Monday, November 19, 2012

Acupuncture used in treating ADHD

The ability to focus and tune out distraction can be challenging for anyone. But for children and adults with ADHD, it is a daily, frustrating battle.

Medication and behavioral therapy are traditional methods of treatment. Now, Acupuncture is being used to ease the symptoms of ADHD.

A recent study by the Mayo Clinic finds that seven and a half percent of all school-age children are affected by ADHD. And symptoms vary from child to child. Some may struggle with focus, distractibility, impulsivity, hyperactivity, or a combination of them."Western medicine looks at ADHD as a brain dysfunction, a brain chemistry dysfunction," says licensed acupuncturist Allison Bower. "Eastern medicine looks at ADHD as the organ functions are malfunctioning, then causing the brain function to be off."

Acupuncture works well in addition to other treatments, such as behavioral therapy and nutritional plans. "If we can balance the energy, or the qi, of the organ systems in the body, then the brain chemistry can adjust," Bower explains. Acupuncture can help calm the disruptive nature of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and it can also help to ease the side effects of the medications used to treat ADHD.

Gabrielle Belli was diagnosed with ADHD at age 11.

"Distractibility has always been sort of an issue," she admits. Impulsivity is also a problem, in addition to social anxiety. That's not uncommon. ADHD is often coupled with other disorders ranging from social anxiety to depression, or facial tics.

"ADHD often does not fly solo. It flies along with some anxiety or some depression. So we know that if acupuncture speaks to those conditions, it will most certainly speak to ADHD," according to Jill Zupon, Founder and Executive Director of The Attention Center, the Independence facility devoted solely to the care of children and adults with ADHD and ADD. In addition to testing, therapy, nutritional services and coaching Zupon saw the benefits of acupuncture and brought Bower on board.

"We are not a center that provides homeopathic medicine. But we knew that it would be a good alternative to those who didn't want to be medicated," Zupon explains. Belli tried medication, but found it didn't work for her. She came to The Attention Center for help managing her ADHD. When she heard they also offered acupuncture, Belli decided to give it a try. "I felt more like myself than I had probably in a whole year. So it was just the biggest relief," Belli claims.

We went with Gabrielle on a day she visited Bower. Home from Ohio University, she hadn't received acupuncture in about two months. She had lost two sets of keys in recent weeks, and says she struggled with her organization and thought processes. For Gabrielle, the benefits of acupuncture she says are almost immediate. "I can really tell. I speak different, my attitude is different," she tells us.

"I am centered. I am thinking clearly. I am organized," she says.

Acupuncture can help to calm the impulses that make it hard to stay still. It can also work to improve concentration and bolster the immune system and energy of the patient which can address both the sluggishness commonly associated with ADD patients and hyperactivity commonly seen in patients with ADHD.

Zupon believes a transformation takes place from the time that a client walks into Allison's office, to the moment they walk out. "We get to see someone go in one way and come out another way. It's wonderful," Zupon said.

Acupuncture in the management of ADHD is still relatively new. Currently, there is no scientific proof to support its benefits. But patients like Gabrielle believe it has made a difference in their lives.
For patients who take medicine, They say that the acupuncture can help alleviate common negative side effects of the drugs such as appetite suppression, sleeplessness and dry mouth.

In a perfect world, Gabrielle says she would like to get treatment every other week. But she must work it around her visits home from school. Treatment is different for each person. Some people need it every week, others go every other week, or every few months. If you or someone you know has ADD/ADHD, call for a consultation to see if acupuncture may help!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Acupuncture Eases Fatigue Linked to Breast Cancer

Earlier this month, US News & World Reported the following article which examines acupuncture in conjunction with Western medical care for oncology patients. At this time, Rachel is the only acupuncturist in Iowa to complete training with the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

Women in study had less physical, mental fatigue and better quality of life

Offering breast cancer patients a relatively short regimen of acupuncture alongside standard treatment can help alleviate some of the crippling fatigue that often accompanies the disease, according to a new study.

The magnitude of help that patients undergoing acupuncture experienced was deemed by the study team to be "both statistically and clinically important."

"I am quite excited with these results," said study lead author Alex Molassiotis, a professor of cancer and supportive care with the school of nursing, midwifery and social work at the University of Manchester, in England. "They provide some good evidence of an effect of acupuncture for the management of a very debilitating and burdensome symptom for patients."

"The addition of a new treatment approach gives patients and health professionals more options," Molassiotis added, noting that the range of options specifically designed to address fatigue issues among cancer patients has been limited.

The study appeared online Oct. 29 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

More than 40 percent of breast cancer patients experience significant cancer-related fatigue, according to background information included in the study. For some patients the problem may persist at a moderate or even severe level for years following the cessation of treatment.

To explore the potential of acupuncture treatment, the authors focused on more than 300 women with breast cancer who were being cared for as outpatients at one of nine health care facilities across the United Kingdom.

At the time of the study, participants had been diagnosed with either stage 1, 2 or 3 breast cancer, and all had been experiencing at least moderate levels of fatigue for an average of 18 months. Most were white, and their average age was 53.

For a six-week period, all patients continued to receive the same care they had been receiving before the study, and all were additionally given an information booklet that tackled the issue of fatigue management.

However, more than 200 of the patients also were randomly chosen to undergo weekly 20-minute acupuncture sessions that involved needle placement at three different entry points.

By the end of the six-week period, those who had received acupuncture appeared to fare better on every measure of fatigue that the team assessed.

Specifically, those in the acupuncture group reported feeling notably better than the "usual-care" group in terms of overall fatigue, physical and mental fatigue, anxiety and depression levels, functional well-being, emotional well-being, social functioning, and overall quality of life.

"Acupuncture is a complementary therapy that not only can have direct effects on the symptom experience of patients, but also ... provide the opportunity [for] patients to be more involved with their symptom management and empower them more," Molassiotis said. "Patients also like 'natural' and 'traditional' approaches to health management."...

Dr. Laura Kruper, director of the Cooper-Finkel Women's Health Center and chief of the breast surgery service at the City of Hope Cancer Center in Duarte, Calif., described the British effort as both "well done" and "strong."

"Acupuncture has been used in a variety of settings within medicine, such as to control chemotherapy-related nausea, post-operative nausea, migraines and chronic pain," she said. "It is still not exactly known how acupuncture works, but that does not mean it does not have therapeutic benefit."

But, while noting that "many patients turn to complementary therapies to bridge the gaps that Western medicine does not fill," Kruper stressed the need "to ensure that these therapies are safe, effective and reliable."

"In the world of medicine, we rely on investigational studies to guide our treatment decisions so that we provide evidence-based medicine," she said. "Complementary therapies need to undergo the same rigorous tests that Western medicine does. This study was exemplary in that it was conducted with adherence to the principles of scientific method, and hopefully a study like this will be the first of many."

If you or someone you know would benefit in Acupuncture to complement their Western medical care, please call and schedule your appointment with Health On Point today.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Health and Diet: Should I Take a Multivitamin?

More and more of our patients are interested in how they can care for themselves outside the clinic. On a daily basis I hear, "What can I do between treatments?" or "Is there anything I can do on my own to help me reach my goals?". What I love about my practice and what Health On Point has to offer, is that it is NOT a passive experience. What happens in the treatment room is invaluable, but so are the behaviors and choices you make once you walk out into the world. We are on the cusp of winter, and often it is a season of neglect. Many become distracted by holidays and family excitement (or troubles!) and of course the impending cold which leaves many feeling cooped up and unhealthy. In response to your inquiries and concern for self care, I will be posting monthly - if not bi-weekly - articles on self care. Some will take the form of nutrition/supplement support. Other articles will include whole foods recipes or special offers available in clinic. We are incredibly excited to share this with you. Please let us know what you think - and if you have particular interests or requests, we are all ears!

Today's article is from a colleague's website. She is a wonderful nutritionist and is thrilled to share her knowledge with us. The topic we’ll discuss this week is what current research says about the effectiveness of taking a daily multivitamin.  Keep in mind that vitamins and supplements are just as serious as prescription drugs; so don’t take anything new without talking it over with a healthcare professional!

Many people like the concept of a multivitamin.  It seems like a good idea to take a pill to make up for any nutritional gaps in one’s diet.  But does it actually do your body any good?

One 2011 study looked at the multivitamin use and health issues of 182,099 participants over the course of three years.  They found no difference in cancer risk, heart disease, or mortality between the persons who used multivitamins and those who didn’t.

On the other hand, some studies have found that people who use multivitamins have lower rates of disease.  Another study from 2011 found that breast cancer patients who took a multivitamin after treatment had higher survival rates.  These studies also find that people who take multivitamins tend to eat more plant foods and exercise, so it can be hard to tell if the vitamin is adding any additional benefit.

Based on the current research, it appears that a multivitamin does no visible harm or good.  Some people with specific health needs may benefit from a vitamin or herbal supplement.  It’s important to discuss supplements with a Nutritionist, Dietitian, Herbalist, or Pharmacist before trying anything new.  For the most part, your dollars will be better spent on wholesome fresh foods instead of pills!

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