What is Arthritis?

As one of the most pervasive diseases in the United States, arthritis affects  one out of every three Americans, or roughly 70 million people. For most people, arthritis pain and inflammation cannot be avoided as the body ages. In fact, most people over the age of 50 show some signs of arthritis. Joints naturally degenerate over time. Fortunately, arthritis can often be managed Acupuncture, Nutrition, and sensible exercise programs.

Arthritis isn’t just one disease; it’s a complex disorder that comprises more than 100 distinct conditions and can affect people at any stage of life. Two of the most common forms are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. While these two forms of arthritis have very different causes, risk factors, and effects on the body, they often share a common symptom—persistent joint pain.

Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis

Osteoarthritis ~

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis. OA begins with the breakdown of joint cartilage, resulting in pain and stiffness. OA commonly affects the joints of the fingers, knees, hips, and spine. Other joints affected less frequently include the wrists, elbows, shoulders, and ankles. When OA is found in a less frequently affected joint, there is usually a history of injury or unusual stress to that joint. Work-related repetitive injury and physical trauma may contribute to the development of OA. If you have a strenuous job that requires repetitive bending, kneeling, or squatting, for example, you may be at high risk for OA of the knee.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) ~

The other arthritis is Adult and Juvenile Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). They are a type of autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the synovial fluid membranes surrounding the lubricating fluid in the joints (there are at least another 100 lesser known subtype autoimmune arthritic diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis AS).

RA can affect many different joints and, in some people, other parts of the body as well, including the blood, the lungs, and the heart. Inflammation of the joint lining, called the synovium, can cause pain, stiffness, swelling, warmth, and redness. The affected joint may also lose its shape, resulting in loss of normal movement. RA can last a long time and can fluctuate between flares (active symptoms) and remissions (few to no symptoms).

Chinese Medicine in Treating Anxiety and Depression

Chinese Medicine views that we human beings (just like all other living organisms) are made of three different aspects: body, mind, and spirit. Physical symptoms may stem from mental/emotional/spiritual disorders; emotional issues are often being displayed as physical ailments as the body and mind are seamlessly woven together in one energy field. Therefore, treating emotional/mental issues only with medications, without addressing inter-related   physiological counterparts, is not only ineffective, but may exacerbate the conditions.

In Chinese medicine, the underlying causes of anxieties/depression differ drastically from one patient to another. Typically, Chinese medical practitioners look for “pattern disharmonies” in treating depression/anxiety patients. The most prominent pattern disharmonies in depression disorders are:

* Heart and Spleen Qi deficiency – Physical symptoms may include palpitations, insomnia, poor memory, lack of appetite, fatigue, poor digestion, and a pale tongue. Emotional symptoms include excessive worry and feeling timid.
* Heart Yin deficiency – Physical symptoms may include absentmindedness, dizziness, insomnia, low back soreness, dryness, sensations of heat, tinnitus, and a red tongue with little coating. Emotional symptoms include sensitivity and irritability. Yin deficiency is commonly seen during menopause.
* Excessive Phlegm – Physical symptoms may include obesity, feeling weighted down, congestion, dizziness, fatigue and a swollen tongue. Emotional symptoms include depression and feeling cloudy or experiencing dullness of thought.
* Liver Qi stagnation – Physical symptoms may include nausea, bloating, premenstrual symptoms, rib-side pain, belching and possibly insomnia. Emotional stress affects the liver and includes irritability, frustration, and anger.
* Liver and/or Heart fire – Fire is often caused by prolonged Liver Qi stagnation. Symptoms include a bitter taste in the mouth, headaches, ringing in the ears, dizziness, sores in the mouth, red eyes, red face and a quick temper.

Depending on pattern diagnosis, acupuncture protocols are determined to address the underlying causes. Generally, results with acupuncture and herbs are cumulative, improving week by week. Treatment begins with one or two sessions per week and tapers off as the condition improves.

Acupuncture and herbs are not only safe, but also effectively used together with anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications. Many patients find these medications to be inadequate at completely resolving their symptoms. Others, together with their doctors, would like to wean themselves to lower dosages in order to decrease the occurrence of side effects. Most patients turn to acupuncture and herbs for a variety of reasons – mostly because of their clinical success.

Treating Candiasis with Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine recognizes the development of candida as a Triple Burner-related condition (The Triple Burner is not directly related to body organs, rather it is a concept.)  Regulating the activities of the other internal organs and fluid metabolism, the Triple Burner consists of three burners: the Upper Burner (the Heart, and Lung), Middle Burner (the Spleen and Stomach) and Lower Burner (the Liver, Intestines, Bladder and Kidneys).

In candidiasis, the Middle Burner, and particularly the Spleen, is the key issue. The Spleen is responsible for taking the food and fluids that we ingest and processing them into the Chi and Blood that are the true “fuel” of our bodies. When the Spleen is functioning well, Chi and Blood are in balance, intestinal flora is in balance, and there is no excess fluid or phlegm in our system. However, when the Spleen becomes weak, this imbalance often progresses to digestive disorders, irregular bowel movements, diarrhea, constipation, and/or fatigue. When the Spleen is weakened further, Damp Heat accumulates in the Lower Burner, resulting in white, cheesy vaginal discharge, genital itching, or urinary tract infections. At the Upper Burner, Damp Heat caused by the weakened Spleen causes an infection of the oral cavity called thrush or chronic cough.

Candidiasis3

If treated appropriately at an earlier stage by balancing of the Spleen and Stomach, the problem will resolve with no yeast-related symptoms. But candidiasis is not a well-defined disease pattern. It is difficult to diagnose at the early stages, and many people are completely unaware that they are developing a severe problem. Without a proper treatment, the disease gains ground, spreading to the Upper Burner (thrush, cough, etc.), or to the Lower Burner (vaginal infection, etc.), or both.

Acupuncture is extremely effective in strengthening the weakened Spleen–the organ about which conventional medicines do not have a clear understanding. Whether it is an early stage or a full-blown candidiasis affection all three burners, acupuncture can safely and effectively address issues with candidiasis, as long as a proper diet change and nutritional supports are implemented simultaneously.

If you or your loved ones demonstrate any of candida-overgrowth issues, please call us as soon as possible.

What is Fibromyalgia Syndrome?

Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) affects an estimated 2 percent of the population. It is diagnosed when there is a history of widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body for at least three months, and pain in at least 11 of 18 designated tender points on the body.

What is Fibromyalgia Syndrome?

From the perspective of western medicine, Fibromyalgia is an enigma since there’s no medically explained syndrome. There are no laboratory tests that can confirm this diagnosis either.

While not all affected persons experience all associated symptoms, the following symptoms commonly occur together:

  • Chronic pain
  • Debilitating fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Joint stiffness
  • Chronic headaches
  • Dryness
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Inability to concentrate (called “fibro fog”)
  • Incontinence
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Numbness
  • Tingling or poor circulation in the hands and feet
  • Painful menstrual cramps
  • Restless legs syndrome

Symptoms often begin after a physical or emotional trauma, but in many cases there appears to be no triggering event. Women are more prone to develop the disorder than are men, and the risk of Fibromyalgia increases with age.

fibromyalsia

Research shows that up to 90 percent of people with Fibromyalgia have turned to complementary or alternative medicine to manage their symptoms. Acupuncture, in particular, has become a popular treatment choice and has been shown to be an effective treatment for FMS.

From A Chinese Medical Perspective

Chinese medicine does not recognize Fibromyalgia as one particular disease pattern. Instead, it aims to treat the symptoms unique to each individual depending on their constitution, emotional state, the intensity and location of their pain, digestive health, sleeping patterns and an array of other signs and symptoms.

Since symptoms of Fibromyalgia vary greatly from one person to another, a wide array of traditional and alternative treatments have been shown to be the most effective way of treating this difficult syndrome.

From a Chinese medical perspective, Fibromyalgia is viewed as a classical case of “Severe Stagnation of Qi and Blood.”

The theory of pain is expressed in this famous Chinese saying: “Bu tong ze tong, tong ze bu tong” which means “free flow: no pain, no free flow: pain.”—which means when the Qi (vital energy force) and blood flow smoothly, there can’t be any pain. The disruption of Qi that results in Fibromyalgia is usually associated with disharmonies of the Liver, Spleen, Kidney, and Heart systems.

Since pain is a hallmark symptom of Fibromyalgia, our treatment protocols focus on pain reduction primarily, along with stimulating the flow of Qi and blood in patients’ bodies. We also look into emotional/psychological components very seriously in treating Fibromyalgia.

fibromyalsia2

If you have Fibromyalgia, acupuncture and Chinese medicine may be what you’ve been looking for to ease your symptoms and reclaim your health and vitality.

Call us today – don’t delay, don’t live in pain – we are here to help you! Call us at 201-760-8811!

Alleviate Arthritis Pain with Acupuncture

Arthritis isn’t just one disease, but a complex disorder comprised of more than 100 distinct conditions that can affect people at any stage of life. Two of the most common forms are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. While these two types of arthritis have very different causes,  they often share a common symptom: persistent joint pain.

For many people, arthritis pain and  inflammation cannot be avoided as the body ages. In fact, most people over the age of 50 show some signs of arthritis as joints naturally degenerate over time. Fortunately, arthritis can frequently be managed with acupuncture and nutrition programs.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting an estimated 21 million adults in the United States. Beginning with the breakdown of joint cartilage that results in pain and stiffness, osteoarthritis usually affects the joints of the fingers, knees, hips and spine. The wrists, elbows, shoulders and ankles are less frequently affected and when osteoarthritis is found in these joints, there is typically a history of injury or unusual stress to the joints. This may include and be attributed to work-related repetitive injury and physical trauma. For example, if you have a strenuous job that requires repetitive bending, kneeling or squatting, you may be at high risk for osteoarthritis of the knee.

arthritis 3

Rheumatoid arthritis can affect many different joints and, in some people, other parts of the body as well, including the blood vessels, lungs and heart. With this kind of arthritis, inflammation of the joint lining (called the synovium) can cause pain, stiffness, swelling, warmth and redness. The impacted joint may also lose its shape, resulting in loss of normal movement. Rheumatoid arthritis can last a long time and is a disease characterized by flares (active symptoms) and remissions (few to no symptoms).

arthritis 2

Diagnosis and Treatment of Arthritis with Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

According to Oriental medical theory, arthritis arises when the cyclical flow of Qi (energy) in the meridians becomes blocked resulting in pain, soreness, numbness and stiffness. This blockage is called “bi syndrome” and is widely studied and successfully treated using a combination of treatment modalities. The acupuncture points and herbs that are used depend on whether the underlying cause of the blockage of Qi(arthritis) is caused by wind, cold, damp or damp-heat.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine aim to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual using a variety of techniques such as acupuncture, bodywork, lifestyle/dietary recommendations and energetic exercises to restore imbalances found in the body. Therefore, if 10 patients are treated with Oriental medicine for joint pain, each of these 10 patients will receive a unique, customized treatment with different acupuncture points, different herbs/supplements, and different lifestyle and diet recommendations.

Your acupuncturist will examine you, take a look at the onset of your condition and learn your signs and symptoms to determine your diagnosis and choose the appropriate acupuncture points and treatment plan.

Nurture Your Cardiovascular Health

February is the American Heart Association’s Heart Health Awareness Month. The cardiovascular system consists of the heart and blood vessels, and is responsible for carrying nutrients and oxygen to the tissues and removing carbon dioxide and other waste from them.

susanna heart pic

Diseases affecting the cardiovascular system include arteriosclerosis, coronary artery disease, heart valve disease, arrhythmia, heart failure, hypertension, orthostatic hypotension, and congenital heart disease..

Cardiovascular disease is the leading health threat, with heart disease and stroke topping the list of leading causes of death worldwide. One out of every two men and one out of every three women will develop heart disease sometime in their life.

By integrating acupuncture and Oriental medicine into your heart-healthy lifestyle, you can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as 80 percent. Let’s take a look at how acupuncture can assist your cardiovascular health.

cardiovascular health

1. Manage High Blood Pressure
Acupuncture has been found to be particularly helpful in lowering blood pressure. By applying acupuncture needles at specific sites along the wrist, inside the forearm or in the leg, researchers at the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, Irvine, were able to stimulate the release of opioids, which decreases the heart’s activity and thus its need for oxygen. This, in turn, lowers blood pressure.

2. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Obesity is associated with diabetes, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease–all of which increase the risk of developing heart disease. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine is an excellent adjunctive tool when it comes to losing weight. They can help to energize the body, maximize the absorption of nutrients, regulate elimination, control overeating, suppress the appetite and reduce anxiety.

3. Reduce Stress
In Chinese Medicine, the Heart is the King of all of our physiological, emotional, and spiritual health. Excessive stress can easily damage the heart so that people with a high degree of stress often suffer from high blood pressure, chest pains, or irregular heartbeats. Numerous studies have demonstrated the substantial benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of stress, anxiety and mental health.

cardiovascular health 2

4. Improve Sleep Quality
Poor sleep has been linked with high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart failure, heart attacks, stroke, diabetes and obesity. Acupuncture has shown great success treating a wide array of sleep problems without any of the side effects of prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids. The acupuncture treatments for problems sleeping focus on the root disharmony within the body that is causing the insomnia. Therefore, those who use acupuncture for insomnia achieve not only better sleep, but also an overall improvement of physical and mental health.

5. If You Smoke, Quit
Most people associate cigarette smoking with breathing problems and lung cancer. But did you know that smoking is also a major cause of coronary artery disease? In fact, about 20 percent of all deaths from heart disease are directly related to cigarette smoking.

Acupuncture has shown to be an effective treatment for smoking. Acupuncture treatments for smoking cessation focus on jitters, cravings, irritability and restlessness–symptoms that people commonly complain about when they quit. It also aids in relaxation and detoxification.

cardiovascular and acupuncture