Introduction to the Extraordinary Vessels

In the world of alternative medicine, you will often hear practitioners define themselves as either Chinese-style or Japanese-style acupuncturists. Although the styles are different, it does not mean that one is better than the other-they are both based on the same theories. To the layperson, Chinese-style typically translates into longer needles, more intense treatments, and a stronger qi sensation. On the other hand, someone experiencing a Japanese treatment might describe it as gentler, less intense, and slower to work, but longer-lasting.

These are only generalizations, however. When I went to Japan, I saw a practician taking glass after glass of blood out of a patient during an intestinal round of bloodletting-not exactly living up to that “gentle” label of treatment style. I have also had Chinese-style treatments that were incredibly gentle, which were very effective. And I mix the two styles so much when I treat, I truly can not place myself into either category. Some purists prefer not to mix styles, but all I care about is results. If I feel that my patient will get a better treatment with a hybrid of styles, then that's what they're going to get.

In both Chinese and Japanese-style treatments, the acupuncturist will feel your pulses. During a Chinese treatment, the practitioner will look at your tongue. In a Japanese treatment, the speech examination is replaced by abdominal palpation.

Abdominal palpation is something that I still find fascinating, even though I do it often. The abdomen is like an energetic atlas. Not only does it give a clear picture of the body's energetic patterns, it also acts as a gauge to point out whether the treatment is on the right track or not. The first time I experienced abdominal palpation, I thought it was literal magic, and I still have that feeling today. It was amazing to me that a rock-hard area on the abdomen would soften instantaneously with the insertion of a single needle in the wrist or ankle.

So what exactly am I looking for when I am touching your abdomen during a treatment? Well, there are specific areas that correspond to patterns called “Extraordinary Vessels”, commonly referred to as “EV” s. The EVs are the deepest energetics of the body, and are extremely powerful. Each EV has a pathway that can be traced on the abdomen, so if there is pain or intensity on the pathway of that particular pattern, we know there is an imbalance there.

These EVs are so energetically potent, that it is possible to create great changes in patients by needing only the two points that correspond to the EV that is affected. In a pure Japanese treatment, the treatment would be complete with only eight needles-four in the front, four in the back. During the insertion of the frontal needles, the abdomen would be re-palpated. If the abdominal changes after the needles are put in, the practitioner knows that he has chosen the correct treatment, and that it is working.

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The Five Damages In Chinese Medicine

Remember when we talked about five-Phase theory? In the world of Five-Phase, each organ system is linked to a whole slew of qualities that range from smells to colors. Here is an example: a person with a Kidney constitution has a connection to the color black, the sound of groaning, a putrid smell, and a salty taste. So what does this mean? Well, it means that a patient who comes in with black circles under his eyes, a groaning quality to his voice, and a professed love for salty foods probably has some Kidney issues, or is predisposed to them. (He may or may not smell putrid-we acupuncturists do not rely much on smelling people these days.) Another patient may come in with a sing-song tone in her voice, a love of sweets, and a slightly yellowish hue. An astute acupuncturist would automatically think: Spleen issues.

Today we're going to talk about the five actions that are damaging to each of these organs. Within the realm of Five-Phase theory, each of these organs is weakened by a certain activity. These activities should be done (as everything else, of course!) In moderation, so as not to strain the energetics of the organ systems.

Too much standing strains the Kidney. From our perspective, the Kidney meridian starts at the bottom of the foot. A Kidney deficiency is linked to back, knee, and foot pain, and also has a strong connection to the bones. If you are constantly on your feet, the meridian is taking a beating. And obviously, if you work in a profession where you stand all day long, you will inevitably develop some back or knee pain. So, try to sit once in a while. And if you can not, come see me to counteract some of the damage!

Sitting too much damages the Spleen. In TCM, the Spleen controls the muscles. Sitting in one place for long damages the muscles, by making them flaccid and weak. Also, the Spleen is linked to issues with weight, which of course becomes a problem if you are sitting on the couch all day. That lack of movement can also contribute to a sluggish digestion. Get up, move around, and be kind to your poor Spleen!

The Liver controls the tendons of the body, which means that too much movement is damaging to the Liver. Again, moderation. Running a few times a week = happy Liver. Running a few marathons a week? Your Liver will definitely not be happy. This unhappiness will result in tendon damage, tightness, and pain.

Too much lying down damages the Lung. Again, this makes sense in that if you are spending too much time resting, you are not building your lung capacity or endurance, leading to an overall weakness of the body. The Lung's emotional connection is grief, and many people tend to stay in bed when they are depressed … which weakens the Lung … and then in turn makes it harder to get out of bed..which leads to further depression. It can turn into a vicious cycle.

Too much “looking” damages the Heart. The Heart is linked to the blood vessels, and so it is said that the Blood is damaged by overuse of the eyes. By “overuse of the eyes”, I believe they are referring to too much looking, rather than doing. In this era, we can take this as watching at a computer all day, rather than going outside and experiencing the real world. The Heart and Blood need movement and activity to flow smoothly, so movement is necessary to keep the Heart healthy.

In short, get out of bed when you're finished sleeping, move around, rest when you need to, and do not overdo the exercise. Easier said than done for many of you out there-but that's what I'm here for!

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What’s That Smell?

In Chinese medicine, we have several ways of gathering information about patients. The most common ways are asking, observing, and palpation. During the intake, the questions we ask provide most of the information needed to form a diagnosis. We may also palpate areas on the abdomen, or along the areas of pain, to learn more. Simply looking at the patient can tell us a lot about the patient's diagnosis, as well. Colors in the face, body shape, and details of the facial features can reveal imbalances and issues within the system as well.

One less commonly used way to learn about patients is through smell. Yes, your stench can give us hints as to what your undering issues are. I have a feeling that this method was much easier to utilize before the days of regular hygienic maintenance. In these days of Ax and deodorant and fluffy creams and lotions from Victoria's Secret, it is rare to catch a whiff of any natural aromas of patients. In theory, though, an unbathed patient would emit an odor according to which organ system is out of whack.

Now, bear in mind that these scents are subtle, and not easily detected. Someone with a Liver imbalance, or who has a Liver constitution, would smell rancid. Heart imbalances can lead to a scorched smell. Someone with a spleen issue would have a sweet or fragrant aroma. People with Lung issues smell rotten, and Kidney imbalances lead to a putrid smell.

This does NOT mean that I will start sniffing you like a beagle when you come into my office. I have very rarely smelled any of these odors coming from a patient, and they are not really a part of my diagnostic process. If I do get a whiff of one of these odors, I simply file it away in the back of my mind to help confirm my diagnosis in the end. Smell-wise, the important information is about the odors of bodily secretions.

Halitosis (aka “bad breath”) is usually a sign of Heat in the Stomach, or Damp-Heat in the Large Intestine. Actually, strong and foul smells of any area are generally a sign of excess Heat, and a lack of odor signifies excess Cold. A sour breath smell can indicate that food is not being processed correctly, and is sitting around rather than digesting. If the patient is coughing up foul-smelling phlegm, it is a sign of Heat in the Lungs. Non-smelling phlegm = Cold in the Lungs.

When going au natural, most people do not exactly smell like roses … but if the sweat is particularly strong and offensive, it could be a sign of Damp-Heat in the system. If the sweat is putrid-smelling, it could be indicative of lung, kidney, or liver disease.

Most women have issues with excess vaginal discharge occasionally. If this discharge smells like leather, it can lead to a diagnosis of Damp-Heat; if it smells fishy, ​​it is probably Damp-Cold. As previously stated, when a smell is strong, it is usually due to a Heat pattern; so if the odor of the discharge is very noticeable, it is probably a symptom of excess Heat. If the odor is slight, or not detectable at all, think Cold.

Especially foul-smelling stools? It could be either Heat or Damp-Heat in the Intestines. If the bowel movement lacks a smell, and is paired with a pattern of irregularity, it could be interior Cold. And while we're on the topic of stools, let's talk about gas: again, foul smells are pretty Damp-Heat in the Large Intestine. If the lovely odor of rotten eggs is pervading the room, there could be some Toxic Heat in your intestines. And if there is no smell at all, it is a sign of Spleen-Qi Deficiency.

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How Long Is This Going To Take?

As my readers should know by now, I'm all about promoting maintenance. I often use the analogy of a runner choosing not to stretch and saying, “that's ok, when my muscle gets a tear I'll just go to the doctor to get it fixed.” Would not it just be easier to avoid all that pain and inconvenience in the first place? Strengthening the body so that an issue never arises is always better than sitting around waiting to fix it when it does.

I'm very honest with my patients. When someone asks how often they should come, I always tell them that they will feel best with weekly treatments … because they absolutely will. However, I never push anyone to follow this schedule. Why? Because I understand that money, time, and obligations are often in the way. Acupuncture is the ultimate de-stresser, but you're not going to enjoy it nearly as much if you are spending your weekly grocery money on it. Nor will you find it as fulfilling if you are lying there on the table, knowing that you are going to be late picking up your kid from school. I try to work around these issues by running discount packages and offering late and weekend office hours, but, well, life happens. I hate feeling pushed into things, even things that I enjoy, so I would never do it to a patient. Weekly sessions are optimal, but monthly sessions will also keep everything in check, and one day a month is usually doable for most people.

So, what about patients who are not coming for maintenance, those that have a specific problem that they want gone, asap? Like Western medicine, the length of treatment is not always easy to predict. There are patients who come for 10 treatments with no change, only to find that they are completely cured during their 11th treatment. Conversely, I have had many patients come for one treatment, walk out pain-free, and never experience the issue again. The length of treatment depends on so many factors: what the problem is, how long it has been going on, how else healthy the patient is … but there is a general guideline that I give my patients when I first access the issue.

Generally speaking, the longer the problem has been going on, the longer it will take to resolve. Someone who wakes up with acute backache is going to resolve much more quickly than someone who has had chronic back pain for the last 20 years. Muscle heals faster than bone; muscular issues resolve more quickly than an issue like arthritis or bone deterioration.

The more healthy qi a person has, the quicker the recovery will be-even for localized pain issues. A young, healthy person who gets regular sleep, has good digestion, and eats well is going to have better quality qi than someone who is older, weaker, and dealing with other health problems.

Other factors in determining prognosis are lifestyle and aggravating factors. Knee, back, and ankle pain will be easier to treat on a person who is not worsening the condition with excess weight. A long-distance runner with plantar fasciitis will take longer to heal than a person who is not constantly putting strain on the bottom of his feet.

Acute conditions should be treated aggressively with acupuncture. The more times a week the patient can come in, the faster the resolution. Something like an acute back strain should resolve within a week or two of treatment, with two or three treatments a week. As for chronic conditions, they may take longer, but there should be at least some improvement within 4 treatments. In my experience, about 90% of patients experience some improvement during their first visit. I'm not talking about complete resolution, but a noticeable degree of change. After 4 treatments, we usually see significant results.

The longest I have worked on a patient before seeing any changes was 6 treatments, which was unusual … and very frustrating for me. Although this medicine is about subtle changes, I am not a minority person, and my focus is on getting the best results in minimal time. In my mind, six weeks without results was far too long. I was ready to completely change the treatment protocol, but a colleague talked me out of it, saying that I should stick with my original plan a little longer. I agreed to continue my protocol for one more treatment … and the 7th time was the charm. The patient had a complete resolution of the problem after the 7th treatment-after not responding at all to the previous six. Acupuncture is funny, is not it?

But again, the previous case was unusual. I would be very surprised to see a patient who does not experience positive changes within 4 weeks, and they usually see these well before the 4th treatment. Acupuncture is a subtle medicine, but do not let this fool you into believing that the results are always subtle.

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The Soul, In Chinese Medicine

In this country, we frequently reference the soul. But when you really think about it, what is a soul? We speak of one being or having a “good soul;” we discuss it aterals, we worry about our own when we feel we've done wrong. The concept of a soul has been around forever, yet we are still unclear about what it actually is. Some of us view it as the piece of us which lives on, after the body's life has ended. Others think of it as a product of the accumulation of acts and thoughts that we create through our lives. Still others perceive it as the ultimate essence of who we are, and what makes each of us an individual. Regardless of what you believe, in our culture most perceptions of the soul are rooted in a philosophy of permanence. We want to believe that a piece of us will live on, beyond death and time.

In Chinese medicine, the soul is seen quite differently. It is more material, more fundamental than our version. Its existence is not questioned; it is something that is simply a part of us. Each organ system contains and controls an aspect of the soul, and if that organ is out of balance, the aspect that it controls will suffer.

The Heart is the leader of all the parts of the soul; in a way, it is the face of the soul. The Heart is in charge of the Shen, which is the overall spirit of an individual. A while back we discussed the energetic functions of the Heart, and how it is linked to a clarity of the mind and spirit. If the heart is out of balance, a person's Shen will show signs of dysfunction: dull or cloudy eyes, a lack of eye-contact, incoherence or manic rambling. In short, the person will seem mentally disturbed.

The Kidney controls the part of the soul that exists as willpower. Having a plan for life, and then having the will to make this plan work, is the Kidney's function. Without the will, there is no action. This part of the soul is our stimulating force to create something out of our lives.

The Spleen is in charge of the intellectual piece of our soul. It has to do with the accumulation of knowledge, and our ability to retain it. Without the Spleen, we lack the information to make any sort of decisions. On the other end of the spectrum, an imbalance of the spleen can lead to a state of over thinking and obsession with details.

The Lung is the corporeal part of the soul, which means that it is bound to the flesh. It is the animating force that dies with our bodies. The Lung controls consciousness, and since does not have the character of permanence, it tends to be linked with more immediate desires and plans, rather than long-term goals.

The Liver controls the Hun, which is known as the ethereal soul. This is the piece of the soul that lives on after death. It is also the piece that is closest to our perception of what a soul can be; it grants us individuality, has permanence, and has much to do with our interaction with others. It also has a lot to do with sleep; if the Hun is strong, the person will be able to fall and stay asleep easily. If it is weak, the spirit becomes unrooted, leading to difficulty sleeping and a lot of dreams.

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Acupuncture – What Is It All About?

Anyone who has not had acupuncture would probably worry that it is painful. After all it does involve sticking needles into your skin does not it?

However anyone who has had acupuncture would say that it is virtually painless. You may experience a few strange sensations ranging from mild tingling to electrical pulsations in places some distance from the insertion site. None of these effects last long and decrease after the needles have been in place for a while or when they are withdrawn.

Most people report that acupuncture can be very relaxing.

When acupuncture is performed by a fully trained, licensed professional, you need no worries about safety. The use of individually packaged sterile disposable needles ensures that there is a minuscule chance of infection.

Originating in China, acupuncture spread through the Far East, ever turning up in Europe and America. Different styles have developed in different countries mostly based on different views about the techniques that should be used. Be sure to talk about the style of acupuncture that your chosen practitioner exercises – he should be willing to explain it in detail.

So, how to go about choosing an acupuncturist?

If you are interested in having acupuncture you should ask about details of the practitioner's training and experience. Ask how long he or she has been in practice and if he or she has any experience of your particular problem.

Your practitioner should give you a detailed explanation, in layman's terms, about what the treatment will involve. If there are any risks attached to the treatment, how long the course of treatment should take and very importantly, what it will cost. It is important that you are completely happy and confident with what is being recommended for you. If in doubt, ask!

You can expect some positive effects almost immediately during your first treatment but you should not worry if the immediate benefits wear off fairly quickly. Relief is always to some temporary temporary in the initial stages of treatment. In a few cases, there may be no early relief but the problem may decrease over the next few days.

As your course of treatment progresses the level of relief and the time period of reduced symptoms following each visit will become more definitive, until the benefits are maintained.

You should be sure to stick to the schedule of treatments that your practiceer advises, especially in the early stages. That way you can benefit form the momentum and hold on to the gains made.

The number of treatments that you will need is totally dependent on your particular case. However you should expect to make 1 or 2 visits a week for 3 to 6 weeks. After that you will most likely need 1 or 2 visits a week for the next 6 weeks. Some conditions can be resolved during this time but other may benefit from a “maintenance” visit now and again. The particularly schedule should be outlined at your initial consultation.

But remember, you are unique. So be sure that your course of treatment is specifically designed for you. Do not accept any old “off the shelf” plan. Again ask some prediction questions and get complete satisfaction before you proceed.

One last important point. Be sure to finish the course of treatment that is recommended for you. Only this way can you expect the best and longest lasting benefit.

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Acupuncture Helps Alleviate Back Pain – How to Select the Right Acupuncturist

Back pain is a very common condition in the US Most people with chronic back pain seek care to alleviate pain. One of the proven therapies is Acupuncture. Several studies have shown acupuncture to be effective in treating back pain.

Many people who have not been exposed to this form of treatment often do not know where to start. I hope to provide a little more explanation of the whats and hows. In addition, I want to provide a few quick tips in selecting the right acupuncturist.

Acupuncture is an ancient form of therapy involving inserting fine (hair like) and sterile needles into specific points in the body. The points used at any given treatment is dependent on the condition and may vary from person to person. The insertion of needle is usually described as a “mosquito bite”. Different strengths of the sensation will be felt at different points, but in general the stronger the sensation, the better the effect. The theory behind acupuncture is to stimulate the body to heal itself. Therefore, there are no side effects and is a holistic treatment in that the treatment guides the body to the root cause of the condition and allows it to heal itself.

From Traditional Chinese Medicine 'perspective, back pain is caused by blockage in the flow of “qi” (or energy). It is understood that the human body has many meridians that energy flows. When a meridian shows resistance for the energy to flow smoothly, it is detected as different physical conditions – such as back pain. Acupuncture will act as a “traffic light” in that it it direct the flow of energy in an orderly way to allow for a complete energy balance.

One should be very careful when deciding to visit a provider. Acupuncture is safe when performed by a qualified and properly trained provider. Acupuncturist are required to obtain license and show appropriate training and continuing education in order to practice in the United States. When selecting an acupuncturist, here are several quick and easy tips:

1. Ask to see a current license from the acupuncturist
2. Ask your doctor for a referral
3. Ask your insurance company for an in network provider
4. Word of mouth from close friends and family

Lastly, as with any other form of treatment, there are never guarantees. However, acupuncture is one of the oldest form of therapy and has survived over two thousand years and helped countless number of people rid of their suffering. If you are suffering from back pain, give acupuncture a try!

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Can You Heal Illnesses And Reduce Serious Pain With Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the conventional type of Chinese medicine that involves inserting needles into the skin at particular points, in an effort to battle serious pain and illness. The Chinese have been using this form of remedy for many thousands of years but it is just being been gaining interest in the Western Cultures. A number of studies have at present been accomplished into the practice, without any definite finds being drawn. However, regretfully, the studies have not consistently been straightforward. A number of times individuals have been given such things as anesthetics which have nullified the consequences.

The obvious questions of 'Is Acupuncture Use?' and 'Does Acupuncture Do The Job?' are impossible to reply to with an easy yes or no. The studies that have been done have not confirmed whether or not a 'placebo effect' or the acupuncture did the healing. Those who question whether or not it works have not been affected by the clinical tests, to put it mildly.So no one will inform you it really does work there's just the approved view that there's a possibility it can help neurological conditions and serious pain.

It is also good to be aware that this kind of treatments is not 100% safe and sound. You'll find regulations in position to protect you for example the practitioner or healthcare provider must either utilize brand new needles or sterilized ones it is easy to avoidheless get an infection. There are even deaths following the insertion of needles into the body, so this treatment is not one to be tried without doing serious investigation into what is involved, and then determining your own liability for the treatment method.

Whilst numerous individuals believe acupuncture would be controlled, in most nations around the world it is not. There's nobody to manage the practice or ensure you'll find regulations which are followed. You'll find no registrants of certified professionals, which would make potential sufferers feel more comfortable going to an acupuncturist. The law really does state that the needles have to be brand-new or sterilized but enforced that is a complete other matter.

There are additional methods that are significantly much like acupuncture, like acupressure which seeks to utilize the identical meridians of the body in a less dangerous way. As the skin is not punctured, this is a non-invasive procedure and is there naturally less hazardous. Not just does this technique steer clear of the chance of infection from needles, in addition, it eliminates the possibility of nerve damage from pierced skin. More research is required to ascertain whether acupressure is really effective.

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How Acupuncture Helps Sciatica

Sciatica is a form of back pain that is characterized by radiating, burning, or achiness through the back to the lower extremities. In every pain pattern, there are different stages of severity and just like sciatica, the earlier one diagnosis the problem, then the easier it can be cured. Sciatic pain can vary greatly from mild discomfort to extreme agony. There is a big misconception about the sciatica and low back pain. An incorrect diagnosis can greatly delay the healing process and send you down the wrong path of treatment.

Self-diagnosis is possible, however, a diagnosis from an expert is still advisable because it is much more accurate. The advantage of knowing definitively that you have sciatica will make the treatment less complicated and less risky. Sciatica requires proper treatment because it may worsen when following an improper approach. Typically the nerve will degenerate and cause more severe symptoms without a proactive approach to care.

Treating sciatica with acupuncture is helpful because it can really relieve the pain and inflammation within the sciatic nerve. There are appropriate acupuncture points within our back that can really trigger the sciatic nerve. It is believed that acupuncture is good for treating different kinds of conditions including injuries. Acupuncture points serve to balance our functional energy, which improves our vitality. Acupuncture can treat minor cases of sciatica and other back injuries. Furthermore, inflammation, numbness, and pain can also be reduced with the help of acupuncture. It is already proven medically to be effective for encouraging the body's vitality to be unleashed and to rectify imbalances within our functional energy and our blood.

There are different kinds of treatments for sciatica nowdays. There is an appropriate approach for every form of sciatica, depending on the severity or pain level. If the sciatica patient is experiencing a high level of pain, it is considered as acute sciatica and and more serious intervention is necessary. According to the experts, nerve manipulation is one of the surgical procedures that can be made with acute sciatica patients. However, it is very risky to undergo that kind of treatment because there is a huge consequence whenever it fails.

When experiencing back discomfort, you must act fast, especially when it is sciatica. Nerves on our back are very important and play a vital role in order for us to move and function properly. Sciatica is different from normal back pain. It is best to get a diagnosis from a medical doctor first before pursuing treatments such as acupuncture. Once you have a definitive diagnosis, you can let your acupuncturist know the specifics of your condition which will greatly help them create a treatment plan that is customized for your needs.

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Respiratory Allergies – Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Treatment Provide Permanent Relief

Allergic Rhinitis And Chronic Sinus Congestion:

Allergic rhinitis is a seasonal, often perennial disorder characterized by attacks of sneezing, nasal congestion and profuse nasal discharge. Many patients experience itchy eyes and red conjunctivae. As congestion in the sinus passages increases, patients may also complain about thickened mucus membranes, difficulty breathing, impaired mental concentration, headaches, and asthmatic symptoms. From a conventional point of view, these signs are caused by a hypersensitivity in the lining of the nasal cavity to various pollens, spores, dust mites, animal dander, and / or fumes. For one reason or another, the patient's immune system has instructed the area in question to remain on high alert for potential threats that may gain entrance to the body through the nasal passages, mouth and throat. When the perceived elements encroach, the immune system sends hysterical signals to immediately isolate the invaders in the confines of these orifices. It then sends white blood cell commandos to the area to demolish the threat. The ensuing battle creates the signs and symptoms that we describe as an allergic attack.

Conventional Treatment:

Common treatments for allergic rhinitis typically involve some form of desensitization to the offending allergen or administration of antihistamines to block the body's immune response. In essence, these treatments focus on redirecting or suppressing (dumbing down) the patient's immune response to a specific external impact. They do not revitalize or alter other related aspects of immunity that may be relevant to the patient's condition. Nor do they remove the obstacles that can delay or prevent body systems from restoring themselves to harmonic function.

The Chinese Medical Approach:

Traditional Chinese Medicine treats allergic rhinitis by focusing on the internal factors that caused the body's immune response to become disordered, while also alleviating the symptoms caused by it's hyper-reactive state. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas help the immune system to calmly and accurately assess threat status and modulate response mechanisms according to the appropriate threat level.

Wei Qi:

Chinese Medicine uses the concept of “Wei Qi” to understand the nature and functions of immunity. Wei Qi is the defensive aspect of the body's cognizant vital force (Qi). Much like our “Homeland Security”, Wei Qi circulates under the skin and between the muscles, protecting the body from being adversely affected by “wind”, “cold”, “heat”, or other “elements” that are encountered in one's environment . Lung and kidney Qi assist Wei Qi in defending its boundaries against wind borne elements that might prove to be pathogenic. Lung Qi nourishes and protects the mucus linings of the nose, mouth and respiratory tract. Kidney Qi transports nourishment forward to the lungs, and transmits endocrine system information so that Wei Qi can mount an intelligent and measured defense response to whatever pathogens it encounters. If Wei Qi is well nourished and strong, it will accurately recognize an undesirable visitor within its borders. It will then initiate a measured inflammatory response to trap the invader, while simultaneously alerting white blood cell commandos to destroy the histamine imprisoned allergen. Nasal discharges and sneezing help to eliminate mucus “battle debris,” and homeostasis is restored.

Allergies complicated by deficiency:

If any of the organ systems supply Wei Qi become deficient or obstructed in their duties, a minor allergic response can escalate into a huge battlefield disaster. Fatigued lymphocyte soldiers falter in their mission to destroy invaders, and the infected area becomes overly toxic. As mucus accumulates, sneezing becomes more forceful, and the patient may despair of ever breathing easily again. Keynote features in patterns of rhinitis complicated by deficiency include:

• Onset coincides with a change of weather

• Sneezing is transitory and recurrent

• Itching around nose and eyes increases

• Complexion is waxy and pale

• History of (or concurrent) asthma or eczema

• Deficient, weak pulse

Allergies worsened by stagnation:

Wei Qi also Declines if the Qi and blood pathways became blocked for any reason. Blockage can occur when liver Qi succumbs to emotional stress. Un-vented frustration or anger can literally strangle liver energy, restraining it from circulating vital Qi and blood to all the other body systems. Without the smooth and efficient flow of information and nutrients, the body's defense mechanisms malfunction, in this instance by over reacting. Keynote features in this pattern of rhinitis include:

• Easy irritability out of proportion to current events

• Red or white face becoming purple during episodes of anger

• Pulse has a string-taut quality

Allergies are strongly influenced by food choices:

A second form of stagnation / obstruction occurs as a result of poor dietary choices. Regular consumption of cold and phlegm-producing foods induces a state of dampness that slows digestion, hindering the absorption and distribution of nutrients to the rest of the body. Foods made from cow's milk, cold fruit juices, peanuts, and all foods or drinks containing sugar produce mucus in the digestive tract that then accumulates in the nose and lungs. This is most frequently observed in children with persistent runny noses, nasal itching, and / or chronic noisy respiration. Keynote features in this hypo-reactive pattern of rhinitis include:

• White face

• Droopy posture, fatigue, muzzy-headed

• Poor appetite (picky eater)

• Thirsty but refuses drink

• Loose stools

The miraculous effects of acupuncture:

Traditional Chinese Medicine uses acupuncture and time tested herbal formulas to treat allergic rhinitis. To treat sinus misery, the acupuncture physician gently inserts very fine-gauged needles into selected energy channels along the body surface, called meridians. These channels, can be stimulated to subdue an ingoing allergic response and disperse accumulating mucus, or to reformat communication pathways in order to prevent future attacks. Often two or three acupuncture treatments during the month prior to an oncoming allergy season can normalize and strengthen the lungs, kidneys and Wei Qi to such a degree that the patient no longer responds to formerly troublesome allergens.

Chinese Herbal Prescriptions Offer Relief:

Daily doses of Chinese herbal medicines can make a huge difference in alleviating the misery experienced during an attack, as well as strengthening lung and kidney support systems over the long term. If offending foods are also eliminated, freedom to enjoy being out in nature is naturally guaranteed.

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Acupuncture Questions and Answers

Is Acupuncture Painful?

Most people who have had acupuncture would describe it as essentially painless or far less painful than plucking out a hair. The sensations that follow, range from nothing at all, to mild tingling, to slight heaviness or aching moving up and down the channels / meridians, to electrical pulsations in areas distant from the site of insertion. All these sensations typically subside once the needles have been in place for a while or are removed. The needles used for acupuncture are typically not much thicker than a strand of hair, do not draw blood and are solid, not hollow. Many people find acupuncture very relaxing.

Is Acupuncture Safe?

When performed by a competently trained, license professional, acupuncture is extremely safe. All licensed acupuncturists today use individually packaged, sterile, disposable needles, so there is virtually no chance of infection of contagion.

Are there different styles of acupuncture?

Acupuncture originated in China, but has spread to Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Europe and America. In different countries, different styles have developed based on different opinions as to theory and technique. Patients should talk to their practitioner about his or her particular style and choose the style that will best suit their constitution and preference.

What criterion should I use in choosing an acupuncturist?

Prospective patients should ask about where the practiceer trained and for how long he or she has been in practice, and most importantly, what experience the practitioner has had in respect to your specific ailment. Acupuncture is a licensed and regulated health care profession in over 40 states in the US In addition, the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) certifies both acupuncturists and Chinese herbal practitioners. Acupuncturists who have passed the NCCAOM exams are entitled to add Dipl. Ac (Diplomat of Acupuncture) or Dipl. OM (Diplomat in Oriental Medicine ~ includes certificates in both acupuncture and Chinese Herbal medicine) after their name.

What should I know about the proposed treatments?

Your practitioner will explain the nature of your problem in Oriental medical terms, as well as, translate that into terminology that can be easily understood, and then proceed with explaining what treatment he / she is recommending. Your practitioner will explain to you the benefits and risks of the proposed treatment and what other treatment options are available to you through this practitioner or by referral to another practitioner or physician.

Is there anything I need to do before receiving an acupuncture treatment?

The following suggestions will help you get the maximum benefits from your treatment:

1. Wear loose fitting clothing. Women should not wear one piece dresses and should avoid wearing stockings. If however, these suggestions are not convenient, the practitioner will provide a treatment gown if needed.

2. Avoid treatment when excessively fatigued, hungry, full, emotionally upset, or shortly after sex

Is there anything I need to do while receiving acupuncture?

1. Relax. There is no need to be frightened. Ask your practitioner any questions you may have along the way, so that you can get the most benefit possible from the treatment. However, try to limit your conversation as this will extremely detract from the treatment.

2. Do not change your position or move suddenly while the needles are being retained. If you are uncomfortable, tell your practitioner so that he / she may accommodate you accordingly.

What can I expect after treatment?

The positive effects of acupuncture begin right away at your first visit. Some patients experience an immediate total or partial relief of their pain or other symptoms, however, this relief tend to be somewhat temporary in the beginning stages of treatment, with initial improvements potentially sliding back within a few hours or days following your first few visits. In a few cases, there may be no immediate relief only to notice the pain & or discomfort diminish over the next couple of days. As we progress through your course of treatment, the amount of symptomatic relief and the time period of increased wellness following each treatment will become more pronounced, until your body holds the changes on its own. It is important to be consistent with frequent visits at the beginning of care in order to build momentum and hold the gains we make from visit to visit.

How many treatments will I need?

This question is always answered on a case-by-case basis. However, most patients require 3-6 weeks of 1-2 visits per week to make significant changes, followed by weekly to bi-weekly visits for another 4-8 weeks to maintain the gains and improvements made. While some acute, less severe conditions can be resolved quickly (ie: 4-6 treatments), chronic conditions that have persisted for years may require several courses of treatments (ie: 20 or more) over a longer period of time to completely resolve, as well as, “maintenance” or “tune-up” visits after symptoms remain in order to consolidate the gains made and prevent relapse. During your initial consultation, we will discuss a proper treatment plan with you.

However, each person is unique and will be treated with an individualized treatment plan. No two conditions or people respond exactly the same. The length of treatment / number of treatments needed depends on the type, severity, and duration of the condition, and the patient's physical state at the time of treatment. Both the examination and your response to your first few treatments will give us an idea of ​​the course of treatments that will be needed. Each time you come in we will reassess your progress and treatment plan. The best therapeutic results are attained by following the treatment plan and recommendations. It is important to complete the course of therapy for best and longest last results.

Ongoing treatments for health maintenance are designed and aimed to prevent disease and promote health and longevity, as well as vitality and a better quality of life. It can improve your body's threshold to handle life's everyday stressors and the imbalances created by the common day lifestyle.

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What’s Interesting About Chinese Medicine?

So many people I meet who have heard of Chinese or Oriental Medicine or are interested in Chinese / Oriental Medicine often say to me, “Gina – I think I might be interested in Chinese / Oriental Medicine, but what exactly is Chinese or Oriental Medicine? ” This is a frequently asked question I encounter both in my practice, as well as, on the street.

Let me write today about the History & General Information on Chinese Medicine.

History of Chinese Medicine: Acupuncture and Oriental medicine is a time proven medicine with a written history dating back over 4,000 years and its practice dates back over 5,000 years. It is the oldest, professional, continuously practiced, literate medicine in the world, with of of the world's current population making use of its benefits. The US National Institute of Health & the World Health Organization recognizes over 100 disorders and conditions effectively evaluated by Acupuncture and Oriental medicine.

General Info on Chinese Medicine: Chinese / Oriental medicine works by reestablishing balance and harmony within the body. Oriental medicine explains that human beings have a natural flow of energy (Qi) through the body, which can become blocked, or imbalanced, thus producing pain & disease. Blockages and imbalances can be caused by: influences outside of the body (ie: bacteria, contagious disease, trauma, repetitive strain injury, etc.), lifestyle (improper diet, not enough / too much exercise, over work), & emotional issues (stress, anxiety, grief, anger, mood swings, etc.)

Chinese / Oriental medical procedures may not always be able to diagnose or locate the abnormalities as defined in the Western medical criteria, ie., Certain early-staged cancers, which may be better detected by the diagnostic interventions of high technology. Therefore, based on this point of view, in Chinese Medicine, it is said that “Western medicine locates the disease, Oriental medicine treats it.”

Traditional Chinese medicine also heavily stresses and emphasizes preventive measures taken in the patient's and in one's health. A maxim in TCM says, “A top healer treats those when the disease has not yet developed.”

Chinese / Oriental medicine strides to bring a person's body into balance using a variety of Treatment methods including: Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Asian Body Work, Dietary Therapy and Meditation.

Now that you know the general meaning and uses of Chinese medicine to your health, especially to women's health, you can try attaining an acupuncture professional near your place for you to be able to have a peaceful, stress-free life.

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How to Relieve Emotional Pain

Emotional pain is a common thing everyone experiences. Since we all have feelings, we are all suspicious to this kind of pain. So how do we acquire emotional pain? Emotional discomfort is the sum of all aspects that make you feel down, shame, depress, and hurt. One example is when someone you love lost. If this happens, you will certainly feel sad and you would like to express grief. The pain you feel is what we call emotional pain. Emotional pain strikes anyone. It can be threatening when prolonged so if you know someone who is experiencing emotional stress or if you yourself are facing this matter, you should probably not let the pain take a toll on you. Find ways to heal your emotional pain.

To ease your emotional pain, here are some helpful approaches you could try.

1. Talk to someone who can understand what you are going through. These people may be your family, lover or friends. Do not keep your feelings. It is better to express it in a healthy way. Be open on what you really feel. Surely someone will understand you and he or she may give you good pieces of advice. These advices can help you realize things and can make you feel better afterwards.

2. Shed tears. Do not ever think that crying is a sign of weakness. It is normal for a human to cry. Beside, crying is an important response of the body. It releases toxins or chemicals in the physique that's why we often feel lighter after we cry. So if you feel sad, the best response is through crying. Do not stop the tears from falling. Let them flow.

3. Get out of the bed and have some fun. Go to a place where you can feel enjoyment. Hangout with your friends or family and they will surely give you a great time. Or if you want peace of mind, go to an isolated and peaceful place. Nature can really make you feel relieved from pain and tensions. Therefore, doing this can help you feel better.

If these do not work, you better seek for the help of a psychologist or a guidance counselor. These people will provide you the key to resolve your emotional pain. It is also advisable for you to see the doctor to monitor your health because long-term emotional pain can possibly bring you such illnesses or other related pains.

Always remember, do not let your pain defeat you. Learn how to handle it and live your life with no worries and aches.

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How Acupuncture and Therapy Can Help Anxiety and Depression

If you are currently struggling with chronic emotional issues such as anxiety, depression, or severe stress, then it's likely that you're seeking natural treatment options that do not tax your body and nervous system with all kinds of unwanted side effects.

Two of the best treatment options for anxiety and depression are acupuncture and psychotherapy. The combination of these approaches often creates a synergistic healing effect for the client.

Talk therapy is very helpful because it helps the client see their issues with more clarity, awareness, and compassion. A skilled therapist can expose limiting beliefs that are causing the client's emotional struggles.

It's often said that a limitation of therapy is that it helps you see your problems more clearly, but it does not really give you the right tools to actually transform them.

This is where acupuncture can be very helpful. Acupuncture aims to restore energetic imbalances within the body and mind by regulating the flow of functional energy or Qi through the main energy pathways of the body. This approach has been used for thousands of years for all kinds of internal medical issues, and is now surging in popularity for its uncanny ability to treat the mind.

Many people turn to acupuncture when all else fails. They do not want to take pharmaceuticals and they feel that they have reached a plateau in their course of therapy. Since acupuncture works on a completely different substrate of the body than any other modality, it can often help where other techniques fail.

For clients struggling with chronic emotional issues, it is best to combine acupuncture with therapy. In this way, the client receives in-depth support on all levels and from all perspectives. The mind is addressed directly by the therapy sessions, whereas the underlying somatic component is addressed by the acupuncture sessions.

Many clients will also find that changing their diet, taking Chinese herbs, and using a range of nutritional supplements also helps their condition tremendously. Because anxiety and depression tend to arise from a multitude of factors, it's best to treat these conditions utilizing a variety of approaches that take the whole person into account.

Be sure to commit to a weekly series of therapy and acupuncture sessions for at least one month before deciding if it's working or not. Many people do not get the full benefit of treatment because they give up prematurely. Since these are more natural techniques, the healing process will likely be gradual. The good news is that the root cause of the problem is actually being addressed, whereas pharmaceuticals tend to put a bandage on the symptoms without targeting the underlying causes.

Acupuncture and therapy work together in different and potent ways to bring people back to a state of balance. Try them for yourself and see how you feel after a month or so of care. You'll likely find that you have your life back!

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Why Choose Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that treats a person according to their individual symptoms, rather than a western diagnosis. It uses a holistic approach and looks at person's lifestyle, as well as their physical and emotional problems. No two people will be treated in exactly the same way, even if they share the same western diagnosis.

Acupuncture is thought to date as far back to 200 BCE, where the earliest written record of it can be found. Acupuncture works by regulating the flow of energy within the body. When a person's energy or qi is blocked or diminished, this can result in poor physical and emotional wellbeing. Fine acupuncture needles are inserted into specific points within the body, to help this energy flow more freely or to actually build up the energy. Acupuncture is a safe and affective form of treatment for a wide variety of ailments and illness that range from emotional problems such as anxiety, depression, insomnia and stress as well as other conditions such as migraines, infertility, muscular skeletal conditions, arthritis and many more .

Most patients find the treatment itself highly relaxing and all the needles that are used are extremely fine and do not cause pain on insertion. Needles are left in for approximately 20 minutes and during this time people fall into a highly relaxed state. Many people find themselves falling asleep while their bodies begin to re-balance themselves. Acupuncture is used not only as way of restoring ill health but also as way a preventive treatment. It can be incorporated into someone's weekly routine in the same way that a person may choose to go to the gym and eat a healthy, balanced diet.

In my own experience as a TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) acupuncturist I have found it to be successful with a broad range of issues. In particular people living in a western society find themselves working long hours and showing signs of increased stress, which can result in signs of high blood pressure. Along with long working hours often comes little time to spend on healthy meals and a need to unwind which may often include high consumption of alcohol, smoking and drug takings; all of which have an effect on an individuals well being.

I have found acupuncture to have a comprehensive effect on stress levels and allow a person to feel more harmonized and balanced. This gives a person more clarity to make better decisions and as a result can often lead to a healthier lifestyle.

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