Thursday, April 24, 2014

Yin Yang SymbolAcupuncture Services of Central New York offers informational articles on acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). We welcome you to read about our background and services from the "About Us" navigation, or educate yourself with the articles categorized by topic and health condition. To be informed of new articles as they're posted, you may subscribe to our newsletter. or RSS feed.

Most Recent Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Articles:

Decision Making, A Function of the Gallbladder

decisionmaking.jpg In traditional Chinese medicine, the decision making process is dependent on the strong energy of the Gallbladder. When the Gallbladder energy is weak, a person may have trouble making decisions.

In Chinese medicine theory every organ has a physical and a mental function in the human body. The organs are paired according to yin and yang theory. The Liver and the Gallbladder are a yin yang pair. The Liver influences our capacity to plan our life and find a sense of direction. The Gallbladder influences our courage and conviction to make decisions to carry out that plan. When the Liver and Gallbladder are in balance, mentally and spiritually we are focused and decisive about our purpose in life.

A person with a diagnosis of Gallbladder deficiency may appear nervous and timid. They may lack courage and initiative and may be easily startled. Physical symptoms may include dizziness, blurred vision, panic attacks and insomnia. Gallbladder deficiency may be congenital and actually describe the character or personality of an individual. Gallbladder deficiency may result from traumatic childhood experiences. And Gallbladder deficiency may also result from a severe deficiency of Blood. Although extreme cases may warrant psychotherapy treatment, Chinese medicine has a lot to offer people who may fall into this pattern of imbalance.

Continue reading this entry on Chinese Medicine Diagnosis »

Chinese Herbal Formulas for the Common Cold

common cold.jpg

In the following article, Dr. Jake Fratkin discusses the many Chinese herbal formulas that can be used to treat the common cold and flu. Consult a licensed practitioner of Chinese mediicne to determine which formula should be used in any given situation.

Treating Acute Common Cold
Dr. Jake Paul Fratkin

One of the great contributions Chinese medicine offers the West is the availability of herbs and herbal formulas that directly attack viral heat toxins causing the common cold, influenza, upper respiratory infections, and common pediatric diseases. Here, western medicine is at a total loss, offering at best bed rest and fluids, and at worse, antibiotics. Antibiotics are ineffective against viral infections, doing nothing to alter the severity of symptoms or the time frame of an infection. However, they do negatively impact the body’s immune system by destroying the beneficial gut bacteria that neutralize harmful toxins. By destroying gut bacteria, one’s immune system becomes depleted, doing the work that would have been done by beneficial bacteria.

While western herbology offers several antiviral herbs such as echinacea and dandelion (Taraxacum), the Chinese herbal materia medica has at least 30 strong medicinal herbs that can destroy pathogenic viruses. Modern clinical research in China has validated their efficacy against the viruses that cause common cold, influenza, measles, mumps, rubella, respiratory, encephalitis, meningitis, herpes, and hepatitis. Herbs with antiviral effect used in the classical formulas included Lonicera Jin Yin Hua, Forsythia Lian Qiao, Taraxacum Pu Gong Ying, Isatis Ban Lan Gen, Isatis Da Qing Ye, Oldenlandia Bai Hua She She Cao, Smilax Tu Fu Ling and Lasiosphaera Ma Bo.

Although not discussed in the classical literature, certain herbs have emerged in the last fifty years that are also effective against viruses. These include Ilex Mao Dong Qing, Andrographis Chuan Xin Lian, Evodia San Cha Ku, Houttuynia Yu Xing Cao, Patrinia Bai Jiang Cao, Polygonum Hu Zhang and Viola Zi Hua Di Ding.

When we evaluate the appropriateness of an herbal formula in fighting a viral disease, one benchmark is the inclusion of one or more of the herbs listed above.

Continue reading this entry on Herbal Medicine »

Acupuncture for Common Colds and Flu

In the following article, Dr. John Amaro identifies common acupuncture points that can boost the immune system to alleviate the symptoms of, and may even prevent the common cold.

An Extremely Effective, Simple Treatment for Colds and Flu

BY John A. Amaro, DC, FIAMA, Dipl. Ac., LAc

Some years ago, a group of esteemed scientists from the People's Republic of China were invited to visit the United States by the American scientific community. This event ushered in an exchange of ideas and an opportunity for two great nations to be able to corroborate on a number of issues vital to the health and welfare of the world.

Over a period of two months, the Chinese scientists visited virtually every major research facility in the nation, followed closely by their American hosts, who were furiously taking notes and promoting discussion on matters from nuclear physics to aerospace, medical research and treatment approaches. The visit culminated in a banquet at Princeton University in honor of the Chinese scientists, which was attended by a virtual "who's who" of the North American scientific world.

During the banquet, the moderator of the event posed the question to the chief Chinese scientist as to what he felt was one of the most significant things he had learned in America; what had impressed him the most about the United States that he would return to China and share it with his colleagues who were not present on this historic visit? The scientist rose from his chair, strode to the microphone, gazed over the crowd and stated in understandable English: "The number one thing that has impressed me the most about America is the common belief by the common person that there is no cure for the common cold." The American scientists were totally caught off guard with this statement, as it was perhaps the farthest thing from anyone's mind. It was not what they had expected to hear.

Even though the names of devastating flu are often Asian in character, and China has been credited or blamed with the development of some of the most deadly flu epidemics in the world, the Chinese - through effective acupuncture approaches - have had a major impact in altering the extreme symptomatology that accompanies both the flu and the common cold.

The following illustrated acupuncture approach is extremely effective in not only alleviating the symptoms associated with cold or flu but, if used early enough, may potentially prevent the symptoms and condition from developing at all. All of the points shown may be stimulated with noninvasive stimulation devices such as the teishein, electronic stimulation or laser, in addition to needles. One of the most effective approaches to successful treatment is to copy the images below and provide them for your patients for self-stimulation of the points throughout the day. Remember, this may be one of the most powerful effects for cold and flu you will ever learn.

ColdFlu_Pic01.gif ColdFlu_Pic02.gif

Continue reading this entry on Acupuncture »

Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs for Kidney Stones


In the following article, Dr. Jake Fratkin gives us an acupuncture protocol to help pass kidney stones during an acute attack. He also, talks of an herbal product that he himself has formulated to treat and prevent kidney stones.

Treating Acute Kidney Stone Attack

Jake Paul Fratkin, OMD

I created AMBER STONE FORMULA as a variation on PASSWAN, a Chinese patent medicine for the treatment of kidney stone from Bai Yun Shan Pharmaceutical Manufactory in Guangzhou. PASSWAN has become generally unavailable in the United States, and few American companies have elected to offer a kidney stone formula. The original name, PASSWAN, I suppose is a Chinese-English variation for Pass (the Stone) Wan (Pill). Its Chinese name is te xiao pai shi wan, which translates as “Specially Effective Expel Stone Pill”. The formula is certainly “Specially Effective.” I have heard of cases of acute stone impaction that would release within 30 minutes of taking the pill.

The Herbal Formula. The original formula had the following composition:

Desmodium Jin Qian Cao 25.0 %
Lygodium Hai Jin Sha 20.0
Angelica Bai Zhi 10.0
Andrographis Chuan Xin Lian 10.0
Achyranthes Niu Xi 7.5
Ficus Wu Zhi Mao Tao 5.5
Rheum Da Huang 5.0
Millettia Niu Da Li 5.0Succinum Hu Po 5.0
Sha Niu * 4.0
Notoginseng Tian Qi 3.0

*(Unknown herb. Translates as Sand Cow, and in fact could be stones or sand from a cow’s bladder or kidney.)

Our formula for Golden Flower is as follows:

Desmodium Jin Qian Cao 15 %
Lygodium Hai Jin Sha 15
Imperata Bai Mao Gen 12
Pyrrosia Shi Wei 12
Lonicera Jin Yin Hua 9
Millettia Ji Xue Teng 8
Notoginseng Sheng Tian Qi 8
Dianthus Qu Mai 7
Succinum Hu Po 7
Talcum Hua Shi 7

The original formula has 11 ingredients, while ours has 10 herbs. Five herbs are the same. The lead herbs are Desmodium Jin Qian Cao and Lygodium Hai Jin Sha. These two herbs together act synergetically to dissolve stone, and offer a significant contribution to the treatment of kidney stone. Western medicine currently employs ultrasound to crack a stone, but this approach shatters the stone into small pieces which injure local tissue as they are expelled. The combination of Jin Qian Cao and Hai Jin Sha actually dissolve the stone, allowing expulsion without damage.

Millettia Ji Xue Teng is a both a blood tonic as well as a blood mover, but in this formula it is included to relax spasm, a chief feature of acute stone obstruction. Notoginseng Sheng Tian Qi helps to stop bleeding. The last shared herb of the formula is Succinum Hu Po, or amber pine resin, which is used synergestically with Desmodium Jin Qian Cao and Lygodium Hai Jin Sha to treat urinary obstruction and dissolve stone.

In my formula, I also added herbs to reduce kidney and bladder damp heat, namely Pyrrosia Shi Wei, Dianthus Qu Mai and Talcum Hua Shi. Damp heat is the underlying condition that allows stones to form in the first place. The heat congeals stones, and it is important to clear heat to address the root cause. These damp heat herbs specifically go to the kidney and bladder.

The final herbs of the formula treat specific aspects of a kidney stone presentation. Imperata Bai Mao Gen reinforces the effect of stop bleeding, and also helps to heal damaged tissue following an acute attack. Lonicera Jin Yin Hua inhibits infection, which often accompanies the damage of a kidney stone.

Continue reading this entry on Jake Paul Fratkin, OMD »

The Lung in Chinese Medicine

100x100yin-yang.gifThe Lung in Chinese medicine is a yin organ. It is paired with the Large Intestine, a yang organ. The most important function of the Lungs in Chinese medicine is to govern respiration - the inhalation of air, or pure qi. This pure qi inhaled by the Lungs is combined with the food qi extracted from food by the Spleen to produce the “gathering qi” that supports the functioning of the whole body after birth.

The Lungs assist the Heart in the circulation of Blood. Qi and Blood flow together in the blood vessels. If the Lung qi is weak, it will not be able to push the Blood through the channels, and the limbs may feel cold, especially the hands.

It is a well known fact in Chinese medicine that acupuncture points to treat various diseases can be chosen based on their anatomical location. For example, acupuncture points for bone disease are located close to bones. Acupuncture points close to tendons are powerful to treat tendon diseases. The source acupuncture point on the Lung meridian is Lung-9, located at the wrist crease lateral to the radial artery. This point is called the meeting point of the Blood vessels and is used to treat many circulation disorders.

Because the Lungs are the connection between the human body and the environment, they are said to be the most exterior and delicate of the yin organs. Therefore, the Lung is the organ that is most easily affected by environmental factors such as wind, heat, cold, damp and dryness. The Lungs also have the function of dispersing qi. In Chinese medicine there is a type of qi called the Defensive qi that exists all over the body and is located between the skin and the muscles. This concept most closely correlates to the immune system in western medicine. The Lung is responsible for dispersing this Defensive qi. When the Lung qi is weak, the Defensive qi is weak, and a person is more susceptible to catching cold easily.

Continue reading this entry on Chinese Medicine Diagnosis »

Master Tung Acupuncture for Upper Back Pain

upperbackpain.jpg Upper back pain is a condition that I commonly treat in my acupuncture practice. Often this type of pain is related to occupational repetitive motion injuries. Dentists, teachers, hairdressers, and band directors have sought my help in addressing upper back pain. Sometimes this type of upper back pain is associated with a cervical disk nerve impingement that may also cause neck pain and pain radiating to the shoulder and down the arm. Stress related neck and shoulder tension may also be the culprit.

Usually my patients have already seen their physicians for diagnostic tests to determine the underlying cause of their upper back pain from a western medicine perspective. This is important to rule out the remote, yet critical possibility, that their pain is related to heart disease or a tumor causing the nerve impingement. When the pain is strictly a muscular-skeletal issue, it responds very well to acupuncture treatment.

Continue reading this entry on Back pain »

Back Shu Acupuncture Points

acupuncturepoints.jpg A collection of twelve very important acupuncture points called the Back Shu, or Back Transporting points are located on the Bladder meridian along the spine. There is a Back Transporting point for each of the six yin organs and each of the six yang organs. They are called “transporting” points because it is said that they transport “Qi” to the inner organs.

These acupuncture points are located on the inner Bladder meridian path, which is about an inch and a half from the mid-line of the spine. The Back Transporting points affect the organs directly and are especially important in the treatment of chronic diseases. Each of the points is named after the organ that it is associated with. For example, Bladder-13 connects with the Lung and is called Lung Shu. The Back Shu points also have the ability to affect the sense organ associated with the organ it is named for. For example, Bladder-18, the Back Shu point of the Liver is often used to treat eye diseases, because it is said that the Liver “opens to the eye”. Bladder-23, the Back Shu point of the Kidney can be used to treat tinnitus and other chronic ear problems related to Kidney deficiency.

The Back Shu points are acupuncture points where the Qi and Blood of a particular organ meet. These points not only treat diseases of their associated organs, they can also be diagnostic in nature. Sensitivity upon palpation indicates a pathology of that organ. A sharp pain elicited with pressure on the point indicates an excess condition and a dull ache with palpation indicates a deficient condition.

Continue reading this entry on Acupuncture »

Congee A Porridge with Healing Power

congee.jpg Congee is a thin porridge or gruel most often made from rice. Congees strengthen the Spleen energy and nourish Blood. Congee is very commonly eaten for breakfast in China. Because of the nourishing properties of congee, and the fact that it is very easily digested, congees are often prescribed for elderly or chronically ill patients with weak blood and low energy. Congee made with brown rice is often given to nursing mothers to increase milk supply. The therapeutic properties of congee may be enhanced by adding traditional chinese herbs or other nutritional foods with properties known to address specific health issues.

To make a rice congee, use at least six times the amount of water as you do rice and simmer covered for at least one hour. One cup of rice usually makes two or three servings. Crockpots are great to prepare congee. Set the crockpot on low and leave for at least four to six hours. It is better to use too much water than too little. The longer the congee cooks, the more powerful the nutritional benefit.

Chinese herbs or other foods may be added to the congee. For example, aduki beans in chinese medicine are a diuretic and may be helpful to treat edema and gout. Carrots added to the congee may eliminate flatulence.

Here is a sweet congee recipe that may even be eaten for dessert.

Continue reading this entry on Nutrition Therapy »

The Spleen in Chinese Medicine

100x100yin-yang-yellow.gif The Spleen in Chinese medicine is a yin organ. The Spleen is partnered with the Stomach, a yang organ. Together they are responsible for transforming food and drink into Qi and blood during the digestion process.

When the Spleen energy is strong, appetite and digestion are good. When the Spleen function is weak, there may be poor appetite, abdominal bloating, water retention and weight gain, and loose stools.

The Spleen controls the muscles and four limbs. When the Spleen is strong, nutrition from food is extracted efficiently and energy is distributed to the muscles. When the Spleen is weak, a person feels fatigued, especially after eating. Muscles will be weak. In severe cases, muscles may atrophy.

The Spleen not only distributes the essence of food to the body, it is also responsible for the transformation of fluids. Poor distribution of fluids may result in edema or the production of phlegm. The Spleen dislikes dampness. Dampness can hamper the function of the Spleen whether this is due to diet (too much cold or raw food) or weather. High humidity and cold, damp weather may affect the Spleen. Women in particular are prone to an invasion of exterior Dampness especially during the menses or following childbirth.

The Spleen not only plays an important role in the production of Blood from food, but is also said to control the Blood. When the Spleen energy is deficient and this function of controlling the Blood is impaired, a person may bruise easily. Nosebleeds and heavy menstrual periods may also occur due to Spleen qi deficiency.

Continue reading this entry on Chinese Medicine Diagnosis »

Medicinal Ginger

ginger.jpg Ginger has been used for centuries in China for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Used in many forms - fresh ginger, dried ginger, ginger tea, ginger juice, or ginger oil – ginger is an important herb in the Chinese diet.

Sheng Jiang, fresh ginger, is said to be warm, acrid and mildly diaphoretic. It enters the Lung, Spleen and Stomach meridians.

Ginger is very commonly used to treat the early stages of the common cold and may even prevent catching a cold during cold or rainy weather. For this purpose, several slices of fresh ginger are boiled in water for about 10 minutes with brown sugar added at the end. The tea is typically taken in the evening just before going to bed so that the patient can "sweat the cold out". Fresh ginger warms the Lung and helps stop coughing. Xing Su San is a famous herbal cough formula which has ginger as an ingredient.

Ginger warms the stomach and is a very powerful herb to relieve nausea and vomiting. A simple ginger tea has been shown to be effective for cancer patients in reducing the severity of nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Placing a slice of ginger over the acupuncture point PC6 on the inside of the wrist significantly helps relieve nausea and vomiting, even when due to motion sickness or morning sickness. For this purpose, the ginger is placed on the right side for females and the left side for males.

Fresh ginger eliminates toxins and has been used to treat seafood poisoning. It is also commonly used to neutralize the toxicity of other herbs. Ban Xia and Tian Nan Xing are two herbs that must be preprocessed with ginger juice to reduce their toxicity.

Fresh ginger is often added when cooking stews and beans and is especially helpful for people who tend to have a cold constitution. Ginger aids in the digestion of meats by helping the body to flush uric acid. Ginger also reduces flatulence associated with beans.

Continue reading this entry on Herbal Medicine »

Kidney 1 Body, Mind, and Spirit Acupuncture Point

kidney1acupoint.jpg Kidney 1, named “Bubbling Spring”, is the first acupuncture point on the Kidney meridian. It is the only meridian point on the sole of the foot. Kidney 1 is a major energy vortex that has the ability to revitalize body, mind and spirit. This point can be activated with acupuncture, acupressure, herbal plasters, exercise and even floral essences.

Recently, I had an awe-inspiring personal experience with this point that I would like to share with you. A patient of mine is in the final stages of lung cancer, finding it difficult to breathe, talk or swallow. She was just hospitalized to remove fluid from her chest. And if all of that wasn't bad enough, her husband called me to tell me that she suffered a stroke when she arrived home. The stroke left the whole left side of her body paralyzed. He asked if I would consider trying acupuncture to restore movement on her left side. His thinking was that if she had this functionality, she might be able to get out of bed and sit in a chair. This would at least improve her quality of life for the time she had left.

I have to admit that I was skeptical that I could help a person who was this debilitated, but I agreed to come to their home. I inserted just two needles in her right hand – Master Tung's ling gu and da bai. These points have a long list of indications and hemiplegia is one of them. Then, instinctively, I started to do some gentle acupressure on her left leg starting with Kidney 1 which is also indicated for lower limb paralysis. It seemed a natural place to start to address her breathing difficulty and the fear and anxiety I knew she was experiencing from her cancer.

Continue reading this entry on Acupuncture »

How to Calm Down When Feeling Overwhelmed

feelingoverwhelmed.jpg Life is full of stressful situations. To varying degrees, we all have some level of fear and anxiety. Maybe it's a stressful job or maybe a more specific deep seated fear like fear of flying, fear of the dentist or even fear of failure. For me, it is definitely a fear of public speaking that will fray my nerves. I was first introduced to a product called Rescue Remedy when I was in acupuncture school. Several students were putting a few drops under their tongue right before final exams. They said that it was an amazing way to calm yourself if you were a person who suffered from test anxiety.

I never really had a problem with test anxiety as long as I knew I had studied sufficiently. But tell me I had to give a talk in front of an audience and I would feel total panic. I decided to try this product a few years ago when the local news asked me to do a live television interview. After a few drops, I felt a calm come over me, and just a subtle feeling that I could do this. I was amazed! (You can actually see this interview on my site under the “in the news” tab.)

Rescue Remedy is a Bach Flower combination, formulated by Dr. Edward Bach in the 1930's. Dr. Bach was an English homeopathic physician who believed that all disease was a result of a negative emotional state. He researched the energetic properties of 38 different flowers and found that each flower had a particular energy wavelength that would resonate with and balance a corresponding frequency in the human energy field. Dr. Bach discovered that the essence of each flower could restore harmony to a specific negative state of mind. Fear, anger, hatred, jealousy, worry, impatience – all are a result of a distortion of energy in the human energy field.

Continue reading this entry on Anxiety »

Master Tung Acupuncture Points for Genital Herpes

genitalherpes.jpg As an acupuncture student, you spend the better part of three to four years memorizing exact anatomical locations of hundreds of acupuncture points and a recipe list of common indications for their use. It is a necessary task to get a basic understanding of Chinese medicine. And it is required to have this knowledge under your belt to be able to pass the NCCAOM national board exam in order to get licensed in most states.

But I am eternally grateful to Dr. Richard Tan and Master Tung for showing me the true power of acupuncture meridian theory. Understanding that the human body is holographic in nature with each body area reflecting the whole body, opens the door to dozens of possibilities in the treatment of almost any condition. And, though I do tend to stick to some common point combinations that almost never seem to fail me for common ailments, for a certain percentage of people who don't fall into the majority, they have taught me how to put on my thinking cap and try a fresh approach.

I was recently reminded of the beauty of this way of thinking when I picked up Miriam Lee's book “Master Tong's Acupuncture” to refresh my memory on the location of acupuncture points that I knew to be used for cold sores. The points are called Upper Lip (77.15) and Lower Lip (77.16). The first point is located at the lateral inferior edge of the patella and the attachment of the ligament patellae. The second point is one cun (about an inch) below that. These points are commonly bled by pricking them with a three edge needle to treat lip sores.

Continue reading this entry on Acupuncture »

TCM Herbal Remedy for Chronic Asthma

asthma.jpg In upstate NY, we are finally in the throes of heat and humidity or what we call the dog days of summer. This is the time when thousands of people in mainland China are lining up at special clinics in their local hospitals to start herbal plaster therapy, or fu tie, for chronic asthma and other respiratory diseases.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is common knowledge that the best time to treat a chronic winter disease is during the hottest time of the year.

In summer the yang (hot) energy of the universe is at its peak and the yin (cold) energy is at its lowest point. Chinese medicine believes that the human body is a microcosm of the universe, and therefore the same principal holds true. People who suffer from pulmonary disorders that are aggravated by cold weather typically are constitutionally deficient of yang energy and therefore susceptible to an invasion of pathogenic cold. Summer is the best time to strengthen the yang energy of the body.

The treatment for asthma involves applying an herbal paste to acupuncture points on the upper back. Chinese herbs that are warm in nature or have the function to eliminate phlegm are used in the preparations. One such formula grinds equal amounts of bai jie zi, yan hu suo, gan sui, and xi xin into a powder and moistens the mixture with ginger juice to form a paste. Cakes the size of a quarter are positioned over acupuncture points, covered with gauze and tape and left in place for three to four hours. Because the pores of the skin are open during this hot time of year, the medicinal properties of the herbs are more readily absorbed into the body.

Continue reading this entry on Herbal Medicine »

Relieve Menstrual Cramps!

womanwithmenstrualpain.jpg Millions of women suffer from painful periods. Often the pain occurs the day before the period starts. Some women experience menstrual cramps during the period. And some feel exhausted and achy when the period is over. Chinese Medicine explains menstrual period cramps in terms of the proper flow and quantity of Qi (energy) and Blood. By asking very detailed and specific questions about the menstrual cycle a practitioner can determine the underlying cause of menstrual cramping. Both acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas are very effective to resolve the vast majority of painful period cramps.

To determine the pattern of imbalance in the body that is causing the painful period symptoms, questions must be answered as to the timing of the pain, the location of the pain, the character of the pain and whether or not it is aggravated or relieved by cold, heat or pressure. The regularity and length of the cycle, the quality of the pulse and the color of the tongue may also be significant in coming to a correct diagnosis.

Continue reading this entry on Chinese Medicine Diagnosis »

Meridian Dental Relationships

tooth.jpg Last year I was asked to speak at a monthly meeting of the local Dental Society. I decided to talk about TMJ because it is a condition that our two professions can co-treat very effectively. I had been told that very few of the members knew much about acupuncture, so I wanted to give some background on Chinese Medicine that would hopefully give some credibility to my explanation of using acupuncture points on the foot to treat jaw pain. I wanted to talk about the many micro-systems of acupuncture that are based on the knowledge that the body can be viewed as a hologram. That is, one part of the body represents the whole body.

First I showed them the model of the ear and talked about auricular acupuncture. I explained that the body is mapped on the ear by superimposing the image of the fetus. Newcomers to Chinese Medicine theory are almost always amazed when I ask them to picture the baby inverted in the womb on the ear. Once you see it (head on the ear lobe, back curled along the outer edge of the ear) it is hard to believe that you hadn't noticed it before! Then I briefly touched on Korean Hand Acupuncture where all of the meridian acupuncture points are mapped on the hand. I talked about foot reflexology, iridology, and Dr. Tan's Balance Method acupuncture. I did all of this because I wanted to lay the groundwork to tell them that the whole body is also mapped on the teeth.

Continue reading this entry on Acupuncture »

Trouble Sleeping?

insomnia.jpg Whether you have occasional trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep or severe insomnia, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine may have help for you. Recently, I have had a few patients with severe insomnia come to me hoping for relief. Often anxiety and depression accompany sleeplessness. It becomes a vicious cycle - the more you can't sleep, the more anxious and depressed you become. And the more anxious and depressed you are, the more difficult it is to sleep peacefully. Insomnia starts to affect every aspect of your life – job, health and relationships.

One of my patients has had a history of going days without sleep, and has recently been given the Western medicine diagnosis of being bipolar. After her first traditional acupuncture treatment, she felt very relaxed and was able to get one good night's sleep. She was thrilled and jokingly said she wished she could just wear the needles home.

Continue reading this entry on Insomnia »

Acupuncture Treatment for Scars

Skya Gardner-Abbate devotes a whole chapter to the treatment of scars in her book, “The Art of Palpatory Diagnosis in Oriental Medicine”. In Oriental Medicine it is a well known fact that scars may disrupt the normal flow of energy (Qi) and Blood in the meridians, or energy pathways. Not all scars are problematic, but they are viewed as potential organ-meridian disturbances. Practitioners should always inquire about scars during the initial interview. Scars should be examined and evaluated during the physical exam. Scars that are the result of surgery, large scars or scars that are symptomatic – causing pain, burning or numbness should be investigated.

There is a three step process to assessing a scar. First, inspect the scar and note its relationship to the acupuncture meridians. Look at the size, shape, texture and color of the scar. If the scar is hard, raised, and dark in color it is more likely to be tender and problematic. Secondly, note the location of the scar. Scars on the neck, lower abdomen, face, head and spine can have profound implications due to the energetics of these areas. Last, palpate around the scar (never directly on top of the scar) to see if there is tenderness or a perception of weakness or emptiness that would indicate a deficiency in that area.

Continue reading this entry on Acupuncture »

Acupuncture Scar Treatment

anklescar.jpg I love the following article by Dr. Amaro because it illustrates the relationship of the acupuncture meridians and shows how a blockage in one part of the body can cause pain in another seemingly unrelated part of the body. Scars can cause the blockage of energy in the acupuncture meridians. This article also shows how treating that blockage without ever touching the painful part of the body can give immediate and lasting relief. I see this everyday in my acupuncture practice. I almost never use an acupuncture needle in the part of the body that has pain. By using the logic of correspondent needling technique that I learned from Master Tung's work, there are many choices of acupuncture points that can be used to relieve pain without ever doing local acupuncture needles.

Master Tung almost always used contralateral insertion of needles to relieve pain. Acupuncture would be applied to the healthy side of the body. If the problem was in the head, he would needle the foot. If the problem was in the lower part of the body, he would needle the upper. If the problem was on the left, he would needle the right. If you image the arm on the leg, the shoulder corresponds to the hip, the elbow corresponds to the knee, the wrist corresponds to the ankle, and the hand corresponds to the foot. There are six meridians that pass thru the arm and six different meridians that pass thru the leg. They are related to each other in a number of different ways. Knowing the meridian relationships will help to find the correct therapeutic acupuncture point to treat the problem.

Continue reading this entry on Acupuncture »

Mouth Sores - Causes and Treatment

mouthsore.jpg In Chinese medicine, mouth sores (whether they are sores on the lips, sores on the tongue, or sores inside the mouth) are trying to warn you that the environment in your body is out of balance. The location of these sores, the frequency that they occur and what triggers them are all clues to the nature of that imbalance. A practitioner of Chinese medicine takes all of this information, along with other signs and symptoms in the body, to correctly diagnose and treat not only the mouth sores, but also address the general constitution of the patient so that the cause of the problem is eliminated.

In Chinese Medicine, the lips are considered part of the Spleen organ system. The health of the Spleen is reflected on the lips. When the function of the Spleen is weak, the lips become vulnerable to damage either from external factors or Heat and Dampness that may lie dormant in the body. There are several patterns of body imbalances that could be the underlying cause of sores on the lips. In all cases, diet and stress reduction need to be part of the long term treatment program.

Continue reading this entry on Chinese Medicine Diagnosis »

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