Posts Tagged ‘fatigue’
Oct 30, 2013
Most people think that Chinese medicine is used only for chronic health problems, but it can be very effective for acute problems, like relieving and preventing colds. In fact, Chinese medicine has been relieving and preventing colds for thousands of years.
Herbs can help relieve your sore throat, coughing, headaches, fatigue, chills and fever. The key is using the right formula at the right stage of your cold. Before taking Chinese herbs, ask your acupuncturist or Chinese medicine doctor which one is right for you.
Gan Mao Ling- Gan Mao Ling translates to the common cold pills. This herbal formula helps to fight minor colds as well as prevent you from getting a cold if something is going around. It is best to take this formula in the very early stages of a cold, as soon as you feel run down or a little tickle in your throat. You can also take it when travelling or if someone in your office is sick. the herbs in this formula are known to have anti-viral capabilities particularly within the respiratory tract.
Yin Qiao San- Yin Qiao San is the main formula for a cold with a sore throat. In Chinese medicine, the common cold often manifests as a condition we call wind heat. The idea is that the virus or bacteria comes in through the wind and attacks the respiratory system. The main herbs in the formula, Honeysuckle and Forsythia fruit, are release the wind heat and have shown to be powerful anti-viral herbs.
Huo Xiang Zheng Qi Tang- This is a primary formula to help with stomach bugs. It can be effective for a strong stomach bug or for minor food poisoning. The aromatic herbs in this formula address the viruses of digestive system. The aromatic herbs also help the digestive system to return to healthy state after you’ve gotten the bug. You can also take this formula when you are travelling if eat something you should not have.
Ling zhi- in English it is known as Hen of the Woods or Rei Shi. Ling zhi has many positive health benefits such as reducing allergies, treating insomnia, and hypertension. In order to prevent colds, it is a great immune booster. While it is good for boosting your energy, it can also be used for insomnia. I recommend to some patients that get frequent colds to take a small dose of ling zhi daily to prevent a cold that is going around.
Oct 2, 2012
Eye twitching is annoying. A fluttering eye will buzz on and off throughout the day causing distraction and frustration. Sometimes, the fluttering can be quite strong leading to total closing of the eye and impairing your vision.
Most often eye twitching is caused by stress, fatigue, use of alcohol, or irritation of the eye. In some, the eye twitch becomes chronic which is called benign essential blepharospasm. Benign essential blepharospasm not only is annoying but can lead to periodic trouble seeing.
In a very small number of individuals, chronic eye twitching is a sign of a neurological condition. If the eye twitching goes on for many weeks, it is best to consult a physician or healthcare professional.
Acupuncture and acupressure are very helpful for reducing eye twitches.
How does acupuncture understand eye twitches?
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine has beautiful imagery to describe health and illness. Health is a state of balance within the body as well as between the body and the environment. Environmental factors such as cold, heat, and wind can cause illness. These environmental factors also represent certain illness within the body.
Eye twitching is caused by wind. Just as the leaves in the trees are rattled by wind, the rattling in the body is caused by wind as well. We use acupuncture points along the proper channels to remove this wind from the body.
What is the root of the wind? This is from inhibition in the flow of qi.
The body’s qi or energy flows through channel and meridians. Stress, anxiety, and lack of sleep disrupts the flow of qi throughout the body leading to what we call stagnation. The stagnation causes pressure to develop and leads to the development of wind. This is why acupuncture treatment also should include points for moving the qi.
Acupressure for Eye Twitching
For many people with periodic eye twitching, acupressure can help stop the annoying twitch.
The acupressure point to start with would be San Jiao 5 (SJ 5). This point is located on the outside of the arm, 2 thumb widths up from the wrist between the radius bone and the the large tendons (extensor digitorum tendons) on the back of the arm.
Start by pressing this point for 30 seconds.
After finishing with SJ 5, GB 34 is the next point to treat. This point is located on the lateral aspect of the leg just below the knee. It is just below and in front of the head of the fibula. Press this point for 30 second on each side.
What’s Acupuncture treatment like for Eye Twitching?
For those with stronger, more persistent eye twitching, acupuncture may be needed. The acupuncture points for eye twitching are on the arms and legs. These points will help to reduce wind, promote the flow of qi, and are on the channels that address eye problems.
The channels of the San Jiao and Gallbladder both go to the eyes. Acupuncture points such as SJ 5 on the arm, GB 34 and GB 39 on the leg can help with the wind. Liver 3 and LI 4 on the hands and feet help to remove the stagnation.
Dec 27, 2011
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. It consists of a large bundle of smaller nerves that begin in the lumbar spine, travel down the buttocks, and move through the leg.
Sciatica is a group of symptoms that affect the region of the sciatic nerve. Radiating pain is one of the more common and intense symptoms associated with sciatica. There can also be numbness and tingling starting in the lower back radiating down the leg. Acupuncture is very effective for relieving symptoms of acute and chronic sciatica.
What Causes Sciatica?
Sciatica occurs when something pushes on the sciatic nerve. This can be a muscle spasm, the spinal discs, and sometimes even the spine itself. Most often this pain is due to muscle spasms or a slipped disc, but it can also be a sign of serious illness and it is important to go to your doctor for a diagnosis.
Spinal Disc herniation, often referred to as a slipped disc, is when a small portion of the spinal disc bulges out of the spinal column. This disc then pushes on the sciatic nerve causing pain. In some severe cases, spinal stenosis, or a narrowing of the spinal canal, can push on the nerve and cause pain. Another serious cause of sciatica is spinal tumors, which require immediate medical attention.
Muscle spasms are also a common cause of sciatica. Most often it is the piriformis muscle, but it can be other muscles in the lower back and pelvic region.
Piriformis syndrome can cause chronic sciatica. Sometimes the sciatic nerve runs under or through the piriformis muscle. This muscle is located in the pelvis. It is connected to the bottom of the spine and the top of the femur, or thighbones. If the piriformis muscle starts to spasm or becomes tight, it can put pressure on the sciatic nerve and cause the pain as well as the radiating symptoms. This persistent spasm of the piriformis muscle is called piriformis syndrome. It can be caused by an injury or sedentary lifestyles in people who don’t stretch or exercise. Particularly if you sit all day at a desk or computer, this can be a problem.
Acupuncture’s Approach to Sciatica
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine state that the body is interconnected; no one part can be separated from another. The diagnosis and treatment of sciatica is based upon identifying specific imbalances in the muscles and the body as a whole. Correcting the imbalance does not just treat the symptoms or mask the condition, but rather corrects the root of the problem by encouraging self-healing of the body. Acupuncture treatment of sciatica will focus on relaxing the muscles and stretching the tendons and fascia. It can also help strengthening the muscles.
Acupuncture Diagnosis for sciatica
The most common acupuncture imbalance in acute sciatica is qi and blood stagnation in the back channels. Qi and blood stagnation in the channels often affects the soft tissue of the lumbar, hips, and pelvis. This is what causes the muscle spasm and tension that triggers the intense shooting pain of acute sciatica.
Other common acupuncture imbalances are kidney qi vacuity, spleen qi vacuity with dampness, and liver qi stagnation.
Kidney Qi Vacuity: If your back feels very weak and it does not get better with a lot of rest, the underlying imbalance may be kidney qi vacuity. Other symptoms include weakness of the knees, extreme fatigue, ringing in the ears, dizziness, and a weak pulse.
Spleen Qi Vacuity with Dampness: For those with spleen qi vacuity with dampness, you will also have fatigue and weakness, but the back feels better with rest. Your body may feel very heavy and you may have poor digestion.
Liver Qi stagnation: Liver qi stagnation causes your muscles to be very tight and in spasm when you become angry or frustrated. Also, you may suffer from frequent headaches and, in women, painful menses.
Acupuncture Treatment for Sciatica
I believe the most effective therapy for sciatica includes acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, and Tui Na, which is Chinese medical massage. In some cases, cupping and stretches are very helpful. The back, hip, and pelvis are interconnected and the treatment should incorporate the entire region.
Overall, the acupuncture treatment should relax and stretch the tendons and fascia while strengthening the muscles. This will help release the spastic muscles and strengthen them, allowing the back to naturally heal. It can even encourage an out of place disc to go back into place, depending on severity.
Acupuncture has been shown to reduce pain and inflammation through regulating neural pain pathways, stimulate the release of natural pain relieves in the body, such as opioids, as well as regulate pain relieving opioid receptors. Many studies have also shown acupuncture to have a anti-inflammatory effect, reducing the circulating inflammatory hormones in the blood (1). This will help to reprogram the muscles to stay relaxed, and in effect, encourage the body heal itself.
Chinese massage, or tui na, works to support the acupuncture by releasing any extra tension in the fascia and connective tissue around the muscles. The technique called rolling is very important to deeply relax the muscles and improve circulation at the same time.
After the pain is gone, it is important for you to exercise and stretch to maintain a pain free life.
If you have questions about acupuncture for sciatica, call us 917-887-4946 or click below to make an appointment online.
1. Napadow V, Ahn A, Longhurst J, et.al. The Status and Future of Acupuncture Mechanism Research. J Altern Complement Med. 2008 September; 14(7): 861–869.
Written by Joseph Alban, L.Ac.
Last Edited 12/27/2011
May 18, 2011
This is the second post on herbs for traveling. This one focuses on altitude sickness.
Peru was our first high altitude trip. In Peru, we went to the Canyon del Colca, the towns on top of Canyon de Colca are at 3700 meters. At this height, altitude sickness is an concern.
We had come from Arequipa, a colonial city in the Mountains, resting at about 2300 so there was some time for our bodies to adjust. We took a 6 hour bus ride over dirt roads with the locals and their smaller farm animals, chickens and a baby lamb.
There, on top of the Canyon de Colca, we met Remijio, our guide for the three day hike. Remijio made walking into an art, with his graceful steps. He knew much about the local herbs, remedies for diarrhea, stomach pain, and gynecological disorders.
At the onset of the hike, we ascended to the highest point over the canyon, 3700 meters, but then descended over 1000 meters. Remijio kept reminding us “Despacio, descpacio (slowly, slowly). ” We were feeling ok overall, no headache, naseau, or other symptoms of altitude sickness.
I had been reading earlier about the Chinese herb called Dong Chong Xie Cao, or Cordyceps which doctors of Chinese Medicine have used for altitude sickness. Cordyceps is a mushroom that is known to grown on the bodies of worms and insects in the Tibetian pleateu. It is known to warm the body and boost yang qi.
Traditionally, cordyceps is used for asthma and allergies, cancer support, and certain types of pain and fatigue. At times, it has also been used by athletes as a energy booster.
After the three day hike, we did not have altitude sickness at all. We had been taking the cordyceps for 2 weeks prior. Yang qi warms and give the body energy helping to prevent altitude sickness.
Some have theorized that cordyceps and energy boosting Chinese herbs help the body to better utilize the oxygen in the blood, therefore helping to prevent sickness. Another theory is that these herbs actually help you produce more red blood cells giving the body the ability to carry more oxygen in the blood and prevent altitude sickness.
I have since used cordyceps on trips to China and Mexico. Giving yourself time to acclimate and following an experienced guide is the most important action to stay healthy and safe. Chinese herbs have helped to reduce my symptoms of altitude sickness.
About Buying Cordyceps
Wild cordyceps is very expensive because it is very rare. Wild cordycpes is gathered in the fields of the Tibetian plateu.
Sadly the high price tag has lead to a black market and much adulterating of the product. I recommend finding a quality company that grows natural organic cordyceps. I personally use Aloha medicinals, but I am sure there are others.
Read More: There is a great article on Chinese herbs for Mountain Sickness at the Institute for Traditional Medicine.
Oct 1, 2010
Because it helps to boost the energy in the body, KI 3 can help with many different conditions. In the last post, I wrote about kidney 3 for back pain, but it can also help with many symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, and sometimes PMS and reproductive health.
KI 3 is located just behind the inside ankle bone. To boost KI 3, gently massage in a small circle. The point should feel warm and relaxed. It is best to massage this point daily.
Acupressure Book Coming Soon!
Just wanted to let my readers know I am working on an acupressure book. This book will guide you through a number of acupressure routines introducing the location of the acupressure points, the massage technique, and how to combine the appropriate acupressure points. The routines will be focused on specific health concerns, such as headaches, digestive problems, menstrual cramps, and stress, insomnia, and anxiety.
Sign up for blog updates through the Sign Up box on the right or send me an e-mail indicating you want to find out more information about the acupressure book. We’ll let you know as we develop this invaluable tool.
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Feb 26, 2009
Stomach 36 (ST 36) is one of the most important and commonly used acupuncture points. The Chinese is Zu San Li, meaning literally “three leg miles.” This is because you can rub this point for extra energy when you have been working all day.
ST 36 can be used for diseases of the abdomen, chest, and face because these are the areas through which the channel runs.
Location: To locate ST 36 find the bump on your bone about one inch below the knee. This bump is called the tibial tuberosity. ST 36 is level with the bottom of the tibial tuberosity, one thumb width towards the outside of the leg.
Symptoms: ST 36 is one of the most important and commonly used acupuncture points. You can use it to maintain general health, improve digestion, treat constipation or diarrhea, and reduce fatigue. It can be used for stomachaches and nausea. With stronger stimulation, ST 36 can be used for any pain of the abdomen including stomach aches and menstrual cramps.
How to Massage: In general, soft gentle massage of ST 36 helps to increase you energy and improve your digestion. Use your pointer finger and middle finger to gentle rub in small circles.
How to treat menstrual cramps with ST 36
If you are trying to reduce abdominal pain or acute menstrual cramps you should first palpate ST 36 area. If the muscles there are tight, then pressing deeply and strongly with your thumb will help reduce these cramps. Be careful because pressing very hard can cause bruising. If the muscle there are weak, then gently rubbing is better.