Friday, December 20, 2013

Nurture Your Emotional Wellness

The holiday season may be filled with a dizzying array of demands, visitors, travel and frantic shopping trips. For many people, it is also a time filled with sadness, self-reflection, loneliness and anxiety. Compound the usual seasonal pressures with economic strain and you may find this to be one of the most emotionally trying times of the year.

At some point in life everyone deals with major upheavals or emotional distress. These events can trigger a host of unexpected feelings and behaviors, from depression and panic attacks to major disruptions in sleep and eating. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can alleviate symptoms associated with mental and emotional health issues by treating the root cause of the problem to help restore balance to the body's internal environment.

Mental health disorders are medical conditions that can disrupt a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to cope with the daily demands of life or relate well to others. Affecting people of any age, race, religion, or income, mental health issues are more common than you might think. In fact, experts estimate that a significant number of people report symptoms that indicate sufficient qualifying criteria of a mental disorder.

Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine does not recognize any mental disorder as one particular syndrome. Instead, it aims to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual using a variety of techniques including acupuncture, lifestyle/dietary recommendations and exercises to restore imbalances found in the body. Therefore, if 100 patients are treated with acupuncture and Oriental medicine for anxiety, each of those 100 people will receive a unique, customized treatment with different acupuncture points, and different lifestyle and diet recommendations.

Mental health issues are best managed when health professionals work together to meet the unique needs of each individual. Acupuncture is an excellent addition to any treatment plan as it is used to help the body restore balance, treating the root of the disorder, while also diminishing symptoms. If you or someone you love is suffering this season, call for a session in our clinic. We're more than happy to work with you one on one, and to discuss what you can do at home in terms of self care to support our work together.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Research: Acupuncture Lowers Fatigue & Ups Endurance

Many of us struggle to maintain physical strength during the long cold winter months. Acupuncture in conjunction with exercise protects not only your heart, but builds endurance too! If you feel ready to be a healthier, stronger you, call Rachel to schedule your acupuncture sessions!
New research demonstrates that acupuncture prevents fatigue and enhances athletic endurance. Scientists measured the effects of three acupuncture points on the swimming task ability and liver mitochondrial function of laboratory rats in a highly controlled investigation. The results revealed that the normal control group and model group had significantly shorter swimming exhaustion times than the acupuncture group, which demonstrated objective improvements in athletic endurance. The acupuncture group also demonstrated improvements in liver mitochondrial-respiratory function with a significantly lower oxygen consumption rate than the normal control and model groups. The acupuncture group also demonstrated significant improvements in the liver mitochondrial respiratory control rate (RCR) and the ratio of phosphorus to oxygen (P/O).

 The researchers measured additional interesting findings. They compared acupuncture point prescriptions. Group 1 received electroacupuncture at CV4 (Guanyuan) and ST36 (Zusanli) plus manual acupuncture stimulation at GV20 (Baihui). Group 2 received electroacupuncture at CV3 (Zhongji) and SP9 (Yinlinquan) and manual acupuncture stimulation at Yintang (EX-HN3). Group 1 demonstrated significantly better scores than group 2 thereby demonstrating that the CV4, ST36, GV20 acupuncture point prescription has markedly greater anti-fatigue effects.

The investigators note that the treatment principle for the CV4, ST36, GV20 acupuncture point prescription is Shuanggu Yitong, “strengthening both the congenital foundation and the acquired constitution and regulating the yang-qi of the body.” The measurements were geared to quantify the anti-fatigue effects of the point prescription by measuring physical activity capabilities and liver functions in laboratory rats. The researchers concluded that, “Electroacupuncture of CV4 and ST36 plus manual acupuncture stimulation of GV20 can improve the anti-fatigue capability in aging rats with yang-deficiency, which may be related to its effects in reducing liver mitochondrial oxygen consumption and increasing liver mitochondrial RCR and ratio of P/O.”

Another study took a different tack to determine if acupuncture has beneficial effects on bodily strength and endurance. Researchers from the International Society for Autonomic Neuroscience discovered that acupuncture controls the heart rate and increases the strength of cardiac autonomic function. The research indicates that specific acupuncture points may help to prevent heart attacks (myocardial infarctions) and arrhythmias.

Researchers conducted a study of acupuncture points CV17 (Shanzhong) and CV16 (Zhongting). Needling acupoint CV17 decreased the heart rate and increased the power of the high-frequency component of the HRV (heart rate variability), an index of the body’s ability to maintain control of the heart beat rate and rhythm through vagus nerve activity. The researchers conclude that CV17 “causes the modulation of cardiac autonomic function.” CV16 did not change the HRV or demonstrate the same level of beneficial effects on the heart rate as CV17. CV17 is able to activate the autonomic nervous system to control the heart rate by increasing vagal activity. Depressed HRV after MI, a heart attack, reflects a decrease in vagal activity and leads to cardiac electrical instability. Since acupuncture at CV17 increases the cardiac vagal component of HRV, it is an important acupuncture point for patients recovering from MI.

Wang, H., J. Liu, J. M. Liu, J. F. Lü, M. Y. Chen, and J. Z. Wang. "Effect of electroacupuncture stimulation of" Guanyuan"(CV 4), bilateral" Housanli"(ST 36), etc. on anti-fatigue ability and liver mitochondrial respiratory function in ageing rats with Yang-deficiency." Zhen ci yan jiu= Acupuncture research/[Zhongguo yi xue ke xue yuan Yi xue qing bao yan jiu suo bian ji] 38, no. 4 (2013): 259.

Kurono Y, Minagawa M, Ishigami T, Yamada A, Kakamu T, Hayano J. Auton Neurosci. Acupuncture to Danzhong but not to Zhongting increases the cardiac vagal component of heart rate variability. 2011 Apr 26;161(1-2):116-20. Epub 2011 Jan 7.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Study: Hate going to the dentist? Acupuncture could help ease some anxiety

Acupuncture may provide relief for dental patients who reflexively gag during procedures like teeth impressions, according to Italian researchers.
Up to 20 percent of the U.S. population has severe anxiety at the dentist's office. People who cannot help their gag reflex may unintentionally deprive themselves of the best dental care, write Giuseppa Bilello and Antonella Fregapane, both from the University of Palermo in Sicily.
Acupuncture may be one strategy to solve that problem, the pair suggests.
"It is a small study," Dr. Palle Rosted told Reuters Health. "But it is a good start."
Rosted is a consultant acupuncturist with Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield, England. He was not involved with the current study.
The researchers recruited 20 people with a history of gag reflex in the dental chair to have upper and lower teeth impressions taken under normal circumstances and then immediately after acupuncture.
Participants ranged in age from 19 to 80. For the first round of upper teeth impressions, they reported an average gag reflex score of 7 on a 0-10 scale, with 10 representing the maximum nausea sensation.
During the second round, the researchers applied acupuncture needles about 30 seconds before taking impressions and left the needles in until the procedure ended. On average, gag reflex scores dropped to just 1.
The pattern was similar for gag reflex scores during lower teeth impressions done with and without acupuncture, according to findings published in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine.
The researchers point out that they can't be sure the improvements were due to the acupuncture needles themselves — in part because there was no comparison group that didn't get acupuncture. Another possibility is that gag reflex scores improved because participants were more used to the impressions the second time around.
Still, "It has certainly given us some more evidence that acupuncture may be effective," Rosted said.
The study's positive result "is something that we doctors definitely need exposure to and to keep in mind as a possible option," Dr. Preeti Nair told Reuters Health. "We rarely think of acupuncture, and usually use local anesthetics."
Nair was not part of the current research. She has studied gag reflex at the People's College of Dental Sciences & Research Centre in Bhopal, India.
One difference between a drug like local anesthesia and acupuncture could be side effects.
"We haven't gotten all of the details in our hand, but with acupuncture, the side effects could be less," Nair said. Much more research is needed on the subject, she added.
In order for a large, randomized controlled trial — the gold standard in medical research — to be done on this subject, dental offices and academic institutions may have to work together, said Chris Dickinson of King's College London Dental Institute at Guy's Hospital in England.
In England, the British Dental Acupuncture Society offers training for dentists in certain dental applications of acupuncture, said Dickinson, who was not involved in the new study.
"There are very few contraindications associated with acupuncture and dental operations that we've experienced," Dickinson told Reuters Health. "But we don't use the technique in patients with metal allergies, pregnant women and those with needle phobias."
Dickinson noted that other acupuncture points could have been used for gag control such as ear points and LI4, also known as the Hegu point.
Researchers in the current study placed needles in the PC6, EX 1 and CV24 acupuncture points on the face and wrist.
"The message to dentists is that it's a simple technique and easily learned," Dickinson said. "It's also cost-effective. Even though it does not work in every case there's very little lost by trying it."
In the U.S., acupuncture typically costs about $100 per session.
One of the positive aspects of acupuncture is that after an operation, a patient may choose to drive home, which is not possible with other treatments, such as general anesthesia, Rosted said
"The risk of causing harm with this treatment is nearly non-existent," he said.

SOURCE: Acupuncture in Medicine, online November 5, 2013.
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