Health Intuitive

Archive for the ‘acupuncture’ Category

Acupuncture Can Help Treat Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy

When the prostate gland that surrounds the urethra becomes congested and swollen, it develops into a condition known as Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH). Unfortunately, BPH is a common problem seen in men past the age of 50, and treatment may be required in one out of four sufferers. The enlargement of the prostate can disrupt the normal outflow of urine, resulting in many impairing and uncomfortable symptoms like pain, urinary retention, dribbling, incomplete voiding, weak stream, nighttime urination (nocturia), and urinary frequency. Serious consequences like kidney failure can result from prolonged urinary retention. Standard Western treatments may include catheterization, medications, and surgery. Postoperative prognosis is often good but complications commonly tend to occur, including impotence, incontinence, bleeding, and infection. One effective complementary or alternative treatment for BPH is traditional acupuncture that can help allay the risks and discomforts related to this condition, and address as well the underlying conditions that have allowed it to develop in the first place.

From the viewpoint of Chinese medicine, it’s common to see three main disease mechanisms in BPH that can all be treated by acupuncture in Encino. One disease mechanism is the weakness in the energetics of the spleen and kidney. It can manifest as qi deficiency. In Chinese medicine, Qi is a concept considered to be the life energy of a person, or the driving force that runs the physiological processes of the body. Both kidney and spleen govern the discharge of urine from the body and if these organs are weakened, symptoms like leakage, incontinence, and a weakened urinary stream may occur. Damp heat is the second disease mechanism that often accompanies BPH. This manifests as the typical inflammation and also perhaps bacterial infection frequently seen in the prostate from a Western medicine viewpoint. Damp heat symptoms may include urgency, urinary frequency, burning, pain, and in severe cases, blood in the urine (hematuria). The third commonly seen disease mechanism is an obstruction in the urethra that can be caused qi stagnation in the energy channels (meridians) and/or stagnated blood flow resulting in insufficient flow of blood to the area. Finally, BPH can also be due to lung disharmony. In Chinese medicine, the lungs have a major role in the metabolism of fluid in the body.

In order to treat BPH, the acupuncturist is required to perform a detailed assessment of the manifested symptoms that have been present in the past, and to ask the patient about the signs and symptoms that may be distantly tied to the his condition. A proper evaluation of the patient’s lifestyle needs to be done to see if it may have contributed to the development of the condition. Acupuncturists use Chinese medicine diagnostic methods such as a tongue examination and palpation of the pulses of the wrist’s radial artery, to help them determine the nature of the disharmony. Acupuncture treatment will commence once a proper diagnosis has been made, to resolve the disharmonies, which in a lot of instances will result in the restoration of the genito-urinary system’s health and the relief of symptoms. This will guaranty that the condition never returns. With acupuncture treatment, you don’t need to suffer from the disruptive and uncomfortable symptoms of BPH. It can also help you avoid surgery.

Acupuncture Can Be Used To Treat Fatty Liver Disease

Fatty liver disease develops when fat builds up around the liver, either because of nonalcoholic factors or alcohol use. This condition can lead to inflammation, scarring and finally, liver failure. In a lot of instances, it tends to result in secondary complications or doesn’t lead to any external symptoms at all. Despite the fact that it is not supported by scientific studies, acupuncture can be utilized as a viable alternative treatment for fatty liver disease. If you want the best healing approach for your condition, consult with your doctor.

What is Acupuncture?

A part of a broad medical system known as traditional Chinese medicine or TCM, acupuncture is a mode of healing whose approach to health and health conditions is quite distinct from modern Western medicine. In TCM, disease develops due to blockages or imbalances in the circulation of qi or vital energy. An acupuncturist is trained to remedy these energetic issues by stimulating with very thin needles certain points on the body. The body, with the correct stimulation, can then regain the correct flow of qi. An acupuncturist can stick needles to parts of the body that are remote to the organ that’s causing the problem because the points on the body are connected to channels of energy known as meridians.

Treatment of fatty liver disease through acupuncture in Maitland varies largely on the patient’s overall state of health. The Pacific College of Oriental Medicine states that fatty liver disease may possibly be the result of blood stagnation. An acupuncturist needs to both tonify the spleen and mobilize the qi to address the situation. Several potential acupuncture points can be used to resolve the issue: Large Intestine 4 (LI 4), Urinary Bladder 17 and 18 (UB 17 & 18), Gallbladder 34 (GB 34), Spleen 21 (SP 21), and Liver 14 (LI 14). The acupuncture points are so named to indicate the energy channel to which they are situated. A meridian named for a specific organ may also have acupoints that are able to resolve issues that are found in other organs. The GB 34, for example, can boost qi circulation in the liver.

Scientific Trials

The treatment of fatty liver disease and associated conditions with acupuncture were observed in a couple of studies. The Journal of Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion in 2009 published a clinical trial that showed how acupuncture treatment led to significant results on persons suffering from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. After three months, the patients treated with regular acupuncture treatment experienced a substantial decrease in liver damage. Another study conducted in 2008 and published in the same journal discovered that three months of acupuncture treatment led to the alleviation of people suffering from obesity and fatty liver disease. The individuals were able to lose weight and experienced reduced damage in their liver.

Complementary Treatments

Acupuncture is generally deemed a complementary treatment from the viewpoint of Western medicine. Acupuncture is a perfect complementary therapy in that it has zero or very minimal drug interactions or side effects. If you are interested in augmenting your current healing modalities with acupuncture, you may increase your likelihood of recovery besides losing extra weight. And along with acupuncture, herbal remedies, regular exercise, and a healthy, vitamin-rich diet can help you get over fatty liver disease.

If You Want to Quit Smoking Acupuncture Can Help

Most people will look into acupuncture in Orlando as an alternative treatment to stop smoking only when all other approaches to smoking cessation have failed. Some smokers still fail even after more than three attempts, using other programs despite the great desire to quit.

Acupuncture

An age-old Chinese method of healing, acupuncture is still being used to treat a wide range of conditions. It is known in the West to help alleviate pain. Research works have been done and are still being conducted to test the effectiveness of acupuncture in helping a person stop smoking.

Traditional acupuncture which has been the sole acupuncture procedure used for thousands of years, involves the sticking of extremely thin needles into acupuncture points (acupoints) in the body. Practitioners believe that the acupoints are found along meridians (energy channels) that are invisible to the naked eye. Each meridian connects to a certain organ of the body. The meridian is the vessel in which a person’s life force or energy flows. A blockage to one of these meridians would spell illness. Acupuncture is performed in order to open the blocked meridians to enable energy to pass.

Acupuncture and Smoking

Acupuncture to halt smoking is not deemed a cure that will help a person automatically stop smoking. It is a procedure that can make it easier for a person to quit. It is known to control irritability and the person’s cravings during the process of quitting.

This treatment is basically the same as traditional acupuncture in which needles are stuck in points usually located in the ear. These acupoints are associated with the meridians and organs that are responsible for the smoking addiction. The targeted organs include the throat and lungs. After a session, the acupuncturist may tape pellets on the ears to help continue open up the meridians.

Studies

Studies that have observed the effectiveness of acupuncture in helping a person stop smoking reveal mixed results. Some studies indicate that acupuncture works for smoking; other studies, however, suggest that real acupuncture and sham acupuncture treatments produce the same effects on smokers. The treatment can fail if the person has a weak commitment to stop smoking or if the treatment isn’t really that effective on the person.

Acupuncturists

Most acupuncturists believe that the treatment sessions should be customized based on the person’s smoking details and history. This will mean that the duration of length of the session may differ from person to person. A program that works would involve the practitioner taking the time to prepare you, setting realistic expectations and thoroughly studying your smoking history.

An Alternative to Needles

Needles are not the only tools an acupuncturist can use to unblock the meridians. A method known as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) produces the same as effects minus the needles. The circulation of energy is released by simply tapping the various acupoints on the body helping eliminate the cravings and stopping the addiction helping one to quit smoking.

Acupuncture Risks

If you want to have the possible treatment outcome, you need to make sure that your acupuncturist is a qualified and licensed practitioner. When inserted, acupuncture needles should not cause pain. When there is pain upon needle insertion or if you bleed, catch an infection, or get physically injured during treatment, this means that you are not being handled properly.

Explaining to People The Theory Behind Acupuncture Can Be Difficult To Do

One of the most difficult things that you can do is try to explain the theory of acupuncture to people because a lot of them do not understand the various ideas behind this Eastern form of treatment. Acupuncture has also several concepts that must be addressed in order for an individual to understand and know its theory. People are eager to understand the workings of acupuncture works and what it is about. This short article will try to explain the theory behind acupuncture.

For people living in Western societies, acupuncture theory is difficult to understand because it greatly differs with the theory of conventional Western medicine. A lot of the assumptions that are used in acupuncture theory have no basis in the various theories of modern Western medicine. This, besides the fact that a lot of people think that acupuncture is all about belief and that it is just another type of faith healing making the treatment extremely difficult for regular, everyday people to appreciate and all the benefits that acupuncture has to offer.

One acupuncture theory very difficult to define is Qi or Chi. Qi is the foundation in which acupuncture stands and understanding how it works is essential in order to understand the healing procedures of this modality. Acupuncture is used to balance the flow of qi flow in the body which means that one needs to understand the process in which qi circulates throughout the body.

Qi is the life force that flows in the body from one organ to the next. A weakening or stagnation in the flow results in the weakening of the various bodily functions as well. Acupuncture needles are inserted into certain points in the body to restore the smooth and uninterrupted flow of qi and to rebalance the body. Acupuncture helps maintain this balance. It manipulates and maintains the smooth flow of qi to treat whatever illness you have.

Ivelisse DeJongh is a Miami acupuncturist and the medical director at DeJongh Acupuncture Clinic.

Cosmetic Acupuncture Can Benefit You Internally and Externally

These days, Americans are expected to live in good health beyond their 70’s and 80’s. Due to this rise in life expectancy and significant improvements in health, a lot of men and women are finding ways to look as young as they feel. Each year in the United States, billions of dollars are spent on cosmetics and anti-aging creams. Botox injections and plastic surgery are now not only exclusively for the rich and famous, they are more and more being used as a routine first line of defense for anyone who desire to look young once more.

However, the inherent risks and invasive nature associated with Botox injections or surgery are more than what people are willing to endure to shed off a few years off their face. Because of this, more and more people are turning to an ancient treatment that is more natural and safe that can endow them with a young and healthy face. This treatment is known as cosmetic acupuncture that only recently has provided aging baby boomers a way to not only to look younger but to boost their well-being as well.

The use of cosmetic acupuncture in China was used by the Empress and the Emperor’s concubines during the Sung Dynasty, (960 AD to 1270 AD). The treatment is about the application of filiform needles on acupuncture points in the body and face. According to the ancient principles of TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine, cosmetic acupuncture increases the flow of blood and qi (energy) to the face. This boost in circulation means that more elastin, collagen, and nutrients are being transported to the facial area. Besides these benefits, cosmetic acupuncture also rejuvenates the appearance of the face by improving the person’s health and reducing stress.

The benefits of cosmetic acupuncture may vary from person to person. However, its common effects include the removal of jowls and a general lifting of the face, reduced puffiness around the eyes, a softening of wrinkles, and a glowing and healthy-looking complexion. The International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture published a 1996 study showing that among 300 subjects, 90% experienced improvements, a feeling of overall rejuvenation, reduced wrinkles and fine lines, and a better complexion. Besides that, several of the participants reported that cosmetic acupuncture also provided them with extra health benefits like fewer TMJ symptoms, such as teeth grinding, fewer acne breakouts, lessened hot flashes, relief of menstrual discomfort, and enhanced digestion.

Cosmetic acupuncture can benefit almost anyone although it oftentimes works best in people with good health who are bound to experience optimal improvement in their skin when they undergo this type of treatment. People suffer from chronic depleting conditions, people with poor digestion, and smokers should address their health problems first before trying cosmetic acupuncture. Cosmetic acupuncture can also exacerbate migraine headaches.

The other drawback of cosmetic acupuncture include the need to undergo 10 -12 treatment sessions to see significant results include surgery or Botox were the effects are immediate. And while the outcomes are noticeable, no one knows where and how much improvement is attained.

Because they have not tried acupuncture, many individuals presume that it’s a painful kind of therapy. The fact is people who have tried acupuncture say that the procedure is not painful. When needles are inserted, the patient may experience mild discomfort since there are parts of the face and body that are more sensitive than others. Your acupuncturist, however, may avail of various methods of insertion on the acupoints to limit sensation. Almost all who have tried acupuncture say that it is a very relaxing treatment that causes them to fall asleep while the needles are embedded in the body.

As mentioned, cosmetic acupuncture is very safe to use. There is no recovery time involved and no risk of disfigurement associated with this procedure. After they have undergone cosmetic acupuncture, most patients go back to work all feeling refreshed and relaxed. The benefits associated with this treatment include stress reduction and the improvement of your looks. In every sense of the word, cosmetic acupuncture is deemed a rejuvenating form of therapy internally and externally.

Jamie Catlett is an acupuncturist in Jacksonville, FL and the founder of Jacksonville Acupuncture Clinic.

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine To Address The Symptoms of Acute Bronchitis

Acute bronchitis is a condition in which the air passages of the lungs become inflamed. This inflammation tends to occur shortly after a person contracts a respiratory infection. Initially, the symptoms may affect your sinuses, nose, and throat. It then can spread into your lungs resulting in wheezing, chest pain, shortness of breath, productive cough, fever, and fatigue. The people who are most prone to developing bronchitis include people with heart or lung disease, smokers, infants and children, and the elderly. Standard remedies for bronchitis include steam therapy, drinking lots of fluids, rest, and prescription or over-the-counter drugs for the wheezing or coughing. Acupuncture treatment offers an effective, safe, and natural alternative or complement to your bronchitis treatment.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a form of Chinese healing that’s been around for more than 3,000 years. It involves the placement of filform needles at various acupuncture points scattered across the body to prevent disease, balance the body, resolve illness, and boost health. Specific acupuncture points or acupoints are stimulated by acupuncturists in order to activate the vital energy, known as qi or chi, in your body and to tell the brain to produce and release chemicals and neurotransmitters that lead to the improvement of health and relief of pain. This extremely useful form of alternative healing only became popular in the US since its introduction in the 1970s in spite of the fact that it’s been used for thousands of years.

Research

Bronchitis symptoms can be addressed with acupuncture treatment in Bellingham. The Chinese medical journal “Shongguo Shen Jiu,” published a study in its September 2007 issue that observed the short as well as the long-term effects of acupuncture treatment on 200 patients with bronchitis. The subjects were treated with acupuncture treatment during the three hottest months of the year, which typically is the time where cases of acute bronchitis attacks are at its highest. When compared with 100 subjects who only made certain changes to their lifestyle, the group treated with acupuncture experienced superior short and long-term improvement in their symptoms.

Treatment

If you plan to visit an acupuncturist for the first time, expect him or her to ask you a series of questions regarding your current lifestyle, symptoms, complaint, and family and medical history. Your acupuncturist will feel your pulse and observe your tongue in order to come up with a Chinese medical diagnosis. After diagnosis is made, you will be asked to lie comfortably as he or she sticks tiny acupuncture needles at specific acupoints on your body, including your chest area, feet, hands, legs, and arms. Your acupuncturist may use additional treatment techniques such as cupping therapy, Gua Sha, or Chinese massage. After the needles are inserted into the corresponding points, you will be engulfed by a deep relaxing feeling that can last for a whole day. The needles are left in place for around 20 to 60 minutes, during which time you may feel so relaxed that you fall asleep.

Safety

Prior to using acupuncture for treatment of acute bronchitis, consult first with your doctor. It may be true that acupuncture is considered safe and rarely has adverse side effects, you nevertheless can experience infection, bleeding, or discomfort at the site of the needle, especially if the practitioner is not trained well enough. When necessary, we do not recommend using acupuncture as a substitute for standard medical care. Ask your local health department or doctor for a referral for a licensed and reputable acupuncturist in or near your area.

Seek an Acupuncturist’s Help For Treatment of Your Fibroids

If you’re suffering from fibroids and have symptoms such as menstrual cramping, heavy menstrual bleeding, etc., you need to consider getting acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. They may not shrink the fibroids but they can eliminate or reduce your symptoms. Actually, acupuncture may be able to reduce the size of your fibroids under certain conditions.

Uterine fibroids, which is also called myomas or uterine leiomyomas are non-cancerous tumors made up of connective tissue and smooth uterine muscle. Around 20% of women over 35 years of age have this condition. In some women, fibroids may not cause any symptoms; for others, however, symptoms such as pelvic pain or discomfort; pain during sexual intercourse, back pain (if the lower back’s muscles and nerves are compressed); urinary frequency (if the bladder is compressed); constipation (if the rectum is compressed); stomach bloating or discomfort; menstrual cramping; heavy menstrual bleeding; etc. may arise

Infertility can result in women with fibroids, that is, if the fibroids block the entrance into the uterus from the fallopian tubes or the uterine cavity. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners are often asked if acupuncture in Boca Raton can treat a fibroid, particularly a large one. Listed below is a fact-sheet on TCM modalities for fibroids:

1. A combination of Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture can alleviate symptoms associated with fibroids – menstrual cramps, heavy period, etc.
2. If you have a large fibroid, using Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture may lessen its size, although not to a large extent; the treatment however, can help prevent the fibroid from getting any larger.
3. Acupuncture works much better when it is used in combination with Chinese herbal medicine.
4. Along with TCM treatment, dietary and lifestyle changes are extremely important in the cure of fibroids.
5. Chinese herbs and acupuncture combined may make a fibroid disappear if it is very small (about smaller than a walnut, two to three cm in diameter, although it could be larger).

Uterine Fibroids – The TCM Perspective

The cause of fibroids in TCM is typically blood stagnation (blood stasis) in the uterus. Stagnation of blood itself may be due to another factor such as heat (dries up body fluids and causes the blood to thicken resulting in blood stasis), qi stagnation (the qi moves the blood, so if the qi does not move, blood does not move either), and cold (which coagulates the blood). Moreover, people with fibroids who have weak digestion (deficiency of spleen-qi) may have additional pathogenic fluids that have gathered in the body over the years, and one type fluid called phlegm may result in a mass with sluggish blood in the uterus. These factors are known as “patterns” and it is very important to distinguish the pattern of a disease. For example, to determine the appropriate TCM treatment may mean knowing what type of imbalance one has in a person’s body.

I have mentioned about the association between fibroids and weak digestion (deficiency in spleen-qi), and this means how you eat and what you eat are very important.

Mainstream medicine still has no clue as to what really causes of uterine fibroids, although estrogens, particularly estradiol (E2), is suspected to contribute to their development. A lot of doctors believe that estrogen dominance can be blamed on the stress hormones such as cortisol, norepinephrine, and epinephrine.

TCM’s viewpoint on the relationship between fibroids and stress

The free flow of qi throughout the body is controlled by the liver and so the liver is always involved when stagnation occurs. Stress plays a huge role in qi stagnation, which can lead to long-term blood stasis. Heat is generated by long term stagnation of qi.

That is the reason why lifestyle modification and stress management along with TCM are extremely important in the treatment of fibroids. Both Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture are highly effective for the management of stress.

Uterine Fibroids – Mainstream Conventional Treatment

Western medicine offers surgery (myomectomy or hysterectomy) or hormonal therapy as treatments for fibroids. Nowadays, MRI-guided focused ultrasound therapy and UAE (uterine artery embolization) are also offered – compared to myomectomy and hysterectomy, they are less invasive and entail a shorter recovery period. TCM is a good choice if you are interested in a noninvasive type of treatment; however, TCM is not a quick remedy as natural healing of the body often takes time.

If you have fibroids, here are some helpful recommendations:

– If you believe you have fibroids, you need to seek immediate help to prevent them from growing larger.
– If you have fibroids and show symptoms like menstrual cramping, heavy menstrual bleeding, etc., consider Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture. TCM may eliminate or decrease the symptoms even if they may not be able to shrink the fibroids.
– Even with a combo of Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture it usually takes a long time to treat fibroids. I highly recommend (ultrasound) prior to commencing your TCM treatment, and then, if possible after three months, sonophaphy to determine the efficacy of the treatment. If still nothing happens after three months, talk to your TCM practitioner to discuss the continuation of your treatment.
– If you are not going to have menopause anytime soon and have a large fibroid that has been growing for years, I would advise that you seek treatment to hinder its further growth. One important thing to note is that fibroids grow by utilizing estrogen. So, when you reach menopause, they should shrink since by then your estrogen levels will have lessened.

Studies Confirm That Acupuncture Works in the Treatment of Seasonal Allergies

In some patients acupuncture is the treatment of choice for relief of pain and the most recent study suggests that it can potentially relieve itchy eyes and sneezing as well.

During the allergy season, most patients are plagued with the sniffles and they almost automatically reach for the medicine cabinet and relieve symptoms with take over-the-counter antihistamines. Oftentimes, these drugs don’t work and so they are left with no other choice but to seek alternative treatments such as acupuncture for relief. Acupuncture is an Eastern mode of treatment that uses hair thin needles which are stuck beneath the skin’s surface at certain so-called acupoints in the body to eliminate symptoms.

A widely circulated medical journal published a study that monitored 422 patients suffering from runny nose and other allergic nasal symptoms and positively tested for pollen allergies. The subjects reported what symptoms they were experiencing and what drugs and dosages they used to treat their symptoms. They were then grouped into three; the control group solely took antihistamines for symptoms, the second group was administered with a dozen sham acupuncture treatments (in which the needles were randomly placed at non-traditional acupoints), while the last group also was given 12 acupuncture treatments in Cleveland besides taking antihistamine drugs, as needed.

Two months later, the conductors of the study questioned the patients regarding their symptoms and the amount of drugs they used. Those who were given genuine acupuncture treatments and took antihistamines were able to reduce their use of antihistamines and experienced a much better outcome in their symptoms compared to the two other groups. Interestingly, the people that received sham acupuncture also experienced some amelioration of their symptoms suggesting that the improvement of symptoms was at least partly the result of the placebo effect.

That hypothesis was reinforced four months after, during follow-up, when the difference between the groups was less marked. It was speculated that the expectations of the patients of how much acupuncture might be able to treat them could have played a role in the improvement of their symptoms.

So, the authors believe that if acupuncture treatments work, it should play a role in the treatment of allergies and should be studied further. They wrote “Acupuncture’s efficacy on [seasonal allergies] as opposed to the other anti-allergic treatments as well as the potential underlying effects, including context effects, should be further explored in future studies.”

This opinion is held by Dr. Jongbae J. Park affiliated with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke Clinical Research Institute’s Dr. Remy Coeytaux. They noted that the benefits of acupuncture have been more and more understood for over 15 years and that ample meaningful clinical trials have been done to support it as a valid treatment for seasonal allergies. They recommend that more thorough studies, that would include a comparison of acupuncture to other treatments for issues such as allergies, be done in the near future.

They asked how acupuncture compares with other medical interventions?, which of the various acupuncture approaches or traditions works best for a specific clinical indication? What process measures or results in clinical trials of acupuncture should we be evaluating? From the standpoint of payers, patients, or policymakers is the gravity of effect, connected with acupuncture for a given clinical indication “worth it”?

The author of the study Dr. Benno Brinkhaus of the Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics at Charité University Medical Center in Berlin wrote in an email describing the study based on his experience as an acupuncturist, medical doctor, and as a researcher, he would suggest considering acupuncture if his patients are not satisfied with the standard anti-allergic treatment or drug or if they experience sides effects from the standard medication due to the fact that acupuncture is a relatively safe treatment.

Decades of Studies Validate Acupuncture as a Legitimate Osteoarthritis Treatment

Osteoarthritis is an extremely debilitating condition that can affect the quality of life and impair the mobility of its victims. Over the course of time, various types of anti-inflammatory drugs have been developed to address this disease but unfortunately almost all of them bring harmful side effects to the user. This has forced people to resort to alternative therapies such as acupuncture, and its less invasive counterpart, acupressure in treating osteoarthritis.

These past two decades, there has been an unmistakable trend towards the use of traditional bodyworks in treating osteoarthritis and most of it is due to the safety of these modalities (i.e., they have little or no side effects). The fact is, more and more people are realizing the potency of acupuncture for the management of chronic pain caused by this crippling malady. This article will discuss what osteoarthritis is all about and how does acupuncture contribute to help manage this condition.

What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative arthritis and is a musculoskeletal condition that mainly affects the structure and function of the joints. It usually affects one entire joint and the nearby underlying joint, the joint cover, joint lining, muscles, and ligaments. On certain occasions, it can be responsible for the gradual degeneration of the cartilage in the body.

Usually a result of cartilage degeneration, osteoarthritis can also be caused by disease, injury, aging, and heredity. The cartilage is made up of protein that serves as a buffer or “shock absorber” between the bones attached to the joint.

There are two categories of osteoarthritis: primary and secondary osteoarthritis. The former (primary osteoarthritis) usually develops because of the aging process. Over time, the slow progressive cartilage loss causes friction between the joints causing the primary symptoms of movement difficulty and pain. In a majority of cases, heredity is the cause of primary osteoarthritis.

The latter (secondary osteoarthritis), usually comes about due to other diseases or conditions including hormone disorder, diabetes, obesity and gout. The mechanical stress between the joints that obesity causes tends to amplify the pressure and the wear and tear of the cartilage. Based on studies, the 2nd highest risk factor for degenerative arthritis is obesity. The highest significant risk factor is still the aging process.

Each person may manifest the symptoms of osteoarthritis is different ways; however, the common denominator each osteoarthritis sufferer experiences are pain, difficulty in moving the joints, and stiffness of the joints. Most healing approaches to the condition are focused on the relief of joint inflammation and pain. Also, therapies are geared toward the improvement and maintenance of joint functions.

Acupuncture – Its Benefits and How It’s Done

Due to its multiple relieving effects, acupuncture has been used to address a wide range of illnesses for over 3500 years. Contrast this to just 50 years of extensive scientific studies, we could see the reason why this ancient healing art is still marginalized and ignored by the medical community. But because of the rise in interest of traditional medicines such as acupuncture and acupressure, a lot of Western medical practitioners have begun taking interest in the treatment and are curious about how it works and how it is able to ameliorate the pain of patients suffering from osteoarthritis.

Illnesses, from the viewpoint of TCM (traditional Chinese medicine), are mainly caused by obstructions or imbalances in the circulation of vital energy in the body. With acupuncture, these obstructions and imbalances can be resolved through the insertion of very thin special needles to specific points in the body.

Acupuncture is based on the idea that the body possesses 12 primary energy channels (meridians), 8 secondary meridians and about 2,000 acupuncture points (acupoints). When the meridians and acupoints are stimulated, the different organs of the body receive multiple health benefits. This very old but certainly dynamic bodywork involves the penetration of filiform needles into the skin and then maneuvering the needles in such a way so as to generate mild electrical impulses and initiate healing.

Studies on Pain Management and Acupuncture in Overland Park

For decades, there have been more than enough clinical studies done to determine acupuncture’s efficacy in treating osteoarthritis. Based on these studies, acupuncture has been shown to help stimulate the manufacture of endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are the body’s own natural pain killers that give the victims of osteoarthritis the ability to cope with their pain.

Research shows that most acupoints are situated near the nerves. When a needle is inserted during an acupuncture procedure, these nerves are activated causing a sensation of dull aches or fullness in the muscles. The muscle activation/stimulation sets off the dispatch of signals to the CNS (central nervous system) to create endorphins. The CNS consists of the brain and the spinal cord. Endorphins are hormones or neurotransmitters the body produces in times of pain or stress. Along with other neurotransmitters and hormones, endorphins assist in the transmission blockage of pain signals to the brain that in effect helps the sufferer feel no or little pain.

Eradicate Those Unwanted PMS Symptoms with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

PMS or premenstrual syndrome is a cyclic recurrence of a set of symptoms that is at its worst seven to ten days before menses and then immediately disappears a few hours after the start of the menstrual flow. This disorder is marked by diverse and multiple symptoms including, but not limited to: changes in appetite, impulsiveness, social withdrawal, confusion, poor concentration, mood swings, depression, irritability, pelvic pain, headache, acne, insomnia, constipation, bloating, temporary weight gain, and tenderness of the breast. While a lot of women may suffer mild symptoms of short duration, some may experience really severe symptoms that can endure for several days and disrupt their normal functioning temporarily.

PMS is caused by unbalanced hormonal changes. These imbalances can be corrected and be relieved in the long-term via a combination of Chinese medicinal herbs and acupuncture as well as emotional clarity, proper exercise, and a correct diet.

Essential for overcoming PMS is a balanced nutrition. Foods such as animal fats, salt, sugar, cold temperature foods, caffeine, and alcohol can aggravate the symptoms and thus should be avoided. Also avoidance of commercial poultry and red meats is necessary as these foods have a residue of steroids made up of female animal sex hormones. Foods that can lead to a relatively problem-free and harmonious menstrual cycle include: deep sea ocean fishes (mackerel, trout, tuna, and salmon), small portions of lean meats that are free of hormones, seaweed, legumes, soy, whole grains, small amounts of fruits, and lots of organic vegetables.

A key part of PMS treatment is regular exercise. At least half an hour to around 45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise 3 times a week can boost blood flow and significantly relieve symptoms.

Besides exercise and diet, meditation of some form can also be extremely helpful. Our hormones and emotions influence each other since they are located in the same part of the brain. Hormonal imbalances caused by stress can lead to and also exacerbate PMS symptoms. Daily quiet time is required to restore your physical and emotional equilibrium.

Acupuncture clears out obstructions to the flow of energy that then leads to the normalization of hormonal changes. The treatment can also bring about deep relaxation that calms the mind. Chinese herbs, on the other hand, normalize energy and substance flow in the body. Both acupuncture and Chinese herbs activate the natural functions of the body helping it to achieve optimum balance.

No woman should accept that PMS is a normal monthly experience that should be endured since there is nothing one can do about it. When the symptoms are eliminated or at least reduced, you then can feel more energetic – creatively, emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Ni Nan Gilbert is a licensed acupuncturist in Bellmore, NY with certification in Chinese Herbology and over 16 years experience in traditional Chinese medicine.