Apr 24, 2013
Skin diseases are one of the most common reasons to see your doctor. Yet, they are often stubborn conditions which do not respond to medications. Or even worse the medications have side effects. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine offers a natural and effective treatment for many skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, perioral dermatitis, and others.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine has been treating skin diseases for at least 3000 years. The treatment of many skin diseases were discussed in the first known book of Chinese medicine, The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic (Huang Di Nei Jing). In the thousands of years since, Chinese medicine doctors and scholars discussed and debated the best approaches to treatment of skin conditions.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Understanding of Skin Conditions
The key to effective Chinese medicine treatment of skin diseases is diagnosis of the underlying imbalance causing the condition. Not everyone with a given skin condition will have the same symptoms. The different symptoms reflect the imbalance which needs to be corrected. My teacher of Chinese Medicine Dermatology, Mazin Al-Khafaji, describes this as Chinese medicine’s method of assessing various types of inflammatory processes causing the skin condition.
Let’s take eczema as an example. Some eczema may presents with wet, weeping, and crusty lesions. In this case, the imbalance is Heat and Damp Eczema. In other cases, the eczema is dry and red. This type of eczema is understood to be caused by Heat and Dryness. The Chinese medicine practitioner will use this imbalance to guide the writing of the acupuncture and herbal prescription.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatment Approaches
The acupuncture and herbal formula must address the imbalance causing the skin condition. To do this, the herbal ingredients and acupuncture points are tailored to the specific imbalance causing the disease. Let’s return to the eczema I described earlier. Eczema caused by Heat and Dampness must be treated with herbs that remove heat and damp, such as huang qin and long dan cao, among others. Acupuncture points such as GB 34 and Sp 9 may be used to reduce dampness and heat. While the eczema caused by heat and dryness will require herbs that clear heat and moisten the skin including sheng di huang and mu dan pi, among others. In this case, acupuncture points such as LI 4 and LI 11 may be used to drain heat from the body.
By correcting the underlying imbalance, acupuncture and Chinese medicine can lead to long term improvement.
Here are a number of articles which explain Acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatment of skin conditions.
- Eczema Treatment with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
- Psoriasis Treatment with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
- Acne Treatment with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
- Perioral Dermatitis Treatment with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
Apr 12, 2013
It finally warmed up here in New York (well kind of) and I was out for a bike ride in Central Park. It was a beautiful sunny blue sky day. The tulips are in bloom and buds on the trees are coming out. Everyone is excited to get out on their bike or go for a walk in the park. Spring is in the air.
Spring being in the air also means pollen is too. During my ride, my throat became a little scratchy. My eyes were becoming dry and irritated. After I returned home, my sinuses felt full and heavy. Allergies have arrived.
Acupuncture and Herbal Formula for Sinus Congestion
Acupuncture and herbs work wonders to prevent and treat the symptoms of allergies. Later that day I put myself on a treatment course of acupuncture and herbs to reduce these symptoms and stop the allergies from progressing.
I chose to use an acupuncture point prescription to reduce the itchy eye and boost my qi (energy). It included acupuncture points such as Large intestine 4, Stomach 36, Liver 3, San Jiao 5, Yin Tang, Du 20. He Gu, LI 4, helps to ride the head of pain. SJ 5 reduces eye itchiness. St 36 boosts qi and Liv 3 clears the wind to reduce the itching. Yin Tang relaxes and clams pain in the sinuses.
For herbal therapy, I used an herbal formula called The Sinus Congestion Formula which reduces sinus pressure, itchy eyes, and headaches.
After the acupuncture my sinus felt more open and eye itching was relieved. I’ll keep this acupuncture up weekly during the allergy season. The herbs are great to reduce the sinus pressure and discomfort.
Photo: kataghs photostream
Apr 4, 2013
Spring has sprung. Well not quite yet with this cold weather here in NYC. But my patients are already telling me that their allergy symptoms are coming back.
Acupuncture can help reduce allergies. For those with severe allergies, it is better to start treatment before the allergies season to prevent the intensity of the symptoms.
Read more about how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can reduce you allergies.
Apr 1, 2013
April allergies can be cruel. Headache, itchy eyes, sneezing, and scratchy throat are overwhelming. Chinese herbal formulas are very effective for reducing the runny nose and stuffiness, headaches, and itchy eyes,
Nasal Symptoms and Sinus Headache
For people with hay fever and sinus symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, and sinus headache the overall most effective formulas is called Bi Min Gan Wan, the nasal congestion formula. This is a mild formula that helps to reduce headache, nasal congestion.
In Chinese medicine, itchy eyes from allergies is generally from heat. The herbal formula best for itchy eyes form heat is Sang Ye Tang. This formula has mulberry leaf and chrysanthemum flowers that help to relieve itchy eyes. Another effective formula for itchy eyes is called Qi Ju Di Huang Tang, which has gou qi zi and ju hua that stop eye itching.
Asthma with Allergies
Because allergies and asthma are so closely connected, allergies can trigger asthma attacks, those with asthma often need different herbal formulas. Sometimes there is too little qi. In this case, formulas like Jade Wind Screen works to boost qi and release external wind. Also, the mushroom Cordyceps or Reishi is helpful to boost the qi.
Mar 4, 2013
We are happy to announce the new home of Alban Acupuncture at 124 East 40th Street, Suite 902, New York, NY. We are conveniently located in Midtown close to Grand Central.
Our new expanded beautiful office has many features to better serve
our patients including a larger waiting room and 5 spacious treatment
Nearby transportation includes the 4, 5, 6, S, 7, and Metro North at
Grand Central Terminal. Also, I’ve found the walk to 6th Ave/Bryant park trains (B,D,F,M) is pretty quick (5-6 minutes).
Please call us at 212.319.5757 to make an appointment.
Dec 4, 2012
Qi is the body’s energy (Qi is pronounced “chee,” and is sometimes spelled “chi.”)
There is a mystical aspect to qi. In Chinese philosophy, qi is the building blocks of the universe. Energy combines and multiplies. It is the universal energy present in all living things as well as nature.
But there is a practical aspect to qi as well. Qi is the energy we use to keep us healthy. It allows us to work, grow, exercise, and reproduce. Imbalances in the qi can lead to many health issues.
Qi needs to be abundant and circulate through channels in the body or else illness occurs. In Chinese medicine, it is said “When the qi flows there is no pain, when qi stops, there is pain and illness.” Lifestyle habits such as poor diet, overwork, and stress or a person’s constitution can affect the amount and flow of qi. Chinese medicine and acupuncture focus on correcting these imbalances.
Imbalances of Qi
The main imbalances of Qi are Qi vacuity, or too little Qi or the Qi circulation in the channels can be impaired. This is called qi stagnation.
Those with too little qi may experience the symptoms of frequent colds, fatigue, shortness of breath, coughing, soft voice, poor digestion, a weak pulse, and pale tongue. This is also true often for people with chronic respiratory infections or autoimmune conditions, such as asthma, eczema, chronic bronchitis, or sinusitis and chronic sinus headaches.
Qi stagnation, when the qi is not circulating well, can also cause frequent colds and makes it difficult to fight them off. Those with qi stagnation will often get a cold after a stressful or emotional situation. They also may be prone to headaches, irregular bowel movements, ribside pain, and painful menstrual cramps.
Nov 27, 2012
Yesterday, an acupressure student of mine asked “What is Chinese Herbal Medicine?”. This is a good question that deserves a proper explanation.
Chinese herbal therapies have been used for centuries for improving health and treating disease. Chinese herbs work to bring the body’s systems back into balance so the body can heal itself, naturally.
The Chinese herbal pharmacy consists of over 500 herbs. Herbs are taken as combinations of 5-15 medicinal substances, which is called an herbal formula. Each formula is tailored to correct the specific imbalance that is the cause of the illness.
The herbal formula can be taken in a number of forms: raw herbs, pills, tinctures, or granules. “Raw herbs” are dried herbs which are then cooked together to make a strong tea or soup called a decoction. Tinctures are herbs which are extracted in an alcohol base. Granules are made by extracting the herbs and condensing the cooked formula to make a powder. To take the herbs, you can reconstituted them as a tea.
How do Chinese herbs work?
The basic idea of Chinese medicine is that the Chinese herbs and acupuncture work by correcting imbalances in the body. For example, if you have eczema which is caused by damp heat and toxins, the herbal formula will contain herbs that rid the body of damp heat such as long dan cao and huang qin.
Of course, herbs also affect the body physiologically. For eczema, many of the herbs that are used are known to have immunoregulatory properties that help to regulate the inflammatory process causing the eczema. Other herbs have immune boosting properties or anti-bacterial and antiviral capabilities.
Chinese herbal therapies are very safe when taken under the care of a Chinese medicine practitioner.
Nov 7, 2012
At the moment, we do not have any acupressure classes scheduled. Feel free to e-mail us to be put on our waiting list.
In the meantime, here are some of our favorite acupressure articles.
Oct 31, 2012
The introductory class for Acupressure for Self Healing at the New York Open Center is starting next week!
Monday November 5th 2012 at 6pm.
Interested in learning more about how you can use acupressure to relieve headaches, menstrual cramps, digestive problems, and improve overall health? Then you should come to my class at the New York Open Center in November 2012.
What is acupressure?
- Acupressure is a traditional Chinese healing art in which physical pressure is applied to acupuncture points with the hand (rather than with needles as in acupuncture), so it can be practiced by everyone.
How does acupressure work?
- Acupressure can helps to circulate and balance our qi (energy) to improve our overall health and wellness or help address specific conditions
What will I learn in the class?
- This course will introduce you to the basic concepts and practices of acupressure, including how to
locate points, how to diagnose imbalances in energy flow through the meridians, and how to apply pressure correctly. You’ll also learn some qigong breathing exercises and tui na massage techniques.
- By the end of the course, you’ll be able to use acupressure on ourselves and others to alleviate a range of ailments, including indigestion, PMS and menstrual cramps, headaches and migraines, back and neck pain, as well as to boost overall wellness and energy.
Oct 22, 2012
Mushrooms are phenomenally versatile organisms. Some are delicious, some are remarkable medicine, and some are both.
When it comes to mushrooms to lower cholesterol, you can have your mushroom and eat it too!
How can mushrooms lower cholesterol?
Mushrooms are inherently good at lowering cholesterol due to their high fiber and protein content. Mushrooms make great protein substitutes for high cholesterol foods. For example in Asian cuisine, mushrooms are often mixed in a meat dish which reduces the amount of meat that is eaten and adds flavor.
Shiitake mushrooms in particular have cholesterol lowering abilities as medicinal mushrooms.1 This ability to reduce cholesterol is due to eritadenine, a component of shiitake. Eritadenine helps to increase the excretion of cholesterol which can lower circulating levels in the blood.
In one study, 9 grams of dried shitake mushrooms eaten daily lead to a reduction of 9-12% of total cholesterol. Triglycerides were reduced by 6-7%. Because shiitake are not known to containing lovastatin, the active constituent in most cholesterol medication, it is safe to eat them if you are taking medication.
Shiitake have a particularly high percentage of protein and robust flavor which makes it a great meat substitute.
Oyster mushrooms are very healthy and delicious. They’ve been touted for their cholesterol lowering capabilities because they naturally contain small amounts of lovastatin, the cholesterol lowering chemical that is widely used in cholesterol medication.
In nature, there are many strains of lovastatin, and the most potent comes from another fungus called Red Yeast Rice. Red yeast rice is used as the red dye for the famous dish Peking Duck.
Oyster mushrooms also have a wide range of anti inflammatory and hepatoprotective effects as well as the ability to reduce blood glucose levels. 1,2 This is why oyster mushrooms are a great way to improve overall health and protect against the deleterious effects of high cholesterol.
It is important to consult your physician before beginning a mushrooms products particularly if you are taking cholesterol medication.
1. Powell M. Medicinal Mushrooms: A Clinical Guide. Mycology Press. September 2010.
2.Khatun K, Mahtab H, Khanam PA, et.al. Oyster mushroom reduced blood glucose and cholesterol in diabetic subjects. KA.Mymensingh Med J. 2007 Jan;16(1):94-9.