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Why am I so Hot? Heat in Chinese Medicine

As a reader of my blog, you’ll recognize a common thread: Balance = Good Health! The body knows this, instinctively, and is constantly adjusting so as to right itself and stay in the state of stasis. In Chinese medicine, one of the goals is to balance heating and cooling aspects of the body.  Now, as we move past the hottest summer on record, most of us are thankfully packing away thoughts of heat along with our window AC units.  But not so fast! Heat, in this case, refers not only to the environmental temperature but also your body. Our bodies possess qualities of heating and cooling. Health problems can occur if the heating and cooling goes out of balance.  That’s why

My Favorite Probiotic Foods


It’s time for a gut check. Are you one of the millions (yes, millions) who are struggling with digestive issues like Crohn’s, colitis, Leaky Gut Syndrome, or any of the collection of symptoms that make up IBS? If so, you already know how much of an impact it can have on your life. Flare-ups can come without warning, ranging in severity from uncomfortable to downright debilitating. You may also know that a healthy, or unhealthy, GI system plays a key role in maintaining overall health, affecting among other things, the immune system, weight regulation, and emotional well-being, not simply digestion.[1] If any of this concerns you, there’s a word you should get to know: PROBIOTICS. What are Probiotics?  Not just

New Hours This Fall

Leave Falling

Welcome to Fall! We here at Alban Acupuncture hope you thoroughly enjoyed your summer, and are ready to move into the crisp, autumn air! We would like to announce that as of September 9th, we have begun our new Friday morning hours, for all of you who can benefit from an early appointment to start your day. We are taking appointments from 7am to 11am on Fridays. Additionally, we will have office hour on alternating Saturdays. For this month, September, we will have Saturday hours on September 24th from 11am to 4pm. Our full schedule is Tuesday: 11am-8pm Wednesday: 11am-8pm Thursday: 11am-8pm Fridays: 7am-noon Every Other Saturday: 11am-4pm Also, for future reference, Joseph will not have office hours on Tuesday,

What is a Trigger Point?

neck muscles

In any discussion of acupuncture, whether with your clinician during the course of your treatment, or in your own personal reading and research, you may come across the term “trigger point”. What could this be? The term is attributed to Dr. Janet Travell (personal physician to JFK!) and is used to describe a tight band of knots in the muscles and connective tissues. Fascia and connective tissue is the “white stuff” in your old Anatomy and Physiology text from college. Many generations of anatomy professors have simply cleared it away without paying attention to it’s clinical importance, but we now know that fascia is very important to health.[1] Some of acupuncture’s effectiveness is related to the stimulation and stretching of

Herbal Smoothie

Gou Qi Zi or Wolf Berries

There are many reasons to love smoothies; they’re delicious, healthy, and portable! A well-made smoothie can provide you with a serving, two, or three of your daily requirements of fruit and vegetables, all in one glass. It’s the perfect no-mess commuter breakfast, lunch-when-there’s-no-time-for lunch, and that extra boost needed to get from work to the gym. And, depending on your recipe, they’re even pretty colors! But did you know, you can take that smoothie to the next level by adding some amazing herbs? To boost your smoothie’s “super powers”, consider these two herbs for starters, easily found at a health food store. Wolf berries or Gou Ji berries (often spelled Gouji or Goji) give a real power house kick of

Olympics Cupping Craze

cupping in action copy

Those little bruises on Michael Phelps shoulders stimulated huge interest in cupping therapy. The Olympic cupping craze! Earlier this week I was filmed doing cupping by the magazine Marie Claire. Many people have questions. Here are the basics. What is Cupping? Cupping is an ancient therapy from East Asian which a depressurized a glass or plastic cup is placed on a muscle.  The skin under the cup is lifted up.  The therapy is quite common in Asian communities, as well as Eastern Europe and the Middle east. What is cupping used for? Cupping can be used for for muscle pain, arthritis, fatigue, and stress.  You can also use it to help colds, cough, and even acne.[1-3]   It is often

Five Reasons Acupuncture Helps Eczema

blog itch copy

My patients with eczema are looking for natural and safe therapies. Acupuncture seems like an obvious choice because it is safe and has been used for skin conditions for thousands of years. But people don’t always know why it helps. Acupuncture for Eczema Acupuncture is a therapy that uses very thin needles to stimulate acupuncture points that have a specific healing effect. Its very safe and is very relaxing experience. Here are a number of reasons why acupuncture is great for helping eczema. 1. Acupuncture helps to reduce itch. If you’re reading this article, then you probably know that itch is a very common problem for those with eczema. Acupuncture has been shown to reduce itching in those with eczema.[1]

Acupuncture Treatment of Stress Incontinence

acupuncture lower back

Stress incontinence is an all too common problem after having a baby, prostate surgery, or developing over time. It’s not something people always want to talk about, but it affects many aspects of your life.  Stress incontinence can occur because of weakening of the muscles of the pelvic floor and bladder sphincter. The good news is that acupuncture can help reduce stress incontinence. Electro Acupuncture for Stress Incontinence I have treated many people with urinary incontinence and frequent urination with electroacupuncture in my clinic. My acupuncture therapy usually focuses on acupuncture points that lie on the urinary bladder and kidney meridians on the lower back and the legs. A recent study found that electroacupuncture reduced amount of urine leakage and

Acupuncture and the Healing Process


Acupuncture works by stimulating the body to heal itself.  In Chinese Medicine this is done by identifying the underlying imbalance in the body and tailoring the acupuncture treatment to correct this imbalance.  I like to describe this process as hitting the reset switch bringing the body back to balance. Acupuncture also works by releasing pain relieving chemicals and reduce inflammation.(1) Treating the Root and Branch In Chinese Medicine we say we need to treat both the root cause of the issue and the branch, the symptoms.  The process is focuses on getting to the root cause of the issue in order to reset the body. Many patients come to me after seeing others for long periods of time with intense

Getting the Qi

acupuncture on upper back

During and acupuncture treatment there are many considerations: what acupuncture points to choose, how long should the acupuncture treatment last, and if to use electroacupuncture or not. Another goal is to “Get the Qi” at certain acupuncture points. Getting the Qi Qi is the energy which flows through channels on the body. Acupuncture stimulates the movement, production, and balance of Qi. Getting in the Qi, traditionally called De Qi, is when I stimulate the acupuncture needle to stimulate the acupuncture point. You will feel the acupuncture point grab the needle and if there is a trigger point, the muscle under the acupuncture point will twitch. This is getting the Qi which has been described as the feeling of catching a