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Balance as Health: Yin and Yang

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Yin and Yang, Balance as Health One of my secret indulgences is watching food television programs. In a recent international baking competition, the American team created a cake based on the theme of yin and yang. It occurred to me that what started as a Chinese philosophy has now become a part of the world’s vocabulary, but few people understand this concept in the context of Chinese philosophy and medicine. Origins of Yin and Yang Originally, the terms yin and yang referred to the two faces of a sun-bathed mountain. They called the sunlit face yang and the shady side yin. Philosophers observed that while these two sides are opposites, they are inextricably linked. When there is light, there is

Why Heat Causes Headaches?

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Summer is finally here in New York.  Most people are happy about the hotter weather but for many with chronic migraine and tension headaches warmer weather will trigger a headache. It’s not just you alone.  Many research studies on weather patterns causing headaches show an increase in temperature to be a significant factor in triggering headaches.  An increase in humidity was also a factor for most types of headaches. Acupuncture doctors have observed this phenomena for centuries. Weather and climatic factors are one of the major causes of headaches in acupuncture.  Acupuncture uses the weather patterns — wind, dampness, heat, cold, and dryness—as descriptions of the pattern of symptoms you are experiencing. Why does weather affect headaches so much? While Western science cannot fully

Preparing for Your First Acupuncture Treatment

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Coming in for acupuncture for the first time?  Here’s are the most commonly asked questions. What should I wear? People come to their acupuncture treatment dressed in everything from business suits and dresses to sweatpants. We will have gowns and towels so you can change if need be. Many people prefer to wear loose clothing so they do not need to change.  Most acupuncture treatments begin on your arms and legs so changing is not always needed. Should I eat before hand? It is best not to be very hungry or too full for your acupuncture session. A general guideline would be eating 1-2 hours before your visit. If your appointment is in the afternoon or evening, it is important

Acupuncture for muscle rehabilitation

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Many people find it hard to recover from an injury, even with rounds of therapy. Stellar athletes, weekend warriors, people trying to stay in shape, and those with repetitive stress from work all can have problems. After finding that other techniques have not worked find their way to our acupuncture office. Acupuncture has a unique effect to help individuals who have stubborn injuries and chronic pain which have not improved despite treatment. Not only does acupuncture reduce pain and inflammation, but acupuncture also stimulates the growth of muscle tissue. In a report at the Experimental Biology 2012 meeting suggests that acupuncture helps to stimulate muscle tissue regrowth.  The research group showed that acupuncture reversed the decrease in muscle mass in

Too Many Painkillers Maybe Causing Your Headache

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Many people with chronic headaches take pain killers almost daily. A report from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in the United Kingdom states that taking too many pain killers is actually making your headaches worse. The guidelines define overuse of pain medication for more than 15 days out of the month. Types of chronic headaches include migraine headaches, tension headaches, and cluster headaches among others. What happens is the nervous system becomes accustom to the medication, which makes it require more and more medication for relief. But taking more of the medication may actually lead to another more intense headache.  This can lead to a cycle of headaches and pain relievers causing more headaches. The guidelines suggest that

The Acupuncture Map

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Acupuncture has a powerful ability to address pain all over the body. Often, the acupuncture treatment will focus on areas that are far away from the pain. This is because an acupuncturist can use acupuncture channels to address pain and illness throughout the body. Acupuncture channels connect different parts of the body and run along different places in the body. The acupuncture channels create a type of map that interconnects different regions of the body. Acupuncture Channels I like to think of the acupuncture channels as an map of the body to address pain in specific areas. The acupuncturist will try to locate the area of the pain and determine which acupuncture channel is effected. The most powerful acupuncture treatment

Making New Year’s Resolutions Stick

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It’s that time of year again. Resolution time. Are you going to get in shape? Eat healthier? Take care of that chronic back pain? New years is a natural time to think about the future. That’s a wonderful aspect to New Years resolutions. It gives us a natural moment to think about change. We all know the problem with New Year’s resolutions. They’re made to be broken. So what to do? 1. It’s about change The key to a new years resolution is not to think of it as a special occasion to make a change. You’re just ready to improve yourself, that’s it. 2. Make it small One key way to stick with a resolution is to make it

Examining the Placebo Effect

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For the last 50 years, the placebo effect has been a dirty word. Real interventions make a physiological change in the body. Placebos do nothing but convince the patient that something is different. Reality states otherwise. Ted Katpchuk, an acupuncturist and Chinese medicine doctor who focuses on the placebo effect in his research, wants to change all that. What is a Placebo? One of the difficult and fundamental questions is what is a placebo? We’ve come to believe a placebo is an inert intervention. A sugar pill. In most clinical trials of medication, or even with some physical interventions, a group of people with a given condition are given active therapy or medication. The outcomes in this group are compared

What Does Acupuncture Feel Like?

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This is one of the top five common questions in my NYC acupuncture clinic. Acupuncture does not hurt. We use very thin sterile solid needles which means they do not feel like a doctor’s needle. Upon insertion, some points can feel a prick, but many do not feel anything. The acupuncture needles remain in the acupuncture points for 20-30 minutes. Patients can feel numbness, tingling, warmth, heaviness, or movement at the acupuncture point. All of these feelings are good. At some acupuncture points the muscles will twitch. This is particularly true when using acupuncture points such as GB 30 for treating acupuncture for sciatica and acupuncture for chronic low back pain. Acupuncture is very relaxing and people will often fall

Acupuncture and the Healing Process

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I like to say that the acupuncture healing process is like hitting the reset switch. It works in the body to correct once healthy pathways that were knocked off kilter. There is a process to getting to the root cause of the issue in order to reset the body. Like peeling off layers to get to to the core issue. Many patients come to me with intense symptoms, often severe pain. The first goal is to reduce the pain to make them comfortable. Then we work on correcting the root issue causing the pain which can lead to long term relief. In acupuncture and Chinese medicine we call this treating the root and the branch, that is treating the branch