Acupuncture and Type 1 Diabetes

meme_4Many people may not be aware there are multiple types of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common and most frequently talked about. However, type 1 diabetes is also very prevalent and one that can be very dangerous for those that have it. Type 1 diabetes affects more than 200,000 people in the United States every year. It is not specific to an age group, sex or ethnicity, but it tends to be more common in children and young adults. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin and the person suffering from the disease is dependent upon daily insulin injections to stay alive.

 

While this may sound quite daunting and miserable, there are many people worldwide living happy, healthy lives with this disease. Although the cause of type 1 diabetes is still unknown, it is usually managed through the use of insulin therapy. What happens is that the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas become damaged due to an autoimmune response within the body.  Type 1 diabetics are unable to produce insulin and therefore it must be supplemented daily. Without insulin, the body can’t metabolize glucose needed for everyday bodily functions.

 

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can help type 1 diabetics in various ways. Balancing food intake, specifically sugars, is vital for diabetics. Too much sugar and not enough insulin can be dangerous for anybody, but it can be deadly for diabetics. Studies have shown acupuncture and electroacupuncture can actually increase the insulin levels in blood plasma. This means even though a type 1 diabetic is required to take insulin to survive, the amounts they take may be less when they are being treated with acupuncture.  Acupuncture treatments can also help balance the blood glucose levels in type 1 diabetics.

 

Another area where regular acupuncture treatments can benefit type 1 diabetics is stress. Excessive stress has been proven to wreak havoc in the body. Added stress can cause a cascade of stress hormones, which signals the liver to dump more glucose into the bloodstream. This can be fatal for a diabetic who doesn’t recognize the symptoms. Acupuncture is very relaxing and actually lowers stress levels in most people. For a type 1 diabetic, keeping stress levels to a minimum is crucial.

 

Traditional Chinese Medicine considers diabetes to be a “thirsting and wasting” disorder caused by deficiencies in the kidney system. Acupuncturists focus on strengthening the body and managing long-term symptoms, specifically those associated with the kidney system. This may be accomplished with both regular acupuncture treatments, as well as Chinese herbs, nutritional coaching and even things like tai chi or qi gong that help balance the body overall.

 

If you or somebody you know is suffering from type 1 diabetes, please consider Traditional Chinese Medicine as an adjunct to the current medical treatments. It can be quite beneficial in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Be sure to seek out a fully trained and properly licensed acupuncturist or Traditional Chinese Medical practitioner in your area to find out more about how this medicine can help.

 

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Wonderful Side-effects of Acupuncture

Blogimg - Positive Effects of AcupunctureDuring an initial session of acupuncture, most practitioners began with an extensive health intake that goes over all of the systems in the body. We use this to determine certain patterns of imbalance, allowing us to treat the root cause of issues. This is one way we differ from Western medicine.

 

I have learned throughout the years when someone makes an appointment to deal with their pain, this is all they are concerned about. I understand completely. If I pulled a muscle in my back and went to a doctor who gave me medication to help with digestion, I would be confused and annoyed he wasn’t dealing with the issue I came in with. So, when I see patients, I focus on their presenting issue. I know once this problem has resolved, they will likely see other beneficial side effects from the treatment, such as:

 

  • A reduction in stress or anxiety. Acupuncture is incredibly calming, and when you get acupuncture on a regular basis, that feeling of peace and well-being tends to become your new norm. Life’s little stresses just seem easier, somehow.
  • You don’t get sick as often. Acupuncture boosts the immune system, and patients who come consistently often comment on having lesser colds and illnesses throughout the year.
  • Better sleep. I’ve had some of the best night’s sleep of my life after a session. It promotes a deep, restorative sleep that can’t be matched by anything else I have tried. Acupuncture is very effective for insomnia, but even those without sleep issues look forward to a fantastic night’s sleep after a treatment.
  • Less painful periods. When the blood and energy of the body flows as it should, pain and stiffness disappear. Acupuncture moves the blood, lessening cramps and even alleviating the symptoms of PMS.
  • Happier digestion. Again, acupuncture is moving, so it creates movement within the digestive tract too. If you are prone to constipation, this medicine can get you unstuck. And if you fall on the other end of the spectrum and suffer from frequent or loose bowel movement, acupuncture can help to regulate that as well.
  • More energy. When your body is in balance, you have the appropriate amount of energy to get through your day without dragging. Patients who get treatment regularly tell me that they feel more energized and alert throughout the day.
  • Increased fertility. Studies have shown getting regular acupuncture increases your chances of getting pregnant. It regulates the hormones and lowers stress levels.
  • Better relationships. I know it sounds strange, but hear me out. Acupuncture helps to regulate the emotions. It can vent your anger, ease your grief and help you to let go of negativity you’ve been holding on to. Irritated or frustrated? Try a treatment. You will immediately feel those emotions slipping away. When your negative feelings begin to transition into a lighter, calmer place, you will connect with people around you in a very different way.

Eat Right for Your Type – 5 Elements

 

Blogimg - Eating Right For Your Body TypeTraditional Chinese Medicine, a medical system that has been around for nearly 3,000 years, views the body differently than modern medicine. When the body is broken down to its core, its tiniest molecules can be classified as energy. This means every element of the universe resides within the human body, to some degree. And every organ has its own properties and energies that must remain balanced for the body to function properly. The energies within the body must be a perfect synergy of elements. This allows for homeostatic balance, biochemical balance, longevity and harmony between the body and mind.

 

The food we put in our mouths can either fuel us or slowly kill us. By knowing which body type we fit into based on the five elements, wood, fire, water, earth or metal, we can then eat a balanced diet that will allow us to remain healthy and strong throughout our lives. Here are some guidelines that may be helpful.

 

The wood element body type tends to be slender with a long face, body and fingers, similar to a tree.  The liver, gallbladder, tendons, ligaments and sinews are all controlled by the wood element.  Recommended foods for the wood body type include anything sour, and green foods with stalks. Make sure to exclude alcohol, processed foods, high fat foods and most dairy, as these foods can restrict the free flow of energy and blood, while wreaking havoc on the function of the wood element.

 

The fire element body type tends to possess a pointy nose, chin and top of the head. The fire element body is shaped like a torch, pointed on the top, narrow at the bottom and flared in the middle. The fire element handles the circulatory, glandular and immune systems. This includes the heart, small intestine and the lymphatic system. Recommended foods for the fire body type include bitter foods, grains, vegetables, dark leafy greens, beans and seeds. These foods tend to keep the fire at bay, avoiding an overabundance. Foods to avoid include chocolate, salt, meats, stimulants and hot spices.

 

The water element body type has a tendency towards “thickness.” The face tends to be large and round, with a wider base, while the body is full and chubby. The water element rules the kidneys, bladder, bones, nerves and teeth. Recommended foods for the water element body type include pure water (not what is contained in juices, coffee, etc.), blue, purple and black foods, root vegetables and seaweeds and seafood. Foods to avoid include sugars, alcohol, caffeinated drinks, frozen and excessively raw foods.

 

The earth element body type tends to be short in stature, with a short body, short fingers and neck. The face tends to be square, while the body is pear shaped with rounded buttocks. The earth element rules the digestive and structural systems within the body. This includes the stomach, spleen and muscles.  Recommended foods for the earth element body type include root vegetables, leafy greens and light proteins such as legumes and fish. Foods to avoid include refined carbohydrates, dairy, iced drinks and processed foods as they gunk up the digestive system and overtax the spleen and stomach.

 

The metal element body type tends to have defined facial features and broad, square shoulders.  However, their features tend to be thin in nature, such as thin lips and eyelids. The metal element rules the intestinal, respiratory and skin systems, as well as assisting with the immune system. Recommended foods include those that have a dispersing effect and promote energy circulation. Foods sour in nature are best for this body type. Also foods high in minerals like leafy greens and vegetables are good choices.  Foods to avoid include dairy, red meat and bitter foods.

 

Once we know our elemental body type, we can effectively nourish our body without wreaking havoc.  For more information, contact a licensed acupuncturist in your area.

Acupuncture for Kids with Down Syndrome

In recent years researchers have begun to study the effects holistic medicine, and in specific acupuncture, have on those with down syndrome. It is important to remember that a down syndrome diagnosis comes before birth. This means a child will be born with down syndrome and grow up having to experience its trials and tribulations. It can be tough for kids to cope with having down syndrome, and new studies have shown acupuncture can make it a little bit easier.

 

Acupressure points can help those with down syndrome suffer less from setbacks and symptoms.

Herbal formulas and certain foods are also beneficial for patients with down syndrome. Utilizing these elements of TCM can help those with down syndrome live a better life.

Many of those with down syndrome experience an increased amount of dampness. You can use acupuncture and TCM to correct the amount of dampness they may be experiencing.

Down syndrome contributes to kidney deficiency and acupuncture and TCM can be used to balance and correct the deficiency.

Acupuncture Complementing Cancer Treatment

acupuncture image 4Acupuncture has many healing properties. Acupuncture and other forms of Traditional Chinese Medicine are known to be great complementary forms of treatment for those fighting cancer. Forms of TCM, such as acupuncture, are even used by hospitals and other health practitioners to work alongside chemotherapy.

 

Chemotherapy and radiation can exhaust and break down a patient’s body, so the rejuvenative properties of acupuncture and TCM are welcomed by the recipient.

 

Check out these reasons acupuncture is a great complementary treatment for cancer patients.

 

Can help manage acute and chronic types of pain

Acupuncture can increase your white blood cell count, which is important for fighting cancer cells

Bolsters immune health

Assists with managing debilitating side effects, such as vomiting, depression, weight loss and physical and mental fatigue.

Acupuncture is a safe treatment and can be used for all ages.

Specific methods have been created to fight cancer

Acupuncture has been an effective form of pain management for thousands of years

Five Ways to Increase White Blood Cell Count with TCM

meme2-immune-systemLeukopenia is a term used when there are less than adequate white blood cells in the bloodstream. This condition may make those suffering from it susceptible to infections. Leukopenia is often seen in diseases such as AIDS, cancer and lupus, as well as in common occurrences like the flu or a cold. Leukopenia can also be medically induced, as is often the case for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. While there are several prescription medications available to battle this condition, most of them also have multiple adverse side effects. But there are alternative natural methods that can increase white blood cell count without the side effects. One of these is Traditional Chinese Medicine.

 

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a medical system that has been around for thousands of years and incorporates multiple modalities to treat the body holistically. Acupuncture is one of the modalities utilized by TCM practitioners that can help increase white blood cell count. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends and endorses acupuncture for treating leukopenia. Research has demonstrated acupuncture can increase immunity, while improving both red and white blood cell counts.

 

Traditional Chinese Medicine considers the spleen to be a very important component of immune function in the body. In TCM, the spleen is responsible for removing nutrients from food and then using those nutrients to build up blood. Patients with low blood cell count tend to suffer from fatigue. This can be countered by receiving regular acupuncture treatments that not only increase immunity, but also boost the production of blood cells.

 

One very important modality of TCM is herbs and herbal formulas. Specific herbs and formulas can actually increase white blood cell count and improve immune function in the body. The peony root, for example, is used in at least three different forms to boost or tonify the blood. In single herb form, peony root is known as Bai Shao, Chi Shao and Shao Yao. All of these forms are known to tonify blood, which ultimately increases immunity.

 

Tai chi and qi gong are not technically part of TCM, but they are ingrained in Asian history and used by millions of people worldwide. Studies have shown these forms of low-impact exercise can be very beneficial to those suffering from leukopenia. In fact, the studies confirm blood cell count can be increased by practicing tai chi or qi gong on a regular basis. There have even been cases where tumors have completely disappeared after the patient began practicing these ancient martial arts.

 

Diet and nutrition are other important areas when battling leukopenia. In TCM, nutrition is vital for overall health. One of the superfoods in TCM is Shiitake mushrooms. These mushrooms are recommended because they are known to enhance immunity. Shiitake mushrooms contain lentinan, which is an antiviral substance that has strong immune-stimulating properties. This mushroom is used as a meat substitute in TCM nutrition. And when combined with other immune-boosting foods, this in itself can make for a very healthy meal.

 

Lastly, a practice known as meditation should be considered when low white blood cell count is present.  While meditation is not specific to TCM, it is frequently prescribed and used by TCM practitioners.  Mediation is a practice that helps calm the mind and the nervous system. When the nervous system is overstimulated, it creates metabolic stress within the body. Metabolic stress causes the immune system to become weakened, thus decreasing the number of white blood cells in the body. Meditation can help reverse this problem.

 

While Western medicine may be the current line of defense in fighting leukopenia, it is very feasible that alternative medicine may offer more without harmful side effects. The two forms of medicine can be used in conjunction, allowing the patient to have more options and more control over their treatment regimen.

 

Building Protective Qi with TCM

meme_4
Everybody gets sick at some point in their life. For some, it’s just a quick weekend thing. For others, it can last for several days and even weeks. Why do some people always get sick whenever there is a bug going around and others don’t? It all comes down to immunity. People who have a stronger immune system, tend to be sick less often. Those with compromised or weak immune systems, seem to get sick at the drop of a hat. There are many things that can be done to strengthen the immune system though. And Traditional Chinese Medicine is probably one of the best and least invasive ways to boost the immune system, not just during the winter months, but all year long.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the immune system is called Wei Qi (pronounced “way chee”). The Wei Qi is closely associated with the internal organs, specifically the lungs. When the energy of the lungs is well-balanced, Wei Qi is strong and can easily fight off any external attacks. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the lungs dominate the skin and breathing. If lung function is deficient or compromised in any way, then the body is more open to external pathogens like viruses and bacteria. Common symptoms of decreased Wei Qi or immunity include coughing, sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, sore throat, headaches, fever and/or chills.

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a medical system that has been around for nearly 4,000 years. There are many tools in the kit of a TCM practitioner. Probably the most commonly used tools for building Wei Qi are acupuncture and herbal formulas. Acupuncture uses hair-thin stainless steel, single-use needles that are placed on specific acupressure points that can boost immunity and balance hormones. When the hormones are stressed and unbalanced, illness can occur. Acupuncture points associated with Wei Qi can strengthen the circulation of energy and blood, which will then boost the body’s defense mechanisms, thus helping to prevent illness. Regular acupuncture treatments can also cause the brain to increase T-cells in the body. T-cells destroy bacteria and viruses. Acupuncture needles provoke the body’s immune response by sending T-cells and white cells to the needle sites to fight off the invaders. These effects can last for several days, which keeps immunity higher than normal.

Chinese botanicals are another great way to build up Wei Qi. Any herb or herb combination that boosts or enhances the immune system will keep the body functioning at its optimal level. In TCM, there are many individual herbs that boost the Qi and some specifically boost the Wei Qi. Astragalus (huang qi) is one of the more frequently used Chinese herbs. It is used to tonify the Wei Qi, fortify the lungs and protect against pathogens. Studies show huang qi increases white blood cells, which can help fight off infection and pathogenic invasions.

Cordyceps (dong chong xia cao) is another immune-boosting herb. Cordyceps enhances immunity by increasing white blood cells, T-cells and interferon. It also can inhibit the growth of cancer cells. While cordyceps works very well by itself, it works even better when used as part of a formula, as do most Chinese herbs. When looking to use Chinese herbs, be sure to seek out a qualified herbalist and TCM practitioner to insure overall safety of the herb or formula.

TCM and all of its modalities can be very helpful in staying well and healthy. When added to the practices of proper sleep and nutrition, drinking lots of water and mild exercise, TCM will help keep the body’s immune system healthy. And hopefully if illness does occur, it will only be mild. Here’s to your health!

By: Kim M. Filkins, L.Ac.

Four Ways to Overcome Childhood Obesity

Four Ways to Overcome Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity is a serious health issue affecting more than 12 million children in the United States. From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, obesity is related to a weakness in the digestive energy, a stagnation of energy in the body, heat accumulating in the stomach or an accumulation of dampness and phlegm. These imbalances may be inherited or may be products of the environment, lifestyle, diet and stress of the patient.
There is no magic pill for obesity – but in most cases, childhood obesity can be prevented or treated with lifestyle modifications and natural medicine. Here are four ways to help your child overcome obesity.
1. Move!

Exercise is incredibly important in reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. It is important, especially for kids, to make exercise fun! Try different team sports and individual athletic endeavors, competitive sports and collaborative activities, high intensity exercise and more gentle forms of movement like yoga or tai chi. The important thing is to find what is right for your child – what he or she will keep doing on a regular basis (at least four times per week).

2. Eat a Spleen-friendly Diet

In Traditional Chinese Medicine the spleen is what controls digestion. It is in charge of transforming the food we eat into nutrients the body can use, and then transporting those nutrients around the body. When the spleen is constantly fed food that is overly processed, sweet or greasy, it can’t function optimally. This leads to the formation of dampness and excess fat. The metabolism will suffer as the spleen is weakened, compounding the problem. That is why it is important to be sure your child largely eats a spleen-friendly diet.

To nourish the spleen, avoid foods that have a lot of sugar, are overly processed or are particularly greasy. Also, limit the intake of cold temperature foods and beverages. The spleen exerts a lot of energy heating up the food you eat to be 98.6 degrees – you can help it out and give it warm foods or room temperature beverages, allowing it to use its resources on digestion, transformation and transportation.
3. Heal the Gut.

A spleen-friendly diet is a great way to prevent obesity and to teach your child how to stay healthy long-term. However, in order to reverse direction when obesity is already present, it is important to take steps to heal the digestive system, as it is clearly already compromised. Taking age-appropriate probiotics is a great place to start. Probiotics introduce good, healthy bacteria into your gut, so that there isn’t space for unhealthy bacteria to make themselves a home. More and more research shows how integral our microflora biodome is to our overall health, and probiotics are an essential piece of creating healthy gut flora. Another way to heal the digestive tract is to introduce bone broth. Bone broth refers to soup or broth made from cooking animal bones (ie, from beef, pork or chicken) for a long time, allowing the broth to leech out the good, healing nutrients from the bone marrow. Bone broth is incredibly nourishing to the digestive system as well as other core energy systems in the body. It helps repair a damaged gut.

4. Get Acupuncture

Acupuncture can be a terrific therapy for helping your child through this process of losing weight and shifting their lifestyle. Depending on the age of your child, acupuncture or acupressure may be more appropriate, and both serve to move stuck energy, strengthen the spleen and stomach, reduce heat or inflammation, and transform dampness and phlegm. They can improve metabolism, reduce cravings, regulate appetite and offer support during these difficult lifestyle changes.
It may be hard work, for both you and your child, but overcoming childhood obesity is essential in setting your child up for health as an adult.
3 Sitting Exercises for Weight Loss

Whether we are at the office, in the car or at home, we spend much of our day sitting down. So much time in fact that it can impact how active we are throughout the remainder of our day. Because of the amount of sitting we do, it can be hard to find times to be active and burn calories. If you still want to lose weight, but can’t avoid the huge amount of sitting throughout your day, check out these three sitting exercises that promote healthy weight loss.

1. Replace your chair

This is a super easy way to get in some key exercise while you are sitting at work. Take your old office chair and replace it with an exercise ball. More specifically, a stability ball. A stability ball will help you tighten and strengthen various parts of your body, including your core, leg and back muscles. It has been proven that when you do this you can burn up to an extra 100 calories a day!

2. Set healthy reminders for yourself

This is a simple practice that can greatly improve your health, quality of life and weight. If you set healthy reminders for yourself throughout the day while at work you can avoid staying stagnant and eating potentially unhealthy foods. For example, set reminders on your phone to tell yourself to get up and walk around the office for a few minutes, or to walk up and down a set of stairs. In addition, you can set reminders telling yourself what snacks you should eat during the work day, or what healthy option you should have during your lunch break.

3. Drink lots of water

Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Keeping yourself properly hydrated is very important. And by doing this you can even help yourself lose weight without getting up and impacting your work day. Drinking lots of water ensures that your metabolism and other bodily functions can work to the best of their ability. Keeping your metabolism hydrated and fully operational helps reduce your calorie intake. http://ow.ly/i/xPd5X

Research Update – Electroacupuncture for

Research Update – Electroacupuncture for Pain

A study published in Anesthesiology: The Journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, Inc., tested electroacupuncture for its effectiveness in treating persistent pain. Although the subjects used in the study were animals. However, the findings can be easily translated and adjusted so the same methods can be used to treat human beings. The studies showed electroacupuncture can greatly decrease several types of pain, including neuropathic, inflammatory, cancer-related and visceral pain. The studies showed solid evidence that electroacupuncture can indeed be used for analgesia in patients that are suffering from chronic pain, regardless of the type of pain.

http://anesthesiology.pubs.asahq.org/article.aspx?articleid=1917956#66563380

Acupuncture is a modality used in Traditional Chinese Medicine in which a practitioner inserts hair-thin, solid, stainless steel needles into the body, under the skin along energetic pathways. These energetic pathways, or meridians, are invisible lines that run throughout the body. These meridians allow energy or Qi (pronounced “chee”) to flow throughout the body, keeping the body in balance and alignment. For optimal health to be achieved, Qi must flow freely without any blockages. Blocked or stagnant energy can result in disease or decreased vitality.

Electroacupuncture is a variation on acupuncture. Electroacupuncture works the same way as regular acupuncture, but it uses the needles as conduits that administer small jolts of electricity that invigorate the skin and muscles of the body. Electricity increases the effects of acupuncture. This can lead to increased energy, pain relief, and much, much more. The electrical charges encourage additional physiological processes that go beyond the mere stimulation of Qi. Acupuncture coupled with electricity, encourages the body to release neurotransmitters that can act as natural painkillers. Because of this, electroacupuncture is becoming more common in the treatment of pain.

Electroacupuncture is especially useful for conditions in which there is an accumulation of Qi, such as chronic pain. This type of acupuncture can be used as a pain reliever for muscle spasms, neurological disorders and possibly even heart disease. There is evidence that electrical stimulation of acupressure points can activate the endorphin system. This can actually lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart disease.

Electroacupuncture produces a rhythmic, non-painful muscle twitch just below the needle through the use of a very small milliamp current. This stimulation triggers perfusion of blood flow locally. This blood flow carries essential nutrients that promote muscle regeneration. The use of electroacupuncture can break pain cycles, while smoothing the way for a person’s own pain-relieving mechanisms. Electroacupuncture also relaxes muscles.
Electroacupuncture does come with risks and it is not appropriate for everybody. Anybody who has a history of seizures, epilepsy or stroke, would not be an ideal candidate for the use of electroacupuncture. Also it is not recommended for people who have pacemakers, as it can interfere with the electrical current of the devices. Before trying electroacupuncture, the practitioner should verify you are not at risk. If they do not, it is vital for the patient to bring this up to avoid any complications.
http://ow.ly/IUPb30evT1B http://ow.ly/i/xPcPA

Mercury Retrograde Begins August 13- Sep

Mercury Retrograde Begins August 13- September 5

The Meaning of Mercury Retrograde

We are all influenced when Mercury is in retrograde. But what does this mean? Let us explain …

Sometimes, the other planets appear to be traveling backward through the zodiac; this is an illusion. We call this illusion retrograde motion.

Several times a year, it appears as if Mercury is going backwards. This time was traditionally associated with confusions, delay, and frustration.

Perhaps Mercury’s retrograde periods can cause our plans to go awry. However, this is an excellent time to reflect on the past. Intuition is high during these periods, and coincidences can be extraordinary.

What to Do When Mercury is Retrograde?

The planet Mercury rules communication, travel, contracts, automobiles, and such. So,when Mercury is retrograde, remain flexible, allow time for extra travel, and avoid signing contracts. Review projects and plans at these times, but wait until Mercury is direct again to make any final decisions.

About a week or two before Mercury retrogrades, finish any tasks or projects at hand. You can’t stop your life, but plan ahead, have back-up plans, and be prepared for angrier people and miscommunication.

Some people blame Mercury retrograde for “bad” things that happen in their lives. Instead, take this time to sit back and review where you put your energy in your life. For example, if family and faith are important to you, are you putting your energies there or just overextended in other areas? Take a moment to reflect.

The next Retrograde this year is •December 3 to 23 : Plan ahead!