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Acupuncture

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Acupuncture in the media

Carved Buddha The global spread of Chinese Medicine is taking place before our eyes! Acupuncture is becoming more accepted into the mainstream every day - it's a great time to be an acupuncturist, and I can't wait to see where we are in 10 years.

*If you are interested in more acupuncture articles, go to WellWire.com and look in the 'News' section. WellWire has a stream of new articles and ideas posted daily on the site, written by naturopathic doctors, acupuncture practitioners, top herbalists, and a lot of other amazing authors! I'm honored to be a part of this project and be connected with other practitioners who also love what they do.

*The economy needs acupuncture to heal itself. Well, not exactly in those words, but pretty close! The New York Times posted this article discussing how we need to prevent instead of treating the symptoms of the problem, which is exactly what Traditional Chinese Medicine does. We help prevent injuries to that already unstable knee, take care of the imbalance within the body that is causing digestive problems or difficulty getting pregnant, and preventing colds and coughs. Prevent the crisis you see coming BEFORE it happens!

*I know this has been in the news for a while, but women who are undergoing treatment for breast cancer and are using the drug Tamoxifen often suffer from hot flashes as a side effect. Acupuncture has proven to help with these side effects safely and effectively - read more about the study in which two treatment groups were divided into either the anti-depressant drug Effexor (the standard treatment) or acupuncture alone. The results were that the women in the acupuncture group experienced less side effects and had relief from the hot flashes.

Acupuncture is becoming more widely used, it prevents problems we can't foresee, and it really works! These are just three great reasons to give acupuncture a try this year!

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Chinese Medicine in Winter

The longest night is now behind us with the passing of Winter Solstice, and the days will slowly become brighter. Now that winter has officially arrived, we can start to treat our bodies and minds with the Chinese Medicine knowledge that has been around and practiced by many for years.

This is the season where we are told to meditate more, sleep in when possible, and take care of our fatigued bodies. This is what we call the Yin (cold, dark, slow )time of year, as opposed to Summer's Yang (warm, bright, energetic). Winter here is definitely Yin, with the cold, dampness, and dark days (unless you are in Australia...). It is the time we eat a little more, sleep a little more, and nourish our bodies for the coming spring.

Chinese medicine is a great way to keep your body cold and flu-free. Practitioners often use moxibustion this time of the year for its power to keep dampness (which is that heavy sensation we may feel in our bodies, along with a lack of energy). Moxibustion is a powerful tool, and it keeps cold out of the body (this is especially a problem here in the Northwest). Acupuncture points are chosen to keep the immune system in check, and also to keep your energy at a balanced level.

Speaking of energy, you may notice that you don't have the same amount of "get-up" you do in the summer, which is a good thing. Not that you should be feeling lethargic, but life is a little slower in the winter- take your cues from nature. The ground is cold, animals are hibernating- life is building up to slowly burst forth in the spring. Not that we have the luxury of taking a few months off to sleep as the animals do, but our general nature should slow down.

Acupuncture practitioner Diane Joswick, MSOM, wrote this great excerpt on the acufinder site (I think it embodies a great deal of the TCM philosophy):

"Winter is ruled by the water element, which is associated with the kidneys, bladder, and adrenal glands. According to the philosophy of traditional Chinese medicine, the kidneys are considered the source of all energy (Qi) within the body. They store all of the reserve Qi in the body so that it can be used in times of stress and change, or to heal, prevent illness, and age gracefully. During the winter months it is important to nurture and nourish our kidney Qi. It is the time where this energy can be most easily depleted. Our bodies are instinctively expressing the fundamental principles of winter — rest, reflection, conservation, and storage."

A few thoughts on making the most of food during the winter:

-Time to stop drinking iced teas and coffees- go for the warm versions of these (I recommend a nice herbal tea, as coffee increases dampness in the body). -Choose warm and nourishing soups and stews over cold summer salads. Be sure to choose good quality meat and fish for these meals- know where your ingredients come from. -Eat more root vegetables, such as potatoes and yams. They are a great base for soups and stews. -Make your own food instead of eating out- it will warm your house as well as your heart. Use a slow cooker to simmer nourishing meals for yourself and those you love.

Happy Wintering!

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Interview with Jill Blakeway, LAc and Dr. Sami David

Watch this clip with Dr. Sami David and Jill Blakeway, LAc, discuss their book Making Babies:A Proven 3-month Program for Maximum Fertility on Parents TV. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4wZ89WXxqE&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

Dr Sami David is a reproductive endocrinologist who has been working with Jill Blakeway, LAc for several years. Dr. David discusses concerns about IVF and why acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine are a healthier alternative to fertility drugs. Jill Blakeway explains the types of people who come in for treatment, and how they have come up with a way to find the "type" of people who come in for treatments.

1.Tired 2. Dry 3. Pale 4. Stuck 5. Waterlogged

Jill gives specific advice about each type, and explains that in Chinese medicine, we treat each person individually. Each type and each person will have specific treatment plans tailored exactly to what they need. Jill also reminds couples that it's not always the woman who may be the reason a couple is unable to conceive, and that men should also get checked out. If you are curious about your "type" go to the Making Babies Program website and take the test (I took it- it's easy!). I also recommend checking out the YinOva blog for a great post on how men can boost their fertility potential.

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Morning Sickness and Chinese Medicine

Why oh why is it called "morning" sickness? For so many women, this part of an otherwise joyous experience lasts all day, sometimes through the night, and occasionally in the afternoon. Many women I've spoken to say that they either had no symptoms, a little nausea, a lot of nausea, or were just constantly sick. The consensus seemed to be that the majority of the nausea was over by around 12 weeks, but for some it lasted 20 weeks (halfway through the pregnancy).

There are often changes with the symptoms as the levels of hormones change, and the body begins to adjust to life with extra hormones and blood. The hormone HGC (human chorionic gonadotropin) is said to be the possible cause of the heaving and nausea. Others say the shifting hormones make you out of balance, which is very close to the way we see it in Traditional Chinese Medicine. In the early stages of pregnancy, a woman's body is Yin. When egg is fertilized, it begings to bring more Yang into the body, which in turn causes something of an upheaval and imbalance of the Yin and Yang within the body, leading to nausea.

Acupuncture practitioners have wonderful tools to help ease this sometimes difficult transition. Besides using acupuncture needles, a common formula for nausea is Gui Zhi Tang, which contains cinnamon bark, red dates, white peony, and ginger- a great combination to warm and ease the stomach as well as help balance out the struggle with the Yin and Yang of the body. Once this balance is achieved, the nausea should improve. There are other formulas that may be helpful, and acupuncture treatments are very safe and effective if you are worried about taking formulas or anything besides prenatal care. Also, keep in mind that this formula may not be for everyone- ALWAYS check with a practitioner before taking formulas during your pregnancy.

Common tips from women were:

-eat small meals frequently,

-try to eat a little protein in the morning

-keep crackers, dry toast, and clear soda near the bed to avoid getting hungry (which may lead to nausea)

-take prenatal vitamins on a full stomach

*If you experience a fever, or are vomiting so severely you cannot keep food or liquids down, contact your health care provider immediately*

I welcome any more tips for discussion! Chinese Medicine is a great tool, and I feel that sharing the wisdom passed down from women is the best way to learn more about how we can help each other at this special time. Also, check out Blossom Clinc's recommendations for morning sickness!

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Acupuncture Relief Project: The First Year

vajravarahi

I can't say enough good things about the Acupuncture Relief Project.

The project, which just celebrated it's one year anniversary, has finished the first six weeks of practitioners in Nepal, and now a new group is on the way in to treat. Acupuncturists from all over the US are taking time out of their lives and practices to come to Chapagoan, Nepal and treat at a free clinic.

Here is a short excerpt from the blog:

One year ago, November 11th 2008, the Acupuncture Relief Project (ARP) helped open the Vajra Varhi Natural Healthcare Clinic, in Chapagoan. The day before the doors opened we sat around wondering if anyone from the village would even show up to our clinic. How would this community embrace us and our strange medicine? Now a year later the ARP has provided over 10,000 acupuncture treatments to this rural Newari and Nepali village. The clinic continues to grow and serves upward of 400 patients per week. Some walking up to 5 hours to reach the clinic. In addition to acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, the clinic now has practitioners who practice Tibetan herbal medicine and homeopathy. The clinic has also hosted two dental camps.

Recently, ARP has joined up with Saathi Samua Care House and is now treating people with HIV and those who are trying to rehabilitate from drug use. Check out this short video of practitioners in action in this clinic:

Saathi Samuha: Acupuncture Relief Project Partnership

ARP is open to practitioners, and is always in need of donations, no matter the size. Go to their blog and have a look at the beautiful photos and see the faces of people they have helped.

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Acupuncture in the Fall

In the spirit of Traditional Chinese Medicine, fall is the time of the Lung, which means that our lungs and skin are more likely to have problems at this time of the year, such as eczema, psoriasis, and cough, colds and flu. Each season has a feeling associated with it, and the Lung organ is Grief. But instead of mourning the loss of summer and light with the arrival of fall, check in with the smells of this unique and beautiful season change. Chinese medicine encourages living with the seasons, eating the foods that are in abundance in certain months, and allowing your body to follow the natural rhythm of the year. You have hopefully energized yourself with plenty of sun these past few months, and now that the winds are returning, it's time to start dressing a warmer, eat nourishing foods, drinking plenty of fresh water, and get enough sleep.

Fall in TCM is also the time of dryness, which we can see all around us in the trees- the leaves are turning colors because they are drying out and falling off the tree. The lung is a delicate organ that many of us take for granted by smoking or inhaling toxic chemicals. Eating pears, soups, stews, and foods that will keep your lungs warm and moist are a good way to keep healthy. Yoga, stretching, and taking walks in the beautiful colors that autumn has to offer are also good ways to ease into fall.

-For a thoughtful post on how to keep healthy this fall season, read this site for tips on how to stay your healthiest in these fall months.

-Go to WellWire.com to check out articles on skin health by Gibran Ramos, ND, MSOM, and a recipe for fighting the flu by Dr. Nishant Rao.

Have a wonderful fall!

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Health Care at the Portland Women's Show

The Portland Women's Show is coming to town this weekend- Friday and Saturday from 10-6, and Sunday from 10-5. There's something for everyone! There will be booths for women of all ages, space for kids, and a Relaxation Station(including a foot massage!). There will be several health care practitioners at the show, and you can sample an acupuncture treatment and have a stress test or blood pressure reading. Several stages will have cooking demonstrations, and there will be lectures and seminars from local practitioners.

Dr. Igor Schwartzman and myself will be representing Whole Family Wellness Center- come down and say hello!

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Regina Dehen, ND, LAc radio interview

Traditional Chinese Medicine discussed on Portland radio!

Regina Dehen, ND, LAc a naturopathic physician, acupuncture practitioner, and instructor at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine. Regina is a wealth of information and and incredible instructor, as you will see when you listen to the whole interview.  Regina and Ted Douglass discuss what TCM is, Chinese Medicine in research, and how it all works together in the Western world today.

There are two parts to the interview, so be sure to scroll down to the "Oregon College of Chinese Medicine" inside the Metroscope box and listen to both!

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October 24 is National Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day

Happy Oriental Medicine Day on Saturday!

Hug an acupuncturist, or try a delicious (?) Chinese herbal tea! They taste odd, but are oh-so helpful for the body.

If you are fortunate enough to live in Portland, Oregon (my beloved city), then get out there and take a look at the massive acupuncture needle in our beautiful, if not a slightly damp city!

According to Acupuncture Today, the informative new source for all things acupuncture,

October 24, 2002 marked the first annual observance of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day. Conceived of as part of a national campaign to educate the public about the benefits of acupuncture and other forms of Asian healing, many of the leading national acupuncture and Oriental medicine member associations, research organizations and educational institutions lent their support to AOM Day, in the form of open houses; lectures and demonstrations; free acupuncture treatments; and educational seminars.

A lot of cities are signed up with special rates on Saturday as well as other events- check out the homepage for the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine site, and don't forget to check out the Acupuncture Today article that lists schools around the country that are celebrating National AOM day in style!

We should celebrate this day as a time when we are able to choose what we want in terms of our own healthcare, and take matters into our own hands by using preventative medicine. Acupuncture, herbal medicine, naturopathic medicine, massage, reiki, and all of the other wonderful techniques are treatments that do so much more than "fix us." They heal us!

I still remember my personal experience with acupuncture - which is the reason I practice this amazing medicine. I was living in South Korea, where the pollution was so bad you could see and taste it! I was taking extra medications to try to control my  allergy symptoms and wheezing, but it wasn't enough. Just as I was about to throw in the towel and leave, a family member suggested acupuncture. So I walked into the nearest clinic where no one spoke English (and my Korean was very poor), but doctor was surprised to see a foreigner but was very nice. He patted my arm and said "it's okay!" He then felt my pulse, looked at my tongue, then gave me my first acupuncture treatment. It  was incredible- I still remember how much better I felt after that first treatment, and went back three times a week for four months. By the end of that treatment regime, I was off all of the medications, and was feeling great. I've been a firm believer in this medicine ever since, and started school at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine two weeks after we arrived home.

See what you can find in your city at the sites listed above, and enjoy the day!

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Traditional Chinese Medicine and Stress

Photo by Ana Santos

Stress. It’s around us all the time, whether it’s you who is the stressed, or everyone around you. Stress comes in many forms- such as work, family, hormonal changes, illness, and major life changes. While some of these changes may be positive, the stress of them interferes with your health and happiness. Having a new baby, changing to a better job, moving to a better place are all good changes, but are still stressful!

In Traditional Chinese medicine theory, stress affects the flow of energy and eventually blood flow within the body, which causes stagnation. This stagnation needs to be moved to create a stress-free environment. Many people feel immediately better after an acupuncture treatment, and are able to carry that effect over by receiving weekly acupuncture treatments.

Some common symptoms of stress

  1. anger or irritability
  2. insomnia
  3. irregular menstrual cycle, including PMS, irritability, bloating and breast distention
  4. headaches (these can be tension or migraine)
  5. gastrointestinal problems (diarrhea, constipation or a combination of the two, as in IBS)

How to Manage Stress

Acupuncture- by using very small needles at specific acupoints to move energy and blood, acupuncture releases endorphins within the brain. This has a very relaxing effect on the body, and many patients fall asleep while the needles are in!

Herbal Medicine helps manage stress and control the symptoms of stress within the body. Personalized herbal formulas in granule or capsule form can help with your symptoms effectively. Herbal medicine can be used alone, but it works best when combined with acupuncture treatments.

Exercise- Regular exercise 5-6 days per week help to move the energy in the body. Even a 30 minute walk will do the trick.

Relaxing- Learning deep breathing techniques, taking a meditation or Qigong class will help you deal with stress more effectively.

Diet and food: Try to avoid fried or greasy foods, pastries, white bread, alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine (whew!). Choose an assortment of veggies, whole grains, and drink plenty of water.

Photo by Unfurled

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H1N1 and Traditional Chinese Medicine

I wasn't planning to write a post about the flu, but the H1N1 'situation' is still around, and I wanted to spread some of the good information I've been looking into. The H1N1 flu (we'll just call it "the flu") has a lot of people talking and a good deal of media coverage (EVERWHERE!).

Now that school has started up again, parents are worried about having their kids exposed to thousands of colds and sniffles, and the hype of the flu is lingering into the fall and winter seasons. UrbanMamas blog has a good discussion going about kids and the flu- check it out if you have little ones in school. It's hard to decide if a vaccine is in your future or not. Regardless, it's best to get as much information about options before you make that decision.

Chinese Medicine: Natural approaches are great and effective options to combat influenza- there are very powerful herbs we use to treat the symptoms. Herbs are being used all over China to treat the symptoms of the flu with great success!

A good list of formulas listed on this site are:

  • Gan Mao Ling: This is definitely one of the most widely utilized Chinese patents to treat flu related fatigue, headaches, sore throats, swollen lymph glands, high fever, chills, and back and neck aches.
  • Yin Qiao: In a very similar fashion to Gan Mao Ling, Yin Chiao is generally prescribed for the same set of flu symptoms.
  • Zhong Gan Ling: This medicine is indicated for more severe conditions such as sudden, high fevers with sore throats and coughing, swollen lymph nodes, aching limbs and headaches.
  • Huo Xiang Zheng Qi Wan(Correct the Qi Pills): Primarily prescribed for stomach flus with digestive difficulties of diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, flatulence, nausea and for chills, fever and headaches.
  • Yu Ping Feng Wan (Jade Screen Pills): This medicine is prescribed primarily for insufficient immune system in the presence of frequent colds and flu, sore throat, swollen face, sinus congestion and inflammation, and sinus pain headaches.

Depending on your symptoms, the practitioner may make you an individualized formula if you are experiencing a combination of these symptoms.

Vaccines: It's completely your choice if you choose to get the vaccine- every individual has their right to choose. But I am a firm believer in knowing the facts and researching what our options are. Liz Richards, LAc of Blossom Clinic posted a note about pregnancy and the H1N1 vaccine for expectant mothers concerned with mercury in the vaccines. Liz clarifies that the single dose does not contain mercury, but the 10 vial dose does. She also has a link to a video about the vaccine.

Prevention: Treat the swine flu as you would treat the regular ol' flu, which means you must take care of yourself!!

Here is a good list of strategies to prevent spreading sickness from Dr. Lorne Brown of Acubalance:

  • wash your hand frequently
  • avoid sugary foods
  • get adequate sleep
  • reduce alcohol
  • eat a whole foods, mostly plant based diet
  • reduce stress

Nutrition: WellWire.com posted a delicious recipe for an immune-boosting soup- I'm definitely making this tonight! Remember to drink plenty of clean water, and eat lots of garlic and ginger!

Anti H1N1 Soup for 2

1 handful dry shiitake mushrooms, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 4 cloves garlic thinly sliced, 1 onion thinly sliced, 1 small piece ginger thinly sliced, 3 cups pork stock (lol kidding, this is hard to find – any stock will do), 4 glugs of sake, 2 spring onions.

Soak the mushrooms in boiling water until tender.  Remove the soaking liquid.  Saute the mushrooms, onions and garlic in a tablespoon of oil until tender but not browned.  Add the stock and the ginger and simmer on low heat for about ten minutes. Season to taste and just before serving add the sake and spring onions.

Whatever route you choose is up to you. Just make sure you have all of the correct information before you take action.

Stay healthy!

(Photo by kozumel)

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Acupuncture Relief Project in Nepal

The practitioners for the Acupuncture Relief Project Leave for Nepal this Saturday!

We are busy checking last minute arrangements and packing our bags for Nepal. Team A leaves Saturday September 26th and our clinic in Chapagoan will begin treating patients again on October 4th. Please stay tuned for updates and stories of our progress.

In the meantime please enjoy this short "kick off" documentary. If you appreciate the work we are doing please forward this video to your colleagues, friends and family. Please ask them to sign up for our news blog at http://www.acupuncturereliefproject.org

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zr0san75-gU[/youtube]

Safe travels to the group- we look forward to hearing about your journey!

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Natural Medicine and Athletes in the Northwest

Marathon Runners by Justin S. Campbell

The Northwest edition of Competitor Magazine has a great article in the September edition about the use of natural medicine for athletes. Endurance athletes in the Northwest region are discovering the benefits of using Chinese medicine along with naturopathic care to heal injuries that have already occured, and prevent more from happening.

Although it is often referred to as "new" medicine, natural medicine predates Western approaches to health care. It draws it's roots from ancient China (herbal remedies, acupuncture) and Greece (hydrotherapy). The focus of the medicine is to remove obstacles that detract from one' health. There is no cookie-cutter approach to this medicine.

While many people must pay out of pocket for these treatments, the financial restraints, especially in the depressed economy, often outweigh the health benefits of natural health practices- even though in the long run, natural medicine is less expensive because of the focus on preventing illness and injury.

Well stated. Prevention is the key to staying healthy, fit and running, cycling, or walking through life injury-free. It is worth it in the long run to keep yourself healthy and happy!

Some events in Oregon that boast natural medicine are:

-Cycle Oregon, the yearly week-long bike ride, has it's own massage team! The Cycle Oregon Massage Team worked last week to help around 2000 cyclists make it through this event. I hear there was even an acupuncture practitioner along for the ride!

-Step Out- the Walk to Fight Diabetes also had massage therapists giving sample treatments after their 1, 3, or 6 mile walk. A lot of people took advantage of it (my 7-year old niece was the spokesperson this year!!)

- I'm sure the Portland Marathon with have a little help from practitioners  of all kinds, too :)

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Acupuncture and Allergies in Portland

Portland Japanese Garden by Roger Isabell

Allergy season is year round in Portland.

While that is a common joke here in Bridgetown, there really are those who suffer from allergies (especially dust and molds) year round. The use of acupuncture and traditional Chinese herbal medicine is best the way to help keep your symptoms under control. While Western medications alleviate the symptoms temporarily, they won’t treat the underlying cause of the allergic reaction, which is what we do with Chinese medicine.

A treatment from an acupuncture practitioner will help open the nasal passages, clear the excess phlegm, and reduce inflammation that causes the allergic reaction. This excessive reaction is not just the inflammatory response of the body to a foreign object (such as pollen), but also a weakened Lung, Spleen and Kidney organ system. Acupuncture strengthens these organ systems, which in turn helps the body react appropriately to the foreign object.

Common allergy symptoms may include: -Runny nose -Nasal itching -Wheezing -Red, watery eyes -Skin irritation (rashes, itchy skin)

An ideal treatment plan for year-round acute allergies is treatments twice a week, and after the symptoms are under control the treatments may be stretched to every other week. Everyone reacts differently to the treatments, and you need to give it time (Trust me- this is what got me into acupuncture in the first place)! If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you will need treatment before the your "season" begins. For example, if you suffer from hayfever in the spring, start your treatments in January to help with symptom relief before the sneezing begins.

So if you are one of those who suffers from allergies when the rains begin, call your practitioner now, or find one on acufinder.com. Also, check out Dr. Nishant Rao's post at Wellwire.com for helpful tips on how to prevent seasonal allergies.

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Late summer in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Photo by Zé Eduardo...

The heat wave(s) in Portland have passed, and the winds have started to pick up a little, making the nights a little cooler than we are used to. Sadly, this cooler weather means that summer is nearing the end, and into the season of Late Summer. But instead of mourning the loss of the sunlight, remember that now is the time to enjoy the bounty of harvest that late summer has to offer. Farmers markets and local stores have plenty of fresh and organic produce. Choose from a variety of colors and flavors, and enjoy the last of the summer fruits and veggies to begin your body's preparation for the heavier, nourishing meals in the Fall.

Late summer is a short season compared to Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer. This season represents the element of Earth, the organs of the Stomach and Spleen, and focuses on the digestive function of the body. For a detailed explanation of the TCM theory behind this short season, read the TCM World Foundation's article.

In the meantime, check out these Portland blogs for more information about acupuncture, and getting ready for fall!

-Northwest Natural Medicine's Blog has a great post about swine flu: what it REALLY is ("the flu"), and how to keep you and your family healthy. A great time to read it now that the kids are back in school!

-Over at Tensegrity Health, Kim Knight, LAc wrote an interesting post: "5 myths about Acupuncture." If you really want to try acupuncture out, but are having some hesitation due to questions like ("Does it hurt? Does it work?"), then read the post to find out the truth about our medicine.

Dr. Igor Schwartzman of Whole Family Wellness Center wrote an article about the benefits a of ginger root WellWire.com. This herb is used to soothe the Stomach, which makes his recipe for ginger tea a great idea right now!

Warming Ginger Tea:

Cut 10-12 thin slices from a fresh ginger root and place in 2 cups of water and boil for 10 minutes. Strain and drink from your favorite cup. Additionally, you can add 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon for extra flavor and have it after your dinner on cool night.

Enjoy the Late Summer while it lasts!

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PTSD Seminar with Joe Chang, LAc

acupuncture needle by howaye

Joe Chang, LAc, is the acupuncture practitioner at Ft. Bliss Restoration and Resilience Center in El Paso, Texas. He is part of the integrative approach in treating veterans diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Chang has been working with veterans for almost three years, and treats his patients every day if possible. By receiving daily treatments, Chang finds that the veterans benefit from the cumulative effect of acupuncture.

According to the National Institute for Mental Health, PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, or military combat. PTSD symptoms are usually in cluster- reliving events, avoidance, and arousal or physical stimulation due to these memories

Chang gave a lecture last weekend here in Portland, which was based on the results of working with vets. His treatment protocols are based on personal experiences in working with veterans with PTSD at Ft. Bliss, and he explained how he treated them with acupuncture points, and shared some other treatment modalities the patients have access to.

Cognitive therapies such as emotional freedom technique, where the patients are taught to tap specific acupuncture points while focusing on a specific memory instead of the recurring event is a common form of therapy. By using this technique, the veterans can learn to tap acupoints to help them through the negative memories on a daily basis. Movement therapies such as Qigong, yoga, and other therapeutic exercises are also used in conjunction with acupuncture and pharmaceutical medicine.

Many veterans with the diagnosis of PTSD are prescribed medication such as Zoloft to help with symptoms, but these meds are not without side effects. Chang reports that through the treatments of acupuncture and therapies, the soldiers are able to cut down their medications. The veterans he works with are tired of the side effects of the prescribed medications, and are very open to acupuncture.

Read this article for an in-depth look at PTSD in veterans, as well as a short interview with Joe Chang, LAc.

You can also check out previous posts on the subject, or look into the Veterans Affairs site about alternative therapies for veterans diagnosed with PTSD.

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Genetic Testing Changes IVF at OHSU

OSHU has been busy! There are changes happening in how future in-vitro fertilization (IVF) transfers may take place at the Portland hospital. Women who want to have biological children, but may have eggs that carry a specific disease, such as heart disease or cancer, may soon have another option. Recent test trials at OHSU have been working to cut out the genes that carry these diseases, and replacing them with strands from primates. The OPB article stated:

"Shoukhrat Mitalipov, lead scientist for the project, and his team have taken the nucleus from the egg cell of one female monkey – with 99 percent of its DNA –and matched it with the cytoplasm of another healthy female, effectively ending up with an egg without any mutated mitochondrial DNA. Mitalipov states that, “We believe that this technique can be applied to existing human IVF techniques where a woman that carries this mutations can now have her own biological child, but her mitochondrial DNA causing these diseases can be replaced with healthy mitochondria.”

The spokesperson from GeneWatch, a non-profit group that monitors development in genetic technologies in the public interest, stated that more testing would be necessary for safety, as well as more ethical debate.

What do you think?

Read or listen to the OPB article here, and can read the BBC version here. if you would like to read the full research study, go to the Nature website to purchase the article.

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Acupuncture and Menopause

Menopause is a time of transition and change in a woman's body. For some, it is a peaceful passage, with few symptoms or worries. For others, it may be an entirely different journey. Many women experience symptoms that are dif?cult to deal with during menopause, which may last a few months to several years. Symptoms vary from mild to severe, and are brought on as the body adapts to a decrease in the amount of estrogen.

Such symptoms may be: • Hot ?ushes • Mood changes, such as irritability or sadness • Insomnia • Memory loss • Headaches • Palpitations Menopause is a normal physiological process that all women enter into, and Traditional Chinese Medicine is a natural way to help with the transition. Acupuncture practitioners believe that to treat symptoms associated with menopause, we need to treat the cause of the body’s energy imbalance.

Using techniques such as taking the pulse, looking at the tongue, and interviewing the patient help us treat according to each individual diagnosis. By inserting needles at acupuncture points according to this diagnosis, we treat the reason the symptoms are occurring instead of masking them. We call this treating the "root" of the disease, instead of the "branch," which are the symptoms the patient is experiencing.

Acupuncture treatments for menopause related symptoms will involve weekly treatments, and patients will often be prescribed herbal remedies to be taken in conjunction with the acupuncture. Traditional Chinese medicine can make a big difference when trying to cope with the symptoms of menopause. I recommend you talk to a practitioner as soon as you feel these symptoms occurring. We can help make this life change better than expected!

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Acupuncture and PMS

Do women REALLY have to deal with irritability, breast tenderness, bloating, and painful cramping every month when their menstrual cycle comes?

The answer is NO. Absolutely not.

Acupuncture is a very effective way to get relief from the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). All it requires you to do is lie on a soft massage table or chair, allow thin needles to be inserted into specific body points, and relax while the needles regulate the energy in your body. In Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, the Liver is responsible for these symptoms of PMS, and the stagnation of the energy in the Liver is the reason for these symptoms. This energy, along with the hormones that are bouncing wildly around, are out of balance and causing the disruption in your life for a few days out of the month.

Common symptoms of PMS are: • Fatigue • Breast and abdominal distention • Headaches • Diarrhea or Constipation • Recurring colds • Acne • Changes in appetite (cravings or a lack of appetite)

Acupuncture treatments for PMS work best when combined with Traditional Chinese herbal therapy. A woman may be given two different herbal formulas to take before her cycle starts, and one after it ends. These formulas help with the free flow of the energy before the cycle begins, then nourish and rebuild the blood that was lost. These herbs, in conjunction with the acupuncture, are a great way to keep the symptoms under control.

Another important part of keeping PMS symptoms under control is by educating yourself on what may be causing these symptoms. Lifestyle changes that can help with these symptoms are: • Reduce stress levels when possible. • Reducing caffeine and sugar intake, especially before the cycle begins. • Develop a regular exercise routine throughout the month. • Regular acupuncture treatments and prescribed herbal medicine. If you are experiencing any these symptoms and are seeking relief, please contact me and I will be happy to offer a complimentary telephone consultation.

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Acupuncture and Dental Procedures

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A few weeks ago, a patient asked me to treat her with acupuncture during her visit to the dentist. She needed to have a filling replaced, and the last time she had a treatment that required anesthesia, she experienced several adverse side effects from the medication.

We arrived at the dentist office early, and I inserted the needles to give her some time before the dental procedures began. I used an  acupoint in her left jaw, and another in the hand (between thumb and forefinger), to help with pain management during the procedure. I also used ear tacks at the Jaw and Relaxation points.

Richard Knight, DMD, of Portland Family Dentistry was very welcoming, and his assistant Crystal was attentive to both the patient and myself during the procedure. When my electro-acupuncture machine had a temporary setback, they generously gave me extra batteries and waited patiently until the machine came back to life (insert momentary internal panic here.....) We were able to proceed in a minute or two with minimal sensation for the patient. We quickly found a rhythm of when the dentist and assistant began working on her tooth, I would turn up the levels of stimulation, then turn it back down as soon as they were finished. We worked using hand signals: thumbs up ("turn it up!"), thumbs down ("turn it down!"), or "ok" sign ("leave it there!").

The patient was able to have the entire two-hour procedure without any anesthetic. She is an incredibly brave woman, in my humble opinion, and I am looking forward to attending the next filling with her in a few weeks.

She gave great feedback, and asked to write a testimonial:

Recently I've had to have several fillings replaced.  I've had to carefully schedule my appointments because I don't know how I'll feel afterward from the local anesthesia.  Often I feel dull and slow as well as the usual numb face.  Twice I've had full body reactions where I have severe stomach pain.  After the last one I called Amy for help.  Since I am also studying acupuncture I decided that I needed to put my money where my mouth is.  I came out from the experience feeling very positive.  I was very fearful going in because who really wants to feel the dentist drill?  I was thankful that my dentist was open to having Amy come along.   She was very calming and not only fell into rhythm with the dentist but also did shiatsu massage on my legs between work to help ground me.  It was comforting to have an ally throughout the procedure.  It wasn't completely sensation free but I never felt anything that caused great concern, my fear was the greatest obstacle.  At the end I could help the assistant adjust my filling because I could feel my mouth and when I walked out I felt great.  I even went to breakfast right afterward.  Overall a thumbs up- we are going to do it again next time.  Thanks Amy!

My advice to you if you are interested in using acupuncture with dental procedures would be to test it out with your practitioner before the appointment. Be sure to let the dentist know you are electing to use this instead of anesthesia, and that your dentist and assistant are willing to work with an acupuncturist. I also recommend meditation and breathing techniques, as that was also a large part of the patient staying relaxed during the long procedure.

Smile by lenifuzhead

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