Posts Tagged ‘information’
Jun 11, 2013
Kombucha is experiencing a revitalization as a healthy tonic beverage. While only recently gaining the popular spotlight, kombucha is believed to have first developed in China over 2000 years ago. From there it spread throughout Asia, and within the last century, to the West.
Some have said that kombucha can help with many types of illnesses, from insomnia, to poor digestion, and even reduce of gray hairs. So does it do all that? Let’s start with a little background.
What is kombucha?
Kombucha is a delicious fermented tea beverage. Its taste is both sweet and sour. Known as hóngchájùn (red tea fungus) in Chinese, the English word has been traced to Japanese etymology. The term “red tea fungus” can be misleading, as “red tea” is simply the Chinese equivalent for “black tea.”
In the process of brewing kombucha, tea is fermented with healthy bacteria and yeast. As a fermented food, Kombucha has many of the health benefits of fermented foods containing a plethora of lactic acid bacteria. Bacteria can play a very important role in the healthy functions of the digestive system, immune system, and even reproduction.
The fermentation process also raises the level of some B vitamins. According to Kombucha Kamp, a website with extensive information about kombucha, “Vitamins available in living form from whole foods are the easiest for the body to assimilate. By drinking small doses of Kombucha over a long period of time, you are delivering these water soluble vitamins in a bio-available form such that can be immediately utilized by the body. These microdoses over a long period of time have a far more beneficial effect than any megadose pill or synthetic supplement can provide.”
So the kombucha delivers both pro-biotic lactic acid bacteria and vitamins that can help with overall health and well being. I don’t think it is a panacea for all conditions (unfortunately not a cure for gray hair or baldness). But in my personal experience, kombucha helps with digestion and immune functioning in general. And best of all it tastes good.
How to Make Kombucha
While many opt to purchase already-made kombucha in stores, brewing at home can be delicious and much more cost effective. It’s very easy to do; all you need to do is make a batch of strong black tea with sugar, and then add your SCOBY (symbiotic combination of bacteria and yeast). With proper storage in a dark, dry place, you will have your own batch of kombucha ready in 7-10 days.
Here’s a great step by step recipe on how to get started brewing kombucha at home.
Amanda Mester significantly contributed to this article.
Jul 27, 2012
Traditional Chinese Medicine has been used to treat skin conditions for thousands of years. While Perioral Dermatitis is a newly recognized disease, only about 35 years old, the Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments for similar skin conditions remain helpful in addressing the condition.
Symptoms of Perioral Dermatitis
Perioral Dermatitis is a skin disorder which causes an erythema (redness of the skin), red bumps (called papules and pustules), and scaling. Perioral Dermatitis can look like acne, although it is not the same condition.
As the name infers, the most common locations of Perioral Dermatitis include around the mouth, on the chin, cheeks, and next to the nose. It can also occur around the eyes or on the eyelids, which is referred to as Periocular Dermatitis. Characteristic of Perioral Dermatitis is the sparing of the vermillion border around the mouth. The condition is generally not itchy.
Perioral Dermatitis most often affects young women, but the condition can occur in children and men. The cause is unknown. It was thought to be triggered by topical steroid creams. However, there are many people who contract the condition without having used topical steroids. Stress can be a significant factor at the onset of the condition. In children, the dermatitis may be associated with foods or other substances irritating the face.
Although Perioral Dermatitis does not pose a serious risk to your health, it can be very stressful and upsetting to an otherwise healthy person.
Perioral Dermatitis in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Chinese medicine takes a holistic approach to the diagnosis and treatment of skin conditions. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, a state of health is reached when the body is in balance. In order to address Perioral Dermatitis, acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine bring the body back to balance.
During the examination, the acupuncturist will consider physical, emotional, and environmental factors, as well as the appearance of the skin. For example, the degree of redness, presence of papules and pustules, or scales will factor into the determinations of the imbalance. This is combined with information from taking the pulse, observing the tongue and the skin, and asking in-depth questions.
The predominant imbalances causing Perioral Dermatitis are stagnation and heat. If caused by stagnation or lack of circulation, symptoms most often include redness, thin scaling, and only a few pustules. The more redness and pustules, the more heat is present. If the erythema is persistent or becomes worse when you are hot or in the sun, the heat is more intense and deeper in the body. Digestive health can also be a factor.
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine Therapy for Perioral Dermatitis
The goal of acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine is to correct the imbalance underlying your condition. Once the imbalance is removed, the body is able to heal itself.
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese herbal therapy are tailored to your specific symptoms and imbalance. Both the herbal ingredients and the acupuncture points will vary, depending on the condition. Chinese herbs are generally given in combinations of 8-12 herbs. The herbs are thought to work by synergistically regulating the inflammatory process underlying the condition.
It is important to consult an acupuncturist or Chinese Medicine practitioner before taking herbs. When treating Perioral Dermatitis from stagnation, the herbs may include those which help circulate the qi such as chai hu. If there is more erythema, herbs such as sheng di huang will help remove the heat. If there are many pustules, herbs that reduce inflammation, such as ye ju hua, are used.
Oct 13, 2011
Observing the tongue and taking the pulse are two of the most common diagnostic techniques in Chinese medicine.
Why look at the tongue?
Chinese medicine uses diagnostic approaches, like the tongue and the pulse, because they reflect the imbalances that are causing your health problem.
What are we looking for in the tongue?
When I am looking at the tongue, I am looking at the the color of the tongue, the size and shape of the tongue body, and the coating on top of the tongue.
If the tongue is very red, or very pale that can show there is heat, or qi deficiency. If the tongue body is purplish, it can show stagnation, a lack of circulation in the body’s channels. If the tongue coating is very thick and white, it can be dampness. But if the tongue coating is yellow and sticky, that can signal intense heat. If the tongue is very red and there is very little tongue coating, then the heat has damaged the fluids in the body.
The size of the tongue can differ as well. A common tongue sign is called toothmarked, where the sides of the tongue almost look like they have teeth marks in them. The tongue body can also be cracked, which can show too little yin.
Eczema: A clinical example of the holistic diagnosis
The information from the tongue is not taken in isolation, but rather combined with other techniques, such as the pulse, asking questions, and in the case of eczema, observing the skin.
When it comes to eczema, looking at the skin is very important. If the skin is very red, irritated, dry, and itchy, then it is probably caused by heat. We then look at the tongue. If the tongue is red with a sticky yellow coating, then it is certainly excess heat causing the eczema. The herbs and acupuncture are focused clearing heat.
But if the tongue is pale and large, with a thick white coat, then it may be heat mixed with qi deficiency, or lack of energy. The herbs and acupuncture would have to also address the underlying lack of energy.
Read more on Acupuncture for Eczema
- Chinese herbs for Winter Eczema: A Success Story
- TCM Treatment for Dyshidrotic Eczema
- Personalized Acupuncture and Herbs for Eczema
Photo: Mike Burns
Dec 14, 2010
Insurance companies are increasingly covering acupuncture in New York. Approximately 20% of our practice has insurance coverage for acupuncture. Because coverage varies widely our office will gladly look into your insurance.
We accept Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield and Cigna as in-network acupuncture providers.
We have worked with United Health Care, and Aetna as an out of network acupuncturist. In addition, No Fault Automobile Insurances cover acupuncture.
Please call or e-mail us to discuss your insurance coverage. We will need some information from you, such as your full name, insurance carrier, insurance number, and date of birth to verify the insurance. Be sure to include the best contact number should we need more information.
Our office must qualify your insurance prior to your visit. If we have not previously inquired about insurance, we will ask you to pay in full at the time of the visit. This is because contacting your insurance company takes time and our office cannot do it at the time of your appointment.
Mar 10, 2009
Sounds like a simple question, but in fact it is quite hard to answer. In many ways, it is like asking, “What does Western Medicine treat?” or ” What do medications treat?”
Unlike other therapies, such as psychotherapy or physical therapy, acupuncture can treat both physical and mental problems, as well as internal medicine. Acupuncture, as a part of Chinese medicine, has been used as a comprehensive medical system and over one billion people still use Traditional East Asian Medicine as their primary means of health care. That means that people use it to treat back pain, colds, PMS, infertility, asthma, strokes, migraine headaches, painful urination, acne, stomach aches, depression, anxiety, and all other types of diseases.
Generally speaking, people seek acupuncture for chronic conditions. Here are some various resources to help you explore “what acupuncture treats?”
1. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). NCCAM has some good information about acupuncture treatment for a few conditions, like osteoarthritis of the knee, fibromyalgia, and PTSD. There is also a great video by Richard Hamershlag, a wonderful acupuncture researcher.
2. The World Health Organization published huge document on acupuncture and traditional medicine in 2003. Unfortunately it is no longer on the web, (here is a link to it’s summery on Wikipedia). The document listed over 140 conditions which acupuncture is used for and has documented efficacy. Here are a few of the conditions listed:
- Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy
- Allergic rhinitis
- Painful Periods
- Facial pain
- Knee pain
- Low back pain
- Correction of Malposition of fetus
- Morning sickness
- Neck pain
- Shoulder pain
- Postoperative pain
- Renal colic
- Rheumatoid arthritis
3. A great article published in the Annals of Family Medicine in 2005, examined the most common reasons for going to an acupuncturist in Washington State and Massachusetts. This article also discusses training and background of acupuncturists and the major categories of diseases, along with specific conditions.
Some of the most common conditions included:
- back pain and stiffness
- anxiety and depression
- neck pain and stiffness
- shoulder pain and stiffness
- general wellness
- allergies to food
- knee pain
- abdominal pain, cramps, and distention
- infectious disease
- problems of pregnancy or fertility
4. From my personal experience, I think that article was pretty comprehensive for common conditions. In my clinic, other common conditions are chronic prostatitis, chronic pelvic pain syndrome, migraine headaches, acne, dermatitis, and irregular or painful menstruation. If you are interested in getting acupuncture, find someone you can trust and ask them if they have experience with your concern.
5. The way that the Chinese still use their own traditional medicine should also help us understand what can Acupuncture and Chinese medicine treat.
In China, Chinese medicine is completely integrated with the healthcare system. Where I studied, at the Hunan University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, we had an entire hospital dedicated to TCM. They also used Western medicine when needed, such as antibiotics, but the main focus was acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and acupressure.
The hospital has many departments, I rotated in acupuncture, internal medicine, Tui na (medical massage) and dermatology. They also had an OBGYN, pediatrics, and an entire inpatient department. People came to see us with all typs of pain, headaches, shoulder pain, back pain, facial paralysis, bell’s palsy, menstrual cramps, infertility, hepatitis, gall bladder disease, rehabilitation from stroke, chronic renal failure, sexual dysfunction, proastatitis, acne, and hives just to name a few.
Dr. Chan, my teacher in the photo above, is a master Chinese medicine Doctor and Acupuncturist. He is famous for his treatment of Prostatitis, Parkinson’s disease, pain, eye conditions, stroke, and cerebral palsy.
6. A similar question to what is it used for is “Is there research?” The answer to that is a wholehearted yes! There is too much to discuss hear, so I selected some of my favorite.
One of the best and most comprehensive studies focuses on acupuncture for osteoarthritis of the knee. There is also evidence that acupuncture works for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, an area I believe acupuncture is underused. Acupuncture has also been shown to help the effectiveness of IVF and improves the health of the babies at birth. Acupuncture is also great at treating headaches of all kinds. I’ve already written about acupuncture and headaches in this post.
Of course, there are millions of other chronic conditions acupuncture can treat. If you are interested in learning more about if acupuncture can address your health concern, please call us at 917-887-4946 to schedule an appointment.
Top Photo: NYCTCM