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Alternative Medicine News

Monthly Archives : September, 2015

Studies Confirm the Effectiveness of Chinese Herbs and Acupuncture for the Treatment of Eczema

About 16 million Americans suffer from eczema, a skin disease that is marked by distinguishing symptoms of red, scaly and dry patches of skin that are extremely itchy. Medications are the standard conventional modalities for eczema and they are designed merely to relieve the itchiness and inflammation. Corticosteroids are the most commonly used drugs to treat eczema; however it has certain adverse side effects that may include weight gain, osteoporosis, hypertension, gastrointestinal problems, glaucoma, and cataracts. Eczema sufferers seeking a safe and natural solution to their problem should try out the very effective Chinese herbs and acupuncture treatment for eczema.

The effectiveness of acupuncture in treating eczema was put to the test in a German study. This study had 30 participants all of whom had eczema problems. They were immediately treated with medications following exposure to pollen and dust mite allergens. However, the allergens only worsened causing flare ups in these participants. The aim of the study was to help relieve the participant’s itching. There were different test conditions given to all the subjects with the first test being a treatment involving “point-specific” acupuncture. Targeted acupoints were needled in order to soothe the itchy skin. The points specifically needled were called the Hsuehai and Quchi acupoints. The next treatment given was known as the “placebo-point” therapy. This type of treatment needled acupoints that were not known to resolve itchy skin. The last test was zero treatment following exposure to the allergen.

The results of the study went this way: all the 30 subjects experienced reduced levels of itchiness after being given the point-specific acupuncture therapy. The placebo acupuncture had lesser positive results while the no treatment procedure produced basically zero results. Besides these outcomes, interesting evidences revealed that when the subjects were exposed a second time to the allergen, the point-specific acupuncture helped these subjects experience lesser severe flare-ups. These outcomes indicated that a sustained improvement can be achieved after just one session of point-specific acupuncture therapy. The study’s administrators concluded that the needling of the right acupoints can lead to a significant lowering in type I hypersensitivity itch in people suffering from atopic eczema.

Another similar study performed in Palestine studied the potency of acupuncture combined with the use of Chinese herbs for the treatment of atopic dermatitis, the most common type of eczema. The study involved subjects ranging between the ages of 13 to 49 all of whom were suffering from atopic dermatitis. All subjects were treated with a combo of acupuncture and herbs thrice a day for twelve weeks. After the end of three, six, nine, and twelve weeks, each patient was evaluated. The evaluation consistently showed an improvement of their condition by an average of 39%. These findings confirmed that a combination of Chinese herbs and acupuncture can produce benefits for atopic dermatitis sufferers.

These findings have given eczema patients an option to try out less harmful modalities to the ones offered by pharmaceutical companies. Eczema patients can now make an informed decision on what treatment approach they can use based on the findings of the above mentioned studies that support the use of natural therapies like Chinese herbs and acupuncture for the treatment in Overland Park of their condition.

Some Things to Know About Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine And IBS

Acupuncture, often combined with the use of Chinese dietary and herbal therapy is one form of alternative medicine that maintains or restores health by boosting and balancing the circulation of vital energy throughout the body. The result is the normal functioning of the organs, glands, vessels, nerves, and muscles of the body.

Acupuncture for IBS

The World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health Consensus Panel have stated that acupuncture is an appropriate form of treatment for several conditions associated with IBS. These include:

-Muscle cramping
-Stomach pain

Also, these two organizations have deemed acupuncture to be an effective way to reduce stress and other related issues that often trigger the symptoms of IBS. These triggers can include:

-Premenstrual syndrome
-Menstrual cramps

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a very old form of traditional Chinese medicine healing art. It is a form of treatment given to patients by trained practitioners, who balances the vital energy of the body known as chi through the activation of areas known as acupuncture points along the main energy channels called primary meridians. These are the channels where chi travels or flows. When these meridians are stimulated they help normalize the mental and physical processes of a person. Acupuncture can either sedate or stimulate acupuncture points in order to generate a proper healing response.

The view of traditional Chinese medicine about the human body is that imbalances in the natural flow of chi may result in pain and illnesses that can be spiritual, emotional or physical in nature. With the help of acupuncture as well as dietary and herbal therapy, these illnesses and pain are resolved and health balance is restored once more.

Acupuncture can help boost the flow of chi or it can clear out the blockages in the energy channels through the use of extremely thin, sterile needles inserted at predetermined acupoints in the body.

There are literally over two thousand acupoints scattered all over the body and each one of them corresponds to a certain organ/organ system. Certain sensations may be felt when a needle is inserted into the skin. They may include that of heaviness, warmth, aching, or tingling; some people may feel nothing at all. Depending on the nature of the condition, about one to twenty needles may be inserted in one session alone. There are acupuncturists who may use moxibustion along with acupuncture to heighten the effect of the treatment. A treatment procedure may last as short as 5 minutes while some procedures may last a full hour.

The number of sessions needed depends on the illness being treated and how well the patient responds to the treatment. For the relief of pain, six sessions may be required to get the full benefits of the treatment.

Clinical Studies Pertaining to IBS and Acupuncture

There is at least one study that researched acupuncture’s effectiveness for the treatment of IBS versus relaxation therapy. The study revealed that even though both relaxation therapy and acupuncture equally improved symptoms (especially with regards to stomach pain) in both groups, the four-week trial study showed that only the group treated with acupuncture had a substantial lowering of stress. The conductors of the study concluded that acupuncture is a valid and much more effective form of treatment for IBS, especially for the resolution of stress and pain, than relaxation therapy.

Even if it has been proven that acupuncture unquestionably can resolve symptoms of IBS especially pain, Western conventional medicine still has no explanation how acupuncture therapy truly works. One idea Western medicine has about the workings of acupuncture is that this procedure stimulates the nervous system which leads to the production and release of neurotransmitters such as endorphins. These are chemicals that prevent pain brain signals from reaching the spinal cord and the brain.

How acupuncture does this is still a mystery especially to scientists and doctors who cannot accept the idea, let alone, the existence of chi. But if you have been experiencing pain, diarrhea, or constipation caused by IBS, you wouldn’t care how the treatment works.

On a lot of the really good treatments for IBS (acupuncture, Tai Chi, meditation, etc.), there are a few that actually have valid explanations of how it works. One may be intrigued or may not really be interested why these therapies produce such impressive results. It is just how it is. Doctors have no idea why IBS arises and many of them dismiss the condition outright as being a psychosomatic problem. Their findings about IBS do not even come close to understanding the real cause of this problem which explains why there is no cure for IBS yet. The most important thing for an acupuncturist is that acupuncture can treat and prevent an IBS attack. Still it would really help a lot if someone can explain how acupuncture works and why IBS develops.

Precautions when using Acupuncture

If you are seriously considering getting acupuncture treatment for your IBS symptoms listed below are some precautionary measures you need to remember before you go through with treatment:

1. If you have breast implants or any kind of implant in your body, make sure you tell your acupuncturist about them to avoid them being inserted with needles.

2. If you have diabetes, then acupuncture needle insertion in your limbs should be done with extreme caution. The needles can cause infection in a patient suffering from diabetic neuropathy. You need to talk to your doctor for any concerns you may have.

3. If you are pregnant, the activation of certain acupuncture points, especially on points on or near the stomach, can induce premature labor and uterine contractions that may result in miscarriage. You need to tell your acupuncturist that you are pregnant or if you think you are.

4. If you are currently taking warfarin (Coumadin) or any anticoagulant drug or you have an uncontrolled bleeding disorder, then you need to tell your acupuncturist about it before he/she administers the treatment. The needles have a tendency to draw blood.

Manhattan Acupuncture Clinic
900 Broadway, Suite 404
New York, NY 10003
Ph: (917) 968-6456

Resolving Migraine Headaches with Acupuncture

Millions of people around the world suffer from migraine. This is a type of headache much more painful than an ordinary headache. Migraines result from vasodilation (widening of the blood vessels) in the head causing the coiled arteries in the brain to elongate. Chemicals are released by the extended arteries causing the pain characteristic of migraine headache. Some of the superficial symptoms of migraine include nervousness, neck pain, headaches, and vomiting. Drugs are the most popular treatments for this condition but since these medications all have unwanted side effects other people are turning to alternative modes of treatment such as Chinese medicine to counter the condition. The fact is, Chinese medicine, specifically, acupuncture has been found to produce superior results in the treatment of migraines than Western conventional treatments. Acupuncture has the power to treat migraines before and after it occurs. These days, more and more medical doctors are utilizing this form of healing which they term acupuncture migraine treatment.

For thousands of years, the Chinese not only used wild plants and herbs to treat scores of diseases. They also used the power of the needle by inserting it in parts of the body known as acupoints or pressure points. There are literally thousands of acupoints in the human body. Each of these acupoints is associated to a corresponding organ or body part. Any problem in an organ/ body part can be treated through the acupoint related to that organ/body part. These days, Chinese medicine is now being utilized by thousands of Western doctors for the treatment of pain and other illnesses. An acupuncturist is a person or a doctor who specializes in the use of acupuncture needles to treat or cure a condition. Acupuncture is a very versatile form of treatment that not only treats or cures most types of pain but also has the power to prevent the rise of different kind of diseases. Besides that, the treatment can also help a person restore lost memory caused by trauma or accidents. Another of its benefit is that it is non-invasive unlike any other treatment. Acupuncture is also inexpensive and you are not required to maintain it.

What benefits can one expect in acupuncture treatment for migraines?

Any migraine sufferer can benefit from acupuncture treatment. It can be done even if a person currently has a migraine attack. It can also be used to prevent its recurrence. Through the sticking of the sharp edge of the clean and sterilized needle in the acupoint of the patient and deftly manipulating the needles, the acupuncturist can resolve the symptoms of migraine. In the treatment of migraines, the patient is required to sit down instead of lying down. One reason for this is to prevent the increased circulation of blood to the head. Even if acupuncture has the capacity to alleviate the pain of migraine headaches, several studies prove that acupuncture can also help in the prevention of future migraine attacks. Acupoints selected for the treatment of migraine are located in the following acupoints:

The acupoint that lies in the crease between the forefinger and thumb
The acupoint located in the largest crease inside the wrist in line with the thumb

The L14 acupoint believed to help alleviate headaches. This point is contraindicated for pregnant women as it has known to help induce labor.

Acupuncturists prefer treatment that helps prevent the rise of migraine headaches in their patients instead of treating ongoing attacks.

The aphorism an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is very much true among Chinese medicine practitioners. Avoiding mental, physical, and emotional stress can be factors that lead to further health problems such as migraine. If you suffer from severe and chronic stress, it is advisable to see a doctor or acupuncturist to prevent your condition from worsening and turning into migraine, which is one of the most intolerable pains a person can endure. You can ask your doctor if acupuncture can help with your condition. You can talk to a licensed acupuncturist who can advise you and give you a preventative form of treatment for your migraine or treatment of your ongoing migraine attacks.

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