,” says McKenzie.
In the analysis of people ages 1 month to 89 years, children under 5 suffered 13.4% of all injuries. Also among this age group, 76% of all recorded incidents involved head injuries, which was five times the figure for adults. Children ages 5 to 9 fared somewhat better, with 62% of accidents resulting in head injuries.
Why the big increase in computer-related wounds? One explanation is that more households not only have computers but also have multiple computers and, therefore, multiple opportunities for injury. Another theory suggested by the researchers is that the democratization of computer access — as equipment has gotten cheaper — has resulted in increased ownership by new computer users or by people with less education in using the technology, who may be more prone to accidents and misuse. Whatever the root cause of the rise in injuries, it bears noting that the study data accounted only for injuries serious enough to require a visit to an emergency room. There may be many more injuries that were not reported to health officials.
The good news is that at least from 2003 to 2006, the study found that the rate of technology-related injuries seemed to be leveling off. That timing, researchers point out, coincided with the introduction of thinner, lighter liquid crystal display (LCD) and cathode-ray tube (CRT) monitors.
McKenzie’s study was designed to inform the debate about the establishment of official safety standards for home offices. She hopes the results will kick-start efforts to address the issue — similar to previous efforts to reduce television-set-related injuries — beginning with some practical safety tips. The Center for Injury Research and Policy has a helpful fact sheet that outlines common-sense computer safety, and McKenzie offers a few simple pointers as well: “Keep computer equipment away from the edges of desks. Organize cords and keep them out of the way. Anchor furniture and heavy computer components to the wall or to the floor.” And when you’re moving your computer, “check that the path is clear,” she says, adding with a sigh, “So many people fell while they were carrying the computer.”
Read more: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1903642,00.html#ixzz1lHKBPgMq
Treatment of Neurological Disorders with Acupuncture
By: Acufinder Staff Writer
A neurological disorder refers to a problem with the nervous system, which is a complex, sophisticated system that regulates and coordinates the body’s activities. Nerve pain can arise from trauma, inflammation, stroke, disease, infection, nerve degeneration, exposure to toxic chemicals, and nutrient deficiencies.
Nerve pain is usually a sharp shooting pain or a constant burning sensation. Typically occurring in the same location with each episode, it can often be traced along the nerve pathway. Sometimes weakness or impaired function in the affected area occurs and the skin may be either overly sensitive or numb.
Some common neurological disorders acupuncture treats include:
Peripheral Neuropathy – damage to the peripheral nervous system, which transmits information from the brain and spinal cord to every other part of the body. Neuropathy caused by diabetes often affects the feet.
Trigeminal Neuralgia – facial pain, sometimes called Tic Douloureux, affects the trigeminal nerve which is responsible for impulses of touch, pain, pressure and temperature sent to the brain from the face, jaw, and gums.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – also known as median nerve entrapment, it occurs when swelling or irritation of the nerve or tendons in the carpal tunnel results in pressure on the median nerve.
Headaches – Headaches that can be treated with acupuncture include migraines, tension headaches, headaches occurring around the menstrual cycle, sinus headaches and stress-related headaches.
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine have been found effective as a conjunctive therapy for neurological disorders and in treating pain and inflammation. Visit Glow Acupuncture & Wellness Center today to learn more about how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be integrated into your neurological health plan!
Read more about acupuncture and Oriental medicine for neurological disorders:
(NaturalNews) Sooner or later, we all get headaches. Usually, we tend to shut down the pain by taking an over-the-counter drug. Drugs are usually pretty good at removing pain, but they do not address the root cause of the problem and often cause unwanted side effects. Pain is actually very important because it is one way our body communicates a problem with us. By taking a drug to remove the pain, we only dull our senses. However, if we take the time to learn the language of our bodies, we can understand what the causes of our headaches are and address them directly. This is by far the healthiest course of action.
In the case of tension headaches, the culprit is usually tension in the upper back, shoulder and neck muscles. Here are six simple steps that will reduce or remove the pain associated with tension headaches:
1) To start, take yourself away from the computer screen, get comfortable and close your eyes gently. Take a deep breath and let out a long and relaxing sigh as you drop and relax your shoulders. Repeat this 3-4 times or as many times as you like.
2) Use your focus to release the tension in your upper body. Start with your face – take a few seconds to release all muscular tension and completely relax. Then move in a general backwards direction, continuing at the top of your head and then moving to the back of your head. Follow with your neck and finally your shoulders and upper back. Allow a few moments to completely relax each area.
3) Locate acupuncture point GB-20 on either side of the spine on the back of your neck just under the edge of your skull. Press firmly and deeply with your thumbs for about 1 or 2 minutes while keeping your breath gentle, deep and relaxed.
4) Put your hand on the back of your neck. Use four fingers on one side and the heel of your palm on the other side to grasp your neck. Start at the top of your neck and work your way down. Use firm pressure to grasp and then release the muscles a few times before moving down about a finger width and repeating. Massage all the way to the base of your neck about 5-10 times or until your hand gets tired, then switch hands and repeat.
5) Locate Acupuncture point GB-21 on the top of your shoulders half way from your spine to the outer edge of your shoulder. With the same “grasping” technique as #2, massage the muscle at GB-21 with the opposite hand for about 30 seconds to one minute. It will feel quite tender and sore since the muscles may be very tense. During the massage stay relaxed with soft and deep breathing. Switch sides and repeat.
6) Roll your shoulders in large slow circles to stretch and relax any tension that may be left in your shoulders and upper back. Roll them 5 -10 times in each direction while you keep your breathing even and relaxed. To finish, roll your head very gently around in a circle 5-10 times and then switch directions.
At this point, your tension headache should be either reduced or gone. If it is not, wait a few minutes and try again. However, this time do each step for twice as long and make sure to breathe in a deep but relaxed manner. Put an effort into becoming aware of any tension that you may be unknowingly holding in your body and let it go.
Deadman, Peter (1998) A Manual of Acupuncture. England, Journal of Chinese Medicine.
Xiangcai, Xu (2002) Chinese Tui Na Massage. Boston, YMAA Publication.
Yang, Jwing-Ming (1989) The Root of Chinese Qigong. Boston, YMAA Publication.
About the author
Dave Gabriele, D.Ac, BA, is a registered acupuncturist, a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine and a health researcher helping people in and around the Greater Toronto Area. He is the founder of Life Balance Family Health Care (www.balanceyourlife.ca), an organization committed to providing people with the information and guidance they need to make positive lifestyle changes. Dave has been a teacher of Chinese martial arts since 1997, including the arts of Taiji and Qigong.
Image Posted on Updated on
In 1990, the Director General of the World Health
Organisation proclaimed to an international gathering
that – “Auricular acupuncture is probably the most
developed and best documented, scientifically, of all
the microsystems of acupuncture and is the most
practical and widely used.”
Auricular acupuncture, or ear acupuncture as it is more commonly known, is similar to body acupuncture but with ear acupuncture stimulation is only to the external ear. It is a method of treating a variety of physiological and psychological health problems by the stimulation of certain acupuncture points on the external ear.
Classical body acupuncture is thought to have been originally discovered in China over 5000 years ago; ear acupuncture was also thought to have been discovered in China around the same time, however it has been, until fairly recently, a poor relation of classical body acupuncture. It was the French Physician from Lyon in France, the late Dr Paul Nogier, in the 1950’s after seeing one of his patients cured of sciatic back pain with the use of ear acupuncture, who then began to research and develop modern ear acupuncture, and carried on researching and refining the therapy for over 40 years until his recent death in the late 1990’s. In fact his work is so well regarded that the Chinese refer to him as the Father of modern Ear Acupuncture.
Dr Nogier’s research indicated that there are over 100 or so separate acupuncture points on the external ear and that when these points are stimulated they are believed to influence the various organs and systems in the body. Nogier discovered that the position of the ear points and zones were approximately in the position of an upside down foetus, super-imposed on the external ear, with the head located around the lobe of the ear. His research also indicated that every part of the body has its own representative acupuncture point on the external ear, and that stimulation one of these points can influence the corresponding organ linked to that particular ear point.
The Chinese version of ear acupuncture is still based on the traditional Chinese medicine model, whereas the western Nogier version is based more on a western scientific format.
HOW ACUPUNCTURE WORKS
There is still a great deal to learn about how acupuncture achieves its therapeutic effect. Some people dismiss acupuncture’s therapeutic action as being due to a placebo effect – the client believes it will work and so it works. This is too simplistic because acupuncture has been successfully used to treat animals who are not affected by the placebo response. Even the USA’s conservative National Institutes of Health has reviewed existing acupuncture studies and concluded that people who receive acupuncture actually undergo physiological and biochemical changes that are not just produced by a placebo response. The effects of acupuncture have been shown to be brought about through the nervous system. The external ear itself is richly supplied by nerve endings which are linked to the brain and other organs via the central nervous system and so stimulation of these nerve endings is thought to influence the relevant organ being stimulated. Every organ has a nerve supply which can either speed up or slow down the functions of that particular organ, and due to a variety of factors like chronic stress, these organs can become over stimulated or understimulated. It is known that acupuncture causes the release of many potent, morphine like, pain relieving chemicals called endorphins, which are drop for drop more powerful than morphine, and the neurotransmitter serotonin which affects mood.
Perhaps the best explanation to date for how acupuncture works is by Fara Begum-Beig, formerly a biochemist who worked at the Medical Research Council’s Neuroendocrinology Unit at Newcastle-upon Tyne, who suggested the following explaination for the effects of reflexology but which is equally applicable to acupuncture:-
“From the work I did in the field of neuroactive chemicals and their effects on the brain, I feel it is also possible that pressing reflex points stimulates the subcutaneous nerve endings which then cause the brain to release certain pain and mood mediating chemicals. These chemicals include endorphins, enkephalins, and neuroactive amino acids such as glycine, glutamine, and GABA, all of which act upon different tissues and parts of the body and affect its response to stress and discomfort.”
It may seem strange that stimulating certain areas on the body or ear with acupuncture can help to restore health, however if it were not successful at restoring health it would not have survived the 5000 years that it has. Perhaps the final word should be left to the people who use acupuncture. According to a survey of 20,000 people by the consumer association WHICH magazine, acupuncture is the fourth most popular treatment among the different complementary therapies. Over 80% of those who received acupuncture reported that they had benefitted from the treatment.
METHODS OF ACUPUNCTURE STIMULATION
Many people think that acupuncture needles are the only method of giving acupuncture treatment and for many the thought of having needles stuck in to them can put them off having treatment. However needles do not have to be used, there are other non-needle methods available for stimulating ear acupuncture points – such as:-
2. Low powered lasers
4. Electronic stimulation
So if you do have a fear of needles it need not preclude you from having acupuncture therapy.
CONDITIONS HELPED BY ACUPUNCTURE
Acupuncture is thought of by many people as being a treatment for pain and addictions, which it is, but pain is not the only condition that ear acupuncture can help. It can be of help in a wide range of psychological and physiological health problems. Like any other therapy acupuncture is not a panacea for all ills but it is worth trying a course of ear acupuncture treatment for any health problem that you have, providing you have been to your doctor and have received a diagnosis for your problem. Ear acupuncture certainly cannot cure all diseases, for example Multiple Sclerosis, but that doesn’t mean it is not of therapeutic value in treating such problems; it can help to manage the disease symptoms and the anxiety and depression that can so often accompany many chronic illnesses, as well as improving the person’s quality of life. It is important to realise that ear acupuncture is an aid and should not be used in isolation, it is vital to also consume a healthy diet, take regular, gentle exercise, use talking therapies and deal with any chronic stress or psychological problems.
It has been said that every disease which is physiologically reversible can be treated by acupuncture.
ANXIETY AND ACUPUNCTURE
Research has indicated that acupuncture can be of therapeutic value in the management of stress, anxiety, depression and associated health problems. It is far from being a panacea for all ills and should not be used as an alternative to orthodox, psychological treatment techniques like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and lifestyle changes where indicated. Psycholoical health problems like anxiety and depression are thought to be due among other factors, to low levels of mood enhancing brain chemicals called dopamine, noradrenaline, serotonin and GABA. Research has indicated that acupuncture can help to boost these mood lifting chemicals. Research has also indicatated that acupuncture can influence the sympathetic nerve activity and so lower stress. Excess stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system by chronic stress is known to cause the chronic excess release of stress hormones like cortisol which can interfere with brain chemicals like serotonin and other mood enhancing chemicals and leave us more vulnerable to stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and other related problems. Further research has indicated that when our levels of serotonin fall, this makes our sympathetic nervous system more sensitive and more easily triggerd by stress.
Acupuncture also induces relaxation. Professor Pierre Huard, of the Medical Faculty in Paris, says that acupuncture also has the same effect as tranquilizer medication in treating anxiety, insomnia and nervous disorders.
Finally, research published in the Traditional Chinese Medical Journal has indicated that acupuncture can cause a decrease in delta brain waves and increases in fast alpha brain waves that are associated with relaxation.
DEPRESSION AND ACUPUNCTURE
Clinical depression is thought to be caused by (among other factors) low levels of certain brain chemicals like noradrenaline and serotonin. Serotonin and noradrenaline are mood enhancers. Acupuncture has been shown to boost serotonin levels. Clinical depression can be due to chronic excess stress, and acupuncture has been shown to reduce stress and induce relaxation. Acupuncture should not be seen as an alternative treatment to the talking therapies, but used as complemntary to it.
There have been numerous studies published which indicate that acupuncture can be of help in the management of clinical depression. For example one group of researchers at the University of Arizona in the USA found that acupuncture seemed to be as effective as antidepressant medication or psychotherapy. In yet a further study published in the Journal of Psychological Science, a group of women suffering clinical depression were treated with either acupuncture or no treatment, for 8 weeks. Not only did 64% of those receiving acupuncture say their symptoms had disappeared, but also the remission rate of those receiving the acupuncture was nearly double that of those receiving no specific treatment.
Chronic anxiety and depression are potentially serious psychological illnesses and must under no circumstances be treated lightly. It is vital that you get professional help from you GP and not delay seeing him by having complementary therapy first. As well as the conventional treatment that he can offer, he can also rule out physical causes such as thyroid dysfunction.
Inform your Ear Acupuncturist if you:-
1. Are pregnant or think you may be pregnant
2. Have a cardiac pacemaker
3. Have a cochlea ear implant
4. Have epilepsy.
5. Have had rheumatic heart disease.
6. Are immune suppressed
7. Have a blood clotting problem
8. Have hepatitis or HIV
9. Have a heart rhythm problem.
You must also ensure that you are eating a healthy diet, taking regular exercise, practising stress management techniques and if needed, receiving one of the talking therapies, plus any medication that may be necessary. If you do not alter your diet etc, this will reduce the effectiveness of the treatment.
1. Alternatives in Health Vol 3, issue 3.
2. Bensoussan A (1991) The Vital Meridian: A Modern Exploration of Acupuncture, Churchill Livingstone.
3. Bradford N (1995) Pain Relief in Childbirth.
4. Chaitow L (1990) The Acupuncture Treatment of Pain, Healing Arts Press.
5. Health and Fitness, February 1999.
6. Kenyon J.N. (1983), Modern Techniques of Acupuncture: A Practical Guide to Electroacupuncture, Vol 2, Thorsons.
7. Kropjei H (1991) The Fundementals of Ear Acupuncture, Karl F Haug.
8. Needham J (1980) Celestial Lancets. Cambridge University Press.
9. Nogier P (1998) Handbook to Auriculotherapy, Maisonneuve.
10. Oftedal Wensel L (1994) Acupuncture in Medical Practice. The East Asia Company.
11. Oleson T (1998) Auriculotherapy Manual: Chinese and Western Systems of Ear Acupuncture, Health Care Alternatives.
12. Stux G and Pomeranz B (1987) Acupuncturist Textbook, An Atlas, Springer Verlag.
13. Stux G and Pomeranz B (1997) Basics of Acupuncture, Springer Verlag.
14. Traditional Chinese Medicine (1994) 14: 14-18, quoted in Proof, Autumn 1997.
15. Wexu M (1975) The Ear: Gateway to Balancing the Body, a Modern Guide to Ear Acupuncture.
16. Xinghua B (1996) Acupuncture in Midwifery: Books for Midwives Press.
17. Yelland S (1996) Acupuncture in Clinical Practice, Churchill Livingstone.
Seasonal Changes Affect the Body’s Environment. When the hot days of summer give way to cooler temperatures, and the first windy and rainy days roll in, we become more susceptible to colds, flu and aches and pains – especially if we’ve forgotten to take a jacket or sweater to work with us.
Acupuncture for Prevention
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can prevent colds and flu by building up the immune system with just a few needles inserted into key points along the body’s energy pathways. These points are known for strengthening the circulation of blood and energy and for consolidating the outer defense layers of the skin and muscle so that germs and viruses cannot enter through them. Seasonal treatments just four times a year also serve to tonify the inner organ systems and can correct minor annoyances before they become serious problems. The ultra- thin needles don’t hurt and are inserted just under the skin. The practitioner may twist or “stimulate” them once or twice and they are removed within ten to twenty minutes.
There is a one thousand year old Chinese herbal formula that forms a handy complement to these immune-boosting treatments and it is elegantly entitled The Jade Windscreen Formula. It is made up of just three herbs: Radix Astragalus, Atractylodis Macrocephalae, and Radix Ledebouriellae. These three powerful herbs combine together to tonify the immune system, strengthen the digestive system (so that we can be sure to gain the nutrients from our food), and fortify the exterior of the body so that we can fight off wind-borne viruses and bacteria. This handy formula which comes in pill, capsule or liquid form can be taken for a few days each month to stave off colds or flu or when there’s been a challenging work-load, or perhaps some loss of sleep.
Get Better Faster
If you’ve already happened to catch that cold, acupuncture and herbal medicine can also help with the chills, sniffles, sore throat or fever in a safe, non-toxic way that doesn’t ‘t bombard your body with harmful antibiotics.
Acupuncture and herbal medicine has been around for over 1000 years and recently many Americans have begun to enjoy the healthful and calming benefits it has to offer. Besides colds and flu, acupuncture treats various other conditions , including arthritis and pain, digestive difficulties, men’s and women’s reproductive health problems as well as mild to moderate psychological disturbances. Acupuncture helps balance the major systems of the body including the hormonal, endocrine and nervous systems and is excellent for stress and insomnia.
Acupuncture does not interfere with Western medical treatment. On the contrary, it provides a welcome complement to it in most cases, and with its emphasis on treating the whole person, recovery time for illness is often shortened.
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine is an art and a science that takes years to master. Look for an acupuncturist with experience in the treatment of colds and flus on www.Acufinder.com.
Thanksgiving and Acupuncture: The Role of Chinese Medicine in Prevention
As we are about to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday here in Canada, we have the opportunity to be thankful for friends, family, and much more. And for many of us we are thankful for the gift of health – or at least the gift of being alive! But what does it mean to be “healthy”? Is it simply the absence of serious illness or is there much more to the concept of being “well”? And what is your role in fostering this wellness?
An aspect of Chinese Medicine which does not get the coverage it should is its role in the prevention of disease. As with many acupuncturists, I find the majority of people come in for treatment after they have tried many western medicine options – and often after other alternatives as well. With acupuncture and its uses, being one of the more poorly understood medical systems amongst the general public and the western medical community, this is not surprising. What it means, however, is that your conditions have had more time to develop and, often, worsen.
While Chinese Medicine can be used to treat nearly any condition at any stage, it excels in many ways at treating conditions before they begin to develop. Some of the reasons acupuncture can be useful in complex conditions with varying symptoms like Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, and various neurological conditions is that it doesn’t treat the “condition” per se, but the “pattern” that is behind its development. The patterns in Chinese Medicine look at your entire range of signs and symptoms even those that seem unrelated to your main complaint. Through treating a pattern instead of a condition your main complaint will improve along with all of the issues surrounding and preceding it.
Due to these diagnostic tools, Chinese Medicine can treat conditions before they arise – before the point that you would be able to provide a western diagnosis. This is often illustrated to patients when we work backwards through their medical history and can begin to see the formation of their current issues. In fact, the healing process of many conditions often goes through stages which are similar to the development of their current condition.
Often times as I am discussing acupuncture with other people they will say things like “I’d love to try it, but there is nothing wrong with me”, or more simply, “I’m fine”. What they usually mean is that they don’t have a “condition”. Everyone realizes that they have some issues, pains that come and go, sleep that is better or worse at times, moods that go up and down — nothing serious, just relatively minor issues.
From a Chinese Medicine perspective, however, those minor issues are plenty to work with and often when people come in just for “stress” or “relaxation” they find that other issues change – some they were not really aware of, or didn’t really think too much about. Some people think it’s normal to have a headache once a week, or not sleep well a couple nights a week, or to have bad menstrual cramps every month, etc. These minor issues, however, speak to our own personal view of what it means to be “well”.
In Chinese history there are stories where the village doctor was only paid when all of the villagers were “well”. So if people were sick the doctor would not be paid until they were better. If the villagers were continually sick then the doctor would most likely be out of a job at some point! What a different viewpoint to look at the role of medicine in our lives and our use for it on our path to wellness.
From a wellness point of view there are always avenues of improvement – some in ways that people don’t often think about. When you wake up do you need coffee to get going or do you feel well and rested, is your energy stable throughout the day, are your moods appropriate and balanced, when you eat do you enjoy it and feel well afterwards or do you have a variety of symptoms like heartburn, bloating, etc. They are minor issues now and may continue to be so for quite some time. But all of these and more are treatable at this point and treatment will stop these imbalances before they become deeper patterns in your body and ultimately conditions that can be given a western diagnosis.
Of course, these arguments also hold true for living well now with our emotions, diets, lifestyles – all aspects of our lives and doing what we can to improve those. We do not know what the future holds for us, so it is better to do what we can now when times are relatively easy and things are going well for us than when we are sick and will have a hard time to do what is necessary to help us heal. Acupuncture is but one part of this equation, but its use in relatively good times can greatly increase the chances that your wellness continues and that your experience of what it means to be well becomes more of an upward moving target than simply the absence of illness. Now, then, is the time to work on whatever issues you have and work towards higher states of wellness.
Submitted by Chad Dupuis Yin Yang House
In Part 1 we learned why autumn is a great time to work on getting healthier in the lungs and large intestine, and a few tips on how to do it. In today’s follow up post, we’ll find out even more ways to stay healthy when the leaves begin to fall.
Dr. Elson Haas in Staying Healthy with the Seasons uses a holistic approach and suggests we can use autumn’s characteristics to boost our immune systems. The following is merely a synopsis so if any of it resonates with you, the book would definitely be a good investment!
A week-long juice cleanse in early to mid-autumn will give us a boost of energy and eliminate any potential illnesses we’ve stored away by flushing out excesses or by improving organ functions.
Since this is harvest time, we’ve got a plethora of fruits and veggies to choose from, including the Master Cleanse recipe (lemon juice, cayenne pepper and organic maple syrup). Apples, pears and grapes are in season, and Doc Haas even suggests eating only grapes for a week coupled with a daily lemonade if the juices are too sweet.
Also, try a teaspoon of cold-pressed olive oil twice daily, as well as one cup of an herbal laxative tea (see below for some choices) on rising and before bed to keep the intestines moving.
With an internal cleanse, we might want to pay some attention to facilitating the cleansing process. Dr. Haas says to:
- Brush our teeth and tongue (there will be more coating during a cleanse), and to floss regularly.
- Bathe daily and brush our skin with a loofa sponge or skin brush to remove dead skin cells and to stimulate the clearing of toxins.
- Exercise, with a good sweat, is beneficial to cleansing before bathing.
- At the end of bath or shower, use cold water to close the skin pores and prevent heat loss and vulnerability to colds, as well as stimulate skin circulation.
This plant and herb is a lung aid that also facilitates cleansing and healing; it’s been used for centuries by many cultures as a food and medicine for a variety of ailments. The health benefits of garlic deserves its own post, so for now, Dr. Haas says if it’s eaten regularly, it can help prevent colds, flus and other infections.
Try taking a couple of cloves a day, pressed into water or juice (it’s so potent it needs to be diluted), or as garlic capsules, taking two twice daily. Chewing parsley will help balance the strong breath odour. When your body begins to eliminate garlic odor through the skin, it’s said this is when you’ve had enough.
I’ve tried a few of the interesting recipes found in Staying Healthy with the Seasons (like this tonic made with garlic), yet one of the best has to be garlic olive oil!
- Peel and chop enough cloves to fill a half of a quart jar.
- Cover the cloves with cold-pressed olive oil to about one or two inches above the garlic and place in a sunlit window for five to seven days, shaking once daily.
- Strain it well through cheese cloth, and you have strong smelling garlic oil.
The soaked cloves can be refrigerated and used in cooking. The garlic oil will last for months and can be used both internally (like on salads) and externally (like rubbing it on a congested chest or even on the soles of the feet to prevent or remedy early colds)!
This autumn cleansing tip is controversial but Dr. Haas is a believer in its benefits. He says,
Many doctors have stated that constipation is one of the main causes of disease, and I feel that aging and death may well begin in the colon… Constipation can create a backup of toxicity through the body, and affect the muscular or nervous system, creating tensions and exhaustion.
Colon hydrotherapy is a non-toxic method of cleansing the large intestine and has been used for thousands of years as a natural internal bath. Before today’s machines, it was done by entering a river or lake and using a hollow reed or bamboo tube to allow water to enter the rectum.
This section alone is worth the cost of the book! Meditation is a deep subject and Dr. Haas does a fantastic job in explaining the mind’s potential and using meditation to develop the different parts of our brain for better functioning.
For instance, he talks about how the bimodal character of our brain is crucial to how we experience life. One mode is active, thinking, time-oriented, and attempts to organize and manipulate our world. The other is receptive, sensing, timeless, and perceives and understands our external and internal environment without judgement.
Meditation is a practice which helps expand awareness and moves us to a new balance, which is neither active or receptive. It takes us to the center to experience both of these realms and has been used over the centuries to enhance sensory awareness and alter perception of the environment and oneself. Haas says,
It is important to staying healthy as it facilitates a greater communication between our inner and outer worlds, and allows a deep state of rest and rejuvenation. Physiologically, meditation lowers the respiratory rate, increases the frequency of alpha brain waves, and facilitates muscular relaxation.
Try setting aside 15 to 30 minutes once or twice a day for quiet conscious relaxation and clearing your mind of old and congested thoughts. Many people like to do this in the morning to set their day off right. Just avoid meditating on a full stomach.
Haas even hints that meditation will strengthen our will power: “You may learn how to guide your energies rather than being controlled by your impulses.”
Another fascinating section of this chapter in Staying Healthy with the Seasons, Dr. Haas says that drugs can be helpful but should be reserved as a last resort because they all affect our physical, mental, and emotional states. The use of drugs as medicines is part of the same picture as using drugs to alter psychological states.
He suggests that therapeutic options should be:
- Lifestyle changes first
- Natural therapies second
- Drugs last
Short-term use of any drug may lead to weakened resistance to illness and more vulnerable to colds, flus, hepatitis, lung and skin problems. Long-range effects help create many of the degenerating and chronic diseases through toxin build up in the body, and by weakening specific organs and systems.
Haas says it’s time to break the patterns of relying on drugs (including sugar as a stimulant!) to make us feel better:
Understanding your natural cycles will help you see the importance of creating healthier bodies by the use of good foods, exercise, and eliminating toxins in your life. Pleasure drugs are a lazy way to alter and control your energy. And the body will not be able to re-experience this relaxed or stimulated state without drugs unless you take the time to tune your machine to its most healthful state.
If you have habits or addictions you’d like to overcome, it’s helpful to change other aspects of your life, such as diet, exercise and attitudes. (And as we learned, meditation may also help strengthen your mind and resolve for change!)
After the week-long juice fast (or, in my case, I just started a month-long mini-cleanse), an autumn diet is a bit heavier and builds on the late summer diet. For meat eaters, this means more meats and dairy products. For vegetarians, autumn requires an increase in grains, nuts, beans and seeds, and eggs and dairy if used.
Although we need these heat-producing foods to combat the colder weather, too many congesting foods (or simply overeating) tends to keep our internal state at the level of physical sensations and indulgences.
How do we know how much of what to choose?
Dr. Haas says diets are totally individual and related to personal character, activity and to the climate in which you live. We must listen to our bodies for clues as to its preferences. This Food Balance Breakdown might help when choosing certain food types, combinations and proportions:
- Builders: Animal proteins and beans
- Cleansers: Fruits and vegetables
- Congestors: Sweets, cheese and breads
- Lubricators: Nuts, seeds, and their oils
While there are less fruits available in the autumn, an abundance of veggies helps us balance out our diets.
The longer nights make the season and our energy more yin (quiet, inward and contracting) so Dr. Haas says we might want to concentrate on staying loose and relaxed:
Stretching, calisthenics, running, and hiking will all help. A strengthening program using weights and isometric exercises will build more muscles from your higher protein meals. Exercise keeps your weight in balance, too, with the heavier autumn diet. It is natural to gain a few pounds during autumn and winter, so turn some of it into muscle as well as a little fat to keep you warmer.
In the colder months, just as our energy turns inward, so does the energy in plants. To gain energy in autumn and winter for us, we use root herbs. Dr. Haas suggests quite a few herbs, mainly those that facilitate cleansing in the lungs, skin and large intestine.
For instance, burdock root and comfrey root can both be used as tonics, the former for skin disorders and the latter for intestinal lining, mucous membranes and the lungs. He also suggests simmering fresh ginger root for 15-20 minutes (which I do regularly since reading this book) for more body heat and clearer lungs.
To tone and clear out the intestine, casara sagrada is an effective laxative and tonic. So is licorice root and oregon root.
Dr. Haas imparts a wealth of knowledge and many more tips in his chapter on staying healthy in autumn. Try these out and when you’re ready, get the book so you can stay healthy throughout the year!
Are you doing an autumn cleanse or juice fast? I’ve got ginger, pumpkin, squash, olive oil and garlic so far on my shopping list for this week!
Yin and yang
Yin and yang are ancient Chinese concepts which can be traced back to the Shang dynasty (1600-1100 BC). They represent two abstractand complementary aspects every phenomenon in the universe can be divided into. Primordial analogies for these aspects are the sun-facing (yang) and the shady (yin) side of a hill. Two other commonly used representational allegories of yin and yang are water and fire. In yin-yang theory, detailed attributions are made regarding the yin or yang character of things:
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The concept of yin and yang is also applicable to the human body; for example, the upper part of the body and the back are assigned to yang, while the lower part of the body are believed to have yin character.Yin and yang characterization also extends to the various body functions, and – more importantly – to disease symptoms (e.g., cold and heat sensations are assumed to be yin and yang symptoms, respectively).Thus, yin and yang of the body are seen as phenomena whose lack (or overabundance) comes with characteristic symptom combinations:
- Yin vacuity (also termed “vacuity-heat”): heat sensations, possible night sweats, insomnia, dry pharynx, dry mouth, dark urine, a red tongue with scant fur, and a “fine” and rapid pulse.
- Yang vacuity (“vacuity-cold”): aversion to cold, cold limbs, bright white complexion, long voidings of clear urine, diarrhea, pale and enlarged tongue, and a slightly weak, slow and fine pulse.
TCM also identifies drugs believed to treat these specific symptom combinations, i.e., to reinforce yin and yang.