Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Asthma and Acupuncture

(Image courtesy healthheap.com)
This month, I'm already seeing patients with asthma and allergy symptoms flaring up. Between seasonal changes and the cutting of cornfields, tis the season for discomfort. You don't need to suffer this fall! Acupuncture is a natural and safe method for helping your body take control. Combining acupuncture with Western medical care is also appropriate for such complaints. Take time to read this article written by fellow acupuncturist, James Kaufman, in British Columbia.

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition where the airways to our lungs narrow and swell. They produce extra mucus, and breathing becomes difficult. The most common symptoms of asthma are coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath but asthma symptoms range from minor to severe and vary from person to person. Some people only experience symptoms when they have asthma flare-ups, that may primarily occur at night, during exercise, or when exposed to specific triggers, allergies, or irritants. These people may have mild symptoms and infrequent asthma attacks and to them, asthma symptoms are a minor nuisance. Others experience severe or constant asthma symptoms that are a major problem and interfere with daily activities. 

It isn't well-understood in Western medicine why some people get asthma and others don't, but it is believed to be caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Risk factors include having a parent or sibling with asthma, having an allergic condition, a low birth rate, and being exposed to pollution, chemicals, allergens, and cigarette smoke. One thing we do know is that asthma is very common, affecting millions of adults and children and that number is growing every year. 

The Western medicine approach to asthma is to control its symptoms, rather than cure asthma. Treatment involves learning to recognize triggers and taking steps to avoid them, combined with the use of asthma medications such as inhalers and corticosteroids, among others, to keep symptoms under control. Unfortunately, many of these medications have unfortunate side effects or compromise other areas of health or daily living. 

Chinese medicine has a different approach to asthma, and can be quite effective for this condition. According to Chinese medicine, the root cause of asthma is generally due to a constitutional (hereditary) weakness in the body’s defensive qi-energy system. Our defensive qi (‘chee’) system is a part of our body’s immune system, providing resistance to outside pathogens. Because our lungs are directly exposed to things in our external environment like cold, heat, smoke or pollen, our lungs are an important part of our defense system. People who develop asthma, have a weakness of defensive qi, particularly in the lungs, that may be aggravated by lifestyle such as diet and emotional stress, and exposure to external allergens, irritants, and chemicals. These external allergens, irritants, and pathogens are called invasions of “wind” in Chinese medicine, which essentially refers to anything of external origin that has an effect on our internal health. The combination of a weakened defense system and these “wind” invasions are conditions for asthma to develop. 

Acupuncture treatments target these wind invasions which are the trigger for asthma attacks. Regular treatments during asthma attacks or severe asthma symptoms can help to reduce symptoms and lessen the frequency of the attacks. During the periods when asthma attacks are infrequent and symptoms are mild, acupuncture treatment focuses on treating the root problem- the weakness of the defensive-qi systems. By correcting and strengthening immune system functioning and influencing the body to function in a more healthy state, we can produce more lasting results for asthma sufferers. In many cases this can mean living symptom-free or with minimum symptoms for asthma sufferers. Because asthma is complex condition that has to do with the body’s constitution, the treatment of asthma with acupuncture is usually steady and gradual, requiring a longer series of treatments to produce lasting results. However, lasting results can be achieved, making acupuncture a great option for the treatment of asthma.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Tattoos May Have Been Therapeutic

This weekend Sify news, an India news portal, reported the following article. Though I do not offer tattooing at my clinic, I do perform acupuncture which is known to have therapeutic effects for a host of complaints. Already have a tattoo? During treatment sessions, I'm more than happy to discuss acupuncture meridians or points that may be affected by your decorative body art. Schedule an appointment today!

Mummy tattoos offer clues to ancient acupuncture-like healing therapy
Experts have identified that mysterious circle tattoos on a Peruvian mummy contained burned plant material-a feat that sheds light on a possible ancient healing practice that may have been based on similar principles to acupuncture.

The 1000-year-old female mummy was found unwrapped in the sand of the desert at Chiribaya Alta in southern Peru in the early 1990s and bears two tattoos on the body. One of them is a tattoo of an asymmetric pattern of overlapping circles on her neck.

Maria Anna Pabst of the Medical University of Graz in Austria and her colleagues used microscopy and spectroscopy to analyse the tattoos. Almost all known ancient tattoos were made with ash or soot. But the researchers found that while this was true for the tattoos on this mummy's extremities, the circles on her neck contained burned plant material. "If you use different materials, they have different functions," New Scientist quoted her as saying. The team believes that while the soot tattoos were decorative, the neck circles were probably part of a healing or strengthening ritual.

Pabst points out that the circles are close to Chinese acupuncture points. She says that tattooing a person at these points could have worked in a similar way to how acupuncture is thought to work. The idea that some ancient tattoos have a therapeutic purpose has been suggested before but Pabst's study is the first to compare the two types of tattoo in the same mummy.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Acupuncture Testimonial: October 2010

I visited Rachel when I began my journey with IVF.  I wanted to know that I was doing everything I could, to try and boost my success rate. I figured it would either increase my chances of pregnancy, or in the least, relax me during a stressful time. Rachel was wonderful, very encouraging and understanding. Her office was very tranquil (and clean).

I now have a beautiful, healthy, 9 month old daughter and I would definitely do acupunture again. 
Copyright © 2010
319-331-9312 | info@healthonpoint.com