In Chinese Herbal Medicine, many foods are included in the medicinal literature because of their health benefits. After thousands of years of observation and recorded experience, walnuts have been shown to have very specific therapeutic effects in the human body.
Chinese herbal medicine categorizes herbs based on their taste attribute. An herb can have a taste attribute of acrid, sweet, sour, bitter, salty, bland or astringent. Walnuts fall into the sweet category. Sweet herbs often have tonifying and harmonizing properties.
Chinese herbal medicine also categorizes herbs based on their thermal property. Thermal property describes the temperature of herbs. Herbs can be categorized as cold, cool, neutral, warm and hot. Walnuts fall into the warm category. Many Chinese classic texts state that “Cold diseases must be warmed, and hot diseases must be cooled.” Therefore, appropriate herbs (and foods) are chosen to treat disorders based on their thermal category. Cold herbs would be chosen to treat disorders characterized by heat, such as sore throat and fever. Warm, or hot herbs would be chosen to treat cold conditions such as cold extremities.
Based on their therapeutic effects, herbs are said to enter one or more of the energetic meridians of the body. Walnuts are said to enter the Kidney, Lung and Large Intestine.
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Last year a woman called me and asked if I had ever done an acupuncture treatment for spasmodic dysphonia. At the time I had to admit that not only had I never treated it, I also had never heard of it. She told me a little about her condition and said that she had found information on the internet about acupuncture having had some success in the treatment of spasmodic dysphonia.
Spasmodic dysphonia is a chronic voice disorder. With spasmodic dysphonia, movement of the vocal cords is forced and strained, resulting in words coming out in a jerky, quivery, hoarse, tight, or groaning voice. Vocal interruptions or spasms, periods of no sound (aphonia), and periods when there is near normal voice occur. Many patients experience tension in the muscles surrounding the neck and shortness of breath. Spasmodic dysphonia can develop into a fear of speaking that can interfere with holding a job. Use of the phone may be especially difficult. In the case of my patient, a lawyer, her whispers were often misinterpreted as an effort to hide something and led to suspicion on the part of her clients. Like many people with spasmodic dysphonia, she had been misdiagnosed for months. I learned that some people may go years before a correct diagnosis is reached. I was intrigued and followed up on her research. She agreed to come in for a consultation.
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The rise in the incidence of autism is meteoric, and the results are devastating not only to the families whose children are affected, but also to their teachers and society in general. Western medicine still has no answer to the question of what causes autism in children or how to address the symptoms. So, when I learned of the promising results that Dr. Devi Nambudripad is having treating autistic children with her NAET allergy protocol, I felt compelled to pass that information along.
Dr. Nambudripad discovered NAET (Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique) in 1983. NAET blends elements from several medical disciplines including Western medicine, chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition and a strong emphasis on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) including meridian theory and acupressure. Based on the testimonials given by parents, teachers and physicians of autistic children whose symptoms either improved or disappeared completely with NAET treatments, I think Dr. Nambudripad may be the angel that autism has been looking for.
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Several years ago, before I knew anything about acupuncture or acupressure, I was talked into taking a three day cruise from Miami to the Bahamas. Within an hour of leaving port, the ship was pitching and rolling and I was confined to my cabin so nauseous that I knew this could end up being the longest three days of my life rather than the dream vacation I had hoped for. I recently came across this article written by Dr. Amaro in 1994 and thought I would share it with you. He describes eight very famous acupuncture points that can be stimulated by acupressure to relieve motion sickness and morning sickness. Most ships now have an acupuncturist on board. If you are traveling, bring this article with you. Any acupuncturist can show you the acupuncture points that Dr. Amaro talks about. Nei Guan, P6, on the inner wrist is the acupuncture point that is stimulated by the wrist bands that are now marketed for motion sickness. Don’t let your chair be the only empty one on deck!
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Acupuncture can provide relief for both back pain and sciatic pain. I see it every day in my practice. Back strain and sciatic pain are quite common in pregnant women starting in the second trimester. As the baby grows, the weight distribution on the lumbar spine and sacroiliac joints, along with the associated muscles and tissues, changes quickly and drastically. Women may alter their posture to compensate for this change or fall into a habit of poor posture due to fatigue from carrying this new weight. At the same time, hormonal changes in the body are causing the ligaments in the pelvic area to relax and soften in preparation for labor and delivery. This can cause instability of the sacroiliac joints.
Western medicine offers very little help for this condition other than rest and seems to not take it too seriously, since the cause of the problem will go away in a few months. But for those working women who must continue to function until close to their due date, the pain can be quite unbearable. It can affect their ability to do their job and can interfere with getting a good night’s sleep. Without relief, these women will be exhausted even before delivering and caring for a new infant. Fortunately, acupuncture is quite safe and effective in treating back pain and sciatic pain during pregnancy.
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My thanks to Acupuncture Services of Central New York. I smoked cigarettes for 50 years before seeing Joyce Marley for her treatment. Over the years I have tried to quit smoking by using the nicotine patch, gum, rx nicotine inhaler, hypnotism, a timing device, and magnets for the ear. Eighteen years ago my mother, also a lifetime smoker, died of throat cancer. Although I was her primary care-giver, even that did not help me to quit smoking.
Then someone suggested acupuncture.
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Whether or not you dream, and even what you dream about, is an important diagnostic sign in Chinese medicine pointing to what organs in your body may be out of balance. It is normal to dream, but when dreams become repetitive or disruptive to your sleep or you are bothered by nightmares, it is time to assess the bigger picture. A good practitioner of Chinese medicine will always ask about the frequency and nature of dreams and will use this information along with the other signs and symptoms in the health history to determine the pattern of imbalance.
In Chinese medicine, the Heart controls the mind and is closely related to our ability to think clearly, sleep soundly and have a good memory. All dreams are in some way related to a Heart disharmony, but some are more specifically related. According to the Chinese classic, “Simple Questions”, “When the Heart is weak, one dreams of fires; if the dream takes place in the summertime, one dreams of volcanic eruptions”. Another reference in the classic “Spiritual Axis” states that “When the Heart is in excess, one dreams of laughing…when the Heart is deficient, one dreams of mountains, fire and smoke”.
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Ginseng is probably the most famous, most commonly used, and possibly one of the most powerful herbs in the history of Chinese Herbal medicine. The Chinese pinyin name for ginseng is Ren Shen which translates to “man root”. One of the oldest principals of Chinese herbal medicine is that the shape, texture or color of a plant or natural substance may mimic certain parts of the body or attributes of certain diseases and therefore suggest a therapeutic correspondence.
In the case of ginseng root, Chinese farmers noticed centuries ago that it is shaped like a human body with head, arms and legs and therefore they deducted that it would strengthen the Qi, or energy, of the whole body. Years of experience using this herb have proven this to be true. Ren Shen, therefore has been catalogued in Chinese herbal medicine as a Qi tonic.
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Acupuncture treats almost any kind of pain, but I rarely get a patient who comes to me specifically for the treatment of tailbone pain. And this is a very common ailment. Slips and falls can result in fractures and bruises of the tailbone. Sometimes the tailbone can be irritated or injured during pregnancy from the position of the fetus or during a difficult labor and delivery.
So why don’t people consider acupuncture for the treatment of tailbone pain? Is it because they are deathly afraid of where they think I will put the needles? Or is it because they have been silently suffering and told by their physicians that only time will heal?
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