5 Foods For Spring

Spring is the season of growth, regeneration, increased activity and new beginnings. During the season of spring, people experience many changes. Allergies, high blood pressure, headaches, sinus pain and congestion, anger, irritation and tendon problems are just some of the issues common to the spring months. Many of these problems can be attributed to increased wind in the environment. And while there is nothing that can be done about external wind, internal wind can be addressed and diminished using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and the many modalities it incorporates.

In TCM, there are lots of correspondences and associations. Spring is the season of wood, the liver and the gallbladder. The liver is in charge of detoxification and keeping the energy or Qi (pronounced “chee”) flowing smoothly. The gallbladder governs decision making and controls the sinews of the body.

When the liver and gallbladder are not functioning properly, the Qi becomes blocked and disease can occur. Both the liver and gallbladder also help with digestion. But it frequently happens that repressed anger and excessive stress can lead to the development of gallstones.

To keep the liver and gallbladder working smoothly, things like acupuncture, herbal formulas, nutritional counseling, tai chi and qi gong are all recommended. Acupuncture utilizes over 300 different pressure points on the body to help keep it in alignment and free from disease. And there are specific points that can be used to help balance the body during the season of spring.  Let’s look at a few of them.

1.   Liver 3 – This point is located bilaterally on the top of the foot, in the depression about one thumb-breadth from the edge of the webbing between the first and second toes. This point can be used to decrease headaches, nasal congestion and depression.

2.   Large Intestine 20 – Found bilaterally on either side of the nose, in the nasolabial groove, level with the lower border of the nostril. This point is very effective for decreasing nasal pain and obstruction, as well as helping decrease rhinorrhea, also known as a runny nose. These symptoms are quite common with allergies that occur during spring.

3.   Gallbladder 34 – This point is located bilaterally on the outer side of the lower leg, in the depression behind the head of the fibula. Gallbladder 34 is the influential point of the tendons and is used specifically for pain in the lower extremities. The tendons can freeze up during spring after they have been somewhat dormant during the winter months.

4.   Liver 14 – Located bilaterally on abdomen, directly below the nipple, four thumb-breadths from the midline, in the sixth intercostal space. Liver 14 promotes the smooth flow of liver Qi and benefits the digestive tract.

5.   Urinary Bladder 18 – This point is located bilaterally on either side of the spine, at the lower border of the ninth thoracic vertebra, about one and a half thumb-breadths from the spine. This point benefits both the liver and the gallbladder, smooths liver Qi and decreases anger and irritability.

Any of these points can be used alone or in conjunction with others. They can be manually stimulated using pressure from a finger or dull, rounded tool. But for best effects, it is recommended acupuncture be applied. 

Chinese Medicine & Cold Prevention

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Cold Prevention    

The common cold is something everybody deals with and there are a thousand different suggestions on how to avoid catching a cold. Everything from megadoses of vitamin C to increasing your sleep time.  And while some of these are not bad ideas, there is not a lot of proof they can prevent a cold. Some people have stronger immune systems than others and this plays into how often they get sick. Also, there are many environmental factors to account for. And while nothing is going to work every time for every person, there are still ways a person can prepare for cold season.            

Traditional Chinese Medicine has been around for nearly 5,000 years and it utilizes many different tools to help people stay healthy. According to TCM theories, there are six causes of disease: wind, cold, summer heat, dryness, dampness and fire. The human body has to adapt to changes in these elements in order to remain healthy. The main cause of the common cold is wind and it is often associated with sudden or abnormal changes in the weather. Wind frequently combines with other forces to cause different types of illnesses. The most common are wind cold and wind heat.    

Wind cold invasions cause the types of colds that are usually experienced during the snowy winter months. Wind heat invasions cause the types of colds that are commonly seen during the warmer months, when the seasons change from spring into summer and summer into fall.          

Traditional Chinese Medicine has been very successful in treating people who suffer from frequent colds.  Every person has an immune system that usually fights off invasions of bacteria and viruses. But sometimes, when a person is under a lot of stress or doesn’t sleep well or doesn’t eat right, then that immune system can become compromised and a cold may develop. TCM emphasizes prevention through the use of acupuncture, herbal formulas and diet.            

Regular acupuncture treatments can increase a person’s immunity, making it easier to fight off any foreign invaders. Herbs such as Angelica root is also frequently prescribed to rid the body of viruses.  Andrographis or Chuan Xin Lian in Chinese is another herb that is frequently used because it reduces the severity of cold symptoms while strengthening the immune system. Forsythia fruit or Lian Qiao, is another herb that is used frequently to treat the common cold.            

There are other things that can be done to prevent the common cold that are not specific to TCM, but they are recommended. For example, eating according to the season. So as the weather gets colder, one should eat more warm and cooked foods.  Another example is, energy or vibrational medicine therapies such as AmpCoil. AmpCoil neutralizes microbes, metals and toxins using a Tesla-based PEMF delivery system and a powerful biofeedback app.

One last thing that may be very beneficial in the prevention of colds is exercise. To keep energy flowing throughout the body, it is necessary to move. This is where incorporating a daily practice of tai chi or qi gong might be helpful. Both tai chi and qi gong are very easy to learn and the practices are low impact.  Tai chi is even being used around the globe in senior homes to help the residents regain balance and keep them healthy, both mentally and physically.  

Consider adding Traditional Chinese Medicine to the toolbox when a cold comes on.  A licensed acupuncturist and herbalist may be very beneficial to your health and well-being.

Chronic Pain is greatly reduced with Electroacupuncture

Research Update – Electroacupuncture for Pain            

A study published in Anesthesiology: The Journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, Inc., tested electroacupuncture for its effectiveness in treating persistent pain. Although the subjects used in the study were animals, the findings can be easily translated and adjusted so the same methods can be used to treat human beings. The studies showed that electroacupuncture can greatly decrease several types of pain, including neuropathic, inflammatory, cancer-related and visceral pain.  The studies showed solid evidence that electroacupuncture can indeed be used for analgesia in patients that are suffering from chronic pain, regardless of the type of pain.

http://anesthesiology.pubs.asahq.org/article.aspx?articleid=1917956#66563380          

Acupuncture is a modality used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)  in which a practitioner inserts hair-thin, solid, stainless steel needles into the body, under the skin along energetic pathways. These energetic pathways, or meridians, are invisible lines that run throughout the body. These meridians allow energy or Qi (pronounced “chee”) to flow throughout the body, keeping the body in balance and alignment. For optimal health to be achieved, Qi must flow freely without any blockages. Blocked or stagnant energy can result in disease or decreased vitality.     

Electroacupuncture is a variation on acupuncture. Electroacupuncture works the same way as regular acupuncture, but it uses the needles as conduits that administer small jolts of electricity that invigorate the skin and muscles of the body. Electricity increases the effects of acupuncture. This can lead to increased energy, pain relief, and much, much more. The electrical charges encourage additional physiological processes that go beyond the mere stimulation of Qi. Acupuncture coupled with electricity, encourages the body to release neurotransmitters that can act as natural painkillers. Because of this, electroacupuncture is becoming more common in the treatment of pain.           

Electroacupuncture is especially useful for conditions in which there is an accumulation of Qi, such as chronic pain. This type of acupuncture can be used as a pain reliever for muscle spasms, neurological disorders and possibly even heart disease. There is evidence that electrical stimulation of acupressure points can activate the endorphin system. This can actually lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart disease.

Electroacupuncture produces a rhythmic, non-painful muscle twitch just below the needle through the use of a very small milliamp current. This stimulation triggers perfusion of blood flow locally. This blood flow carries essential nutrients that promote muscle regeneration. The use of electroacupuncture can break pain cycles, while smoothing the way for a person’s own pain-relieving mechanisms.  Electroacupuncture also relaxes muscles.           

Electroacupuncture does come with risks and it is not appropriate for everybody. Anybody who has a history of seizures or epilepsy would not be an ideal candidate for the use of electroacupuncture. Also, it is not recommended for people who have pacemakers, as it can interfere with the electrical current of the devices. Before trying electroacupuncture, the practitioner should verify that you are not at risk. If they do not, it is vital for the patient to bring this up to avoid any complications.

Type 1 Diabetes

Acupuncture and Type 1 Diabetes

Many people may not be aware there are multiple types of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common and most frequently talked about. However, type 1 diabetes is also very prevalent and one that can be very dangerous for those that have it. Type 1 diabetes affects more than 200,000 people in the United States every year. It is not specific to an age group, sex or ethnicity, but it tends to be more common in children and young adults. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin and the person suffering from the disease is dependent upon daily insulin injections to stay alive.            

While this may sound quite daunting and miserable, there are many people worldwide living happy, healthy lives with this disease. Although the cause of type 1 diabetes is still unknown, it is usually managed through the use of insulin therapy. What happens is that the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas become damaged due to an autoimmune response within the body.  Type 1 diabetics are unable to produce insulin and therefore it must be supplemented daily. Without insulin, the body can’t metabolize glucose needed for everyday bodily functions.             

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can help type 1 diabetics in various ways. Balancing food intake, specifically sugars, is vital for diabetics. Too much sugar and not enough insulin can be dangerous for anybody, but it can be deadly for diabetics. Studies have shown acupuncture and electroacupuncture can actually increase the insulin levels in blood plasma. This means even though a type 1 diabetic is required to take insulin to survive, the amounts they take may be less when they are being treated with acupuncture.  Acupuncture treatments can also help balance the blood glucose levels in type 1 diabetics.          

Another area where regular acupuncture treatments can benefit type 1 diabetics is stress. Excessive stress has been proven to wreak havoc in the body. Added stress can cause a cascade of stress hormones, which signals the liver to dump more glucose into the bloodstream. This can be fatal for a diabetic who doesn’t recognize the symptoms. Acupuncture is very relaxing and actually lowers stress levels in most people. For a type 1 diabetic, keeping stress levels to a minimum is crucial.  

Traditional Chinese Medicine considers diabetes to be a “thirsting and wasting” disorder caused by deficiencies in the kidney system. Acupuncturists focus on strengthening the body and managing long-term symptoms, specifically those associated with the kidney system. This may be accomplished with both regular acupuncture treatments, as well as Chinese herbs, nutritional coaching and even things like Tai Chi or Qi Gong that help balance the body overall.   

If you or somebody you know is suffering from type 1 diabetes, please consider Traditional Chinese Medicine as an adjunct to the current medical treatments. It can be quite beneficial in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Be sure to seek out a fully trained and properly licensed acupuncturist or Traditional Chinese Medical practitioner in your area to find out more about how this medicine can help.

Type 1 diabetes can be an extremely debilitating disease, and those diagnosed with this form of diabetes face many challenges along the way to living a healthy life. When somebody is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes it means their body can no longer produce insulin. This requires those affected by type 1 diabetes to take insulin shots regularly to balance the insulin levels in their body.

Acupuncture and other forms of Traditional Chinese Medicine produce beneficial effects for those experiencing type 1 diabetes. Although acupuncture cannot completely cure type 1 diabetes, it can make it easier for those battling the disease to manage it.

  Check out these important facts about acupuncture and type 1 diabetes.

  1. Acupuncture has been shown to increase insulin levels in the blood plasma. Research shows acupuncture and electroacupuncture have both increased the amount of insulin found in a patient’s blood plasma.

2. The use of acupuncture on patients with type 1 diabetes lowers blood glucose levels and can assist in regulating the patient’s endocrine function.

3.  Improved circulation, decrease in depression, a bolstered immune system and reduction in anxiety are all benefits of receiving acupuncture. These benefits can be critical in improving the life of someone living with type 1 diabetes.

AOM Day International Celebration

What is AOM Day 2017

Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day is observed on October 24 to bring awareness to acupuncture and Eastern medicine.
Acupuncture has become increasingly popular with one in ten adults having received acupuncture at least once, according to a survey done by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. The official commemoration for AOM Day began in 2002 and has been promoted by many organizations in the U.S. including the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. AOM Day is also recognized in other countries such as Canada, Mexico and Pakistan.

Annually on October 24, Council member colleges come together through activities to promote awareness and the benefits of acupuncture and oriental medicine. Free acupuncture treatments at college clinics are typically offered on this day as well as free talks, health fairs and more. The Council includes 49 accredited AOM colleges across the United States and welcomes other organizations to join in efforts as well.
All Oriental medicine including acupuncture is based on the idea of the flow of Qi throughout the body. Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that when we are ill, there could be a blockage or stagnation in our body’s natural energy flow, which affects the organ systems. Acupuncture is used to correct this imbalance through the specific placement of needles on the body.

How can acupuncture help you
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine have been known to help treat countless health conditions. Everything from digestive issues such as abdominal pain and indigestion, to addiction, sciatica and high blood pressure. This treatment has been used for adults and kids alike and is essentially harmless with almost no side effects. Not only is acupuncture effective on its own, but is one of the most popular
complementary treatments combined with conventional methods. The National Institutes of Health Consensus has stated that promising results have emerged, specifically for postoperative and chemotherapy nausea, vomiting, as well at postoperative dental pain, low back pain,carpal tunnel syndrome and more.

There are now around 40,000 acupuncturists and close to a hundred acupuncture schools in the U.S. Numerous studies have since been done about acupuncture and its healing effects as more and more Americans are choosing the alternative route that was once considered experimental. This ancient form of medicine continues to make its way in the mainstream medical community and has become the number one alternative medicine used in American hospital systems. As more Americans have started to look for other treatments outside of Western medicine, acupuncture has proved to be an effective option.

Quick Facts about AOM Day and Oriental Medicine

1. Oriental medicine, such as acupuncture, is a health care system that has been used for more than 3,000 years to treat illness and improve quality of life.
2. All Oriental medicine is based on the idea of bringing the body to balance and improving the the body’s natural energy flow, which is called qi.
3. The World Health Organization has listed acupuncture as a useful treatment for more than 40 health conditions.
4. Acupuncture is known to be helpful as a treatment on its own, as well as a complementary treatment.
5. AOM day is comprised of international partnerships with professional associations, research organizations and educational institutions.
6. The most common complementary and alternative medicines according to the NCCIH survey include acupuncture, acupressure, herbal medicine, tai chi and qigong.
7. Activities on AOM Day include press releases, health fairs, open house tours of college clinics and facilities, and working with AOM professionals and alumni to host free treatments and talks.
8. The 49 AOM colleges and programs in the U.S. are all part of The Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, which was established in 1982 for the goal of advancing acupuncture and oriental medicine and promoting education.

The first 10 people to respond to this blog post, will be eligible to receive one free Acupuncture treatment on Tuesday October 24th at Carolina Holistic Health LLC.

Acupuncture, cancer and immunity:
Link

Acupuncture and rheumatoid arthritis:
Link

Acupuncture and depression:
Link

Acupuncture and allergies:
Link

Acupuncture and fertility:
Link

Acupuncture and insomnia:
Link


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Sounds Of Healing

Did you know shushing someone might actually may be beneficial to your health? There are six healing sounds known to Taoist qi gong practice that vibrate specific organs and promote emotional and physical well-being.

It has been shown sound vibrations promote healing and provide a type of massage to the organs. Six main organs that benefit from this sound vibration include the liver, heart, spleen, lungs, kidneys and triple burner. These are known as yin organs in Traditional Chinese Medicine and are associated with wood, fire, earth, metal and water. The key to vibrational healing is a relaxed attention to the organ to release stuck energy and emotion. It is not even necessary to voice the sounds; a whisper will do or even a mental rendition of the sound. There are many methods of qi gong practice for sound healing. You can explore more on YouTube or seek a qi gong teacher for more specific practice.

Liver: The emotion associated with the wood element, is the liver. The organ associated with the liver is the eyes. When someone is very angry, they tend to get bloodshot eyes due to rising energy. Visualize the liver and send love and attention to it. The sound of the liver is “sshh” (xu in pinyin). Give a nice breathless “sshh” down to your liver, releasing all the air in your lungs, relaxing and releasing any anger. Repeat five times.

Heart: The heart, a fire element, can get overwhelmed with frustration, hate and strong emotions. The heart’s emotion is joy, and the heart is involved with circulation and mental clarity. Visualize the heart in red and send down love and attention. The sound of the heart is He, pronounced “haaaaa” with the mouth wide open. Repeat five times, releasing all the air from the lungs and sending an inner smile to your heart.

Spleen: The spleen, the earth element, is involved with digestion and transformation of food. It can get bogged down with overthinking and worrying, anxiety and weight gain. Send the color yellow to your stomach area and give a breathless “hooo" (a guttural sound from the throat, not as in ”who” or “woo” but as in “hoe”), Hu in pinyin. Repeat five times, sending love to your spleen and stomach area, releasing all the air from your lungs.

Lungs: The lungs, the metal element, take in oxygen, circulate it and breathe out the old. The lungs are especially sensitive to external factors in the environment. The lungs are adversely affected by grief, sadness and depression. Send the color white to the lungs with an inner smile, release any sadness, and sound out “sss” with your tongue behind your teeth (si). Repeat five times.

Kidneys: The kidneys are associated with reproduction, sexuality, longevity, bones, urination, and your basic constitution. The kidneys are the water element and are associated with fear and phobias. Trauma will affect the kidneys, so visualize the kidneys in a dark blue or black and release fears with the sound “chooo" (chui). This is the whispered sound of blowing out a candle. Repeat as above.

San Jiao (Triple Burner): This meridian covers the top, middle and lower part of the body and is involved with irrigation and regulation of fluids. The sound associated with the triple burner is “sheee” (xi), a breathless sound to move the heat from the top part of the head down through the feet. Visualizing this heat moving downward helps boost sexual energy and warms the lower body.

The key to sound healing is to expel the old and bring in the new energy physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Seek out a teacher if you are interested in adopting these exercises more in depth. These sounds should not replace seeking medical treatment for any acute or chronic physical or mental condition.

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