Glow Acupuncture and Wellness Center

Cultivate Optimal Endocrine Health

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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

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Treating Anxiety with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

If you suffer from anxiety or panic attacks, you’re very familiar with the symptoms—heart palpitations or the sensation of a racing heart, chest tightness, numbness and tingling in your hands and feet, feeling light headed, shortness of breath, and the general feeling of fear, or that you might die right now.

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

Ergonomics At The Office

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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

5 Ways Acupuncture Creates Lasting New Year’s Resolutions

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5 Ways Acupuncture Creates Lasting New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Rejuvenation

It is the beginning of a new year and, once again, a time to reflect on what changes we can make to improve our lives. If you are intent on improving your health this year, acupuncture and Chinese medicine may be the very thing you need to “stick” to those resolutions.

Here’s how acupuncture can help you achieve your goals:

Resolution 1: Reach Target Weight and Stay There

Losing weight is the #1 most common New Year’s Resolution. Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine can help you reach your goal weight and maintain it by promoting better digestion, smoothing emotions, reducing appetite, improving metabolism, and eliminating food cravings.

From an Oriental medicine perspective, the acupuncture points, foods and herbs that are chosen to assist with weight loss directly influence the Qi of the Spleen and Liver systems to treat the root imbalances that are causing the weight gain.

From a Western perspective, acupuncture and Oriental medicine have been shown to have an effect on the function of the nervous system, endocrine system, digestive system, food cravings, and metabolism. All of which can help to energize the body, maximize the absorption of nutrients, regulate elimination, control overeating, suppress the appetite, and reduce anxiety.

The beauty of acupuncture is that each treatment is catered to the needs of the individual patient. Acupuncture points on the body will be chosen for overall well being with the objective of increasing circulation of the blood and Qi (stimulating the metabolism) and calming the nervous system.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine are powerful tools for healthy weight loss, by themselves or as a supportive treatment in conjunction with other weight management programs.

Resolution 2: Stay Sharp

Your New Year’s resolution may be to learn a new language or take a class at your local college. However you choose to exercise your brain, acupuncture can help. Numerous studies suggest that acupuncture can help improve memory, mental clarity, concentration and cognitive function.

One recently published study (see below) shows how acupuncture can be used to treat memory impairment induced by diabetes and cerebral ischemia. Other studies have looked at how acupuncture affects the performance of students during an exam, post-menopausal “brain fog”, Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. All results, thus far, have been positive.

Resolution 3: Relieve Pain Naturally

If pain is keeping you from living your life to the fullest, acupuncture can help.  Increasingly, people are looking for more natural approaches to help relieve painful conditions instead of relying on medications. Acupuncture has no side effects and can be helpful for all types of pain, regardless of what is causing the pain or where the pain is located. Some studies have shown the pain relief it provides can last for months.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain before and after acupuncture treatment for pain shows dramatic decreases in activity in the pain centers of the brain – up to 70%.

In addition to reducing pain, acupuncture also hastens the healing process by increasing circulation and attracting white blood cells to an injured area.

Resolution 4: Quit Smoking

Acupuncture has turned a growing number of cigarette cravers into permanent ex-smokers. In fact, researchers say that acupuncture is a promising treatment for all types of addiction from cigarettes to heroin.

In one study, a team from Yale University successfully used auricular (ear) acupuncture to treat cocaine addiction. Results showed that 54.8% of participants tested free of cocaine during the last week of treatment, compared to 23.5% and 9.1% in the two control groups. Those who completed acupuncture treatment also had longer periods of sustained abstinence compared to participants in the control groups.

The acupuncture treatments for smoking cessation focus on jitters, cravings, irritability, and restlessness; symptoms that people commonly complain about when they quit. It also aids in relaxation and detoxification.

Resolution 5: Eliminate Stress

Stress reduction is always on the top ten list for New Year’s resolutions and for a good reason. Stress is often the cause of illness and the deterioration of health. Numerous studies have demonstrated the substantial benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of stress, anxiety and lowering blood pressure

In addition to acupuncture, Oriental medicine offers a whole gamut of tools and techniques that can be integrated into your life to keep stress in check. These tools include Tui Na, Qi Gong exercises, herbal medicine, dietary therapy, meditations and acupressure that you can administer at home.

Needless to say, if the stress in your life is throwing you off balance, consider coming in for a treatment to regain peace of mind and stay healthy.

Contact Sabeeha Kurji and Andrea Lamont to see how Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you with your New Year’s Resolutions!

By: Diane Joswick, L.Ac., MSOM

What is Myofascial Release?

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What is Myofascial Release?
presented by Tia Ramos RMT


Myofascial Release is a very effective hands-on technique that provides sustained pressure into myofascial restrictions to eliminate pain and restore motion. The theory of Myofascial Release requires an understanding of the fascial system (or connective tissue). The fascia is a specialized system of the body that has an appearance similar to a spider’s web or a sweater.

Fascia is very densely woven, covering and interpenetrating every muscle, bone, nerve, artery and vein as well as all of our internal organs including the heart, lungs, brain and spinal cord. The most interesting aspect of the fascial system is that it is not just a system of separate coverings. It is actually one structure that exists from head to foot without interruption. In this way you can begin to see that each part of the entire body is connected to every other part by the fascia, like the yarn in a sweater.

Fascia also plays an important role in the support of our bodies, since it surrounds and attaches to all structures. These structures would not be able to provide the stability without the constant pull of the fascial system. In fact, our bones can be thought of as tent poles, which cannot support the structure without the constant support of the guide wires (or fascia) to keep an adequate amount of tension to allow the tent (or body) to remain upright with proper equilibrium.

In the normal healthy state, the fascia is relaxed and wavy in configuration. It has the ability to stretch and move without restriction. When we experience physical trauma, scarring, or inflammation, however, the fascia loses its pliability. It becomes tight, restricted and a source of tension to the rest of the body. Trauma, such as a fall, whiplash, surgery or just habitual poor posture over time and repetitive stress injuries has a cumulative effects. The changes they cause in the fascial system influence comfort and the functioning of our body. The fascia can exert excessive pressure producing pain or restriction of motion. They affect our flexibility and stability, and are a determining factor in our ability to withstand stress and strain.

The use of Myofascial Release allows us to look at each patient as a unique individual. Our one-on-one therapy sessions are hands-on treatments during which our therapists use a multitude of Myofascial Release techniques and movement therapy. We promote independence through education in proper body mechanics and movement, through the enhancement of strength, flexibility, and postural and movement awareness.

Auricular Acupuncture

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Ear_Acupuncture.237142511_std

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:-

1. Pressure
2. Low powered lasers
3. Ultrasound
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.

CAUTIONS

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.

REFERENCES

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.

Thankful for Acupuncture and Herbs!

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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

Staying Healthy in Autumn: Part 2

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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!

Autumn Cleansing

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:

  1. Brush our teeth and tongue (there will be more coating during a cleanse), and to floss regularly.
  2. 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.
  3. Exercise, with a good sweat, is beneficial to cleansing before bathing.
  4. 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.

Garlic

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!

Garlic Oil

  1. Peel and chop enough cloves to fill a half of a quart jar.
  2. 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.
  3. 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)!

Colon Hydrotherapy

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.

Meditation

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.”

Drugs

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:

  1. Lifestyle changes first
  2. Natural therapies second
  3. 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.

Autumn Diet

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.

Exercise

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.

Herbs

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!

by Head Health Nutter

Featured Practitioner: Cody A. Cummings, RMT

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Cody graduated from the West Coast College of Massage Therapy, class of 2003, where he obtained a full spectrum of Massage Therapy assessment and treatment skills. Cody is currently completing year three of a five year program at the Canadian College of Osteopathy (www.osteopathie-canada.ca). In 2006, Cody became a certified yoga instructor (classical Hatha, Vinyassa and Power based practice.)

Cody’s current training (at the Canadian College of Osteopathy) is allowing him to further develop his assessment and treatment techniques and fine-tune his palpation skills, enabling him to be more specific and precise.

With the broader knowledge and spectrum of techniques Cody is adding to his practice, he aims to move closer to the truer causes of his clients’ symptoms. His treatments are a global approach to the body. Treatments involve a detailed interview/ history taking, orthopedic testing and assessment as well as the following;

  • Structural work, Myofascial release techniques, Muscle Energy Technique, osteo-articular techniques (joint mobilizations), and craniosacral techniques. To restructure and align, addressing holding patterns and improving overall function.
  • Therapeutic exercise for rehabilitation, health maintenance and injury prevention.
  • Pain and stress management, providing clients with tools to inhibit pain, and empowerment through self-observation.
  • Neural re-education techniques to improve kinesthetic and proprioceptive awareness.

Cody is eager and committed to applying his knowledge of yoga, Massage Therapy, and the knowledge he is acquiring in school, to instill self-empowerment and a pro-active attitude towards attaining and maintaining healthy and balanced life habits for his clients.

To learn more about Osteopahty here’s a link that Cody recommends. : http://www.alive.com/8013a20a2.php?subject_bread_cramb=8

The Spirits of the Points: The Large Intestine Meridian

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Acupuncture Today
October, 2011, Vol. 12, Issue 10

By Neil Gumenick, MAc (UK), LAc, Dipl. Ac

Each acupuncture point has a name, translated from classical Chinese calligraphy, which indicates the unique spiritual qualities of that point and the gift it is capable of delivering to the patient in need.

In Classical Five-Element Acupuncture, points are mostly chosen for their spiritual connotation from the patient’s causative factor meridians.

The causative factor is the one element of the five (fire, Earth, metal, water or wood) which is the primary imbalance and the root cause of the patient’s symptoms. The causative factor is determined by assessing the patient’s odor, color lateral to the eyes, sound of voice and emotional expression. These are the four major pillars of diagnosis. The patient’s symptoms may vary tremendously. Symptoms do not lead us to the causative factor, as once there is a primary imbalance in any of the five elements and their corresponding officials (organs/functions), the imbalance must affect the balance of all the rest. Thus, by the time patients come in for treatment, it is likely that they will be presenting symptoms in multiple elements and organs and all 12 pulses will be imbalanced. Our focus, therefore, is to identify, support, balance and harmonize the causative factor.

Once having determined the causative factor and having removed any and all energetic blocks, we can set about addressing the needs of the patient in body, mind and spirit. I emphasize that we can only reach the body, mind or spirit of a patient if there are no energetic blocks present. It is impossible for any spirit point to deliver its gift if the patient is blocked. Such blocks include possession, aggressive energy, a husband/wife imbalance or an entry/exit block between meridians. It is beyond the scope of this article to expound on these and a good deal of clinical experience and guidance is required to develop the sensory skills to detect them, but the question of a block must always be held in mind if a patient is not responding.

The vast majority of patients we see are imbalanced at the spirit level, regardless of the presence of physical symptoms. To truly and holistically heal, all levels must be addressed. To reach the spirit of a patient, we call upon the spirits of the points.

Reaching the Patient’s Core

I would like to discuss several points on the Large Intestine (Colon) meridian and their spiritual connotations and uses. The Large Intestine belongs to the element Metal, whose functions are, specifically, that of the Lung: receiving the pure qi from the heavens and the Colon and eliminating the waste. The Colon removes more than just the waste of the digestive process. It removes the waste of every organ and function, as well as mental and spiritual rubbish. If this official is doing its job, rubbish will not collect, stagnate and rot. There will not only be a clean body, but a clear mind – able to let go of old “baggage” of the past and take in new and fresh ideas. The patient also will manifest a clean, radiant spirit – able to be inspired, to inspire others and to live in the beauty of the eternal present. Just as metal gives value to the Earth in the form of minerals and trace elements, it gives us our sense of self worth. Keywords associated with the Metal element include: respect, awe, purity, honor, inspiration, value and quality.

The translations of the points that follow are those taught by my teacher of nearly 25 years, Professor J.R. Worsley. I have found, in more than three decades of practice, that these translations capture the essential meanings of the individual points and the context of the element in which they reside.

The meanings are as timeless as nature itself and as needed by today’s patients as those who received them thousands of years ago.

Large Intestine 1 Merchant Yang

Merchants know the value of things. Their success depends on their acquisition and sale or exchange of things people want and need, as well as the elimination of what is old, stale or unnecessary. A “yang” merchant is one who is vibrant and active. There will be no accumulation of rubbish in this merchant’s shop. What will be found there will be of the highest quality, impeccably fresh and clean.

Many patients have accumulated so much rubbish – physically, mentally and spiritually – that they have lost touch with what is innately pure, incorruptible and eternal. Using this point on the metal-imbalanced patient in such a state is akin to cleaning layers of debris from a stone and revealing a dazzling diamond beneath.

Large Intestine 4 Joining of the Valleys

Valleys are low-lying places between hills or mountains. When the rain comes or the snow melts, all the debris that had accumulated on the mountainside (e.g. dead leaves, twigs, fruit fallen from trees, organic waste) falls into these low places and are washed away to the sea. Some of the plant and animal waste will soak into the soil to fertilize and enrich the valleys, which will abound with life as a result. But, that which is toxic and of no use will be washed away. When many valleys are joined, they connect into one vast, cleansing flow from every mountainside – from every official and every level. Many metal imbalanced-patients seem unable to wash away the waste of their own bodies, minds or spirits. As debris collects, they may become physically constipated, but also cynical and negative, tending to see the worst in themselves, others and in life situations. This point, also known as “The Great Eliminator” has the ability to flush out the stale and toxic within, allowing for inspiration to occur.

Large Intestine 5 Yang Stream

A stream is a body of water, moving with a current, confined within banks. As such, it has a specific direction and flow. The yang aspect adds the qualities of warmth, light and activity. This is the fire point of the meridian. Fire controls metal by melting and softening, making it malleable. Like metal that has become cold and inert, many metal-imbalanced patients have become hard, immobile, unable to bend, attached to the past, holding on to shame, guilt and unworthiness. They become unable to let go of that which binds them. This point, used at the right time, encourages release – direct, active and with a good measure of humor, love and compassion – the warmth of fire. In many cultures, the ritual of baptism is a rite of purification – a symbolic washing away of that which defiles and compromises our perception of our true selves as pure, incorruptible spirit. Using this point is akin to immersing the patient in need in these divine cleansing waters.

Large Intestine 6 Side Passage

This point, the junction (or Luo/Connecting) point of the meridian used for its spiritual connotation can be used to prevent backup of waste as it is eliminated. It is rather like the cleaning out of an old closet where, on the way to the trash bins, the garbage is temporarily piled in the nearby hallway. Before long, the hallway becomes so filled with trash that it is jammed tight and nothing can pass through. What is needed is a “side passage,” providing another way out. It might happen that as we treat the Colon official and it begins its job of eliminating accumulated waste from every level that things get stuck. This point can be used with such patients to unclog the jam, reestablishing and reinforcing the movement and flow of elimination.

Large Intestine 11 Crooked Pond

This point, the Earth point of the meridian, brings the qualities of groundedness and stability to the process of elimination. Letting go can be a fearful prospect to a patient who has become identified with attachments of the past, old ways of thought, beliefs, opinions and assumptions. Being held securely in the loving arms of the mother, for many might be the best and most comforting encouragement for the letting go to occur.

The image of a pond again gives the image of water. One of water’s principal qualities is to cleanse. “Crooked” implies the ability to bend and move in different directions. All of the old waste must be cleansed in order to be mentally and spiritually free – not just that with which one is comfortable in eliminating. One cannot be truly free and still hold to those attachments to which one feels especially entitled or identified. It is like asserting, “I want enlightenment, but I want to hold on to my anger. I have a right to be angry. Damn right, I do!” True, perhaps, but in continuing to hold that old resentment, one is in a prison of one’s own making and freedom is but an idea, not a reality. “Crooked Pond” can reach those hard-to-reach places, smooth out sharp edges and help ease the way to rediscover the beauty and clarity within.


Click here for more information about Neil Gumenick, MAc (UK), LAc, Dipl. Ac.