Acupressure Relief for Headaches

Headaches present differently for each person, with varying degrees of pain, tension, and/or tenderness. So, a lot will depend on the location of the pain, as far as which points will require acupressure. To begin, the first step is to sit comfortably, take a few deep breaths with your eyes closed, and loosen any tension or tight muscles in the body. Performing acupressure while relaxed ensures optimal results.

First, Large Intestine 4 is such a powerful acupuncture point for headaches that it is often referred to as “the headache point.” It is located on the padded area of your hand, between the thumb and index finger and between the first and second metacarpal bones. Massage this point with your thumb on both hands for approximately 30 seconds.

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Second, Taiyang on the temples. If your headache is on one or both sides of your head, which can include the temples, then apply pressure at a point called TaiYang, which is half way between the outer corner of the eyebrow and your hairline. Using a firm touch from your middle finger, press and hold for 10 seconds. Next, without lifting your fingers, make little clockwise circular motions for 10 seconds. Repeat this procedure in a counter-clockwise motion. This may be repeated for up to 3 minutes.

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Third, there is Gall Bladder 20 called Feng Chi. For relieving pain and tension in the back of the head and neck, the area including and surrounding GB20, is an excellent choice. You will find your left and right GB20 point about 2 inches outward from your spine, at the base of your skull. The medical term for this part of the cranium is the occipital bone. Cradle the back of your head in both hands and use your thumbs to firmly rub back and forth right below your occipital bones. Create some heat with a vigorous rub, then use your thumb pads to press into the area. This can be done for 2 or 3 minutes.

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Do you or someone you know suffer from headaches or migraines? Call today to find out how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you!

Alleviate Your Migraine and Headache Pain

Are you plagued by chronic headaches? More than 45 million Americans (one in six) suffer from chronic headaches, and 20 million of them are women. The pain that headache and migraine sufferers endure can impact every aspect of their lives.

Scientific research shows that acupuncture can be more effective than medication in reducing the severity and frequency of chronic headaches. Acupuncture is a formidable form of treatment for headaches, and it can offer powerful relief without the side effects that prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause. Headaches and migraines, as well as their underlying causes, have been treated successfully with acupuncture and Oriental medicine for thousands of years.

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Acupuncture and Oriental medicine do not recognize migraines and chronic headaches as one particular syndrome. Instead, there are a number of factors and meridians involved. For instance, if headaches are concentrated on the frontal aspect of forehead right above the eyes, we suspect imbalance in the bladder and liver meridians.

If headaches and migraines seem to affect the entire head, the most plausible culprit is too much heat being trapped inside the head. We educate our patients with energetic exercises, breathing techniques, and even diet changes, in order to treat the specific symptoms unique to each individual. Therefore, your diagnosis and treatment will depend on a number of variables. In diagnosing your individual issues, you may be asked a series of questions, including:

  • Is the headache behind your eyes and temples, or is it located more on the top of your head?
  • When do your headaches occur (i.e. night, morning, after eating)?
  • Do you find that a cold compress or a darkened room can alleviate some of the pain?
  • Is the pain dull and throbbing, or sharp and piercing?
  • Do you have more migraines right before or during your menstrual period?

Acupuncture stimulates specific points located on or near the surface of the skin to alter various biochemical and physiological conditions that cause aches and pains or illness. The length, number, and frequency of treatments will vary. Some headaches, migraines, and related symptoms are relieved after the first treatment, while more severe or chronic ailments often require multiple treatments.

Do you or someone you know suffer from headaches or migraines? Call today to find out how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you!

Acupuncture for Low Back Pain

Low back pain is an extremely common concern, affecting anywhere from 75 to 90 percent of people at some point in their lives. Low back pain is second only to the common cold as a cause of lost days at work and is one of the most common reasons to seek medical care. In fact, one of the top reasons that people get acupuncture treatments is for low back pain.

In spite of the large number of pathological conditions that can give rise to low back pain, up to 85 percent of the cases are classified by physicians as ‘non-specific’. When low back pain is examined from an Oriental medicine perspective, it is seen as a disruption to the flow of Qi within the area and associated with a specific disharmony and is treated accordingly.

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The disruption of Qi that results in low back pain is usually associated with the following three disharmonies:

Weak Kidney Qi – In Oriental medicine, the lower back is referred to as the “dwelling of the kidneys”. The majority of chronic low back pain conditions are associated with kidney deficiency. Pain related to kidney deficiency is typically dull and erratic. It is usually aggravated by fatigue and improves with rest.

Stagnation of Qi and Blood – When the flow of Qi along the meridians that traverse the lumbar region becomes congested, it is referred to as the stagnation of Qi and blood. This presents with a severe stabbing pain that is worse with rest and better with movement, tender to touch, and can be accompanied by stiffness and tightness.

Invasion of Cold and Dampness – Cold, damp type pain is generally worse in the morning and when the weather is cold and damp. This type of pain improves with movement and the application of heat. Stiffness and contraction of back muscles that is aggravated by immobility indicates cold predominance. Swelling, numbness, and a heavy sensation are indicative of dampness.

Sinusitis Causes and Symptoms

Sinusitis is caused by one of four main factors: an infection, allergic rhinitis, formation of nasal polyps, or a deviated septum. While sinusitis simply refers to inflammation of the nasal passages, the symptoms and treatments can prove more complex. An acute case of sinusitis (recently occurring) becomes chronic when medical treatments fail to cure the problem after eight weeks.

The symptoms of sinusitis vary depending on whether the condition is acute or chronic. Many of the symptoms for either case are the same, though there are slight variations. With chronic sinusitis, in particular, symptoms last for eight weeks or more and may include facial pain and pressure, nasal congestion, nasal discharge, trouble breathing through the nose, congestion, cough, fever, fatigue, bad breath, headache, ear pain, sore throat, or nausea. If a case of severe sinusitis develops, symptoms such as confusion, double-vision, stiff neck, swollen forehead, and shortness of breath may happen as well.

What is Autoimmune Disease?

An autoimmune disease occurs when the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue. Over 50 million Americans suffer from autoimmune disease including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, thyroid disease, Addison’s disease, pernicious anemia, celiac disease, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Many of these autoimmune disorders are considered to be extremely difficult to treat.

What Causes Autoimmune Disease?

Under normal conditions, an immune response cannot be triggered against the cells of one’s own body. In certain cases, however, immune cells make a mistake and attack the very cells that they are meant to protect. This can lead to a variety of autoimmune diseases. They encompass a broad category of over 100 diseases in which the person’s immune system attacks his or her own cells and tissue.

The exact mechanisms causing these changes are not completely understood, but bacteria, viruses, toxins, and some synthetic drugs may play a role in triggering an autoimmune process in someone who already has a genetic (inherited) predisposition to develop such a disorder. It is theorized that the inflammation initiated by these agents–toxic or infectious–somehow provokes in the body a “sensitization” (autoimmune reaction) in the involved tissues.

As the disease develops, vague symptoms start to appear, such as joint and muscle pain, general muscle weakness, possible rashes or low-grade fever, trouble concentrating, or weight loss. Numbness and tingling in hands and feet, dry eyes, hair loss, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, or repeated miscarriages may also indicate that something is wrong with the immune system.

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How Acupuncture Treats Autoimmune Disorders

According to Oriental medicine, autoimmune disorders occur when there is an imbalance within the body. Imbalance can come from an excess or deficiency of Yin and Yang that disrupts the flow of Qi, or vital energy, through the body. Acupuncture is used to help the body restore balance, treating the root of the disorder, while specifically addressing the symptoms that are unique to each individual.

Clinical research has shown that acupuncture causes physical responses in nerve cells, the pituitary gland and parts of the brain. These responses can cause the body to release proteins, hormones and brain chemicals that control a number of body functions. It is proposed that, by these actions, acupuncture affects blood pressure, body temperature and the immune system.

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How Nutrition Response Testing Can Help Autoimmune Conditions?

Despite notable advancement of medical science, when it comes to our physical bodies, we still do not understand most of incredibly complex and intricate processes of our body mechanisms. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to speculate that overgrowth of some pathogens such as bacteria, virus, yeast, or accumulated metal/chemical toxins in certain organs can trigger chain reactions in surrounding tissues. Over time, this “confusion” in the tissues sends “confusing” signals to the central nervous system, which subsequently sends other “confusing” commands to our immune functions. When this “confusion” persists over a long period of time, our immune functions can no longer identify which agents they need to “fight against” or to “fight for”. The results are typically displayed as autoimmune conditions such as allergies, arthritis, or lupus.

The nutrition response testing is designed specifically to identify the most fundamental, prominent causes of autoimmune conditions. For instance, the real culprit of chronic thyroid conditions may be some “retro-virus” stuck on someone’s liver. Under this scenario, unless this virus issue is resolved, this patient cannot get better even if she religiously follows medical protocol prescribed by her endocrinologist. Can MS (multiple sclerosis) caused by mercury toxins in someone’s teeth? Is adrenal exhaustion (Addison’s disease) caused by none other than parasites in the kidneys? With nutrition program, there are virtually unlimited different situations since “anything can cause anything” in our bodies.

Real food-based nutrition program, combined with accurate testing based on not our “learned knowledge,” but on “mysterious intelligence” within our bodies, will provide us with a safe and effective route to combat any diseases, especially autoimmune conditions.

To learn more about how acupuncture and nutrition program can safely and effectively be incorporated into care for people with an autoimmune disorder, please call for a consultation today.

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.

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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.

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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.

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Managing Diabetes with Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

It is estimated that 25.8 million people in the United States have diabetes, a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin.

Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life.

Untreated diabetes affects the whole body and can lead to other medical problems, including heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, peripheral neuropathy, digestive disorders and periodontal disease.

diabetes and acupuncture

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 4 people remain unaware that they live with diabetes. Sometimes the body will give warning signs that a person’s sugar metabolism is out of whack. Common signs of Type II(adult-onset) diabetes include:

  • Increased hunger (especially after eating)
  • Dry mouth
  • Frequent urination or urinary infections
  • Unexplained weight loss (even though you are eating and feel hungry)
  • Fatigue (weak, tired feeling)
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches

Diabetes is Called “A Wasting Disease” in Oriental Medicine

Acupuncture and Oriental medicines have been used to treat diabetes for over 2000 years.

According to Oriental medicine, diabetes is called “a wasting disease” caused by an imbalance of the cyclical flow of Qi within the meridians and organ systems.

This particular imbalance produces heat that depletes the body’s fluids and Qi, causing symptoms such as extreme fatigue, lethargy, unexplained weight loss, excessive thirst, excessive urination, excessive eating, slow healing of cuts and wounds, infections, irritability, tingling or numbness in the extremities, and blurry vision—all of which are signs of a person being “wasted.”

The treatment for diabetes will focus on regulating the circulation of blood and Qi and balancing the organ systems to improve pancreatic function and address internal heat and the depletion of fluids.

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In addition, acupuncture can treat peripheral neuropathy, one of the most devastating symptoms of diabetes.

Common signs of peripheral neuropathy include tingling, numbness, loss of sensation, muscle weakness and pain. For some people, it is experienced as the uncomfortable sensation of “pins and needles”, or burning pain (especially at night) of their hands or feet. Others may suffer even more extreme symptoms such as muscle atrophy, paralysis, or organ or gland dysfunction.

Oriental medicine teaches that peripheral neuropathy is due to dampness moving to the limbs, where it obstructs the flow of Qi (energy) and blood within them.

The treatment is twofold: to treat the underlying factor that is causing this dampness to accumulate, and to directly facilitate the circulation of Qi and blood in the affected area.

By improving circulation, the nerve tissues of the affected area can be nourished to repair function and reduce pain.

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Well-Known Procedures in Managing Diabetes

There are a number of well-publicized recommendations in managing diabetes.

1. Diet Changes

Anything too sweet must go. While a sweet taste delights our taste buds, overindulgence can cause or worsen digestive problems and upset our metabolic and emotional balance. In Oriental medicine, meats such as pork and chicken are considered sweet.

Vegetables such as yams, sweet potatoes, corn, snow peas, squash and even turnips are also considered sweet.

Anything heavily processed or too greasy must be abstained. Too much dairy, deep-fried foods or canned foods must be avoided. Even fruits are recommended only in moderate amounts due to their relatively high sugar content.

2. Adopt Healthy Life Habits

Healthy habits such as maintaining optimal weight, avoiding exposure to toxins, following a well-supervised exercise program, and limiting or avoiding alcohol consumption can reduce the physical and emotional effects of diabetes.

3. Boost Circulation with Massage (for neuropathy patients)

Massage can help boost circulation, which is generally poor and leaves these areas vulnerable to trauma. You can stimulate your feet, lower legs, hands and arms with gentle massage using light pressure.

4. Relax to Reduce External Triggers

Consider relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, self-hypnosis or biofeedback.

5. Soak for Pain Relief

A warm foot bath with Epsom salt may also help relieve pain. If there is loss of sensation in the hands or feet, you should avoid extreme temperatures, as you may not feel the damaging effects.