In this issue you will find:
- Important PCOM Dates
- Massage Therapy can ease Children’s Musculoskeletal problems
- Acupuncture for Insomnia and Sleep Disorders
- Treating Heartburn with Traditional Chinese Medicine
- Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day
August 17th: (Sunday)
San Diego Commencement Ceremony
September 17th: (Wednesday)
San Diego Campus Program and Application Workshop
- September 17th: (Wednesday)
New York Campus Open House
Massage Therapy Can Ease Children’s Musculoskeletal Problems
By, Alex A. Kecskes
Nearly 90 percent of school-age children have computer access at home or in school. They typically spend up to three hours a day in front of a computer, putting them at high risk for musculoskeletal problems. Some researchers have suggested that children are at even greater risk because computers and peripherals are designed for adults' larger proportions. Computers, keyboards, mice and furniture rarely accommodate the needs of children, since their bones and muscles are still developing. As a result, pre-teens and teens often experience discomfort in the neck, upper back, wrist and knees, especially when using laptop computers (laptops generally lack the adjustability required to ergonomically fit most children).
When a muscle is repeatedly placed under physical stress—during constant computer keyboard typing, for example—the muscle connecting to the tendons tightens. Over time, this can damage the muscle, the nerves that flow through it, and the tendon and fascia surrounding the tissue. The resulting damage is known as Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI). One of the most common types of RSIs is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome—which causes pain and tingling in the wrists. Another common RSI among children is neck and back injury caused by poor posture. This occurs because children often slouch in front of their computers, especially when playing video games for hours on end; or when children use an adult workspace and strain to look up at a computer screen.
Shiatsu massage therapy may often help RSIs. Widely used in traditional Chinese medicine, this therapy applies gentle finger and hand pressure to specific points on the body to relieve pain and enhance energy flow (called qi) through the body's energy pathways (called meridians). Shiatsu massages can soothe muscles, heal soreness, improve joint movement and stretching, reduce tension and stress, remove toxins and improve circulation. Massage therapy puts the body's parasympathetic nervous system to work, counteracting stress, lowering the heart rate and blood pressure, even releasing endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers.
Using rotations, soft tissue, and manipulation techniques, a Shiatsu massage can improve mobility and postural alignment, restoring greater mobility and functioning to wrists and hands. Headaches and migraines caused by repeated and prolonged computer use can also be relieved with this type of massage therapy. Depending upon the origins of the condition, a variety of techniques can be used, including pressure, stretching, acupressure, soft tissue manipulation, rotations, postural alignment techniques as well as more subtle holding techniques.
In addition to massage therapy, children who spend long hours in front of a computer need to take frequent breaks. They need to get up and stretch their fingers, hands, arms, shoulders, neck and back. They should also walk around to stimulate blood circulation and relieve the strains and pressures of prolonged sitting. Combined with massage therapy, these steps may prevent or reduce the discomfort or pain associated with extended computer use.
Acupuncture for Insomnia and Sleep Disorders
By, Steve Goodman
In today’s fast paced, stressed-out world insomnia and sleep disorders are on the increase. The proverbial good night’s sleep seems more elusive than ever. So many people are facing many sleepless nights, and yet they fear the side effects and addictive nature of sleep medications – as well they should.
Traditional Chinese medicine recognizes the importance of adequate sleep for physical, psychological, and spiritual well being. In traditional Chinese medicine, insomnia is an imbalance of Zang (Heart) functions. Stress and poor diet produce stagnation of Qi, and this stagnation of Qi travels as fire to the heart Zang, which is also the repository of the mind and spirit. The damage done by the fire can result in insomnia and sleep disorders.
TCM practitioners have used acupuncture very effectively to treat insomnia, without any of the side effects of prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids. Improved sleep is only one of the benefits reported by people who have used acupuncture to treat insomnia. As in all things, TCM acupuncture for insomnia does not just treat a symptom – but attacks the root disharmony in the body causing the condition. Therefore, those who use acupuncture for insomnia achieve not only better sleep, but also an overall improvement of physical and mental health.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the surface of the body. These points lie along the energy conduits, of Qi flow also called the meridians. With acupuncture, the points are stimulated, and flow “unblocked” producing beneficial physical and emotional changes in the body.
Sleep is critical to maintain Qi and to keep a body in harmony. Lack of sleep causes the body to overproduce “stress hormones” such as adrenaline and cortisol, which cause people to be nervous and more aggressive. Increased levels of Cortisol due to chronic stress is also linked to high blood pressure, suppressed immune system and weight gain. Not enough sleep leads to poor job performance, impaired judgment, and serous accidents when driving or operating machinery.
Unlike Western medicine, there is not one “prescription” for using acupuncture to treat insomnia. Each TCM practitioner will use acupuncture for insomnia, effecting a different combination of meridians or points specific to the patient’s individual problem.
Just as no two violins vibrate at exactly the same frequency and produce exactly the same sound - each person’s body is considered unique in TCM with its own individual Qi flow and resonance. Therefore, there are as many forms of acupuncture for the treatment of sleeplessness as there are insomniacs.
According to a study published by researchers at the Shandong Provincial Hospital of Shandong, a newer form of acupuncture known as Electro-Acupuncture has been shown to be helpful for improving the quality of sleep in patients suffering from insomnia. The study indicated that acupuncture treatment for insomnia might result in better quality of sleep than medication alone to treat insomnia.
Treating Heartburn with Traditional Chinese Medicine
Heartburn is a burning sensation that radiates from the upper chest when acidic stomach contents irritate the unprotected lining of the esophagus. It’s a symptom of a medical condition called Gastroesophygeal Reflex disorder (GERD), which occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter fails to stay closed. GERD may also cause nighttime wheezing, coughing, hoarseness, a need to clear the throat repeatedly, or a sensation of deep pressure at the base of the neck.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, the liver, gallbladder, spleen and pancreas work in balance to help the stomach digest food. An imbalance in these organs causes excess stomach acid travel up the esophagus and the result is heartburn. Traditional Chinese medicine helps restore this balance through acupuncture and herbs. Applied properly, these traditional remedies may not only reduce the symptoms of heartburn, but help treat the cause of GERD by reducing gastric acid, controlling esophageal pressure, and restoring balance to the digestive organs. Chinese practitioners have for thousands of years applied the following treatment regiment to reduce heartburn—its symptoms and causes:
- Change what you eat—Avoid peppermint, coffee, acidic fruit juices, sour, hot spicy, fatty and fried foods, alcohol and chocolates and tomatoes.
- Change how you eat—Eating slowly and chewing completely increases the food’s surface area and allows the amylase in your mouth (for digesting starch) to prepare the food for the stomach. Have dinner at least 3 hours before bedtime. Sit in an upright chair and rest 20-30 minutes after eating before engaging in any strenuous physical activity.
- Change how much you eat—Avoid eating big meals. (Follow the Chinese discipline of eating till you are 70% full, then stop.) Eat 5-6 small meals daily.
- Change your stress level—Manage it with Tai Chi, Qigong, Meditation and deep breathing techniques.
- Change your posture—During sleep, raise your upper body by 5 - 6 inches or try sleeping on your left side. Don’t stoop after a big meal.
- Change to an Herbal Tea—Try Tuo Cha, which consists of Reishi Mushroom (known as "Lin Chi" in Chinese), Ginseng & Yunnan Tea leaf. Tuo Cha is best to drink as a hot tea plain or with a small mount of honey. It is a healthy substitute for coffee or regular ice-tea or soda with any meal or throughout the day.
- Change to Acupuncture—Australian researchers have found that electrical stimulation of an acupuncture point on the wrist cut the number of times a specific muscle in the esophagus "relaxes," which might prevent upset stomachs. When this muscle band, called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is weak or relaxes inappropriately, stomach acids can flow up into the esophagus and cause heartburn. So reducing LES relaxations may keep stomach acids in their place.
A particularly bad eating habit that has crept into American culture is the consumption of ice-cold soft drinks with meals—especially lunch—and the eating of ice cream for dessert. Chinese medical theory opposes this practice, since it wreaks havoc with the digestive process. Thus, a critically important measure to controlling acid reflux and accompanying heartburn is to refrain from ice-cold liquids or deserts before, during, or within two hours after meals. Ice cream is the worst offender, because it’s not just cold, which tends to immobilize stomach muscles, but it also introduces heavy loads of protein, fat, and carbohydrates—all of which overburden your digestive system. It’s not surprising that traditional Chinese medical practitioners recommend drinking only warm teas or soups/broths before or with a meal and avoid drinking excessive amounts of liquid with meals.
Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day
“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”