Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Autumn Means Change Within... and Without

September 22nd marked the beginning of Fall this year....

In the spirit of Traditional Chinese Medicine, fall is the time of the Lung. This means that our lungs and skin are more likely to have problems now with complaints such as eczema or psoriasis, and coughs, colds and flu. This season requires that we start dressing a warmer, eat nourishing foods, drink plenty of fresh water, and get enough sleep.
Fall in TCM is also the time of dryness, much as we see all around us in the trees. Autumn leaves turn beautiful - often vibrant - colors, then fade as they dry out and ultimately fall from their branches. This may be reflected in each of us when we consider this on an emotional level.
Just this week many patients are noting an awareness of grief for past losses. Several individuals on my table shared their struggles with this season and its 'timing' - be it in terms of the academic calendar or the sense that winter is not far behind.
I'd love to remind you what my medicine tradition teaches us. This a time for us to practice letting go. We may struggle, dig our heels in and resist! But this just exhausts us physically and emotionally. Consider that much as a tree losing its leaves is inevitable this season, so too are losses and change in our lives. How would it feel if you didn't fight, didn't struggle? What would that mean for you in your life?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Drink More Tea

As if overnight, Autumn has arrived! Ease your body through this month of transition with our herbal tea bundle. Choose any three of our all organic, fresh hand-crafted herbal teas and you'll receive a gift that makes those mugs filled with deliciousness all the more satisfying.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Patients with Back Pain Find Relief with Acupuncture

Humans have always sought relief when they are in pain, so it is no wonder that an ancient practice has come to the aid of people suffering from low back pain.
Acupuncture is a procedure that started in Chinese medicine and has been adapted and is widely accepted in Western medicine, particularly to promote good health or to relieve pain or create a numbing sensation in a particular area of the body. In its Eastern tradition, the practice regulates chi in the body (its life force, or flow of energy) by placing needles in meridians (the channels through which chi flows) near the surface of the skin.
"When you insert needles, you release natural opiates such as endorphins," said David Mortell, an acupuncturist. "And MRI studies indicate acupuncture raises the threshold for pain in the brain."
Acupuncture heightens the effectiveness of the areas of the brain responsible for regulating pain signals, doctors at the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center at the University of Michigan found in a 2009 study.
In a clinical trial in South Korea in 2011, patients with severe back pain reported significantly more relief from acupuncture than did those in the control group, who were treated with the prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac. A metastudy of 13 trials in China indicated acupuncture "achieved better outcomes when compared with other treatments."
In a German study in 2007, low back pain sufferers who were treated with acupuncture reported more relief than those who were treated with drugs, physical therapy and exercise.
"Acupuncture represents a highly promising and effective treatment option for chronic back pain," concluded the researchers. "Patients experienced not only reduced pain intensity, but also reported improvements in the disability that often results from back pain."
It worked for Neal Griebling, 70, of Mount Washington. Mr. Griebling injured his back shoveling heavy snow in 1994, and has had low back pain off and on ever since. He sought treatment from a pain physician and from a chiropractor before trying acupuncture.
"On a scale of 10, the pain relief I get from a session with acupuncture is an 8, sometimes a 9," Mr. Griebling said. He gave the therapy he received from a chiropractor only a 4 on his pain relief scale. The injections he received from a physician didn't help at all. "They were a zero."

(original article printed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

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