The Causes of Migraine Headaches

This morning on NPR there was a very informative piece about the causes of migraines and why women suffer more from migraines than men.

The story explains the that one reason migraines occur is because of bursts of electrical activity in specific areas of the brain.   Often they begin in  the visual center, which is why people will get auras from migraines.  Then it will travel through different regions explaining why there can be so many different symptoms related to the migraine headache.

Originally women were thought to get more migraine was because women cannot handle stress.  However, now … Read More

What is Chinese Medicine?

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 … Read More

Another Look at the Placebo Effect

For the last 50 years, the placebo effect has been a dirty word.  Real interventions make a physiological change in the body.   Placebos do nothing but convince the patient that something is different.

Reality states otherwise.  Ted Katpchuk, an acupuncturist and Chinese medicine doctor who focuses on the placebo effect in his research, wants to change all that.

In last week’s New Yorker, an article focuses on the placebo and the scholars who think about and examine the placebo.

What is a Placebo?

One of the difficult and fundamental questions is what is a placebo?  We’ve come to believe … Read More

Preventing Montezuma’s Revenge with Chinese Herbs

Anything with the word “revenge” can’t be good.   Commonly called Montezuma’s revenge, traveler’s diarrhea is a common illness for adventurers.

Traveler’s diarrhea was a concern of mine when we were trekking in Peru.  I’ve always known that I had a sensitive stomach when traveling, and I remember getting sick when in other countries.  I wanted to try to avoid it on this trip.

I was still in graduate school during my Peru trip, and I did not have that much experience with treating traveler’s diarrhea.  I asked my favorite teacher, Dr. Kejian Xiao, who is a master herbalist about what … Read More