Benefits Of Acupuncture Therapy

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical treatment that has been in practice for over 2,000 years. Acupuncture therapy is now used by practitioners in mainstream medicine to complement courses of treatment for patients suffering from more than 40 different medical conditions. There are many benefits of acupuncture enjoyed by patients all over the world. Here, just two of those benefits will be discussed: pain relief and treatment of medical conditions.

Pain Relief

The most widespread use of acupuncture is in the treatment of pain. The World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health in the US list acupuncture as an effective treatment for chronic pain associated with a variety of different injuries and medical disorders, including:

Dental Pain
Facial pain
Knee pain
Labor pains
Low back pain
Neck pain
Postoperative pain
Tennis elbow

Treatment of Medical Conditions

In addition to pain management, acupuncture has also been proven effective for the treatment of all of the following:

Gastritis and gastrointestinal disorders
Morning sickness
Side effects, including nausea and vomiting, of radiation therapy and chemotherapy
Stroke rehabilitation

Several studies are currently underway to examine the potential of acupuncture therapy in the treatment of a wide range of other medical disorders and diseases. The list of medical conditions that can be treated with acupuncture therapy is therefore expected to grow exponentially in the coming decades.

How to Choose an Acupuncturist

If you have been thinking about getting acupuncture treatment for your medical condition, you need to make sure the acupuncturist you choose is licensed and certified. The following are four steps you should take if you are considering acupuncture therapy:

1. Get recommendations from your medical doctor or from friends and family members you trust.

2. Research the acupuncturist's training and credentials. Finding a naturopathic doctor who processes
acupuncture therapy is the best choice. At a minimum, the practitioner you choose should be licensed by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

3. Have a face-to-face interview with the acupuncturist. Ask questions about your treatment, including the benefits you can expect and how much it will cost.

4. Check with your insurance provider to find out if the treatment is covered under your insurance policy.

To learn more about acupuncture benefits, or to give acupuncture therapy a try, contact a licensed practitioner near you. A certified acupuncturist can evaluate your condition and come up with a therapy regimen that is best suited to treat your medical issues.

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Explore Acupuncture for Frozen Shoulder

As the only Bosnian speaking acupuncturist in my area, I occasionally receive calls from the Bosnian community. Recently, I had a call from a well-known lady in the Bosnian community. She was asking me for an emergency appointment for her husband.

They came to my treatment center and I observed that her husband had severe pain and immobility due to a frozen shoulder. While taking his history, I learned that the man had been severely injured during the war in Bosnia and his right arm was only 25% functional. In addition, he had developed a problem with his left shoulder. While he had learned to live with limited use of his right shoulder, he was finding it very difficult to function with the additional pain. He told me he was feeling severely depressed because of these limits. The worry over the problems was also causing high anxiety and stress. He was not able to work because of the loss of functional arms; he could not drive anymore, take a shower or put on his clothes. Not only was he stressed out by all of this but his family was as well. During the examination I determined that his range of motion of the left shoulder was only 30 degrees.

During the treatment preparation, I explained the treatment process and expectations. As I placed my last needle in his lower leg, I asked him to lift his left arm, something he had not able to do for the last four months. He was resistant, I encouraged him to try. He was able raise his arm 60 degrees in range of motion and got very excited about the immediate results. After some manipulation of the needles and 20 minutes later, he was able to touch the top of his head with the tip of his fingers. To him this was a miracle! He said, “Finally, after four months, to be able to touch my head, this is unbelievable!” Of course there is no miracle, just good acupuncture protocol!

He looked at his wife and then at me and said; “The doctor told me that only surgery can give me back my mobility”. I smiled and said “We are happy to help you avoid surgery!” The first initial treatment with immediate results was enough to give hope that he could recover without surgery. The man had several other treatments and his arm is completely functional and pain free at this writing.

Acupuncture is a non-invasive alternative to medication or surgery for various pain related conditions.

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How Acupuncture Saved Me From Meniere’s Disease

Much is written about the benefits of acupuncture: how it improves circulation, relieves stress and anxiety, and treats the whole person instead of just a symptom here or there. Because it’s not a popular treatment for Westerners, though, it is sometimes be viewed with a veil of suspicion or simply avoided by Americans. On the flip side, Western doctors have the means and the motivation to prescribe drugs for most ailments. Some are specialists, which means that instead of viewing, say, a patient’s heart as a part of his or her overall body, they simplify their scope by concentrating on the patient’s heart itself. The combination of prescribing drugs with ease and not considering a patient’s holistic health leaves much to be desired.

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How Acupuncture Eliminates Your Lower Back Pain

Lower Back Pain is one of the most common problems that everyone faces today. More than 80% of the adults are today affected by this common cause due to various reasons like work stress, sitting in front of a computer for a long time and lack of maintaining a good posture, etc. However, the causes are many and some causes are unknown.

Intensity of pain varies from mild to severe. It can be temporary or permanent. For some, this pain may last for a short time and for some it may last for a long time that extremely causes difficulty among people to carry out their daily tasks. So before thinking for a treatment option, it is essential to understand about your spelling, the causes and how acupuncture can treat your lower back pain effectively. Continue reading this article to know more about it.

The spelling is the major supporting system of your body. It is made up of vertebrae along with ligaments, muscles, nerves and intervertebral disks. It acts as a shock absorber while performing various tasks such as running and walking, etc. The lower back of the spine known as lumbar spine keeps you to perform actions including lifting, bending and twisting, etc. Back pain arises when pressure on these lumbar spinal nerves increase. Acute pain can (one or two days) be treated with homemade medicines whereas chronic pain that lasts for a longer time requires proper medication.

What causes the pain?

Some of the major cause of lower back pain is;
• Spinal Stenosis, or narrowing of the spinal canal
• Muscle injury, which can occur from overuse or a sudden injury
• Infection of the spinal cord, fluid, or discs
• Herniated disc, or damage to the cushioning between vertebrae
• Osteoarthritis, a degenerative bone disease
• Fractured vertebrae

Acupuncture treatment for lower back pain:

Acupuncture is becoming a popular alternative medicine among patients for treating chronic lower back pain. It helps to cure lumbar disc problems effectively by reducing the pain. Electro-Acupuncture, Herbal Medication and Cupping, etc are some of the treatment methods used for treating lumbar disc problem. Once the treatment procedure is finished, various nerve stretching activities are carried out. However, the treatment procedures vary depending on the condition of a patient and also the intensity of pain.

Electro-Acupuncture is a technique that involves the stimulation of various acu points of the body through electrodes that are connected to the acupuncture needles with the application of electrical impulses. It increases the blood flow, warm the muscles and removals nerve blockages. Here, electro-acupuncture is the best suited treatment for chronic pain and stubborn neurological disorders.

Herbal Medications use various medicinal plants to treat diseases such as poor blood circulation, arthritis, migraines, depression and high blood pressure, etc. Herbal plants have great therapeutic effects that enhance the health condition of a person.

Cupping is a type of acupuncture treatment that uses small glass cups or bamboos as suction devices for creating sutures on the skin. Cupping is used to treat back pain, migraines, stiff muscles, rheumatism and respiratory problems, etc. It increases the blood circulation of the body.

Due to widespread popularity and the increasing demand for effective lower back pain treatment, acupuncture pain treatment clinics are increasing day by day. Acupuncture is a type of an alternate medicine that keeps you away from pain.

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How Does Acupuncture Work And What Is It Supposed To Do Especially?

Acupuncture is the practice of putting small needs into the body at various points to bring about changes. According to it, there are different channels that carry energy throughout the body. The purpose of acupuncture is to insert the needs at specific locations to help correct this flow of energy. Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years in China and has recently found its way into the rest of the world and many people believe in it but others do not.

Acupuncture has been used to treat many different conditions, from stress, to quitting smoking, and even colds.

The theory is that this energy that flows through your body is responsible for your health. As you experience changes to this energy it may get kind of messed up and that can result in undesired things like disease. Acupuncture tries to fix the flow of energy by using needs in specific locations of the body based on what the problem is. By doing this the energy flow gets fixed and can go back to normal and the patient should experience less trouble. However, various studies have shown both good and negative results, and there may be more that needs to be studied about this practice. Some patients who have had acupuncture claim that it really helped with whatever they had, and others had no beneficial effect. Some people use it along with other treatments. If you are thinking about trying it you may want to ask around and see if anyone you know has done it and find out where they had it done and what their results were. There are a few theories regarding why it may actually work and that is something you can look more into, but basically there have been studies showing that acupuncture has helped with certain conditions and not with others. Of course, there may be other aspects involved, too.

If you are interested in trying acupuncture there may be a doctor around you who can help you learn more. You can also go online and learn more about the principles.

The energy in the body is supposed to flow in a certain way through the different organisms by going through various channels and through the use of proper marking of the points, the practice of acupuncture that allows the needs to be inserted in the right location which is assumed to have an effect on the flow of the energy.

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What Is Gua Sha?

The term Gua Sha itself is comprised of two Chinese characters, 'Gua' which means 'to scrape' or 'rub', and 'Sha', which is used to describe a 'reddish, elevated, millet-like skin rash,' also known as 'petechiae.' This is a scrapping technique used to intentally raise a reddish skin rash through repeated scrapping movements and applied pressure while using a handheld tool.

The handheld instrument, sometimes in the shape of a ceramic soup spoon or a thin disc (such as a coin), must have a curved surface. Many practitioners prefer to use the traditional tool; a polished water buffalo horn made specifically for this use. The tool is positioned over troubled areas of the body and skin which have been lubricated with massage oil and scraped repeatedly with firm pressure. Such compression of the soft tissue rises the 'Sha,' causing what appears to be a temporary bruising.

Although this apparent bruising can sometimes be mistaken for a painful injury, it is usually completely painless. The marks usually fade quickly (usually within 2 – 3 days), and are actually considered as part of the treatment. The 'Sha' also provides a visual cue that cues the practitioner of the condition of blood flow in the area where treatment has been applied. This diagnostic indicator can act as feedback before beginning treatments for anythinganging from neck tension to sciatica pain relief.

Application of the technique requires some knowledge of the way the muscles of the body connect and move together. Without some understanding of the anatomy of the human body, a novice can do little good using this technique. But a student well versed in human anatomy and physiology possesses all the necessary skills needed to evaluate, treat, and relate bodily issues caused by tension, stress, and illness.

In the hand of a profitable practitioner, the technique can be used to address many different bodily ailments. And, although used most often on the back, buttocks, shoulders, and neck. It can also be used to enhance function of the immune system and rid the body of toxins and pathologies such as the common cold. When used to address sciatica, sciatica pain relief can come quickly, with relief of the numbness and pain associated with compression of the sciatic nerve.

When used in conjunction with acupuncture, the red marks associated with treatment are often used to indicate the presence of bodily toxins, oxygen deficiency, and the stagnation of Qi, or vital energy. Following the application, your acupuncturist should easily be able to read these diagnostic signs and tailor an acupuncture session to target the particular problems shown. This identification and narrowing of the treatment area can be a wonderful diagnostic aid, allowing for a more focused treatment when applying acupuncture for stress management or any other condition requiring treatment.

This can be used as a treatment for many ailments and conditions and is generally considered a safe healing modality. But, Gua Sha should not be applied:

  • To people with weak constitutions
  • During pregnancy
  • Immediately following surgery
  • To people suffering with bleeding disorders
  • To patients taking anti-coagulant medications such as warafrin
  • Over varicose veins, open wounds, or skin diseases

In addition to answering the question, “What is Gua Sha ?,” it is also important to address some of the precautions that should be taken following a Gua Sha session.

Following the application of Gua Sha, the patient should rest for a short while and drink some warm water. It is also recommended that the patient refrain from taking a shower or bath for at least one hour following the session, and that a cold water bath or shower should be avoided for at least 24-hours. In addition, it is important for the patient to keep all treatment areas warm, covered up, and protected from windy conditions following treatment.

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Fertility Acupuncture: Combining Acupuncture With IVF To Get the Best of Both Worlds

With IVF, Western medicine has accomplished an amazing feat in helping couples have children. However, hundreds, if not thousands of years before IVF was even an option, Chinese medicine has been helping women improve their fertility and overcome problems.

Today, we are lucky to live in an era where both of these are available to everyone.

As a fertility acupuncturist, my philosophy is to embrace both sides and combine Western and Chinese medicine to achieve the best results. Both types of medicine have amazing methods to help couples with all kinds of fertility challenges so why not combine the best of both worlds? Why hop on one leg when you can walk on two?

What do fertility treatments, including IVF, actually do?

Fertility treatments, such as IVF, improve your chances of getting pregnant in one month by increasing the number of available eggs per cycle and getting the egg and sperm together to create an embryo.

However, getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy involves much more than just getting sperm to fertilize an egg. The body needs to be healthy and in balance to support the growing baby. Hormones need to be balanced and there needs to be a good blood supply to the fetus to supply all the good things a baby needs to grow and develop normally.

This is where Chinese medicine and acupuncture has much to offer. Chinese medicine includes Chinese herbs, acupuncture and diet and lifestyle advice. While IVF takes care of the mechanical aspect of getting the sperm and egg together, Chinese medicine and acupuncture can

  • Reduce stress & anxiety and lower stress hormone levels that may impair effective functioning of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovary (HPO) axis
  • Improve and strengthen general health to allow for a healthy pregnancy
  • Improve quality of eggs and sperm
  • Reduce the side effects of hormone injections and other medications that are part of an IVF cycle
  • Increase blood flow to the uterus and improve the lining of the uterus
  • Prevent uterine contraction post-transfer of embryo and thereby improving chance of implantation
  • Prevent miscarriage
  • Support the growth and development of the baby

The best time to start fertility acupuncture is two to three months before your IVF cycle begins to get the maximum effect and have the best chance of improving egg quality and enhancing overall health. However, fertility acupuncture can be combined with fertility treatments as the IVF cycle begins. Your chances of success will still be higher than without any acupuncture at all.

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To Stop Elbow Pain, Call A Chiropractor

Is elbow pain causing you to struggle with daily life? It is possible that you have developed tennis elbow, a condition that causes extreme discomfort. The discomfort in the elbow can travel up and down the arm, making it possible to experience weak points in the wrist, swelling on the exterior of the elbow, pain when moving the arm, inability to extend the arm completely, chronic discomfort that lasts 6 -12 weeks, and discomfort when lifting, holding, or grasping things.

How does elbow pain come about? The attachment of the muscles to the external part of the elbow is under stress, and any unexpected motion could result in a tear to the tendon or muscle.

Chiropractic therapy is extremely reliable in ending elbow pain, and this is why those who suffer from tennis elbow search for these services. The first step of the therapy will concentrate on relaxing the joint and decreasing the swelling. The chiropractor may use an elbow brace or strap. After the first step in therapy, the chiropractor will move on to increasing the blood flow in the arm. When the discomfort has gone away, the client will receive a rehabilitation program custom developed for him or her.

Stopping pain in the elbow is often linked in some way to the misalignment of the spinal column. Chiropractors will make spinal adjustments in the therapy to not only stop the elbow pain, but also in avoiding it from coming again.

If you are a sports player, or have an occupation where repetitive motion is required, you will want to make sure you know of a good chiropractic practitioner. He or she will be able to make sure your spelling is in the correct alignment, which will aid in making sure the rest of your bones line up properly. While it seems odd to think that the pain in your elbow is related to your back being out of alignment, remember that all of your muscles and tendons are attached to the bones. If your bones are not in the proper place, then your muscles could be stretched too thin causing tears. It is also possible that a muscle is unable to relax, which will cause cramping and extreme discomfort.

Along with the adjustments and pain management, chiropractors will also give you advice on making sure your body is in the best health. Knowing which exercises to do and how to eat, you are less likely to develop joint pain.

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Acupuncture and the Balance of Estrogen and Progesterone

Every month, the hypothalamus secretes gonadotropin-releasing hormones, which stimulates the pituitary gland to produce follicular stimulating hormones (FSH). FSH stimulates the ovaries to produce estrogen and progesterone. The hypothalamus also secretes corticotrophin-releasing hormones, which stimulates the pituitary to produce more adrenocorticotropic hormones (ACTH), which in turn stimulates the adrenal gland to produce cortical, progesterone and other hormones. Therefore, despite the ovaries produce most of our progesterone, a small proportion of progesterone comes from the adrenal glands. Estrogen has a stimulating effect, while progesterone has a relaxing effect. In order to achieve the balance between these two very important hormones, we have to optimize the ovaries and adrenal gland functions.

Progesterone has the following functions:

1. Progesterone protects against fibrocystic breasts and hosts the endometrium. If progesterone is not sufficient compared to estrogen, women tend to develop more breast cysts. The cysts have the potential to become malignant if there is chronic inflammation inside the cysts.

2. Progesterone increases the tone of the blood vessels. If we do not have sufficient progesterone, women tend to develop varicose veins. That is why more and more women show varicose veins after menopause or after childbirth.

3. Progesterone is a natural diuretic. If it is not sufficient, women tend to develop swelling of the ankles, knees and other joints especially before their period.

4. Progesterone stimulates bone cells to produce new bone. Cortisone can block the bone-building effects of progesterone. If you develop any pain in a joint during the menopausal period, it is not wise to get cortisone shots because of the possible side effects. Cortisone can damage bone and connective tissues. When you reach the age of menopause, you are more vulnerable to the side effects of cortisone shots due to a sharp drop in progesterone levels.

Estrogen has the following functions:

1. Estrogen can enhance our brain activities, while progesterone makes us calm and happy. Too much progesterone can cause fatigue and lethargy; on the other hand, too much estrogen can cause anxiety and panic attacks.

2. Estrogen benefits the body's immune functions while progesterone suppresses them. That is why if our progesterone level is too low, our body will attack a fetus as a foreign entity, which can lead to a miscarriage. During menopause, if your estrogen level is reliably high compared to your progesterone level (even though the total amount of estrogen is lower than before), your immune system can become out of balance. Around puberty, perimenopause or menopause, women tend to develop various autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematous, Hashimoto's diseases, fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis.

3. Estrogen helps to store fat tissue while progesterone has the opposite effect on the body. If our estrogen level is too high compared to our progesterone level, it becomes very challenging to lose weight. We have often heard some women complaining about how difficult it is to lose extra weight around the waist area after childbirth. This estrogen-dominant condition (when the estrogen level in our body is relatively high compared to the progesterone level) changes our metabolism. After we eat, our cells will quickly store the blood sugar as fat tissue instead of using that sugar to produce more energy. Then our blood sugar levels drop quickly and we need another meal to maintain our sugar levels. Acupuncture can improve the functions of our ovaries and adrenal glands, causing them to produce more progesterone, which improves our metabolism. When our progesterone is balanced with our estrogen, we do not crave sweets. When we eat healthy food, our blood sugar goes up slowly and lasts there for about three to four hours; our cells use the blood sugar to produce heat to warm up our bodies and to help us do all of our mental and physical activities. Our circulation will be in a better condition. We will not have swollen knees or ankles or many diluted small blood vessels, such as spider veins.

4. Estrogen decreases the elimination rate of testosterone, while progesterone enhances it. When estrogen is not balanced with progesterone, women can develop more facial hair, swelling of the face, increased muscle tone and deepened voices. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, where many cysts are growing in the ovaries, is associated with this estrogen- dominant condition.

Acupuncture, herbs, meditation, Tai Ji, Qi Gong and yoga helps redirect energy and blood flow to the ovaries and adrenal gland, so the ovaries can produce balanced hormones. Furthermore, acupuncture can reduce stress levels instantly. Because the stress hormone cortisol shares the same precursor as progesterone, when you are more stressed, less progesterone is produced. By reducing stress, acupuncture increases the production of progesterone. Sufficient progesterone is the key factor for women to stay calm and be happier. That is why menopausal women tend to develop anxiety due to the decreasing of the progesterone. There is research showing that insufficient progesterone may be associated with autism since progesterone is critical for a fetus to develop a healthy brain. The use of birth control pills for the past twenty years may contribute to insufficient progesterone levels, thus causing infertility.

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Know the Different Educations Available Prior to Selecting an Acupuncturist

When you are looking for the best acupuncturist, you will want to make sure you understand the schooling they must go through. There are a variety of schools available, and they are not all the same. Read on to learn the different types of education available.

Licensing is often similar to accreditation, and it is available through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Experts with this license can display a Diploma of Acupuncture on their wall. The majority of the various conditions that benefit from acupuncture will be presented, as well as how accurately to treat them. Students will be able to finish in three to five years, and then pass a paid state panel examination to become qualified.

The Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) is a nationally accredited organization identified by the United States Department of Education to authorize high-quality plans in acupuncture and other practices in Eastern medicine. When you are looking for an acupuncturist, make sure you find someone that possesses this certification. Acupuncture colleges that provide trainings in standard Oriental medicine typically incorporate various other parts of typical medication. This will include physiology, physical treatment, massage treatment, and scientific researches. These classes are included to help the acupuncturist be able to recognize what conditions a person may be suffering from.

The physician you want to select should attend a school that teaches a variety of methods. One of the reasons this is important is because there are a couple different methods to acupuncture. The Eastern medicine technique uses the five elements and redirecting your Qi. Western techniques can be implemented as well to create a therapy plan that handles all aspects of the body.

Acupuncturists should be aware of the things currently causing stress in your life. Where your pain manifests itself is another important aspect. Finally, they will need to know what results you are looking for through treatment. By redirecting your energy and blood flow, physical and emotional pain can be treated. Using the different treatments available, you will have a better chance of having one of the methods treating your discomfort.

Ideally, these pointers will assist you in finding out the latest details relating acupuncture colleges allowing you to discover the best acupuncturist. It will also give you some insight as to what acupuncturists will learn and experience before they are certified to work on your body.

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Acupuncture for Infertility: How Does It Work?

Infertility is on the rise in the United States. While the statistics will differ slightly, it is estimated that 1 in 7 people will suffer through infertility. This condition is very common and people are looking for different treatment methods for infertility. Of course, there are high tech options, but these are often expensive and do not promote good health. It is said that 30% of people undergoing infertility will look to try acupuncture. This raises questions about acupuncture and infertility. Does acupuncture increase fertility? Is acupuncture an effective treatment for infertility? What is the likelihood of success when pursuing acupuncture, or other methods of fertility enhancement? These questions are all valid and many are seeking the answers.

How does acupuncture work to treat infertility? There are several theories as to how acupuncture increase fertility. Those with infertility that have tried acupuncture can attest that they feel more relaxed after treatments. Acupuncture is often used for stress relief, and excels at creating a de-stress response in the body. After acupuncture, it has been observed that particular brain chemicals are released, which create a feeling of relaxation, wellness, and peace in the patient. While it may be difficult to quantify, stress does have physical effects on the body. Elevated heart rate and blood pressure are inadvertently to be beneficial to fertility, and so lowering stress in the body is likely one way that acupuncture helps with increasing fertility. The amount of stress that is encountered on a everyday basis is arguably rising quickly, as technology allows more and faster intrusions upon our time, and continues to blur the line between work and personal time.

Another way that acupuncture can improve fertility is that it can increase blood flow to directed areas. Thermal scans have shown that a particular body area can see an increase in blood after acupuncture treatment. Therefore, it stands to reason that acupuncture can be used to promote more blood flow to reproductive organisms, bringing them more nourishment and also allowing more effective removal of waste products. As many Americans have health that is not ideal, it would stand to reason that increasing blood flow to the pelvis and reproductive organs could treat infertility. Increased blood flow would potentially lead to better organ function and better nourished eggs and sperm.

Also, although it is unknown as to the specific mechanism as to why, acupuncture seems to increase implantation rates for fertilized eggs. Theories as to why usually are linked to the relief of stress, which may make the body more receptive to implantation. Also due to increased blood flow to the uterus could mean increased thickness of the endometrium, which could mean a higher chance of implantation. The thickness of the endometrium has been observed to increase when a patient undergoes regular acupuncture.

Acupuncture has been shown to be a very safe treatment option, with minimal negative side effects. While research has a difficult time pinpointing the mechanisms of efficiency, there is much research to support that acupuncture is a good treatment option for infertility.

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How Acupuncture Can Help Overcome Lower Back Pain

It has been estimated that nearly 80% of people will deal with low back pain in their lives. With so many people suffering from this problem, it is not surprising that lower back pain treatments such as acupuncture have become so popular. Fortunately, research shows that acupuncture is an effective treatment for all kinds of lower back pain issues.

Acupuncture vs. Traditional Treatments

Reviews of medical studies have shown that acupuncture is a viable option for treatment of back issues and it also provides sciatica pain relief. In fact, these studies indicate that acupuncture provides more effective pain relief than conventional back pain treatments. Both the American Pain Society and American College of Physicians recommend acupuncture when more traditional medical methods do not work.

Why Acupuncture Works for Back Pain

The roots of acupuncture can be traced back over 2500 years to ancient China. The practice involves the insertion of hair-thin needles into various energetic points located all around the body. According to traditional Chinese medical theory, there are over 365 acupuncture points on the human body. A form of energy, known as Qi (pronounced chee), flows through the pathways, or meridians, that connect these points like a grid. Needles inserted into the appropriate points along these meridians help to correct imbalances or blockages of this energy, and leads to pain relief and better overall health.

On a more scientific level, some experts feel that the relief comes from stimulation of the central nervous system, triggering chemicals that release into the brain, muscles and spinal cord. It is thought by some, that these chemicals either create an overall sense of well-being within the body or that they may actually alter the way the pain is felt and / or experienced.

It is believed by others that acupuncture speeds up electromagnetic signals in the body. These signals can stimulate chemicals, such as endorphins, that reduce pain and may even affect the body's own immune system cells. Other theories are that acupuncture releases natural opioids from the brain or that it may even change the brain's chemistry throughout through the release of neurohormones and neurotransmitters from the brain through the entire body. All of these are ways in which pain is reduced.

What to Consider With Acupuncture

Acupuncture is rapidly becoming one of the most popular form of lower back pain treatments , and it interesting to note that the FDA has removed acupuncture needles from the “experimental medical devices” category and now regulates the practice of acupuncture within the United States.

Whether it's for sciatica pain relief or other back issues, always take some things into consideration and do your research before seeking treatment. It is best to seek a licensed acupuncturist (L.Ac.), who is certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). It is also advised to see what others have to say about any acupuncturist you might be considering.

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Acupuncture Courses – Things You Should Know

Very few people possess the divine ability to cure chronic illnesses and treat them from the severe stress with just touch of their hands. It is a God gifted power. Acupuncture, however, is such a healing technique that everyone can learn with training in order to liberate others from suffering.

Acupuncture emanated from China. Many other natural healing techniques employed today were also originated from China. It is believed that acupuncture treatment method has been practiced for over 2000 years. In the past, it was taught primarily through observation. There was no concept of structured classrooms since it was the belief of those people that only few with God gifted powers were sufficient to have and exercise the knowledge acupuncture's healing power.

Acupuncture is a technique that works through relaxation and / or stimulation of the nerves to acquire the desired results. The acupuncturist stimulates the patient's nerves with long and strong needles. This healing method works wonders by stimulating the patient's body to fight the disease and help it heal.

People have been developing interest towards learning and having acupuncture treatment because the treatment has identified positive results in healing both wonderful and chronic illnesses. As a result, scores of schools have come into being where acupuncture treatment is taught as well as practiced. In these institutions, people get training to become acupuncturist so that they may treat people.

Acupuncturist schools along with several acupuncture clinics have been opened to produce qualified acupuncturist. Therefore, a majority of small cities now have some such institutions that offer training.

The duration of acupuncture course can be different depending upon the prior qualification of the student. For example, the course duration can be two years for an individual who already has a medical background with degrees or courses. However, others with no training or degree, the course duration can be longer. Acupuncture courses are taught through both means ie in conventional classrooms and on the Internet. However, it is better to practice at an institute proposed by the academy where the students had received acupuncture training.

There is no doubt that everyone has different reasons to adopt acupuncture profession. Once an individual has mastered the technique of acupuncture, they will be able to cure others through the touch of their hands. There will be no need of surgery or medications. Another fact is that no side effects are associated with acupuncture treatment.

If you want to become an acupuncturist, you will need to attend these courses in order to receive training and get hold over this powerful natural approach to healing.

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Acupuncture, Dopamine and Addiction

Dopamine is a chemical messenger responsible for transmitting signals between nerve cells. It is very prominent in the transmission from the nerve cells of the substantia nigra to those of the corpus striatum, to facilitate smooth, purposeful muscle activity. Dopamine is the immediate metabolic precursor of norepinephrine (also called noradrenaline) and epinephrine (also called adrenaline), ie, it is the raw material from which the other two chemicals are made. Dopamine can have either excitatory or inhibitory effect on nerve cells, depending on the characteristics of the protein it combines with.

Dopamine is associated with the perception of pain and pleasure. Increased dopamine in the frontal lobes lessens pain and increases pleasure. If a person naturally has a higher level of dopamine because of a good personality, good genes and a diet, he or she tends to tolerate pain better. That is why even when different people have the same kind of arthritis or back problems, some people have unbearable pain while others have no pain at all. On the TV show House, the future parents of a girl were suspected of abusing her. Although her body showed many signs of physical abuse, she did not complain about the pain to the physician. One of the residents used a bucket of ice to test her tolerance to coldness. Although the resident started screaming due to the extreme pain induced by the cold ice when he took the test, the little girl stayed very calm. Later, her doctors found out that she had a gene that made her pain threshold above average. She may have had increased amounts of dopamine in her frontal lobes, making her more tolerant to physical pain.

Dopamine is greatly involved in feelings of reward, alertness and purposeful behavior. Dopamine is commonly associated with the 'pleasure system' of the brain, providing feelings of enjoyment and reinforcement to motivate us to do, or continue doing certain activities. Dopamine is released by naturally rewarding experiences such as food, sex, the uses of certain drugs and stimuli that became associated with them. In milder disorders, too much dopamine in the limbic system (a network of brain structures) is associated with emotion and memory problems, and not enough in the cerebral cortex may produce an overly suspicious personality prone to bouts of paranoia that may inhibit social interaction.

Alcohol can increase dopamine levels in brain regions collectively called the mesolimbic system by curtailing the enzyme activity that breaks down dopamine. When alcoholics suddenly stop drinking alcohol, their dopamine levels plunge, causing dysphoria, an unpleasing feeling, and anhedonia, the inability to experience the pleasure from normally pleasurable events, such as eating, exercise and social interactions.

The sudden drop of dopamine may contribute to the intense ethanol craving experienced by addicts, explained by Weiss et al. in the Journal of Neuroscience 1996. These ethanol-induced changes in dopamine levels provide positive reinforcement that contributes to continued alcohol abuse. People that have stronger releases of dopamine when they drink alcohol or coffee tend to be added to alcohol, especially people who are very smart and do not enjoy social networks. Other people do not have enough enzyme to process alcohol, so they feel stomach pain, nausea, dizzy. A certain group of people will never be able to enjoy alcohol.

Acupuncture at the specific point Ht7 (at the ulnar end of the transverse crease of the wrist, in the depression on the radial side of the tendon of medial flexor carpi ulnaris), but not at control points PC6 (2 inches above transverse crease of wrist , between tendons of medial palmaris longus and medial flexor radialis) or tail, preceded both a reduction of dopamine levels in a specific brain region called the nucleus accumbens during ethanol withdrawal and an increase of dopamine levels induced by an ethanol challenge. Stimulation of Ht7 facilitates normalization of dopamine levels in the brain following chronic ethanol exposure. If people are trying to quit drinking, acupuncture 2 to 3 times a week can help their body stabilize their dopamine level so they do not get depressed or agitated.

Nicotine induces tolerance and addiction by acting on the central dopaminergic pathways (those using dopamine as a neurotransmitter), thus leading to pleasure and reward sensations. It stimulates the central nervous system, endeavors alertness and reduces appetite. Many women are reluctant to quit smoking because they are afraid to gain weight. A 50% reduction of nicotine consumption may trigger withdrawal symptoms in addicted individuals including anxiety, anger, sleep disorders, hunger, cognitive dysfunction and cigarette cravings. Certain drugs that inhibit the reuptake of dopamine are used for quitting smoking. However, those drugs can be dangerous to people who have epilepsy, eating disorders, uncontrolled hypertensive, recent alcohol abstinence, or are undergoing current therapy with mono-amine oxidase inhibitors (drugs increase norepinephrine and epinephrine levels).

If you have smoked for more than ten years, certain enzyme activities have changed. When you suddenly quit smoking, reduced dopamine levels will make you feel miserable. Ear and body acupuncture can help your body rebalance the brain chemicals, producing more feel-good hormones, such as dopamine, serotonin, and endorphin, and reducing stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. Acupuncture stimulates your own body to rebalance those complicated hormones instead of just inhibiting or stimulating the metabolism of specific hormones. It is hard to use just one chemical change to explain the response of the entire body.

One lady had smoked a pack of cigarettes per day for 30 years before she started acupuncture treatments. After her best friend died of lung cancer at the age of 50, she finally decided to quit. She had acupuncture twice a week for 6 weeks. Surprisingly, she did not have any withdrawal symptoms or even gain any weight. Another lady had a couple of ear needles for 3 months; she never went back to smoking. Her daughter said that she was extremely surprised because her mother had been a heavy smoker for more than 20 years. However, not everyone has successful stories. Two major factors affecting success are the extent of a person's determination to quit and the busyness of the person's schedule during the quitting process.

Morphine can also induce dopamine release, causing addiction. Acupuncture can suppress Morphine Withdrawal Syndrome. In 2005, Dr. Kim and his colleagues in South Korea reported results of a study on how acupuncture can change dopamine levels and influence behavior in rats sensitized to morphine. They posted their results in the magazine Neuroscience Letter . Acupuncture at the specific acupuncture point HT7, but not at control points (TW8 and tail), significantly reduced both dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens and behavioral hyperactivity induced by a systemic morphine challenge. These results suggest that the therapeutic effect of acupuncture on morphine addiction occurs through normalization of dopamine and reduction of behavioral sensitization by morphine.

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Acupuncture for Headaches During Pregnancy

Getting a headache while pregnant can be very frustrating, as you have other concerns about your health that limit the kind of treatment you can choose safely. Luckily, acupuncture is a great, and safe way to help treat those nasty headaches while pregnant.

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