Saturday, October 31, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
U.S. News and World Report’s Health Day section had a fascinating article in the August issue entitled, “Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works”
The writers acknowledge that acupuncture has become increasingly popular in the U.S. and cites a study published in the September issue of NeuroImage that concludes that acupuncture eases pain by regulating key receptors in the brain.
Acupuncture increases the binding availability of mu-opioid receptors in regions of the brain that process and weaken pain signals. "The increased binding availability of these receptors was associated with reductions in pain," said Richard Harris, a researcher at the University of Michigan.
By directly stimulating these chemicals, acupuncture can affect the brain's long-term ability to regulate pain, the study found. The researchers used PET scans to examine 20 women with "undefined" fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition. The women took no new medications for their pain during the study period.
For more information on this study click here
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
By Cathy Margolin L.A.c
According to several recent studies from the National Sleep Foundation and Science Daily the answer to that question is a resounding “yes”. Insomnia seems harmless enough. Perhaps you simply have a hard time falling asleep at night. Or perhaps you toss and turn for a few hours, and then wake up the next morning and drink an extra cup of coffee to make up for it.
How could this be harmful?
While it has been proven the body can physiologically survive for 11-18 days without sleeping, the side effects and danger begin on the very first night, irritability and blurry vision, slowed reaction time, diminished memory capacity and speech control are some of the noticeable effects. From there it can build to a constant underlying sense of nausea, an increase in cortisol, which is linked to depression and cardiovascular disease. Even at the most benign level, you’re still 300% more likely to catch a cold if you sleep for less than seven hours a night. (not a good idea during swine flu season)
In extreme cases, the effects of sleeplessness are considered so harmful that it has been shunned as a form of unethical research and used as torture. The US Department of Transportation reports that there are about 200,000 car accidents a year caused by sleepy drivers , a figure higher than those killed by drunk driving. If you’re lucky enough to survive your daily commute, you’re still considered at a higher risk for developing depression, as well as increasing the odds that depression will linger for a longer period than those who maintain healthy sleep hygiene.
Often the insomniac becomes his or her own worst enemy, creating a maddening cycle of drinking coffee, taking habit-forming medications that don’t allow for REM sleep, and staying in bed longer each morning in an attempt to ‘make up’ for what they’ve missed. As the insomnia becomes worse, so does the anxiety and frustration, and the cycle continues.
The good news is that you can break the cycle. While there is much to be said for making modifications in your diet to support sleep hygiene, as well as creating a routine that ‘trains’ your body into relaxing, you can also supplement these changes with Traditional Chinese herbs. Herbal supplements have been used for centuries to repair the body’s natural balance by helping to induce the very REM sleep that you need in order to wake up rested the next morning.
Whether the cause of your sleeplessness is due to everyday stressors, such as situational stress, over-thinking, anxiety, worry, restlessness or grief, Chinese herbs have been highly effective in helping hundreds of thousands of individuals reclaim their health and prevent further, more life-threatening diseases. In comparison to the Western counterparts, Traditional Chinese herbs do not cause “hangovers” that decrease work productivity or feed into the caffeinate/sedate cycle. Simply put, you have the opportunity to wake up feeling refreshed each and every morning by investing in some ancient herbal remedies.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
This past week Reuters had an article about the benefits of stress management for fertility. Research presented at a meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in Atlanta suggests that including a mind/body approach while undergoing IVF treatments increases the chances of getting pregnant. Below are some excerpts from the article.
"Alice Domar, who runs a fertility center in Boston and also works at Harvard Medical School, found that women who took part in a stress management program while having a second round of assisted fertility treatment had a 160 percent greater pregnancy rate than women getting IVF alone."
"This study shows that stress management may improve pregnancy rates, minimizing the stress of fertility management itself, improving the success rates of IVF procedures, and ultimately, helping to alleviate the emotional burden for women who are facing challenges trying to conceive."
"It's clear based on this carefully designed study, that a holistic approach to infertility care leads to better outcomes for patients," said Dr. R. Dale McClure, president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
to read the entire article click here
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
The September, 2009 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, carried the results of a study that is of particular importance to pregnant women.
Dr. Shu-Ming Wang and colleagues from the Yale School of Medicine, used pressure needles taped to the ear acupuncture points of pregnant women and found that they experienced significant reductions in lower back and pelvic pain as compared to those who had the needles placed at three "sham" points or women in a control group who didn't get real or fake acupuncture.
Pain in the lower back and pelvis is a common complain among pregnant women and of course, they are reluctant to take medication to relieve the pain. This study confirms that acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment alternative.
A 30% or greater reduction in pain was reported by 81% of women in the acupuncture group, 59% of women in the sham acupuncture group and 47% of women in the control group. The difference between the sham and control groups wasn't statistically significant.
Improvements in function were significantly greater among women who had real acupuncture compared to those who got the fake version or received no treatment.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I love Halloween! It may be my favorite holiday.
Countries in the East do not have Halloween, but they do celebrate something similar. Just as the Western festival focuses on ghosts and ghouls, the Eastern celebration is about the departed spirits of the underworld, also known as The Feast of the Hungry Ghosts. It is celebrated in July in China, Singapore, Malaysia and other countries.
The Chinese believe that during this two-week period, the gates of the underworld open and hungry ghosts are free to wander the Earth seeking food and maybe even revenge if they were wronged. These ghosts are referred to as "hungry" because they had once been people who died from unnatural causes or had not been given a proper burial by their family members. The story goes that these souls are angered by their abandonment and seek to punish the living.
In reaction to these roaming hungry ghosts, the Chinese celebrate The Feasts of the Hungry Ghosts to remember their dead family members and pay tribute to them. This is an attempt to make the angry spirits feel welcome and to subdue their antagonistic feelings. The living people also offer food to appease the spirits and ward off bad luck; they offer prayers and burn joss sticks. At night in Singapore, it is a common sight to see entertaining ‘wayang’ shows and concerts performed on outdoor stages in some neighborhoods, hoping to please the wandering ghosts. Children are also advised to return home early and not to wander around alone at night because they might be possessed by the roving ghosts.
Monday, October 19, 2009
You don’t have to sit in ice, you probably are not dating a model half your age, but you can have acupuncture and feel like dancing!!!
In an interview with Rolling Stone, the 51-year-old performer admitted she has to sit in a bath of ice and have acupuncture treatment after her concerts. She said: "My ankles get taped before the shows and I have treatments and physical therapists…."It's from years and years of abuse, dancing in high heels, which is not great on your knees. All dancers have injuries, but we just deal with them. We get acupuncture and therapy - and just keep going."
Thursday, October 15, 2009
By Cathy Margolin L.A.c.
According to a USA Today article, in the 1950s approximately 7.5 hours of sleep
Studies have shown, however, that we need 7-8 hours of sleep a night to be high-functioning during the day. It is a common belief that sleeping in on week-ends will somehow balance out the sleep debt incurred during the week. However, once one starts cutting sleep during the week again, there is a significant effect on alertness, mood, and performance. A study in 1995 found that there is significant sleep loss in 1/3 of American adults. This state of perennial sleepiness has been estimated to cause about 2-56 billion dollars in sleep-related accidents on the road each year, and even more in lost productivity, medical illness, or shortened lifespan secondary to sleepiness or sleep pathology.
Due to both the normal aging process and modern societal pressures to succeed, our hours in bed are continually sacrificed. Those who work the graveyard shift tend to accumulate the highest amount of sleepiness, as they are sleeping during a poor circadian time. Also, the advent of electricity has, in some ways, interfered with our natural circadian rhythms. The primary reason is that melatonin, a hormone implicated in helping us fall asleep at night, is only produced in the absence of light. When light hits the retina, a signal is sent via the optic nerve to the pineal gland that causes melatonin production to cease. With our ability to create artificial light (i.e. computer screens and television), the release of melatonin is delayed until these appliances have been turned off. Melatonin supplements often work to help restore one’s natural circadian rhythm, yet too often this is not enough. For many people, the next alternative for staying asleep is to purchase prescription sleep aids. Although drugs may help, they have a short-term effect which fades rapidly once you stop taking them. This makes it necessary to continually renew your stock of sleep aids, which, monetarily speaking, adds up quickly, and often becomes addicting.
Chinese herbs offer a different kind of solution. Traditional Chinese Medicine has treated the insomnia cycle for hundreds of years. The theory needs explaining first. It is all about a reversal of the energy of our spirits. It’s up at night, in our head stimulating our brain rather than sleeping in our hearts where Chinese medicine believes our spirit is stored and nourished while we sleep. When our heads are thinking too much at night it does not allow the heart to rest.
Chinese herbal medicine is extremely effective at curing this type of short-term insomnia problem. Herbal medicine calms the mind, nourishes the blood (the heart), anchors the spirit (figuratively) and allows the heart to settle quietly into a natural sleep. It’s non- addicting, and, after used for a short period of time, acute insomniacs can again return to a normal sleep pattern without the use of herbs. If you have not yet tried Chinese herbal medicine for your sleeplessness, you need to find a good acupuncturist who can help you with the right prescription of herbs which will make all the difference in both your nighttime and daytime hours.
Cathy Margolin is a Licensed Acupuncturist and consumer health advocate with a passion for teaching people how to improve their health through the use of Chinese herbal formulas. She enjoys impacting the lives of readers around the world who haven’t yet experienced the phenomenal health benefits from the ancient wisdom of Chinese herbal medicine. She currently maintains an Acupuncture & Chinese herbal medicine practice, writes herbal formulas for her patients and works at PACHerbs.com.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
This is a very interesting article from the Examiner.com. It not only talks about exciting new research into acupuncture, but also about acupuncture's use in the military and scientific research going back to the 1960's. Check it out!
New Scientific Breakthrough Proves Why Acupuncture Works
By Tima Vlasto - NY Holistic Science & Spirit Examiner
New groundbreaking research shows that the insertion of an acupuncture needle into the skin disrupts the branching point of nerves called C fibres. These C fibres transmit low-grade sensory information over very long distances by using Merkel cells as intermediaries. Dr. Morry Silberstein of the Curtin University of Technology will publish his research in the Journal of Theoretical Biology later this year.
"We have never really had a scientific explanation for how acupuncture actually works,” he said. In the absence of a scientific rationale, acupuncture has not been widely used in the mainstream medical community. If we can explain the process scientifically, we can open it to full scientific scrutiny and develop ways to use it as a part of medical treatments.”
Dr. Silberstein mentions that they have known, for some time, that the acupuncture points show lower electrical resistance than other nearby areas of the skin. His research specifically pinpoints that the C fibres actually branch exactly at acupuncture points. Scientists don’t know exactly what role C fibres play in the nervous system, but Dr. Silverstein theorizes that the bundle of nerves exists to maintain arousal or wakefulness. The insertion of the acupuncture needle disrupts this circuit and numbs our sensitivity to pain.”
Acupuncture for pain relief is actually being taught to American Air Force physicians deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan (2009) by Dr. Richard Niemtzow MD, PhD, MPH and editor of Medical Acupuncture. His technique called “Battlefield Acupuncture” relieves severe pain for several days and is a variation of acupuncture, which inserts very tiny semi-permanent needles at specific acupoints on the skin of the ear that blocks pain signals from reaching the brain.
"This is one of the fastest pain attenuators in existence," said Dr. Niemtzow, who is the Consultant for complementary and alternative medicine for the Surgeon General of the Air Force, and is affiliated with Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda. "The pain can be gone in five minutes."
It has taken quite a long time for Western medicine to embrace acupuncture even though it was introduced in the early 1970’s after contacts with China improved.
to read the rest of the article click here
Monday, October 12, 2009
Some Commonly Treated Conditions Are:
According The World Health Organization, there are more than 100 different kinds of diseases and illnesses that can be treated very effectively by using acupuncture.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
I am happy to report that Associate Professor Caroline Smith, from the Centre for Complementary Medicine at the University of Western Sydney, recently won the inaugural Award for Translational Research at the National Institute of Complementary Medicine's symposium in Brisbane. This is a major award and she earned it for her pioneering clinical research into acupuncture techniques for women.
One of her research articles, Does Acupuncture Have a Place as an Adjunct Treatment During Pregnancy? summarized the evidence examining the effectiveness of acupuncture during pregnancy and birthing, and discussed its role as an adjunct treatment.
Professor Smith conducted a systematic literature search using several electronic databases and included all placebo-controlled randomized trials of parallel design, and systematic reviews that evaluated the role of acupuncture during pregnancy and birthing.
Their results concluded that a small but growing body of acupuncture research suggests that acupuncture is effective in treating nausea during pregnancy. Their findings also highlighted promising evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture to manage back and pelvic pain, acupuncture-type interventions to induce change in breech presentation, and pain relief in labor. The study concluded that there is a growing interest in the use of acupuncture to treat some complaints during pregnancy and childbirth, and evidence is accumulating to support the finding that acupuncture may assist with the management of some complaints during pregnancy. However, definitive conclusions about its effectiveness cannot be reached and further research is justified.
The prize is designed to recognize complementary medical techniques that improve health outcomes and further the national research and innovation agenda.
"I'm thrilled to have won the award, and for my work to be acknowledged by my peers and other experts," Associate Professor Smith says. “Many women are reluctant to take medication while they are pregnant, which meant that in the past they didn't have anywhere to turn to for relief."
Associate Professor Smith has attracted international acclaim for her clinical research and summaries of evidence regarding complementary therapies to treat morning sickness and labor pain.
University of Western Sydney Press Release
Smith, Caroline A.; and Cochrane, Suzanne. “Does Acupuncture Have a Place as an Adjunct Treatment During Pregnancy? A Review of Randomized Controlled Trials and Systematic Reviews” Birth, Vol. 36, # 3,9,2009:246-253(8)
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Scottish professional footballer Kenny Miller is using acupuncture as part of his plan to recover from a hamstring injury. Kenny is a Striker for the Rangers and had to sit out a couple of big games. His team has not done well without him. While he was able to play recently against the Celtics and scored the winning goals for his team, it took a toll on his health. "His Manager Walter Smith was thrilled with Miller's contribution but concedes that a gruelling run of matches recently were too much for the striker." Kenny is now looking for a long term solution to his ongoing pain and will be seeing a specialist. He is also incorporating several alternative therapies including Thai massage and acupuncture.
My best to Kenny and his team!
To read more from BBC Sport click here
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine can significantly reduce headaches and relieve the often crippling pain. Ginger is a wonderful spice and herb often used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. I often recommend it to my patients for many ailments. The information below, is from acufinder.com and shows how ginger can help headache sufferers.
"Numerous clinical studies have shown that ginger can be used to relieve headaches. Researchers believe it does so by relaxing the blood vessels in the head and diminishing swelling in the brain. It also activates natural opiates in the brain that relieve pain, and it reduces prostaglandins, which are responsible for causing inflammation."
Posted by Jennifer Dubowsky at 8:19 AM
Labels: Acupuncture and Headaches, Acupuncture and Migraines, Acupuncture/Chinese Medicine Research, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Chinese Herbal Research, Chinese Medicine, Ginger, Health, Healthy Digestion, Healthy Foods, TCM/Acupuncture Research, Traditional Chinese Medicine