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The Kidneys Role in Traditional Chinese Medicine in Philadelphia

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One of the fundamental differences between traditional Chinese medicine  in Philadelphia and western medicine is their perspective towards the organs of the human body.  Whereas western medicine sees a body organ with a clearly delineated and specific function, such as the kidney used for blood filtration or the heart used for blood circulation, etc., TCM sees the kidney as not only an organ for excreting waste materials but an integral part of the reproductive process as well and much more; or the heart responsible as well for the mental and emotional aspects of the person.

The kidney holds a very important place in TCM that rivals both the heart and the brain.  The kidney is vital for birth, growth and reproduction.  What we term kidney is quite different in concept to what TCM terms as kidney.  Kidney for TCM, encompasses kidney chi, kidney yin and yang and kidney essence Kidney essence is what is distinct from chi.  The kidney is the only organ in the body that possesses the essence quality.

The kidney essence controls the sexual processes like sexual maturation; sexual energy and fertility; and the reproductive process.  It also controls body growth and is responsible for hair, teeth and bone growth.  If the kidney essence has vitality, hair growth is healthy and if it is weak, hair texture becomes flimsy and its color turns to gray.

The kidney has an aspect called yin and yang.  TCM calls the kidney the origin of life or congenital foundation since it is believed that the kidney is where our whole genetic makeup is found and it provides the body with all the needed substances a person needs during birth.

The kidney yin is called primordial yin or true water and it “irrigates” the body with the yin fluid to nourish and keep moist all the body organs and tissues.  Kidney yin deficiency manifests itself as soreness and weak knees, vertigo, tinnitus, hearing difficulties, dry mouth and throat, a burning sensation in the palms and chest and constipation, and involuntary sperm emission.

Kidney yang (also called primordial yang) or true fire, on the other hand, provides the body with warmth and gives energy to all bodily organs and tissues.  Kidney yang deficiency is responsible for intolerance of the cold, cold extremities, malaise, difficulty in urination, incontinence, declining libido, or impotence in severe cases; female sterility, and general edema may also appear.

The strong emotions of fear and anxiety causes chi to be blocked or stagnate in the kidney.  The normal flow of chi dispels fears and anxieties and reanimates not only the body but the strength of the soul as well in the form of strong resolve and will power, which are necessary traits to counter addiction in one form or another.

The kidney has quite a number of meridian points in it and some of them are connected to the meridian system of the ear.  Ear acupuncture is one of the more popular and highly effective treatments for various forms of addiction.

Written by Valerie

February 20th, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Philadelphia Chinese Medicine Methods for Depression

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Acupuncture is widely used to treat depression, not only in China but in the Western countries such as the U.S. and the U.K. as well. To treat depression through acupuncture, the points of the pericardium and the heart are focused on. For acupuncture to be more effective, a the Chinese medicine practitioner would have to evaluate the patient first so that he’ll know the main root of the depression and perform the right techniques.

Philadelphia Chinese medicine has long been used as an alternative way of treating diseases. There are herbs and Chinese treatment methods that are deemed to be very effective for certain types of diseases. And right now, Chinese medicines are used to treat depression and other types of mental and behavioral problems as well.

Chinese medicine is currently used for specific depression cases such as dysthymic disorder, bipolar depression, and seasonal affective disorders. Of all the types of Chinese medicines and procedures used, acupuncture is the most popular. Today, acupuncture is offered not only in countries with Chinese heritage but in the western world as well. And this alternative way of treating diseases was very much welcomed by the Europeans and the Americans.

Qi gong is actually a type of a Chinese exercise routine that can greatly help a person suffering from depression. The practice is made of gentle, slow, and rhythmic movements that induce relaxation. The movements are also known to reduce the symptoms of depression.

Mood Smooth is Jia Wei Xiao Yao Wan. This Chinese herbal supplement has been around in the past 600 years. The Chinese call them happy pill, as it can magically make a depressed person feel happier. Prozac is the today’s most popular medicine for depression. Jia Wei Xiao Yao is the Chinese counterpart of that drug.

The Yang Tonic for the Kidneys is usually prescribed to treat depression. The Yang Tonic is a nourishing formula for the kidneys and can address the different levels of depression in a patient. The Yang Tonic is composed of different herbal medicines such as Fu Zi, Gui Zhi, Ze Xie, and Fu Ling, among many others.

In Chinese, depression is referred to as the Yu Syndrome. It is directly related to restlessness or Zang Zao. In this discipline, depression is defined as the abnormal harboring of emotions that leads to the stagnant flow of Qi. As such, depressed individuals are very unhappy, crying all the time, not talking much, and spending time by themselves.

If depression is caused by the disruption of the mind’s normal processes, then the Chinese medicine normally used to address the condition is Gan Mai Dazao Tang. This concoction is a collection of different Chinese herbs such as licorice, gancao, longchi, and fushen, among many others.

If both the heart and the spleen are the main causes of depression, then the treatment procedure is primarily directed to build up the spleen and replenish the blood. Building up the spleen would lead to the strengthening of the Qi. On the other hand, replenishing the blood would nourish the heart. In these cases, the Gui Pi Tang decoction is the best Chinese medicine to use.

Philadelphia Acupuncture for the Treatment of Headaches and Migraines

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About one of every nine Americans suffers from migraine headaches.  Acupuncture in Philadelphia is perhaps most well-known for its ability to treat pain, and so many migraine sufferers across the country seek out acupuncture treatment for relief.  Acupuncture is used to treat and prevent many kinds of headache, but migraine management and acupuncture is probably the area that is most well-researched.

Acupuncture has been shown to be very effective and efficient in relieving headache and migraine intensity and frequency.  Not only has acupuncture proven to be effective, but acupuncture proved to be superior to conventional drug therapies for the prevention of migraine attacks.  Acupuncture research has also revealed that acupuncture helps to reduce disability associated with migraines, such as missed work or social events.

A study entitled Acupuncture for chronic headache in primary care: large, pragmatic, randomized trial published in the March 27th issue of the British Medical Journal, the most influential, peer-reviewed medical journals in the world, explored the use of acupuncture by headache patients already receiving conventional care.

Patients received up to 12 acupuncture sessions during a three month period, and patients were evaluated before acupuncture (baseline), at three months and at 12 months.  After receiving only up to 12 sessions in an entire year (and those all grouped together within just a 3 month period of that year), it was found that the acupuncture group had a 34% reduction in baseline headache score, compared with only a 16% reduction in the control group.  In addition, the acupuncture group experienced “the equivalent” of 22 fewer days of headache per year, 15% fewer days off sick, 25% fewer visits to general practitioners and used 15% less medication.  So not only was acupuncture effective- it provided savings in both cost and productivity.

“Acupuncture for Patients with Migraine” was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (the most widely circulated, peer-reviewed medical journal in the world) in their May 4, 2005 issue.  This study divided patients into an acupuncture group, sham acupuncture group and a waiting list control group.  Acupuncture patients received 12 sessions over an eight week period, and sham acupuncture patients were needled in locations that do not correspond to traditional points.  The four weeks prior to treatment, and the four weeks following treatment were compared for number of days with moderate to severe headaches.

The study found that 51% of the acupuncture group had a reduction in headache days by at least 50%, compared to only a 15% reduction in the wait list group.  More interestingly, 53% of the sham acupuncture group- the group where acupuncture was performed in a non-traditional manner- had a reduction of headache days by at least 50%.

Written by Valerie

August 30th, 2010 at 7:19 am

Philadelphia Acupuncture to Help with Anxiety

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Philadelphia acupuncture and Oriental Medicine have always considered the connection between mind and body to be inseparable. Along with the ancient descriptions of external environmental disease factors, such as Wind, Heat, and Cold, internal causes of disease were considered to be due to emotions. Anger, fear, sadness, worry, and joy were correlated to each of the five Yin organs of the body. Imbalances within these organs could be the origin of the emotion, or the emotion could injure the corresponding internal organ over time.

The Western viewpoint of “more is better” has taken a toll on mental health. While some chose to work hard and play hard until exhaustion, others will suffer from over-thinking, worrying about every detail of life. This lifestyle causes the mind and body to become tied-up inside, creating anxiety and depression. Acupuncture can help treat these mental-emotional disorders by helping you to “un-do”. The needles create a deep state of relaxation during the treatment, allowing true rest and healing of both mind and body.

Anxiety comes in a variety of forms, from mild worrying about an upcoming speech or exam to phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, a nervous stomach, and even panic attacks. Some anxiety is a normal healthy response to the stresses of daily life and new situations; however, anxiety that occurs randomly or in an excessive manner is a sign for concern. Fortunately, acupuncture can help balance both the mental and physical manifestations of this condition returning you to an easy-going life.

When anxiety occurs, you may experience the obsessive thoughts circling the fearful situation you are experiencing, and physical symptoms such as chest pain, increased heart rate, and shortness of breath, stomachache, nausea, or headache. Depending on the exact manifestations of your anxiety in conjunction with an observation of the pulse and tongue, an acupuncturist can determine which Oriental Medicine pattern of anxiety you are experiencing.

Most conditions of anxiety are related to imbalances of the Heart and Kidney, referring the energetic aspects of these organs.  The Heart organ is considered a very Yang energy organ, constantly pumping the blood throughout the body. Over-excitement of the Heart due to excessive joy or an imbalance of Fire within the body can create Heat in the Heart, leading to anxiety and insomnia. The Kidney is the Water organ and functions to balance the Fire of the Heart helping to contain an excess of Fire. If the Kidney is deficient, the Heart Fire can rise up disturbing the mind.

Acupuncture treatments for anxiety can use both body and auricular acupuncture. Body acupuncture points may include Heart 7, Kidney 6, and Spleen 6 to harmonize the Heart and Kidney and nourish the cooling Yin energy of these organs. In cases of excessive Heart Heat, the points Heart 8 and Heart 9 may be used to sedate the Fire within the Heart. Auricular points, such as Shenmen (Spirit Gate), can effectively reduce anxiety; in some cases, retaining ear tacks or small magnetic balls at this auricular acupuncture point can prolong the effects between treatments.

Written by Valerie

July 28th, 2010 at 6:52 am