While most of us in the acupuncture world have long known that the mind and body are one, inseparable, new studies are proving that our mind has a direct effect on how (and if) we perceive pain in the body. A study and related work in the journal “Mosaic” speaks to how the Vagus Nerve, which runs from the brain stem through the core of the body, may be an essential key link in this. To read more, click here.
Given that we’re in the midst of the holiday season, and are likely adding far more strange and atypical foods to our diet than at other times of year, I thought it apropos to put in some bloggage about food poisoning, and what can be done for it.
By: Diane Joswick, L.Ac., MSOM
Every year millions of people suffer from bouts of vomiting and diarrhea due to food poisoning. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are as many as 33 million cases of food poisoning in the United States annually.
While most cases are mild and pass so rapidly that they are never diagnosed, occasionally a severe outbreak creates a newsworthy public health hazard. The recent outbreak in the United States is such a case.
More than 11 weeks into the biggest Salmonella outbreak linked to fresh produce ever in the United States, a strain of Salmonella has sickened over 869 people across the country, causing tomatoes to be pulled from shelves and restaurants.
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be of great help when it comes to relieving symptoms of and recovering from food poisoning. In most cases, the recommendation for food poisoning is to rest and drink plenty of fluids. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can actually relieve symptoms, hasten recovery and also strengthen the digestive system to prevent future incidents of food poisoning, avert the development of chronic immune deficiencies and increase energy levels.
What is Food Poisoning?
Food poisoning is a general term for any illness arising from eating contaminated foods. Also known as foodborne illness, infectious diarrhea or gastroenteritis, food poisoning is generated by a variety of microorganisms including bacteria, viruses and parasites. The most common bacteria to cause food poisoning are salmonella, staphylococcus aureus, E. coli and shigella.
Food poisoning is marked by severe diarrhea, fever, cramping, abdominal pain, flu-like symptoms, vomiting and diarrhea. Most cases of food poisoning clear up on their own within a week without any medical assistance; however, it can take several months before bowel habits return to normal. Often the digestive system is severely weakened after a bout of food poisoning, making the infected person more susceptible to food poisoning in the future. A small number of persons with food poisoning develop an autoimmune disease called Reiter’s syndrome. It can last for months or years, and can lead to chronic arthritis.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Food Poisoning
In Oriental medicine, food poisoning is recognized as dampness and heat in the stomach and intestines due to the ingestion of unclean food or drink. Traditionally, damp heat conditions were seen mostly in the summer months when heat and humidity are at their peak. It is interesting to note that the CDC confirms that most cases occur in the warm months between July and October.
Treatment of food poisoning is rest and hydration to prevent fluid and electrolyte loss through vomiting and diarrhea. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be used to relieve nausea and vomiting, hasten recovery by assisting the body to eliminate the pathogen faster, and strengthen the digestive system to prevent any reoccurrences as well as the development of a chronic immune disorder.
Is your digestive system functioning as well as it could? Acupuncture and Oriental medicine are extremely effective at treating a wide array of digestive disorders. Call a licensed practitioner near you for more information or to schedule and appointment.
Points for Food Poisoning
Acupuncture treatments are aimed at draining dampness and heat from the intestines to remove the pathogen while simultaneously calming the stomach to stop nausea and vomiting. After the acute symptoms subside, treatments are focused on strengthening the digestive system and improving energy levels to bring about a full recovery.
While many different acupuncture points are used, depending on your specific symptoms and the state of your overall health, here are some acupuncture points that are commonly used to treat gastroenteritis:
Stomach 25 (St 25) and Ren 4 (Co 4) are two acupuncture points located on the abdomen around the umbilicus. They are used for abdominal pain, cramping and to drain heat and damp from the intestines.
Stomach 36 (St 36) is located on the shin, below the knee (see image above). It is a very powerful point used to adjust and balance the physiological activity of the digestive system and relieve stomach pain. It is one of the major points on the body for the GI tract. It triggers the body to increase the secretion of hydrochloric acid, dissolve food and move it out of the stomach and intestines.
Pericardium 6 (Pc 6) is located two finger breadths above the inside of the wrist. This acupuncture point alleviates nausea.
How to Prevent Food Poisoning
Here are four simple guidelines to ensure that your summer holidays are not memorable for all the wrong reasons!
Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill
Clean: Wash hands, surfaces, utensils and platters often. Rinse all produce in cold running water before peeling, cutting or eating.
Separate: Keep foods that won’t be cooked separate from raw meat and poultry. Don’t use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry.
Cook: Cook food to a safe minimum internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria.
Chill: Refrigerate any leftovers promptly in shallow containers.
* If you are ill with diarrhea or vomiting, do not prepare food for others, especially infants, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems since they are more vulnerable to infection.
Ginger for Intestinal Upset
Did you know that ginger is always served with sushi because of its ability to prevent food poisoning?
Ginger has been found to increase the secretion of gastric juice and the production of hypochloride. This means that food is digested more quickly; creating an unfriendly environment for bacteria that could wreak havoc with your stomach and intestines.
Ginger works as well at treating the symptoms of food poisoning as it does preventing them. In fact, ginger can be used for most digestive upsets that involve nausea, vomiting, cramping, abdominal pain, indigestion or diarrhea.
Whether your digestive problem is due to eating contaminated food, stomach flu, pregnancy or motion sickness, ginger is one of the most effective agents around!
By Sara Calabro
Happy 2014! The new year is officially underway, so it’s time to get serious about any changes or improvements that you’ve committed to making in 2014. How are you going to be healthier? In what ways will you be different at this time next year?
Acupuncture can help you get to that desired place. It can make you healthier and happier—in ways you probably never imagined.
Through receiving acupuncture, becoming aware of its principles, and incorporating acupuncture-inspired self-care techniques into your life, you can enjoy physical and emotional benefits that may have eluded you in the past.
This is your year! Here are 14 things that acupuncture can help you achieve in 2014.
Acupuncture is well known for its ability to lower stress. It takes the edge off by removing you from the perpetual state of sympathetic dominance in which so many of us find ourselves. By mellowing out the nervous system, acupuncture will help you feel less affected by and better equipped to manage the stressful aspects of life.
Regular acupuncture treatments are fantastic for keeping stress in check. Acupuncture-inspired self-care goes a long way as well. Watch this video for a simple, DIY stress-reduction technique. Check out 10 tips from acupuncturists for lowering stress. And don’t miss this two-part series on acupressure points for stress reduction.
Stronger immune system
Acupuncture strengthens natural resistance to disease. Forget endorphins. Forget improved blood circulation. Forget placebo. This is how acupuncture works, by bolstering your reserve and equipping you to fight off pathogens.
Acupuncture strengthens the immune system so that you can avoid illness rather than dealing with it after it happens.
Learn about four acupuncture points that strengthen immunity. When used as part of a regular acupressure routine, these points can help you avoid the flu this year. And if you’ve already suffered through the flu, these four points will help prevent a recurrence.
Acupuncture looks at how root imbalances affect the whole system. This means that when one thing is out of whack, it can affect you in multiple ways. By thinking of yourself as a complex, interconnected system, it becomes easier to understand why you might be feeling unwell. Acupuncture broadens your awareness of the things that can potentially influence your physical and emotional health.
A more youthful appearance
Acupuncture can make you look younger. Seriously.
Acupuncture strengthens your five most essential organ systems—Kidney, Spleen, Liver, Lung, and Heart—so that you are systemically healthier. This can not only make you feel younger, by improving your energy levels, but it can actually prevent physical signs of aging.
Got your attention? Learn more in this article on how each of the five essential organ systems influences the aging process—and how acupuncture can make you look and feel 25 again!
Smooth and glowing skin
If your battle against aging has mainly to do with your skin, you may have considered cosmetic acupuncture. Cosmetic acupuncture, or facial rejuvenation acupuncture, got a lot of press last year. Celebrities swear by it. Some acupuncturists are basing their entire practices on it. Indeed, natural alternatives to Botox and prescription acne medications are in high demand, and acupuncture is emerging as a leading solution.
Read this interview with a cosmetic acupuncture expert who teaches the technique to acupuncturists throughout the United States and aboard.
When people think about acupuncture and what it can help with, pain is usually the first thing that comes to mind. But acupuncture’s ability to reduce pain goes beyond the physical benefits, such as improved blood flow and the release of pain-relieving endorphins and serotonin.
There is a significant emotional component to pain, especially pain that is chronic. This is why so many cases of pain go unabated by pain killers and anti-inflammatory medications. Treating pain effectively—that is, treating it in a way that addresses the root causes—requires approaching it holistically. Acupuncture excels at this.
Read more about acupuncture for chronic pain in this article.
A flatter stomach
Acupuncture offers a whole new take on why many people suffer from bloating, as well as reflux, constipation, and other digestive disorders. The paired Spleen and Stomach are the main organs associated with digestion. This refers to the digestion of food as well as the digestion of thought. From an acupuncture perspective, over thinking, like over eating, can lead to bloating and digestive discomfort.
Read this article on how acupuncture reduces bloating by keeping the Spleen and Stomach in balance. And don’t miss these 11 self-care tips from acupuncturists for reducing bloating.
Insomnia is stubborn. Tons of people have it—it’s one of the most common complaints seen by acupuncturists—but for many different reasons. Because acupuncture looks at each patient as an individual, regular treatments can be highly effective for people who haven’t found relief in sleep medications or other one-size-fits-all solutions.
This article outlines a sampling of some common imbalances that cause people to struggle with sleep. Do you recognize your personal brand of insomnia?
Although it’s common to find yourself in “acu land”—a somewhat dazed, blissfully relaxed state—during and immediately following acupuncture treatment, the after effect is usually increased energy. Many people report having more energy in the hours, days and even weeks after acupuncture treatment. You may notice that you’re avoiding that post-lunch coma, feeling more motivated to hit the gym, or just sensing a little extra spring in your step.
Let’s face it: We’re impatient. Our go-go-go society and the technology we’ve come to rely on has acclimated us to quick fixes. It perpetuates the “I want it now” mentality that dominates most of our worlds. This creates chronic impatience.
Acupuncture, because it works but rarely overnight, can help us combat this. Acupuncture is an ongoing process that requires an investment of time and a willingness to let go of our desire for instant gratification. It will make you a more patient person.
The multifaceted nature of sexuality means that many systems throughout the body play a role, and seemingly unrelated symptoms or habits can influence whether someone has a fulfilling sex life. Acupuncturists, because they are trained to view their patients holistically, are experts at making these connections and restoring balance so that you’re able to fully experience and enjoy sex.
Want to learn more about this? Thought so. Read this.
Acupuncture, although becoming more widely used, is still not the norm. Most doctors, as well as some family, friends and colleagues, regard mainstream medicine as the only acceptable form of healthcare. Acupuncture requires you to think about health in entirely new ways because it turns mainstream medical tenets on their head. It will remind you that there are multiple ways of seeing the world—and that “popular” doesn’t always equal “right.”
A boost in confidence
The driving idea behind acupuncture is that we’re already in possession of everything we need to be well. Acupuncture does not add or subtract anything. Rather, it prompts the body to do what it already knows how to do. It reminds you that you have the power to heal yourself.
This does not mean that external interventions such as pharmaceuticals or surgery should always be shunned—in many cases, these are life saving measures. But it does mean that becoming healthier, whatever that means to you, is within your control. This can be an empowering, confidence-boosting realization.
Greater compassion for others
When you understand yourself better, which acupuncture helps you do by making you more self aware, you become better at cultivating compassion for others. You’re not the only one who’s a mishmash of interconnected organs and meridians that can at any moment become out of balance, resulting in unexpected reactions. Acupuncture reminds us that we’re allinterconnected—through our environment and the energies that we put out into the world.
So this year, when someone annoys you or hurts you or looks at you the wrong way, try to remember that it’s not about you. They’re on their journey at the same time that you’re on yours—toward health, toward happiness, toward whatever’s next. Acupuncture can help all of us get there.
This year it is predicted that there will be 1 billion colds and 95 million cases of the flu in the United States alone. While the misery of cold and flu season might be inevitable, one thing is changing: where we look for relief.
The easiest way to protect against the flu is to have a healthy immune system. However, that doesn’t mean you still won’t come into contact with airborne virus particles. That’s why your first line of defense against the flu, or any other illness, is to strengthen your immunity.
When it comes to staying healthy during cold and flu season, acupuncture and Oriental medicine have a lot to offer!
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help prevent colds and flu by strengthening the immune system with just a few needles inserted into key points along the body’s energy pathways.
Boost your Wei Qi and Stay Healthy
“To treat disease that has already developed is comparable to the behavior of those persons who begin to dig a well after they have become thirsty, and of those who begin to cast weapons after they have already engaged in battle. Would these actions not be too late?” – Huangdi Neijing
In Oriental medicine, disease prevention begins by focusing on the protective layer around the exterior of the body called Wei Qi or defensive energy. The Wei Qi involves acupuncture points known for strengthening the circulation of blood and energy to boost the body’s defenses.
Read more on Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture for cold and flu symptoms from AcuFinder.com.
Not long ago, Karl Pillemer had a revelation.
A gerontologist with close to 30 years of experience, Pillemer, who is director of the Cornell Institute for Translational Research on Aging, realized that his research was “entirely focused on older people as problems.”
“It’s something a little bit embarrassing for me,” Pillemer told a crowd at the Harvard Graduate School of Education on Wednesday, as he described his work in areas involving chronic pain, elder abuse, Alzheimer’s, dementia, and problems of family care giving. “I got to a point in this revelation that it seemed like I was writing the ‘Book of Job’ for old people.”
(For more, click here to read the whole article from the Harvard Gazette)
By Elie Goldschmidt, L.Ac., TCM Directory
Are licensed acupuncturists (L.Ac,’s) more adept when it comes to the ancient healing practice than any other practitioner performing acupuncture? Based on the training and education needed for licensure, the answer is yes. There are vast differences in the qualifications among “acupuncturists,” which is why it’s essential to seek treatment from a licensed practitioner.
To meet the acupuncture demand in the West, more and more individuals have jumped on the traditional Chinese medicine bandwagon. It can be confusing to determine who is fully trained and qualified when you’re combing through Google results to find an acupuncturist near you. Potential patients should be wary of those who perform acupuncture with a certification, as opposed to a license. Let’s take a look at how different classifications measure up.
Dry needling, which involves inserting needles into trigger points to relieve muscle pain, can be performed by certified physical therapists in some states. Certification entails a brief training course. In some cases, this training lasts for a mere weekend in sharp contrast with a licensed acupuncturists’ training, which is equivalent to a master’s degree. Would you let a surgeon operate on you after a two-day stint in medical school? Hopefully not. Yet, the majority of these practitioners are equally lacking in knowledge and they still wield needles. While proponents argue that dry needling is not acupuncture and there are differences, the basic premise that needles must be placed at a precise spot for healing is the same.
Supporters of crash courses believe that the treatments are safe and un-licensed practitioners are skilled enough to conduct them. However, a 2006 case study published In Motion, as cited by the Maryland Acupuncture Society, begs to differ. A certified practitioner caused a pneumothorax, or a collapsed lung, in a patient when dry needling trigger points. The study authors concluded that, “while acupuncture is generally considered a safe procedure with low risk of serious complications, such risks are directly related to the amount of training the practitioner has undergone and decrease with increased hours of required training.”
When Guild Insurance Limited, a provider of malpractice insurance for physical therapists, reviewed the liability claims related to the incident they found that over the course of one year the cases of pneumothorax due to dry needling had increased. This was in conjunction with the increase in physical therapists performing the procedure over the same time span.
Dry needling isn’t the only safety issue. Once medical professionals caught on to the popularity of holistic medicine, they quickly added “medical acupuncture” and “chiropractic acupuncture” to their menus. When these terms are used it refers to practitioners who are certified. This is not the same as licensed. A physician or chiropractor only undergoes 300 hours of training or less. Much of this is comprised of home study. Very little, if any, actual patient treatments are required for certification. Medical and chiropractic practitioners do not need to pass the national certification examination or complete continuing education courses.
Because a medical or chiropractic degree hangs on the wall, the lack of training is often overlooked. If a licensed acupuncturist performed chiropractic adjustments after such abbreviated training, it would be disastrous. Of course you would be certain that a chiropractor is more qualified and effective. The same holds true when the roles are reversed.
A study conducted by the Institute of Community Medicine in Norway found that chiropractors and physicians with little training pose a serious risk to patients. The 14-year study uncovered 193 patients who reported adverse side effects from acupuncture. The majority of these individuals consulted certified, not licensed, practitioners. The study’s authors noted that three people died from medical acupuncture treatments due to the doctors’ “inadequate acupuncture education.” Similar to the case related to dry needling, the experts also determined that pneumothorax is the most common mechanical organ injury tied to medical and chiropractic acupuncture. A career in medicine doesn’t mean that a doctor has perfected the exact placement of needles or the depth of penetration.
To decrease the likelihood of adverse side effects look for those three little letters after a practitioner’s name: L.Ac. This denotes that they are a licensed acupuncturist who has successfully completed more than 2,000 hours of education in Chinese medicine and acupuncture, which is equivalent to three to four years of schooling. Potential acupuncturists must attend an accredited college or school of acupuncture with master’s level on-site training and engage in several hundred hours of supervised clinical practice. Not to mention, unlike their medical counterparts, they must successfully pass the national certification exam and complete regular continuing education courses. The amount of knowledge garnered throughout the intensive program far outweighs what can be gained in any weekend workshop or home study course.
Acupuncture is an art and a science based on thousands of years of clinical practice. A qualified acupuncturist has honed their expertise in Chinese medicine theory, energy and organ systems, treatment procedures, safety protocols, the endless number of precise meridian and acupuncture points, and needling techniques. This is all in addition to learning a completely new and unfamiliar diagnostic criteria.
After years of education and training in the Western medical model, a physical therapist, physician, or chiropractor will typically follow the path they know, which often runs counter to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine. For example, a licensed acupuncturist will take a holistic approach and view the body as a whole to find an underlying cause of their ailment, as opposed to just addressing symptoms. Traditional Chinese medicine emphasizes that the mind, body, and spirit are interconnected. Western medicine views each organ and system separately and targets the symptoms and not the underlying cause. This means that the diagnosis and treatment may be different depending on whether one sees a licensed or certified acupuncturist.
The technique, philosophy, fundamentals, and precision necessary to practice Chinese medicine take years to perfect. Most certified acupuncturists don’t have the knowledge to translate the tenants of Eastern medicine into a holistic, effective treatment. Licensed practitioners know acupuncture and Chinese medicine inside out. They create a treatment that is customized to each individual. Medical and chiropractic acupuncturists often use a one-size fits all approach.
People who receive acupuncture from someone without a license may subsequently develop a negative view toward the practice. Patients often find treatments by practitioners with minimal training to be painful or uncomfortable and in many cases don’t experience any benefits. This is dismaying to licensed acupuncturists. A qualified, licensed practitioner can diagnose a patient, target the acupuncture points most effective for that individual, and perform a well-executed, comfortable treatment. This will offer powerful healing properties, balance the body systems and energy, and improve health and well-being.
Don’t fall trap to “hobbyist” acupuncturists. Experience the powerful holistic, healing practice to gain relief from a large variety of conditions, unlock the flow of your energy, and restore the natural balance, health, and rhythm of the body. The public needs to know that visiting a licensed acupuncturist is a must. It’s a matter of public safety and also ensures that patients are not deprived of the potentially life-changing benefits of acupuncture.
There are many reasons a mesothelioma patient may decide to pursue alternative treatment. Some patients wish to avoid traditional treatment and use alternative therapies as their sole form of symptom management; while other patients may use them as a supplement to a traditional treatment regimen. Regardless of their motivation, patients have a number of alternative medicine options. These can range from complete medical systems, such as Ayurvedic medicine, to stand-alone treatments such as therapeutic massage. Many patients pursue multiple methods throughout the course of treatment.
Patients should work with a holistic medicine practitioner to choose the alternative therapies that most closely align with their health goals. Many hospitals actually offer a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) department. Mesothelioma patients can take advantage of this option and add a CAM practitioner to their treatment team.
Most forms of alternative mesothelioma therapy are performed or guided by a trained health professional. These include:
- Ayurveda (a system of Hindu medicine)
- Homeopathy (plant and mineral-based solutions)
- Naturopathy (a combination of natural and traditional medications with an emphasis on holistic treatments)
- Therapeutic massage
Patients who explore these options should make sure their practitioner holds an up-to-date license with the accreditation boards associated with their field. Patients can also become involved in their treatment by exploring options with the guidance of a holistic professional. These include:
- Nutritional therapy
- Supplementation (vitamins, minerals or natural cancer-fighting herbs)
- Visualization and imagery techniques
- Gentle yoga
While patients can engage in these therapies on their own schedule and from the comfort of their own home, it’s always a good idea to learn the basics from a professional before adding them to a treatment plan.
What Alternative Medicine Can Offer Mesothelioma Patients
Alternative therapies are gentle on the body and pose a very low risk of side effects. This makes them extremely appealing to patients who are already dealing with debilitating mesothelioma symptoms. Without putting the patient at risk for further complications, these therapies can help bring the patient’s symptoms down to a manageable level. Mesothelioma patients can use alternative medicine to address a number of different conditions, but alternative therapies are especially effective at reducing pain and anxiety.
Therapeutic massage is one of the most effective alternative pain-relief techniques. Patients should ideally find a massage therapist who is specially trained in working with cancer patients. Done correctly, therapeutic massage can reduce the chest and abdominal pain felt by mesothelioma patients. One cancer study found that nearly 60 percent of subjects experienced a reduced level of pain perception after massage therapy.
Acupuncture is also effective at relieving cancer-related pain. Patients can explain which areas are producing the most discomfort – as well as which other symptoms they are experiencing – and the acupuncturists can choose the most appropriate pressure points to stimulate.
Mind-based therapies are also exceptionally helpful in mesothelioma treatment. These therapies allow patients to work through stressors such as anxiety about their future or concerns about their financial arrangements. Yoga, meditation, hypnosis and relaxation therapy are all effective methods of calming the mind without pills.
Despite these benefits, alternative therapies are not considered a cure for cancer. Instead, these therapies are considered palliative – the primary goal is symptom relief. Some patients feel as though their alternative medicine regimen has helped slow the growth of their tumors, but patients should avoid any alternative therapy that claims to be a mesothelioma cure.
Author bio: Faith Franz researches and writes about health-related issues for The Mesothelioma Center. One of her focuses is living with cancer.
Ferrell-Torry, A. T., & Glick, O. J. (1993). The use of therapeutic massage as a nursing intervention to modify anxiety and the perception of cancer pain. Cancer Nursing, 16 (2). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8477405
A new study of acupuncture — the most rigorous and detailed analysis of the treatment to date — found that it can ease migraines and arthritis and other forms of chronic pain. Though acupuncture has been studied for decades, the body of medical research on it has been mixed and mired to some extent by small and poor-quality studies. Financed by the National Institutes of Health and carried out over about half a decade, the new research was a detailed analysis of earlier research that involved data on nearly 18,000 patients. The researchers, who published their results in Archives of Internal Medicine, found that acupuncture outperformed sham treatments and standard care when used by people suffering from osteoarthritis, migraines and chronic back, neck and shoulder pain. Read more about the study in the New York Times or the study itself in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
When people ask what kinds of conditions we treat in our clinic, my usual response is that most of our patients have tried many other modalities first, before they are ready to try acupuncture. This is especially true of people in chronic pain, who may have already been through western medical procedures, cortisone shots, surgeries, medications, and physical therapy before they arrive in our clinic. For those in pain, there is a lot of research out there on the etiology and pathogenesis of pain-related syndromes and what we can do about them.
A good friend who happens to be a physical therapist recently made me aware of the following 5-minute clip from Australia, which explains not only pain syndromes, but what we can do about them. Check it out–quite creative, and informative: