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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

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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]

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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

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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

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“I used to think that acupuncture was hocus pocus.  But now I am happy I tried,” a once skeptical now relieved patient said to me. People new to acupuncture are sometimes wary because they think it’s magical.  But after experiencing an acupuncture treatment, they usually feel very different.  This is because acupuncture relaxes the body, decreases pain, and regulates the nervous system, so you physically feel different after an acupuncture treatment. Research has shown that acupuncture works by regulating pain relieving chemicals in the brain , modifying pain patterns within the nervous system, as well as stimulating the release of anti-inflammtory chemicals in cells close to the needles. (1,2,3) A Language of its Own While acupuncture has real physiological effects on

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Traditional Chinese Medicine has a long history of promoting longevity and treating age related conditions. Recently, research shows that Chinese medicine therapies such as herbs, acupuncture, and tai ji all have antioxidant capabilities. Oxidative stress can be understood as an imbalance between the creation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the body’s ability to detoxify through antioxidants and other mechanisms.[1]  Health in TCM is based upon the idea of balance which can be understood as a homeostatic state.[2] Herbal Antioxidants Traditional Chinese medicine has long focused on longevity and improving health for those with age related diseases such as arthritis, joint pain, senility, and maturing skin. Recently, scientists have theorized that herbs which enhance and boost yin and yang properties

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Up to 45 million of people in the US live with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a condition that comes with a number of uncomfortable symptoms including, bloating, gas, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, or mixed diarrhea and constipation. In addition to overall feeling unwell, IBS also impacts work, school, and social situations.[1] There is hope to feel better. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine are helpful in treating IBS.[2,3] In my ten years of practice I have helped hundreds of patients with IBS improve with acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.  What Causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome According to acupuncture, not all people get IBS for the same reason. This makes sense, as everyone is different.  And so, a course of treatment should specifically

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As the change of season upon is upon us, many people get worried about coming down with colds. For some, every change of season brings with the a cold. People always ask the question, can acupuncture help my immune system, and the answer is a loud, boisterous, YES. Acupuncture can help prevent you get over a cold faster.[1] In my experience, it can also help for those to prevent colds for those who get frequent colds by boosting the immune system. Acupuncture helps boost up your immune system Acupuncture has long been touted for its ability to enhance health and keep people from getting sick.[2] Historically, acupuncture doctors in service to the emperors of China were only paid if they

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Acupuncture offers an effective drug free treatment for allergies.  So you can smell the flowers without worrying about being too drowsy and foggy brained. Acupuncture is different than taking a pill Antihistamines are commonly taken for allergies.  These are medicines which block the chemicals called histamines that cause the symptoms of allergies. Acupuncture is different than taking a pill.  Rather than a medication that will temporarily block a receptor, histamine in the case of allergies, acupuncture works to regulate the body’s functioning. The goals is for long term improvement from the acupuncture treatment. How does acupuncture work? The idea is that acupuncture helps to reset the body and remind it how to be healthy. As balance is achieved, your body

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Research about acupuncture for pelvic pain is common question from my patients who are seeking help. There have been a number of studies focusing on acupuncture for pelvic pain, each showing acupuncture has a strong effect on pain and function. Here’s a summery of a few which I think are interesting. 1. Electroacupuncture relieves pain in men with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome: three-arm randomised trial. (1) Thirty-six men with CP/CPPS were randomised to three treatment groups: advice and exercise plus 12 bi-weekly sessions of electro-acupuncture (EA), advice and exercise with sham electro-acupuncture (SEA), and advice and exercise (AE) alone. Acupuncture points used included bilateral stimulation of Ciliao BL-32, Zhongliao BL-33 and Huantiao GB-30. The needles were stimulated at 4 hertz

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