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Monthly Archives : June, 2014

Acupuncture for Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow pain often starts out as a minor discomfort that progressively worsens until it is extremely difficult to ignore the pain. One may experience a sharp jab when playing tennis or golf or even when shaking hands. This condition can affect not only tennis players but also all types of athletes. Tennis elbow often feels like a tender or a dull ache on the outer part of the elbow initially. The sensation comes up intermittently usually subsiding a day or so after the pain started. Then after a while, the sensation starts to become a constant nagging ache in the elbow, with occasional jolts of pain if you move your affected shoulder the wrong way.

Tendinitis is an equally common term for tennis elbow. This term implies that the elbow tendons are inflamed. Your tendons are the parts of your body that connect the muscle to the bone. In tennis elbow, the muscles affected are located on the top of your forearm. This type of pain is often brought about by the repetitive movements or the overuse of the muscles that burden and exert more pressure on the tendon. The unrelenting pressure on the tendon causes small tears that the body constantly repairs. However, the continued activity stops or hinders the healing process and results in more tears.

Tennis elbow pain is felt outside of the elbow. It becomes severe when one is twisting or grasping objects (opening jars, picking up a hammer or Tennis racquet, etc.). Sleep can be difficult for the sufferer because the pain usually intensifies at night. Eventually with time, the pain can travel to other parts of your arm, more so if you are attempting to avoid the pain by utilizing other parts of your body. Unlike most forms of inflammation, tennis elbow pain does not involve any swelling in the body.

Golfers suffering from tennis elbow may present symptoms in a different manner. Tennis players with tennis elbow tend to suffer from pain outside of their elbow with the pain traveling down into the wrist and the outside of the forearm while golfers suffering from this condition often feel pain inside of the elbow (the part of your elbow nearer your body). The pain radiates down into the wrist and the underside of the forearm.

Tendinitis (golf or tennis tendinitis, apparently are commonly occurring conditions. Its probability of occurring rise with age since the tendons becomes less pliable with age. Athletes are also a high risk group with golf tendinitis more commonly occurring in male athletes.

If you want a truly effective natural and safe treatment for your tennis elbow, acupuncture can be a very good option for you. It can be used as a standalone therapy or as an adjunct therapy to standard Western treatments. Acupuncturists and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners believe that acupuncture works because it helps bring back balance in the body enabling the body to heal itself of potentially any condition. The human body actually possesses cells that store vital energy known as qi. The Chinese theorize that qi travels via energy pathways known as meridians. When some of the meridians develop blockages, qi slows down and stagnates, causing blood and energy imbalance in the affected parts of the body. The blockage gives rise to a number of symptoms; one of which is commonly body pain.

To treat a condition, acupuncturists utilize reed-thin and sterile acupuncture needles inserted into certain points in the body where the affected meridians run just below the surface of the skin. These needles destroy the blockages in the meridians enabling qi to flow freely once more removing the pain and treating the conditions resulting from the blockage.

Besides acupuncture, the acupuncturist can also combine it with other traditional Chinese modalities such as Chinese massage (Tui Na), Chinese herbal formulas, and heat therapy to treat Tennis Elbow. Conventional western treatments for tennis elbow include rest, stretching, physical therapy and over-the-counter NSAIDs such as Alleve, Advil and Naprosen Ibuprofen.

Rest is the most effective first line of treatment for tennis elbow. The prevention of the affected joint enables it to heal properly. But if you need to play golf or tennis, it can help to first warm your elbow. You can do this by applying a rice bag or a heating pad on it. After playing, make sure you ice your affected elbow to minimize the inflammation.

Rest combined with acupuncture and common sense should bring you back to a pain-free condition in no time at all.


Vital Gate Acupuncture
107 W 82nd St
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-4244

Acupuncture for Sore Throat

Sore throat sometimes called pharyngitis is the inflammation of pharynx. This is a condition that more often than not affects children than adults. Most of the time pharyngitis is mistaken for the flu or the common cold.

What are the symptoms of this disease?

Pharyngitis usually occurs all of a sudden and it endures for a minimum of a few days to as long as a week. Its signs and symptoms are mild fever, fatigue and dry and sore throat. The overriding discomfort from this condition is the pain one has to endure while swallowing causing eating food to be uncomfortably painful. The other symptoms of sore throat include swollen throat with thick mucus, hoarse voice, pain in the ears, frequent urge to clear the throat and headache.

What is Traditional Chinese Medicine’s perspective on pharyngitis?

Based on the theories of traditional Chinese medicine or TCM, sore throat is due to pathogenic factors such as Heat and Wind attacking the respiratory system. This causes the Lungs (the lung system) to dysfunction specifically in terms of performing their descending and cleansing activities leading in the process to an inflamed throat. One of the outcomes of the combination of Heat and Wind pathogens is phlegm which blocks the energy pathways called meridians.

How can acupuncture treat pharyngitis?

The basis of acupuncture treatment is to clear the respiratory tract by transforming phlegm, remove the toxins to lessen throat inflammation and to quiet the cough. Acupuncture also helps to tonify the immune system to prevent recurrence of the inflammation that may cause damage to the respiratory tract and make the condition more difficult to treat.


Dr. Jeda Boughton is a licensed acupuncture physician and the medical director of BodaHealth in Vancouver, BC.

Acupuncture for Plantar Warts

One of the easiest ways to catch the virus that causes plantar warts is to walk barefoot along swimming pools in the summer. Plantar warts manifest as a cauliflower-like shape under the skin and are caused by the HPV virus or the human papilloma virus. These warts usually develop under the ball or heel of the foot and this makes walking difficult. There are herbal preparations that can help resolve plantar warts but it is important to talk with your doctor first before using them because these herbs can come with certain side effects.

Herbal Supplements

Several types of herbal supplements can be used to remove plantar warts, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. They may include Ganoderma lucidum or reishi mushroom extract that have antiviral properties and can be taken twice to thrice a day (150 mg – 300 mg doses). Olea europaea or olive leaf extract possess antiviral properties and is oftentimes taken daily in 20 mg thrice a day. Another herb with anitivral quality is Uncaria tomentosa or Cat’s claw. It is also taken in 20 mg doses thrice a day.

Wormwood Leaf

Wormwood Leaf is a type of Chinese herb used in moxibustion to treat plantar warts. Moxibustion is the process of burning wormwood (Artemisia argyi ) leaves or moxa leaves. Moxibustion is done along with acupuncture therapy to treat plantar warts. The moxa or wormwood leaf is attached on the upper tip of an acupuncture needle. The needle is inserted directly into the wart and the acupuncturist then burns the leaf after the needle’s insertion. Several areas of the wart are treated all at once using acupuncture and moxibustion. These procedures should only be done by a certified or licensed acupuncturist.

Banana Peel

A salicylic acid preparation is one the most popular over-the-counter remedy for plantar warts. Banana peels has sufficient amounts of salicylic acid in them and they are also rich in potassium. These attributes make them an ideal treatment for plantar warts for a lot of people. You can cut a small piece out of a banana skin and use it as a patch to fit over the wart according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. The patch can be secured in place with a piece of hypoallergenic medical tape and worn at night.

Castor Oil and Garlic

The Bastyr Center for Natural Health states that garlic can be a useful plant for the removal of plantar warts. Garlic possesses strong antiviral attributes. The center did a study showing that applying the fat-soluble lipid extracted from garlic two times a day resulted in the entire cure of the warts after 20 days. Adding a smidge of castor oil over the wart and taping a thin slice of garlic over the wart can also lead to the removal of the wart according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.


Acupuncture Health Center
1303 Astor St #101
Bellingham, WA 98225
(360) 715-1824

Acupuncture for Palpitations

Sleeplessness combined with palpitations is a commonly heard complaint by licensed acupuncturists. This condition is often diagnosed as Blood and Heart Qi deficiency and when they are identified, acupuncture and Chinese herbal therapy are the choices of treatment by these practitioners as they are the most effective for this problem. Arrhythmias usually develop in this situation. Fortunately, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) can effectively mitigate or remove heart beat irregularities, insomnia and palpitations. Usually, arrhythmias are much easier to treat when they are irregularly irregular. This means that an absence of a distinct pattern to the irregular heart beat makes it simpler to treat.

Even if a person is healthy, he/she can experience palpitations when he/she is under anxiety, stress and fright. Alcohol, nicotine and caffeine may likewise contribute to palpitations. Pregnant women are highly likely to experience this condition. People may sense palpitations as a heart beat that is outright forceful or a sensation of a rapid heart beat. They can be felt as skipped beats and can be felt originating from the neck, throat or chest. Returning sensations are determinants for treatment as are palpitations combined by fainting (syncope) chest pain or vertigo (dizziness).

TCM categorizes palpitations on the presence of certain conditions. The most common conditions are Fire caused by deficient Yin, deficient Blood and Qi and disturbance of the shen. Too much sexual activity and chronic conditions can consume the Kidney Yin and cause disharmony between Water and Fire. This makes the Heart Fire rage upward disturbing the shen. Palpitations may also be caused by dirty water stagnation. Usually, deficient Kidney Yang and chronic Spleen deficiency may cause pathological edema that can result in palpitations. Deficient Blood and Qi can affect the heart and cause palpitations. Constitutional weakness, chronic diseases and blood loss can damage the heart. Over thinking, may weaken the Spleen and Heart and impair the normal production of Blood and Qi. Shen disturbance can come about due to fright. This disturbance may be accompanied by pathogenic factors such as abdominal disorders, phlegm fire rising, anger, depression and heat.

Acupuncturists often produce impressive results when resolving arrhythmias, insomnia and palpitations. They usually determine that dyspnea, obscured vision and/or dizziness often come with deficient Blood and Qi associated with arrhythmias, palpitations and insomnia. External factors like sudden fright can cause palpitations and may embed within the body and cause chronic disharmony.

In using acupuncture for palpitations, acupuncturists usually treat acupuncture points DU 20, HT5, HT7, P7 and P6. One-inch needles are manipulated into these points to elicit a light reaction. The needles are left in their place for five to ten minutes.

Acute episodes of palpitations caused by fright may actually be worsened by needling. So when this type of palpitation is diagnosed, acupuncturists use herbal formulas without acupuncture. Certain herbal remedies such as Long Gu, Long Chi, Ci Zhu Wan, Bi Zhi An Shen Wan and Mu Li can be utilized. These herbs have strong sedative attributes that help relax the patient. When the patient is relaxed, and no palpitations are felt, acupuncture points HT5 and HT7 can have a great effect that help cure the palpitations.

The herb Gui Pi Tang is good for deficient Heart Blood as it serves as a sedative to calm the patient. Patients who suffer from anorexia, fatigue, pale complexion, dizziness, insomnia, palpitations and excessive mental activity can also benefit from this herbal formula. Deficient Heart Blood patients manifest symptoms such as light or pale pink tongue and a deficient pulse. An appropriate herbal remedy for Kidney and Heart Fire deficiency is Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan. The aim of this treatment is to nourish the Blood to calm the Qi. Kidney and Heart Fire deficient patients usually show symptoms such as a bitter taste in the mouth, tongue and mouth sores, dry throat, tinnitus, mental restlessness, dizziness, insomnia, chest discomfort and tachycardia. If a patient shows lower back pain associated with deficient Kidney or uncontrolled nocturnal seminal emission, the herbal remedy Liu Wei Di Huang WanZhu Sha An Shen Wan are perfect choices for this condition. A more updated non toxic formula for for Zhu Sha is available.

Palpitations may also arise because of Damp Heat. Symptoms of this issue include a rapid and slippery pulse and a greasy coated and yellow tongue. The rise of phlegm heat causes the insomnia and palpitations. Herbal remedies such as Wen Dan Tang with Yuan Zhi and Suan Zao Ren can help in calming the stomach, separating the turbid from the clean and removing damp heat as well. Acupuncture and these herbs are just a few of the techniques that can help treat this condition.

Other types of acupuncture therapy can be used to treat palpitations. The acupuncture points Front Mu and Back Shu of the Heart along with the Pericardium and Heart points are used by some acupuncturists to treat palpitations. Tonification of Blood and Qi to calm the mind and nourish the Heart are important treatment goals. Needle techniques to sedate the patient are also helpful in removing dampness and clearing excess and deficient heat. The ponts P6, HT7, UB15 and CV14 are effective for this type of palpitation. Additional points may be included for other extraneous conditions. Scalp and auricular acupuncture are equally effective for the treatment of palpitations.

The herbal remedy Wen Dan Tang, can help clear the blockages in Qi and treat Gallbladder Fire that are major contributors to the rise of palpitations. This concoction helps normalize Qi flow removing Gallbladder Fire and normalizing the Abdomen. Wen Dan Tang is made up of Sheng Jiang, Da Zao, Gan Cao, Fu Ling, Chen Pi, Ban Xia, Zhi Shi, and Zhu Ru. The addition of Yuan Zhi and Suan Zao Ren give the formula more potency in resolving insomnia and palpitations. Wen Dan Tang is also useful for a number of conditions like constant hunger, bitter taste in the mouth, timidity, anxiety, dizziness, vomiting and nausea. Besides treating insomnia and palpitations, Wen Dan Tang is also used for the treatment of peptic ulcers, post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), bronchitis, and chronic gastritis.


Willow Tree Wellness Clinic
1607 NE 16th Avenue
Portland, OR 97232
Ph: 503-281-0030

Acupuncture for Psoriasis

As a therapeutic procedure, acupuncture has been practiced in various cultures and societies in East Asia for thousands of years. This therapy has been sporadically practiced in Europe for hundreds of year while it only became popular in the United States during the 1970s. As a treatment for psoriasis, acupuncture has been found to be potent in certain clinical settings.

A study done in 1992 evaluated the benefit of acupunctures for a number of allergies and skin conditions. This study, done in China, involved 61subjects who were resistant to the commonly used treatment protocols. The study group was given controlled acupuncture treatments administered in nine sessions instead of the western conventional modes of treatment.

The people who conducted the study considered the results of the study as a concerted success. About more than 50% initial test group (who were the ones treated with acupuncture) experienced relief of their symptoms and in certain instances had led to the complete cure of their psoriasis. The study also showed that the majority of the subjects in the group given acupuncture showed an impressive improvement of their quality of life and conditions.

Acupuncturists believe that the body possesses special sections known as meridians. According to traditional Chinese medicine, when these meridians are stimulated with acupuncture needles, they help to correct energy distribution and restore balance throughout the human body. Both acupuncturists and TCM practitioners argue that by needling specific meridians, they can help in removing blockages, restore natural function and treat nervous conditions that will result in the resolution of a number of skin allergies.

Other studies were done regarding acupuncture’s effectiveness in treating psoriasis in western countries and many of these studies helped prove the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating this condition. So many individual cases have shown that acupuncture is also a very safe non-invasive therapy. Psoriasis sufferers have manifested a huge improvement in their symptoms after getting the standard type of acupuncture treatment.

Acupuncture therapy is such a powerful and versatile treatment that it is one of the more effective modalities in the treatment of psoriatic arthritis. This condition is a disease that inflames the joints of the body causing significant pain for its sufferers. Acupuncturists target the affected meridians to help relieve the pain of psoriatic arthritis.

As a standalone therapy, acupuncture may not be effective enough in treating major conditions. That being said, it is clear from the numerous research studies and years of tradition as well as the present clinical underway, that acupuncture has a consistent and impressive track record in treating psoriasis. Today, more and more doctors are now using to it as an adjunct to conventional modalities. So, if you do have skin irritations like psoriasis, you need to consider combining acupuncture with your typical medical treatment.

Acupuncture for Digestive Disorders

About 63 million people in the United States suffer digestive problems each year. Digestive disorders are often the result of eating the unhealthy “standard American diet” combined with the highly stressed lives the average American undergoes each and everyday of his/her life. These conditions can vary from petty discomforts like bloating and gas to deadly illnesses, like cancers of the digestive organs, unremitting diarrhea, ulcerative colitis and crohn’s disease. Regardless of the conditions, being proactive is always a good approach to maintain the good health of our digestive system. This article will talk about natural therapies and acupuncture and how they can play a big role in your digestive health as well as your overall well-being. We’ll talk about some typical disorders and discuss what we can do about them.

Gas and bloating – consuming too much sugar, alcohol coffee refined foods, as well as too much stress or eating excessively or too fast can bring about there symptoms. Some of the herbal remedies that can help heal these symptoms include:

Bifidus and Acidophilus – gas and bloating is usually due to too much Candida stored in your stomach which leads to emotional and physical imbalances.
Chai hu shu gan wan — the herbal remedy is prescribed to neutralize gas and stress.
Liu jun xi tang – this formula reinforces the spleen and removes phlegm in the gut which also contributes to the boating and gas.
ziao yao wan – prescribed for digestive problems that develop from severe stress and during menses.

Diarrhea – if your diarrhea is chronic in nature, it can be a potentially deadly condition for you. Chronic diarrhea is a top reason for fatalities in the world. Intestinal inflammation or weakness of the spleen are two reasons for diarrhea and the way to address this condition is to avoid eating refined and processed foods and to remove anxiety and stress in your mind and body. Some of the basic treatments for diarrhea include:

Probiotics – lactobilli shirota strain and lactobacilli acidophilus are helpful useful in controlling and preventing diarrhea.
Western herbs – these include ginger, peppermint chamomile and slippery elm. They soothe and harmonize the abdomen to cure diarrhea.
Chinese herbal formulas – these include: jia wei xiao yao wan, Tong xie yao feng, and Isatis Cooling (ideal for diarrhea caused by heat and inflammation); jin gui shen qi tang (rehmannia 8), liu jun xi tang (6 Gentlemen), si jun qi tang (4 Gentlemen) and bu zhong yi qi tang (ginseng and astragalus), good for relieving diarrhea caused by deficiency.

IBS or irritable bowel syndrome – this condition affects millions of US citizens each year. IBS is diagnosed by physicians when the symptoms of the patient don’t jibe with any other digestive condition. This problem is marked by bowels alternating from diarrhea to constipation and with stomach distention and pain. Individuals having IBS are quite reactive to a number of foods that include gluten, wheat, refined sugar and foods that are high in fiber. Oftentimes, conventional therapies fail to resolve IBS symptoms which go on indefinitely. Acupuncturists, however, report far better success in treating IBS. Acupuncturists believe that IBS is caused by an imbalance between the spleen and the liver. Frustration, anger and stress can cause the liver to become hyperactive and this affects the spleen which weakens causing fatigue and loose bowels. The goal of the treatment then is to strengthen the spleen and calm the liver. Herbal formulas for IBS can include:

Peppermint and chamomile – these herbs generate a relaxing effect on the gut which can alleviate the irritation
Bifidus and Acidophilus – they can help people suffering from IBS who also have Candida

Constipation – chronic constipation can easily develop from regularly eating the standard American diet which is sadly low in antioxidants and fiber and enriched with processed ingredients and additives. This diet leaves people constipated and most of them are even unaware that they are. The reason for this is that they have regular bowel movements, but not all the toxins are flushed out of their systems. The result is their intestines become filled with toxins. What is needed is a thorough intestinal cleansing to help cure their numerous chronic health issues. A number of nutritional supplements and natural herbal remedies can resolve constipation and treat the underlying imbalances. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners may prescribe herbal formulas such as run chang wan and ma zi ren wan that serve as mild laxatives for the constipation. Other remedies for constipation include:

Flax seed and meal – they are ideal sources for that can treat constipation. Senna leaf is can be appropriate for curing severe constipation.
Psyllium husk – this high fiber product can be used to relieve constipation.
Triphala – this is an herbal formula that is an ayurvedic remedy for constipation. It also can help flush out stagnant waste from the intestines.
Aloe vera juice – can help bring about peristalsis (ideal movement of materials in the digestive system) and help alleviate inflammation.

A lot of digestive disorders are effectively treated with Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture. Changing your diet can help the digestive system to detoxify and can restore normal function of the gut. The function of your digestive system is one the bases for gauging your overall health. Any imbalances or weaknesses there can most likely compromise your overall health. Preserving healthy digestion needs to be a part and parcel of your life to achieve optimal health.

For people suffering from colon cancer, crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, consulting with your doctor and licensed acupuncturist is highly recommended to get appropriate treatment for your condition. These conditions have their own treatment approaches and a specific treatment is what you need for your own specific condition and for your own unique body.


Dr. Vickery is a licensed acupuncturist in Tarzana, CA., and the founder and clinical director of Vickery Health and Wellness.

Acupuncture for Dysmenorrhea

The journal and evidence-based Complimentary and Alternative Medicine published a study showing a substantial positive effect of acupuncture when it was used to treat patients suffering from dysmenorrhea who have previously tried conventional medical therapies without success. Dysmenorrhea is known as menstrual cramps that are painful. It has two classifications: primary, which has an unknown pathology and secondary, which is the existence of cramping due to an identified pelvic pathology. The main symptom of dysmenorrhea (for both classifications) is pain, pain that is not relieved with NSAID drugs for about a quarter of the subjects tested.

The subjects in this study had either moderate or severe dysmenorrhea that has been lingering for a year or more and has not gotten well with the use of NSAIDs. These subjects also did not take oral contraceptive therapy. This is a therapy given as a first line of treatment for dysmenorrhea patients. The subjects were treated with 8 weekly acupuncture treatments for about 2 months. The treatment involved needles inserted in specific acupuncture points for a half hour.

Almost all of the subjects (13 out of 15 of them) had a significant lessening of pain and of NSAID use after the treatments. More substantial gains in pain relief were seen in patients with primary dysmenorrhea than with the secondary. Out of the 15 subjects, 7 stopped taking NSAID entirely and remained symptom-free after being questioned half a year after the end of the study.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has recognized acupuncture to be a valid form of therapy that has substantial pain relieving capacities and the NIH has also endorsed this treatment as a valid modality for several illnesses, including dysmenorrhea. One of the advantages of using acupuncture treatment is that it is virtually free of side effects; it is very safe and also non-invasive. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that the insertion of acupuncture needles leads to improved circulation to the problem area.

Herbal medicine is oftentimes combined with acupuncture to bolster the latter’s therapeutic effect. A specific herbal formula is chosen to address the patient’s unique symptoms and signs although what is usually prescribed for dysmenorrhea patients is gui zhi fu ling wan. This formula contains 5 Chinese herbs: peach kernel (Persicae Semen), moutan root bark (Moutan Cortex), peony root (Paeoniae Radix), hoelen (Poria) and cinnamon twig (Cinnamomi Ramulus). These ingredients are deemed by traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to have a strong impact on the circulation and invigoration of blood. They also help relieve pain by removing stagnations or blockages in the body. This formula is also effective in the treatment of ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids.

The aforementioned study concluded that acupuncture treatment may be recommended as a treatment for pain related to dysmenorrhea, more so for patients who do not respond to or cannot use NSAIDS or oral contraceptives. The study’s result jibes with clinical results that a lot of acupuncture clinics have been reporting. However, this study only involved a small test group and did utilize a double blind, randomized style of testing. It can be helpful to undergo more research as to the effect of acupuncture in treating dysmenorrhea.


Needles & Moxa Wellness Center
700 S Red Rd
Miami, FL 33144
Ph: (305) 265-5265