The studies about acupuncture's effectiveness in improving pregnancy rates continue to emerge. The newest one that I just read concludes that acupuncture improves clinical pregnancy rates and live birth rates for women receiving IVF (in vitro fertilization). In another, live births significantly increased when acupuncture was administered near the time of either oocyte aspiration or controlled ovarian hyper-stimulation. And a third reported that acupuncture helps to prevent egg implantation failure. Read more about the research here.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Friday, January 27, 2012
You would think that only dragon moms and dads would want dragon babies but - no. Many people who believe in the Chinese astrological calender are thinking about dragon babies. This is The Year Of The Dragon and, in Chinese astrology, your sign depends on the year in which you are born so - babies born this year will be DRAGONS. Dragon years are considered the luckiest of all years to have a baby, so some wanna-be dragon parents are using fertility treatments to boost their chances of getting pregnant. The characteristics associated with this lucky sign include passion, ambition, success, dominance and a directness that will hopefully be tempered with a little diplomacy.
*To read the Wall Street Journal article about the fertility boom related to the new year, click here.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Researchers in New Zealand performed a meta-analysis of 638 research studies that asked 420,599 men and women (mean age =37) from 63 different countries about their Health, Wealth and Happiness. They found that a strong sense of well-being could be predicted if a person scored high on individualism, personal freedom and autonomy. Money was found to be useful for buying things and making life comfortable because it gave people choices but, the drive to “DO AS I CHOOSE”, meaning high individualism, personal freedom and autonomy was more important in determining overall well-being.
So, well-being seems to increase as we have the ability to make choices in our lives; it makes sense. Can there be too much of a good thing? Yes, too much individualism separates families and causes anxiety which is not conducive to well being.
Source: Fischer, R. and Boer, D. What is Important for National Well-Being? Money or Autonomy? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Vol. 101 #1, p 164-184, 2011.
Monday, January 23, 2012
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Headaches are a common problem that bring people into my Chicago acupuncture office. Several million people suffer from severe headaches/migraines and it is an increasingly popular reason to seek acupuncture treatment - with good reason. Acupuncture is effective at treating all types of headaches, both acute and chronic. This includes tension headaches, sinus headaches, hormonal headaches and migraines.
Migraines are more common in younger people (those under 55), women, and individuals with a family history. The exact causes of these horrible headaches is not known but some common triggers include:
Lack of sleep
Caffeine withdrawal or overload
Alcohol, especially red wine
Foods that contain nitrates, such as hot dogs and lunch meats or foods that contain MSG which is often found in fast foods, as well as some seasonings.
On January 9th, the Canadian Medical Association Journal published the results of a new study that treated subjects with acupuncture. The study had 480 participants. The results showed that acupuncture significantly reduced the number of days people suffered migraines and may have lasting effects. This study used both traditional and “sham” acupuncture and found that both were effective but that only the traditional acupuncture group had lasting effects. To read more about this study click here
More Praise for Using Acupuncture to Treat Headaches
In 2008, Duke University sent out a press release stating, “Acupuncture is more effective than medication in reducing the severity and frequency of chronic headaches, according to a new analysis conducted by Duke University Medical Center researchers.” This statement came after researchers at Duke reviewed more than 30 studies (4000 patients). This is not unexpected. The National Institutes of Health has recommended acupuncture as a viable treatment for chronic headaches for over a decade.
*Personal note: In many of the studies referred to above, and in other studies that I’ve read, researchers use what they call “sham” acupuncture in a variety of forms. I am not the only acupuncturist who feels strongly that sham acupuncture is not the most effective way of evaluating acupuncture’s benefits. To learn more - read Stepping Stone Acupuncture’s great article on this topic ->The current problem with acupuncture research.
Friday, January 20, 2012
The American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM) is working hard to get acupuncture included in the Affordable Care Act as an Essential Health Benefit.
This means that acupuncture would be covered by the Affordable Care Act, which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in March 2010. The goal of the Act was to get patients better access to care, insurance, and other rights. At this time, most people must pay out-of-pocket for acupuncture, thereby denying treatment to many.
AAAOM has submitted a white paper to IOM (Institute Of Medicine), the Institute of Medicine recommends the services to be included. The White Paper identifies acupuncture as cost-effective, safe and effective and asks its inclusion into the Affordable Care Act.
Your endorsement will help acupuncture become available and allow many more people to become active participants and choose their health and wellness care.
*Please go to the AAAOM website (click here) to sign the petition to have acupuncture included as essential healthcare
Please share this post we only have until January 31st!
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Today, I am going to focus on how acupuncture can relieve the increasingly common complaint of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, but be sure to check back because I plan to address other computer related problems in future posts.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is one of the most common job-related injuries and occurs three times more often in women. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway in the wrist made up of ligaments and bones. This small pathway/tunnel contains the median nerve and the tendons that connect the fingers to the muscles of the forearm. Thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling can narrow the tunnel that the median nerve runs through causing it to be compressed.
Symptoms usually start gradually with tingling or numbness in the palm and fingers and can get progressively worse to include pain, burning and weakness of the affected hand and forearm. . I've had several patients come in over the years complaining of persistent wrist pain, a frequent symptom of carpel tunnel problems. This syndrome can cause irreversible nerve damage and permanent deterioration of muscle tissue.
The most common therapies prescribed by doctors are anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids, exercises and in some cases surgery. These options make acupuncture a very effective and attractive treatment, wouldn’t you say?
Acupuncture can reduce the swelling, inflammation and pain in the wrist, fingers and arm. According to a study published in the May of 2009 issue of the Clinical Journal of Pain acupuncture was shown to be just as effective the corticosteroid, prednisone for treating such common carpal tunnel symptoms as numbness, tingling and weakness. Plus for the symptoms of waking at night and motor function, the acupuncture group had better results than the group taking steroids.
Time to tear yourself away from your computer and call for an appointment!
Source: The Clinical Journal of Pain. 25(4):327-333, May 2009. doi: 10.1097/AJP.0b013e318190511c
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
There are 12 animal symbols represented in Asian astrology and this year is The Year of the Dragon. Of all the symbols, the Dragon is the one mythical creature (as compared to Tiger, Rabbit and others) and the only one that can fly. This promises us an exciting year!
The Year of the Dragon begins on January 23, 2012, and ends on February 9, 2013. In addition to having an animal sign, each year also has an element (wood, water, fire, earth or air) that helps to define the symbolic animal and further explain the coming days. This year, we have a Water Dragon. The last time we had a Water Dragon was in 1952.
When we examine Chinese lore, we see that Dragon years can be dramatic. Why? In Chinese astrology, the Dragon is the mightiest of the signs. Dragons symbolize character traits such as passion, dominance, and raw ambition. They are unafraid of challenges or change and do everything on a grand scale. In China, the Dragon is a sign of good fortune and the Year of the Dragon is considered an auspicious time for new beginnings. This is a good year to start a family, a new business venture, or embark on a transformation in your life. The Dragon, perhaps because of its passion, may also bring a rougher style of communication - less diplomacy and more directness, so be prepared. Because this year is the Year of the Water Dragon, affairs maybe tempered because water helps calm the Dragon’s fire. That’s why Water Dragons tend to be less stubborn than your regular old Dragons. The implication is that Dragons might find a little more room for seeing someone else’s point of view and behave in a less dramatic fashion.
Regardless of your particular animal sign, the Year of the Dragon promises stimulating days to come.
Are You a Dragon?
In the Chinese Zodiac, your sign is determined by the year in which you were born. The Dragon years are: 1904, 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952 (also a water dragon), 1964, 1976, 1988, and 2000.
The people born during The Year of the Dragon are an extroverted, enthusiastic bunch. They also tend to be hard workers, big risk takers, brave and conceited. They are known for quick tempers. You can see why the Dragon is never to be ignored.
As we begin any new year, many of us spend a bit of time setting goals and imagining the year ahead. Our last Year of the Dragon occurred in 2000 and, at that time, everyone was concerned about a global meltdown because of the infamous Y2K. It never happened. Now, for this 2012 Year of the Dragon, there are more dire predictions. But, as long as we are still here, I plan to embrace the fearlessness of the Dragon, begin new projects and be optimistic about the Year of the Dragon.
Happy New Year!
Monday, January 9, 2012
Hospitals are increasingly offering patients acupuncture and other 'alternative' therapies. Have we won them over? Maybe. Certainly, many doctors have followed the research and understand the effectiveness of acupuncture and other Chinese medicine treatments but, I'm afraid that some of it is about greed. Hospitals are aware of the large numbers of people who visit other types of practitioners and want to get them back. Therefore, they are offering treatments that patients request - at least that is a good thing.
*Read the LA Times article here
Friday, January 6, 2012
Here are some of my latest finds:
The actor Stephen Collins is one of my personal favorites. I follow him on twitter and he often tweets about his love of acupuncture. Here is an example from 3/31/11 when he tweeted, "About to have acupuncture, which I LOVE."
Stephen also turned me on to Melissa Gilbert who tweeted me that she is also an acupuncture fan. That’s right folks, little Laura Ingals has left the farm and joined us in the world of alternative medicine.
Natalie Portman told a writer from Marie Claire magazine that she used acupuncture to cut down on her stress while she was pregnant. I hope she has continued treatment since being a new mother is probably more stressful than being pregnant.
Jessica Simpson expressed her love of cupping to US magazine.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation is funding a study to see if acupuncture can relieve some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.
Professional athletes continue to turn to acupuncture for pain relief and injury rehabilitation. Staying in shape and injury free is vital to their careers so it is no surprise that many of them are open to acupuncture to help them keep in tip top shape. Mickael Pietrus, the famous NBA player for the Phoenix Suns sought treatment at the Shaolin Temple in China, and Ray Emery of the Chicago Blackhawks used acupuncture to help in his long recovery process.
Thank you all for your support!
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Ray Emery, a Chicago Blackhawk's player has not always been known to have a good attitude. However, since being diagnosed with avascular necrosis two years ago, a lot has changed. Avascular necrosis cuts off the blood supply to bone tissue and one of the bones in Emery's hip was deteriorating from the disease.
In the spring of 2010, he underwent surgery followed by months of rehabilitation which included acupuncture. It took him a full year to play again but now he is back and on a winning streak - with a better attitude.
"Something like that happens and you realize you can't play forever, you're not Superman," Emery said.
Maybe not superman, but he still can play, going 7-2-0 and leading his team into the playoffs last season.
to read more click here.