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Is Acupuncture Hocus Pocus?

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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

Chinese Herb Tastes and Temperatures

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If you’ve ever drank a cup of Chinese Herbs, you know they taste unique. It can range from strong tea, to cinnamon and ginger, to very twiggy and quite bitter. Over the thousands of years of Chinese medicine, scholars have classified herbs according to taste and temperature to describe their healing function. The traditional way to test if the herb is of high quality is by tasting it. This process is called organoleptics. Sophisticated Chinese medicine doctors and herbal pharmacists know an herb’s quality from tasting, smelling, and the look of the herbs. The Flavors of Herbs There are 5 flavors, corresponding to the functional organs in the body as well as the 5 elements. 1. Sweet tonifies, relates to

QiGong Exercises for Back Pain

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I have been practicing tai ji and qi gong for over 20 years. These practices have been a huge part of healing my own back pain and have helped prevent it from returning. Over the last decade of my acupuncture practice I have been treated many patients with back pain and pelvic pain. I  often would teach my patients tai ji positions and movements as part of their rehabilitation.  I saw how the exercises helped my patients the same way in which the tai ji helped me improve.  Eventually, I created this qi gong exercise routine for my patients to compliment the acupuncture therapy for lumbar pain, sacral pain, lower back pain and chronic pelvic pain. Qi gong exercises are simple

Chinese Medicine Antioxidants

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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

5 Things You Should Do (at Home) to Improve Your Digestion

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As an acupuncturist I know that digestive health is central to feeling good and preventing illness. Unfortunately, if you have irritable Bowel Syndrome you know you can have bloating, gas, abdominal pain, and lots of other uncomfortable symptoms that stop you from feeling good. In addition to acupuncture for IBS, there’s a lot you can start doing today to help yourself feel better. 1. Acupressure at the acupressure point Stomach 36 can help reduce IBS symptoms. This point is one of the most important and frequently used acupuncture points. It helps regulate your GI tract to stimulate gastric motility and can be used to treat all the IBS symptoms. I tell my patients to massage this point daily for 30

Acupuncture for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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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

How Acupuncture Treats Acne

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People are often curious how I treat acne. Acupuncture works by correcting the root cause of acne. Most acne is caused by heat, toxicity, dampness, or stagnation in the flow of qi. Each person is unique and not all people develop acne from the same root causes. Herbal formulas and acupuncture treatments are customized to correct the root imbalance causing your acne. To create the optimal herbal and acupuncture therapy, I will consider your overall health to find the specific imbalance causing the acne. Digestion, menstrual cycle, immunity, and energy levels all play a factor. Most importantly, I will consider the how the acne looks. When looking at the skin, I will consider the location of the acne, the presence

Acupuncture Improves Your Immunity

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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

Emollients for Atopic Eczema

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Many people underestimate the power of thick emollients or moisturizers to help atopic eczema. Thick fatty emollients with the right fatty acid balance can significantly help reduce eczema symptoms significant.  Understanding atopic eczema is necessary for understanding why emollients and topical oils can help. What is Atopic Eczema? Atopic eczema can be understood through looking at each of the words in the name. Eczema describes characteristics of dry inflamed skin. Atopic is specifically used to refer to people who have an elevated IgE reaction to allergens including eczema, hay fever (seasonal allergies), food allergies, and allergic asthma. IgE is an antibody which shows that the person has an allergy. Some patients will have eczema without atopy which is the dry

What is Qi?

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The idea of qi has both mystical and practical aspects.  In Chinese philosophy, qi (pronounced “chee,” and is sometimes spelled “chi.”) is an energy that is in all things in the universe and comprises the building blocks of the universe.  Trees, rocks, and mountains all have a specific type of qi. It is the universal energy present in all of nature. In Chinese medicine qi is the body’s energy is a very practical concept. 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 circulates through channels in the body. In Chinese medicine, it is said “When the qi flows there