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Archive for July, 2017

Moxibustion And Acupuncture Are Often Used Alongside Each Other

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Moxibustion is often accompanied with acupuncture in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). These two modalities are so intertwined with each other that in the Chinese language they referred to in one word, zhenjiu, zhen meaning needle and jiu meaning to burn. Recently, a new English word has been invented that contains these two words, acu-moxa.

Be that as it may, there are still innate differences between moxibustion and acupuncture in Encino that make it essential to view their beginnings from different perspectives.

A form of traditional Chinese medicine that remedies disorder and disease by vivifying the energy channels (meridians) and acupuncture points with heat, moxibustion has its roots directly associated with the discovery and application of fire by prehistoric man. All human being and animals dislike cold and incline towards warmth by instinct. This preference even extends to plants that display thermotoaxic or phototaxic qualties. Utilizing heat as a healing tool is universal, and this has been documented in several medical traditions including those of ancient Greece and Rome. Our prehistoric ancestors at some point in time found out about the usefulness of fire as a way to warm their bodies and to cook food. Eventually, they also discovered it can alleviate and even cure their illnesses.

When we are sick or in pain, we do not instinctively prick our bodies with needles as this may seem counterproductive. Most of us would rather avoid being pricked with needles, and we relate needling to injury and pain. A lot of animals and plants have instinctively gotten knowledge of this fact and so some of them have evolved quills or thorns as a way to defend themselves from predators. A certain level of physical trauma can come about from needling, and it does not matter how skilled or how extremely small or thin the needle the practitioner uses. Recently, there is a report showing that when a 0.2 mm diameter needle (the dimension of acupuncture needles used today) is stuck on a rabbit, 10 – 20 nerve fibers and 4 – 20 muscle fibers of the rabbit are damaged. The traumatic level was considerably higher during ancient times, when needles were significantly larger. Even less than ten decades ago, the size of the acupuncture needles used measured up to 2 mm in diameter.

One of the weirdest things about acupuncture is that the needles are often inserted distant and not on or near the part of the body that has a problem. It has been scientifically established that the direct use of warmth can alleviate local ailment. It has also been scientifically established why the need to bring about further trauma to an injured area is essential in certain situations, like when a broken bone must be put in place or when surgery is needed. But there seems to be no clear reason why acupuncture requires the sticking of needles into body parts distant from the site where the problem is. Acupuncture has one axiom that goes like this: To heal the upper, needle the lower. To relieve toothache, for example, acupuncturists usually use the Liver 4 (Li 4, Hegu) acupoint which is situated on the hand. Of course, newbies to the treatment would wonder what the hand has got to do with an aching tooth.

Acupuncture, admittedly, can sometimes be painful; nevertheless, it causes no lasting or significant injury when administered properly. A lot of people would be willing to brave the minor pain of needling in order to get rid of a bigger problem. Unfortunately, for some, acupuncture may seem really scary. This is especially true in Western societies where most people are ignorant of or misunderstand acupuncture. For example, the Encyclopedia Americana, a reputable source of information has an entry about acupuncture that contains a picture of more than 70 needles inserted into a man’s head. In real practice, an experienced and licensed acupuncturist would never needle in such an excessive and exaggerated manner.

Acupuncture is widely believed to have originated in China. The earliest mention of this treatment was a few hundred years just before the start of the Common Era. Sharpened bones and stones that date back to 6000 BCE are believed to have been used as instruments for acupuncture treatment. There are no treatment modalities matching or similar to it in the ancient healing traditions of other cultures. Today’s acupuncturists still manipulate needles in the same way and follow the same doctrines as their peers during the time of the Inner Classic of the Yellow Emperor or Nei Jing, the earliest recorded document on acupuncture. Needling is still the main method used by acupuncturists despite the entry of non-invasive and painless techniques like point stimulation using shortwave or electricity or acupressure.

Written by Valerie

July 25th, 2017 at 6:01 am

Posted in Acupuncture

Chinese Diet Therapy and Traditional Chinese Medicine

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One of the great things about Traditional Chinese medicine is the acknowledgement of individuality. This also applies to dietary factors. In Traditional Chinese medicine, there is no such thing as “one size fits all” dietary or herbal regimens. Everything is uniquely customized based on the person’s needs, and it’s acknowledged that each individual’s needs may differ significantly.

Balanced Diet and the Five Tastes

A balanced diet, from the viewpoint of traditional Chinese medicine, differs very much from that in Western society. A balanced diet in the Chinese system involves the inclusion of the five tastes – salty, sweet, bitter, sour, and spicy. Herbs and foods that have a specific taste are likely to have specific qualities. Bitter foods and herbs, for instance, are likely to be Cold and drying. Their qualities are thus considered to be useful in the treatment of Damp Heat conditions, but not appropriate for individuals who are too Dry and/or too Cold. A lot of these bitter foods and herbs possess antibiotic-like attributes. Salty foods and herbs, on the other hand, are likely to be moistening and warming. This makes them ideal for individuals suffering from Dryness and Cold, although in people with Damp and Hot, they should be cautiously utilized.

Besides those five main flavors, Chinese medicine also recognizes a bland taste. Bland tasting foods and herbs usually have the effect of draining Dampness and entering areas in the body where other tastes cannot enter. Some researchers make a distinction between astringent and sour rather than grouping both tastes under sour. Foods and herbs with sour taste oftentimes are moistening and possess heating energy. Astringent foods and herbs usually are drying and cooling. It’s important to note that these general observations about taste also have certain exceptions.

There are herbs and foods that can possess more than one taste. One herb that actually possesses all the five tastes is Wu Wei Hsi and is prized for this unique quality. In English, it is actually called Five Flavor Seed.

Proportion of the Tastes

A balanced diet from the Chinese perspective is one that includes all the five tastes. However, the proportion of the tastes tends to differ based on the season of year and the needs of the person. For someone with Deficient Yang, the person might require a higher percentage of foods that possess Yang energy compared to people without such deficiency. These foods containing Yang energy will furnish the person with Yang energy adequate enough to obtain the proper balance of Yin/Yang energy in his/her body. Conversely, a Yin Deficient person will require a higher percentage of foods having Yin energy. Sour, salty, and sweet herbs and foods are not recommended for someone with Dampness conditions since they generate moist in the body. If an individual has Dampness issues in his body, he obviously should not eat an abundant amount of herbs and foods that have moistening qualities that will only exacerbate the Dampness. However, these foods are beneficial for people with Dryness problems. (Here again, there are exceptions. The practitioner or therapist should bear that in mind if a person is too Cold or too Hot Cold. Sweet is usually cooling while sour and salty are oftentimes heating even though these three tastes tend to moisten. In instances of Damp Heat, Sour is likely to be more heating compared to salty so therefore, be careful with Sour).

For people with excessive Damp, foods with bitter, spicy, and/or astringent tastes can be very good for their condition and fair for people with excessive Dryness. You should also take into account the herb/food’s thermal energy. The foods and herbs that are astringent are usually cooling, but the bitter herbs even more cooling than the astringent. On the other hand, spicy foods and herbs are usually very heating.

Yin and Yang Foods

Thus, we can see that traditional Chinese medicine is, in large part, all about balancing out opposites. Foods and herbs packed with Yang energy are recommended for people with Deficient Yang. During the most Yin time of the year, winter, eating a lot of Yang foods is advised while during the most Yang time of the year, which is summer, eating a lot of Yin foods is appropriate. It is sometimes also a good thing to be in harmony with the season –eating Yang foods and eating Yin foods during summer and winter respectively, are sometimes good. All these will depend on the needs of the person.

As a rule, veggies are categorized as Yin while meats are Yang. Also the preparation of the food can also be a factor in how much Yin or Yang energy the food will have. Yang is increased in frying while Yin becomes the more dominant energy in foods that are steamed. Therefore, steamed veggies are more Yin, while stir-fried veggies are more Yang. Yang Deficient individuals are more likely to prefer stir-fry veggies while, on the other hand, people who are Deficient in Yin would likely find eating steamed veggies beneficial than eating stir-fried ones. Foods that are served warm and cooked tend to be more warming compared to foods that are cold and raw. Celery that is cooked stir-fried and served warm, for instance, has a very Yang and warming quality compared to raw celery that is served in cold salad.

The Fives Tastes and the Organ Systems of the Body

Furthermore, some tastes or flavors have an association with some of the Organ systems in the body. Salty flavor, for example, is associated with the Bladder and Kidneys. Foods are sometimes salted in order to derive the attributes of the food to the Kidneys. For people suffering from Kidney imbalances, it’s traditionally believed that adding a little bit of salt to herbal teas can help tonify the Kidneys. The Gallbladder and Liver are especially affected by the taste of sour (although you need to be careful for Damp Heat or gallstones that cause problems in the Liver.) Sweet affects the Abdomen and Spleen (Pancreas-Spleen), spicy for the Large Intestine and Lungs, and Small Intestine and the Heart the taste of Bitter.

In traditional Chinese medicine, there is no such thing as “one size fits all” or forbidden diet or foods. Sugar can be sometimes used an herbal remedy for people who need it. (In the US, this almost never occurs, but in other cultures, sugar is considered a form of medicine. The extreme overuse of sugar in the US has caused this substance to be classified as a type of “poison”).

The Fallacy of the “One Size Fits All” Paradigm

Because Western societies believe that people are all the same, they believe in the “one size fits all” paradigm. Thus, they wrongly assume a diet that works for one individual can also work for other people. Salt, for example is dangerous for people with high blood pressure and so, a low salt diet will be recommended for these people. But for people suffering from Neurally Mediated Hypotension or adrenal inadequacy, a low salt diet can be incredibly harmful for their health. Most individuals need to drink a lot of water, but this can be harmful for people suffering from epilepsy, (that is, if they do not accompany it by eating even a small amount of food like a biscuit or cracker). There are people who need to eat a considerable amount of fat more than others. This is especially true among children who are likely to develop growth and health problems especially if their parents think that limiting fat in their diets can be detrimental to their health. Certain individuals have beyond normal needs for certain minerals or vitamins due to pathogenic weaknesses in their systems or genetics. For example, goiter can be caused by iodine deficiency, but too much iodine can bring about hyperthyroidism.

But you can also consume the wrong foods at the wrong time and exacerbate an existing illness.

Certain measures should be considered when selecting foods especially if they are eaten over a long period of time on a regular basis as these foods can have a long-term and profound effect on the functions of the body. The same measures should be applied when using a specific herbal treatment over a considerable period of time. From the viewpoint of both traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine, following a varied diet is generally good for overall health and well-being.

For people suffering from chronic pain, the use of sour taste should be limited as it can affect the nerves and harm the Liver.

In diseases related to the bone, the overconsumption of bitter foods should be avoided as this taste tends to negatively affect the bones.

The muscles are especially affected by sweet taste and so taking in too much sweet can lead to muscle weakness.

The Blood can dry from salty taste and so for people with deficient Blood, this taste should be avoided.

The pungent taste disperses vital energy (Chi) and so should not be taken where there is deficient Chi.

In general, salty taste affects the Kidneys; pungent taste affects the Lungs; sweet taste influences the Spleen; bitter taste, the heart; and sour taste, the Liver. Therefore, you should not consume bitter foods if you have a diseased Lung; sweet foods should be avoided if you Kidney is weak; sour foods should not be eaten if your Spleen is diseased; if your Heart is diseased, avoid salty foods; and pungent foods are not recommended for people with diseased Lungs.

You may be wondering about the limitation on sour for Spleen conditions when the Liver actually has an association with the sour taste, the limitation on salty foods for people with Heart disease when salty has a relationship with the Kidneys, spicy food for people with Liver problems when spicy has a relationship with the Lungs, etc. These limitations are explained in the Victor-Vanquished law of the five Elements.

The Victor-Vanquished Law

This law or rule basically refers to the inverse relationship of the Organ systems each other. In a Victor-Vanquished relationship, when one gets weakened, the other gets stronger and vice-versa. If, for example excess energy builds up in the Liver, it can invade the Spleen. In traditional Chinese medicine, this condition is called Liver Invading the Spleen (since the Liver is too powerful – it can assault the Spleen as the Spleen is substantially weak). And so, when Liver invades the Spleen, it can significantly harm digestion and can be painful. If you eat or drink something sour (which is related to the Liver) and you have a weak Spleen, you invigorate the Liver but weaken the Spleen. This is the Victor-Vanquished relationship at work in the Liver and the Spleen. From time to time, in these relationships, a Vanquished Element will reverse the outcome on the Element that normally is the Victor. When this occurs, the term “Insulting” is used. In this instance, it is the Spleen (Earth Element) Insulting Liver (Wood Element).

Health’s first line of defense is diet and in traditional Chinese, this matters a lot. In certain instances, before the healing herbs are prescribed or before the herbs can work properly, the person may need to rectify his diet first.

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

Written by Valerie

July 25th, 2017 at 5:59 am

Posted in Acupuncture

Acupuncture-Moxibustion Treatment

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What is Acupuncture-moxibustion treatment?

Acupuncture and moxibustion are both major branches of an ancient medicinal system known as traditional Chinese medicine. In ancient texts, there are many different accounts of how acupuncture and moxibustion came to be. Two of these are the invention of acupuncture and moxibustion by Huang Di and the therapeutic techniques using stone needles developed by Fu Hsi.

Acupuncture actually has two operative techniques – one is a method involving the use of needles and the other deals with this use of fire. Both are correlative and essential for treating diseases.

It is believed that Chinese moxibustion started as far back as the Neolithic Age or New Stone Age. Legend has it that while cooking near her stove, a housewife felt a gradual lessening of her pain which she attributed as a therapeutic effect to being near the fire in the stove. Eventually, this healing with fire gradually evolved and later on, medical herbs were added to warm the body and enhance health.

The moxibustion technique most commonly used today is with cupping and a moxa cone. Moxibustion treatment basically involves the use of glass jars or cups that’s applied over the body. By putting fire in the cup, the heat allows the cup to firmly stick to the surface of the body. The heat inside the cup forces the air out of the jar and causes a suction effect that causes the cup or jar to firmly stick to the skin. This massages the internal organs and helps stimulate the blood thereby eliminating blood stasis.

In order to target the relevant meridians and acupuncture points of the body to cure a specific illness, acupuncture in Orlando and Chinese moxibustion must be performed by an experienced and qualified practitioner in a proper and precise way.

Written by Valerie

July 18th, 2017 at 4:27 am

Posted in Acupuncture

Acupressure As A Viable Remedy For Constipation

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Some people who have tried acupressure believe that applying pressure on a point three finger widths below the navel can induce a bowel movement, sometimes within just ten minutes. This pressure point is given an asinine label: “poop button.” The body has actually a lot of “poop buttons.” They can be found on the arms, navel, and back. It is up to the acupressure practitioner or the individual to locate and stimulate them to cure constipation.

Acupressure has been given a bad rap by a lot of so-called medical experts. They consider it pseudoscience all because their minds would not allow them to find out how this ancient healing modality really works. This skepticism and disbelief they actually apply to all forms of “alternative medicine” although the effects of acupressure and acupuncture have been observed on neuro-imaging studies. For example, when a rather famous orthopedic surgeon studied electro-acupuncture, he was able to observe amounts of electromagnetic energy on traditional acupressure energy channels which were absent on non-acupressure points.

James Reston, a writer in the New York Times in the 1970s wrote an article entitled “Now, about my operation in Peking.” In the article, he observed that the effect of acupuncture on post-surgery operation for constipation can be seen on a fluoroscope where inserted needles on his limbs resulted in movements within his intestines.

Actually, there has never been a time in history as the present when studies dealing with the effects of acupressure and acupuncture have led to so much evidence proving the extreme effectiveness of these two therapies in curing various types of health conditions. Ever since that Reston article, the US has accepted acupuncture as one of its most popular alternative treatments ever.

When you doubt acupuncture, you doubt acupressure even more, as the latter works on the same principles as the former. The only difference is that one uses needles while the other uses the fingers, thumb, or hands. Probably, a method in which controversy is justified involves a technique known as Tapas acupressure. This therapy is allegedly designed to free negative energy and emotional blockages. Tapas acupressure does not entail any physical contact and it sprung out from traditional acupressure practice. It will not be discussed in this article.

Brushing aside skepticism and disbelief, millions of people in the Orient and around the world particularly the poor have benefited greatly from acupuncture and acupressure as they’ve helped resolve these people’s various health problems. Acupuncturists and Chinese doctors will sometimes recommend acupressure as part of a patient’s plan of treatment.

If you suffer from constipation and believe it can be properly managed at home, acupressure can be used in lieu of narcotic laxatives. A family member can perform this therapy on you. It can gently heal your gut and even boost your emotional well- being.

Acupressure is a versatile and very safe healing technique. It is a convenient treatment that you can use anywhere and anytime and is easy to learn. Besides the aforementioned acupressure point below the navel, you can also use the point located in the crease of the bent arm at the outer edge of the crease. The number and length of the treatment course will be based on the severity of your constipation. If you have the means to get acupressure treatment from professional practitioners, you may also be treated with a Chinese medicine modality known as moxibustion in which the acupressure points are warmed by a lighted stick of moxa plant.

Acupressure may not be recommended for the following people:

• Pregnant women
• People with low or high blood pressure
• People with skin blisters and open wounds

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

Written by Valerie

July 18th, 2017 at 4:26 am

Posted in Acupuncture

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Four Steps To Find The Right Acupuncturist To Address Your Specific Needs

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For over two millennia, acupuncture has been used by the Chinese where it originated from. Now, it is one of the most widely used and oldest medical therapies in the world. Interestingly, this ancient extremely versatile modality did not reach the United States until the early 1970s.

Acupuncture involves the application of solid thin small metal needles into specific points in a person’s body. Once inserted, the needles are manipulated through the use of electrical stimulation or by the skilled hands of an acupuncturist.

It is extremely important that you seek out an acupuncturist who is experienced, licensed and qualified if you are considering undergoing acupuncture treatment. Unfortunately there have been people practicing this procedure that are not licensed and unqualified and do not have the proper credentials. They are one of the reasons why some people choose not to try acupuncture since besides being ineffective in the hands of these unqualified practitioners, the treatment led to more pain. Therefore, to make sure that you get the best treatment possible, you need to allocate some time looking searching for the right acupuncturist to treat you. The following is a list of steps that can help you find the right practitioner.

Step 1 – You can go online and find qualified and/or licensed acupuncturists who have clinics near the place where you live. Your health provider or doctor can also provide you with referrals. The best place to find the right acupuncturist is still in the internet. You can go to the NCCAOM website where you can find an acupuncturist near your area.

Step 2 – After creating a list of potential acupuncturists, you can select three or four names from it and phone them. Ask if they offer free consultation and if they do, take up their offer. By doing this you will be able to assess their abilities and determine whether you are comfortable getting treatment from them or not.

Step 3 – When you meet these practitioners, it’s essential to find out about their qualification and what kind of training they’ve had. Choose only the ones who have achieved the qualifications to work as a medical acupuncturist or have gotten a degree in Chinese Medicine. They also should have passed the state licensure exam that gives them the right to practice acupuncture in that state.

Step 4 – Besides knowing about their qualifications and training, you need to know how much experience they have. Rather than striving to know how long the acupuncturist has been practicing his profession, try to know if he or she has experience in treating the health condition you’re suffering from. This will make you more confident that the acupuncturist will provide you with the right type of treatment for your specific problem.

We hope that these steps will make it much easier for you to find the right acupuncturist in Jacksonville to effectively and safely treat your medical condition.

Written by Valerie

July 11th, 2017 at 12:18 pm

Posted in Acupuncture

A Few Healthy Tips For Losing Weight If You Plan To Order Chinese Foods

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If you are on a diet, you may not know just how detrimental Chinese food can be if we don’t order the right foods. Unfortunately, a lot of the foods served at your local Chinese restaurant are either pan fried or deep fried, which implies that the food will be loaded with calories, trans fats, and cholesterol. This work will discuss several tips that may aid you in ordering the right foods when you eat at a Chinese restaurant.

1. Don’t Eat Too Much

First and foremost, you should never eat too much. You need to understand that a couple of portions are the same as the size of a light bulb, inasmuch as a single portion can fit in the wrapper of a cupcake.

2. Steamed Rice is Preferable than Fried Rice

Rice is low in calories and fat and so it is always a good idea to order them. Lo main or fried rice is fried which means it is filled with calories, fat and cholesterol and thus should be avoided.

3. Stir Fried Veggies

Combine your order of rice with a wide variety of stir fried veggies cooked in minimal oil. The reason the foods in Chinese restaurants always taste so great is that they tend to use a lot of sauces and oils. Therefore, make sure you order foods with light sauce and light oil.

4. Avoid Fried Chicken

It is sometimes hard to resist ordering fried chicken because we all know how delicious it is. But however delectable it can be, eating it will take a toll on your waistline and your health.

5. Extra Sauces are Often High in sodium, So You Need to Avoid Them

Remember these few tips the next time you visit a Chinese restaurant. If you are attempting to lose some pounds, and dieting alone just won’t work, you need to do some daily physical activity and/or try tai chi or acupuncture in Bellingham. All are natural safe, and really effective ways to lose weight.

Written by Valerie

July 11th, 2017 at 12:14 pm

Posted in Acupuncture

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Acupuncture Resolves Both The Symptoms And Root Cause Of Meniere’s Disease

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The extremely disturbing condition known as Meniere’s disease can cause patients to experience the following symptoms: vertigo, severe imbalance, tinnitus, pressure in the ears, and loss of hearing.

Meniere’s disease most distressing symptom is vertigo and it is experienced as a dramatic loss of equilibrium or normal balance. This symptom can cause the person to feel that the room he is in to start to spin all of a sudden and at a very fast speed. The person may find it difficult to focus and if the symptom doesn’t stop it can lead to nausea and vomiting. Vertigo is usually caused by an inner ear inflammation related to a virus (and is called acute labyrinthitis), cervical spine issues, delayed symptom of head injury, or benign positional vertigo (a condition caused crystals in the inner ear that abnormally float in the ear and activate inner ear’s the nerve endings).

Oftentimes, loss of hearing can vary in severity in certain days. In Meniere’s disease, loss of hearing can result in serious permanent deafness and hearing loss in the affected ear.

Sufferers of Meniere’s disease have reported that tinnitus can vary and usually tend to exacerbate before an episode of vertigo. According to them, the tinnitus usually sounds like a whirring noise of a motor that only affects the ear with hearing loss.

Also common is a sense of fullness of pressure in the problematic ear.

A lot of acupuncturists who have treated patients with Meniere’s disease say that most of their patients have used practically every conventional treatment available (including drugs and surgery) for their condition without success. They finally turn to acupuncture as a last resort. This treatment produces results and works extremely well against Meniere’s disease. Acupuncture does not only treat the symptoms but also addresses the underlying cause of this condition.

Fort Lauderdale’s Acupuncture Treatment for Meniere’s Disease

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Meniere’s disease is classified as hsuan yun or dizziness and vertigo. Its underlying cause is oftentimes either loss of fortification of spleen-stomach combined with phlegm turbidity blocking the center and misting and confounding the clear yang or liver-kidney yin vacuity with rising hyperactivity of liver yang. The acupoint GV 20 (Bai Hui), found on the vortex of the head is used. This point is one among five junctions of the three yang meridians of the feet and hands. It connects with a network meridian associated with the liver system. When it is stimulated with needles, it can help settle and subdue floating yang and reinvigorate the clear yang. Therefore, it can be used for the treatment of dizziness and vertigo. GV 19 (Hou Ding), a point connected to the governing vessel can also be used for dizziness and vertigo. A treatment plan that joins these two acupoints with a single needle can capture and free the flow of blood and qi of the governing vessel. It can also calm the spirit and relax the mind. In Western medicine, this equates to the stabilization of the vegetative nervous system and the enhancement of blood flow to the region of the brain. The acupoint SI 19 (Ting Gong) boosts the hearing ability of the ears and liberates the flow of the orifices. The Liv3 (Tai Chong) point is the liver’s source point, while the gallbladder’s construction point is the Xia Xi. When the two acupoints are needled, it can help subdue Yang and regulate the liver. St 40 (Feng Long) and P 6 (Nei Guan) are respectively the network points of the abdomen and pericardium. When they are needled, it can stop vomiting, harmonize the abdomen, and help transform phlegm. The kidney’s source point is called Tai Hsi. It enriches water so that it can sprinkle or moisten wood. The Tai Hsi also helps fill or foster yin essence. Therefore, this protocol can utilize a combination of local acupoints and selected body points depending on the pattern discrimination of the patient. This can help resolve both the symptoms and root cause of Meniere’s disease.

Written by Valerie

July 4th, 2017 at 8:02 pm

Posted in Acupuncture

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Chinese Herbs and Acupuncture Can Help Lower and Stabilize High Blood Pressure

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Based on figures provided by the American Heart Association almost 78 million adults in the US suffer from high blood pressure. That’s one out of three adults Americans. Additional data gathered by NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) spanning the years 2007 to 2010 show that about half of these adults do not have their high blood pressure under control. You have high blood pressure if your systolic reading is 140 or above and diastolic reading is 90 or above. Up to the age of 45, more men suffer from this condition than women but from the ages 45 to 64, the percentage is about the same. By the age of 64 and above, women have a higher percentage rate. In another survey, a third of adult Americans have blood pressure ranges that are higher than normal but not quite in the high range, or are pre-hypertensive.

What Are the Causes of High Blood Pressure?

There are several factors that may chronically raise your blood pressure levels. Here are a few of them:

Family History
Drug abuse (amphetamine, cocaine)
Prescription drugs (corticosteroid drugs for asthma, analgesics, hormone therapy, birth control pills)
Thyroid disease
Kidney disease

Risk factors include:

Poor nutrition
Sedentary life/lack of physical activity

Ways to Diagnose High Blood Pressure

Besides a blood pressure reading, people can know if they have high blood pressure by getting an ASI (adrenal stress index) test that measures levels of DHEA and cortisol or a blood test. DHEA and cortisol are hormones that are produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress. These are the hormones that bring about a fight or flight response in us and are easily affected by imbalances in the endocrine system, specifically, in the thyroid gland. These tests can help us know what factors have been responsible for the development of high blood pressure. Unfortunately, many of these factors commonly occur in our lives and they can be avoided but more often not are overlooked. When making an evaluation, we deem the following elements potentially contribute to high blood pressure/hypertension:

Circulatory blockages (such as micro blood stasis)
Immune deficiencies
Inflammatory conditions
Metabolic acidosis
Metabolic syndrome
Mineral insufficiencies
Food allergies
Cortisol resistance and elevation

How Can Acupuncture in Tarzana Stabilize Our Blood Pressure?

Acupuncture stabilizes blood pressure by influencing the nervous system and the neuroendocrine system, a complex system that’s made up of the adrenal glands, thyroid gland, pituitary gland, and the hypothalamus. Our metabolism and hormones are both regulated by our endocrine system. The ANS or autonomous nervous system has two components: The sympathetic nervous system from which the fight or flight response comes from and which plays a role in regulating the blood volume and vascular tone of the heart and the PMS or parasympathetic nervous system (digest and rest), that regulates body processes such as breathing and blood pressure; the CNS or central nervous system is a two-way communication street comprising the spinal cord (vertebrae) and the brain. The CNS processes all information from external stimuli and the body. Information is gathered by the nervous system, dispatched through the vertebrae to the brain. The brain then transmits signals to the body through the same process.

With regards to research, there are ongoing studies dealing with acupuncture’s regulatory effect on the endocrine system, and how acupuncture can help rebalance the levels of hormone in the body. These studies dealt with reproductive hormones, corticosteroids, and thyroid hormones. Recent research also shows the effects of acupuncture on the autonomic nervous system via various studies dealing with ANS disorders such as epilepsy, cardiovascular disease, PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), insomnia, and anxiety. There has been a rise in neuroimaging studies on acupuncture’s effects on brain centers over the past ten years. This is due to the significant headways that have been achieved in the realm of imaging technologies. An electroacupuncture study showed the treatment stimulating certain regions of the brain generating a hypotensive effect through the central nervous system.

Recent studies suggest that an overactive sympathetic nervous system can significantly contribute to high blood. When the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) becomes dominant or over-stimulated, it causes the heart arteries to constrict; which results in high blood pressure. Current research efforts reveal that acupuncture follows a mechanism that down-regulates the SNS resulting in the lowering of blood pressure. One research saw that electroacupuncture stimulates the brain neurons, which slows down SNS activity by activating nociceptin and the opioid system (enkephalins and endorphins). These opioids balance the baroreflex control system, which is a feedback loop between the parasympathetic nervous system, SNS, central nervous system (vertebrae), the brain, and the heart. The parasympathetic nervous system inhibits SNS activity when the sympathetic nerve activity is stimulated in this feedback loop, which in the process reduces blood pressure.

Certain studies have shown that acupuncture can outperform a commonly prescribed angiotensin called Captopril. This is a drug prescribed by doctors to help lower high blood pressure. One of these studies compared electroacupuncture to Captopril and showed that electroacupuncture produced more significant results in controlling blood pressure than Western medication (Captoril). Another study conducted in Germany compared the effects of acupuncture to antihypertensive drugs. The results revealed acupuncture’s ability to lower blood pressure was comparable to mono-therapies using ACE – inhibitors.

Acupuncture Points and Nerves

In addressing hypertension, acupuncturists may choose a specific combination of acupuncture points that may depend on the specific manifestations of high blood pressure and their root causes. An acupuncturist can have several options to choose from on (e.g., auricular acupoints, distal points on the extremities, back or front side of the body). When acupuncturists select back points, some of which are points that are organ specific (which can be Heart specific) or called back shu points, they usually select the Bl 14 (Tsueyinshu) or Bl 15 (Hsinshu). These two acupoints are related to the heart and pericardium respectively. They are found in the upper thoracic region at the T4 and T5 spinal cord that innervate the heart through the sympathetic nerves. The TCM functions of these acupoints are as follows:

BL 14 (Tsueyinshu)

Lowers and normalizes Qi
Unbinds the chest
Stabilizes the heart

BL 15 (Hsinshu)

Cleanses heart fire
Removes blood stasis and releases the chest
Soothes the Shen (spirit or the sympathetic nervous system)
Normalizes Heart Qi
Nourishes and tonifies the Heart

Eastern Medicine Treatment of High Blood Pressure

Eastern medicine is made up of several variations and forms of treatments that a practitioner can choose from. Because of this, the blood pressure treatment protocols may differ from practitioner to practitioner based on their viewpoint and style, as well as on the manifestations of the disease. In most treatment plans, herbal therapy usually takes precedence. Acupuncture is considered an adjunct therapy. Why is this so? Because acupuncture works at a superficial level while herbs tend to have a more profound effect and can continued to be used at home. However, when these two modalities are used alongside each other, they become a cohesive treatment strategy that is extremely effective at resolving the symptoms and their root cause.

Regardless of the cause of one’s high blood pressure, for any therapy to be truly effective, changes in the person’s lifestyle is needed that can lead to the healthy future of the heart. These changes include:

Adequate and quality sleep
Light exercise such as meditation, yoga, Qigong, or Tai chi
Physical exercise approved by your doctor/acupuncturist
Nutritional and dietary changes

Written by Valerie

July 4th, 2017 at 7:58 pm

Posted in Acupuncture

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