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Archive for August, 2014

What is prostatitis?

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When a man gets older, his chance of developing prostatitis becomes greater. Prostatitis is the swelling of the prostate gland. The prostate gland is a walnut-size gland located just under a man’s bladder. The role of the prostate gland is to provide the liquid part of the semen during ejaculation. There are several causes for prostatitis although its main symptoms include difficult urination and pain. There are two types of prostatitis: chronic and acute.

What are the symptoms of prostatitis?

The inflammation and swelling of the prostate gland is known as prostatitis. This condition has symptoms that include:

-Flu-like symptoms
-Pain – during orgasm, testicles, penis, perineum, stomach, groin and back
-Irregular urinations that can be: frequent, hesitant/dribbling, difficult, burning or painful.

What leads to prostatitis?

Enlarged prostate prostatic hyperplasia
Acute and chronic bacterial prostatitis – they are caused by bacterial infections. There are no known -causes for both abacterial prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain. Some other reasons for prostatitis can include:

-An enlarged prostate gland
-Accumulation of toxins in the urine
-Urinary tract blockage
-Defective muscle and/or nerve function
-Injury to the prostate
-Nervous or immune system problem

How does the doctor diagnose prostatitis?

The results of the physical exam and the medical history of the patient can be the bases for a diagnosis of prostatitis. These tests can determine a number of possible risk factors of prostatitis, including:

-Radiation from cancer treatments
-Multiple sclerosis
-Parkinson’s disease
-Nerve issues
-Genetic predisposition
-Severe stress
-Inadequate drinking of liquids
-Being young or middle aged

The doctor can recommend a digital rectal exam. This procedure can scan for tenderness and inflammation on the prostate. Other tests may be needed to detect the particular type of prostatitis. These can include semen, blood and urine tests for acute or chronic bacterial infection. These medical tests for prostatitis can also be a way to exclude conditions that bring out similar symptoms:

-Constriction of the penis meatus
-Urethral stricture
-Post-bladder cancer
-BPH or benign prostatic hyperplasia
-Overactive bladder

How is prostatitis diagnosed by an acupuncturist?

Inquiry is the main tool used by the acupuncturist to diagnose prostate gland inflammation. The acupuncturist basically asks a series of questions to determine what’s ailing the patient. They never perform digital rectal exams, as a rule. Prostatitis patients are usually already diagnosed by their doctor, or if not, manifest symptoms that correspond to the condition. If the patient has not been to the doctor or if his symptoms persist, the acupuncturist usually will refer his patient to a urologist in order to exclude other problems or get a diagnosis. Nowadays, urologists have started to recommend acupuncture to their patients in order to resolve the prostate inflammation symptoms such as urination difficulties.

Acupuncturists will include in the inquiry of their patient the patient’s diet, lifestyle and general health and not only the patient’s symptoms in relation to their prostate inflammation since they treat people, not the disease per se.

How does a doctor treat prostatitis?

Prostatitis therapy is based on the underlying problem. Treatments can focus on the cause or the symptoms of the condition such as urination problems and may include:

-Over-the –counter (OTC) pain killers to help relieve the pain
-Drugs known as alpha blockers to help relieve painful and urination and soothe the part where the bladder and prostate meet
-Intravenous or oral antibiotics to resolve prostatitis resulting from a bacterial infection
Surgery – Prostatectomy which is a surgical procedure that excises a part of or the whole prostate gland

How does an acupuncturist treat prostatitis?

By studying the symptoms and signs of the condition, the acupuncturist can determine the pattern of disharmony. In Chinese medicine patterns can help the practitioner qualify and quantify the condition. The titles of the patterns usually use words we recognize.

Acupuncturists need the pattern diagnosis to formulate the plan of treatment. Treatment usually includes Chinese herbal remedies and acupuncture to resolve the disharmony of the pattern in order to bring back balance to the body. Acupuncturists often also use tui na massage and dietary therapy to complement these modalities.

Acupuncture Health Center
1303 Astor St #101
Bellingham, WA 98225
(360) 715-1824


Written by Valerie

August 31st, 2014 at 1:29 am

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Chronic gastritis can be compared to stomach fullness and epigastralgia in traditional Chinese medicine

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Chronic gastritis can imply a number of chronic gastric mucus inflammation caused by various pathogenic factors. According to the pathological changes, chronic gastritis may be classified into hypertrophic, atrophic, and superficial gastritis. The clinical symptoms of each of these types of gastritis may be different from each other although chronic gastritis manifests itself through common, main symptoms such as belching, vomiting, nausea, dyspepsia, anorexia as well as pain and discomfort in the middle and upper stomach, and recurrent fullness. Chronic gastritis can be compared to stomach fullness and epigastralgia in traditional Chinese medicine. Chronic gastritis can develop from constant emotional upsets, a poor diet, weakness and overstrain from prolonged disease that may lead to qi stagnation and depression of liver, stomach yin insufficiency, asthenia-cold in middle energizer; or by the collaterals being affected by stagnation of blood in the collaterals themselves or a prolonged disease.

Differentiation of Syndrome

  1. Qi stagnation and liver depression and qi stagnation – symptoms include a rapid and taut pulse, red tongue with yellow and thin coating, frequent sighing and belching, migratory pain and epigastralgia affecting the rib-sides.
  1. Asthenia-cold in the abdomen and spleen – symptoms: weak and thin pulse, bulgy and light-colored tongue with slippery, white and thin coating, cold limbs and aversion to cold, loose stool, spiritual lassitude, emaciation, preference for pressure and warmth and a dull stomach ache.
  1. Stomach yin inadequacy – symptoms: thin and taut or rapid and thin pulse, red tongue with scanty coating, dry mouth with urge to drink, hunger with no appetite, heartburn like hunger and Irregular pain in the abdomen.
  1. Stagnation of blood in the collaterals – symptoms: unsmooth pulse, purplish tongue with ecchymoses, sporadic hemtochezia or hematemesis, stabbing epigastralgia with unpressurable and fixed pain.


  1. Ear acupuncture – Recommendation: Subcortical (AT4), Ear Shenmen (TF4), Sympathetic (AH6a), Triple Energizer (CO17), Liver (C012), Spleen (CO13), Abdomen (CO4).

Performance: two to three acupuncture points are needled. The needles stay in place for half an hour and manipulated at times. Electro-acupuncture can be utilized. Vaccaria seed or Wang-buliuhsingsi for ear pressure can be used. To be needled in alternate sequences are both ears.

  1. Body acupuncture – Recommendation: Hsusanli (ST36), Liangmen (ST21), Gongsun (SP4), Neiguan (PC6), Shongwan (CV 12).

Modification: for distention and fullness in the abdomen and epigastrium, Pizhu (BL 20), Burong (ST19) and Shangmen (LR 13), are included; for abdomen heat for stomach heat, Nei- ting (ST 44) is included; for blood stagnation in the collaterals, Gezhu (BL17), Hsuehai (SP10) are included; for stomach yin inadequacy, Sanyinchiao (SP 6) and Taihsi (KI 3) are included; for asthenia-cold in the abdomen and spleen Weizhu (BL 21) and Pizhu (BL 20) are included; for liver qi attacking the abdomen, Ganzhu (BL 18), Chimen (LR14), and Tai-chong (LR 3) are included.

Performance: For asthenia-cold syndrome treatment, moxibustion can be used; for asthenia-cold in the abdomen and spleen as well as stomach yin inadequacy, reinforcing needling procedure can be implemented; for liver qi invading the abdomen and blood stagnation in the collaterals, reinforcing and mild reducing and needling procedures or reducing needling technique is recommended.

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

Written by Valerie

August 31st, 2014 at 1:12 am

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Acupuncture for Low Back Pain

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This article talks about a 54 year-old woman who had been having low back pain for a huge part of her life, particularly on the left side of her body although her right side is affected, at times. She remembered the pain starting to occur after suffering from a severe type of pneumonia which led to her hospitalization for a whole week at the age of 9. She thought that the stay in the hospital contributed to her back pain or the virus she contracted had led to the injury in some way. She had coughed for quite a long period during her hospital stay and really believed her vigorous coughing may have led to her back injury. From that time on, she sometimes suffer from back pain when sick with a cough. Her pneumonia never returned though.

She felt that her knee was oftentimes weak in such a way that that it could give way at any moment which forced her to sit or stop walking at once. Her knee or back showed no abnormalities as revealed in medical tests.

Frequent urination is also a complaint aired by the patient which forced her to arise from bed to go to the bathroom a minimum of two times each night. Overall, she was quite depressed, fatigued and suffered from bilateral low- pitched tinnitus. The depression and fatigue she felt since her childhood; the tinnitus, however, has been lasting for about 2 years.

She presented with a slightly swollen and pale tongue while her pulse was quite weak and deep, particularly on the Kidney positions.

Diagnosis: Deficiency of Kidney Yang is the likely cause of her back pain. The deficiency may have developed due to being hospitalized at a young age, that either having a poor physical position in the hospital or the depletion of her Yang essence because of the virus that led to the stagnation of her Blood and Qi eventually resulting in Kidney deficiency.

Plan of Treatment: The Kidney Yang is to be tonified to help relieve the pain of the patient as well as to endeavor to strengthen her knee, and treat the early stage of the tinnitus.

Acupuncture Points: KD 9, BL 23, KD 6, BL 25, KD 3, BL 26, ST 36, SP 6, BL 60

After only some sessions of acupuncture (once a week for a whole month) the back pain of the patient was relieved. The patient stated that her tinnitus has seemingly lessened in intensity but was not entirely removed. Her knee felt a little stronger and level of energy level rose, as reported by the patient. Due to the treatment of her back pain, she discontinued treatment before she was able to completely heal her knee weakness and her tinnitus.

Written by Valerie

August 24th, 2014 at 6:58 am

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Treating Acid Reflux with Acupuncture

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All of us suffer from indigestion from time to time. But when it occurs daily or maybe a few times a week, you need to see a doctor to prevent it from significantly affecting your overall health. When it comes to attaining strong digestive function, traditional Chinese medicine offers a strong foundation for a lifetime of good health. A healthy digestive system processes food in a timely manner, efficiently absorbs essential nutrients and effectively removes all waste products.

Acid reflux is a digestive condition that that affects around 16 million Americans each year. This issue involves stomach acid flowing back and up to the esophagus and brings about symptoms such as inflammation, heartburn, discomfort and if left, untreated for a considerable amount of time, can lead to conditions such as Barrett’s esophagus.   And certain cases of Barrett’s esophagus can lead to esophageal cancer.

Western Medical Approaches

Typical Western modalities for acid reflux include H2-receptor antagonists like Tagamet, proton pump inhibitors like Prilosec, and antacids such as Tums.   While they provide short-term relief, these medications have no long-term benefits. Also, they are not designed to treat the underlying cause of acid reflux. The body starts to have other issues when the person takes prescription and over-the-counter antacid for a long time.

Chinese Medicine

Acid reflux, from the perspective of Chinese medicine, is known as the reversal of abdominal qi (or chi) since the flow of abdominal qi normally moves down, not upwards. This condition is resolved by TCM through the identification and treatment of the basic root issue causing the acid reflux, apart of course, from the treatment of its manifested symptoms.   Reversal of stomach qi develops when the sphincter/valve of the digestive system called the lower esophageal sphincter that lies between the stomach and esophagus doesn’t properly shut.   The LES shuts and closes when we swallow food. The food passes into the stomach and when the developing stomach pressure becomes greater than the pressure at the other end of the LES, digested food and stomach acid flow back through the valve and up to the esophagus resulting in a burning sensation and damaging the esophageal wall.

Acid reflux has symptoms that include:

-Belching and nausea
-Chronic barking cough
-Chronic bad breath
-Swallowing difficulty
-Bitter or acrid taste in the mouth

Acid Reflux – Common Causes

Excessive Alcohol and Smoking

Drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes can cause severe harm to the digestive system. Both these substances disrupt the pressure of the LES (lower esophageal sphincter).


The womb expands as the fetus grows causing the digestive organs to push upwards. This adds pressure on the LES forcing the pressure gradient to change and force abdominal contents to back up into the esophagus.

Excess Stomach Weight

When the stomach carries extra weight, it adds more pressure on the LES causing it to open partially. This then allows stomach contents to flow back into the esophagus.

Food Allergies

Intolerance or being allergic to certain foods, (dairy and wheat being the most common food allergens) signifies that the stomach acid is not strong enough to properly break down food. The ensuing bloating, gas and inflammation that happen generate pressure in the stomach that becomes greater than in the esophagus causing the contents of the abdomen to rush back into the esophagus.

Hiatal Hernia

The esophagus traverses through the diaphragm and connects to the abdomen; when the top of the abdomen slides up or rolls into the diaphragm, hiatal hernia develops. The effect of hiatal hernia on the body is such that the valve that opens and shuts to let food pass to the stomach, fails to close normally. Hiatal hernia is quite a common issue and can be treated as well as prevented from coming back by initiating changes in lifestyle.

Emotional Upset and Stress

Stress that is chronic and badly managed causes high amounts of cortisol stress hormone to flow in the bloodstream. Too much amounts of cortisol is not good for the body since it can shut down the digestive system as the body needs to redirect its energy into supplying energy and blood to the lungs and heart.

Hypochlorhydria or Low Stomach Acid

This may sound a contradiction but low stomach acid can actually lead to acid reflux. Interestingly, this is the most common reason for acid reflux in the United States. Autoimmune conditions, B12 deficiency and anemia are just some of the many reasons for low stomach acid in the body. Age is also a very common factor for poor stomach acid level. Our cells in the abdomen don’t function well when we advance in age. One of the best ways to counter this problem is to take nutritional supplements everyday.

Eating the Wrong Foods

Our digestion is impacted in a major way by what we eat. Too much consumption of the American diet, (which means a diet high in sugar, alcohol, red meats, dairy products and high fat foods) make us unhealthy. These foods can cause gas and bloating that add pressure in the abdomen making the pressure there greater than on the esophagus causing acid reflux.

Tips to help You Minimize or Even Cure Acid Reflux

-Lose weight: if your weight is above normal, you need to modify your lifestyle to enable you to lose weight.
-Stop wearing tight restrictive clothing,
-Try not to squat nor do other activities that cause compression in the abdomen
-If you have a history of hiatal hernia, then during lunch, eat your largest meal and take a lighter meal during dinner. This tip can also benefit people who want to lose weight.
-Eat a lot of healthy foods including nuts, grains, vegetables, fruits and other foods that help the body reinforce the digestive system. Stay away from alcohol and cigarettes.
-Manage and reduce stress: some of the ways you can reduce and/or manage stress properly is by performing relaxing activities such as yoga, qi gong or tai chi. Acupuncture is the best way to remove stress from the mind and body. It also helps bring back balance to the nervous system.
-Don’t eat late at night: after eating dinner, permit about 3 hours to pass before going to bed.
-Eat more frequent but smaller meals as too much eating can push the abdomen upward.


Vickery Health & Wellness
18455 Burbank Blvd #306
Tarzana, CA 91356
(818) 578-6730

Written by Valerie

August 17th, 2014 at 4:35 am

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About 20% of the population in the United Stateshas suffered some kind of depression

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Lack of exercise, weight gain, family obligations, busy schedules, relationship problems and financial concerns are some of the things that can bear pressure on our lives. They can affect us emotionally, physically and spiritually and cause us to become depressed and/or anxious. Traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture provide a unique approach and treatment for life’s common challenges.

We can experience a wide range of symptoms (all negative) from anxiety. They may include mild worrying to issues such as panic attacks, shortness of breath, insomnia and nausea.  Anxiety is actually the body’s normal response to tense and new situations; however, if your anxiety occurs for no rational reason at all or if it happens in a severe manner, it’s a sign that your anxiety is abnormal. Traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture can treat anxiety symptoms and bring back harmony and balance to the mental and physical aspects of your being.

From an acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine point of view, a lot of the symptoms of anxiety are derived from the energy relationship between the kidneys and the heart. The kidneys’ characteristics are contemplative, inward and fluid. They are of the nature of yin. The heart, on the other hand, has attributes that orients upward, is expansive and fiery. These are all characteristics of yang energy. If the body possesses too much fire energy, you may experience such symptoms as agitation of the mind and anxiety.

In the United States, about 20% of the population has suffered some kind of depression at certain points in their lives. Depression has symptoms like overeating of foods and/or excessive consumption of alcohol, crying spells, isolation, anger, cynicism and apathy. This emotional condition may be exacerbated during cold seasons.  Seasonal affective disorder or SAD is a kind of depression that occurs in low light conditions especially during the months of winter.

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture, the function of the liver is to regulate Qi (vital energy) circulating in the body. A malfunctioning liver can result in sluggishness, limited provision of resources, and unhealthy blockages of energy and blood. TCM and acupuncture terms this condition as Qi stagnation and liver depression. Depression occurs when the body’s ability to transport resources slows down or stagnates. Stagnation develops when energy deficiency leads to the weak circulation of blood and Qi causing obstruction. This can lead to emotional instability, musculoskeletal pain, and digestive and sleep problems. TCM and acupuncture can provide you with effective strategies to treat the depressed energy and remove stagnation. This will result in a much better outlook and health.

Even if the trappings modern life offers make living a little bit easier, a lot of people still live under emotional sadness particularly during the Holiday season. Depression, stress and anxiety are emotions that affect many people in the US during this supposedly happy time of the year. TCM and acupuncture are safe and effective modalities to help restore balance in the body and make one truly appreciate the joyous times of the year.

Written by Valerie

August 10th, 2014 at 2:14 am

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Acupuncture can Make your Mission to Lose Weight Become More Effective and Easy

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One of the best things about ancient Chinese healing is that they utilize nothing but the best nature can provide. One such healing method Chinese medicine practitioners use is acupuncture which is probably a 5,000-year-old medical procedure.

Acupuncture is founded on the traditional Chinese medicine belief that the body contains streams in which mystical streams of energy flow. In conventional medicine, this could equate to the nervous system of the body with the nerves all twined together with each other. Nerves corresponding to the toes may be just adjacent to the nerves of the shoulder. And so when the nerve shoulders are stimulated, it can stimulate the nerves of the toes as well.

No acupuncturist worth his/her salt will ever tell you acupuncture is a treatment that can miraculously cure weight loss.  What they may tell you is that this procedure affects symptoms that contribute or are associated with weight gain in order to help better gain control of your weight.  That being said, acupuncture can make your mission to lose weight become more effective and easy.


Stress is a medically verified cause of weight gain. There are people who have a high desire or craving for food more so when they are severely stressed. Acupuncture can help provide relief from their stress and make them feel calm and relaxed.

Weight loss treatment using acupuncture involves the insertion of needles in strategic points in the body wherein energy channels known as meridians lie. The needles reach the meridians and stimulate them in order to produce and release endorphins in the body that help relax and clam the person down.

These endorphins are also known to improve metabolism and the function of the digestive system. So by needling points corresponding to metabolism and the digestive system, the acupuncturist believes it will help promote the proper way of losing weight.

When you come in to an acupuncture clinic for weight loss reasons, the acupuncturist will first need to evaluate your general health. Tour tongue and your stomach will be examined and your pulse will be assessed as well.

In traditional Chinese medicine, the mouth is important to achieve weight loss goals. This is especially true for heavy smokers and impulsive eaters.

Acupuncturists will concentrate on the abdomen of the patient if he keeps on eating even if he feels he is already full. The endocrine system will also be examined for edema or water retention that may result in weight gain or bloating.

Other acupuncture points related to the spleen may also be treated in case of sugar imbalances. The thyroid point may be needled for metabolism as well as kidney points for water retention and nervous and hormonal imbalances. A couple or more points may be selected which may be based on the needs and health of the patient.

The science and art of acupuncture has been given a great boost by modern technology. These days, some acupuncturists use electro-stimulation to release endorphins in the bloodstream to help make the patient calm and relaxed more quickly.

When needles are inserted into the body, they usually are left there for about 30 to 45 minutes. There may be repeat sessions if the situation of the patient requires it. Besides, acupuncture, the acupuncturist will teach the patient to apply pressure on the points when he feels the craving and the desire to smoke or eat again.

Chinese herbal medicine is often added into the treatment along with recommendations for lifestyle and nutritional changes. The acupuncturist may even recommend other relaxing activities such as meditation and yoga to help relieve stress.

Acupuncture is a treatment that addresses problems that directly cause weight gain.  This treatment can break the cycle of eating heavily caused by stress and then establish an environment wherein the proper way to lose weight can be implemented.

Written by Valerie

August 3rd, 2014 at 9:54 am

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