Posts Tagged ‘herbal remedies’
Apr 18, 2012
Chronic rhinosinusitis is a chronic infection of the sinuses that causes nasal congestion, sinus pain, and headaches. Chronic rhinosinusitis, commonly called chronic sinusitis, affects your energy, sleep, and work. Some research suggest that chronic sinusitis can even lead to depression and anxiety.
Conventional medication often is not completely successful in treating the symptoms. Many patients have been turning to acupuncture Chinese medicine for help. In our New York City acupuncture clinic, we often use acupuncture, acupressure, and herbs to reduce the symptoms of sinusitis, especially during the spring allergy seasons which can exacerbate the sinusitis symptoms.
A comprehensive approach to chronic sinusitis
When it comes to treating chronic sinusitis, it is important to include many of the modalities used in acupuncture therapy. I use acupuncture, acupressure, and sometimes Chinese herbal remedies to help relieve the symptoms of chronic rhinosinusitis, help people reduce medication, and avoid surgery.
The acupuncture therapy targets acupuncture points on channels that help reduce pain and pressure in the sinuses. Acupuncture points can be located on the arms or legs on channels which travel to the sinuses. These points are LI 4, LI 11, Lu 5, SP 9, ST 36, St 44, GB 34, and SJ 5. For some people, acupuncture points on top of or near the sinuses are needed. These points can include LI 20, ST 4, Bi Tong, and Yin Tang.
Acupuncture points selection is based upon the imbalances which cause the condition. For example, acupuncture discusses the circulation of energy, or qi, in the body. If there too little qi, a common cause of sinus headaches, then the qi should be boosted with ST 36 and SP 9. But if there is more heat which often happens with inflammation, acupuncture points such as LI 11 or ST 44 should be selected.
Acupressure on the neck, head, shoulders, and back helps to increase circulation, decrease pain, and drain the lymph. I will also instruct my patients on a self acupressure routine for patients to perform on their own. Often, patients will begin to feel relief after a few acupuncture sessions.
It is important to understand that acupuncture is not an either or when it comes to your conventional therapies for chronic sinusitis. The first goal to is help you feel better. When you are consistently feeling better you can work with your physician to reduce the amount of medication.
Research on the Integrative East West Medicine approach
A paper was recently published examining an east west integrative treatment protocol for patients with recurrent chronic rhinosinusitis (1).
The treatment involved a combination of the patient’s current therapies, most often nasal corticosteroid spray and nasal irrigation in addition to acupuncture, acupressure, dietary modifications, lifestyle modifications, and self-acupressure. As you can see, the researchers used a pretty comprehensive approach.
The study was small with only eleven patients. But it showed potential for this therapeutic approach. The patients, overall, reported improvements in their physical functioning, social engagement, less needing to blow their nose, and an improvement in their ability to concentrate. I hope that larger studies will be conducted to further explore the power of acupuncture to relieve symptoms, reduce dependence on medications, and help people avoid surgery.
1. Suh JD, Wu AW, Taw MB, Nguyen C, Wang MB. Treatment of recalcitrant chronic rhinosinusitis with integrative East-west medicine: a pilot study. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2012 Mar;138(3):294-300.
Feb 13, 2012
Traditional Chinese Medicine is a term that refers to medicine practices developed in China and other parts of Asia. Traditional Chinese Medicine generally covers many types of modalities including acupuncture and moxibustion, Chinese Herbal remedies, Tui Na or Chinese Medical Massage, as well as other manual therapies including gua sha (spoon massage or coining) and cupping.
In China, the term Chinese medicine (in Chinese it is called Zhong Yi 中医) often refers to the practice of Chinese herbal medicine. Although it can also refer to the entire practice of Chinese medicine. While acupuncture refers to acupuncture and moxibustion.
Some of these therapies are performed only by experienced physicians, such as prescribing complex herbal formulas or doing acupuncture. But others are considered more home remedies. This may include folk herbal remedies for common colds or manual therapies such as gua sha which can be used for nausea, car sickness, the common cold, and other common illnesses.
Common ideas in Chinese Medicine
While the therapies are diverse, done both by physician and family members, they all rest on the holistic view of the body and health that developed over 2000 years ago. A primary idea is that health is a state of balance in the body and between the body and the environment. The body has qi, energy, which flows through channel and meridians. Also, that environmental factors such as cold, heat, and dampness can cause illness. And these environmental factors represent certain illness within the body.
For example, if you have a cold, a physician may write an herbal prescription to release the heat to help you get rid of the cold. But the home remedy of gua sha spoon massage on the neck and upper back can also release the heat.
Chinese Medicine: An Evolution of Ideas
Many of the dominant concepts in Chinese medicine were discussed in the early books of the Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classics as well as the Treatise on Cold Diseases. Although they referenced older works, they are no longer in existence. Over the years, physicians and scholars have debated these ideas evolving into the contemporary tradition of modern Chinese Medicine.
Yet, it is important to understand that Chinese medicine is an evolving tradition. These are not static concepts, but ideas that scholars, physicians and even individual family lineages have expanded on and explored. Chinese medicine has a strong tradition of writing, discussion, and debate. There is a great diversity of ideas. Through experience and training a Chinese Medicine practitioner will develop their own style.
For example, certain physicians believed that the best way to use Chinese medicine for psoriasis was to clear heat and toxins from the body. However, other physicians believed that psoriasis developed from internal cold and the body must be warmed. These debates continue today.
In fact, some of the significant therapeutic strategies of modern Chinese medicine physicians were not developed until recently. As I mentioned in my last post, the development of electro-acupuncture for pain was only developed within the last century, a relatively short time for the history of Chinese medicine.
Oct 11, 2011
This herb is best for preventing colds. Now, the change of seasons, is the perfect time to begin taking Ling Zhi. When the seasons change it is easy to get cold. Ling Zhi helps to prevent getting the cold be giving an immune boost. I take only a small dosage and still feel the improvement in my health.
It actually grows all over the United States. A few weeks ago, I went on an foraging tour with Wildman Steve Brill. We actually found Ling zhi on our trip in Westchester. If you are picking wild ling zhi, it is very important to go with a guide as many mushrooms can be dangerous.
Apr 15, 2011
This week my spring allergies kicked in big time. Sneezing, runny nose, itchy throat, congestion, and a headache. All this means I feel crappy and tired.
Luckily, I have many therapies at my fingertips for my allergies. Just as I do for my patients, I use a combination of acupuncture, acupressure, and herbal remedies for my allergies. Here are the five things.
1. Acupuncture for allergies is amazing. Acupuncture for allergies help to decrease pressure, pain, and headache. It can open up closed sinuses, and help to reduce itchy eyes and nose. Some of the best acupuncture points are Large Intestine 4 and Stomach 36 on the hand and leg. Also, DU 20, UB4, and UB 7 on the head work great.
2. Acupressure for allergies can be done both by an acupuncturist and also the patients themselves. I teach a routine in my acupressure class at the Open Center called the Dao Yin, which focuses on opening up the sinuses and increasing circulation in the head. It works wonders.
Start by massaging LI 20 on the side of the nose, and UB 1 near the eyes. Massage the scalp and the ears. LI 4 and ST 36 are also helpful with acupressure. I will be writing more about acupressure for allergies, check back soon.
3. Yin Qiao San is an herbal formula which helps to reduce scratch and sore throat. The formula is focused on releasing wind heat in the body. It is also effective for itchy eyes, particulatly if the herb man jing zi and ju hua are added to the formula.
4. My favorite herbal formula for nasal congestion and headache is called Bi Yan Pian. This literally means nasal clearing formula. This formula helps to open the sinuses, clear the nose, and reduce headache. It is very strong, so it is important to begin taking it in moderation.
5. Cang er zi tang is another formula for nasal congestion. This herbal formula for allergies I like to use as nasal drops. The herbs are finely powdered and immersed in sesame oil. This helps to reduce inflammation directly in the nose and moisten the nasal passage.
Jan 18, 2011
If you are a reader of my blog and articles, you know that I am interested not only in the clinical effects of acupuncture, but also acupuncture research, and physiology of acupuncture. This is why it is unfortunate that there is a lack of studies for acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatment of Interstital Cystitis, a condition which I have very positive clinical result with acupuncture.
There is one published case study which describes the acupuncture treatment course of a 31 year old women with IC for 5 years. The treatment was very effective, over a course of 10 treatments there was a substantial reduction in pain and Interstitial Cystitis symptoms. More work like this should be published along with larger trials, and different approaches. There is also a very good article published at ITM Online about acupuncture for IC describing the theory of acupuncture and Chinese medicine for interstital cystitis.
There is a review of Complementary and Alernative medicine (CAM) therapies for IC which was published in 2002. It covers many different approaches to treatment and management, including acupuncture, Chinese herbal remedies, physical therapy, biofeedback, amongst others. They conclude, and I agree, that a combination approach is often the most effective method for at managing this condition. Which is why I combine acupuncture, acupressure, and sometimes, herbal remedies for my patients with interstital cystitis.
On the other hand, grouping so many different therapies into one analysis makes it difficult to explore any one of the modalities on its own. Each of the different CAM approaches, like acupuncture, homeopathy, and physical therapy have their own theories of diagnosis and treatment. Each must be examined on their own. Which bring me back to my original point, the unfortunate state that there has not been much research on acupuncture or Traditional Chinese Medicine for IC.