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Archive for November, 2015

Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatments for Genital Herpes

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An infection derived from the herpes simplex virus, genital herpes is an acute inflammatory disease that nowadays has become quite common due to the ease this disease can be transmitted. This infection is considered a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that has been infecting more and more people each year. In the United States, there are about 500,000 new cases of this disease each year and there are about 40 million people who are believed to be suffering from it. Genital herpes can affect both homosexual and heterosexual individuals. Some of its common symptoms and signs include: lymph nodes that are tender in the inguinal area, marked edema, redness, painful shallow genital ulcers, lesions around the genital region, and small fluid-filled vesicles. High risk groups include white females around the age of 30. The herpes simplex virus belongs to the family of viruses that brings about infectious mononucleosis, shingles, and chicken pox.

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Genital Herpes

Genital herpes, according to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), is categorized under yin chuang (genital carbuncle) or re chuang (hot sores). One of the most common ways in which this disease is transmitted is by sexual contact and the risk of getting it gets higher if you have casual and/or multiple sexual partners. TCM may not possess a “germ theory” of what causes this disease although it is suspected that microorganisms as environmental factors such as dryness, dampness, heat, and cold among others cause the condition. The body’s internal organs are classified into yin and yang organs. While each organ is likely to be more or less susceptible to the different pathogenic environmental factors, they can also be very strongly affected and vulnerable to certain emotional disturbances.

The anger emotion and/or heat and dampness are the most common pathogenic factors that cause genital herpes. The affected internal organs include the urinary bladder, the kidneys as well as the gallbladder and the liver. The overall TCM diagnosis of genital herpes is active toxic damp heat. And within this condition, three unique patterns exist. They include Kidney deficiency, Liver deficiency, and accumulation of toxic damp heat, and within this larger category, three specific patterns are differentiated: toxic heat accumulation; Liver and Kidney deficiency, damp heat pouring down.

Erosion and blistering of the genital tissue, as well as itching and burning are the key symptoms of a pattern of damp heat pouring down. Outbreaks are believed to be precipitated by too much eating of sugar and candy that causes the occurrence of active damp heat. Outbreaks that recur are believed to be the fault of consuming too much alcohol, greasy heavy foods, and spicy hot foods. The Chinese herbal remedy known as Long Dan Hsie Gan is very effective in clearing damp heat pouring down.

Fever and the wearing down of the genital blisters are the main symptoms of toxic heat accumulation pattern. Too much eating of spicy hot foods, emotional stress, and repressed anger can trigger an outbreak of genital herpes).

The pattern of deficiency of the Kidney and Liver usually result in less fluid-filled blisters, but is marked by frequent soreness in the joints, back pain, and outbreaks. The outbreaks that recur can be due to seasonal changes, menstrual changes, episodes of flu or cold, fatigue, stress, or constitutional weakness. The herbal formula known as Hsi Di Wang Wan or Water Fire Balance is ideal for this pattern. It is also an effective remedy for genital outbreaks that keep on recurring.

Popular Herbal Remedies s for Genital Herpes

There are several Chinese herbs that have been used for ages for the treatment of skin conditions, urinary bladder infections, genital herpes and other types of damp heat conditions. Many of these herbs have been scientifically proven to possess anti-microbial properties. They can either be used externally or internally. If they need to be used externally, the herbs need to be boiled, with the mixture strained off and utilized as a wash applied to the area of concern. If taken internally, these herbs are often mixed with other herbs. They may be mixed with water, boiled and drank raw or ingested in capsule form. It is important to talk to a herbologist or a TCM practitioner first before using or taking any of these plants.

Ban Lan Gen (Woad Root) – This herb is known to have a very broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity and strong antiviral attributes. Research experiments reveal Ban Lan to have an inhibitory effect against hemolytic Streptococcus, Salmonella enteritidis, Salmonella typhi, Shigella flexneri, and Shigella dysenteriae.

Tu Fu Ling (Smilax) – A top herb in Chinese medicine known to clear dampness and toxicity. Tu Fu Ling is commonly used to treat skin lesions associated with damp heat and recurrent ulcers.

Huang Bai (Philodendron) – Huang Bai is a very popular Chinese herb that is known to possess containing and inhibiting qualities on yeast, bacterial, and viral infections. It is also effective in treating itch.

Ye Ju Hua (Wild Chrysanthemum Flower) – With the ability to relieve toxicity and clear heat, Ye Ju Hua is an autumn blooming flower that also has a strong inhibitory effect in vitro against some ECHO viruses, Shigella spp, and Staphylococcus aureus.

Bai Hsian Pi (Dittany Bark) – This very popular herb is used exclusively for external purposes. It is extremely effective in treating inflammation, eczema, itching and several other skin problems.

Ku Shen (Sophora) – Also used externally, Ku Shen is known to kill worms, relieve itch, dry up dampness, and clear heat. It has cold property and possesses a bitter flavor and is used to treat genital itch, carbuncles, and furuncles in women.

 
Christina Prieto is an Orlando acupuncturist, a certified Yoga instructor and the founder of Harmony Wellness center in central Florida.

Written by Valerie

November 26th, 2015 at 9:24 pm

Posted in Acupuncture

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The Liver Organ System as Seen by Traditional Chinese Medicine

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The function of the liver in Western medicine is to manufacture and produce bile. Bile is important for the detoxification of blood and the breaking down of fat. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), however, the liver has functions that are quite different from that described by Western medicine. In TCM, this organ’s responsibilities include the control of the circulatory system, the autonomic nervous system (the part of the nervous system that govern actions that the person has no voluntary control of), and the central nervous system of the body. Besides these, the liver also governs the function of sight.

The liver, in TCM, is the organ system that is responsible for the dissemination and flow movements going on in the body. The proper flow of things is stimulated by the liver. It guarantees and sets the proper movement of body fluids, blood, and qi as well as their distribution all throughout the body. The liver performs three specific functions with regards to its spreading and flowing responsibilities: it improves the digestive attributes of the spleen, regulates emotions, and also regulates qi.

Qi Flow Normalization

The performance of the meridians and the organs are dependent on the flow of qi. The dissemination and flow of qi all through the body in turn depend on the liver’s normalizing capacity. A dysfunctional liver can mean that something is disrupting qi flow resulting in imbalance and disharmony. When these problems become systemic, illnesses and other health conditions follow.

The Regulation of Emotions

Emotions are normal when the liver is in balance. The health of one’s emotions is based on the harmony of blood and qi. A normal and uninterrupted liver qi flow generates a relaxed emotional environment inside. So if the flow of liver qi stagnates due to liver disharmony, then anger, depression, and other forms of emotional disturbances can develop.

Improving the Digestive Function of the Spleen

The spreading and flowing attributes of the liver helps readjust the spleen’s digestive functions. A dysfunctional liver would mean that spleen qi flow is poor. The effect of this is poor conveyance and transformation of digested food leading to symptoms such as diarrhea, belching, nausea, stomach pain and other complications.

Liver is Where Blood is Stored

The liver is the organ that regulates blood flow and stores blood. The blood moves and leaves the liver when a person exercises. The blood then travels to the area of the body that needs it. When the person rests, the blood goes back to the liver for it to be stored once more. If there is insufficient blood in the liver, the eyes are usually the one’s to first suffer from this deficiency. The eyes receive inadequate nutrition and become dry and rough. The person can begin to experience headaches from this blood inadequacy.

The liver Opens Into the Eyes

The lover and the eyes have a close relationship with each other. This is because they both are connected to the energy channel of the liver. Vision quality depends on how much nourishment the eye receives, this nourishment comes from blood which is stored in the liver. We can always glean if a person has a liver problem by observing the health of the person’s eyes. Blurred vision, for example, is usually caused by inadequate liver blood. Heat and dampness in the gallbladder and liver can lead to jaundice, a health condition that manifests as yellow eyes.

The Tendons are Also Governed by the Liver

Liver function is closely tied to tendon movement. If there is insufficient blood stored in the liver, it may result in the poor nourishment of the tendons. This can result in stretching or bending difficulty, limb numbness, and spasms. The health of the toenails and fingernails rely also on nutrients on the blood stored in the liver. When a person has an adequate liver blood supply, his/her nails will appear moist and pink; blood insufficiency will cause the nails to look pale, brittle, and thin.

Ivelisse DeJongh is a Miami acupuncturist and the medical director at DeJongh Acupuncture Clinic.

Written by Valerie

November 10th, 2015 at 3:07 pm

The importance of Integrating Acupuncture Into Drug Addiction Therapy

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In the United States, alternative medicine is a growing billion-dollar industry. In 1990, Americans spent about more than 10 billion dollars out of their own pocket money on alternative modes of treatment compared to more than 12 billion dollars on hospitalizations based on a research gathered by The New England Journal of Medicine in 1993. Interestingly, the research also revealed that Americans made less visits to primary care doctors (388 million) than they did alternative treatment providers/practitioners (425 million). These statistics should be pertinent reasons to be thoroughly acquainted with alternative medical procedures more than ever

One of the most popular alternative forms of treatment in the world is acupuncture, an Oriental healing procedure virtually unknown in the United States until the beginning of the 1970s. The serious clinical experimentation and research of the healing potentialities of acupuncture has brought about the discovery of a very promising tool in the battle against chemical addiction. Clinical stories and anecdotal evidences of success strongly point to the truth of acupuncture’s ability to alleviate a lot of the severe symptoms of chemical and substance withdrawal despite the fact that the medical community wants more reliable scientific data to be collected on this particular subject. This ability of acupuncture makes detoxification easier to accomplish thus encouraging addicts to persevere in the treatment.

Spurred by this success some detoxification clinics have incorporated acupuncture treatment into their programs. In many major cities in the US, drug courts have been set up by Court systems that have included acupuncture, intensive treatment and counseling as substitutes for prosecution. The inclusion of acupuncture into the system’s drug rehabilitation program combined with the low cost of treating clients in drug court programs has made law enforcement officers more optimistic that acupuncture will be much more attractive to addicts than the lure of substance abuse.

What is Acupuncture?

The approaches and objectives of Chinese medicine are quite different to that of Western medicine. This difference has made it very difficult to integrate the former into modern American addiction therapies. The completely different nature of Chinese medicine causes skepticism in a lot of Western researchers if it does actually work.

In 1991, the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) released a review that talked about the role of acupuncture in detoxification programs in Pembroke Pines. It admitted that the system used by Western medicine in testing treatment programs is not compatible or sufficient enough to understand the way acupuncture works in treating drug addiction. This explains why there is a lack of study dealing with acupuncture’s ability and effectiveness in treating drug addiction and other types of conditions. This simply means that Western medicine doesn’t know how acupuncture actually works and why it is such an effective modality for addictions and certain other health problems.

Western medicine practitioners should first understand the underlying principles behind Chinese medicine, especially acupuncture, before they can utilize it in drug courts and detoxification clinics.

Acupuncture, based on Chinese medicine principles, is a procedure in which, needles are inserted into a patient’s skin stimulating vital energy (known as Qi, or Chi) in neural pathways known as meridians just underneath the surface of the skin. Both meridians and the Chi that travel through it are not visible to the naked eye. There really is no English word that can exactly describe Chi and so vital energy is the term used often. When Chi is functioning normally, it governs retention of the organs and substances of the body, smoothens the different body transitions from one state to another, and it protects and warms the body. According to Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), sickness is the result of Chi’s inability to flow freely through the meridians. To treat conditions, acupuncture needles are used to clear the blockages in the meridians and boost the circulation of Chi.

Western medicine’s acceptance of acupuncture has been steadily increasing over the years and a few modern developments have aided in integrating the collected wisdom of TCM with Western diagnostic methods even if Chi is a concept not widely accepted outside the world of TCM. New studies have revealed that when inserted into the body, acupuncture needles have the tendency to stimulate the body to manufacture endorphins. If this is proven to be true, the idea of an unseen vital energy circulating in the body via invisible energy channels will seem like a valid explanation for a then-unknown physiological process.

One form of acupuncture known as auricular acupuncture or ear acupuncture was discovered by a French doctor, Paul Nogier in 1955. The doctor was experimenting on electrical activity on the skin’s surface. He saw that the ear has acupuncture points that corresponded with every acupuncture point on the body. Since then, ear acupuncture has become the most popular form of acupuncture treatment in the West. With regards to drug detoxification therapy, ear acupuncture therapy provides the patient with a treatment that does not require privacy, so that a lot of patients can be treated all at once in a single room.

There has been talk as to what type of acupuncture procedure is most effective in treating chemical addiction: body or ear acupuncture? To answer this question, the NIDA technical review stated that in the interest of uniformity, five needles treatment on each ear placed on the acupoints shenmen, sympathetic, liver, lung, and kidney should be the type of acupuncture treatment for chemical addiction in the future. For reasons unexplained, the review also added that there was no reason to study singe-ear therapies, electrically-charged needles, or any type or procedure that would deviate from the accepted detoxification points.

Is acupuncture really effective in treating drug addiction?

When it comes to chronic pain, doctors in the US agree that acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment for this condition. The medical community is exploring the other applications of acupuncture for the alleviation of morning sickness, nausea, arthritis, asthma, tinnitus, IBS, and other types of illnesses. There are a few studies that have been actually done about the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating drug addiction and in these studies, the results have been inconclusive.

The Lancet, a well-known British journal released a study in 1989 that showed the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating alcoholism. In this experiment, 80 people with severe alcohol problems participated and were treated. They were either given -specific point acupuncture treatment on the ear or correct-point acupuncture. Over half of the patient in the treatment group s was able to complete the two-month program; in the control group, however only in 40 people did. Also, half a year after the study, the patients in the control group had twice as many relapses than the treatment group.

The Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment published an analysis about a certain study that used acupuncture as part of a detoxification protocol. This study used animals for test subjects. The results of this study were promising in terms of acupuncture’s ability to significantly reduce withdrawal symptoms. The experimenters stated that acupuncture provided the subjects with more than just a placebo effect, and they recommended additional studies to confirm their findings.

In spite of the constant success of acupuncture in treating a wide variety of health issues, practitioners are hesitant to make sweeping and broad claims about the treatments versatility and about their work, as well.

Some doctors state that while acupuncture may not be a physiological cure for drug addiction, it can provide the addict a relaxing and soothing feeling that may be very helpful for him in seeking a healthier kind lifestyle that will lessen the effects of his drug withdrawal symptoms. But still, in order to overcome drug addiction, a lot of doctors say that people should learn to make decisions based on their own confidence and sense of self-worth in order to change their environment. These doctors appreciate the benefits acupuncture can provide addicts who truly want to change despite the paucity of controlled studies that have been done to validate acupuncture’s effectiveness.

Written by Valerie

November 10th, 2015 at 3:04 pm

Posted in Acupuncture

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