Acupuncture For Cancer Management and Prevention

Acupuncture, a modality of ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), has long been used to help with cancer prevention as well as managing the side effects of the illness and its various treatment options. Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles into the surface of your skin. Often barely perceptible when inserted, the right combination of these points can produce amazing effects in terms of pain management, immune system boosting, digestive issues, and much more. Essentially, a TCM diagnosis is achieved by determining how and why the flow of energy in your body has been disrupted. Cancer is an indication of blockage of energy and / or other elements that flow through your body's energy pathways, otherwise known as meridians. Scientifically speaking, acupuncture is believed to have an effect on your circulation, while also affecting nerve growth and lymph drainage. Acupuncture has even been proven to reduce feelings of pain throughout the body.

Cancer prevention is achieved through regular acupuncture treatment by helping to balance your body's energy flow. By balancing this flow on a regular basis, blockage can be often be prevented. TCM diagnosis first attempts to determine whether your pattern is one of deficiency or excess, and then works to either boost where needed or resolve where needed. Unfortunately, once blockage of the extreme nature of cancer has been allowed to occur it is difficult to treat, especially if the cancer is spreading rapidly. That is why acupuncture and other natural therapies should be viewed as preventative, or even as complementary to other more conventional treatment options. In other words, if you have been diagnosed with cancer, use acupuncture along with the treatment (s) recommended, and not as a replacement therapy.

Some of the conventional cancer therapies that acupuncture works well with include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and recovery from surgery. Acupuncture helps with chemotherapy by helping you relieve some of the side effects such as nausea and vomiting, reduced immune system function, digestive upset, and even some of the neurological side effects that can be present, such as pain or paralysis. In terms of the side effects for radiation therapy, acupuncture can potentially help with your fatigue, changes in appetite, anxiety and depression, sleep issues, changes in libido, and even some if the common radiation sickness associated with this therapy. In recovering from surgery, acupuncture can help speed your healing process, and can boost your energy to help you get back on your feet sooner.

When looking for a qualified acupuncturist, be sure to seek out a TCM practitioner, as they are trained in all aspects of TCM including acupuncture, and will diagnose you in a manner that best fits your own individual pattern and then treat you the way you are mean to be treated. Since we all present with our own personal patterns, it is important to note that two separate people should not necessarily receive the same type of acupuncture, even if they have the same type of cancer.

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Acupuncture – The Alternative Medicine


Many people have heard about acupuncture and know it is a kind of alternative medicine. But most of them do not know how acupuncture works and why it is effective in treating some illnesses. This article gives an overview of acupuncture so you can understand this valuable ancient medical science, and possibly know where to get acupuncture treatment when you need it.

What is acupuncture?

As a part of Chinese medicine, acupuncture treatment originates in China. Chinese medicine is based on the theory of meridians and points. According to Chinese medicine, the minority body of a human being contains the system of meridians and points. Meridians, or channels, are invisible to our physical eyes, but they are important energy routes. Our life force, or Qi, is flowing through the channels 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Said, Blockage or disruptions in the flow of Qi is the cause of various diseases. Acupuncture tumors diseases by regulating and balancing the flow of Qi. Points sit on the meridians. Acupuncture works by stimulating the points with acupuncture needles. In an acupuncture treatment session, the therapistinserts acupuncture needles into different points on the client's body.

The tools for acupuncture treatment

Typically, acupuncture needles are 15 mm to 20 mm in length and 0.12 to 0.35 mm in diameter. They areas thin as hairs. Different gauges of acupuncture needles are used on different areas of body. For example, to treat ear points, you need very thin and short needles. Different kinds of needles are available in acupuncture practiceshops and online stores. When the needles are pushed into the client's body, he may feel a little pain, but he should not feel any discomfort when the needles remain in his body. The needles will be kept in the client's body for 5-20 minutes. It depends on the Chinese medicine diagnosis of the client's condition. The therapist may apply heat or pulse electricity on the acupuncture needles. You can find the accessories in acupuncture supplies shops.

An acupuncture treatment process

The client sits or lies down. Following the local sterilization on the points, the therapist inserts the acupuncture needles in the client's body. The correct angle, direction and depth are very important for a successful treatment. But an experienced therapist knows how to diagnose the diseases and treat them correctly. Generally, after reaching the proper depth, the therapist does not pull out the needles immediately. They use fingers to rotate the needles left and right for 2-3 minutes to stimulate the points adequately. Then the needles are kept in the body for 5-20 minutes.

Can I use acupuncture to treat myself?

Yes. But acupuncture is a complex technique that takes time to master. As we mentioned above, you need to know the correct angle, direction, depth of insertion, as well as how long you should keep the needles in the body for different conditions. Beside, there are different kinds of needles in the acupuncture supplies shop. You can get some books to read about acupuncture theory, and try some treatment routines and see the effects. Beside needles, acupuncture supplies may also include Electrical Point Finders, which can help you locate the points precisely.

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Acupuncture and Boosting Your Immune System

Scientifically speaking, your immune system is made up of several parts, located through your body. These include your liver, spleen, thymus gland, your lymphatic system (of which you will find lymph nodes and vessels all through your body) and other glands and tissues. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), of which acupuncture is a central modality, your immune system is governed by your Lung energy system (note that the word 'Lung' is capitalized to differentiate between the scientific definition).

According to the Theory of Five Elements in TCM, your Lungs control the protective energy (known as 'Wei Qi') that defends you from invading pathogens. When this energy is deficient or the pathogen is too strong, your body is no longer able to protect itself and you experience illness. This type of illness is caused by Wind invading, which usually carries with it another pathogenic factor such as Cold, Heat, Dryness or Dampness. The nature of the pathogen as well as its strength will determine your symptoms and the severity of your illness.

Acupuncture is excellent for boosting your immune system preventively, as well as for treating pathogens after they've held. While TCM is not a cure for viruses or bacterial infection (due to the lower nature of the medicine), because these types of pathogens do theoretically invade your body via Wind, TCM is very good at treating many of the symptoms associated. So if you're looking for a natural solution to treating headaches, congestion, fatigue, sore throat, cough, and so on, TCM can help you.

As for true immune system disorders, such as allergies, asthma, and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes, the approach to treatment is naturally more complex than treating cold and flu symptoms. Where pain is concerned, acupuncture often works best with the combination of other TCM modalities such as electro-stimulation, cupping, Tui Na, and possibly herbs. Other signs and symptoms, such as fatigue, poor circulation, diarrhea, constipation, and so on, are often best treated with acupuncture and sometimes herbs as well. While more complicated, immune system disorders are still treatable with TCM. They may take more time to treat, however – anywhere from one to three months in most cases. The time that it takes for acupuncture to have a comprehensive effect on your immune system typically depends on how long you've been experiencing symptoms, and how you are doing in regards to your own health care, eg diet, exercise, stress, and so on.

Be sure to receive acupuncture treatment from a Registered TCM Practitioner. This person is best trained in pulse diagnosis, the key to proper determination of your energy patterns and how to help correct them and improve your health.

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Five Element Acupuncture and Seasonal Changes: Autumn

An integral aspect of Acupuncture practice is the manipulation and movement of qi (pronounced chee). This is often the starting point for explaining what acupuncture is to a western audience. When the concept of qi is even partly understood, many of the thoughts and concepts that are integral to acupuncture become less mystical and start to be beneficial to the health of the individual.

In my practice as an acupuncturist I often use the example of autumn as a way of both explaining qi and also our integral link to the planet around us. By observing the changes in autumn we can gain some insight to the changes within ourselves. How do you feel in autumn? How would you describe autumn? In acupuncture theory, autumn is described as the time when the upward energy of summer starts to sink downwards to the inward and more dormant aspect of winter. If we take a deciduous tree as an example of this, the upward energy of spring and summer allows growth and the reaching of maturity of leaves and fruit. This energy requires some force and effort against the natural gravitational pull of the earth. Imagine the power and push required to make this happen. This power and push is a yang energy and is vital if the tree or plant is going to reach its full potential. The converse is true of autumn and winter, in order for the plant or tree to continue thriving it must have a period of rest and relative dormancy. To do this the sap must stop rising against the gravitational pull of the earth, and start to sink or go back toward the earth. This inevitably leads to the death of certain aspects of the plant, by withdrawing the sap and sinking back towards the earth, leaves will fall, flowers will wither in order that the tree may rejuvenate and start again the following spring. This energy is downward, inward and is in comparative rest. It is the yin energy.

Autumn to us humans is of course much more than this. It is a period of beauty and poignancy. As the trees change, they take on a new beauty in death. It can be a most diverse time of the year as we watch the colors change and fade. What happens to us in this time? As the energy of our season changes do we observe those changes within ourselves?

This movement of energy forward and outward or downward and inward is described as the movement of qi. It is qi that circulates and allows the movement of vital substances in all living things. In its most noble aspect it can not be observed, which is one of the reasons why it seems such a mystical concept. However it can be felt, if you are an observer of nature, you will notice that as the energy of your world around you changes with the season you can observe changes in yourself. As the nights draw inward, we draw inward. You may have the sense of your own energy changing. The emotion associated with autumn in old acupuncture texts is the emotion of grief. If we have experienced loss in our lives, this is often the time of year that the loss will feel most substantial and poignant. It is a profound and poignant season.

As the seasons change, the minority changes you notice in yourself are the changes in the movement of your qi. By going with and accepting these changes you are effectively giving your body a chance to recuperate.

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Acupuncture for Muscle Soreness

Muscle soreness can be caused by a number of different factors, but it is usually caused by exercise, injury to your muscles, or tension (which is often related to stress). Other factors can include osteoarthritis (and less commonly rheumatoid arthritis) in your joints, infection, and conditions such as lupus or fibromyalgia. But no matter the cause of your muscle soreness, acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can help – it's just a question of how quickly.

Despite the fact that TCM (of which acupuncture is one of the main modalities) is based on clinical trials and a not modern scientific understanding of the human body (it is over 5000 years old, after all!), It may nonetheless help you to know a little of what happens in your body to cause muscle soreness. When it comes to exercise, the soreness is caused by tiny tears in your muscles and connective tissue. This muscle soreness usually goes away on its own, although the healing can be sped up with acupuncture treatment. Arthritis, while actually a degenerative disease of your joints, is often accompanied by muscle soreness and even weakness as well. Lupus (an autoimmune disorder) and fibromyalgia (cause unknown) can leave your muscles aching terribly. These more complicated conditions can also be treated with acupuncture, and with significant positive results. The question is only how long it will take to feel relief, but generally speaking the longer you have had the pain the deeper it is within your body, and the longer it will take to find relief. With that said, oftentimes after only a few sessions some relief occurs, although it may not be lasting until further sessions have been performed.

Injury to your muscles from a fall, car accident, poor lifting technique or otherwise obviously take longer to heal than basic exercise soreness, and so acupuncture is excellent for helping these conditions, as it helps improve blood flow, nerve conduction, and even lymph drainage , which is very important in healing. Acupuncture is also remarkable for its ability to increase your tolerance to pain, a phenomenon not quite yet figured out by science. Infection, another potential cause of muscle soreness, requires antibiotic use for treatment. TCM, while excellent for so many things, does not work quickly enough to make the use of antibiotics avoidable in this instance.

In terms of a TCM diagnosis, it is your spleen (capitalized here to differentiate from the scientific definition) that is responsible for your muscles. In addition, energy blockage in your body is usually what manifests as pain, and so your Liver would need to be treated as well, since your Liver is responsible for governing the flow of energy in your body. Further diagnosis (ie through TCM pulse taking) would reveal more detail, but your spleen and liver would certainly be the place for your acupuncturist to start. Be sure to seek out a Registered TCM Practitioner to treat you, as this type of acupuncturist is best trained in the ancient medicine.

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How Acupuncture Works

Acupuncture is a common medical practice that can be used to treat a whole myriad of conditions. It may be used to treat general pain, or it might be used to treat more complicated mental or emotional conditions. Acupuncture focuses on healing the body as a whole, and not just the symptoms. When considering acupuncture, it is important to understand exactly what to expect during treatment.

Understanding Meridians

When acupuncture first started, acupuncturists' focused on something called meridians in the body. These meridians were really sectioned off areas through which the life force of the body flowed. When this life force became trapped, the acupuncturist would find where it was trapped and use acupuncture to treat it and help it flow more freely. There are 12 major meridians in the body. Each meridian is responsible for one major organ in the body. Depending on the client's issues, the needles will be inserted into the appropriate corresponding meridian.

Understanding the Tools

When most people think about acupuncture, they become very concerned regarding the acupuncture injuries involved. Needles are a common phobia which many people are not comfortable with. However, the needles involved in an acupuncture visit can be as much as 50 times thinner than the average hypodermic needle. In addition, hypodermic needles are designed to remove skin and inject or remove fluid. This is usually what causes the pain. Acupuncture needles as solid and extremely thin. Generally, any pain that is felt is extremely minimal and lasts less than a second.

Understanding the Process

Following the insertion, the acupuncture needles will be left in anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. Many clients fall sleep during treatment and do not notice how much time has passed. Following acupuncture, the needles will be removed. This is not a painful process. After the needles have been removed, most clients report feeling energized or relaxed. In addition, there is usually no visible signs that the acupuncture needles were there at all. For more sensitive clients, there may be mild bruising, but this is a pretty uncommon occurrence.

Acupuncture can be used to help with any number of problems. People have used acupuncture for neck and back pain, for addiction problems including smoking and for simple relaxation. In face, even the US Air Force has used acupuncture for the treatment of certain conditions. Acupuncture has been around since the Stone Age. This practice has been used to help a myriad of conditions and many people have enjoyed the benefits of acupuncture. While the needles can be a bit intimidating at first, many people who were initially squamish find that their worries were unfounded.

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Acupuncture for Back Pain and Depression

Acupuncture has been used for the treatment of back pain and depression for many centuries. When we remember that in Oriental medicine the mind has an influence on the body, and the body has an influence on the mind, we can easily understand how these two different ailments back pain and depression can be connected.

In the Traditional Chinese medical framework, each organ is associated with a specific emotion, which in the case of the Liver is Anger. According to Traditional Chinese medicinal theory, the built up of repressed anger causes the liver Qi energy to stagnate. This in turn affects the spiritual aspect of that organ which is called “The ethereal soul”. It provides us the ability to make decisions. When the Liver Qi (energy) is unbalanced, that ability is lost. This can result in poor motivation, and a general lack of direction in life.

The affected person often became inflexible in their ideas, unable and unwilling to accept other people's opinions; they typically alienate those close to them. Build up feelings of frustration and anger can lead to powerlessness and depression when these demands can not be met. These negative emotions will have on effect on the body causing it to become tight and inflexible, like the mind of the depressed patient, and result in back pain and other physical ailments, like digestive problems.

Other emotions such as grief and guilt can affect other organ's energy such as the lungs or the heart and the kidneys and also lead to depressive states. Here acupuncture for back pain and depression is adjunct treatment for chronic health problems or disorders.

A constitutional weakness in the kidneys energy can result in a lack of willpower. We have probably all met some of these enthusiastic people who always seem to be full of projects, and great ideas, but they never seem to be able to bring anything to completion. This undercoming weakness can be another building ground for depression. Also, kidneys weakness makes that person suspectible to lower back pain.

It is characterized by the type of pain which builds up slowly throughout the day, and becomes worse with any type of exertion. In that case, we often see two distinct patterns with either an accompanying weakness in the knee and feelings of cold in the extremities, or in opposition, symptoms of internal heat like insomnia, or irritability, and dry throat and mouth.

If the Liver itself is the causing factor, the pain will be sharp, alternating from side to side, possibly traveling up to the shoulders and neck, accompanied with aching joints.

In these cases, taking pharmaceutical medication will only have a short term symptomatic benefit, while a course of acupuncture treatments combined with mediation and gentle exercise can often be a life changing experience for patients suffering from either the back pain or the depression, or even both .

Acupuncture treatment helps relieves back pain and depression so that you are able to get back to the swing of life.

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What Are the Side Effects to Acupuncture?

All over the world people use acupuncture therapy to help relieve pain and treat a number of conditions including depression, anxiety, gastrointestinal disorders and addictions. This ancient Chinese medicine technique involves the insertion of fine needle points along specific body points in the attempt to restore the natural flow of energy, or Qi, in the human body and achieve internal balance. Thought not fully embroidered by the medical community due to a lack of scientific evidence, many people tout the benefits of acupuncture as a safe and affordable alternative to surgery and prescription medication. Before you schedule an acupuncture session, know that there are some side effects to the treatment.

People will all react differently to having fine needles inserted into their skin. While acupuncture needles only pierce to a shallow depth, the action can cause some people to pride and experience soreness. The soreness associated with this Chinese medicine method often occurs after the needles are removed and generally is experienced in the hands and feet. Typically, soreness from the needles dissipates within 24 hours and rarely ever lasts more than two days. However, if you are sensitive to needles and bruise easily you may want to discuss this with an acupuncturist prior to treatment.

Another common side effect to acupuncture treatment is a powerful emotional release. The practice is meant to restore the free flow of energy that is being blocked. When the channels of the human body, also called meridians, are opened up it is not unusual for a patient to cry. This is actually quite normal and healthy. This side effect is especially positive for people dealing with depression and addictions who have been stifling feelings for a long time. When the body relaxes, as it should during treatment, it is expected that held back feelings will come to the surface and crying is a natural reaction to letting go of things we cling to.

While it is rare, some acupuncture patients may experience lightheadedness and fatigue following a session. Getting up quickly after being treated with fine needles may cause some people to faint and other people may experience fatigue in the days following treatment. Acupuncturists recommend eating before a session and taking your time to get up from the table when the session is over. Fatigue is not uncommon and is often attributed to the relaxation the body feels after releasing tension. If you think you may experience either symptom after acupuncture treatment , have a friend drive you to and from the appointment to prevent any accidents.

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Case Study: Acupuncture and Menopause

A 52-year-old woman complained of night sweats and insomnia, ie she was having trouble falling asleep, feeling very hot, and when she could sleep she would have covered in sweat. She was also experiencing some hot flashes during the day, at which times she would sometimes also sweat a great deal. She occasionally also felt dizzy.

The patient's periods had become very infrequent over the past few years, occurring only every 3 or 4 months. When they did occur, they were unpredictable as well: sometimes scanty and sometimes more discharge than usual was apparent. She was finding that she was becoming more and more irritable, especially when her periods occurred, but also in relation to her hot flashes.

She also complained of headaches starting, especially on the top of her head. She had noticed that they seemed to accompany a bitter taste in her mouth. The patient also claimed that an increase in fiber recently had helped her bowels, which were beginning to move more slowly, possibly leaning towards constipation.

Her tongue tip was reddish in color and the tongue's body had a thin, white coat. Her pulse was slightly wiry and rapid on the right, and weaker on the left, especially at the Kidney position.

Diagnosis: Kidney and Liver Yin deficiency with some signs of Liver Yang Rising, probably as a consequence of the Liver Yin deficiency. The Kidney Yin deficiency was evident in the decrease of her periods, plus the night sweats, constipation and hot flashes. The Liver Yin deficiency showed in the unpredictability of her periods, her irritability and her dizziness. The Liver Yang rising shown in regards to the headaches she was starting to get, and the bitter taste in her mouth.

Treatment Principle: Tonify the Kidney Yin and Liver Blood. Some points to smooth the Liver and clear some Heat to help to suppress the Liver Yang, but only secondarily to Tonifying.

Acupuncture Points: SP 6, BL 18, BL 20, BL 23, LR 8, KD 3, KD 6, LI 4, LR 3, RN 4

Herbal Formula: Liu Wei Di Huang Wan (Six Ingredient Pill With Rehmannia), augmented with the addition of Di Gu Pi and Zhi Mu.

After one month of treatment the patient was feeling much better. She had only the occasional hot flash, and her night sweats, insomnia and dizziness had all disappeared. She was no longer experiencing headaches, and her mood was much better as well.

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8 Acupuncture Myths

Even though the practice of acupuncture has been around for thousands of years, it is still the subject of many myths. Acupuncture is one of the fastest growing fields of alternative medicine, and is even covered by many health insurance and state worker's compensation plans. Here are eight of the biggest myth.

ONE: No Scientific Basis

Acupuncture may be a form of alternative medicine, but peer reviewed studies have found that acupuncture treatments do correlate to a reduction in the patient's perceived levels of pain.

TWO: Needles Not Safe

This myth refers to the mistaken belief that the needles used in acupuncture treatments can carry disease or are unsanitary. Acupuncture needles come in sterilized, sealed, packages. The needles are only used. After use in treatment the needles are treated as medical waste and properly disposed of. You have as much to fear from a dirty needle at the acupuncturist as you do at the doctor for the needle used in a shot. Acupuncture Treatments are Required Daily to Work

THREE: Acupuncture is Painful

Typically, acupuncture is almost painless. Some patients report feeling a slight pinch, less than typical with a shot at the doctor, with the application of an acupuncture needle. Acupuncture works, in part, to relax the body and restore balance. Causing pain is not an effective method for acupuncture treatment.

FOUR: Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine are the Same

Acupuncture uses the principles and understanding of traditional Chinese medicine, however it is its own independent field of study. Traditional Chinese medicine also treats on herbal remedies Tai-Qi.

FIVE: Acupuncture Sessions Last a Long Time

A typical acupuncture session lasts thirty minutes to one hour. This includes the pre acupuncture examination and the time it takes to make a diagnosis and formulate a treatment plan.

SIX: Acupuncture Needs to be Done Everyday to Work

Every patient is different. However, most patients do not need daily treatment. Most patients need to receive a series of acupuncture therapies, but the sessions are typically once a week to once a month. Patients that need daily sessions are rare and typically the daily sessions are only for a brief period of time until the acute problem is brought under control.

SEVEN: The Needles are Long

Acupuncture needles come in a variety of sizes. Most acupuncture needles are less than a half of an inch in length. A typical hypodermic needle is about the same length as an acupuncture needle, but it is also much thicker.

Eight: Anyone Can be an Acupuncturist

The vast majority of states require a rigorous licensing procedure for acupuncturist. A certified acupuncturist must complete four years of course work with a clinical internship of over 1,000 hours. Additionally, before receiving an acupuncturist license, applicants must pass an examination. Many acupuncturist also first obtain a university degree. Once licensed, in order to maintain their license in good standing, acupuncturist have to attend regular continuing education classes and follow the safety and ethical standards of their profession. Acupuncturist are part of the health care community.

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Acupuncture for Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are types of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). IBD's inflame the lining of your digestive tract (and with colitis can cause sores, aka ulcers) and cause severe bouts of diarrhea and / or abdominal pain. Crohn's can affect any part of your digestive system (although usually it is the small intestine), whereas colitis usually only affects the inner lining of your large intestine (your colon) and your rectum. Another difference that tend to be apparent is that if you have ulcerative colitis you will usually have pain in your lower left abdomen, whereas with Crohn's you're more likely to experience pain in your lower right abdomen. And because colitis occurs in your large intestine and Crohn's your small (which is higher up in your digestive tract), bleeding during bowel movements tend to occur more with colitis.

Conventional drugs recommended for both forms of IBD are usually similar, and surgery is sometimes suggested for either one. Luckily, while you're carrying all the care that your doctor can provide, you may find some relief with acupuncture, a modality of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine have had success with resolving digestive issues of all kinds for thousands of years.

One of the benefits of TCM is that you do not have to spend time doing a wide variety of expensive tests to determine the cause of your illness. A Registered TCM Practitioner is properly trained to diagnose you according to TCM patterns that enable them to choose appropriate means of treatment, ie acupuncture, and possibly also herbs. Other TCM modalities that can help with Crohn's and ulcerative colitis include ear acupuncture, cupping, and even Tui Na (Chinese massage). All TCM modalities, when properly used, diagnose and treat you according to the ancient, tested-and-true TCM diagnostic fundamentals.

When you are suffering from an IBD and you visit a TCM practitioner, you may be surprised to learn that the diagnosis you've been given by your doctor will not be especially relevant. This is because TCM is not based on scientific reasoning, but rather on patterns and theories that have been in development for thousands of years, long before science was around. As such, your TCM practitioner will ask you many questions about your symptoms, ie where you're feeling pain, what kind of pain it is, when it is worse, and so on. These symptoms, along with a proper pulse diagnosis (a complicated and sensitive method of unearthing your organ energy patterns) can help a TCM practitioner find the right course of treatment for you. With that said, generally speaking people with IBD present with a pattern known as Damp-Heat in the intestines (note: TCM terms that are capitalized are done so here so that they can be differentiated from their scientific definitions).

The properties of Dampness are that it is sticky, stubborn, and is heavy and so impedes the flow of energy in your body. Heat usually tends to speed up the flow, but when coupled with Dampness, Heat tend to just stagnate and cause pain. When Damp-Heat accumulates in your intestines, you are likely to feel abdominal pain, and experience diarrhea with mucus and blood in your stools. The mucus is indicative of Dampness, and blood, as well as any burning sensation indicating Heat.

If you suffer from Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, there are specific acupuncture points and herbal formulas that can help relieve you of your pain and discomfort and help your digestive system function more effectively. Acupuncture can work with any drug treatment you may already be on, so you will not have to stop any other therapy you're already receiving. The same also goes for TCM modalities other than herbs, which your TCM practitioner is trained to know about in terms of contraindications.

IBD does not have to be a life sentence. Get treatment today!

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Explore Acupuncture For Neck Pain

As a Licensed Acupuncturist I often get calls for an emergency appointment for sever neck pain, with stiffness and limited mobility. In these cases, I know the patient is looking for fast pain relief. And before they call me they have usually try everything else without any improvement.

What to expect at an acupuncture visit.

As soon as the patient is settled in the room, I start the interview with specific questions such as how long has he the pain, how this pain started etc. I check the blood pressure, and if the blood pressure is not too high or too low, I do a physical exam. I then place needles in the patient's ears to help them relax and allow the body to receive treatment easily.

After that, I introduce sliding cupping and explain to the patient all benefits that they will get from this modality. Also, I explain the side effects such as bruises that result from cupping. The patient is usually compliant for treatment by this point so they receive pain relief as soon as possible.

As I apply olive oil on the affected area I start to massage affected area, after that I apply cups and leave them there for a few minutes. Then slowly I move them through the affected area for several minutes. After removing cups and cleaning treatment area, the next step is acupuncture. After I apply needles in the neck, hands, legs and feet, I set an Infra-Red lamp along with some electro stimulation attached to needles in the painful area. Turning on soothing music, turning off lights, I leave the needles in place for about 25-30 minutes.

When I check in on the patient, I usually find a much more relaxed person, but they still may not be sure they will get any result with the treatment (since lying in one position without moving does not show any results yet). Removing the electro- stimulation, turning off the Infra-Red lamp and removing needles are preparation for the big moment of truth. At first, the patient's movements are slow and careful, than a slow smile is proof that the patient's pain level has improved. As we make the next treatment and walk out of the treatment room, I give the final instructions for care at home.

At the end, do not forget that every journey starts with the first step, therefore, let this knowledge lead you toward your own “Bridge to Health”.

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Case Study: Acupuncture and Irritable Bowel Syndrome

A 44-year-old man presented with generalized abdominal pain that he had been suffering with for close to 10 years, for no apparent reason. His bowel movements alternated between diarrhea and constipation, with the diarrhea being more frequent. His stools were often loose and watery, and were accompanied at times with intestinal abdominal pain that was either sharp, dull, or both. He also suffered from frequent bouts of nausea, and would get frontal heads at least once per week.

His doctor had diagnosed him with irritable bowel syndrome, and had recommended seeing a nutritionist as well as trying medications such as loperamide and laxatives as required. The patient was amenable to making changes in his diet, but chose to seek acupuncture as a means of relieving his condition for the long term.

He was also having trouble sleeping – his dreams were very vivid and would cause him to wake up a few times each night.

His tongue was pale and slightly swollen, with some teethmarks on the sides. The tip of his tongue was reddish. His pulse was slippery and somewhat full in the Spleen position.

Diagnosis: Liver Qi Invading the Spleen and Stomach. Stagnant Liver Qi was evident with regards to the patient's abdominal pain, and the alternation between diarhea and constipation. His Stomach was affected in terms of the nausea symptoms and the frontal headaches, and the Spleen was affected most obviously in the patient's pale tongue but also with the Dampness that showed in his swollen tongue and slippery pulse. The Liver also appeared to be indicated in the red sides of the patient's tongue, and in the sleep disturbance which may have been related more to the Gall Bladder, which is a sub-organ of the Liver.

Treatment Principle: Tonify the Spleen and smooth the flow of Liver Qi in an effort to help resolve the patient's abdominal pain, and help to regulate his bowel movements and make his sleep more peaceful.

Acupuncture Points Used: SP 4, SP 6, ST 37, ST 40, RN 6, RN 12, RN 13, Sishenchong, BL 15, BL 18 BL 20, BL 21

After 2 treatments per week for 1 month with some adjustments to his diet, the patient felt much better. His abdominal pain had disappeared, and his bowel movements returned to normal. His frontal headaches had disappeared, and he even said that his sleep felt more restful. He came back once a month for the next 3 months to help solidify our work.

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Holistic Treatment for Excessive Sweating

Excessive Sweating

Did you ever have the experience that you are in a fight-or-flight condition; your heart and breathing rates go up, your pupils dilate and your hands are sweating to cope with the emergency situation due to the adrenaline release? After the emergency is over, you end up with cold hands and feet and you are very tired. If this condition becomes worse, you could always have sweaty palms whenever you are multitasking, rushing around or nervous about something, and you may get diagnosed as excessive sweating.

We know that excessive sweating is caused by overactive sweat glands. The sweat gland is controlled by branches of sympathetic nerves in the chest area, which are controlled by the hypothalamus, a part of the brain controlling appetite, body temperature, thirst, fatigue, anger and circadian cycles. People suffering from this condition can sweat spontaneously, even at room temperature, and excessively in a slightly warm environment. The most common parts of the body that sweat are the palms, feet, armpits, chest, abdominal area and face. Unfortunately, those who sweat excessively tend to have a special body odor, so that they smell bad- another thing to be self-conscious about.

If you have this problem, you can most likely blame your parents, because genetic make-up plays a big part. People with very sensitive sympathetic nervous systems tend to have hyperhidrosis. Excessive sweating and very sensitive nervous systems tend to run in the family. So, you may have inherited your problems from your mom, but you do not have to accept them. You can return that bad hand you have been deal and get a much better one, so do not worry. If you are willing to change your life style a little bit, you might be able to change the gene expression.

However, you must do some work yourself. There are lifestyle choices you can make that will lessen this problem or possibly make it go away completely. You can make decisions that will change things. Start by drinking less alcohol, which can intensify the symptoms. Alcohol can produce a lot of heat inside your body and get your nervous system going. In order to maintain a normal body temperature, you have to expel extra heat through sweat and urination. That is why people tend to drink more alcohol in cold weather .. Alcoholics tend to have clammy hands and feet. There are cases where people never had this problem growing up, only to have it appear later in life, usually triggered by drinking too much alcohol. So, please drink less for your own health, dignity and peace of mind. You do not have to stop completely, just reduce, reduce, and reduce until your problem goes away.

Other things that stimulate your nervous system that you can reduce:

1. Caffeine stimulates your sympathetic nerves, so your body becomes even more sensitive to temperature changes and stress.

2. Warm drinks and food can make you sweat more.

3. Low and high blood sugar levels can induct adrenaline release to intensify sweating.

4. Stress can induce cortisol and adrenaline release to stimulate the nervous system.

5. Multitasking: when you do three things at the same time, your body has to release more adrenaline, which stimulates the nervous system.

6. Imbalanced progesterone and estrogen levels also sensitize your nervous system, so that your body may react very strongly to small temperature changes. That is why menopausal women sweat easily, then quickly feel chilled afterwards. Men who use testosterone cream for a long time tend to sweat a lot with a special body odor.

7. Obesity: Obese people have higher levels of cortisol and estrogen. They can tolerate stress better than skinny people, but they have less tolerance for heat. When obese women go through menopause, they have more hot flashes than average-weight women.

8. Spicy foods also produce internal heat. People can tolerate spicy foods in a very damp and cold climate, but if they leave for warmer places, they have to change their eating habits accordingly.

Acupuncture, meditation, yoga and Qi Gong will help balance your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The majority of acupuncture points can be used to calm down the sympathetic nerves and strengthen the parasympathetic nerves. If your sympathetic nerves are in a more stable condition, your body will not respond to temperature changes as strongly. Food and herbs, such as bitter melon and dandelion, which have a bitter taste tend to help clear the body heat and reduce the sweating and inflammation. Sour-tasting food can help your body generate more body fluids, so that the Yin (the essence of the body) and Yang (the energy part of the body) can be balanced. In order to achieve a happier and healthier life, the Yin and Yang have to be balanced, so that your body will sweat properly.

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Is Acupuncture Really a Threat to the Established Medical Model?

Reading some of the scathing behaviors of acupuncture and it is affecting in relieving pain and other debilitating conditions would have some believe the established medical order is out to smear acupuncturists as frauds and scam artists. It would be understandable if acupuncturists went around bad-mouthing modern medicine and surgery but most acupuncturists stress that their practice is an adjunct therapy and should not be used in place of traditional medical treatments. Yet every week a new story appears that referees to acupuncture as a sham and that there is no evidence to support it works as a pain relieving therapy.

Regardless of whether you believe in the healing power of acupuncture, it is interesting that some doctors feel the need to belittle the practice to such a degree. Some float the theory that no matter how small a fringe community acupuncturists are, some doctors still view the practice as a threat to their minds and make a consistent effort to assure the practice of inserting fine needles into specific points on the human body to treat pain, stress, anxiety and other ailments. While not all doctors are dismissive of acupuncture, in fact some even suggest their patients may want to try it in conjuction with other remedies including surgery and medications, enough are vehemently opposed to even discussing the practice to ask if there may be an underlying reason for their stance.

Alternative medicine or holistic healing is nothing new. In fact it pre-dates modern medicine by centers and although millions of research dollars have been spent trying to quantify and qualify the practice in scientific terms it has yet to produce any definitive results. However, this does not mean acupuncture does not work only that scientists can not explain why it would or how it could work. Yet every year thousands of patients undergo acupuncture treatment and claim to feel better after their treatment. Acupuncture is practiced all over the world and is still very much a part of Chinese culture, where it first originated thousands of years ago.

If an acupuncturist is claiming that fine needles are all you need to eliminate cancer, cure an infectious disease of relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety then it would be understandable for ethical doctors to step up and counter these false claims. However, very few acupuncturists ever make these claims and most are up front about their practice being an adjunct therapy and that patients should never rule out modern medicine. Trying to frighten people into thinking acupuncture is a folklore witch doctor voodoo spell is simply a rare tactic that more often stokes curiosity instead of fear. The day when acupuncture recurors doctors and hospitals is certainly not around the corner.

However, patients have the right to try holistic and alternative therapies if they choose and as long as the acupuncturist is practicing with sterile needles and performing the procedure properly there is little risk of harm and the chance that this mystery therapy just may work.

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