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Monthly Archives : August, 2014

Acupuncture for Frozen Shoulder Syndrome

Frozen shoulder syndrome is also known in a lesser sense as adhesive capsulitis. This condition is merely a form of shoulder pain that causes a limited range of. Frozen shoulder syndrome is an umbrella diagnosis for shoulder immobility and pain that has no known underlying cause.

The author Janet Travell who wrote the book Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual, talked about the medical literature on frozen shoulder. She stated that when a lot of authors have a consensus that the reason of a condition is enigmatic or unknown, one has a good reason to think that a significant factor is being overlooked.

According to Travell, this major factor is small knots that occur in a muscle when it is overworked or injured. These small knots are better known as trigger points. They are found in the subscapularis muscle in frozen shoulder syndrome. With the help of acupuncture these trigger points can be resolved that then leads to the cure of frozen shoulder permanently. This gives people an alternative to conventional mainstream remedies that are often merely temporarily effective. These conventional protocols include surgery, cortisone shots, and pain killers.

The tantalizing performances of Olympic swimmers especially freestyle swimming belie the fact that these swimmers that have a high risk of developing subscapularis trigger points that leads to Frozen Shoulder Syndrome.

Signs of Subscapularis Trigger Points

The rotator cuff is composed of four muscles and one of these muscles is the subscapularis. The subscapularis connects to the front of the humerus bone as well as to the inner surface of the scapula. Its main role is to hold in place the humerus during arm motions to prevent displacement. This muscle likewise assists in the internal rotation of the head of the humerus.

Trigger points are small knots or nodules that develop in the muscles that are quite sensitive and can result in pain; when they occur in the subscapularis muscle they elicit a signature pain-referral pattern. It is in the deltoid muscle where the pain seems to originate. It can then radiate to various parts of the body including the scapula and the back side of the upper arm. The pain often bypasses the forearm but can reappear as a band around the wrist.

Subscapularis trigger points in its initial stage usually does not disallow individuals from reaching their arms upwards. However, when they try to reach backward (like, for example, you are about to throw a ball), this may tend to be painful. This is the reason why adhesive capsulitis and frozen shoulder are also occasionally called pitcher’s arm.

Wrist pain is one other indicator of subscapularis trigger points that tends to be felt on the back of the wrist, which makes it quite difficult to strap on a wristwatch.

Shoulder Pain Due to Trigger Points in the Subscapularis: Typical Causes

Do you feel that the pain in your shoulder may be emanating from trigger points in the subscapularis muscle? If so, listed below are typical reasons how these trigger points act up:

  1. Physical activities that are overdone and which requires the medial rotation of the arm – Two examples of these activities include throwing a baseball and freestyle swimming.
  1. Bringing your arm closer to the body (adducting the arm) while doing some strenuous overhead lifting –   A kettleball swing exercise is one example of this. This is an exercise where you stretch out your arms to raise the kettleball from between your legs.
  1. Injuries such as a shoulder joint tear or a fracture on the humerus that put sudden stress on the shoulder muscles

An activation of a trigger point in the subscapularis or any muscle for that matter, becomes aggravated or is perpetuated by daily movements. A slumped forward posture or sleeping on one’s side can aggravate your frozen shoulder syndrome.

Cures for Frozen Shoulder Syndrome (FSS) Pain

Once you’ve identified the FSS trigger points as the reason for your shoulder immobility and pain, you can take certain steps to resolve them.

Get acupuncture

Placing acupuncture needles directly into the affected muscle can release the trigger points in the subscapularis muscle.

While this modality is very potent in the curing of shoulder pain, placing needles into these trigger points can be quite uncomfortable because of where the subscapularis is located. The acupuncturist first needs to aggressively palpate inside the underarm in order to access the muscle.

One other technique acupuncturists can use to treat pain from trigger points is to needle acupuncture points remote from the actual site of the pain, selecting meridians that connect to the painful areas of the body.

An example of this is the small meridian intestine that travels directly along the typical pain-referral pattern for subscapularis trigger points. The small intestine meridian located farther down the actual site of the pain can be chosen by the acupuncturist for needling.

Another example can be the small Intestine 3 acupuncture point found on the hand’s side. This point is often needled to relieve upper back and shoulder pain around the scapular region. This point can also be massaged to mitigate pain in the affected body part.

Correct your posture

What you can do while awake or sleeping is to correct your posture. This is one good way of relieving you frozen shoulder pain.

When you wake up, try to avoid the all too common slumped-forward posture that has been the result of long-term computer use in many. The slumped-forward posture coerces the arms to into a medially rotated position, and this causes the development in the subscapularis of trigger points.

If you are standing, in order to prevent the arms from touching your sides, hook your thumbs into your pants or belt. Also, you need to move your arms frequently when you’re at your desk. One good movement to do is to reach your arm up or place your hands behind your head. This can keep the subscapularis muscle stretched.

Use a pillow when sleeping –Sleep with a pillow on your head. If you sleep sideways bearing weight on the painful side, you can insert a pillow between the side of your body and elbow. This helps abduct the arm from the body stretching the subscapularis muscle. You can place the pillow in your front to enable the affected arm to rest on it If you are sleeping on your pain-free side. Put the pillow in front of you so that the painful arm can rest on it (like you are hugging the pillow).

Perform a doorway stretch – This is one very effective way of relieving FSS pain. To do this, you need to stand in a doorway with both hands at about shoulder height placed on either side of the door. Then lean forward to passively stretch your subscapularis.

No amount of corticone shots, pain killers or even surgeries is going to treat if your shoulder pain emanates from trigger points located in the subscapularis. Acupuncture may be the best option you have for FSS.



Respiratory illnesses such as asthma and bronchitis obviously are common respiratory conditions

Health issues such as respiratory illnesses can make the activity of breathing a laborious effort for a lot of US citizens. Respiratory diseases such as COPD, bronchitis and asthma can significantly affect a person’s quality of life making exercise, sleep and work an otherwise enjoyable regular experience. Antibiotics or inhalers are the medications that a lot of people with respiratory illness often rely on; however, they can cause damaging effects to health if one doesn’t use them properly or endeavor to wean out of them eventually. Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture are options to treat the symptoms of these conditions either holistically and naturally.

In Chinese medicine, as one might expect, the lungs are the organ systems that are responsible for respiratory issues. The body benefits from the lung’s intake of air and combining it with the foods in the digestive system providing the body with nutrients and energy that the body needs to thrive and survive.

Besides this, the lungs perform other important functions such as fortifying the immune system and fluid distribution. A lot of individuals with respiratory problems can have chronic edema or water retention in the lungs. The lungs help keep fluids circulating throughout the body. However, the lungs are quite vulnerable organs and they can be easily infected with virus or bacteria that may result in pneumonia or bronchitis. Optimally functioning lungs are strong enough to ward off the flu or colds even when they are surrounding by sick people.

Chinese medicine also considers the kidneys as having a vital role in respiration and breathing. Traditional Chinese medicine states that that the kidneys help “capture” the air that is inhaled, and like a vacuum cleaner draw it down into the body. This can explain why asthmatic people find it very hard to draw a deep breath compared to the relative ease of their exhaling that same breath. An unhealthy kidney functions poorly thus the amount of air and oxygen that reaches the lungs are oftentimes not adequate enough causing the overall health of the person to fall. Besides making the lungs strong, an acupuncturist can include herbal remedies and acupuncture to strengthen the kidneys as well.

Respiratory illnesses such as asthma and bronchitis obviously are common respiratory conditions. These conditions and in many cases, more deadly diseases such as lung cancer can likewise be treated with herbal remedies and acupuncture. Mesothelioma that can come from asbestos exposure cannot be cured by acupuncture although its symptoms can be alleviated with regular sessions of acupuncture. With correct diagnosis and thorough monitoring, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture can help with appetite loss, remove nausea, alleviate coughing spells and relieve pain brought about by chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Worthwhile to mention are complementary and alternative therapies that can be utilized along with Western medicine.

If you find it very hard to normally breathe everyday or you find it very difficult coping with colds once the weather becomes colder, one of the best things you can do about it is to talk to a licensed Chinese herbalist or acupuncturist. These health professionals can provide you with the treatment that you need to be released off these problematic respiratory conditions.

Is Acupuncture A Viable Alternative Treatment for Dandruff?

Almost all people suffer from dandruff on a regular basis. The truth is it’s very hard to find someone that hasn’t at least a little bit of dandruff in his/her scalp. The reason for this is because most people are bombarded by the environment around them causing them to experience a number of conditions as a result.

As the largest organ in the human body, the skin is the one most often exposed to the environment and it is also the most vulnerable to damage. This is why a lot of individuals suffer from dandruff and oily oil and dry hair only make it a likely possibility. The fact is people having no problem at all with their hair can also suffer from dandruff because of the environment.

Once the elements or a fungal infection damages a person’s skin, the skin starts to degenerate and dandruff can ensue. What are the modalities to offset this problem?

To avoid this condition, you need to look for a way to treat it, preferably in an effective and natural way.

Very few people are aware that acupuncture is actually a very effective type of treatment for dandruff. This ancient modality has been practiced for over 5 millennia and not only does it do a good job boosting circulation to the scalp, it also can improve the function of the other organ systems in the body enabling you to reap other extra health benefits as well.

It is good to know, however, that more and more people are becoming aware of acupuncture’s potency in dealing with several types of skin conditions including dandruff. One big issue, though, is that because it involves needles, some people are hesitant to try out acupuncture as a way of treating their dandruff.

If you have concerns, I suggest that you pay a visit to a licensed acupuncturist ahead of time and be thoroughly informed of how this treatment is done and what benefits one can reap from it. You will be able to put your mind at ease knowing that there’s no real danger when experiencing this type of treatment.

Acupuncture does not only help remove your dandruff, it addresses the underlying cause of your problem making sure that you will never ever have to deal with that problem again. Acupuncture can entirely cure you of dandruff and not simply mask its symptoms.


Christina Prieto is an Orlando acupuncturist, a certified Yoga instructor and the founder of Harmony Wellness center in central Florida.

Acupuncture can be a powerful treatment for all kinds of arthritic pain

When it comes to treating arthritis, there are many conventional and alternative approaches for it. If you are considering an alternative type of treatment, you can opt for acupuncture therapy to treat your arthritis knee or ankle pain. Acupuncture can be a powerful treatment for all kinds of arthritic pain, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Medical studies have shown acupuncture to be quite potent in treating pain associated with ankle and knee arthritis.

What is Acupuncture?

A component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), acupuncture is a healing procedure that entails the stimulation of certain parts of the body known as acupuncture points. Acupuncture came about at least two thousand years ago in China but only become popular in the United States in the early 1970s. East Asian countries such as Korea, Japan and China have their own unique way of practicing acupuncture. In the United States, the most researched and practiced type of acupuncture for arthritis includes initially massaging the affected part of the body, then the insertion of stainless steel acupuncture needles into the diseased joints.

Who Can Use Acupuncture?

If you are considering getting acupuncture to treat your joint pain, it is not necessary to get a diagnosis for arthritis. One good thing about availing of this treatment is that many insurance companies are now covering acupuncture treatment in their insurance policy. It is important to seek out a licensed acupuncturist for treatment of your condition to avoid any complications and side effects from the treatment. Be sure to verify the acupuncturist’s credentials. Browsing through good national acupuncture organizations can help you find a qualified practitioner near your area. You need to remember though, that your acupuncturist is not a doctor, he can only treat your arthritis pain, not give you a diagnosis for your arthritis.

One other option besides electric stimulation or traditional acupuncture to help treat acid reflux is acupressure

With the desire to avoid drugs and chemicals and the risk of side effects a natural treatment for acid reflux can become a more pleasant option for a lot of heartburn sufferers.

For this reason and a sudden and with a growing popularity in Chinese Medicine, a lot of individuals do wonder if acupuncture treatments do have sufficient proof for their effectiveness as an answer to acid reflux.

For acupuncturists, it is really difficult to tell if acupuncture will work for you. The only way to find out is to try it since this treatment reacts uniquely for each individual. Also, there may be different causes of acid reflux that acupuncture may or not be able to treat.

However, the past few years have seen a substantial interest in acupuncture by the medical community. One gastroenterologist from Taiwan, for example, just recently did a couple of experiments with acupuncture to observe this therapy’s effectiveness in the treatment of acid reflux. This study was published on the American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology August 2005 issue.

The journal said that two experiments were done on the TLESRs or transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxations, which directly impacts acid reflux. A type of acupuncture called electrical acupoint stimulation was found to inhibit these TLESRs. The type of acupuncture procedure used is a high tech form of traditional acupuncture. The two experiments applied stimulation on the Neiguan acupuncture point located on the wrist and was barely felt.

The acupuncture procedure lessened by 40% the transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxations by 3.5/ hour from 6/hour. The result was likewise much higher than the group given sham or placebo treatment that had a mere 0.02 times/hour in lowered TLESRs.

Depending on your own unique constitution and condition, acupuncture may or may not work for you. You can get this treatment more than one time in order to be sure. You can also consider the traditional kind of acupuncture for your acid reflux problem. This is less expensive than electrical acupoint stimulation and is as effective. Furthermore, unlike electrical acupoint stimulation, traditional acupuncture is now usually covered in a lot of health insurance policies.

Acupuncture is a part of traditional Chinese medicine that has been dealing with acid reflux cases for thousands of years. Traditional acupuncture is still being used to address the symptoms of GERD including vomiting, nausea, burning and pain. Recent studies have revealed that acupuncture works by modifying the manner that nerve cells communicate to one another. This can affect the way the central nervous system releases certain chemicals in the body. These studies show that this therapy can truly positively affect the way the lower esophageal sphincter functions.

Even if most of the studies mentioned used electro-acupoint acupuncture, researchers state that needle stimulation acupuncture will work just as well in the treatment of acid reflux as electro-acupoint acupuncture since both apply stimulation to a certain acupoint.

One other option besides electric stimulation or traditional acupuncture to help treat acid reflux is acupressure. This technique merely uses manual pressure, specifically the thumbs and fingers, on certain acupuncture points. Anyone can perform this at home. For acid reflux, the acupuncture point that needs to be applied with pressure is the P6 point or Neiguan point on the wrist. The Neiguan point can be found between two tendons on the inside of the wrist.

Acupuncture for ADD/ADHD

People with attention-deficit disorder (ADD) or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have developmental disorders that make them incapable of concentrating and cause them to be easily distracted, with or without symptoms of hyperactivity.  One of the criteria of ADD/ADHD is the manifestation of symptoms before the person reaches 7 years old with the symptoms resulting in the impairment of his/her academic or social performance.  In school-age children, about three to seven percent of them suffer from ADD/ADHD; in adults it’s around 2 to 7 percent.

There is no clear pathology for ADHD. Some medical experts theorize that some parts of the brain associated with attention have very weak neural transmission. Neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and dopamine are related with ADD/ADHD. Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrin) and methylphenidate (Ritalin) and other stimulants, are usually recommended for ADD/ADHD therapy.  These medications cause typical short-term side effects including tic exacerbation in children, mood changes, headaches, weight loss, suppressed appetite, and significant insomnia. Side effects that are long-term include stunted growth especially with long-term use.  Moreover, stimulants can be potentially addictive and ought to be painstakingly regulated.

Herbal Studies and Treatment

Based on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) theory, the diagnosis of ADD/ADHD is shen (spirit) with ascending liver wind disturbance due to deficiency in liver yin. Tonic and sedative herbs must be used together for treatment in order to regain the normal balance in the body.

To dissipate liver wind and soothe ascendant liver yang (shown in restlessness or muscle twitching), herbal remedies such as Ramulus cum Uncis Uncariae (gou teng), Cassia Seed (chue ming hsi), and Concha ostreae( mu li) are used. All these herbs aid in neutralizing mood. Plastrum testudinis (gui ban) and Carapax trionycis (Bie chia), help dispel liver wind and tonify liver yin.  Inadequacy/deficiency is addressed with ophiopogonis root (mai men dong), rehmannia root (sheng di huang), peony root (bai shao) herbs. Bai shao can relieve stiffness, cramps and spasms (related to seizure or convulsion) by soothing the liver.

To alleviate shen disturbance heart fire should be calmed. To achieve this, Mai men is used. Two aromatic herbs, Rhizoma acori (zhi chang pu) and polygalae root (yuan hsi) are given to remove phlegm blocking the orifices as well as to bring back sensory and cognitive functions.  These herbs are useful for concentration difficulties and forgetfulness. Curcumae root (Yu jin) dispels heart heat, promotes consciousness and opens orifices. Pseudostellariae root (Tai hsi shen) has neutral properties and is used to tonfiy both yin and qi. Rhizoma ligustici (chuan hsiong) boosts blood flow and alleviates pain and stagnation in the energy vessels that can be the result of longstanding twitching or stiffening of muscles. Glycyrrhizae preparata root (hsi gancao) harmonizes the entire formula and nourishes the heart. From the viewpoint of pharmaceutical medicine, these herbs boost learning capacities and improve memory and learning abilities as well as remove allergens or toxic substances that add to the likelihood of ADD/ADHD as well as relieve hyperactivity by balancing the central nervous system.

A study involving the use of shi tsang pu showed that there was a dose-contingent effect in boosting memory. Moreover,  in one clinical trial, 30 children suffering from low IQ were treated, which resulted in mild to moderate improvement in performance in school with the use of an herbal remedy containing yuan shi and zhi chang pu. The treatment entailed the use of the formula two times each day for two weeks per course of treatment, which translated to a sum of three months of treatment.

The Merck Manual stated that food additive and toxic substance exposure is the major reason for ADD/ADHD and so it is vitally important to remove environmental toxins from a person’s life. Herbs are seen to specifically to enhance the detoxification of environmental toxins as well as protect the liver.

Glycyrrhizae preparata root is an herb used for thousands of years to successfully detoxify a person from environmental toxins. Lately it has been successfully proven to detoxify a number of poisonings, including food and drug poisoning. Moreover, curcumae root and glycyrrhizae preparata root possess hepatoprotective properties that can treat tetrachloride- or chemical- induced liver damage as well as liver cancer.

Herbs that balance/harmonize the entire body are used to treat ADD/ADHD because these conditions are seen as an imbalance of the neurotransmitters leading to disharmony of the entire body.  Rhizoma ligustici, peony root, rhizoma acori, and rhizoma ligustici calm hyperactivity and balance/regulate the central nervous system. They have also been effective in reversing drug-induced excitation. Ophiopogonis root, peony root and rhizoma ligustici slows down blood pressure and heart rate and harmonize the cardiovascular system. Rehmannia root normalizes the endocrine system to enable normal release and production of endogenous hormones.


All the aforementioned herbs are basically safe to use although caution is required in people with coldness or deficiency in yang. Moreover, use of the herbs needs to be stopped once the desired results are achieved or when the condition is stabilized.


The diet of the patient needs to have sufficient amounts of magnesium and calcium which can calm the patient. Cold-water fish, such as herring, salmon and tuna are rich in DHA or docosahexaenoic acid.   This is a fatty acid required for the right development of a person’s brain. Likewise needed is more eating of complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, beans, vegetables and fresh fruits.

Exposure to allergens, food colorings or additives and to toxic substances that heighten the risk of ADD/ADHD development should be avoided at all times. Limit your eating of simple carbohydrates, such as grains, processed sugars, fructose and glucose and stay away from fried foods, foods with artificial flavor and color, junk food, candy and sugar as well as carbonated drinks, throat lozenges, cough drops and antacids.

Lifestyle Recommendations

For long-term treatment or complete cure of ADD/ADHD, psychosocial support is needed. This can be in the form of cognitive-behavioral therapy (self-reinforcement, problem solving plans, verbal self-instruction, self-monitoring), clinical behavior treatment (management by both parents and teachers), parent training, and contingency management (timeout and reward systems. Lastly, stimulate outdoor and reading activities, and avoid loud music, video games and television exposure.


Dr. Yelena Pakula is a licensed acupuncture doctor and the medical director of Vita-Health Acupuncture and Wellness Center in Pembroke Pines, FL.

Acupuncture treatments work for acid reflux

With the desire to avoid drugs and chemicals and the risk of side effects, a natural solution for acid reflux is a much more attractive alternative for a lot of people suffering from heartburn and acid reflux.

More and more people seriously considering Chinese medicine to treat their health issue are wondering whether there is proof that acupuncture treatments work for acid reflux.

I should state first that not all people with acid reflux will respond well to acupuncture treatment since everyone reacts differently to it and that there are a lot of different causes of this condition.

The past few years, however, the interest in acupuncture and TCM had spiked in the medical community. A gastroenterologist from Taiwan performed a couple of experiments that aimed to prove the potency of traditional eastern medicine in treating acid reflux. This study was posted in the American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, August 2005 issue.

The two tests showed that the TLESRs or the transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxations that directly affect acid reflux were restrained using electrical acupuncture point stimulation. Electrical acupuncture point stimulation is a more sophisticated version of traditional acupuncture that uses mild electrical impulses instead of needles. The barely-felt stimulation was on the Neiguan acupuncture point located on a person’s wrist.

The TLESRs were reduced significantly by 40% from this stimulation (from about 6/hour to just 3.5/hour). This result was also substantially higher compared to the group given placebo that entailed receiving acupuncture on the hip. The “sham” stimulation lessened TLESRs to just 0.02 times/ hour.

Acupuncture would obviously work or not work for you depending on the type of condition you have. It is recommended that you try acupuncture more than one time in order to ascertain whether it works for you. You can likewise opt for different traditional types of acupuncture for treating acid reflux in a natural way. They have proven to be effective and far less expensive than electrical acupuncture point stimulation.  Furthermore, the traditional forms of acupuncture are now being covered by a lot of health insurance companies.

The truth about acupuncture is that it has been used to treat acid reflux in China for more than two thousand years. Traditional acupuncture has been utilized throughout the years to overcome vomiting, nausea, burning and pain and other symptoms of GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease), a chronic acid reflux condition.  Results from the experiments done at the Royal Adelaide Hospital show that acupuncture works by changing the manner nerve cells communicate to one another, and affects the manner the central nervous system produces and releases some chemicals in the body.  Another recent study has given indication that acupuncture can help lessen the function of the lower esophageal sphincter.

However, the study just mentioned entailed the use of electrical acupuncture point stimulation rather than the traditional needling technique to treat acid reflux naturally.  Still, this does not mean that the traditional needling technique of acupuncture is less effective in treating acid reflux than electrical acupuncture point stimulation if the treatment is focused on a specific acupuncture point.

If you want a lesser invasive type of acupuncture than traditional acupuncture or electrical acupuncture point stimulation, you can opt for acupressure instead. Acupressure uses manual pressure using the thumbs and fingers on acupuncture points. This type of treatment you can perform by yourself at home. To treat acid reflux, you put pressure to the P6 or Neiguan point on the wrist. The P6 point is found between the two large tendons on the inside of the wrist. In order to locate this acupuncture point, you need to hold your hand out then bend it towards you.