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Archive for May, 2014

Acupuncture for High Blood Pressure

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As with all human health conditions, Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) views high blood pressure quite entirely different from that of western medicine. In order to have a healthy body and mind, TCM believes that the body needs to be in balance.  In essence the natural state of our body is a healthy body and any health issue or illness is due to some aspect in our body being in an imbalanced state. Thus it is the goal of TCM to bring the body back into balance to restore or attain good health. If not managed properly, high blood pressure can be a fatal condition. You can also view high blood pressure as your body’s warning to you to change certain aspects of your lifestyle.

In the United States, there has been an epidemic of high blood pressure for several years running. About a third of US citizens suffer from high blood pressure.

A person who has blood pressure reading of 140/90 mm Hg and above is considered to have high blood pressure. If your BP reading is around 120/80 mm Hg, you have a normal BP rate. Blood pressure is also called hypertension. High blood pressure is a sign that an individual has a high likelihood for getting heart attacks, stroke or heart disease.

Women are more prone to heart disease caused by high blood pressure in the US. In fact, heart disease is the primary cause of death for women in this country.  Individuals with hypertension are thrice more likely to die from heart disease and have quadruple the risk of dying from a stroke. These sad facts are somewhat alleviated by the fact that high blood pressure is within the ability of the individual to control.

Many factors can lead to a person’s hypertension.  One factor is stress. Other major factors include lack of exercise, smoking, age, genetics and diet. Changing some of these factors can help you better lower your blood pressure.  One of the first and most important changes you can do to control this disease is to lower your stress level. Allow some time for yourself where you can relax and enjoy even if it’s for five minutes. If you have hypertension, you need to care of your health first before anything else.

Eating a healthy diet can likewise substantially decrease hypertension. Minimize or if you can completely eat a salt-less diet. Although some studies may dispute the role salt plays in hypertension, minimizing your salt intake is one healthy tip to heed.

Some of the biggest factors in developing high blood pressure are eating greasy foods and carbohydrates. Acupuncturists state that hot, warm foods are believed to create heat in the body which can lead to the elevation of your blood pressure. They suggest eating cool foods such as mung beans, watermelon, green apples, cucumber, celery and greens instead.

Besides these nutritional recommendations, acupuncture and TCM practitioners also suggest Chinese herbal formulas which are prescribed based on the person’s symptoms and unique constitution. Herbal formulas are given to patients on a case–to-case basis. Some of the herbal remedies given to hypertensive patients include Ju Hua, Xia Ku Cau, Tian Ma, Luo Bu Ma Ye and Shan zha. The exact quantity and combination of these herbs can differ from patient to patient.

Acupuncture can treat dozens of different kinds of conditions including blood pressure. One of the most important things acupuncture can give a person is relaxation which can help relieve stress which is more often the underlying cause of the problem.  Acupuncture therapy involves the insertion of ultra fine needles on specific parts of the body known as acupoints.  These acupoints are located just above energy pathways termed meridians. These are the vessels where vital energy called qi or chi flows throughout the body.  Imbalances in the body are believed to be the cause of chi blockage in or more of the meridians. Acupuncture is used to remove the blockages and allow chi to flow freely once more.

For hypertension, there are acupoints all over the body that might be used for treatment. TCM believes that hypertension is associated with rising of Liver Yang. The Liver in TCM refers to the liver organ system, not the organ itself thus it often capitalized. Imbalance in the Liver Yang is directly related to stress. Deficiency in the Kidney Yin is a condition also related to hypertension and is the result of an unhealthy lifestyle (lack of exercise, poor diet, smoking, etc.). Acupoints for treating hypertension are scattered all over the body although the ER Jain acupoint located on the apex of the ear and the SP10 point found above the knee are common acupoints for hypertension therapy. One other acupoint for HBP is the ST 44 acupoint located between the third and second toe.

How many acupuncture sessions does a patient need to be cured of high blood pressure?  Many patients with high blood pressure are required to go at least once a week for acupuncture treatment. Acupuncturists often use herbal medicine in conjunction with acupuncture to get quicker results.   Besides acupuncture, other oriental modalities are known to also help lower blood pressure. These modalities include Qi Gong and Tai Chi. Both of these exercises are very relaxing to the mind and body and have been to known to relieve stress in the body quickly. These are rhythmic slow exercises that can send the person to a state of quiet meditation thus helping remove stress and at the same time give the person a light cardio workout.

Traditional Chinese medicine like all other types of holistic medicine endeavors to address the underlying cause of the patient’s condition, not merely his symptoms. Stress is indeed the greatest factor for high blood pressure as it can lead to a sedentary lifestyle, smoking and poor food choices.  By integrating relaxing exercises like Tai Chi and Qi Gong and using herbs and acupuncture, hypertensive patients can gain control of their life and watch their BP decrease to normal levels.

Written by Valerie

May 25th, 2014 at 7:45 am

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Acupuncture for Colitis

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Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease (CD) are two forms of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). These two conditions inflame the digestive tract lining of a person and cause serious episodes of stomach pain and/or diarrhea.  CD usually affects a specific part of your digestive system, the small intestine; colitis, on the other hand, typically only inflames your colon which is the inner lining of your large intestine and rectum. Another difference between colitis and Crohn’s disease is that if a person has ulcerative colitis he/she will often experience pain in the lower left abdomen, whereas with CD the person is more likely to feel pain in the lower right abdomen. And since CD occurs in the small intestine (which is higher up in the digestive tract than the large intestine) and colitis your large intestine, bleeding during bowel movements usually occurs more with colitis.

Medicines prescribed for colitis and CD are often the same and doctors usually recommend surgery for either one. Happily, you can avail of some relief with acupuncture while you’re provided with all the conventional treatment your doctor can provide. Acupuncture is a form of treatment of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Acupuncture often is combined with Chinese herbal medicine for the successful treatment of dozens of conditions including the ones that affect the digestive system.

One advantage of using TCM is that you need not undergo a series of expensive tests to know what your ailment is. A duly registered practitioner of TCM is qualified and well-trained diagnose you based on TCM patterns that help determine what kinds of treatment is appropriate for your condition. These treatments, of course, include Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture.  Other types of TCM procedures that can be effective for colitis and CD include Chinese massage (Tui Na), cupping and ear acupuncture. When correctly utilized, all these TCM procedures diagnose and treat you based on very old TCM diagnostic fundamentals.

A patient with IBD will be surprised to know that the diagnosis of his/her doctor will not be particularly important to a practitioner of TCM. TCM does not follow empirical science and the scientific method used by Western medicine, but observes and follows patterns and theories that have been used for many millennia, long before Western science was invented. In resolving your illness, your TCM practitioner will ask you a series of questions regarding your symptoms. He/she will also feel your pulse which is a sensitive and complicated way of knowing the energy patterns of your organs. Your pulse and symptoms can help the practitioner determine the correct plan of treatment for you. Usually IBD patients possess a pattern in the intestines known as Damp-Heat.

Dampness has properties that are considered stubborn, sticky and heavy. Dampness slows down the energy flowing in your body. Heat often helps accelerate the flow of energy, but when it is combined with Dampness, Heat can cause pain and impede energy flow. The accumulation of Damp-Heat in the intestines causes stomach pain as well as diarrhea with mucus and blood in your stools. Dampness is represented in the mucus and the burning sensation and blood represents Heat.

For patients suffering from either colitis or CD, herbal formulas and certain acupuncture points will be used and treated respectively to help in the relief of discomfort and pain as well as aid in the restoration of the proper functioning of their digestive system.  One good thing about acupuncture and other TCM modalities save for herbs is that it can work with any drug therapy you may already be on, allowing you to continue with any treatment you are already receiving.

 

Kine Fischler is a licensed acupuncture physician and the clinical director of Willow Tree Wellness Clinic in Portland, OR.

Written by Valerie

May 25th, 2014 at 7:40 am

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Acupuncture for Anger/Irritability

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When a woman shows easy irritability or anger, the old cliché “she must be in her period” is facetiously mentioned as a reason for her moodiness; however, this may be actually a fact for a lot of women.  A lot of doctors state that the most commonly reported emotional problem among women is irritability. This emotion often occurs 5 to 7 days before actual menstrual bleeding starts.

For a lot of women, they feeling of tiredness in the body days leading up to their monthly menses is all too real.  If their bodies are healthy and strong enough (which often means their qi is normally flowing) that the weariness on the body do not happen and the woman will just begin to bleed without any problems at all.  Unfortunately, that is not the case for a lot of woman whose energy is so spent that their menstruation does not flow smoothly causing symptoms in the process.

Irritability

Every normal person experiences irritability from time to time.  A lot of us can remember a time when someone has been bugging us in work or if we’ve been abruptly cut off the road by a driver when we’re driving.  Physical pain can also make us behave in a negative way among other people.  Pain basically implies that energy (qi) has stopped flowing or has stagnated. The blocked qi generates pain and we become irritated and grumpy and may lash out at others rather easily.

According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the Liver is responsible for the normal flow of qi. The Liver usually needs some healing when the body feels some type of acute pain. The Liver likewise governs the start of a woman’s menstrual cycle and stores all the required blood needed for the cycle. If the liver s is already taxed and there is an inadequate blood supply, the qi begins to flow slower than normal as the liver is incapable of managing one function at a time. This slow is what causes in us irritability.

Anger/Rage

Sometimes acupuncturists will ask their women patients the degree of their irritability. Do they start to yell and begin to lose their temper? Is their irritability a genuine rage or is it anger-filled?  The acupuncturist needs to know the exact severity of their anger to determine the amount of heat that has built up in the patient’s body. If the qi has stagnated before the Liver was prepared to commence the menstrual cycle, this factor can create heat. Heat generates anger in people that is usually difficult to control. A lot of women have had experiences of hot anger that make them think or do something that they normally would not do or say that would reflect their true selves. The seemingly funny things you see in the movies like an angry woman throwing a rolling pin or waving a kitchen knife on her boyfriend or husband can be telltale signs of her anger/rage being a stagnation of her qi or her premenstrual syndrome.

Chinese herbalists and acupuncturists need to know just how much heat there is inside an irritable patient. If a patient holds up his/her emotions, this is not a sign that he/she manifests self-control, it just show that there is not an accumulation of heat in his/her body.

Men

Premenstrual women are not the only ones who can manifest easy irritability. In truth, a lot of women prior and pot menstruation and a lot of men get irritable and unpleasantly show it.  This begs the question, if it isn’t the Liver working hard to start the period, what else can generate irritability?  The answer to that is it still is the Liver although certain factors play a role that can weaken the Liver.

Activities that Can Deplete the Liver

-Lack of exercise
-Too much greasy, fatty or sweet diet
-Inadequate sleep
-Suppression of honest concerns or emotions
-Irregular meal times
-Exposure to extreme heat
-Stressful living
-Alcohol intake

One of the best ways to relieve irritability is with acupuncture. Sure, Chinese herbal medicine and exercise are also quite effective. But exercise is only ideal if the qi has stagnated due to living a sedentary lifestyle. If your qi has stagnated because you are living a stressful life, eating unhealthily or run down, exercise can actually make you feel much worse or it may improve your condition just a bit.  A lot of patients within seconds of being treated with acupuncture in the body experience feeling less irked. This helps them interact with others and their environment a bit more amicably.

Strangely there are people who are suffering from liver qi stagnation who self-medicate themselves.  There are alcoholics who consume alcohol because it helps them to “smooth out things.”  There are tobacco smokers who intuitively know nicotine is an excellent mover of qi; there are runners who try to mitigate their anger by running a number of miles every day and there are acupuncture buffs who want to go home with a calm mind and relax body and who wouldn’t touch any alcohol or nicotine to make them feel good.

There are acupuncturists whose specialty is treating anger and irritability.  Their emotional problem dissipates with just two or three acupuncture sessions.

 

John Frink holds a Master’s Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is a licensed acupuncturist in Davis, CA., with special training in Chinese herbal medicine.

Written by Valerie

May 18th, 2014 at 8:07 am

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Chinese Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture Have Been Used for Centuries to Treat Anemia Symptoms

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A lot of patients coming in for acupuncture treatment ask if acupuncture is any good for resolving blood conditions such as anemia. They are often pleasantly surprised to hear that Chinese herbal therapy and acupuncture have actually been used for dozens of centuries to treat anemia symptoms such as pale complexion, weakness and tiredness.  The truth is, anemia is the most common condition of the blood seen by western trained physicians and when it is severe enough, it can cause shortness of breath and palpitations.

The latest clinical studies have revealed that acupuncture can actually elevate the levels of serum ferratin and decrease the Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC). The TIBC is a test to rate the ability of the body to bind iron.

The ones who have conducted the study used the zu san li (meaning three leg mile) acupuncture point. This point is known to help strengthen the body that the person could walk three miles more after a full day of walking. The zu san li point, according to traditional Chinese medicine, can boost the function of the spleen.

According to TCM, the abdomen takes in the food while the spleen processes the food.  The correct acupuncture points stimulated can better nutrient and therefore, iron absorption.  The zu san li point can likewise help in the treatment of shortness of breath, palpitations and tiredness, all symptoms related to anemia.

Obviously, the anemic patent’s diet needs to be modified as well but acupuncture can be the sparkplug that can enhance the digestion process and the absorption of the food the patient eats.

Acupuncture is not merely the insertion of needles into the leg or on any part of the body. Certain anatomical sites and delicate pressure areas are determined by a licensed acupuncturist before he/she inserts a needle into a patient’s body.  The needles used for acupuncture therapy have a varied range of thicknesses and lengths and the ones used will be based on what kind of effect the acupuncturist wants to attain.

After the needle has been inserted, the acupuncturist utilizes a number of stimulation procedures wherein a needle may be lifted up or moved and twisted in certain directions to bring about stimulation. The aforementioned study entailed certain needling thrust and lift methods to bring about an effect that would improve the strength of the body.

Patients usually complain that iron supplements make them constipated.  Moreover, the cause of the anemia needs to be treated in order for the patient to gain long-term balance and good health.

DeJongh Acupuncture Clinic
2929 SW 3rd Ave #610
Miami, FL 33129
(305) 677-3214
http://www.miamiacupunctureclinic.com/

 

Written by Valerie

May 18th, 2014 at 8:02 am

Acupuncture for Asthma

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There are about 20 million US citizens who suffer from asthma every year. Conventional treatment choices for asthma are limited to bronchodilators and steroid inhalers. These drugs are useful in treating the symptoms of asthma; however, they have side effects when used in the long-term and those side effects can be extreme. Natural treatments for asthma abound especially for chronic asthma that can provide effective remedy without the side effects that asthma drugs give.

Listed below is a list of herbal formulas and nutritional supplements to treat asthma:

For supplements

Quercetin – Quercetin is a flavonoid that is rich in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant ingredients. It is known to help control allergies by stabilizing mast cells. If an allergic reaction is the cause of the asthma, quercetin is an ideal supplement to address it.

Grape Seed extract – This extract has very potent antioxidant properties that are very effective in treating the chronic pattern of allergy-induced asthma and in lessening inflammation.

Cod liver oil – Cod liver oil is very rich in essential fatty acids and these fatty acids aid in strengthening the immune system, improving blood circulation and lessening inflammation.

MSM – Methylsulfonyl-methane or MSM for short is a naturally-occurring compound, organic sulfur-containing nutrient present in the human body. The cells in our body need sulfur for their structure. Sulfur is also essential for antioxidants, antibodies, enzymes and hormones. Since sulfur is continually used by the body and is exhausted it on a daily basis, it needs to be constantly refurbished for good health and nutrition. MSM also contains anti-inflammatory attributes, is useful for treating allergies and strengthens body immunity.

Chinese herbs

Gecko and ginseng – One Chinese herb called ren shen ge jie san is know to clear phlegm and heat from the lungs as well as tonify spleen and lung Chi

Jade Windscreen – This is an oriental herb (yu ping feng san) that has the same properties as gecko and ginseng that boosts lung function and reinforces the immune system

Ding chuan tang – This Chinese plant is the most widely used herb for treating all kinds of asthma. Ding chuan tang is especially effective in the type of asthma that is aggravated by colds.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been used all over Asia for more than 2,500 years. It has enjoyed a long and fruitful history of addressing a wide range of internal medical problems. Acupuncture is a potent treatment for asthma. It aids in minimizing inflammation and helps balance the energy of the major organs that may be causing the asthma symptoms. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that asthma is brought about by a number of factors including constitutional weakness, candida infection, allergies, diet and stress. All of these factors can be associated to different internal organs that may experience imbalance that cause the lungs to tighten up. Acupuncture treatment is done by understanding the patient’s symptoms tongue and pulse diagnosis to provide the acupuncturist with a clear picture of the inner workings of the patient’s body.  Points in the body called acupuncture points are treated with reed-thin needles on predetermined energy pathways called meridians to help restore balance of the functional and energetic disharmonies. Complementary therapies also aid in the treatment of asthma. These therapies include gua sha and cupping.

Written by Valerie

May 9th, 2014 at 7:15 am

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Acupuncture for Headaches

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Suffering from headaches? The ancient healing art of acupuncture therapy may be just what you need. Acupuncture therapy for migraines and headaches has been extensively studied and peer-reviewed. The conclusions consistently show that acupuncture therapy is, at a minimum, equally as effective, if not more effective that conventional treatment involving the use of medicines but without any harmful side effects. The studies also revealed that acupuncture therapy is quite effective for the relief of chronic tension-type headaches.

One of the beliefs of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is that pain is the result of energy stagnation in the body. TCM practitioners and acupuncturists explain that migraines and headaches are the result of vital energy (Chi or Qi) stagnation around the neck and head.

TCM has developed a lot of ways to categorize migraine and headaches. The accompanying symptoms, severity, nature of the pain and its location are all thoroughly considered to produce a detailed picture of the real cause of the condition. In diagnosing your problem, the acupuncturist will inquire you about your general health, observe your tongue and take your pulse.

This manner of diagnosis is a very effective way of determining the factors that cause your migraines or headaches and it assists the acupuncturist in working out a plan of treatment that specifically addresses your symptoms and overall well-being.

Headaches are usually associated with stress. They can also be due to insomnia, muscular pains or fatigue. Migraines, on the other hand are usually accompanied by aversion to bright lights, dizziness and nausea. In all of these factors, acupuncture is an effective procedure to resolve the underlying cause of the condition as well as in addressing all of its symptoms.

Tight muscles in the shoulders and neck are the most common causes or contributors to migraine or headache. Acupuncture works by relaxing these tight muscles that leads to the complete ending of your headache. If you have been suffering from muscle tightness and headaches for some time, the likelihood that your tight muscles are the reasons for your headache is high. In dealing with headaches caused by tightness of the muscles, most acupuncturists will utilize Chinese massage (Tui Na) combined with acupuncture therapy for this type of condition.

When going for acupuncture treatment, you need to undergo a needling process wherein the acupuncturist will insert small very thin and sterile needles into specific areas of your skin. For headaches and migraines about 6 to 12 needles are normally utilized.  Some of these needles may be inserted around the area of pain (your neck and head) while some may be introduced in other seemingly unrelated parts of your body. The insertion of the needles does not cause pain and most people find the entire experience quite soothing and relaxing. The needles are left for some time in the body, usually around 10 to 40 minutes; sometimes though they may be quickly removed depending on the type of acupuncture being utilized.

Written by Valerie

May 9th, 2014 at 6:46 am

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Acupuncture for Headaches

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Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) utilize acupuncture as a natural type of treatment for tension headaches and migraine. TCM is grounded on the belief of the existence of life energy the Chinese call Qi or Chi that internally flows throughout the body along energy channels or pathways known as meridians. When the Chi flow becomes disrupted or unbalanced, it causes health conditions.

The primary objective of acupuncture treatment is to unblock and rebalance the flow of Chi by inserting thin-reed non-hollow needles in certain points in the skin called acupuncture points that are situated in various parts of your body. An acupuncture procedure is not as frightening or painful as it may conjure up because of the treatment’s use of needles. An individual may typically sense a mere mild discomfort as the needle goes into the skin; then after an instant, all the unpleasant sensations go away replaced by  a feeling of relaxation and even sleepiness.

The frequency and length of acupuncture treatment for headache is based on various factors. These factors can include the particular time of day or night you experience the headache, the location of the headache, the frequency and severity of the headaches, the kind of headache you have (sinus, tension and migraine headaches) and other factors.

The acupuncturist uses these factors to figure out what meridians are affected by imbalanced Chi that is causing your headache. Migraines, for example, usually are symptoms of problem in the gallbladder meridian. This meridian is effectively treated using the “preventive approach”, which is an acupuncture procedure entailing 8 to 10 acupuncture sessions that is combined with a healthy diet and Chinese herbal therapy. Tension headaches, on the other hand, are associated with the obstructed Chi flow to the stomach meridian and need a different treatment approach than that used for migraines. This treatment approach is combined with lifestyle modifications like regular Tai Chi, yoga and other stress-reduction reduction exercises. These activities aid in enhancing relaxation and in reducing muscle tension.

Certain symptoms of headache are addressed after the first acupuncture session. One session can be as short as 5 minutes to as long as 40 minutes. Severe and chronic headaches usually entail ten or more sessions.

Despite the innumerable researches that have proven the efficacy of acupuncture for the treatment of headache, researchers are still in the dark as to how acupuncture really works. There are experts that believe acupuncture aids in stabilizing serotonin levels or neurotransmitters in the brain that are believed to play an important role in the development of migraine headaches.  Some theories think that acupuncture stimulates the production and release of endorphins and other painkilling chemicals in the body to help treat pain.

If you are wracked by constant headaches that mess up your regular activities and prevent you from enjoying life, acupuncture can be a great and effective treatment for you.

Written by Valerie

May 2nd, 2014 at 2:13 am

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Acupuncture for Bronchitis

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A lot of the ancient cultures in East Asia have been using the ancient healing art of acupuncture for thousands of years.  It has been practiced in Europe for hundreds of years while in the United States, it has been growing in popularity for more than 40 years now. People who don’t know what acupuncture is may find this therapy strange since it involves pricking needles in a patient to treat a health condition such as bronchitis.

The Two Schools Of Thought of Acupuncture

The two predominant schools of thought of acupuncture are traditional acupuncture and medical acupuncture. The former is a healing system that has been practiced for millennia in East Asia while the latter is widely being utilized by doctors trained in western medicine. Traditional acupuncture believes that needles inserted into specific acupuncture points are associated to different parts of the body where meridians or energy vessels lie.

Traditional acupuncturists believe that energy or qi circulates along 12 meridians in the body and if the circulation slows down, disease can develop. Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) use unique diagnostic tools to diagnose a patient and often utilize acupuncture to commence the treatment, eventually augmenting the treatment with herbs.

Medical acupuncture practitioners, on the other hand, argue that the needles activate the central nervous system of the patient. This causes the nervous system to produce chemicals and hormones.

Acupuncture Therapy for Bronchitis

Acupuncture therapy has actually been proven to treat bronchitis. Moreover, it can improve the function of your lungs and prevent recurrences of future bronchitis attacks.

What Is Bronchitis?

The bronchi are the primary airways of the lungs.  When they become infected, the bronchi become irritated and inflamed causing the condition known as bronchitis – its main symptom is a hacking cough. In certain instances, the cough comes with gray-yellowish mucus.

The TCM View of Bronchitis

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners think that bronchitis is due to either external or internal pathogenic factors.

External pathogenic factors can also be considered as seasonal pathogens while internal factors originate from internal organ problems.  Basically, acute bronchitis is caused by external factors while chronic bronchitis comes from internal factors.

Treating Bronchitis with Acupuncture

The majority of bronchitis cases can be easily managed at home although no cure is still available for chronic bronchitis.

The benefits of acupuncture in helping to treat bronchitis include its ability to strengthen the immune system helping to restore balance to the patient’s entire health system. Besides this, the function of the Lung is also reinforced.  After the entire treatment plan is accomplished, these elements become stronger and more balanced which means that the probability of recurrence of bronchitis is almost zero.

Acupuncture treatments lessen the patient’s sensitivity to irritants (chemical or physical factors), decrease congestion and reduce inflammation of secretions.

The treatment plan may depend on the diagnosis of the patient. The plan may differ from person to person due to physiology, symptoms and other factors. Treatment for acute bronchitis usually entails just a few sessions; chronic bronchitis, on the other hand may need around 10 to 15 sessions of acupuncture treatment.

Written by Valerie

May 2nd, 2014 at 2:01 am

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