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Alternative Medicine News

Monthly Archives : December, 2014

Curing Shingles and Herpes Simplex with Chinese Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture

Herpes Zoster (more commonly known as Shingles) and Herpes SImplex are two of the most common forms of herpes. When referring to herpes, this article will mean oral or genital herpes and when referring to shingles, it will mean herpes zoster.

Anatomy of the human skin

Oral or genital herpes (Herpes simplex) is usually considered a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Shingles, on the other hand, is the result of latent chicken pox infection that has been re-activated. Shingles usually affects the body. It manifests as vesicles or blisters along patches of skin that usually start from the spine and can envelope a large area of the body. The genitals and the mouth (oral cavity) are the body areas usually affected by herpes.

While the viruses and mechanisms that result in these conditions are viewed in a different way by Western medicine, they are seen as almost the same in Chinese medicine. This enables traditional Chinese medicine practitioners and acupuncturists to address shingles and herpes easily and successfully, no matter what part of the body the outbreak occurs.

What are the Symptoms and Causes of Shingles and Herpes?

Shingles/ Zoster

Caused by a viral infection, shingles is a painful rash that can develop on any part of the body. It usually occurs unilaterally (on one part of the body) and be restricted to a wide strip of skin known as a dermatome that starts at the spine. The virus responsible for this condition is the varicella zoster (chickenpox) virus. A person who never had chickenpox, will never develop shingles. The virus remains dormant in certain cells residing in the spinal cord after the person has had his chickenpox infection. After several years and during times of great stress and/or when the immune system is weak, the virus is reactivated resulting in shingles. Although not a potentially fatal disease, it usually is an extremely painful condition. When a shingles outbreak occurs, burning, searing, and/or electric vesicles or blisters develop along the dermatome areas, forming a crust that then heals.

Sufferers usually still feel pain even after the blisters heal and crust over. This is known is known as post-zoster pain or post-herpetic neuralgia Chinese herbs and acupuncture can be used to relieve the pain and lessen the severe symptoms of the outbreak. They are effective treatments for post-herpetic neuralgia, as well.


As mentioned a while ago, herpes can develop on the genital region or in the mouth. Symptoms that accompany genital herpes include blisters, sores, itching and pain. Still, there may also be infected individuals who may not manifest any obvious symptoms or signs at all. But, regardless if there are or no symptoms, herpes is a highly contagious disease. It is the result of an infection to the HSV (herpes simplex virus) and can be transmitted from mouth-to-mouth, mouth-to-genital, genital-to-mouth, skin-to-mouth, mouth-to –genital, or skin-to-skin. When the person has been infected, the virus initially remains dormant in the body; it can reactivate several times in a year.

Is acupuncture able to treat Shingles and Herpes?

Pain and Itching are the two most common symptoms of shingles and herpes. Scientists who have studied acupuncture’s potency in treating herpes have found that that the treatment can help relieve itch and pain related to these two diseases. Acupuncturists are certain that acupuncture treatment acts on the neurotransmitters and nerves to alleviate pain and itch signals traveling to the brain. From the viewpoint of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture has the ability to regulate the energetics and organ systems of the body to help neutralize pain and itching caused by shingles and herpes.

When combined with acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine produces faster and better results. Acupuncturists usually treat their herpes and shingles patients with topical herbs to stop the itching and pain. The herbs given usually come in the form of teas, which is placed on the affected areas. The tea can also be used as gargle if the case is oral herpes or utilized for stitz bath or as a douche for genital herpes. It can be applied with a cotton ball if the patient is suffering from shingles. Your acupuncturist may also recommend the use of herbal medicine internally (as a teat to drink). These herbs can used to help relieve itch and pain during flare-ups. For certain patients, herbs can be used in between flare-ups as prophylactic in case of outbreaks.


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

Curb your Eating Urges and Lose Weight with an Acupuncture Weight Loss Program

One of the biggest problems facing a lot of people all over the world these days is obesity. Adopting an acupuncture weight loss program is probably one of the best decisions a person can make if a really effective program is what he/she is looking for. Acupuncture is a very old medical procedure that originated in China. It is found to be a very good way to lose weight.

Acupuncture Treatment – The Diseases it can treat

These are just a few conditions among dozens that acupuncture is known to address:


The last two are the most common underlying conditions for excess weight.

Mode of treatment

Acupuncture is a modality that utilizes extremely thin needles inserted into the skin to elicit stimulus on specific neural pathways in order to treat a condition. It is important to note that the needles used in an acupuncture procedure are not the same as hypodermic needles commonly used for injection or for the drawing of blood. When a point on the skin is pierced the patient often experiences a dull ache or a numbing or tingling sensation, not pain.

Acupuncture is probably the most widely known form of alternative medicine around the world. It is also one of the most effective ways of losing weight. Excess weight is usually the result of too much eating. A person tends to overeat when he/he is frustrated, anxious or under heavy stress. Doctors believe that if stress is lessened, the compulsion to eat is also lessened.

The points on the skin selected for treatment are determined based on the magnitude of the problem. Most of the time, acupuncturists select the points located on the ear to address weight gain. Besides the needles, ear staples may be also attached to the ear to help quell the desire to eat. The ear staples help sustain the effect of the acupuncture treatment for days. Both the needles and the ear staples stimulate the nerves that lead to the release of neurotransmitters that relaxes the patient helping him/her take better control of his eating urges.

This treatment continues until the inordinate desire to eat is entirely brought into control. Proper diet and lifestyle will then help maintain the results of the treatment.

Acupuncture points that are usually selected for weight loss treatment include:

Thyroid – to address slow metabolism
Kidney – this point is associated with edema (water retention) and the nervous system
Spleen – related to sugar and hormonal imbalances
Semen – a calming point basically
Endocrine – helps people suffering from weight gain caused by water retention
Lungs – this point is useful for people who love sweets and chocolates. Helpful for food addicts as well
Stomach – for people who are already full but still want to eat more
Mouth – for people who chain smoke and for big eaters

One of the advantages of acupuncture for weight loss treatment is that is has no side effects. Moreover, the results of this treatment are usually long lasting and even sometimes permanent.

Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Combined Can Resolve Post Partum Conditions

The effectiveness of Chinese Medicine stems from its capacity to address the root cause of disorders and diseases, which when treated produces long-lasting results.

-Post Traumatic Stress
-Persistent Lochia and Post Partum Bleeding
-Post Natal Depression
-Night Sweating
-Inadequate Lactation
-Tiredness, Fatigue
-Back Pain

Post Traumatic Stress

The use of acupuncture for post traumatic stress is a growing trend among combat soldiers suffering from post traumatic stress disorder in the United States. The treatment also works for post partum stress. Acupuncture works by normalizing the function of the organ systems of the body, calming the nerves, sedating the Spirit (Shen) and helping to dispel the energetic trauma from the body after delivery. This treatment is usually combined with talk therapy.

Persistent Lochia and Post Partum Bleeding

Qi has the ability to tighten and hold body tissues in place. This is particularly true in the case of blood vessels. A weak qi can cause leakages, hemorrhaging or prolapses in the body. Too much Heat in the body can also cause hemorrhaging in the system.

Minimal post natal bleeding is not an abnormal occurrence if it persists for four to six week. Continued bleeding after this period can be considered pathological from the view of Chinese medicine. Hemorrhaging for a considerable long period of time can deplete the body of energy and important nutrients and it is imperative for medical doctors or Chinese medicine practitioners/acupuncturists to address this problem as quickly as possible. Chinese herbal formulas and acupuncture can efficiently and promptly resolve this problem.

Post Natal Depression

Post natal depression (PND) can have many causes, according to Chinese Medicine. Treatment with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help treat blood deficiency or blood stagnation, remove heat and damp from the body, and restore balance to blood and qi flow helping the person regain his/her vitality once more. When combined with talk therapy, this treatment produces great results.

Night Sweating

Night sweating is a common post natal problem. In Chinese Medicine, this condition can be either due to too much heat in the body or Blood/Yin deficiency. Whether fluid loss is through tears, blood or urine, Chinese Medicine will see it as either a symptom and/or a reason for an imbalance which needs to be addressed ASAP. Imbalance patterns related to night sweating can include qi stagnation, jing deficiency, stagnant heat, heat and damp accumulation, toxic heat accumulation, blood deficiency, qi deficiency and yin deficiency. To treat night sweating, the acupuncturist needs to closely observe your signs and symptoms. To restore balance to the system and to ensure long lasting results, Chinese herbs and acupuncture are used. Guidance and advice are also given during your first visit with your acupuncturist.


Several factors may contribute to the rise of mastitis, according to Chinese Medicine. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatment for this condition can help treat blood stagnation, clear heat and damp and restore balance to the flow of blood and qi. If the mastitis has been ongoing for several days, antiobiotics may be given the patient along with herbs and acupuncture. In Sweden, clinical randomized controlled studies have been done showing the symptoms of inflammation in the breast have been resolved with care interventions and acupuncture during lactation.


Post partum insomnia can lead to fatigue/tiredness, anxiety and pot natal depression. According to Chinese Medicine, the spirit or Shen is housed in the blood. If there is inadequate blood to house the shen, shen becomes disturbed and one of the symptoms of a disturbed shen is insomnia. This is usually due to heat in the system which parches blood or sweat or fluid loss that has developed during pregnancy, at birth and/or after birth. Treating post partum insomnia with acupuncture, herbs and diet can help resolve stagnation of blood, clear heat, tonify blood and yin and resotre balance to qi flow, all of which bring back balance to the system.

Inadequate Lactation

This condition can be efficiently treated with Acupuncture. After the birth of the child, the mother’s body has been severely depleted and there may be insufficient resources to supply and sustain sufficient milk production when the mother needs to breast feed her baby. This is a common post partum problem due to the depletion of blood and qi after delivery. Systemic support and nourishment to bring back balance to blood and qi is done using the natural therapies of herbs and acupuncture.


Three of the most common post partum conditions are tiredness, anxiety and fatigue. Chinese herbs and acupuncture provide the remedy for this condition helping to tonify blood and qi and restoring your body back into health and vitality.

Back Pain

One of the most popular uses for acupuncture is for back pain treatment. Post partum mothers are especially prone to back pain due to weakness of their back brought about by depletion of kidney qi as it had been diverted for the development of the baby. One of the functions of the kidney system is to govern the lower back and when kidney q is weak, the lower back is weak, as well. Treatment can come in the form of acupuncture, herbs and advice from the Chinese Medicine practitioner/acupuncturist to tonify and restore balance to kidney qi, blood and qi.

The specific cause of back pain are diagnosed and differentiated by a licensed acupuncturist although you may first need permission, referral from your doctor, chiropractor, osteopathic doctor or physiotherapist.


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

Chinese Herbs, Moxibustion and Acupuncture can Help Treat Asthma-Related Conditions

In treating health conditions related to asthma, acupuncture has proven to be a wonderful treatment. In a lot of instances, it has brought about asthma relief and deep respiration among asthmatic patients in just around 5 minutes of treatment.

In general, it may take six to a dozen acupuncture treatments to attain long-term relief. For a lot of asthmatic patients, acupuncture has enabled them to live an active life and an improvement in their breathing.

This treatment can widen shrunken energy vessels related to the lung system and boost energy and blood flow to the lung meridians. Acupuncture can remove wheezing and allow deeper respiration all without any side effects on the body. In several instances, where an asthma condition is complicated and chronic, Chinese herbal formulas may be integrated into the treatment. Some other forms of traditional Chinese medicine such as moxibustion may also be included to help enhance more the potency of the treatment. Moxibustion is the process where moxa leaves are burned and placed on pressure points on the back and other parts of the body to increase energy to the lungs and strengthen the circulation and flow of energy.

According the acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners, the lungs are connected to the Kidneys. In a number of occasions, the acupuncturist will treat the kidney meridians apart from the lung meridians to get to the root of the problem. The placing of the needles may differ from one practitioner to another. There are certain procedures wherein the needles are inserted at the elbows, wrists or ankles. Every person’s body and health is unique and thus his experiences can be unique, as well. If you haven’t tried acupuncture for the treatment of your asthma, you need to consider getting one at least once in your life.


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

Calming the Mind and Relaxing the Body with Acupuncture Therapy

Classified as alternative medicine, acupuncture is an ancient Chinese healing tradition used to treat various kinds of diseases, illnesses, stress, and pain. It has been used for tens of hundreds of years to help relax the body, boost blood flow, and promote well being and good health. Acupuncture is quite effective in relieving stress and this has helped a lot of people cope with the pressures of life. Chores, tasks, relationships, jobs, and finances oftentimes can cause too much stress in people that there needs to be some way to alleviate this condition to enable a person to live a healthy and happy life.

A lot of people are wary of having their body pricked with needles. This fear denies them the benefits that acupuncture can provide to their mind, body and spirit. However, under the hands of a qualified and skilled acupuncturist, the needles do not cause any pain, although one can expect some numbing or tingling sensations when the acupuncture needles are inserted into the body. There are over 2000 acupuncture points scattered throughout the body and the points selected for treatment will depend on the condition that needs to be treated. For stress, acupuncture points that can help relax the muscles and relieve pain and stress are selected. Each person has a unique constitution. This is one of the reasons why acupuncture treatment is different for each patient even if they all suffer from a similar condition.

A lot of women use acupuncture treatment for treatment of fertility issues. Pressure, anxiety and stress levels to attain pregnancy can take a toll on couples.

Acupuncture is not only used to help a woman conceive, it can also be used to relieve and treat back pain and injuries which are sometimes also caused by stress. Acupuncture treatment will target the points that will help enhance blood circulation to the affected area and help relieve pain.

Acupuncture does not only heal physical conditions, it can be used to address psychological conditions, as well. The mind can attain calmness and the body can be at ease feels after a round of acupuncture therapy. Stress can cause visible symptoms, and it is important to identify what these symptoms are. Individuals suffering from severe stress are prone to make bad decisions and these cause them to be depressed, lonely, have mood swings, and/or suffer from memory loss. They also begin to eat foods that are poor in nutrition that can cause pain and make their body weak.

They start to get sick because of a weak immune system caused by poor food choices, unhealthy living, and never-ending worrying. Some individuals under severe stress may acquire nasty habits such as heavy cigarette smoking, abusing drugs or alcoholism.

There is such a thing as good stress that helps people complete difficult tasks by staying on their toes.   Bad stress, however, tends to cause psychological and physical harm. If bad stress is too much, the person needs to see a doctor as soon as possible as the stress can cause equally severe physical or psychological conditions.

Most of the time, the road to depression begins with stress. If a person so desires, stress can be easily removed or lowered by getting acupuncture or by performing stress reduction activities. Deep breathing exercises or yoga are some of the effective ways to banish stress. Of course, eating a good diet can help build a strong immune system that can help your mind better handle the pressures of everyday life.

People get frustrated over family, relationships, work, and school. It is important to stay calm. Acupuncture is a great way to maintain calmness during times of extreme tribulations.

Some of the harmful effects that bad stress can wreak on the mind and body include nervous breakdowns, heart disease and high blood pressure. The way the person handles stress is important as it can determine the direction his health and his health goes. People who are poor in handling stress often end up depressed and become sick too often. Acupuncture is an excellent way to get over stress as it helps bring the mind to a sedated and calm state and helps soften the tight muscles allowing blood to flow freer.

If you want an easy way to alleviate stress, acupuncture is the treatment to go for. It also has benefits that go beyond the calmness of the mind and the relaxation of the body. It can also help foster a balanced spirit that will help you cope much better with all the pressures of everyday living.


Scott Paglia is a licensed and board certified acupuncturist in Bellingham, WA and provides master level pulse diagnosis, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture in Whatcom County, WA.

Break the Vicious Cycle of Smoking with Chinese Herbs and Acupuncture

Anyone who is hooked on smoking cigarettes and has attempted to quit would tell you that stopping that unhealthy habit is one of the most difficult things to do. Fortunately, these days, smokers who want to quit can avail of several tools to help them achieve their goal. One of these is acupuncture which is very effective in helping break the addiction to nicotine.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a 4,000-year old Chinese therapy that uses extra-fine needles inserted into strategic points in the body known as acupoints to help heal certain health conditions. The needles stimulate a neural response that causes the vital energy of the person (chi or qi) to restore its normal movement in and regulate the normal functions of the various organ and other body systems of the body. Since acupuncture involves the use of needles, a lot of people are reluctant to try it out. The truth is, acupuncture needles are extremely thin, they are as thin as the hair in your head and you can barely feel a sensation when one is inserted into the skin. What’s more, the needles usually are inserted superficially in the skin unlike the hypodermic needles that go deep down into the skin to inject vaccines or draw blood. After a little while, the needles generate a calming and relaxing sensation that helps the patient relax and even fall asleep during the treatment. As mentioned, acupuncture helps restore the normal functions of the organ and other systems of the body as well as improve the flow of energy. This helps lessen the cravings for nicotine and mitigates the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. As a result, anxiety is eased, the mind is calmed, the lungs are strengthened, and the lungs are cleared of phlegm and tar and nicotine residue.

People usually smoke in order to cope with stagnant energy in the body that may manifest in strong emotions such as grief, anger, tension, or anxiety. Cigarette smoking draws warm air deeply into the lungs and the nicotine enters the blood stream where it travels to the brain causing moments of emotional release and relaxation. In acupuncture treatment, the stagnant energy is normalized making it move normally in the same way that a few moments of quiet meditation or deep breaths can do.

Because it enables us to relax, smoking is a false benefit. It has considerable harmful side effects that are worse than the anxiety it is trying to relieve. According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the emotion of grief is closely associated with the lungs. Grief is a stuck, sad, and heavy energy that can be cleared by the movement of the lungs with a few puffs of cigarette.

Acupuncture, especially auricular or ear acupuncture can aid in the reduction of nicotine cravings by stimulating brain receptors that the molecules of nicotine usually bind to and this helps break the cravings. Auricular acupuncture can be performed by an acupuncturist or you can use ‘ear seeds’ that are taped on specific acupoints on your ear to generate the same therapeutic effect that an acupuncture procedure gives.

Acupuncture’s most potent benefit is its ability to ease your anxiety and calm your mind. Smoking is usually a sign of people masking their feeling that they do not want to face or feel head on. In the safest way, acupuncture helps you remove these feelings out of your mind and body. After a session or two, most people state that they are able to fall asleep easier, sleep much better, and sleep for a longer, quality time.

With acupuncture smokers can detoxify their body off nicotine and tar residue. The lungs are cleared and feel much lighter. As a result, people can breathe much better. Digestion also improves, coughing is halted and the voice sounds less grave.

Chinese herbal formulas are oftentimes added to the treatment to help prevent the recurrence of the cravings and to repair the lungs. A particular formula known as “yang Yin Chin Fei” makes it easy for smokers and ex-smokers alike to refrain from smoking. This formula also helps treat sore throat and coughing and helps clear out the lungs as well. It also addresses lung dryness by helping increase moisture in the body.

Ultimately, the one thing that guarantees your success in stopping smoking permanently is your heartfelt desire to quit. As with most types of addictions, the need to admit that you have a problem is the first step to a cigarette-free life. Sometimes, an acupuncturist may ask his patient why he/she wants to quit. If the patient has a sincere desire to change his/her life for the better as the main drive for quitting, the outcomes are more often than not far better than patients who say they wish to quit because their doctor ordered them to or it is what their wife wants. However, good these reasons are, the fact is it ultimately will depend on the patient’s own desire to change his/her life.

This personal desire sets the person on the right path to quitting smoking. Positive consequences such as an improvement in health follow after. You need to remind yourself everyday why you made this choice. Make a list of the reasons and put it in a spot in your home where you can easily see and read it. No amount of hypnotic therapy, nicotine gum, or acupuncture treatment can help you stop smoking unless you are resolved and committed to stick to your decision. Since you are only human (and humans tend to ‘slip up” from time to time) and find yourself smoking once again, go easy on yourself since the healing process takes some time. Do not load yourself with unreasonable expectations.

Nicotine addiction is a very hard habit to break as some studies show. Studies reveal that people who have stopped smoking for a quarter of a century can still have a desire to smoke! Instead of thinking that permanent smoking cessation is impossible, consider cutting back and slowly modify your lifestyle in order that one day you discover that there is no more room or reason in your life to smoke. Addictions happen because they are pleasant experiences that our brain record and these positive feedbacks make us want to experience them over and over. Cigarette addicts may appear to have weaker self-control than other people who don’t smoke; that is not true. These addicts usually are endowed with stronger functioning memory feedback loop and in order to break this vicious loop, acupuncture is used to generate a positive and new sensory feedback loop for your brain.


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