Acupuncture

Extraordinary Vessels – Chong Mai

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Most acupuncture points are located on the 12 primary channels that flow along the surface of the body. However, there are eight Extraordinary Vessels that flow more deeply in the body, and are perhaps even more powerful that the 12 primary channels. The Extraordinary Vessels regulate the 12 channels, and are deep lakes of energy, which can feed the 12 primary channels when they are depleted. continue reading »

Extraordinary Vessels – Dai Mai

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In addition to the 12 main acupuncture meridians that flow along the surface of the body, there are also deeper channels of energy in the body called the Extraordinary Vessels. You can understand the relationship between the primary acupuncture channels and the Extraordinary Vessels by thinking about what happens when it rains: first, small ditches become full – these are the collateral vessels that break off of the 12 main channels. Next, the reservoirs become full, which are the 12 primary channels. When they are full, they overflow into the Extraordinary Vessels, which are deep and vast lakes of energy within the body. continue reading »

Five Reasons Acupuncture Helps Digestive Function

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Digestion is a complex task performed by the body. It begins in the mouth and finishes when the ingested food leaves the body through the rectum. For all we have learned over the years regarding digestion, there is still so much more we don’t know or are still learning. For example, it wasn’t until recently, the last 10 years or so, that modern medicine confirmed our gastrointestinal tract is our second brain. This discovery is drastically changing the way the body and its many functions are viewed, because everything we put in our mouths can potentially have life-altering effects on the mind, as well as the body.  continue reading »

Five Reasons to Get Acupuncture for Migraines

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Migraine headaches are a bit of mystery to the medical world. This ailment tends to be poorly understood and frequently undiagnosed and under-treated. According to the Migraine Research Foundation, this neurological disease affects nearly 39 million Americans. Migraines are characterized by severe, throbbing pain usually found on only one side of the head. Migraine headaches can also be accompanied by visual disturbances, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. These types of headaches can last from four hours to several days. Because modern medicine doesn’t completely understand this neurological phenomenon, the typical treatment is somewhat hit or miss. continue reading »

Acupuncture for Harnessing Willpower

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Harness your willpower with acupuncture

Ever had one of those days or weeks where you just can’t pull yourself out of bed in the morning? Or perhaps you just can’t say “No!” to the dessert tray. Regardless of the activity, willpower is what keeps some people disciplined. But it doesn’t make you a bad person if you have dessert with every meal, buy more shoes than you really need or take longer to get going in the morning. It just means your willpower isn’t strong. And just like any other habit, that can be changed. continue reading »

TCM and Seasonal Affective Disorder

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Traditional Chinese Medicine and Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD, is a form of depression that affects people all throughout the world. Most commonly experienced during fall and winter months, the symptoms of SAD include depression, hypersomnia, lethargy, difficulty concentrating, negative thoughts and decreased social interaction. Higher levels of anxiety are experienced at the end of the summer season as those who suffer from this ailment start to anticipate the coming months of less sunshine and increased symptomatology.  continue reading »

Acupuncture for Carpal Tunnel Remaps the Brain

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https://interestingengineering.com/new-study-suggests-acupuncture-can-remap-the-brain-to-relieve-chronic-pain?fbclid=IwAR3zzdkKxnNuiPwQhRSjOCaj1OXPiuqljqFszV3pKlxPF2X3JUIciRCMNZM

 

New Study Suggests Acupuncture Can Remap the Brain to Relieve Chronic Pain

Research shows acupuncture can be effective in the treatment of chronic pain sufferers.

Acupuncture is a medical treatment that involves inserting very thin needles into the body at very specific locations. The pins are left in for varying amounts of time. Acupuncture is associated with the treatment for pain, migraines, muscles tightness and injury recovery.

The procedure originated in China several thousand years ago and still plays a critical role in Chinese medicine. Doctors who conform to a western style of thinking have developed acupuncture with a focus on human anatomy. Acupuncture has been growing in popularity and is being adapted into many ‘normalized’ medical treatments.

New Study Suggests Acupuncture Can Remap the Brain to Relieve Chronic Pain
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The procedure still has many critics that dismiss the practice as an archaic method of treatment that relies on superstition rather than hard fact. There has been some clinical research into the use of chronic pain treatment by acupuncture. But like many studies into the treatment of chronic pain, many of these have found it difficult to get clear results as setting a baseline for pain is extremely difficult. Each person experiences pain very differently and so setting measurable indicators is very difficult.

But one study that was able to determine objective outcomes was a recent investigation into the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). This is a neuropathic pain disorder caused by pressure on the median nerve in your wrist. A patient’s pain levels can be validated by measuring electrical conduction across the median nerve. The study also examined the way the patients’ brains reacted to the pain from CTS.

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See How Painkillers Work in Your Brain and Body

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain scans of the selected patients showed that when particular fingers were manipulated that would increase the pressure on the meridian nerve (and therefore the pain associated with CTS) the brain scans showed areas of the brain as blurry. To put it simply, one part of the brain, known as the primary somatosensory cortex is ‘remapped’ by CTS. The scans show this as a blurry patch when the nerve is affected.

During the clinical experiment, patients suffering from CTS were divided into two groups. The first group was given real acupuncture treatment, the second group was given sham acupuncture. Sham acupuncture is a clinical method of acupuncture where acupuncture needles have been blunted making them unable to adequately pierce the body to give ‘true’ acupuncture effects. All patients in the study reported having improved symptoms of CTS (that is they experienced less pain or discomfort). At this point, it would be easy to say that acupuncture is therefore effectively useless as the sham and the true procedure returned the same results. However, the patients that received the real acupuncture actually experience long-term improvement of their health, while sham patients did not. The same part of the brain was re-scanned following the acupuncture treatment and shows that S1 re-mapping immediately following therapy was linked with better long-term symptom reduction.

Researchers have concluded that this study is a good example of the way acupuncture not only works in a bodily and mental response (ie the patients felt better) but it also has proven neurological effects. While there are still many questions to be answered about the ways that acupuncture actually relieves pain, this study is the first in many exciting steps to using acupuncture as a reliable way to treat chronic pain.

Mental and Emotional Aspects of the Lungs

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mental aspects of lungs - chinese medicine acupuncture

As an acupuncturist, I am constantly assessing. Before my patients answer a single question, I am taking in cues as to what types of imbalances might be going on. In five-element acupuncture, the five major organ systems are the kidney, liver, lung, heart and spleen. When any of these systems are out of balance, certain physical, mental and emotional issues can manifest. Even if you aren’t experiencing a specific health issue, however, you will likely display particular personality traits that fall within these five organ systems. In the five-element world, the lungs are connected to the element of metal. continue reading »

How Acupuncture Helps Rheumatoid Arthritis

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https://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1892-acupuncture-alleviates-rheumatoid-arthritis-swelling-and-pain

 

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Acupuncture Alleviates Rheumatoid Arthritis Swelling And Pain

rheumatoid arthritis

Acupuncture is an effective treatment modality for the the alleviation of rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers conclude that acupuncture alone or in combination with additional treatment modalities alleviates rheumatoid arthritis, restores bodily functions, and improves quality of life. [1] In a meta-analysis, the researchers note that acupuncture exerts its effective actions through several biological mechanisms. The acupuncture research indicates that acupuncture produces anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and immune system regulatory actions.

Three acupuncture points were common across the research reviewed in the China Medical University and Tri-Service General Hospital meta-analysis. The researchers note that ST36 (Zusanli) was the most commonly tested acupoint in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. GB34 (Yanglingquan) and LI4 (Hegu) were also commonly applied.

The results indicate that acupuncture applied to the aforementioned acupoints and others produces changes in specific inflammatory biomarkers. Acupuncture regulates the following: erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP), rheumatoid factor (RF), interleukins, nuclear factor kappa B (NF-𝜅 B), and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-𝛼). Another meta-analysis (Wang et al.), confirms that acupuncture regulates both ESR and CRP in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. [2] In an important finding, researchers (Han et al.) conclude that acupuncture successfully downregulates “TNF-𝛼 and VEGF [vascular endothelial growth factor] in peripheral blood and joint synovia to improve the internal environment which is beneficial for RA.” [3]

In another study under review in the meta-analysis (Dong et al.), investigators used laboratory conditions to test the efficacy of electroacupuncture at acupoints ST36 (Zusanli) and BL60 (Kunlun). The researchers indicate that the “toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling pathway contributed to the development and progression of RA and acupuncture could reduce the expression of TLR4, thus leading to anti-inflammation.” [4] In addition, many other studies indicate that acupuncture improves quality of life.

The research team drew conclusions after a full review of each individual study in the meta-analysis. Based on the data, the researchers note, “acupuncture alone or combined with other treatment modalities is beneficial to the clinical conditions of RA without adverse effects reported and can improve function and quality of life and is worth trying.” [5] They add that additional well-designed randomized controlled trials are recommended to confirm these findings.

The conclusions were based on several parameters. The primary outcomes were determined by quantifying pain levels, morning stiffness, pain related disability, joint swelling characteristics and diameter, number of swollen joints, skin temperature, and arthritis index. Serum levels of inflammatory and anti-inflammatory biomarkers plus antioxidant levels were recorded for objective measurements. In addition, positron emission tomography (PET) scans were used to monitor changes in inflammation along with X-rays of the hands. Quality of life was assessed using the rheumatoid arthritis quality of life questionnaire (RAQoL), Pittsburgh sleep quality index, health assessment questionnaire (HAQ), and the short form-36 health survey. Overall, the meta-analysis reveals extensive use of subjective and objective instruments to verify the data and conclusions.

The majority of studies included in the meta-analysis were randomized controlled trials and several were double-blinded. The trials were human clinical trials and controlled laboratory experiments. Many acupuncture points were used in the clinical trials. As stated earlier, ST36, GB34, and LI4 were most commonly administered.

The researchers note that there is a difficulty in using only one acupuncture point prescription for all patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) principles, rheumatoid arthritis may be divided into many diagnostic subcategories such as wind, cold, dampness, and heat. In addition, these categories are further differentiated according to syndrome presentation location and overall constitution of the patient. As a result, there is a need for heterogenous acupuncture point prescriptions. In TCM, no one set of acupoints for this biomedically defined condition is applicable to all patients. As a result, this makes study design a difficult proposition.

Despite these difficulties, the researchers conclude that acupuncture is effective for the alleviation of rheumatoid arthritis. Many of the findings mapped pathways of effective action. One interesting finding was that acupuncture enhances antioxidative effects by increasing serum superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase activities in rheumatoid arthritis patients. This indicates that acupuncture reduces oxidative stress and subsequent inflammation. Moreover, acupuncture “triggered release of endorphins” and regulated the immune system; levels of IgG, IgA, and IgM were successfully downregulated. [6]

 

Summary
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. Inflammation may occur in any location (including internal organs); however, the hands and knees are among the most common regions affected by the disorder. In joints, inflammation affects synovial membranes causing a fluid build-up and degradation. No singular blood test defines the diagnosis, although ESR, CRP, rheumatoid factor, and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies are tests are helpful in making a determination. Ultrasound , MRI, and X-ray imaging are also important tools for confirming a diagnosis.

The meta-analysis results indicate that acupuncture benefits patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Acupuncture prevents or slows joint destruction, reduces pain levels, and increases mobility. However, acupuncture is not presented as a cure. Nonetheless, acupuncture is an important treatment option that may significantly improve quality of life. To learn more, contact a local licensed acupuncturists about treatment options.

 

References:
[1] Chou, Pei-Chi, and Heng-Yi Chu. “Clinical Efficacy of Acupuncture on Rheumatoid Arthritis and Associated Mechanisms: A Systemic Review.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2018 (2018).
[2] C. Wang, P. de Pablo, X. Chen, C. Schmid, and T. McAlindon, “Acupuncture for pain relief in patients with rheumatoid arthri- tis: a systematic review.,” Arthritis & Rheumatology, vol. 59, no. 9, pp. 1249–1256, 2008.
[3] R. X. Han, J. Yang, T. S. Zhang, and W. D. Zhang, “Effect of fire-needle intervention on serum IL-1 and TNF-alpha levels of rheumatoid arthritis rats,” Zhen Ci Yan Jiu, vol. 37,no. 2, pp. 114–118, 2012.
[4] Z.-Q. Dong, J. Zhu, D.-Z. Lu, Q. Chen, and Y.-L. Xu, “Effect of Electroacupuncture in “Zusanli” and “Kunlun” Acupoints on TLR4 Signaling Pathway of Adjuvant Arthritis Rats,” American Journal ofTherapeutics, 2016.
[5] Chou, Pei-Chi, and Heng-Yi Chu. “Clinical Efficacy of Acupuncture on Rheumatoid Arthritis and Associated Mechanisms: A Systemic Review.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2018 (2018).
[6] Ibid.

 

 

Five Reasons Acupuncture Helps Reduce Stress

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Stress is a word many people are familiar with. The dictionary defines stress in multiple ways, but there is only one that matters when we discuss how stress affects our physical bodies. The definition is this, “stress is a physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension.” And while most people think of stress as being detrimental, it truly does have a function in our bodies. Stress is the body’s way of signaling for help or a break in the routine. If we don’t listen to these signals, we can develop imbalances in our bodies, which can then lead to illnesses. continue reading »