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Self-acupressure on the Suboccipital Muscles

The good news is that you don’t need to know exactly where the muscles are or what their names are. Wherever it hurts and feels tense around the suboccipital area, apply gentle but firm pressure, two or three minutes at one place, then move to the next tender spot.

Personally, I start with the mid-centerline right underneath the occiput, using my middle self massage suboccipitalfinger on both sides, tilting the head slightly backward. Very often, I am startled to find out how much of tension there is on that point. About two minutes will do the job.

Then, I move my fingers downward, slightly outside of the mid-centerline. I stay at tender spots for about two minutes.

The next step is go to wherever there is tenderness in the whole region. Since I am well aware of major acupuncture points in the area, I go through several points such as:

    1. Gallbladder 20: Headache; visual dizziness; pain and stiffness of the neck; gb20bl10painful reddening of the eyes; deep-source nasal congestion; pain in the shoulder and back; heat diseases; common cold; epilepsy.
    2. Bladder 10: Pain and stiffness of the neck, occipital headaches, upper back/shoulder pain, cold and flu symptoms, eye pain and blurry vision, epilepsy, manic episodes, excessive talking.  
    3. GV 16: headaches, stiff neck, aversion to cold and wind, dizziness, numbness, twitching of eyelids, asthma, difficulty of breathing, MANIA and Hysteria.

Some people use tennis ball, massage instruments, and/or some other apparatus. I’ve found that nothing works better, faster than your own fingers. If you have bad arthritis on the fingers, use some towel, roll it up tightly, and lay on top of it, placing the towel right under the occiput.

It usually takes 10 minutes to release the tension in the suboccipital area. You will be amazed at how wonderful you will feel if you practice these self-acupressure on yourself. Not only your tension and headaches will be minimized, you will feel much clearer in your thinking, even feel peaceful. If you have tendency to have “excessive nervous talking, mania, and/or hysteria,” this self massage will certainly help a great deal.

 

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Suboccipital Muscles

subocci-pain

The suboccipital muscles are a group of four muscles located on each side of the back of the neck just below the base of the skull. The muscles connect the skull with the top two vertebrae of the neck. Located right underneath the occipital bone (the pronounced protrusion of the back of the head), there are four paired muscles as shown in the suboccipital musclespicture.

These muscles are designed to sit right on top of the cervical spine, however, most of us tend to lean forward habitually. Texting, using computers, or even when we eat, we place our ears way forward than our shoulders. As a result, these suboccipital muscles tend to get stretched too much on one wide, crunched up, and stiffened over time. Misalignment of the suboccipital muscles becomes a prime cause of head and neck tension and shoulder aches. Prolonged neck tension may permeate toward the frontal area, causing temple and frontal headaches, and may interfere with the blood flow to the eyes, resulting in painful & burning eye syndromes.

 

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Stiff neck, Migraines, and Eye pain? Release Suboccipital Muscles

scalpelpointsOver the course of years of treating human body, I’ve found close to 100% of people over the age of 35 have very stiff neck. Stiff and rigid neck often accompany migraines, shoulder pain, frontal sinus headaches, and eye pain. It’s hard to believe, but stiff neck is also directly associated with the lower back and sacrum pain. There’s an easy way to deal with these issues: self-massage the suboccipital muscles, behind your head.  

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“Beating the Heavenly Drum” –Qigong Exercise

I discovered this exercise only a few weeks ago after I did a frantic research on tinnitus for my patient. Turned out to be this “Beating the Heaven Drum” is an age-old Taoist Qigong exercise, practiced mostly by Taoist monks in northern China. This exercise is refuted to be a valuable tool in aiding and maintaining a healthy ear, hearing mechanism, and maintaining a clear mentality. There are two ways to do this exercise.

  1. Method 1

Take a moment to relax by breathing slowly and deeply sitting on a chair or on the floor. When ready, close the ear canal by pressing on the tragus (stick-out part in front of ear canal) with your index finger. tragus

Tap gently on your index finger with the same hand’s middle finger, in a slow steady rhythm. Tap 12, 24 or 36 times and then release the fingers from the ears and rest. Tap both ears simultaneously or alternatively on each ear. Repeat the cycle three times. Ideally, you need to do this exercise one to three times a day, depending on the severity of ear ringing.

beating the heavenly drum2

When tapping on the index finger, make sure you hear a hollow metallic drum-like sound. The pressure shouldn’t be too hard, but firm enough to elicit metallic sounds. The key is to maintain a relaxed state of mind, not rushing through the exercise, focusing on the maximum benefit not only for the ears, but for the entire body.

  1. Method 2

Take time and relax for a few minutes breathing in and out slowly. Close your ears by placing your palms over them, with your fingers facing towards the back of the head. beataing the heavenlydrumTap the back of your head with all eight fingers, OR place your index fingers right underneath the occiput (the pronounced protrusion of skull, slightly above the base of the skull), and then put the middle fingers over your index fingers and snap them down on the occipital bone.posterior-view-of-the-skull-parietal-bone-occipital

The best results can be achieved through a steady pulse of beating. Again, tap 12, 24 or 36 times using either the alternating or simultaneous tapping. Repeat the sequence 3 times a day.  

Some people report immediate relief with this exercise, while for some, it takes a few days to see a real impact. Repeat the tapping as long as ringing persists.

Note: Another excellent relief can be found by placing heated salt pouch (2 Tsp of heated salt in a cotton pouch) over the ears for about 10 minutes.

 

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Chinese Medical Perspectives on Tinnitus

Let’s talk about about tinnitus a bit. Affecting one out of every 20 Americans, tinnitus (the Latin word for ringing) is a condition that causes unwelcome noises in the ears such as buzzing, clicking, whistling, or high-pitched ringing sounds. It can happen to anyone, regardless of age, although its occurrence increases with age. Some speculate that usage of cell phones may have contributed to the rise of tinnitus.

tinnitusTinnitus is almost always associated with hearing loss. The sounds may be intermittent, continuous, or pulsing. It may interfere with normal activities, tend to get worse during the evenings and night. Causes of tinnitus include a degenerative auditory nerve, ear infections, neurological problems, sensorineural hearing loss, and Meniere’s disease. Some prescription medications and chemotherapy can also cause tinnitus. Well, that’s what western medicine says about tinnitus.

Chinese medicine, on the other hand, says that tinnitus (or any other hearing issues) is caused by:

  1. Kidney-Bladder network weakness, usually brought on by extreme fatigue caused by overexertion, lack of sleep, lower backache, and/or excessive sexual activity(interesting, isn’t it?). In modern days, drug usage and dependence on narcotics medications would certainly damage the kidneys.
  2. Negative emotions such as anger, frustration, resentment, and hatred disrupt the liver channel and become a “liver fire” over time. This “liver fire” rises up to the head and damage hearing.
  3. Overconsumption of cold and raw foods and dairy products promotes the formation of mucus, causing congestion and preventing proper nourishment of the ears.

Resolving any hearing problems, Chinese or otherwise, is a daunting task. It may be kidneysear photo

because our ears are directly connected with the kidneys (they look strikingly similar) which are considered to be the deepest organs in our body. 

Once the kidneys are damaged, it’s really difficult to restore the optimal health. Let’s figure out how Qigong exercise can help in resolving tinnitus.

0 comments on “Ringing in the Ears? Try Qigong Exercise”

Ringing in the Ears? Try Qigong Exercise

A few months ago, a patient came in, complaining about clogged/blocked Eustachian tube, which she thought was caused by having a cold on a plane. A few days after her flight, she started experiencing ringing in both ears, which was getting worse daily.

rining in the earsHer ENT doctor has prescribed antibiotics, but neither clogging nor ringing was getting any better. We tried acupuncture, modified her diet, and used nutritional supplements, all of which helped only marginally. Then, she became dramatically better after I asked her to practice simple Qigong exercises called “Beating the Heavenly Drum.” First day, she said tinnitus went away about 50%; and it took about another 10 days to resolve ear-ringing all together. If you have ringing in the ears, you should definitely try this amazing Qigong exercise.

0 comments on “How to Get Rid of Heartburn (It’s a Long-Term Project)”

How to Get Rid of Heartburn (It’s a Long-Term Project)

1. What to Eat

Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains (except wheat). papayaFavor enzyme rich foods, including papayas, mangoes, sweet potatoes, yams, figs, brown rice, oats, pearl barley, daikon radish, apples, parsley, coriander, mint, dill, rosemary, ginger, bay leaf, fennel, dill, oregano, cilantro, sage, and anise.

2. What Not To Eat

Avoid Wheat, Dairies, and Sugar as much as possible. If you can do this, you can win half a battle. If you get rid of these three items, all there’s left are protein, vegetables, fruits, fat, and non-wheat grains. Avoid acidic foods, such as tomatoes, coffee, tea, wine, citrus fruits, pineapple, rich sauces, cream, greasy and fried foods, processed foods, and alcohol. Vinegar is an interesting subject here as many natural doctors recommend apple cider vinegar to treat heartburn.

3. How to Eat

mindful eatingEat slowly and in small amounts more frequently- you should leave the table only three-quarters full. Chew each bite thoroughly – remember that digestion begins in the mouth and that your stomach doesn’t have teeth. Eat with mindfulness – savor and be grateful with each bite and do not eat while stressed, angry, or preoccupied. Don’t watch television or read the newspaper while you eat, as the distraction takes energy away from the digestive system and makes its job that much harder.

4. What to Avoid

  • Avoid lying down immediately after eating. Lying down enables the acid to reflux from the stomach into the esophagus. During a flare-up, avoid lying flat on your prop-upback when you sleep- instead prop up your head and upper body with pillows at a 45-degree angle.
  • Certain drugs, including antidepressants and sedatives, as they can worsen heartburn. Talk to your doctor about alternatives. Avoid smoking, as nicotine is a muscle relaxant and can relax the esophageal opening in the stomach, making it easier for acid to spill into it.

5.  Home Remedies for Heartburn

  • potato juiceJuice 1 large or 2 small white russet potatoes. Discard the pulp, mix the juice with an equal amount of hot water, and drink on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.

 

  • JDaikonuice 1 medium daikon radish. Discard the pulp, mix the juice with an equal amount of hot water, and drink once a day after eating.
  • For really bad heartburn, dissolve 1 teaspoon baking soda in an 8- ounce cup of warm water for immediate relief.baking soda
  • Make a tea by boiling 1 tablespoon licorice root in 3 1/2 cups of water Make a tea by boiling 1 tablespoon licorice root in 3 1/2 cups of water for 15 minutes. Strain, and drink 1 cup after each meal 3 times a day for 2 weeks. Licorice is neutralizing and helps with digestion. licorice

Lastly, acupuncture can provide quick symptom relief and restore the natural flow of the intestinal tract. You may also need to consider nutritional support to support a healthy esophageal and stomach lining and normal gastric juice production.